wotlk classic how to get shadowmourne featured image

WotLK sees the introduction of 2 incredibly powerful legendary weapons: Shadowmourne for strength-based two-handed weapon damage dealers (Fury & Arms Warriors, Unholy Death Knights, Retribution Paladins) and Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings for healers. These weapons are highly sought after due to their powerful stats and even more powerful effects, though unfortunately only a select few may get them, as they are scarce.

This guide will cover Shadowmourne, the two-handed legendary axe added to the game in Phase 4 of WotLK Classic, with the introduction of the Icecrown Citadel raid.

How does Shadowmourne work?

Legendaries in World of Warcraft have always been about their special effects, rather than simply being a bigger, stronger weapon. Shadowmourne is no exception! Its effect is incredibly powerful, though maximizing its effect is actually slightly unintuitive.

When you damage a player with a weapon attack while wielding Shadowmourne, there is a chance that you will gain a stack of the Soul Fragment buff, lasting 1 minute. The proc chance uses the PPM system, but to simplify a bit, there’s a roughly 75% chance that you get this buff — you will get fragments very quickly. Attacks that hit multiple enemies, like Divine Storm and Heart Strike, will generate 1 fragment per enemy hit, while Whirlwind will generate 1 fragment per enemy hit for each of your weapons, meaning Fury Warriors can get a massive 8 fragments in just 1 attack!

Soul Fragment increases your strength by 30 per stack. However, once you gain a 10th fragment, all of your Soul Fragments will be consumed, and you will unleash Chaos Bane, dealing 1900 to 2100 Shadow damage split evenly between all enemies within 15 yards, and gain the Chaos Bane buff, which increases your strength by 270 strength for 10 seconds.

None of these effects has a cooldown, which is great. The Chaos Bane explosion is very powerful, but sadly the Chaos Bane buff is not. See, your character unfortunately cannot gain any Soul Fragments while the Chaos Bane buff is active, meaning that keeping the buff up delays your next explosion.

Players have come up with a clever trick to rectify this issue: simply add the /cancelaura Chaos Bane command to macros tied to all of your DPS abilities, which will instantly cancel the Chaos Bane buff for you. The following is an example macro — replace “Crusader Strike” with your other spell names.

#showtooltip
/cancelaura Chaos Bane
/startattack
/cast Crusader Strike

Who should get Shadowmourne?

Blizzard moved away from the model of legendaries being random boss drops in WotLK. Both legendaries are created by players after collecting enough fragments and completing a quest chain, similar to Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian from Classic. Gone are the days of praying for that 2nd Warglaive of Azzinoth to drop so you can complete your set — you WILL get your Shadowmourne eventually, as you slowly build up your Shadowfrost Shard count.

But while you are now virtually guaranteed to get at least a couple of Shadowmournes over the duration of the expansion, there’s also a drawback to this system: you cannot really get lucky and get a whole bunch of them. Thus, distributing Shadowmourne in your guild becomes a lot more important due to how scarce it is. Many guilds will choose to reward their most dedicated or best performing damage-dealer with a fancy legendary, while others will choose to prioritize distributing based on class, as different classes can take advantage of its effect to varying amounts. While Shadowmourne can only be obtained in the last phase of the game, and thus won’t be used for long, its impact on that player’s DPS is enormous, making this decision very important.

In the broadest terms possible, Fury Warriors and Retribution Paladins make the best use of Shadowmourne, while Unholy Death Knights make great use of it. The difference in general is so small however that we overall recommend that you give it to your best & most dedicated damage dealer, rather than prioritize based on class.

No surprises there — Fury Warriors are arguably the strongest melee damage dealer in Phase 4, so naturally they’d be a very strong candidate for Shadowmourne. They have a plethora of attacks that can proc Soul Fragment, and the fact that they can gain up to 8 fragments with Whirlwind makes them gain a tremendous benefit from its effect.

Furthermore, Arms Warriors become killing machines in PvP when equipped with Shadowmourne, absolutely destroying everything that gets in their way. If your guild’s Fury Warrior pumper does a good amount of PvP, they will absolutely love getting this bad boy — and may even reasonably expect to get it, due to how distorting a force it is in the PvP metagame.

Some people may say that a Retribution Paladin holding a blade that embodies the darkness, forged by fragments of the Frozen Throne itself, is sacrilege. Blizzard is absolutely not among those “some people”, as they made it an incredible weapon for them. The fact that Soul Fragment can proc off both Divine Storm and Seal of Command makes Shadowmourne an absolute godsend for Retribution Paladins, elevating their already incredibly high AoE potential to absurd levels.

If your guild’s Retribution Paladin(s) do PvP seriously, they will want Shadowmourne like crazy, as it pushes their burst damage to a level where they can blow up someone so hard, that some of their weaknesses (such as the lack of a Mortal Strike type effect) get partially mitigated.

There is nothing more thematically appropriate than an Unholy Death Knight wielding Shadowmourne, a weapon crafted from shards of the Frozen Throne in order to defeat Arthas, the monster that created you & that you rebelled against. It is thus very fitting that it’s an incredibly powerful weapon for them. While Unholy Death Knights lack the powerful AoE weapon attacks that the other candidates have, they have a very high frequency of attacks thanks to their multiple strikes & their Blood-Caked Blade proc, making Shadowmourne a very powerful boost to your single-target damage.

There is a downsides to giving Shadowmourne to an Unholy Death Knight, however. A very large % of their damage comes from sources that do not benefit from your weapon damage directly, such as Icy Touch, Death Coil, Blood Boil, their diseases, their pet, etc. This means that in many situation, they get a very slightly smaller DPS increase than the other candidates. The difference isn’t large enough that we’d say you should give it to the others before giving it to an Unholy Death Knight, however.

How do I get Shadowmourne?

Getting Shadowmourne is a much more involved process than any previous legendary, with a lengthy quest chain and a stop-gap weapon for players who may want to experience this beautiful quest chain despite not having been chosen by their guild as a potential Shadowmourne user.

We will break down this process into 3 steps: crafting Shadow’s Edge, empowering Shadow’s Edge, and upgrading Shadow’s Edge into Shadowmourne.

Crafting Shadow’s Edge

Your first thought here may be “hold on a second, what the hell is Shadow’s Edge? I want Shadowmourne!”

Simply put, Blizzard created a very interesting quest chain for Shadowmourne, rich in story and interesting events alike. They wanted as many people as possible to see this quest chain. Furthermore, they know that not being chosen for a legendary weapon by your guild doesn’t feel great. To that end, they added Shadow’s Edge. It is a base weapon that you will eventually upgrade into Shadowmourne, by undergoing several trials.

The first step to obtaining Shadowmourne is slightly mundane: you must become friendly with the Ashen Verdict faction. Doing so is pretty easy, and you will naturally get loads of reputation while just clearing the raid as normal. For more details, please check out our The Ashen Verdict reputation guide!

After becoming friendly with the Ashen Verdict, seek out Highlord Darion Mograine inside the Icecrown Citadel raid. He is right by the entrance — just turn left after getting into the raid, just before Highlord Tirion Mograine and the first enemies you encounter inside the raid.

Highlord Darion Mograine will offer you the quest Quest IconThe Sacred and the Corrupt — the first step of the Shadowmourne quest chain. Note: you can take this quest in any version of Icecrown Citadel, including the 10 man and 10 man heroic versions. However, you may only complete its last 2 requirements, which involves getting boss drops, in the 25 man normal and 25 man heroic versions of the raid.

This quest requires that you obtain 4 different items: Primordial Saronite x25, Light’s Vengeance, Festergut’s Acidic Blood and Rotface’s Acidic Blood.

Primordial Saronite

The first requirement, Primordial Saronite x25, is very simple. There are 2 ways to obtain Primordial Saronite: it is dropped by bosses in the Icecrown Citadel, and sold by your faction’s Emblem of Frost vendor in Dalaran & the newly added Goodman the “Closer” vendor in Icecrown Citadel, for 23 Emblem of Frost.

The boss drop rate isn’t the best, ranging between 20 to 40%. This means that if you want to get your Shadowmourne as quickly as possible, you will need to farm up to 575 Emblem of Frost, which you can do in by running the different versions of Icecrown (10 & 25), on top of weekly raid quests, the Vault of Archavon raid’s (10 & 25) Phase 4 boss, and daily random heroic dungeons. As Primordial Saronite does not bind on pickup, you can also buy it in the auction house, but prices will likely be outrageous, as everyone will want to get their hands on it ASAP. The average player will likely have to wait a few weeks before they have enough Primordial Saronite for this quest, unfortunately, even if their guild gives them all of their drops.

Light’s Vengeance

With the Primordial Saronite out of the way, the next item in the list is Light’s Vengeance — the hammer that Arthas discarded when he obtained Frostmourne and became the Lich King. To do so, you must enter Frostmourne Cave in northern Dragonblight.

frostmourne cavern location annotated
The location of Frostmourne Cavern in Dragonblight.

Upon entering the cave, an epic event ensues. We recommend that you do not read the section below and instead skip to the next section, as it is very exciting to experience this event for the first time without a guide! However, if you want help with this part of the quest, click on the “Spoilers” heading below to expand that section and learn more!

The Lich King himself will appear and attempt to thwart your plans. After trapping you in an icy prison, he knocks Light’s Vengeance away and summons an army of ghouls, as well as Vegard the Unforgiven, a powerful vrykul necromancer, before finally leaving. The ghouls will attempt to stop you from reaching Light’s Vengeance. They ghouls only having about 4000 HP, so you can kill them in a few hits, and deal very little damage. However, there’s an ARMY of them, which makes getting to Light’s Vengeance, never mind interacting with it, which takes 8 seconds and is interrupted by taking damage. To make things worse, Vegard will keep spawning ghouls, faster than you can kill them.

Use any way possible to get to Light’s Vengeance and interact with it — you can kill some ghouls in order to survive getting there, but killing stuff won’t be the way you succeed during this step. Paladins can interact it with Divine Shield, while Death Knights can fight fire with fire and use Army of the Dead back at the Lich King, allowing them to interact with it while the ghouls are distracted by your own ghouls. Warriors unfortunately don’t have any good options here and may need to have a friend around who can distract the ghouls for them.

After interacting with Light’s Vengeance, it will fly up in the air and start blasting the ghouls and Vegard with a barrage of holy bolts, until they are all dead. It will finally run out of energy and fall on the floor, where you may right click to loot it.

Psyche! Vegard the Unforgiven will return from the dead as a skeleton, trapping Light’s Vengeance in a shadowy prison. You must now defeat him in order to claim it. He’s not a weak enemy, but if you could deal with the army of ghouls, you should have no problems killing him. If you do struggle to kill him, the fight becomes trivially easy by having a friend help you.

With Vegard’s shadowy prison now broken, Light’s Vengeance will start glowing, back at its original spot. This time you can loot it for real!

Festergut’s Acidic Blood & Rotface’s Acidic Blood

You now need 2 last items: Festergut’s Acidic Blood and Rotface’s Acidic Blood. These drop from Festergut and Rotface, raid bosses in the Icecrown Citadel raid. They have a 100% drop chance, but only 1 of each drops every week, which means that several players will have to wait in line for them. As mentioned previously, you may only loot these items in the 25 man normal & 25 man heroic versions of Icecrown Citadel; they will not drop in the 10 man version.

Return to Darion

With all of the required items in your possession, you should return to Highlord Darion Mograine and turn in Quest IconThe Sacred and the Corrupt at the Runeforge next to him. Darion will go on to craft an axe using the runeforge, roleplaying for a few mniutes. He will now offer you a new quest: Quest IconShadow’s Edge; speak to him again and agree to his terms and conditions in order to receive Shadow’s Edge. Congratulations on crafting your Shadowmourne‘s base!

Empowering Shadow’s Edge

Now that you have your Shadow’s Edge, you will need to enhance its power. This involves a quest chain featuring a weekly grind, and 3 separate challenges. This all takes place entirely within Icecrown Citadel.

A Feast of Souls

Return to Highlord Darion Mograine once more and accept his newest quest: Quest IconA Feast of Souls. This quest is the most straightforward in the chain: you must simply kill enemies in the Icecrown Citadel raid with Shadow’s Edge, which will then absorb their souls. You need to gather 1000 souls in total for this quest, which will take 2-3 weeks of fully clearing ICC. A rare exception: you can get souls in both the 10 man and 25 man versions of Icecrown Citadel!

The way this quest works is as follows. Attacking enemies with Shadow’s Edge applies the Shadow’s Fate debuff to them, which signifies that their soul will be absorbed when they die. You can switch out your Shadow’s Edge for a different weapon after the debuff is applied, and you’ll still get the souls. Any hostile spell will apply this debuff, so it’s very easily applied with Demoralizing Shout, Consecration and Death & Decay. You don’t need to get the killing blow on these mobs or anything like that, and the debuff lasts indefinitely so you don’t have to be in a rush to kill them. The only limitation there is that you cannot claim souls while you are dead, so make sure you’re alive when the mobs die — don’t be reckless and get killed before you can absorb souls!

shadows fate debuff

Infusions

After Shadow’s Edge has absorbed 1000 delicious souls, go back to Highlord Darion Mograine and deliver Quest IconA Feast of Souls. A series of 3 different challenges begins, which involves killing bosses in the Icecrown Citadel raid in a specific way. They can all be cleared in the same lockout, but they can only be done in the 25 man normal or 25 man heroic versions of Icecrown Citadel — the 10 man version will not work.

Unholy Infusion

Your first challenge will be Quest IconUnholy Infusion, which involves infusing your Shadow’s Edge with unholy energy obtained from Professor Putricide, the last boss of the Plagueworks section within the Upper Reaches of Icecrown Citadel.

During the Professor Putricide fight, one player will be tasked with transforming into the Mutated Abomination. You will need to be that player in order to complete this quest. Interact with the table behind Professor Putricide once the fights starts, while having Shadow’s Edge equipped, and you will notice that after transforming you have 1 extra spell that the abomination normally wouldn’t have: Shadow Infusion. You will not be able to use this ability, which is required in order to complete this quest, if you didn’t have Shadow’s Edge equipped when you transformed into the abomination.

This ability requires 100 Ooze energy in order to use, which you build up by using the abomination’s aptly-named Eat Ooze ability, eating up puddles of ooze. Once you have 100 Ooze, wait for a good opportunity to use Shadow Infusion. After doing so, your abomination will glow with unholy energy, signifying you have completed this step. Finally, your raid must now kill Professor Putricide within 6 minutes, which will cause your Shadow’s Edge to claim his soul & unholy essence!

We will have a detailed boss guide for Professor Putricide closer to Phase 4’s release.

Blood Infusion

Go back to Highlord Darion Mograine and deliver Quest IconUnholy Infusion in order to get your next challenge: Quest IconBlood Infusion. You must infuse your Shadow’s Edge with the essence of blood, obtained from Blood-Queen Lana’thel, the last boss of the Royal Quarters of the Upper Reaches of Icecrown Citadel, located specifically in the Sanctum of Blood.

During the Blood-Queen Lana’thel fight, the player closest to the tank currently tanking her gets affected with Blood Mirror, which causes them to also take 100% of the damage taken by the tank. You need to get that debuff — simply go in with the tank, take the debuff, use some defensive cooldowns in order to survive, and walk out after a couple of seconds. You have now completed the first requirement, but there is one more!

15 seconds into the fight, Lana’thel will bite the player with the highest threat who’s not the main tank, granting them the Essence of the Blood Queen, which increases their damage. After 75 seconds however, her essence will transform into Frenzied Bloodthirst — at which point they must cast a new spell granted to them, Vampiric Bite, on a different player within 15 seconds, or they will get mind controlled by the Blood-Queen. Doing so deals heavy damage to that player and afflicts them with Essence of the Blood Queen, starting the cycle anew.

Simply put, you need to be afflicted by Frenzied Bloodthirst and cast Vampiric Bite on a different player in the raid 3 times during this fight. This means that ideally you are the highest threat player who isn’t tanking when the Blood-Queen first bites a player, so you cast the first Vampiric Bite. Next, whichever person you bit should bite you back when they get the chance.

After getting afflicted by Blood Mirror, and using Vampiric Bite 3 times, you now have to kill the Blood-Queen in order to complete this quest. Note: you must be alive when the Blood-Queen dies after completing these requirements in order to complete this quest! If you die at any point, you will have to complete both requirements all over again before she dies, which will be a huge challenge, if not impossible for most guilds. Do everything you can to stay alive, and have one of your raid’s healer heal you with higher priority — if you happen to die, you may just want to reset the fight and try again. You need to have Shadow’s Edge equipped when you complete these requirements in order to progress, so it’s probably most convenient to have it equipped at all times.

We will have a detailed boss guide for Blood-Queen Lana’thel closer to Phase 4’s release.

Frost Infusion

Go back to Highlord Darion Mograine and deliver Quest IconBlood Infusion in order to get your next & final challenge: Quest IconFrost Infusion. You must infuse your Shadow’s Edge with the essence of frost, obtained from Sindragosa, the last boss of the Frost Queen’s Lair section of the Upper Reaches of Icecrown Citadel.

During the Sindragosa fight, the Frost Queen will periodically cast Frost Breath. This ability does ~40,000 Frost damage (60,000 in Heroic mode) to all players in a 60-yard cone in front of Sindragosa. In order to complete this quest, you must get hit by this ability 4 times, by quickly stepping in front of Sindragosa as she casts it. After surviving 4 of Sindragosa’s breaths, you have 6 minutes to kill her. Moreover, you must stay alive for the entire fight in order to successfully complete the quest — similar to the Blood Infusion, if you die you’ll have to do this process all over again, which most likely means that your guild has to restart the fight. Similarly to previous steps, you need to have Shadow’s Edge equipped when you get hit by the breaths.

Unless you’re a tank, you won’t be able to survive 40,000 to 60,000 damage, so you must mitigate some of it. Death Knights have a really easy time here, thanks to their Anti-Magic Shell, and Unholy Death Knights in particular with their many magic damage reducing talents, like Magic Suppression, Bone Shield and Anti-Magic Zone. Paladins can use Divine Protection & the Glyph of Salvation, while Warriors should use Defensive Stance & Shield Wall — but the unfortunate reality is that those things alone will not be enough to save you a lot of the time, and the long cooldowns on some of these abilities mean that you can only use them for 1 or 2 breaths.

Fortunately there are more things that you can use to soak damage here: Frost Resistance armour, for one. You can fully or partially resist / absorb the Frost Breath‘s damage, and it will still count towards quest completion — however, fully immuned breaths will not count, so don’t use Divine Shield or other immunity effects. The 3 new Icebane pieces (Icebane Chestguard, Icebane Girdle, Icebane Treads) will get you to 287 Frost Resistance, and another 130 added by Frost Resistance Aura or Frost Resistance Totem get you to 417 — enough to survive every breath if you have a decent health pool. You can also use consumables like Mighty Frost Protection Potion to survive breaths that you have no cooldowns for.

We will have a detailed boss guide for Sindragosa closer to Phase 4’s release.

Return to Darion

Return to Highlord Darion Mograine and deliver Quest IconFrost Infusion. With this step done, your Shadow’s Edge has finally absorbed the 3 essences of undeath, and is now ready for the final part of its upgrade process.

Upgrading Shadow’s Edge into Shadowmourne

Highlord Darion Mograine will now offer your final challenge, in the form of a new quest — Quest IconThe Splintered Throne. Your task is simple: collect 50 Shadowfrost Shards, which are shattered pieces of the Frozen Throne, possessed by the Lich King’s champions.

This is honestly the most boring and grindy part of the quest chain. Every single boss & encounter in the 25-man normal & 25-man heroic versions of Icecrown Citadel has a chance of dropping a single Shadowfrost Shard upon death. Normal mode bosses have a 25-50% drop chance, meaning you can expect to see 4.5 shards per week, completing this quest in 11 weeks. Heroic mode bosses meanwhile have a ~75% drop chance, meaning you can expect to see 9 shards per week if you clear every boss in heroic mode, completing this quest in ~5 weeks.

Most guilds will typically kill some bosses in normal mode and some in heroic, and thus this quest will take anywhere between roughly 7-8 weeks for most players. There’s nothing you can do to complete this quest faster, besides trying to kill the bosses in heroic mode for the higher drop chance. On the plus side, you don’t actually need to have your Shadow’s Edge equipped while you’re killing bosses, it just needs to be in your bags — so if you found yourself a stronger weapon in those long weeks of farming Icecrown Citadel, you can use that instead.

After you have gathered 50 Shadowfrost Shards, return to Highlord Darion Mograine and deliver Quest IconThe Splintered Throne. He will now offer a new quest: Quest IconEmpowerment. Simply speak to him again in order to complete it. This quest will remove your Shadow’s Edge, but you don’t need it anymore. Speak to Darion once more and complete the new quest he automatically offers you — Quest IconShadowmourne… — in order to receive your very own Shadowmourne! Congratulations! What a long and arduous journey it has been, a legendary weapon well earned and deserved!

Defeating the Lich King & bonus rewards

With Shadowmourne finally in your hands, you are ready to fulfil the mission it was created for: defeating the Lich King. Simply speak to Highlord Darion Mograine and accept his final quest: Quest IconThe Lich King’s Last Stand. Kill the Lich King and return to Darion in order to complete the amazing reward of 29 gold and 60 silver… awesome, right? Well, thankfully, there’s more to this quest!

When you defeat the Lich King with your Shadowmourne equipped and while on the Quest IconThe Lich King’s Last Stand quest, he will drop one additional item, that only you may loot: the Sealed Chest, which starts the quest Quest IconPersonal Property. Simply hand the Sealed Chest over to Darion in order to complete this quest, rewarding you with the Unsealed Chest. Opening this chest gives you 5 items, each having a mini-quest that gives you a unique reward. All of the items are delivered to NPCs that can be found at the entrance of the Icecrown Citadel raid in 25-man normal or heroic mode, after the Lich King is defeated in that instance.

All of these items are bound-on-use or bound-on-equip, which means that you can actually buy or sell them in the auction house, typically for exorbitant prices. Some guilds will choose to distribute them between players in a raid, while many will just let the player whose Shadowmourne spawned the Sealed Chest do with them what they will. In any case, they are extremely cool items, and whoever gets them in your guild is one lucky person. The fancy orange axe which destroys the damage meters and PvP balance is a welcome bonus, too!

 

About the Author

Pride

Classic WoW is my jam, with a passion for PvP. Most know me as Baranor, the ret paladin guy, but I'm secretly a druid main, don't tell anyone. In my free time I play Switch games, particularly JRPGs. Some day I'll be making my own games and I humbly hope you play those too!
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Jacob Wilson
Jacob Wilson
1 month ago

I’ve owned Shadowmourne on every spec. The information on Chaos Bane’s explosion and buff near the top is incorrect. The Chaos Bane explosion is not really strong; in fact it is extremely weak and negligible for DPS, especially for AoE since it’s spread across all targets (which usually results in just a couple hundred damage each). The chaos bane buff (270 strength) is extremely powerful for DKs and Warriors. Cancelling does not make sense for DKs or Warriors because the constant 270 strength is stronger than building back up to 270 strength with the soul fragments. More uptime with strength = more DPS.

As for Rets, it is more DPS to cancel the aura because the Chaos Bane explosion also triggers the Paladin’s seal. Since the seal deals the most damage on a Ret, it’s better to cancel the aura to get another seal proc out of Chaos Bane ASAP.

In summary, damage by Chaos Bane damage is negligible, but the buff is very strong. Also Warriors and DKs don’t cancel the aura.

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