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As a Paladin, Arthas’ weapon of choice was his great hammer, Light’s Vengeance. In true Warcraft fashion, Light’s Vengeance is freakishly huge, rendering it completely incapable of functioning in a decent weapon in real life, I don’t care how strong you are. However, warhammers were real life weapons utilized in various forms throughout multiple cultures. The European warhammer, while smaller, is the closest thing we have in real life to Light’s Vengeance, and even though it might not be quite as visually impressive, it was more than capable of doing some serious damage.
Warhammers were designed specifically for hand-to-hand combat with another person clad in heavy, plate-style armor. They typically featured a hammer face (usually with sharpened corners), a rear spike (typically long and curved,) and a top spike (for ramming attacks.) Though a sword was usually a better choice when dueling a lightly armored foe, a hammer could do serious damage even through plate, and the weight combined with the rear spike was enough to puncture through breastplates and helms alike.
If you’d like some insight into how to effectively wield a warhammer, check out this video!
Of course, after becoming the Lich King, Arthas began to wield the greatsword, Frostmourne, a massive, rune-etched blade with frost-based magic. Now, magic runes and frost magic aren’t exactly a “thing” in real life, but greatswords definitely are!
The greatsword was a massive sword, typically carried over the shoulder, and was a much a sharpened metal club as it was a sword. The first foot of the blade was typically unsharpened, enabling the wielder to “half-sword” it more easily (grip the sword halfway up the blade for better leverage.)
Like with the warhammer, the greatsword’s weight lends itself better to circular movements, rather than back-and-forth flourishes, parries, and ripostes. You can see some of that circular movement in this sword drill video.
If you’re interested in seeing more greatsword stuff, check out this fantastic YouTube greatsword training playlist!
Of course, videos alone are no substitute for actual training and sparring. If you’re interested in learning how to wield a greatsword, or a warhammer, you should try to find a local HEMA chapter. HEMA (short for historic European martial arts,) is on the rise, and it’s getting easier and easier to find local schools. If you’re interested, check out the HEMA Alliance’s Club Finder!
As both a human prince, and a lich death knight, Arthas has a knack for leadership. As a prince, he was renowned for his bravery, and his willingness to put himself in harm’s way to protect and aid the soldiers under his command. As Lich King, he certainly isn’t sacrificing himself for any of his troops, but he still manages to command VAST hordes. That kind of leadership is a talent, yes, but it’s also a skill (as is almost everything in life.)
My personal favorite book on readership, at least recently, is called Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.
Rather than being just your traditional rah-rah leadership motivational book, Leaders Eat Last goes into the scientific reasons for why we act the way we do in groups. It talks about the traditional role of the leader in social structures, how that translates into modern leadership, and what sort of biological levers one turns when seen as a leader. In addition to discussing leadership, there’s also just a lot of general discussion of brain chemistry, in and out of social situations. Super fascinating stuff, and I learned a ton about how to motivate and encourage other people to follow your lead.
I’d rate it a must read for anyone who may find themselves (or desire to find themselves) in a leadership position.
The Death Knight
Beyond being a great leader, Arthas has one other major trait, especially as a death knight: he is unstoppable. Yes, quite a bit of this durability comes from his skill in combat. If nothing can beat you in hand-to-hand combat, your enemies are going to have a hard time stopping your forward progress! It goes beyond combat capabilities, and into the realm of sheer drive, and anti-fragility.
Your drive is your reason for doing something, your all-encompassing purpose. It must be personal, it must be motivating, and it must be attainable. If you find yourself being easily waylaid by distractions or other interests, it’s quite possible your overall drive, your overarching goal, is not strong enough. Arthas’ desire to see his troops safety was his leading goal for a while. Then this was pushed to the side for his need to become The Lich King. Either way, when he has a particular purpose, nothing stood in his way.
There’s a difference between durability, and antifragility. Something that is durable is something that holds up for a long time under strain, or stress. However, something that is antifragile is something that doesn’t just endure stress or chaos, but benefits from it, and in some ways requires it. If that doesn’t perfectly describe the death knight situation, I don’t know what does. So, to that end, I’ve got another book for you.
Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is about just that – systems and concepts that gain from disorder and chaos, and thrive in them.
Developing an antifragile mindset is key to understanding the psyche of the Death Knight. This book is super interesting and relevant in that regard, and I highly recommend checking it out. You may not be slinging Unholy spells or crafting magical Runes anytime soon, but you can construct your own spells and rituals in your own mind by absorbing the tenets and concepts of antifragility.
That’s it for The Powers of a Death Knight! I’ll see you again on Monday with The Dark Paladin! Remember, the New Game+ Sale is still going strong over in The Armory! Have you grabbed a T-Shirt or Shaker Bottle yet?
Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace
PS: I’ve started a thread over on the BaGC forums for New Years Resolutions! We’re going to help each other out and hold each other accountable heading into 2017! Come join us!