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Nihlathak was an Elder of Harrogath who possessed the powers of a Necromancer. Though clearly not a follower of Rathma, like proper Necromancers, his status as an Elder may have allowed him to learn these skills for the purposes of performing final rites and communing with the Ancients.


Nihlathak was the only Elder to survive when the elders gathered around the city of Harrogath to cast an ancient Druid spell of warding. After this, Nihlathak struck a deal with Baal, the Lord of Destruction. He would give Baal the Relic of the Ancients, the most holy totem of the Barbarian people, so he could reach the summit of Mount Arreat without being challenged by the Ancients. In return, Baal would spare Harrogath.

Until the Prison of Ice quest is completed, Nihlathak is found in the left-most corner of Harrogath. He has a very hostile personality, even to fellow Barbarians, and desires to keep to his own matters. It is revealed that it was he who kidnapped Anya and placed her in a Prison of Ice in the Crystalline Passage. He fled from Harrogath as Anya was close to being rescued.

After Anya is rescued, he is found in the Halls of Vaught as a super unique boss. He is defeated in the Betrayal of Harrogath quest. He uses the most popular Necromancer Skills, Corpse Explosion along with Teleport and Summon Minion. To top everything off, he will try to freeze you using the Druid skill Arctic Blast. His Corpse Explosion was a sure one-hit killer in Hell difficulty until it was nerfed in future patches.

In Hell difficulty, Nihlathak drops the Key of Destruction, which is a part of the Battle.net Pandemonium Event.

After completing the Prison of Ice

Nihlathak Image.png
Property Normal Nightmare Hell
Type Animal Animal Animal
Act(s) found in 5 5 5
Monster Level 68 73 95
Experience 10,739 56,895 168,161
Health points 911 3,218 13,345
Damage 1 360-480 414-552 486-648
Attack Rating 1 Cold Cold Cold
Damage 2 - - -
Attack Rating 2 - - -
Defense 491 1,029 1,951
% to Block - - -
Damage Resist 0 0 0
Magic Resist 0 0 25
Fire Resist 0 0 33
Cold Resist 70 70 70
Lightning Resist 0 0 33
Poison Resist 70 70 70
Drain Effectiveness 100 75 50
Immunities - - -
Chill Effectiveness 50 40 33

As the last surviving clan Elder, Nihlathak has been driven close to madness by his grief over the imminent failure of his clan to protect the Worldstone. Constantly ruminating on the myriad alternate courses the elders could have taken, he now lives with the guilt of not dying with his peers. Ultimately, he betrayed the world of Sanctuary by striking a deal with Baal.

Tips and Other Additional Information

Nihlathak's Corpse Explosion and Arctic Blast skills are the main reason he is feared among Hardcore players. When you kill one of his summoned Minions, make sure you use a skill that utilizes the corpse before Nihlathak can explode it such as the Paladin's Redemption, Barbarian's Find Potion, or Necromancer's Revive or Raise Skeleton. Equipping Items with the "Slain Monsters Rest in Peace" modifier such as the Nature's Peace Ring has the same effect. In Normal and Nightmare you can also use freezing attacks to shatter the minions so they do not leave corpses. High Fire Resistance and Physical Damage Reduction/Block Rate will help against his Corpse Explosion. It is also possible to lure all enemies aside from Nihlathak far away from him before killing them making their bodies too far away for him to use as weapons against you. If you get too close, Nihlathak will use Arctic Blast on you, giving him greater advantage. Being frozen will put the players in greater danger. Having Thawing Potions, the cannot be frozen ability, or hit recovery will lessen the effects of Arctic Blast.




  • "What?"
  • "Hmmm?"
  • "Yes?"
  • "What is it?" (quick)
  • "What is it?" (slow)
  • "Be quick about it."
  • "Surprised to see you."


  • General
Well, well. The siege has everything in short supply...except fools.

Why would you seek this place, stranger? Are you a vulture come to loot the bodies of our fallen warriors?

Regardless, this is no place to make a name for yourself. The mountain is ours to protect. It is only a matter of time before Hell's legions are routed.
Ahhh, a Necromancer.

While I admire your courage in seeking out the darker side of magic, we really have little need of your skills. The battle will turn soon enough without your meddling.

Yet, I should have expected to see your kind here. You are like a moth to the flame -- drawn to all this death. It feeds you in more ways than one, does it not?
Well, well...An Assassin!

Heh, heh....While I am sure we are all grateful for your presence in our troubled town, you need not have made the journey.

I can personally say that your skills are not required here. You would serve your clan better elsewhere.


  • Shortened introduction
Why would you seek this place, stranger? Are you a vulture come to loot the bodies of our fallen warriors?

Regardless, this is no place to make a name for yourself. The mountain is ours to protect. It is only a matter of time before Hell's legions are routed.
Qual-Kehk is useless. He has blindly sent our warriors to their deaths, assuming Baal's legions would fight as men do. Of course, everyone knows they do not.
  • Mistakes
The demon hordes have grown powerful beyond measure, aided by our foolish mistakes. But I may have found a way to correct those mistakes...
  • Useful
If you have nothing useful for me, be on your way!
  • Prepared
The Council of Elders always believed itself prepared for the coming of the Three. Obviously, we were not prepared enough.
  • Warriors
Oh yes...I remember our warriors as children. Malah would set their broken bones and give them powders for their fevers. Now, they return to her with wounds that will never heal.

I am tired...Please...leave me.
  • Criticism
I have long been criticized, but especially of late -- since the deaths of my fellow Elders. Through it all, I have learned one thing. Each man must do what's right, no matter what others may think.
  • Mourn
Anya's father was my good friend. There are so many to mourn...I have no time for you!
If you're looking for cases of treacherous magic, Assassin, take a hard look at Larzuk. He was the only one in town who escaped the Red Fever last spring. He claimed his good fortune was due to 'hand washing' before meals.

Hmmm...Very suspicious...


Siege on Harrogath (quest)

  • After Initiate
After so many have died, who are you to think you can accomplish what our proud warriors could not?
  • Early Return
What are you still doing here? I thought you were going off to die.

Go...Be quick about it.
  • Upon Completion
Ending the siege does not earn immediate respect, outsider.

Respect only comes with sacrifice -- something I'm sure you know nothing of.

Rescue on Mount Arreat (quest)

  • After Initiate
You have proven you can take life, warrior, but can you save it as well?
  • Early Return
Did you ever stop to think why these demons are capturing Qual-Kehk's men? Why they are attacking us? Have you considered what Baal wants with the mountain?

No. You've not. You have no idea what you are dealing with.
  • Upon Completion
So. You brought the lost sheep home to the shepherd. Well done.

Prison of Ice (quest)

  • After Initiate
Anya! Who have you been talking to? Likely it was that meddling Malah.

Well, I'll tell you what really happened. Anya came to me for guidance, after receiving a vision that her mother and younger brother were trapped in the lands beyond the Ice Caves. She had decided to go rescue them.

I told her that her quest was a foolish one and that she would be safer staying within the city walls. However, she is a willful girl and would not listen to me.

The next morning, she was gone. No one is more distraught than I over losing her.

However, if you feel the need to be Malah's errand child, I won't try to stop you.
  • Early Return
Look, I've told you! She's dead! If you knew what was good for you, you'd concentrate your efforts on saving Harrogath -- not on lost causes like Anya.


As an Enemy

  • "You have no idea of the power you face."
  • "I shall keep my end of Baal's bargain."
  • "For my homeland!"
  • "I will KILL you!"

Nihlathak Death Alternate.gif


There is an unused aura graphic named "NehlithakGlow".

Also in the game files is an alternate Nihlathak's Death animation where his skeleton explodes instead of being dragged to the Burning Hells.


This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article.
  • His name is likely derived from the word nihil, meaning "nothing" in Latin.
  • He is one of at least two NPCs to become an enemy.
  • His death animation implies that he was indeed dragged into Hell to suffer for all eternity, as Anya scornfully remarks that he should.