The Two Bosses Enter exhibition season continues with a matchup of two Alliance powerhouses duking it out for fame and glory. Brann Bronzebeard, legendary explorer and Old God waker-upper, will put his years of experience running away from and narrowly escaping the horrors of Azeroth to use as he stands short and proud against Vereesa Windrunner, youngest of the Windrunner daughters and perfect with a bow. Which Alliance champion will come out on top?
With a solid first win under her belt, Ishanah of the Aldor kicks Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher back to his dig site in the Badlands, ending his chances for victory in the exhibition season. Readers fondly remembered Ishanah from their Burning Crusade days, pointing to her prominence as one of the naaru's chosen as being instrumental to her win. Plus, I think readers just like her better.
The time has come, adventurers. Who will move on to the next round? Vote! Vote, I say!
The rules of the ring
- The WoW Insider Ring is considered neutral territory, where both combatants are able to access their usual encounter mechanics and abilities. If you can't visualize it inside the squared circle, visualize it someplace else -- but you must take into consideration all of each bosses' abilities and mechanics.
- Assume that each opponent is intelligent and capable of strategic thinking.
- All of the competitors' abilities, including crowd control and other effects to which bosses are usually immune, work on their opponents (with apologies to considerations of lore on this point).
- Assume that the opponents share similar levels, health pools, and comparative overall damage output.
- Don't get caught up in gameplay mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter.
- Don't neglect style, story, and scale. Everything is a factor; seeking balance is your goal as a spectator and judge.
Explorer. Prince. Treasure hunter. Old God bait. What hasn't Brann Bronzebeard accomplished in his life yet? Brann has been around in every recent era of Azeroth, from the first two wars with the Horde all the way to the unveiling of Uldum and the desert's secrets. I remember Brann's stories and jounral entries from the World of Warcraft release, so he's been a staple in the Warcraft universe for a long time.
Brann's travels have brought him all over Azeroth, above and below, inside and outside its most hallowed halls and dangerous places. The youngest of the Bronzebeard brothers, Brann certainly has a way with getting into and then getting out of scrapes with the most powerful beings and entities Azeroth has ever known. Brann keeps going missing, only to turn up again and again against all odds.
Players have also had plenty of interaction with Brann Bronzebeard through the years as he investigated the Qiraji in Ahn'Qiraj, guided players through the Halls of Stone to uncover the Tribunal of Ages, and even bore witness to the horrors of Yogg'Saron. Only with Brann's assistance did players open up the Archivum, defeat Algalon, and stop the world from utter destruction. Brann's wits and intelligence make up for his potential lack of physical prowess.
Here are some cool things about Brann Bronzebeard:
- He's a dwarf. Probably the best Alliance race, no contest.
- He's got a fantastic beard. See above.
- He's a great explorer. He's seen things that you've had to wait to see, always one step ahead of even the greatest adventurers. This guy knows where evil lurks and he is not afraid to throw himself at it, head first.
- He stands his ground. Well, when he isn't standing his ground, he is the best retreater in the history of Azeroth.
- He's Brann. And he's been around forever. He isn't going anywhere.
If you are not sure who Vereesa Windrunner is or what is her relative influence or power level, just read over her last name a few more times. Vereesa is the youngest of the Windrunner daughters and the ranger-general of the Silver Covenant. After Alleria Windrunner went missing after the expedition to Draenor and Sylvanas Windrunner had a little undead accident, Vereesa was the last in the line of Windrunner sisters to stay as a ranger-general. She was best known in World of Warcraft by her presence in Violet Citadel of Dalaran, leading her Silver Covenant against the Lich King.
The Silver Covenant greatly opposed the inclusion of the blood elves into the Kirin Tor, as Vereesa still felt resentment and anger over Kael'thas' treachery and her struggle to retain the cultural traditions of the high elves. Vereesa's first task as a ranger of Silvermoon was to escort Rhonin to Khaz Modan, making her the third Windrunner sister to have the hots for the humans. The Windrunners sure do have a type, don't they?
Most recently, Vereesa Windrunner was asked by Halduron Brightwing, the current ranger-general of Silvermoon and leader of the Farstriders, to come to Silvermoon and assist in the fight against the Zandalari and Amani. While Vereesa still doesn't think too highly of the blood elves, the importance of securing their home against ancient troll enemies weighed heavily in her mind. Lor'themar Theron even sent a messenger to demand explanation for her arrival in Silvermoon but was blocked and ignored by Halduron, who still valued Vereesa's ability.
Here are some cool things about Veressa Windrunner:
- She's a Windrunner. The Windrunner sisters are the best of the best rangers, period.
- She's the last Windrunner not missing or undead. Vereesa is (until Alleria gets back) the last of the old vanguard of high elven rangers.
- She's a dragon slayer. She helped murder Dargonax, one of the most powerful twilight dragons in existence.
Readers have spoken, and the High Priestess of the Aldor has vanquished her first foe, Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher of The Reliquary. Players have fond memories of Ishanah from the Burning Crusade days, when her faction stood fierce against the Burning Legion. Aldor-aligned players were very familiar with Ishanah, as she was instrumental in reputation gains with the Aldor and is portrayed wielding priest-favorite weapon Benediction. Let's here what you had to say about Ishanah's match.
Wolfrunner actually gave this matchup to Tae'thelan, relying on the blood elf's mastery of the arcane and knowledge of ancient relics for a spectacular win against the priestess.
Tae'thelan wandered through the broken world, the place where his Prince had turned to madness. He felt he had to come, he had to see the graveyard of the Sin'Dorei's proudest, to remember lest he fell into the same trap. There were those who said that magic was responsible for Kael's betrayal, that the arcane led its adherents only to corruption and death. But they are wrong. Does one forsake all fire because it can spread from the hearth to scorch the home? Because its warmth can turn to pain? No, just like fire, magic can be mastered, tamed, and though accidents are inevitable, the rewards are truly wonderous.Many readers pointed to Tae'thelan's trickiness and savvy to beat a mild-mannered priestess, but reader Omegan01 does his best to dispel those thoughts. Ishanah wouldn't be mild-mannered or naive in the slightest, especially after decades of fighting demons and running from the biggest evils in the universe.
Tae'thelan felt the hum of power around him, the twisted ley lines of this shattered place. He pulled the relic from his belt. A white wand of wood, carvered in graceful lettering of ancient elvish and decorated with subtle gold leaf. It was his greatest creation, a tool, but a work of art as well. His channeled his power, unleashing the magic within, the wand led him on his path. He was close.
Ishanah stepped out from behind a crumbling pillar. "No further elf, the secrets you seek must remain lost."
Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher tensed. Do they all assume him to be a fool? Can these fanatics not sense their blindness? An elf of his power, education, and intelligence, and they see fit to lecture him on the dangers of magic! Does one lecture the dwarven smith on the dangers of a forge?! "The knowledge within the tome lost here will save lives. It belongs to the Sin'dorei. Our greatest magisters put lifetimes into its creation. Surrender it."
Ishanah bowed her head as furious Light gathered around her. She struck. Tae'thelan's wards shimmered into being, the magic bindings diffusing the holy energy. He flourished his staff, gathered his power and responded.
The battle was long and harsh. Ishanah was chosen by the Light and seemed without weariness. But Tae'thelan had the arcane, with it's infinite complexity and infinite possibility. Bolstering himself with a mana crystal he bound and usurped Ishanah's own attacks, bending them against her. At last she lay still, utterly defeated, as all who denied the Sin'dorei would be.
As he floated above her he was overcome by pity. He could feel the warmth of the Light, but she would never know the wonder of the Arcane. She would never see the beauty of the Universe. Tae'thelan teleported her to her people in Shattarah, then he returned to his introspections and his everlasting search of knowledge.
"Therein lies the problem. Honourable. Opponent."I like the way you think, Omegan01, and that's why readers gave it to Ishanah.
Who says Ishanah would be an honorable opponent?
As you said yourself, this is the woman who spent upwards of four decades fighting fel-addled orcs and the demonic forces of the Legion - a foe HARDLY known for playing fair. That's more than enough time to see a lot of drity tricks and learn a few of your own. Don't forget how the Aldor expected people to show their loyalty - by going out and savaging the Legion forces, bringing back offerings taken from the bodies of the Legion's fallen.
"Is she really going to busting out her full demon-stomping, back-to-the-wall, fleeing-survivors arsenal to teach this scrappy young thing his proper place?"
Uh. Yes? Again, Ishanah and her order fought the Legion with their backs to the metaphorical wall for longer than most WoW players have been alive. These aren't people who fight conservatively - they'll hit hard and brutal, fighting tooth and nail because that's the only thing that kept them alive in the struggle against an ocean of demonic soldiers. Don't forget that it was ONLY the word of the naaru that persuaded the Aldor to let the Scryers into their precious city - and even then they refused to let the Scryers and their allies set foot inside their holy ground.
It takes a lot of cojones to tell the saviors of your race, the avatars of your holy power, that you're going to set conditions on their deal.
I don't think you're overestimating Tae'thelan, but I -do- think you're underestimating Ishanah.
Finally, Sunari commented that they really like the exhibition season so far!
Can I just say that I think this is an awesome idea! A lot of these characters deserve way more spotlight than they are getting currently. Ishanah for instance is probably the 2nd most prominent draenei after Velen and it would be cool for her to get some spotlight soon. I also think it's quite telling that 4! of the participants are blood/high elves. I really hope blizz gives these races some more room in the main story soon!Thank you, Sunari. The aim is to get some of these lesser-known or lesser-seen characters in the spotlight and clue people in to some new lore figures.
Set aside the world order -- let the WoW Insider Ring determine who's the champion! Your votes determine the outcome in WoW Insider's series of fantasy deathmatches, Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves.