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Spoiler alert: The following text contains spoilers relating to the story of Guild Wars 2.

The undead dragon at the heart of the cursed land of Orr. Larger than you can imagine, ceaselessly hungry, it is death beyond compare.


Zhaitan is the Elder Dragon of Death and Shadow who raised Orr. The name is known to the races of Tyria primarily via dwarven legends and, to the Durmand Priory, from the Scroll of the Five True Gods.

Like the other Elder Dragons, Zhaitan is a creature of ancient times and little is known of its origins, though the Durmand Priory believe it last awoke around the time the Giganticus Lupicus were wiped out. It feeds on magical energy to survive, using Mouths of Zhaitan to consume magical artifacts throughout Orr, while its most powerful servants, the Eyes of Zhaitan, bear their master's vision and carry out its will. Zhaitan's minions are known as the Risen.


Early years[edit]

Zhaitan, like the other Elder Dragons, is thought to have last awakened 10,000 years ago, around the time of the disappearance of the Giganticus Lupicus, and then fallen back into slumber from consuming all life they could find. Some time during the last known dragonrise, the mursaat and the Forgotten joined forces and assaulted Zhaitan, only to fail miserably as the Elder Dragon proved to be too powerful an adversary for them to defeat without the assistance of other races of the time.

For more than a millennium, Zhaitan rested beneath the land that would become the Kingdom of Orr once humanity, which the Six Human Gods had brought to Tyria, had populated it. When the gods revoked the gift of magic back into the Bloodstone to split it into the familiar four schools in 1 BE, they tapped into the dormant Elder Dragon's energy and increased the power of magic in doing so, not knowing of Zhaitan's existence.[2]

Sea of Sorrows[edit]

In 1219 AE, Zhaitan awoke and brought the lost nation of Orr, which had previously been destroyed by the Cataclysm, to the surface. Cobiah Marriner had seen the rising of Orr, seeing thousands of swarming Risen on the rising lands over a tidal wave later called the Great Tsunami.

The Great Tsunami drowned thousands, sank hundreds of ships, flooded Lion's Arch and the Battle Isles, and dramatically reshaped the coastline of the Sea of Sorrows. Corsairs who took refuge docked in the shattered peninsula were wiped out, and in its place there came an undead navy of Dead Ships, manned by the Risen servants of Zhaitan. The black-sailed ships swept across the Strait of Malchor towards the Ring of Fire and the southern Sea of Sorrows, blocking sea access to Cantha and Elona, and beginning an age of isolation for Tyria.

Afterwards, the Elder Dragon sent Captain Whiting on the Indomitable to lead his Risen forces to decimate the most populated ports along the Sea of Sorrows, starting with Port Stalwart in 1229 AE, and attacking Lion's Arch in 1256 AE which ultimately failed with the death of Whiting. Sometime afterwards, Zhaitan's forces had decimated Port Noble.

Most of the time until recent years, Zhaitan had focused sending its forces along the eastern shores of the Sea of Sorrows, only recently sending Risen to the Tarnished Coast. In the height of its reign, the dragon's domain reached from the Ring of Fire islands to the northern borders of Elona, to the pockets along the northern shores of the Sea of Sorrows.

Personal story[edit]

In 1325 AE, Zhaitan's lieutenants were seen leading Risen forces that advanced deeper into Tyria although each of the excursions were ended eventually. Despite these warning signs of increased dragon minion activity the scouting and raids were seen as isolated incidents, and Zhaitan was viewed as only a distant threat by most Tyrians.

After sending its Risen to scout vulnerable areas, Zhaitan's dragon champion Blightghast the Plaguebringer launched a surprise attack on Claw Island, defeating the Lionguard stationed there and readying an invasion on Lion's Arch itself. The Risen pressed on, attacking the headquarters of Tyria's three major orders of the Durmand Priory, the Order of Whispers and the Vigil, but were pushed back.

With the Elder Dragon having proven itself a dangerous adversary and poised to rip out the heart of Tyria, the bickering orders pooled their collective resources and formed the Pact to retake Claw Island. The combined forces of the Pact, under the leadership of the sylvari Firstborn Trahearne, managed to defeat Blightghast and launch a counter-offensive into the Steamspur Mountains. The Pact eventually pushed into Orr where it systematically cut off Zhaitan's supply lines and thinned the dragon's troops, disposed of the Risen lieutenants and cleansed the Artesian Waters which were the Elder Dragon's major source of magical sustenance. The campaign eventually opened the pathway to Arah, the Fallen City of the Gods, where Zhaitan itself roosted.

The Pact airship The Glory of Tyria, incorporating engineering secrets of every race and crewed by the reunited Destiny's Edge and the Pact Commander, engaged the weakened Zhaitan in a battle above the skies of Arah and crippled it using the ship's MEGA-LIT cannon. As Zhaitan made its final stand, The Glory of Tyria bombarded it with special anti-Elder Dragon armed cannons which had been built using the research of Professor Gorr and several other knowledgeable individuals. The Elder Dragon fell to its demise, crashing on the eastern edge of the City of the Gods.


The magic released from Zhaitan's death dispersed around the world, empowering remaining Elder Dragons and even Zhaitan's surviving champions like Tequatl the Sunless. The Durmand Priory acquired Zhaitan's severed tail and took it to the Special Collections where it would be studied to find ways to combat the Elder Dragons.

Since Zhaitan's defeat, the corruption of Orr began to reverse slowly. The Risen forces thinned but remained a threat, becoming known as Unchained as years passed and their strongest leaders were slain. While many of these Unchained became lost after the Elder Dragon's and its lieutenants' grip over them vanished, some continued fighting in their fallen master's name. Sylvari traveled to Siren's Landing in Orr to study the Unchained in hopes of reverting Zhaitan's lingering corruption, or, failing that, trying to redeem the dragon minions via other means. Even after its demise, Zhaitan's legacy would be felt for years to come.



Zhaitan's appearance is decayed and tattered, befitting of undeath. Its roughly dragon-shaped silhouette is formed by a twisting mass that branches into two major pairs of wings, flanked by secondary pairs attached to multiple slender tails that form its lower body. The lower jaw of its draconic head is replaced by a nest of small dragon-headed necks, and a sickly green light glows through its eyes and mouth.

For an elder dragon, Zhaitan is comparatively small. Its model is roughly four times longer than a dragon champion and is rivaled in mass by The Glory of Tyria, the airship that took it down. Compare this to Kralkatorrik, whose head alone dwarfs The Shatterer.


During the Pact’s campaign of Orr, the Pact targeted key specialized minions in Zhaitan’s army: the Eye of Zhaitan and the Mouth of Zhaitan. The Eye allowed Zhaitan to see far from his perch in Arah and the Mouth was able to consume magical artifacts to feed the dragon. When an Eye was killed, Zhaitan would be temporary blinded. When a mouth was killed, Zhaitan would go hungry and would be weakened. Zhaitan’s weakness was his over-reliance on these specialized minions, that would disrupt and weaken the dragon when killed.[3]


Historical location[edit]

Ruins of Orr

Story involvement[edit]

Personal story[edit]

Path of Fire story[edit]

Combat abilities[edit]

  • Raise Undead - Large AoE that deals high damage and spawns a random Risen.
  • Poison Cloud - A powerful well that pulses major damage per second. (Phase 1 only)
  • Putrid Explosion - A small pulsing explosion. Deals rapid low damage. Applies Poison.png Poison. (Phase 2 only)
  • Spray Poison - A ranged attack that Knockback.png Knockbacks. (Phase 2 only)
  • Summon Tendrils [verification requested] - Summons numerous Tendrils of Zhaitan and Undead Tendrils. (Phase 2 only)


Size comparisons
Concept art


  • The name "Zhaitan" is very similar to "Shaitan," the Islamic version of Satan.
  • Zhaitan was designed by Kekai Kotaki, and modeled by Katy Hargrove. The model's design was so complex that it had to be animated in several stages.[4]
  • Zhaitan is approx. 506 metres long (1660 feet) and its wingspan can reach up to 570 metres (1870 feet). (measured by original model, ripped from GW2.dat)
  • Zhaitan's tail can be seen in the Durmand Priory's Special Collections library.
  • Zhaitan's body can be seen in the Ruined City of Arah Story dungeon by breaking out of the intended explorable map.

See also[edit]

Associated items


  1. ^ Dialogue in Black Night, White Stag; The Knight's Duel; Beneath a Cold Moon; and The Heart of Nightmare
  2. ^ Randall Greyston's dialogue from The Ruined City of Arah explorable mode's Seer path suggests that the gods were not aware of Zhaitan's existence while sundering the Bloodstone in Arah. However, Ogden Stonehealer and Magister Ela Makkay mention in Hidden Arcana that the Scroll of the Five True Gods, which lists the Elder Dragons' names and spheres of influence, was written when the first humans walked Tyria, suggesting that the gods must have known about the Elder Dragons to some extent before the sundering.
  3. ^ Post by Andrew Gray in "Zhaitan's Weakness", Guild Wars 2 Forums
  4. ^ Inside the Collector's Edition — Making of Guild Wars 2 Book, Arenanet.com (Archived)