Lei Shen

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For strategy on the Throne of Thunder encounter, see Lei Shen (tactics).
Not to be confused with Lei Shi.
Emperor Lei Shen
Image of Emperor Lei Shen
Title Emperor, Thunder King
Race Mogu (Humanoid)
Affiliation Mogu Empire
Occupation First Emperor of the Mogu
Location Throne of Thunder, Isle of Thunder
Status Killable
"Pandaria, her hills of gold, in dark and mournful times of old, did once a hopeless horror hold. When from her sacred vale did spring, with storm and flash, a monstrous thing, his name, Lei Shen, the Thunder King."
Lorewalker Cho

Emperor Lei Shen, also known as the Thunder King, was the first emperor of the Mogu.


Young Lei Shen was born the son of a warlord at the terrible Age of a Hundred Kings. Like his brothers, he was strong of arm and fluent in the ways of war. But unlinke others of his generation, he spoke of more than conquest. The legends of his forefathers were etched into his heart. Once Lei Shen had come of age and commanded his own legions, he announced his intent to awaken the gods. Only his most loyal of followers accompanied him where no mogu had dared tread: into the very heart of the Thundering Mountain, the sacred home of the one the mogu had called their master.[1]

It is said that he tore out the very heart of the Mogu god. And from that hateful act, he gained power over wind and storm. His followers fell to their knees before him. "We will call you 'The Lightning King'", they said. But Lei Shen did not agree. "Lightning strikes in an instant and is over in a flash," he said. "But thunder. Thunder! Thunder proclaims the coming of the storm. Thunder quakes the skies long before the lightning strikes, and thunder echoes in the hills long after lightning's power is spent. It is thunder that sends animals cowering and fills the hearts of peasants with dread. Let thunder be my hearald, so that my power is felt throughout the land. I will be... The Thunder King."[2] He declared the Thundering Mountain to be his seat of power and atop its summit he built a majestic and forbidden city.[3]

Rise to Power

Armed with the power of storms, Lei Shen, now known as the Thunder King, gathered together his followers and rose to power "the mogu way", eliminating his rivals one by one.[4] Most did not submit to his authority: the lucky ones were vaporized by lightning or trampled by his growing legions. The others were dragged of in chains until he deemed them "broken". But many mogu saw in Lei Shen the unity of purpose that had been lacking in the generations since their masters had fallen silent. They flocked around the Thunder King's banner and eagerly did his bidding as he enslaved the other races, believing - as Lei Shen did - that the "lesser" races should serve the mogu, just as the mogu had once served their masters.[5]

Reign of the Thunder King

After his rise to power, he built the Mogu'shan Vaults to contain and protect this secret, and converted the surrounding structure into a sort of shrine dedicated to the mogu empire. The complex houses many of the empire's lost artifacts and is the resting place of the spirits of old mogu kings.[4]

Emperor Lei Shen unified the language, established a single currency and standardized weight and measures.[5] He also created the first code of laws, written in the unified language. The first rule was that sedition, insurrection and rebellion be punished by public evisceration.[6] The Thunder King saw great potential in the pandaren, and for this reason he did not trust them. After he conquered the land, the pandaren were forbidden to learn to read or write. Their leaders and philosophers were executed and all pandaren art and literature was burned.[7]

When the Thunder King needed slaves to build the cities and fortresses of his empire, he marched on Kun-Lai Summit. Faced with a defiant populace, Lei Shen made a declaration: if a warrior could best him in one on one combat, he would depart and leave those lands in peace. If he won, however, the people of those lands would submit to his rule. The Thunder King's challenge was accepted by Xuen, the White Tiger, who had seen the plight of the free peoples and could bear it no more. The legendary figures fought for thirty days and thirty nights as lightning fell from the skies and the ground rumbled with their fury. In the end, Xuen fell to Lei Shen's unearthly power. "Your peasant magic is no match for my sorcery, fool of a tiger," Lei Shen bellowed. "I commend your tenacity, but your defiance must be punished." To the people of Kun-Lai, the Thunder King proclaimed: "Know this, those who would defy me shall witness the full power of my wrath! This creature shall not know the mercy of death. In these mountains we shall build a prison for him to stand upon for all of time. From this pinnacle, he shall watch and bask in his failure, as you and your children shall serve my empire as slaves."[8]

As he began to unify his people under a single banner and subjugate the other races of Pandaria, Lei Shen knew that the mantid, with all their strength, would never bow to his authority. He commanded his slaves to construct the Serpent's Spine, a magnificent wall that spanned the length of the empire. It took many generations to be build, but Lei Shen knew that fear would to motivate his subjects, the fear of the mantid moved mountains, raised armies, secured his empire, and built his wall.[9]

Every soldier of his army worn a jade badge with the symbol of a crown and crossed lightning bolts.[10] The elite warriors formed a group called the Emperor's Shield.[11]

Lei Shen concluded an alliance with the Zandalar tribe who helped them during the Zandalari Troll Wars, when the pandaren fought to free themselves. The mogu have since been scattered and sparse in number for many years.


The Tomb of Emperor Lei Shen.

Lei Shen eventually died of old age.[12]

According to a Pandaren legend, told by Loh-Ki, Lei Shen died after a great battle in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, in which the mogu armies were overcome by brave monks. In his final moments, Lei Shen summoned an otherwordly storm that blanketed the vale for several days. The storm washed the blood of the fallen into Whitepetal Lake, which burned crimson and gave rise to Alani the Stormborn.[13] Loh-Ki's story cannot be entirely accurate, as other Mogu emperors were known to have ruled after Lei Shen but before the Pandaren revolution.


Recently, the Zandalari along with the allied troll tribes rekindled with the mogu and found Emperor Lei Shen's body buried inside the Tomb of Conquerors in Valley of Emperors along with his army. The trolls have taken the body to the Isle of Reckoning and the Thunder King was resurrected by Prophet Khar'zul.

Throne of Thunder

In patch 5.2.0, Emperor Lei Shen, the Thunder King, returned to his island stronghold and prepared to unite his armies to wreak his vengeance on Pandaria. In his preparation, he gathered most of the Mogu clans in Pandaria and the Zandalari to his throne to form a ruthless army capable of crushing Pandaria. Lei Shen's assault begins now, and he has sworn anyone in between him and the conquest of Pandaria will perish.

It falls to the heroes of the Alliance and the Horde to stop the newly resurrected tyrant and his Zandalari allies in the massive new raid: Throne of Thunder.

Wrathion wanted to know how and why the mogu came to be. He has asked adventurers to kill the Thunder King, take his heart, and bring it to him so he may examine the secrets within. After which, Wrathion eats the heart to prevent Lei Shen from ever being resurrected again.


Emperor Lei Shen wore a spear, an axe and a helm into every battle. His helm became so well-known that his enemies would flee at the mere sight of it, and his spear murdered thousands of innocents. It is said that he could throw his axe with brutal accuracy, and when it hit its target it made a sound like crashing thunder. When the emperor died, the mogu placed his helm in the very bottom of the Guo-Lai Halls, surrounded by thousands of terracotta soldiers. Thus, they could look upon their leader and follow him into death.[14][15][16]


  • Lei Shen (雷神, Léishén) is a Chinese Taoist deity whose name means "Thunder God."
  • Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, seemingly inspired Lei Shen. He united the empire, unified the language, defined the laws, established a single currency and standardized weight and measurements. He outlawed books and killed scholars to ensure the stability of his reign. He also commissioned the Great Wall of China to protect his empire against intrusions.

Patch changes



Preceded by:
Emperor of the Mogu
Succeeded by:
Emperor Dojan