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Old 07-11-2016, 10:03 PM
Frostwolf Frostwolf is offline

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Undead Icon (War3) Sylvanas Windrunner's Military History and Her Qualifications for Warchief

You know, I've been browsing the Story Forums a bit lately (fucking kill me) and I've come across this oft-toted bit regarding Sylvanas.

When the question of "why was Sylvanas made Warchief" arises, I'm noticing this one particular argument put forth.

"She is the most experienced Horde character in war, thus the most qualified to be Warchief."

So I gave this a little bit of thought. Sylvanas certainly does have a long military history compared to most mortals in Warcraft, but is she truly the most qualified person in the Horde to be Warchief? Discounting whatever Vol'jin may or may not "see" in her, disregarding any sort of "hidden potential" she might have, is she the most qualified character to be Warchief based purely on her military history? Well, let's see.
  • Prior to the Second War, her only experience was relegated to fighting random forest troll raids. Nothing major.

  • During the Second War, she had a very substantial amount of aid rendered to her people by the Alliance during the combined invasion of the Horde/forest trolls. She didn't march south with the Alliance afterwards and instead continued to remain in Quel'Thalas. That is the extent of her experience during the Second War.

  • After that, she has her first real test as Ranger-General: the Scourge invasion. The Scourge's invasion of QT is the first large-scale conflict in which Sylvanas has absolutely no outside forces to count upon. With full command over the armies of Silvermoon, Sylvanas is defeated by Arthas and his undead Scourge.

  • Afterwards, she stands by as a banshee and witnesses a lot of bad things. She kills a lot of peasants and some paladins with Arthas and Kel'Thuzad. The LK's grip over her disappears and she gets her body back. With her body, she raises a small army of undead and banshee-possessed living creatures and defeats an opposing force of undead lead by Varimathras. (Pretty good victory for her considering her record by this point, imo.)

  • With the aid and assistance of Varimathras, Sylvanas defeats Detheroc. Later and with the aid and assistance of outside forces (Varimathras, Garithos, etc.) Sylvanas manages to take Capital City and defeat Balnazzar's forces.

  • Skip forward to WoW, her next notable engagement is attacking a camp of Scarlet Crusaders with Varimathras. Not even worth mentioning.

  • After that, her next engagement is the Battle for the Undercity. Under Thrall's command, Sylvanas helps the Horde retake the Undercity. Not really worth mentioning, because she wasn't in command, but whatever.

  • Then there's Icecrown Citadel, where she runs from the LK for an entire dungeon. (Again, not really worth mentioning. I only do so because I know someone will post saying that I forgot to mention X, Y, or Z.)

  • Following the fall of the LK, Sylvanas leads the invasion of Gilneas. This is her third (technically fourth, if you count the Second War) REAL campaign. Unfortunately for Sylvanas, Gilneas is NOT an impressive victory. Really, it's hard to even call it a victory. It's such a spectacular failure. She had to resort to chemical warfare just to get a leg up on the Gilneans. Her forces were being slaughtered by the worgen/Alliance and even direct aid from Orgrimmar on two separate occasions (in Gilneas and again in Silverpine) was STILL not enough for her to truly turn the tide. Sylvanas had to kidnap Crowley's daughter to get the Gilneans to actually give up. Sylvanas Winderunner's invasion of Gilneas actually resulted in Silverpine Forest being invaded. The worgen were able to push right up to the borders of Tirisfal and there were worgen agents infiltrating Brill. Sylvanas showed us that she has a hard time adapting to an opponent that fights dirty like her, surprised when the worgen do something "not typical of an Alliance force" or whatever. Gilneas is her second-biggest fuck up, right after Quel'Thalas.

  • She helps in the Siege of Orgrimmar.

So, taking all of her military history into account, there's only a few instances truly worth examining: the Second War, the Third War and its immediate aftermath, and Gilneas. Her accomplishments in the Second War are pretty much nil. Seeing how well she fared in the Third War and again in Gilneas... I don't think it's far-fetched to assume that without Alliance assistance, Quel'Thalas would have fallen to the Horde and its forest troll allies.

Then there's the Third War. With sole command over Silvermoon's armies and no outside forces to rely upon, Sylvanas got stomped by the Scourge. It was not even a contest. She failed miserably.

Now, only as an undead warlord uniting the newly-freed masses of Lordaeron does Sylvanas actually seem to be a competent commander and leader. In truth, her only impressive victory during this time is the one over Varimathras. (Technically, even her victory over Varimathras is only because she possessed some bandits, ogres, gnolls, and murlocs. All outside forces.) All her other victories are due to outside aid/assistance/etc. However, I will say this: it could be luck or it could be extremely strong diplomacy and extremely favorable circumstances, regardless of what it is... Sylvanas managed to get results.

Now, Gilneas. I already explained in-depth why Gilneas is more of a failure than anything else. Even with air and ground support from Orgrimmar, WMD's, chemical warfare, etc. her invasion of Gilneas backfires so badly that Silverpine gets penetrated to the borders of Tirisfal. The worgen manage to fuck Sylvanas up so badly that their forward troops can actually see Undercity.

So, in closing, what Sylvanas has shown us time and time again is that she is capable of being resourceful SOMETIMES. She can take advantage of outside parties and use them to help her secure victory. She's crafty SOMETIMES. HOWEVER... she's also shown us that when she's put in charge of an army, she's [/b]incredibly mediocre.[/b] The biggest campaigns of her career (barring her creation of the Forsaken, which is loaded with very key assistance from outside forces) are riddled with absolutely stunning defeats and tremendously Pyrrhic victories.

Is she TRULY the most qualified candidate for Warchief? In my honest opinion: hell no. She's shown she can't even defend her own turf (Quel'Thalas, Silverpine, etc.) and has a very hard time adapting to an enemy that's willing to fight just as dirty as she is. She's shown that she can't win a single battle without outside assistance/aid. Why people think she's some sort of stunning tactician is beyond me. She routinely gets her ass handed to her.

Good fighter. Bad general.

Last edited by Frostwolf; 07-11-2016 at 10:10 PM..
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:26 AM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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Well, lets see.

I'll cede WC2 because there isnt anything to discuss really. I'd say that its kinda silly adding it when she was retconned as ranger general of QT after warcraft 2 without it ever getting properly adapted but w.e.

Holding the Scourge invasion against her is silly however. WC3 Scourge steamrolled everyone (and we were never given a proper explanation to why did they stop in Kalimdor after Archis death afaik). To top it off, Golden made the invasion last like, hours. In RotLK Sylvanas wasnt in defend mode, she was evacuating and delaying so Silvermoon could activate the Ban'dinoriel.

I dont understand why you hold the posessions and everything post Varimathras as a minus. The first shows she uses her troops accordingly to their talents and she was still in charge. Both the Detheroc Citadel and Capital City battle plans were hers as the cinematic show

During WoW yeah nothing worth. I believe the canon version was that both her and Jaina fought off Arthas but idk (even then that has nothing to do with government and strategy skills)

She didnt "resort" to the Plague. The Plague she spent 4-7 years making id supposed to be a big part of the Forsaken war machine which is why the Forsaken use it everywhere since Cata.

-------------------------

Ultimately even if everyone accepted your post as absolutely correct, then what makes THE OTHER leaders more fit than her?

Voljin only achievement was retaking echo islands after 8 years of Thrallcare. During SoO TYRANDE had to bail him out

Lorthemar rebuilt a chunk of Silvermoon....with Sylvanas help. He also has ToT.

Gallywix? Baine? Lol.

I literally dont even remember the orc guy.
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:54 AM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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Admittedly it's hard to really count the Third War as a strike against her; she did at least manage to be a huge pain in Arthas' ass, which was more than any of his other enemies at the time could actually claim.

Otherwise though, her record as a Ranger-General in life is rather inherently tied to the fact that Quel'thalas itself historically never won any real full-blown wars without needing to be bailed out by the humans. Which kinda makes sense. The Farstriders and Magisters were good at beating down occasional troll warbands, but as soon as the Zandalari galvanized the Amani into a proper army and mounted a real invasion, Silvermoon's ranger-operated military tradition didn't seem to hold up very well.

Which honestly makes it little surprise that the orcs and Scourge steamrolled them, as there's no real evidence that Silvermoon's ever invested in massed infantry warfare like the humans and dwarves have. The Thalassian army's basically run by the rangers, i.e. the Farstriders, who are all about mobility and hit-and-run tactics. Unfortunately you can't beat a truly huge enemy force in the field that has momentum on its side and doesn't care about peripheral casualties by picking at their edges; you need your own large-scale deployment to halt such an advance, which isn't something the quel'dorei ever really seemed to possess, with or without Sylvanas in command.
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:20 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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To be absolutely fair (as much as I dislike Sylvanas), saying that she won the Civil War in Tirisfal thanks to outside assistance is a really silly argument. Of course she did, no general wins battles single-handedly, they command and rely on their troops/subordinates. What is important there is not if she had powerful subordinates, but if others led her forces for her. And they clearly did not.

First mission; Sylvanas rapes Varimathras with only a few banshees and ghouls.

Second mission; All Varimathras provides is a little intelligence and a suggestion to flee. No strategy whatsoever. It is Sylvanas who commands and formulates the strategy.

Third mission; The same as before.Varimathras provides only a little intelligence, Garithos provides nothing but; as long as we get our capital back, I will stick to whatever strategy you wish. They do not really even advise her, they just act as her mad dogs.

All that the Civil War proves is that Sylvanas is indeed a competent and resourceful commander, able to exploit anything at her disposal to defeat a far more powerful opponent. Now, there is still Gilneas and such, but even competent commanders can have their blunders.

Last edited by Marthen; 07-12-2016 at 04:24 AM..
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:23 AM
Lord Grimtale Lord Grimtale is offline

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Don't forget to mention her loss in Stormheim. In her own words, she underestimated Greymane and it cost her and the Forsaken dearly.
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Old 07-12-2016, 02:22 AM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Don't forget that she's a bad judge of character leading her to be betrayed by her underlings not once, not twice, but thrice.
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Old 07-12-2016, 03:52 AM
SmokeBlader SmokeBlader is offline

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Originally Posted by GenyaArikado View Post
Lorthemar rebuilt a chunk of Silvermoon....with Sylvanas help. He also has ToT.
So it's either Sylvie or Lorthemar.
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:14 AM
Drusus Drusus is offline

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Originally Posted by GenyaArikado View Post
Lorthemar rebuilt a chunk of Silvermoon....with Sylvanas help. He also has ToT.
Didn't the Magisters do that overnight? The Forsaken mostly kept the Ghostlands in check.
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:44 AM
Royalpimp Royalpimp is offline

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Didn't the Magisters do that overnight? The Forsaken mostly kept the Ghostlands in check.
Yup.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:04 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Call me old fashioned, but I hold the opinion that no one should be warchief if their military career includes serving the Alliance against the Horde during a major war. My apologies to most Forsaken and Blood Elves.

Imagine electing a president/prime minister who's a military veteran that fought against you're country a few decades ago.

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 07-12-2016 at 08:08 AM..
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:08 AM
SmokeBlader SmokeBlader is offline

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Call me old school, but I hold the opinion that no one should be warchief if their military career includes serving the Alliance against the Horde during a major war. My apologies to most Forsaken and Blood Elves.
Implying the old Horde wasn't lead by a backstabbing genocidal warlord.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:10 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Implying the old Horde wasn't lead by a backstabbing genocidal warlord.
You mean the guy Orgrimmar is named for?

EDIT: But on a more personal level, haven't we seen repeatedly that Sylvanas has no real value for the Horde as a whole?

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Old 07-12-2016, 08:24 AM
Funk, the Bard Funk, the Bard is offline

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You give too much credit to fight alone, fighting alone isn't worth anything if you lose. As a general the more unorthodox the better. Haven't you heard ''In love and war, everything is valid''? Is like saying Varok is a bad leader because the Might of Kalimdor was a joint effort. Sylvanas persona was about being cunning, and making convenient allegiances to destroy her actual enemy (usually bigger than her). You should have mentioned that Sylvanas defeated Varimathras after controlling ogres, bandits, gnolls and whatever she could grab. Her willingness to win no matter what (even siding with Humans! for god sake, nobody gets the significance of that) is what makes her a good warchief.

Garrosh, was her opposite. He was a racist (Sylvanas too, but she is also pragmatic) and didn't accept what he considered lesser races. Sylvanas has proved time after time that she can work with others even if that means opposing to her beliefs and her pride. I can say for sure, that this pragmatic diplomacy aspect of hers makes her a better leader in the Commonwealth that is the Horde than Garrosh and Baine.

Also, while Gilneas was a disaster, she took Southshore AND Andorhal. That means she was fighting in 3 fronts and went more than even in 2. Pretty impressive considering Gilneas (with alliance) had their efforts concentrated in only one place.

At the end, you're trying to say that Sylvanas is a good general when she has outsides forces to count upon, right? Well, then more support to her being Warchief.

Last edited by Funk, the Bard; 07-12-2016 at 08:26 AM..
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:30 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Originally Posted by Funk, the Bard View Post
You give too much credit to fight alone, fighting alone isn't worth anything if you lose. As a general the more unorthodox the better. Haven't you heard ''In love and war, everything is valid''? Is like saying Varok is a bad leader because the Might of Kalimdor was a joint effort. Sylvanas persona was about being cunning, and making convenient allegiances to destroy her actual enemy (usually bigger than her). You should have mentioned that Sylvanas defeated Varimathras after controlling ogres, bandits, gnolls and whatever she could grab. Her willingness to win no matter what (even siding with Humans! for god sake, nobody gets the significance of that) is what makes her a good warchief.

Garrosh, was her opposite. He was a racist (Sylvanas too, but she is also pragmatic) and didn't accept what he considered lesser races. Sylvanas has proved time after time that she can work with others even if that means opposing to her beliefs and her pride. I can say for sure, that this pragmatic diplomacy aspect of hers makes her a better leader in the Commonwealth that is the Horde than Garrosh and Baine.

Also, while Gilneas was a disaster, she took Southshore AND Andorhal. That means she was fighting in 3 fronts and went more than even in 2. Pretty impressive considering Gilneas (with alliance) had their efforts concentrated in only one place.

At the end, you're trying to say that Sylvanas is a good general when she has outsides forces to count upon, right? Well, then more support to her being Warchief.
It sounds like a warchief who's just like Garrosh, only she sometimes wins because she's not stupid.

I guess that's what this thread is about.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:07 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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You all seem to be forgetting the Forsaken campaign in Northrend, which was most certainly orchestrated by her.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:20 AM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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So it's either Sylvie or Lorthemar.
Yeah, this is the part where you get meta and consider stuff like her popularity, her aesthetics clashing less with the rest of the horde, etc.

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Don't forget that she's a bad judge of character leading her to be betrayed by her underlings not once, not twice, but thrice.
i believe the right way to say its "three times" nazja XD.

1.Varimathras/Nathanos
2.That undead gilnean lord guy

who else?

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Didn't the Magisters do that overnight? The Forsaken mostly kept the Ghostlands in check.
My bad then.

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
You mean the guy Orgrimmar is named for?

EDIT: But on a more personal level, haven't we seen repeatedly that Sylvanas has no real value for the Horde as a whole?
Iirc at the end of Edge of Night she calls the Forsaken a 'resource" she has to "carefully manage and account" or in other words she doesnt give a shit about them but she needs to be a good ruler for her own sake (she basically realized what most dictators fail to do). I assume this view now expands to the whole Horde

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Old 07-12-2016, 09:25 AM
Frostwolf Frostwolf is offline

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Originally Posted by ARM3481 View Post
Admittedly it's hard to really count the Third War as a strike against her; she did at least manage to be a huge pain in Arthas' ass, which was more than any of his other enemies at the time could actually claim.
I definitely agree that it's hard to count it against her (it's an undead army, after all) but it's important to criticize because it sets a precedent. Silverpine, for example, where she is on the defensive and getting her ass whooped.

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To be absolutely fair (as much as I dislike Sylvanas), saying that she won the Civil War in Tirisfal thanks to outside assistance is a really silly argument. Of course she did, no general wins battles single-handedly, they command and rely on their troops/subordinates. What is important there is not if she had powerful subordinates, but if others led her forces for her. And they clearly did not.

First mission; Sylvanas rapes Varimathras with only a few banshees and ghouls.

Second mission; All Varimathras provides is a little intelligence and a suggestion to flee. No strategy whatsoever. It is Sylvanas who commands and formulates the strategy.

Third mission; The same as before.Varimathras provides only a little intelligence, Garithos provides nothing but; as long as we get our capital back, I will stick to whatever strategy you wish. They do not really even advise her, they just act as her mad dogs.

All that the Civil War proves is that Sylvanas is indeed a competent and resourceful commander, able to exploit anything at her disposal to defeat a far more powerful opponent. Now, there is still Gilneas and such, but even competent commanders can have their blunders.
I don't think it's silly. I've said in my post that she's capable of being resourceful. That's good. Even if she can't win a battle on her own, she can manipulate outside parties into helping her through whatever means available.

But purely as a commander of her own forces? Every time, EVERY TIME, she gets completely owned. She's always needing someone to bail her out and she's always misjudging her opponents and being caught off guard. Warcraft 3: TFT was her first and last shining moment of brilliance. Since then, it's been a trainwreck.

You say even competent commanders can have their blunders, but Sylvanas has way too many for a "competent" commander.

That's why she doesn't deserve to be Warchief. She'll have sole command over the entire Horde. Every time Sylvanas has the complete command over some force, she fails. The Undead Civil War was the exception, not the rule.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:35 AM
Lord Grimtale Lord Grimtale is offline

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Originally Posted by Frostwolf View Post
I definitely agree that it's hard to count it against her (it's an undead army, after all) but it's important to criticize because it sets a precedent. Silverpine, for example, where she is on the defensive and getting her ass whooped.



I don't think it's silly. I've said in my post that she's capable of being resourceful. That's good. Even if she can't win a battle on her own, she can manipulate outside parties into helping her through whatever means available.

But purely as a commander of her own forces? Every time, EVERY TIME, she gets completely owned. She's always needing someone to bail her out and she's always misjudging her opponents and being caught off guard. Warcraft 3: TFT was her first and last shining moment of brilliance. Since then, it's been a trainwreck.

You say even competent commanders can have their blunders, but Sylvanas has way too many for a "competent" commander.

That's why she doesn't deserve to be Warchief. She'll have sole command over the entire Horde. Every time Sylvanas has the complete command over some force, she fails. The Undead Civil War was the exception, not the rule.
Did you ever read that one thread on the SF where someone brought up basically the same points that you did and was called an internal misogynist for it? (It was some Orc DK poster that was highly critical of the idea of Sylvanas becoming Warchief, and he was basically ran out of the forums.)
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:40 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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I don't think it's silly. I've said in my post that she's capable of being resourceful. That's good. Even if she can't win a battle on her own, she can manipulate outside parties into helping her through whatever means available.
But she can. That was the very point of my post. She was the sole strategic commander in the Civil War (Garithos and Varimathras gave little to no input) and she has won.

But I don't really disagree on the rest of the points you make, so let's just agree to disagree on this small particular thing and be done with it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:41 AM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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She won in Southshore, won in Andorhal, managed to (in the end) not-lose in Gilneas (and came out better than the Gilneas considering they had to flee THEIR fucking country) and turned Stromgarde into an undead nation (even if they're independant). Again, what do the other 5 have?

The only place where she truly lost was Stormheim and it was a setback at worse since Eyir still lives. She says it costed the Forsaken dearly but we dont know if it's in the military way or in the "we missed a perfect chance" way (although her inmediate comment about Eyir still living and going to hunt her seems to imply its the later)

Last edited by GenyaArikado; 07-12-2016 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:48 AM
Frostwolf Frostwolf is offline

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Originally Posted by Lord Grimtale View Post
Did you ever read that one thread on the SF where someone brought up basically the same points that you did and was called an internal misogynist for it? (It was some Orc DK poster that was highly critical of the idea of Sylvanas becoming Warchief, and he was basically ran out of the forums.)
Afraid I wasn't. Just started browsing the Story Forum like maybe a month ago after not having read the place regularly for years. That sounds rofl as shit, though. Would it be possible to get a link? You can PM it to me, if you want. Or post it here. Whatever suits you.

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But she can. That was the very point of my post. She was the sole strategic commander in the Civil War (Garithos and Varimathras gave little to no input) and she has won.

But I don't really disagree on the rest of the points you make, so let's just agree to disagree on this small particular thing and be done with it.
Alright.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:07 AM
Funk, the Bard Funk, the Bard is offline

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Also you can't blame Gilneas on Sylvanas tactical awareness because the biggest decision (and where you see if they are intelligent or not) any general can take is to initiate a war or not. Garrosh FORCED her to. If she didn't want to invade Gilneas, her 'defeat' (because she didn't lose anything relevant) is the fault of the dork that ordered it in the first place.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:19 AM
Lord Grimtale Lord Grimtale is offline

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Originally Posted by Funk, the Bard View Post
Also you can't blame Gilneas on Sylvanas tactical awareness because the biggest decision (and where you see if they are intelligent or not) any general can take is to initiate a war or not. Garrosh FORCED her to. If she didn't want to invade Gilneas, her 'defeat' (because she didn't lose anything relevant) is the fault of the dork that ordered it in the first place.
I don't see any sources that would lead one to believe she wouldn't have invaded it anyway, other than people's headcanon that she's too overprotective of her own life to wage a war on another nation. The Forsaken's motivation during Cataclysm was total control over most of northern Lordaeron in order to feel more secure in their holdings.

They even tried to make an attempt at grabbing Hinterlands, but I don't remember if that was ever explicitly ordered by Garrosh.

In all fairness, my recent DK chapter notes mention that Sylvanas was a brilliant tactician when going toe-to-toe against Arthas' invasion of Quel'thalas.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:29 AM
Funk, the Bard Funk, the Bard is offline

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Originally Posted by Lord Grimtale View Post
I don't see any sources that would lead one to believe she wouldn't have invaded it anyway, other than people's headcanon that she's too overprotective of her own life to wage a war on another nation. The Forsaken's motivation during Cataclysm was total control over most of northern Lordaeron in order to feel more secure in their holdings.

They even tried to make an attempt at grabbing Hinterlands, but I don't remember if that was ever explicitly ordered by Garrosh.

In all fairness, my recent DK chapter notes mention that Sylvanas was a brilliant tactician when going toe-to-toe against Arthas' invasion of Quel'thalas.
Gilneas wasn't included in their securing of North Lordaeron and it was directly ordered by Garrosh.

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Old 07-12-2016, 10:32 AM
Galdus Galdus is offline

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Sylvanas is as qualified to command troops from seperate Horde nations and lord over those nations as Varian is to command troops from separate Alliance nations and lord over those nations.

Last edited by Galdus; 07-12-2016 at 10:35 AM..
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