16 Bosses in Diablo 3 and the Story Behind Them

Archangel Tyrael is among the allies you'll have in your fight against the greatest threats from Hell.
Sixteen bosses await your challenge in Diablo III. Do you have what it takes to defeat them all?

16 Bosses in Diablo 3 and the Story Behind Them

Brushing a curtain of spider webs aside, you finally enter the decrepit throne room. Reaching into your satchel, you brandish a crown, and place it on the armored skeleton that is slumped in front of you. Mists gather and swirl around the crown as the bones of the cursed king slowly reanimate. You have awakened the Skeleton King, Leoric, and his eyes glow wildly as his gaze fixes upon you…

In Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III, there is plenty of evil blood to spill. And the reward for doing so is one of many boss encounters in the game. Some bosses are brand new to the series, while others are making encore appearances. In this article, we will discuss some of the lore behind each of the bosses. Beware though: if you haven’t completed the campaign, there are major spoilers ahead.

1. Leoric, the Skeleton King

The hollowed visage of the Skeleton King is a haunting memento of your encounter in Diablo III.

Leoric is arguably the most storied boss in the Diablo series, aside from Diablo himself. Leoric established a castle in the town of Tristram, near a monastery that contained the soulstone of Diablo. Because of his immense power, Diablo was able to invade Leoric’s dreams and attempt to possess him. Although Leoric resisted, he was driven mad by the Lord of Terror, who moved on to corrupt Leoric’s archbishop, Lazarus instead.

Through Lazarus, Diablo was able to convince Leoric that the nearby kingdom of Westmarch and the citizens of Tristram were plotting to overthrow him. Leoric waged war upon Westmarch and executed many of his advisors and subjects. Eventually Lachdanan, the knight most loyal to the corrupted king, killed Leoric and his body was placed in the monastery. But Diablo’s influence was powerful enough to resurrect the corpse, turning it into an undead minion.

Although unable to leave his tomb, Leoric, or the Skeleton King, as he came to be known, would slay adventurers who ventured into the monastery until he was killed by the hero who would eventually defeat Diablo. Much time has passed since the undead husk of Leoric was defeated, but it is rumored in New Tristram that the Skeleton King is once again being resurrected to serve evil’s purpose.

Boss Fights - King Leoric

2. Araneae, the Spider Queen

Araneae, the Spider Queen awaits adventurers seeking the former manor of King Leoric in Act I.

Araneae is a product of the era of King Leoric’s madness. His archbishop, Lazarus, magically bound a group of arachnids and placed them inside a cave separating the town of Tristram from Leoric’s manor at the King’s request, in order to protect the King from what he called “the traitorous rabble in Tristram”.

During this time, many of Leoric’s servants disappeared; presumably fed to the spiders within the cave. The largest member of the bound arachnids is the Spider Queen, Araneae.

Boss Fights - Queen Araneae 

3. The Butcher

Many an unfortunate victim has been slain and subsequently carved into demon fodder by The Butcher.

“Ahhh… fresh meat!” These words are familiar to veterans of the Diablo franchise who have dared to adventure against the Lord of Terror. They are spoken by The Butcher; a hideous brute who acts as the hand of evil by slaughtering all who oppose his master. He is the first boss encountered by the hero in the series and the final boss of Act I in Diablo III. The Butcher was resurrected by Maghda and the Coven to assist them in locating the sword of Tyrael.


4. Maghda

Maghda, a winged witch, follows the hero throughout Acts I and II like a pesky mosquito asking to be swatted.

Maghda is the leader of the Coven, a group of cultists who have aligned with Belial, the Lord Lies. Appearing to be more of an annoyance than a threat, her key attribute is her ability to manipulate others. Unfortunately, this doesn’t become apparent until she has enacted her plan, which results in one of the more shocking (and controversial) moments in the Diablo storyline. The player is given the opportunity for some well-deserved revenge early in Act II.


5. Zoltun Kulle

Once the most powerful of the Horadrim, Zoltun Kulle was able to discover the secret to immortality.

A founding member of the Horadrim, Zoltun Kulle became enchanted by the organization’s hunt for the Prime Evils. He began crafting a forbidden artifact called the Black Soulstone that would be able to imprison all of the Lords of Hell. Before he could complete it, the Horadrim learned of his experiment and decided they must stop Kulle.

When they tried to kill Kulle, the Horadrim learned that he had figured out the secret to immortality, so they separated his head from his body, which they then drained of blood. Kulle’s head and blood were eventually hidden in separate secret areas, and must be tracked down by the hero in order to resurrect the Horadric mage so that he may complete his work on the Black Soulstone. But those touched by evil aspirations do not give them up so easily…


6. Belial, the Lord of Lies

Deceptive to the very end, the Lord of Lies weaves a path of betrayal and misdirection in his attempt to claim the city of Caldeum as his own.

The Lord of Lies, Belial, is a former protégé of Mephisto, Lord of Hatred, who was one of the three Prime Evils of Hell. Just before the events of Diablo II, Belial teamed up with Azmodan, Lord of Sin to cast the Prime Evils (Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal) out of Hell, leaving the two to fight for its control.

Belial lost, and turned his attention to the corruption of the desert city Caldeum. The player encounters Belial a number of times during the campaign, although they are probably unaware of it. The eventual battle against the Lord of Lies is definitely one worthy of being the Act II finale.


7. Ghom, the Lord of Gluttony

The Lord of Gluttony can be found deep within Bastion’s Keep disturbing the food supplies of the keep’s soldiers.

Ghom is the first boss encountered in Act III and must be defeated before the player is allowed to leave the stronghold of Bastion’s Keep. The Lord of Gluttony resides deep inside the keep, corrupting (and presumably consuming) the keep’s food stores in an effort to weaken its defenses.

He is an agent of Azmodan, Lord of Sin, and led an assault that opened a breach in Bastion keep’s walls, allowing a massive demon infiltration. The larder, where you fight Ghom, will be in dire need of its own breach to the outside after he is bested.


8. Siegebreaker Assault Beast

The massive Siegebreaker Assault Beast towers over mortals, and stands sentinel to the Arreat Crater.

After traversing the Bridge of Korsikk, the player is greeted by the largest boss in the game, the Siegebreaker Assault Beast. A massive figure with its armor and weapons bolted into its skin, the beast guards the entrance to the Arreat Crater, where its master, Azmodan, lies in wait. The player can actually catch a glimpse of the Siegebreaker Assault Beast battling the forces of Bastion’s Keep on the ground below them once they gain access to the outer walls by defeating Ghom.


9. Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust

The Maiden of Lust is eager to embrace and soothe you until you rest… for eternity.

As the player descends the Tower of the Damned, the Maiden of Lust, Cydaea, speaks sultry taunts to them. Cydaea is a succubus in half-human, half-spider form, and a consort to Azmodan, Lord of Sin. She commands a small army of succubae to guard the Heart of Sin, which powers the many legions of Azmodan’s army. She uses her silky smooth voice to bring her victims in close, before encasing them in silk of a different variety.


10. Azmodan, the Lord of Sin

Azmodan, the Lord of Sin is renowned as the greatest battlefield commander of all the Lords of Hell.

Azmodan is a physical manifestation of all seven deadly sins and as cunning a battlefield general as there is. He teamed up with Belial, Lord of Lies to evict the Prime Evils from Hell then defeated his accomplice in battle to claim dominion over the burning realm. He leads the assault on Bastion’s Keep and commands Ghom, the Siegebreaker Assault Beast, and Cydaea. Azmodan is the final boss of the third Act and his defeat will seal a victory for the forces of Bastion’s Keep.


11. Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair

Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair has taken residence in the Library of Fate in the High Heavens.

Rakanoth was once a lieutenant of Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish and ruled over the Realm of Despair, acting as warden for the prisoners confined there. Sometime after Andariel’s death at the hand of adventurers, he switched allegiance to Diablo and joined in the assault on the High Heavens. He has imprisoned Auriel, the Archangel of Hope and awaits the hero in the Library of Fate.


12. Izual, the Betrayer

Izual the Betrayer is a former angel turned demon, and is trusted by neither the forces of Heaven, nor the forces of Hell.

Izual was a lieutenant of the Archangel Tyrael before he was felled during the assault of the Hellforge in the Burning Hells. His spirit was twisted and he began to serve the Prime Evils instead, disclosing to them how Soulstones could be corrupted. Izual is hated by the Heavens for his betrayal and shunned by Hell because he was once an angel. He is summoned by Diablo to face Tyrael and the hero in the Silver Spire.


13. Diablo, the Lord of Terror

The Lord of Terror strikes fear into the heart of every being on Sanctuary and must be defeated if there is to be peace.

Diablo has been the puppeteer behind all of the strife that has befallen the world of Sanctuary. From possessing its citizens to assaulting Heaven itself, the Lord of Terror carves a swath of fear wherever he goes. Eventually absorbing the filled Black Soulstone, he becomes The Prime Evil, an amalgamation of the seven Lords of Hell. The final battle against Diablo takes place at the Pinnacle of Heaven, and the hero must survive his fiery onslaught, conjured illusions, and brute strength and slay the Lord of Terror before the world is lost to fear, forever.


14. Urzael

Urzael, acting as the hand of Malthael, seeks to rid the world of humans, who he has become disgusted with.

Urzael is Malthael’s most loyal servant, and when Malthael disappeared from the High Heavens, Urzael yearned to seek him out in the world of Sanctuary. Before he located his master though, he noticed that humans seemed overeager to cheat and murder one another, often opting for evil acts when confronted with a choice. When Urzael found Malthael, he learned that his master shared his disdain for humanity, and together they decided to attempt to purge Sanctuary of its mortal “pests” and harvest their souls.


15. Adria

A helpful NPC in the first Diablo, Adria returns with ulterior motives in Diablo III.

The witch, Adria, is a recurrent character who was introduced in the first Diablo, and aided the hero by selling magical items and potions. In Diablo III, she also aids the adventurer by teaching them how to contain the souls of Belial and Azmodan within the Black Soulstone that the hero obtains from Zoltun Kulle.

What she hides is that she has been collecting the essences of the Lords of Evil. Once she has them all, she forces the soul of Diablo to possess her daughter Leah, and infuses the unholy union with the Soulstone’s essences. Upon Diablo’s defeat, Malthael gained possession of the Black Soulstone, and Adria sets off to find him and recover it. But she is found by the hero first and uses blood magic to transform into a demon before the battle begins.


16. Malthael

Determined to purge humanity from the world of Sanctuary, Malthael reaps the souls of those he has slain.

Malthael, the Archangel of Wisdom left Heaven when the Worldstone was destroyed by Tyrael at the end of Diablo II. He noticed that humanity had a propensity to gravitate toward evil, and thus regarded humankind as an abomination. Malthael entered the Pandemonium Fortress and harnessed spirits found within to morph into the Angel of Death.

He set upon the world of Sanctuary, intent on eradicating humanity from it. Malthael absorbed the soul of Diablo to give him considerable power, and so the hero must make a decision: slay him to preserve humanity and release Diablo’s soul yet again, or allow the Angel of Death to reap the souls of all mortals? The choice is easy, but the battle following it will not be.


That is the list of bosses who must be defeated in order to save Sanctuary. Which ones are your favorites? Which battles gave you the most trouble? Were you surprised to have to fight any of them? Let us know in the comments and happy demon hunting!

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Frankenstein's picture

Frankenstein 3 years 1 month ago

Nice article, bro!

Tiniowien's picture

Tiniowien 4 years 9 months ago

very concise list

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