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The Scourges of the Divine Beasts are a group of Bosses from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They are phantoms of Calamity Ganon created by him during the Great Calamity to kill the four Champions that piloted the four Divine Beasts.
Background and History
10,000 years before the events of Breath of the Wild an incarnation of Ganon known as Calamity Ganon arose as a result of Ganon's cycle of resurrection to plague the kingdom of Hyrule once more to confront that period's incarnation of the Goddess-blood Princess of Hyrule and Hero chosen by the Master Sword as he had done so many times in the past. However this time the Sheikah had prepared for Ganon's resurrection and using their advanced technology created autonomous Guardians automata and the Sheikah Slate to aid the Hero and Princess in combating the fiend. Additionally, they created the four Divine Beasts, powerful mechanical beasts piloted by a Champion from one of the four races the Sheikah bequeathed them to. Vah Rudania named in the honor of the Sage Darunia was give to the Gorons and piloted by Daruk. Vah Ruta named in honor of the Sage Princess Ruto was given to the Zora and piloted by Mipha. Vah Naboris named in honor of the Sage Nabooru was given to the Gerudo piloted by an unnamed Gerudo Champion. Vah Medoh was given to the Rito and piloted by an unnamed Rito Champion. Together with an army of Guardians, the Hero, and Princess of Hyrule, the Divine Beasts piloted by their respective Champions defeated Calamity Ganon and he was sealed by the Princess. Ganon remained sealed for the next 10,000 years plotting his return. Meanwhile the Sheikah once lauded for the power of their technology, would eventually become feared by the people for the same technology which became viewed as a threat to the kingdom, causing the Sheikah to become outcasts in Hyrulean society, despite continuing to serve the Royal Family of Hyrule in secret. In response to the people's fears of their technology being misused, the Sheikah choose to bury their technology and return to a simpler way of life, though left them behind as artifacts, such as the Sheikah Slate, Shrines, Sheikah Towers, the Shrine of Resurrection, Guardians, and Divine Beasts that could be used to combat Calamity Ganon should he return. However some Sheikah broke away to form the Yiga Clan and swore allegiance to Ganon as a result of their anger over how the kingdom had treated their people who's technology had been created for its benefit. However unbeknownst to the Sheikah and the Royal Family of Hyrule, Ganon planned to make the people's fears of Sheikah technology being a threat to the Kingdom of Hyrule a reality.
Phantom Scourges of Ganon
A century before the events of Breath of the Wild, the King of Hyrule Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule and his daughter Princess Zelda learned of a prophecy foretelling Calamity Ganon's imminent return. As a result, they sought the aid of Impa and their Sheikah allies to find and excavate the ancient technology left behind by the Sheikah to combat the coming Calamity. They selected four champions from the each of the four races bequeathed a Divine Beast in the past. The Goron Champion Daruk, the Zora Champion Princess Mipha, Rito Champion Revali, and Gerudo Champion Urbosa. The four pilots where lead by Princess Zelda and the Captain of Zelda's Imperial Guard Link who was chosen by the Master Sword to be the Hylian Champion and current incarnation of the Hero Chosen by the Master Sword. Zelda, Link, and the four pilots became a group collectively known as the Champions who would confront Ganon as their predecessors had in the past. Aided by Impa and a team of researchers lead by Impa's elder sister Purah which included Purah's subordinate and lead Guardian researcher Robbie helped teach the four champions how to pilot their Divine Beasts. Meanwhile, Princess Zelda was troubled by her inability to awaken her innate sealing magic possessed by the Princesses of Hyrule, despite years of self training following the death of her mother the late Queen of Hyrule who died a year before Zelda's training was to begin robbing Zelda of a mentor as well as a mother. Seeing an opportunity to remove a threat to Ganon's return the Yiga Clan attempted to assassinate the Princess before she could awaken her powers but where stopped by her appointed Royal Knight Link while another attempt was foiled by Urbosa. King Rhoam insisted his daughter focus on training due to the nature of their current situation as her sealing powers would be crucial in combating Ganon. Zelda however began focusing more on studying ancient technology which she did secretly, though her father found out and scolded her before insisting she focus entirely on prayer to awaken her powers, though later had a change of heart and decided to trust his daughter's judgment when she returned from Mount Lanayru where Zelda went to train at the Spring of Wisdom upon turning seventeen. However unfortunately, Calamity Ganon had other plans and would make his return on Zelda's seventeenth birthday.
Like Ganondorf had done with Phantom Ganon in the past, Ganon used his power to create four artificial phantom doppelgängers of himself, each representing one of four elements: fire, water, thunder, and wind. This resulted in the created of Fireblight Ganon, Waterblight Ganon, Thunderblight Ganon, and Windblight Ganon. Having learned from his prior defeat thousands of years earlier, Calamity Ganon sent each one of his phantoms to one of the four Divine Beasts to kill its pilot and corrupt their respective Divine Beast. Waterblight Ganon was sent to Vah Ruta and killed its pilot Zora Champion Princess Mipha. Fireblight Ganon was sent to Vah Rudania and killed its pilot Goron Champion Daruk. Thunderblight Ganon was sent to Vah Naboris and killed its pilot Gerudo Champion Urbosa. Windblight Ganon was sent to Vah Medoh and killed its pilot Rito Champion Revali. After killing the Beast's Champion pilot, the phantom imprisoned the pilot's spirit within their Divine Beast in order take control of them which where corrupted by each phantom, each of which became known as the Scourge of their respective Divine Beast. The Scourges apparently required the four Champion's spirits as a conduit to corrupt and control the Divine Beasts as the Divine Beasts could only be controlled by a Champion or the descendant of one with imprisoning the Champions spirits being an alternative method. Meanwhile Ganon used the rest of his power to corrupt the remaining Guardians (with the exception of Guardian Scouts inside various Shrines which remained uncorrupted and continued to serve the Sheikah Monks living in their shrines as part of trials to test the Hero's skills). With the Guardians and Divine Beasts under his control the ancient people's fears of Sheikah technology being used against the kingdom came true and as a result much of Hyrule was destroyed including Hyrule Castle Town and King Rhoam was killed. However Link and Zelda managed to survive, but had little hope of combat the Guardians let alone Ganon and his phantoms as Zelda had yet to awaken her powers and Link was unprepared as he had not taken any of the monks' trials as Zelda and her team failed to uncover the true purpose of the Sheikah Slate and how to access the Shrines as that knowledge had been lost over the centuries. Eventually, Link and Zelda where cornered by Guardians near Fort Hateno where Link engaged in a fierce battle with the Corrupted Guardians which due to being corrupted by Ganon's influence awoke the true power of the Master Sword making it an effective weapon against them. However Link relied too much on the power of the Master Sword and was eventually overcome by sheer numbers, leaving Link critically injured. Just as she and Link were about to be killed, Zelda's powers awoke and she used them to remove the darkness controlling them and shut them down. Hearing the spirit of the Master Sword tell her that her destiny was not finished, Zelda resolved use them to deal with Ganon alone. Before doing so, Zelda entrusted Link to her Sheikah allies who put him under the untested Slumber of Restoration in Shrine of Resurrection to save his life, before splitting up to survive long enough to aid him whenever he awoke in the future. Meanwhile, Zelda took the Master Sword to Korok Forest deep in the Great Hyrule Forest region and entrusted it to the Great Deku Tree guardian spirit of the forest and the Koroks. Zelda then confronted Calamity Ganon at Hyrule Castle and used her powers to seal both Ganon and herself within Hyrule Castle, preventing Ganon from causing any more damage to Hyrule. This apparently caused the Scourges to lose their hold on the Divine Beasts which became dormant or weakened them to a point their where forced to go into hibernation while they and Ganon worked to reclaim their power, though it is also possible that Ganon chose to do this to conserve energy as the Hero had been incapacitated while Zelda was effectively a prisoner in her own castle while she kept Ganon under seal. However whatever the case, Ganon retained control over the Guardians and during every Blood Moon when his power was at its peak could resurrect any slain monsters, Guardians, or Yiga Clan members giving him a formidable army with which to eliminate any remaining threats such as the surviving Hyrulean Soldiers and Knights of Hyrule who fled to the Akkala Citadel in Akkala Highlands. As a result, Hyrule Castle, Hyrule Castle Town Ruins, and much of the area of Hyrule Field near the castle became a no man's land few dared travel though for a time Zelda's seal held strong enough that treasure hunters could access the Castle grounds though as time went on Ganon's power increased and he commanded the Guardians to patrol the area forcing even these brave souls to avoid the area which became so dangerous only the greedy and foolish would attempt to make the perilous journey. However thanks to Zelda, the damage was minimized and the people of Hyrule survived this event which became known as the Great Calamity and the Champions became known as legendary heroes, including Link who most assumed died fighting the Great Calamity. Soon the remaining Knights and Soldiers of the kingdom were defeated in a valiant last stand against an army of Guardians before being overrun and annihilated, though they apparently managed to take out several guardians who's remains litter the nearby Torin Wetland. Meanwhile, Link the last known surviving Knight of Hyrule slept in stasis, his aging halted as he healed for the next one hundred years.
Divine Beasts' Awakening
A century later, Link awoken inside the Shrine of Resurrection with no memory of his past or how he got there and only the Sheikah Slate and a mysterious voice to guide him that later turned out to be Princess Zelda communicating with him telepathically. Sensing Link's awakening and Zelda's seal beginning to weaken Ganon attempts to break free though Zelda manages to partially restore the seal before telling Link to hurry and remember his past. Aided by the spirit of King Rhoam who took the form of an Old Man living alone on the isolated Great Plateau, Link discovered the Great Plateau Tower which restored power to shrines and caused Sheikah Towers to raise up all across Hyrule, before being directed to four shrines containing Runes and trials that helped Link regain his former strength by claiming Spirit Orbs to offer to Hylia via her.Goddess Statues. Eventually King Rhoam revealed his true identity and explained to Link his history and the Great Calamity, before tasking him with the Quest to "Destroy Ganon", though tells him to "Seek Out Impa" to learn more. Meanwhile as if in response to Ganon's growing power and Link's awakening, the four Divine Beasts become active once more, plaguing the people they once protected while under the control of their phantom scourges. Waterblight Ganon used Vah Ruta to create a torrential downpour of rain that threatened to overfill the East Reservoir Lake which would cause massive flooding in Zora's Domain, Zora's River, and other areas downriver. Fireblight Ganon used Vah Rudania to rain Magma Bombs from Death Mountain forcing Goron Patriarch Bludo to rise the Bridge of Eldin keep it confined to Death Mountain and with the aid of Daruk's descendant Yunobo managed to drive off the beast using a Cannon and Yunobo ability to use Daruk's Protection against the beast as normal cannon balls had no effect. Thunderblight Ganon used Vah Naboris to scare away travelers, kicking up sandstorms as it stomped around, and attacking anyone who approached with artificial lightning so powerful that it could bypass the immunity of the fully upgraded "Rubber" armor set, to the point the Lightning Proof Thunder Helm was the only thing capable of withstanding it. Unfortunately, the Yiga Clan lead by Kohga stole the Thunder Helm from Gerudo Town, thus Gerudo Chieftain Riju was forced to focus her soldiers' efforts on finding the Yiga Clan Hideout and reclaiming it from the Yiga if she and the Gerudo where to have any chance of stopping it. Windblight Ganon used Vah Medoh to patrol the skies around Rito Village firing on any Rito within its airspace with its cannons, forcing the Rito to fly low to avoid its wrath. Despite Rito Chieftain Kaneli's warnings to stay away, Teba and Harth decided to confront the beast, but Harth was injured while Teba escaped unharmed and began preparing training to face it again on his own, while Harth nursed his injuries at Rito Village.
Additionally the four phantom scourges guarded the inner sanctum of Hyrule Castle, while Calamity Ganon was siphoning Zelda's divine power to resurrect himself completely as she kept him under seal. Thus the phantom scourges would prove to be dangerous obstacle were Link to foolish attempt to face Ganon and manage to make it deep into Hyrule Castle.
After arriving in Kakariko Village and reunited with Impa, Link learns that Princess Zelda had given Impa a message to pass on to him once he awoke, "Free the Divine Beasts" from Ganon's control. Impa tells Link to seek out the leaders of Gerudo Town, Goron City, Rito Village, and Zora's Domain to learn more about each Divine Beasts. Once all the Divine Beasts where free and Link had reclaimed the Master Sword, then he would be ready to face Calamity Ganon to free Zelda. Impa and Purah help Link figure out how to recover his lost memories using pictures in the restored Sheikah Slate's album that had been taken by Zelda one hundred years prior.
In Zora's Domain, Link reunited with Mipha's father King Dorephan and her grown up younger brother Prince Sidon who survived the Great Calamity and outlive most other people Link know due to Zora's aging differently than other races. Prince Sidon seeks the aid of a Hylian to help him stop Vah Ruta, after an attempt by the Prince and retired Demon Sargent Seggin who once served as a Zora Knight and Mipha's spearmanship combat instructor failed as even with his strong shock resistance for a Zora, Seggin was unable to fire enough Shock Arrows to stop Vah Ruta's water pumps as Princess Zelda's research on Vah Ruta had been supplied to the Zora a century prior during the lead up to the Great Calamity. Though most of the Council of Elders blame Link for Mipha's death during the Great Calamity and refuse to accept his or any Hylians aid, King Dorephan and Sidon ask Link to aid them in stopping Vah Ruta. Eventually Link regains his memory of Mipha and it is revealed that Mipha was in love with him as Ruto had been with the Hero of Time in the past. Together with Sidon, Link stopped Vah Ruta and entered the beast. There he confronted Mipha's killer, Waterblight Ganon whom Link defeated, avenging Mipha and freeing her spirit as well as Vah Ruta. Mipha rewards Link with Mipha's Grace and her spirit takes control of Vah Ruta.
In Gerudo Desert, Link manages to sneak into vai (women) only Gerudo Town by wearing Gerudo Vai clothing he purchases from Villa at Kara Kara Bazaar and masquerading as a Hylian vai, as voe (men) are forbidden entry into Gerudo Town. There he meet Makeela Riju the current female chieftain of the Gerudo and her bodyguard Buliara. Though they managed to discover his identity as a voe, Riju believing him to be the Hylian Champion decides to let it slide in exchange for Link's aid in calming Vah Naboris. First he is tasked with retrieving the Thunder Helm from the Yiga Clan Hideout in Karusa Valley. Link infiltrates the hideout and kills their leader Master Kohga to reclaim the helm, who dies cursing that the Yiga Clan will hound Link in order to avenge his death, and unlike his followers Kohga is never revived by Ganon. Later Riju uses the helm to aid Link in getting inside of Vah Naboris where he confronts Thunderblight Ganon to free the spirit of Lady Urbosa and Vah Naboris. After its defeat, Urbosa rewards Link with Urbosa's Fury and takes control of Vah Naboris.
In Goron City, Link meets Bludo and learns that Yunobo hasn't returned from the Abandoned North Mine after he went to get painkillers to ease the back pain that has flared up as a result of their battles with Vah Rudania. Link find Yunobo trapped in an old storehouse by rubble and frees him with an nearby Cannon. Yunobo returns to Goron City with the painkillers before journeying to the Bridge of Eldin to prepare for another battle against Vah Rudania, however Bludo's back gives out and he is forced to cancel, sending Link to give Yunobo the message. Having regained his memory of Daruk thanks to Bludo, Link manages to convince Yunobo into helping him reach and enter Vah Rudania. There he is confronted by Daruk's murderer Fireblight Ganon whom Link slays freeing Daruk's spirit and Vah Rudania. Daruk rewards Link with the ability to use Daruk's Protection and takes control of Vah Rudania.
In Rito Village, Link meets Kaneli who first believes him to be the Hylian Champion from 100 years ago, but coming to the conclusion that Link is more likely a descendant, though enlists Link's aid as only Champions or their descendants are said to be capable of calming and controlling the Divine Beasts explaining why the Champions' spirits had been imprisoned by the Scourges as a means to control their respective Divine Beasts. He tells Link to seek out Teba who Link convinces to aid him after proving himself at the Flight Range, an ancient Rito training ground originally constructed before the Great Calamity for Revali after he won an archery competition. Together they attack Vah Medoh and Link takes out its cannons with Bomb Arrows, though Teba is injured while drawing Vah Medoh's attention, forcing Link to once again take on in interior of a Divine Beast alone. There he confronts Revali's killer, Windblight Ganon whom slays as well freeing Revali's spirit and Vah Medoh. Revali rewards Link with Revali's Gale and takes control of Vah Medoh.
Facsimile versions of the Scourges also existed as part of various tests for the quest EX Champions' Ballad, with their being fought in the Illusion Realm's equivalents of their chambers in the Divine Beasts. Link was permitted to challenge them after several trials only with the weapons mandated by Monk Maz Koshia.
With the four scourges slain and the Divine Beasts freed, Calamity Ganon is left with only his corrupted guardians and army of monsters to defend him in Hyrule Castle. Ultimately, Ganon is defeated by Link and peace is restored to Hyrule, as Link, Zelda, and their remaining allies begin the process of rebuilding Hyrule.
Should Link choose not to defeat any of the scourges in their respective Divine Beasts, the undefeated ones would challenge Link before his fight against Calamity Ganon, wearing him down before the fight against Ganon himself.
The Scourges are essentially phantoms of Calamity Ganon himself much like Phantom Ganon. However they are made of Malice and infused with ancient Sheikah technology. Each scourge represents an element tied with its respective Divine Beast and abilities resembling those of the imprisoned Champion spirits. Fireblight Ganon has power over fire and utilizes Daruk's Protection. Thunderblight Ganon has the power of lightning and utilizes Urbosa's Fury. Waterblight Ganon has power over water including ice (which is solid water) though interestingly it does not wield Mipha's Grace presumably due to its utility as a healing technique. Windblight Ganon wields the power of wind allowing it to unleash tornados and air bullets which can be seen as offensive versions of Revali's Gale.
Like Phamton Ganon, the Scourges are loyal to their creator and will defend him as long as they are not defeated within their respective Divine Beasts, while utilizing the Divine Beasts to lay waste to Hyrule. However their control is rudimentary at best as they only rampage alone instead of utilizing the Divine Beasts in a coordinated assault like the Champions. Additionally their Divine Beasts became dormant after Princess Zelda sealed herself and Calamity Ganon in Hyrule Castle, only to become active as the seal weakened after a century indicating they and Ganon are linked or they cannot act without his power or command as Zelda's seal may have prevented Ganon from communicating with them until it began to weaken, though Ganon may have ordered them to go into hibernation to conserve energy to be ready to confront Link once he recovered.
Although the Scourges themselves do not appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, their boss fight theme (which they share with Calamity Ganon) is used for the boss fight against Ganon in the game's story mode, World of Light.