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Note: While technically every leader in cultures that use the term chieftain could be one, the following is a list of individuals specifically referred to as chieftain.

“A chieftain must always do what is best for his people.”

Warcraft: Novelization, chapter 15

Chieftains (or chiefs) are the leaders of a clan, tribe, and other group, or, in some cases, even a settlement. The female is Chieftess.[1][2]

Other variations also include high chieftain / chief. The sub-chieftain / subchief (also spelled sub-chief) serves directly under a chieftain.

In Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, it is a rank you can achieve.


Main universe

The orcs of Draenor led their respective clans as chieftains. During the rise of the Horde, majority of the chieftains and their clans united into the Old Horde serving under a warchief. In the New Horde led by Thrall, the clan system was by and large abolished. Although many orcs still proudly carry the name of their clan, the clans themselves are all united under the banner of one Horde.[3]

Sometimes, chieftains are advised by shaman.

While in some clans, such as the Frostwolf clan, the title is hereditary, instances of forcefully taking the title occurred, as Grommash Hellscream of the Warsong clan succeeded his chieftain when he died under odd circumstances years prior to the rise of the Old Horde.[4] Orgrim Doomhammer killed Blackhand and became chieftain. Moreover, although Ga'nar was older, Garad chose Durotan to be the new chieftain.

Upon ascension to ruler of the Bleeding Hollow clan, each chieftain undertakes a shamanic vision quest in which they sacrifice their own eye to receive a vision of their own death.[5]

The Thunderlord clan draws its name from an ancient chieftain who single-handedly slew a powerful gronn at the pinnacle of Thunder Peak.[6]

Following Varok Saurfang's death and the creation of the Horde Council after the Fourth War, Thrall is referred to as a chieftain once again.[7]

The mak'gora duel can be invoked for the position of chieftain.

Cragtar, a guard captain, is referred to by his grunts as a chief.

Name Affiliation Status
Neutral  Blackhand Blackrock clan Deceased
Horde  Orgrim Doomhammer Blackrock clan Deceased
Neutral  Dal'rend Blackhand Blackrock & Black Tooth Grin clans Deceased
Neutral  Maim Blackhand Blackrock & Black Tooth Grin clans Deceased
Neutral  Kilrogg Deadeye Bleeding Hollow clan Deceased
Neutral  Hurkan Skullsplinter Bonechewer clan Deceased
Mob  Tagar Spinebreaker Bonechewer clan Killable
Mob  Zuluhed Dragonmaw clan Deceased
Mob  Nek'rosh Skullcrusher Dragonmaw clan Unknown (presumed deceased)
Neutral  Garad Frostwolf clan Deceased
Neutral  Durotan Frostwolf clan Deceased
Horde  Thrall Frostwolf clan (former), Horde Council, Durotar Alive
Neutral  Kargath Bladefist Shattered Hand clan Deceased
Neutral  Fenris Wolfbrother Thunderlord clan (former) Unknown
Neutral  Garm Wolfbrother Thunderlord clan Deceased / Active
Neutral  Ner'zhul Shadowmoon clan Deceased
Neutral  Gul'dan Stormreaver clan Deceased
Mob  Garrosh Hellscream The Mag'har, Warsong Offensive Deceased
Horde  Grommash Hellscream Warsong clan Deceased
Neutral  Zagrel Whiteclaw clan Deceased
Neutral  Thok Unknown Unknown (presumed deceased)
Neutral  Hargal Unknown Deceased
Horde  Jorin Deadeye Bleeding Hollow clan, The Mag'har Alive
Horde  Eitrigg Blackrock clan Alive
Horde  Gorgonna Warsong clan Alive
Horde  Thega Graveblade Shattered Hand clan Alive
Horde  Gorfax Angerfang Angerfang, Dragonmaw clan Alive
Neutral  Lantresor of the Blade Burning Blade clan Alive

Alternate universes

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

During the Cataclysm, Thrall traveled to alternate timeways of Azeroth and found Durotan and Orgrim. In another timeway, Orgrim was killed by Aedelas Blackmoore.

Warlords of Draenor This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.

In the alternate Draenor, as Grommash Hellscream moved to lead the Iron Horde, Garrosh Hellscream was named warlord in his stead, which he gladly accepted.[9] In fact, the orc leaders of the Iron Horde all bore the title warlord during the war in Draenor instead of chieftain. Despite this, Blackhand, Ner'zhul, Durotan, Fenris Wolfbrother were still directly referred to as chieftains on rare occasions.

Ga'nar wanted to be one and challenged Durotan for it.

Name Affiliation Status
Neutral  Grommash Hellscream Warsong clan Unknown
Mob  Blackhand Blackrock clan Deceased
Mob  Kilrogg Deadeye Bleeding Hollow clan Deceased
Mob  Ner'zhul Shadowmoon clan Deceased
Horde  Durotan Frostwolf Orcs Deceased
Mob  Fenris Wolfbrother Thunderlord clan Deceased
Neutral  Garad Frostwolf Orcs Deceased
Neutral  Mother Om'ra Shadowmoon clan Deceased / Active
Neutral  Rulkan Shadowmoon Exiles Alive
Mob  Kargath Shattered Hand clan Deceased
Mob  Ner'zhul Shadowmoon clan Deceased
Neutral  Durmak Bleeding Hollow clan Deceased
Neutral  Vargrak Bleeding Hollow clan Deceased

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.

Film universe

Icon-film-40x16.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft film universe and is considered non-canon.

The Frostwolf clan is ruled by an unbroken line of chieftains. Tradition held that the chieftainship could only pass to a male.[10] A chieftain's hut is bigger.[11]

Nokrar challenged Durotar for the title.

Name Affiliation Status
Horde  Blackhand Blackrock clan Deceased
Horde  Kilrogg Deadeye Bleeding Hollow clan Alive
Neutral  Rokuk Frostwolf clan Deceased
Neutral  Durkosh Frostwolf clan Deceased
Neutral  Garad Frostwolf clan Deceased
Horde  Durotan Frostwolf clan Deceased
Horde  Kargath Bladefist Shattered Hand clan Alive
Horde  Grommash Hellscream Warsong clan Alive
Horde  Gul'dan Horde Alive

The chieftain of the Red Walker clan was massive, densely muscled, and carried two axes. He fought against Orgrim Doomhammer. After being defeated, he was interrogated, and then killed by Durotan.[12]


Chieftains rule small bands of ogres with an iron fist, and are never short on challengers. The Stonemaul clan have notoriously high turnover rate in their leadership. A Stonemaul Succession Stone appears to have been instrumental in deposing multiple Stonemaul chieftains.[13]

During the early decades of the Age of Order, a sly ogre chieftain decreed that disputes in his clan would be settled via proxy in one-on-one combat between gladiator slaves. The mortality rate amongst the ogres plummeted, leading to a golden age of expansion.[14]

Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Sandscraper Dunemaul clan Killable
Mob  Borgal Doomfist Bloodmaul clan Killable
Mob  Kor'gall Stonemaul clan Deceased
Mob  Kor'gall Stonemaul clan Deceased
Mob  Kor'gall, Greatson of Kor'gall Kor'gall clan Deceased
Mob  Cho'gall Twilight's Hammer Deceased
Mob  Boulder'mok Chieftain Bladespire clan Killable

Tauren, taunka, Highmountain tauren

Main article: Tauren chieftain

The tauren, taunka, and Highmountain tauren leaders are tauren chieftains or chiefs who are united under a high chieftain. The taunka also have sub-chieftains.


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Jung Duk Osul tribe Killable
Mob  Undol the Herdmaster Gulan tribe Killable
Neutral  Palewind Chief Palewind tribe Deceased
Mob  Ordo Warbringer Ordo tribe Killable


Hozen tribes are ruled by chieftains.

The Kunzen tribe in the Valley of the Four Winds has two chiefs. One deals with potions, medicines, and ancient fables, being in charge of stories, lore, and history, and bearing the title Legend-Chief. The other one is in charge of the Kunzen's hunters, deals with fighting, and has the title Hunter-Chief. While brave they will regularly fall off the edge of the Skyrange.) After the hunter-chief's death, Farmer Yoon expected that the hozen will have a big ritual, promoting a new hunter-chief and electing a new legend-chief.[15][16]

The Broketooth tribe has similar title variants. The Ook of Dook trained them to use their idols to get power from sacrifices. For every idol, there was a chief.[17] He was the leader of the Kun-Lai mountain hozen tribes.[18]

Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Bimba Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Buk-Buk Kunzen tribe Killable
Horde  Gukgut Slingtail tribe, Forest Hozen Killable
Mob  Ingoo Ingoo XVII Unga tribe Killable
Horde  Kah Kah Grookin tribe, Forest Hozen Alive
Mob  Yip-Yip Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Cho Cho the Wicked Knucklethump tribe Killable
Mob  Dak Dak Broketooth tribe Killable
Mob  Hateful Ko Ko Broketooth tribe Killable
Mob  Jim-Jim Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Jokka-Jokka Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Kon-Kon Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Lor-Lor Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Maaka Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Mok Mok Knucklethump tribe Killable
Mob  Rit-Rit Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Ruk-Ruk Fe-Feng tribe Killable
Mob  Teeku Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Yammo Kunzen tribe Killable
Mob  Mek-mek Squidtail tribe, Black Empire Killable
Mob  Tak Tak Broketooth tribe Killable
Mob  The Ook of Dook Knucklethump tribe, Broketooth tribe, Ookin, Silverback Killable
Mob  Big Gladiator Chief Ookin tribe Killable

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Dal Bloodclaw Thistlefur tribe Killable
Mob  Bloodmaw Deadwood tribe Killable
Mob  Bristlelimb Bristlelimb tribe Killable
Mob  Murgut Foulweald tribe Killable
Alliance  Stillpine Stillpine tribe Alive
Mob  Ursal Gnarlpine tribe Killable
Mob  Winterfall Winterfall tribe Killable
Mob  Ungarl Blackmaw tribe Killable
Mob  Graw Smolderhide tribe Killable
Mob  Gurlack Wildlands tribe Killable
Neutral  Elder Sookh Smolderhide tribe Alive
Neutral  Kranac Sagesnow Winterpelt Alive

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages of World of Warcraft: Legion.


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Mmmrrrggglll Grimscale tribe Killable
Mob  Glrglrr Greymist tribe Killable
Neutral  Neptool Rockpool tribe Active
Mob  Blindlight Necrofin Killable
Mob  Curglrrmrgur Seaspray Killable
Mob  Old Grmgl Muckfin Killable
Mob  Wave-Speaker Ormrg Coldlight Killable

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages of World of Warcraft: Legion.

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.


Jungle troll
Name Affiliation Status
Neutral  Sen'jin Darkspear tribe Deceased
Horde  Vol'jin Darkspear tribe Active
Horde  Rokhan Darkspear tribe, Horde Council Alive
Mob  Gan'zulah Bloodscalp tribe Deceased
Mob  Ana'thek the Cruel Skullsplitter tribe Killable
Horde  Jon-Jon Jellyneck Jellyneck's tribe Alive
Horde  Jor'kil the Soulripper Shatterspear tribe Deceased
Horde  Ohseso Shatterspear tribe Alive
Neutral  Var'gazul Gurubashi Empire Deceased
Forest trolls
Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Krag'jin Shadowglen Trolls Deceased
Mob  Kel'gash the Wicked Shadowpine tribe Killable
Mob  Zul'Marosh Amani tribe Killable
Mob  Ojin'ba Witherbark tribe Deceased
Mob  Zul'jin Amani tribe Deceased
Sand troll
Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Ukorz Sandscalp Sandfury tribe Killable
Mob  Uzan the Sandreaver Sandscalp tribe Killable
Zandalari troll
Name Affiliation Status
Horde  Chan'Tika Dol'watha, Zandalari Empire Alive
  • Razgaji had the title during the beta.
Ice troll
Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Great Father Arctikus Frostmane tribe Deceased
Mob  Drakani Death-Defiler Icetusk tribe Killable
Mob  Captured Drakkari Chieftain Drakkari tribe Killable
Mob  Drakkari Chieftain Drakkari tribe Killable


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Bouldergut Needlerock Deceased
Mob  Boss Galgosh Stonesplinter tribe Killable
Mob  Grawmug Stonesplinter tribe Killable
Mob  Grimlok Stonevault Killable
Mob  Oggleflint Ragefire Deceased
Mob  Cragg the Stoneshaker Bonegnasher Killable
Mob  Gravelspine Pebblestone Killable
Mob  Bromach Stonevault Killable


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Sharptusk Thornmantle Bristleback tribe Deceased
Mob  Mangletooth Razormane tribe Killable
Mob  Iron Orkas Bristlemane tribe Killable
Mob  Geolord Grek'og Exile's Reach's group Killable

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Gurgleboggle Killable
Mob  Burblegobble Killable
Mob  Morgok Dampscale tribe Killable
Mob  Chief Grrlgllmesh Mudfin tribe Killable


Lost One
Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Mummaki Daggerfen tribe Killable
Mob  Lost One Chieftain Lost Ones Killable
Name Affiliation Status
Neutral  Chieftain Hatuun Argussian Reach Alive


Name Affiliation Status
Neutral  Navarrogg Stonedark tribe Alive
Mob  Mountain King Frostcrag tribe Killable
Neutral  Rynox Stonedark tribe Deceased


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Oomooroo Oomooroo wildkin Killable
Neutral  Cukkaw Blackfeather Alive

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the PTR stages.


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Salyis Salyin Alive
Mob  Riverblade Chieftain Riverblade tribe Killable
Mob  Veskan the Fallen Clearscale tribe Killable


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Ashripper Steamscar tribe Killable
Mob  Pridelord Karash Bloodmane tribe Deceased
Mob  Boneseer Cold-Eye Snarlpaw tribe Killable


Name Affiliation Status
Neutral  Elder Atuik Kalu'ak Alive
Neutral  Elder Ko'nani Kalu'ak Alive
Neutral  Tutaqan Uktulut Backwater Alive
Neutral  Brena Iskaara Alive
Neutral  Ponoliak Iskaara Deceased
Neutral  Kauj Kauriq Alive
Neutral  The Blubberwall Imbu Alive
Neutral  Tukkaraq Morqut Alive
Neutral  Tutaqan Uktulut Alive


Name Affiliation Status
Mob  Sagepaw Mosshide tribe Killable
Mob  Chief Dead Eye Darktooth tribe Killable
Mob  Chief Softpaw Alive


Race Name Affiliation Status
Vrykul Mob  Thorvald Halgrind Killable
Vrykul Mob  Bjorn Halgurdsson Winterskorn clan Killable
Wolvar Neutral  Rageclaw Rageclaw tribe Alive
Wolvar Mob  Howling Wolvar Chieftain Howling tribe Killable
Sprite Neutral  Rikkitun Rikkitun tribe Alive
Sprite Neutral  Goldbough Goldbough Alive
Magnataur Mob  Magmothregar Magmoth herd Killable

As evidenced by Khan Ablinh, Khan Blizh, and the  [Spear of the Kolkar Khan], centaur khans are often considered chieftains.

Goblins being in charge of teams or services use the title chief.

Although very rare, humans and gnomes have been portrayed with the title chief, while in charge of military units.

The mechagnome Gearmaster Mechazod has four sub-chieftains that manage the robots at the pools of the Geyser Fields and are protecting their operations at the stations:

The earthen Pyrium Lodestone is the chief of the Earthen Catapult.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.


Each tribe has a chieftain.[22] Shadow hunters provide sound counsel to tribal chieftains.[23]

Jungle troll culture

Jungle trolls practice the ancient religion of voodoo. Among each tribe, at least one witch doctor or priest acts as advisor to the chieftain. Sometimes, a witch doctor becomes chieftain himself.[24]

Young males of the tribes can hope to become mighty chieftains.[25]

One of the most fascinating aspects of jungle troll society is the way each tribe is fragmented into a series of castes. Though they do not refer to them as such, several subgroups divide a tribe. At the top of the hierarchy is the chieftain. Usually the strongest, vilest and most astute individual of the group, the chieftain makes all the important decisions pertaining to his people. A chieftain is often a warrior who has proven himself in countless battles against enemy forces, but who is also able to lead great armies to victory. He may also be an accomplished and charismatic witch doctor, priest or shadow hunter. Whatever the case may be, a chieftain is first and foremost a powerful and highly respected individual who has proved again and again his invaluableness to the tribe.

A jungle troll tribal chieftain usually rules his people with an iron fist, because at the first sign of weakness any warrior of his tribe may challenge his leadership. While such things do not happen every day, when someone openly questions a chieftain's ability to lead, a duel between the chieftain and the challenger usually ensues. They fight to the death and the winner either keeps his position as the leader of his people or becomes the new chieftain. In other instances, a sly individual works with other trolls to assassinate a chieftain deemed weak in order to take his place. When such an act is put to light, most jungle trolls simply accept that a strong chieftain would have prevented the assassins from acting in the first place, and thus they willingly accept the new chieftain as the stronger, more cunning and ambitious of the two — and thus as the troll most capable of leading them to greatness.

A shrewd chieftain, however, knows how to earn the loyalty of his people. Perhaps more importantly, he is able to surround himself with capable individuals who share his hopes and ambitions. He also rewards warriors and sages loyal to him. A chieftain's entourage is thus important, not only to ensure the tribe's present and future well-being but also for the survival of its leader. The chieftain's entourage comprises his most cunning advisors and the tribe's mightiest witch doctors as well as his most ardent bodyguards.

Unless a chieftain is also the tribe's foremost witch doctor or priest, his second-in-command usually fills that divine role. Typically, a chieftain relies on the counsel and spells of the most powerful spellcaster of the tribe. This second-in-command assists the chieftain in all tasks. Primarily, his role is to provide sound advice and support the chieftain in all decisions he makes.

When the chieftain is the mightiest spellcaster among his people, a strong sword arm seconds him. If the chieftain goes missing, or if he is killed, it is up to the second-in-command to take temporary leadership of the tribe until a new chieftain is proclaimed.

Also among the chieftain's entourage are a number of sages. These individuals form a "sage council" headed by the most experienced among them. While most members of this council are experienced shadow hunters, priests, and witch doctors, some veteran warriors are also invited to become members. These trolls help the chieftain in internal matters, such as mediating disputes between tribesmen, planning important forays into enemy territory or, at times, ensuring that a former foe becomes an ally — at least for a short period of time. This council usually speaks through a single voice: the voice of the most venerable member. For a jungle troll, a place on this council is a high honor, one that ensures constant wealth and further prestige for his entire family.

Least among the chieftain's entourage are loyal bodyguards, called "carvers" for obvious reasons. Typically headed by one of the chieftain's old comrades-in-arms, the carvers form an elite band of warriors whose duty it is to protect the chieftain and his family. In times of war, this group serves two functions. The first and most obvious is to ensure that no harm comes to their leader as he leads his troops into battle. However, because the carvers are among the strongest warriors of the tribe, the chieftain uses them as shock troopers and sends them on important missions, such as flanking the ranks of the enemy, assailing the leader of an opposing army, or stealing a foe's standard to lower morale.[26]

Forest troll

Forest trolls are also led by chieftains, a single chieftain rules each tribe, every village has at least one witch doctor or priest, who acts as an advisor or, occasionally, the chieftain. Occasionally, this priest or witch doctor is the chieftain of the village, ruling with the voices of the voodoo spirits.[27]

Ice trolls

Ice trolls chieftains follow the Frost King.[28] Shakor is the chieftain of the Winterfang tribe.


The ogre clans are commonly led by a chieftain,[29][30] a single chieftain rules the clan.[31] When it comes to leaders, the most powerful ogre rules the clan, but a chieftain rarely lasts long. In ogre society, any ogre (or, rarely, half-ogre) can come up and kill a chieftain and assume leadership, even in foul and underhanded schemes. The ogre magi act as their advisors.[30] Rexxar became the chieftain of the Stonemaul clan.[31]

Even though ogres are undeniably dumb, they are not as disorganized as they once were. In the years since the Second War, several ogre chieftains rose to prominence, bludgeoning their lessers into worthy clans.[32]

Cho'gall was made the leader of an orc clan after its previous chieftain was executed for disobeying the Shadow Council. The clan's name was changed to the Twilight's Hammer; its original name and that of its former chieftain was stricken from all records.[33]


Dark Iron dwarves are led by chieftains.[34]

Bakthet and Rumholt Thunderaxe are known chieftains. Revith One-Ear was next in line to be a chieftain, but Rumholt won.[35]


Shargha is a chieftain. Boraga served him and was an underchief.

Tribal chiefdom is a type of government in Durotar and Orgrimmar.[36]


Chieftain Bloodpaw is the leader the Felpaw clan.


Each village is one extended family and handles its own affairs. The eldest male of the family is the village chief, and dictates where they fish and hunt and who handles which tasks. His wife oversees the women's activities and the children's education.[37]


The tauren possess a structure of spiritual hierarchy. The most talented and powerful shaman traditionally hold positions of power, though rulership is not limited to spellcasters. Shaman interpret the voice of the Earth Mother and the wishes of the ancestors; sometimes these interpretations lead to the rise of hunters and warriors in the tribe. Such is the case with Cairne Bloodhoof, the current chieftain.

The leader of a tribe uses the title "chief" and/or "chieftain". The three most powerful healers in the tribe support the chief, the most powerful of whom takes the title "seer". A chief generally consults his seer and her two contemporaries before making a decision, but this consultation is not required.

The leader of the United Tauren Tribes — Cairne Bloodhoof, these days — also uses the title "chieftain".

During council meetings, chiefs make recommendations to the chieftain, but again the final decision is the chieftain's alone to make.

"Chief," "chieftain" and "seer" are genderless titles. Aged female shaman sometimes take the title of "crone" or "elder crone," which others use as a sign of respect.[38]

The chief of each Grimtotem settlement reports directly to Magatha, and she uses her magic to keep in touch with them. Their information might influence her, but the Elder Crone makes all the decisions.[39]

A tribe's chieftain joins in battle alongside his forces. The presence of these massive, halberd-wielding creatures bolsters their troops, especially when they see the damage the chieftain inflicts. Tauren have bested many foes after an enemy fought the tribe to a standstill, then the tauren chieftain rallied his forces and led them to victory.[40]

Osak is the chief of a tribe in a tauren legend.


Murlocs prize the threshadon's back fins as material for crude shields and armor, and extract a greenish mucus from the colored head fin for use by chieftains as a powerful aphrodisiac.[41]

The Wide Grin tribe is led by several chiefs, two of which are Ogloop and Ipwoom.[36]


Grimpaw is a chief who leads his gnolls against the Defias Brotherhood.




This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

It could be speculated that the Warlords of the Iron Horde chose to use the title warlord as a homage to their leader's past, which earned him the moniker warlord with the iron will. As Grommash didn't become the main leader of the Old Horde in the main universe, the chieftains didn't need to honor him and continued to use their regular title.

See also