Horde of Draenor

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For other uses, see Horde (disambiguation).
HordeHorde of Draenor
Main leader IconSmall Ner'zhul.gif Warchief Ner'zhul
Secondary leaders IconSmall Teron.gif Teron Gorefiend †
IconSmall Dentarg.gif Dentarg †
IconSmall Grom.gif Grom Hellscream
IconSmall Kargath.gif Kargath Bladefist
IconSmall Kilrogg.gif Kilrogg Deadeye †
IconSmall Orc Male.gif Fenris the Hunter
IconSmall Orc Male.gif Tagar Spinebreaker
IconSmall UndeadDeathKnight.gif Gaz Soulripper †
IconSmall UndeadDeathKnight.gif Ragnok Bloodreaver
IconSmall Orc Male.gif Obris †
IconSmall Deathwing.gif Deathwing (allied)
Race(s) OrcOrc Orc
OgreOgre Ogre
Forest trollForest troll Forest troll
GoblinGoblin Goblin
IconSmall OgreMage.gifIconSmall OgreMage2.gif Ogre mage
UndeadUndead Undead
DemonDemonDemonDemon Demon
Black dragon Black dragon
Red dragon Red dragon
Capital Shadowmoon Fortress
Base of operations Shadowmoon Valley
Theater of operations Draenor
Status Defeated and disbanded during the invasion and destruction of Draenor, many surviving members became part of the Fel Horde

The Orcish Horde of Draenor[1][2] (also called the Shadow Clans)[3] is the term given to the loose alliance of orc clans that remained on their homeworld of Draenor during the Old Horde's invasion of Azeroth. Following the Old Horde's defeat on Azeroth in the Second War, the elder shaman Ner'zhul rallied the clans on Draenor with the intent of stealing a set of powerful artifacts—the Skull of Gul'dan, the Scepter of Sargeras, the Book of Medivh, and the Eye of Dalaran—in order to open portals to new worlds for the orcs to conquer, an effort in which they were opposed by the Alliance Expedition. Ner'zhul's army is sometimes called a new Horde,[3][4] other times described as simply a remnant of the main Horde.[5]



While the use of Fel magic had greatly aided the Horde in their conquest of Draenor, it had also nearly killed it. With the lack of game, the threat of starvation made the orcs more agitated and aggressive, with bloodlust searing through their veins the orcs turned on one another with the worse offenders being the Warsong, Bonechewer, Laughing Skull, Shattered Hand, and Thunderlord clans.[6] As a result Warchief Blackhand believed that these clans would become liabilities in the conquest of Azeroth and so they sat out the First War.[7]

Despite this, the clans still considered themselves part of the original Horde. Couriers and messengers sometimes passed news back from Azeroth, such as about Orgrim Doomhammer's victory against Blackhand, and the massacre of Gul'dan's Shadow Council. The Draenic clans welcomed these turns of events, accepting Doomhammer as their new Warchief[8] and purging their own ranks of warlocks before the dark magic users could afflict any more of them. The destruction of the Dark Portal at the end of the Second War, however, led to the loss of this Horde identity and the clans fell back to infighting.[9]


Kilrogg leading his clan to Draenor.

Life after the Second War was stark for Draenor's orcs. Their world was still dying. Fel energies continued to spread, choking natural life into extinction. The demonic bloodlust coursing through their veins had not diminished, and too often orcs turned orcs, creating a whirlpool of chaos that threatened to drag the race down into oblivion. The Warsong and Shattered Hand clans in particular, had insatiable needs for violence.

The closet the Horde to a leader of Chieftain Ner'zhul of the Shadowmoon clan, the orc who inadvertently led his people into the Burning Legion's clutches. While the orcs of Draenor had looked to him for guidance, leadership was not a burden he wanted for he had fallen into despair as he saw no way to save the Horde from certain doom. In time, he was approached by Teron Gorefiend, who devised a plan of opening new portals and finding fresh worlds for the Horde to conquer. After some persuasion, he agreed to Gorefiend's plan to open more portals and lead the orcs far away from their doomed world.[9]

In order to fulfill the plan he sought out several artifacts from Azeroth: the Skull of Gul'dan, the Book of Medivh, the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, and the Eye of Dalaran. Except for the Skull of Gul'dan, these artifacts corresponded to three constellations on Draenor, and using them in conjunction with a celestial event involving those constellations gave Ner'zhul the power to open the portals. To that end, Ner'zhul used his influence to rally the Warsong, Shattered Hand, Thunderlord, and many of the other clans into the Horde of Draenor, while using fear and the brute force of his own Shadowmoon clan to maintain the fragile unity among the clans.[10] After Grommash claimed Gul'dan's skull from Hurkan Skullsplinter, Tagar Spinebreaker emerged as the new chieftain of the Bonechewer and knelt to Ner'zhul. After receiving Gul'dan's skull, Ner'zhul, Gorefiend, and several death knights combined their powers and used the Skull of Gul'dan to reopen the Dark Portal to begin Gorefiend's mission of acquiring the artifacts.[11][12]

Offensive to Azeroth

With the gateway to Azeroth opened, Grommash Hellscream led the spear of the Horde's invasion force, the Warsong, Shattered Hand, Thunderlord, and Laughing Skull, into the Blasted Lands. As the orcs reconstructed the Dark Portal, Kilrogg Deadeye and the Bleeding Hollow clan informed their brethren about what had occurred on Azeroth following the Horde's defeat and returned to Draenor. While Hellscream deceived the Alliance into thinking that the orcs were preparing a renewed full-scale invasion, Gorefiend and his death knights led a hunting party beyond the Blasted Lands in search of the artifacts.

Deathwing had become intrigued as he quickly realized that the "invasion" was a feint. He subsequently made the decision to aid the Horde, by taking on the guise of Daval Prestor and convinced Terenas Menethil II to establish martial law in Alterac, whose king' betrayed humanity in the Second War by aiding the Horde, a move that weakened the Alliance's response to the Horde's new invasion. Deathwing also made direct contact with Gorefiend and agreed to aid him in exchange for the Horde transporting "precious items" to Draenor. With the Dark Horde refusing to join the Horde of Draenor, Gorefiend had no choice, and accepted the bargain. Following this, the hunting party split into three raiding parties.[13]

The Book of Medivh had been stolen by Alterac forces and a deal was struck between Gorefiend and Aiden Perenolde; if the Alliance soldiers holding martial law in his lands were moved, he would hand over the book. Gorefiend was quick to agree and Deathwing eradicated the Alliance garrison. Meanwhile, the raiding party led by Fenris Wolfbrother ventured into the Tomb of Sargeras and claimed the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, while Gorefiend ultimately claimed the Eye of Dalaran. With the artifacts in their possession, the Horde returned to Draenor, while a large number of soldiers led by Hellscream remained behind to prevent the Alliance from invading Draenor.[14]

Battles in Draenor

Territories of each clan.

Although the artifacts were returned to Draenor, Khadgar discovered that Ner'zhul wanted the knowledge of how to open portals. It was decided that an expedition should venture through the Dark Portal, both, to recover the stolen artifacts and to ensure that the Horde can never again threaten Azeroth. The Horde of Draenor opposed the Alliance Expedition, at the Dark Portal they even sent some daemons to defeat the Alliance, but this opposition was defeated.[15] In an ironic twist, while the Sons of Lothar would keep their own side of the Dark Portal firmly under control, the Azerothian side of the Dark Portal switched sides several times during the late stages of the invasion, stranded forces of the Horde of Draenor stopping the larger Alliance of Lordaeron from keeping its expedition properly supplied and reinforced.[16]

A flashback in Warcraft III showing the Alliance Expedition fighting the Horde of Draenor, presumably in Hellfire Peninsula. The trolls came from Azeroth and had passed through the Dark Portal as the orcs' allies. Notice that the scenery is identical (even having floating islands) to after the sundering, even though this battle took place before it happened.

Following the Horde's return to Draenor, Warchief Ner'zhul gave the Skull of Gul'dan to Deathwing, who sought to use the skull to strengthen his dragonflight and accelerate the growth of his eggs and whelps. As a token of "friendship," Deathwing left a portion of the black dragons with the Horde to protect Hellfire Citadel against the Alliance. Requiring a place with a convergence of magical ley lines and the Dark Portal in Alliance's hands, Ner'zhul led the Horde to the Black Temple, while leaving Kargath, Dentarg, the Shattered Hand, and the black dragons to defend the citadel.

Unaware of Ner'zhul's departure, the Alliance launched an all-out assault on the citadel. Unable to repel the invaders, Kargath and his clan were forced to flee into the wastes, where in time he ultimately abandoned Ner'zhul as Ner'zhul had abandoned him.[17] After Khadgar sensed that the Book of Medivh and Skull of Gul'dan were separate locations, the Alliance split their army, while Khadgar, Turalyon, and Alleria Windrunner pursued the skull to the north, Danath Trollbane and Kurdran Wildhammer pursued Ner'zhul to the south.[18] Rather than remain with the army, Kurdran and his gryphon riders scouted and discovered the Warchief and his forces, and seized the opportunity to attack, forcing the Horde to seek shelter in Auchindoun, with Kurdran as their prisoner.

Ner'zhul opens countless portals across Draenor using the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras.

While Ner'zhul, Gorefiend, and other Horde teleported themselves to the Black Temple, Kilrogg and the Bleeding Hollow remained behind to occupy the Alliance. As the Bleeding Hollow and Alliance forces clashed, Danath confronted and killed Kilrogg. With their chieftain's death, the Bleeding Hollow scattered or surrendered.[19] Meanwhile Deathwing was forced into retreat and the Skull of Gul'dan was claimed by Khadgar. As Ner'zhul began the Spell of Conjuration, the Horde of the Draenor clashed against a united Alliance army, and amidst the conflict Turalyon killed Gorefiend. Meanwhile, Ner'zhul was successfully able to complete his spell but was woefully unprepared for the amount of skill needed for this ritual. He was desperate to succeed, and his recklessness caused the energies at his command to spiral out of control. As planned, Ner'zhul blasted multiple holes through the fabric of reality, but they were followed by many others.

The magic that Ner'zhul had unleashed destabilized Draenor's ley lines. Unimaginable forces from the Twisting Nether began to tear open the rifts across Draenor. With each passing moment, the world groaned louder in upheaval. The energies emitted from the rifts caused massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanoes to erupt across Draenor.[20][21] In the aftermath, Ner'zhul and his loyalists ventured through one of the portals, abandoning the Horde of Draenor to its fate.

Khadgar closing the portal.

Without choice, Khadgar and the Alliance had to return to the Dark Portal and destroy the rift between Azeroth and the doomed world of Draenor with the Skull of Gul'dan and the Book of Medivh.[21] The remnants of the orc clans, were none too pleased to see the Alliance holding their only means of escape from their doomed world. Despite their best efforts, the orc clans were unable to stop Khadgar from closing the portal. On Azeroth's side, the Dark Portal suddenly exploded behind the orcs who had crossed, and for them there was no going back. These orcs subsequently revealed to the others Draenor's destruction and Ner'zhul's abandonment. While Grommash Hellscream led the Warsong clan north to regroup in the Swamps of Sorrow, other members of the Horde like Rexxar saw no reason to continue fighting the Alliance and wandered the world in solitude.[20]

With these events, the Horde of Draenor dissolved.

Fate of the clans

The Shadowmoon, Laughing Skull, Shattered Hand, and Bonechewer clans now make up the core of the Fel Horde, transformed into fel orcs created by the blood of Magtheridon and now on service in Illidan Stormrage's forces. The Thunderlord clan was almost completely destroyed and the survivors were transformed into fel orcs[22] through the blood of Mannoroth.[23]

The Warsong clan, parts of the Bleeding Hollow, and part of the Shattered Hand clan were among the three that later joined Thrall when he revitalized the New Horde.[24]

The Thunderlord clan maintained some of its holdings in the Blade's Edge Mountains, and a remnant of the Shadowmoon clan maintained one of its villages in the Shadowmoon Valley; when the Dark Portal was reopened during the Burning Crusade, these clans joined Thrall's New Horde as well.

Ner'zhul selfishly abandoned all the clans and escaped with just his elite followers in tow. The evil group of orcs crossed through their chosen portal just as Draenor blew apart in an apocalyptic explosion. As they thought that they had survived, Kil'jaeden and his demonic minions ambushed them and turned Ner'zhul into the Lich King, while his followers were turned into liches.[25]

The Cabal survived and are still in the Bone Wastes.

It is unknown what happened to the Bladewind clan and the Lightning's Blade clan.

Clans of the Horde of Draenor

The following clans made up the Horde of Draenor:


While Beyond the Dark Portal novel had the Horde of Draenor composed of orcs and ogres and allies of the black dragonflight, the game, had the following races as their allies:


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.

The various goblin merchants and laboratories that could be found in Outland during The Frozen Throne could have been survivors of the goblin mercenaries that followed the Horde of Draenor. Alternatively, they could be non-canon, similarly to the goblins in Quel'Thalas that sold Arthas and the Scourge zeppelins to cross a river in Warcraft III,[27] (in Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, Arthas simply crossed the body of water on top of undead bodies).