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Classification Large Humanoid
Faction/Affiliation Icemist tribe, Horde Expedition, Horde, Independent
Character classes WoW Icon update.png Chieftain, Druid,[1] Hunter, Longrunner, Shaman, Snow tracker, Warrior, Brave
Racial capital Unknown
  Formerly Icemist Village
Racial leader(s) Horde  Roanauk Icemist
Racial mount IconSmall Kodo.gif Kodo
Homeworld Azeroth
Environment Temperate
Area(s) Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, Howling Fjord
Language(s) Taur-ahe (presumed), Orcish

The taunka (also known as winter tauren)[2] are an ancient offshoot of the yaungol and relatives to the tauren who have adapted to the harsh environment in Northrend. Unlike their more peaceful tauren relatives, the taunka forcibly bend nature and the elements to their will in order to survive.

The taunka were long thought to be lost until they were re-discovered by Garrosh Hellscream and his orc forces upon their arrival in Northrend.[3] Due to being forced to migrate from their homes by the encroaching Scourge, the taunka have largely given their allegiance to the Horde, and also because of their kinship with the tauren.[4]

Although they appear similar to the tauren, they resemble bison more than cattle, and are referred to as bison-men by Apothecary Malthus.[5]


The taunka are the descendants of a bovine race known as the yaungol. Several millennia before the First War, the yaungol roamed central Kalimdor and lived in peace with the demigod Cenarius, but were eventually driven south due to not wanting to share hunting grounds with the trolls. There, the yaungol were enslaved by the mogu empire and twisted by the mogu flesh-shapers. Though they eventually regained their freedom along with the other slave races during the pandaren revolution, much of their ancient cultural heritage had been lost. Heated arguments led many yaungol to migrate back north. One group, who would later take up the name "tauren", resettled in central Kalimdor and rediscovered their ties to Cenarius, while the more nomadic tribes traveled across the entire continent, only stopping when they reached the frigid lands near the Storm Peaks. There, titan-forged machinery such as the Forge of Wills transformed these northern yaungol into a new subspecies, known as the "taunka". The taunka, tauren, and yaungol retained some contact with one another for many years, but the Great Sundering finally shattered the connections between the tribes.[6]

4,500 years prior to the First War, shockingly vicious and bloody battles erupted between the normally peaceful taunka and forest nymphs of Northrend. When word reached the night elf druids of the Cenarion Circle, the elves conducted an expedition to find the cause of the brutal conflict. To their immense horror, they discovered that the roots of the World Tree Andrassil had reached so far into the ground that they had come into contact with the prison of the Old God Yogg-Saron. The malevolent being's energies had spread through the tree, slowly driving all lifeforms in the area to madness. As a result, the Cenarion Circle were forced to fell Andrassil, killing it in order to stop its suffering. Forever after, it would be known as "Vordrassil", or "Broken Crown".[7]

Long ago, the great hero Stormhoof of Camp Tunka'lo, brother of Chieftain Swiftspear, fought against the mighty elemental the North Wind. Braving the biting cold and fierce elementals of Frostblade Peak, Stormhoof climbed the mountain alone. Upon reaching the summit, Stormhoof was greeted by the North Wind itself, an air revenant that had enslaved the taunka.[8] Stormhoof sought the  [Horn of Elemental Fury], a powerful relic in the possession of the elemental. Knowing the wind would not give up the horn without a fight, the mighty warrior issued his challenge. For five days, Stormhoof struggled against the wind, and as the sixth day dawned, he banished the wind from Frostblade Peak and took possession of the horn. Battered and injured, Stormhoof departed the mountain for his village. However, the North Wind gathered a host of lesser elementals and attacked Stormhoof as he neared home. The weakened warrior could not defend himself against the onslaught and the North Wind took its revenge. It broke the horn into two pieces, encased them in shiny baubles, and gave them to two powerful gorloc chieftains as tokens of their authority.[9]

At some point, Icemist Village became the capital of the taunka,[2] with it also being referred to as the greatest of the taunka villages, decorated with the tusks and skulls of mammoths.

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath-Logo-Small.png This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

The resurgence of the Lich King ultimately hit the taunka extremely hard. Soon after the Alliance and Horde arrived in Northrend, the taunka, Akiak, had been out searching for his lost mate when he found the undead tauren Trag Highmountain. Buniq, Akiak's mate, had been lost in either the Borean Tundra or the Dragonblight when she was trying to find a relic to prove herself worthy of Akiak. When Akiak traveled with Trag to the Dragonblight, they found her body next to the remains of the great proto-dragon Galakrond, impaled by the spear of a magnataur. Akiak and Trag returned to Taunka'le Village only to discover that it was under attack by the Anub'ar. Trag threw Akiak across the hole from which the nerubian were pouring out from and then jumped into the sinkhole. Not long thereafter the attack stopped, and Akiak knew that the taunka could thank Trag for that.[10]

Not long thereafter, Akiak led a band of taunka on an attempt the drive the Anub'ar away from the taunka lands. During an attack on the nerubian, they once again encountered Trag, who had recently been thrown out of Icecrown. Akiak offered him to stay with the taunka, and Trag gladly accepted the offer.[11] Unfortunately despite this, Taunka'le's woes continued.

The taunka of Taunka'le had long been under siege by the Scourge of the Temple City of En'kilah and the necropolis Naxxanar by the time the Horde and Alliance launched the war against the Lich King. In this dark hour for the taunka, they made contact with the Horde, and established a working relationship with them. The leader of the village, Chieftain Wintergale, followed the advice of his advisors Sage Aeire and Durm Icehide, and sent Horde adventurers struck at the Scourge commanders of Naxxanar, eventually aiding in slaying the San'layn Prince Valanar.[12] Greatmother Taiga also offered missions to deal with Gearmaster Mechazod and his Mechagnome threat.[13] Wind Tamer Barah enlisted the aid of the Horde in recovering the legendary Horn of Elemental Fury, using it to collapse the nerubian tunnels that surrounded the village and kill their leader, Lord Kryxix.[14][15] The chieftain would also personally send Talonga to serve as their ambassador to Garrosh Hellscream.

Despite their best efforts, the war with the Scourge made Taunka'le no longer capable of sustaining the taunka population. Chieftain Wintergale ordered a complete evacuation of the village to the taunka capital of Icemist Village.[16] Unfortunately, Icemist was also attacked and fell under the control of the Scourge. A fissure known as the Pit of Narjun, which led into Azjol-Nerub, opened nearby, allowing the Scourge nerubians to overwhelm the city. The Anub'ar then assaulted and ultimately razed the taunka village of Icemist. During the fall of Icemist, the Anub'ar killed most of the taunka and captured their High Chieftain Roanauk Icemist, then they bound him in magical chains in the middle of Icemist Village.[17][18][19] Many of the taunka were forced to remain as refugees within Westwind Refugee Camp, where they looked to the tauren, Emissary Brighthoof, for guidance.[20]

After the taunka formally joined the Horde,[21] they prepared to strike back against the Anub'ar in order to take back Icemist and free High Chieftain Icemist. While the Horde attacked the Anub'ar by ground and sky to thin their numbers,[22][23] Banthok Icemist set off to the village determined to rescue his father.[24] After acquiring the key, the pair free the imprisoned High Chieftain, and quickly came under attack by Under-King Anub'et'kan. The trio and the adventurers were ultimately successful and killed Anub'et'kan. In a tremendous display of his shamanistic powers, the High Chieftain resurrected the bulk of the defenders of the village, allowing them to fight once more against their oppressors. The taunka ultimately abandoned Icemist, falling back to Agmar's Hammer, where their High Chieftain took the blood oath of the Horde, bringing the taunka into the Horde fully.[25]

In the Howling Fjord, Camp Winterhoof came under siege by the re-awakened vrykul. Their chieftain, Chieftain Ashtotem, sent Longrunner Nanik to find help among the Horde against the vrykul.[26] Accepting the help of the adventurers, Ashtotem sent them and the Winterhoof Brave against Skorn to buy the taunka time, while he would prepare his village for evacuation.[27] After Skorn was conquered, he sent them to disrupt Gjalerbron, especially targeting the enemy vrykul as well as the leader of the necrolords there, Necro Overlord Mezhen.

Meanwhile in the Grizzly Hills, Camp Oneqwah persisted without fear, unlike many of the other taunka villages. Their chieftain, Tormak the Scarred, worked with Scout Vor'takh to aid the Horde's efforts in the area. He was primarily concerned with defeating the ancient enemy of the taunka, the iron dwarves in Dun Argol. To this end, he used the 'assistance' of the captive dwarf, Prospector Rokar, a member of the Explorer's League whose expedition into the iron dwarf city failed.[28] With aid from the Horde and the prospector, the taunka managed to disrupt the iron dwarves' operations in Dun Argol, and kill Iron Thane Furyhammer.[29]

While unusual to see taunka in the Storm Peaks, a small village called Camp Tunka'lo was found in the region, which had been safe from the Scourge attacks that destroyed so many other taunka villages, thanks to its remote location.[30] Horde adventurers were able to aid Xarantaur in finding out the true story of Stormhoof and his battle against the North Wind, the latter of whom was perplexed to find that the taunka of the village had no recollection of what was supposed to be their greatest hero.[31] The adventurer and Xarantaur sought out the ancient taunka chieftain, Chieftain Swiftspear, whose spirit still lingered within Frostfloe Deep[32] Brother of Stormhoof, it was revealed that the North Wind had used its powers to somehow disrupt the timeline, obscuring the story of its defeat.[33] Finding the ancient taunka hero's weapons and armor, the adventurer attuned The Lorehammer to Tunka'lo's people and manifested as Stormhoof within the timeline. Defeating the North Wind and blowing the  [Horn of Elemental Fury] as stated in the timeways, the two restored Stormhoof to the legends of his people.[34][35][36]

Taunka hunters ultimately aided the Argent Crusade in obtaining some of their beasts for the Trial of the Crusader at the Argent Tournament Grounds. They obtained the yeti, Icehowl, and the Hungry Jormungars.[37] The taunka Akiak also patrolled the grounds alongside his friend, Trag Highmountain.


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

By the time of the Cataclysm, the taunka Gaur Icehorn was exiled by his tribe. After being exiled, he canoed down to Azshara and was caught stealing supplies from Valormok. Spiketooth ensured his life by buying him as a slave, and Gaur has since become Spiketooth's best gladiator, who would give 10 silver to any Horde adventurers who managed to beat Gaur.[38]

The taunka Toshe Chaosrender also joined the Earthen Ring as they delved into the region of Vashj'ir. He was noted for his desire to hunt down the naga, holding no fondness for them. While in Vashj'ir, he mentioned that he commanded the elements, offering nothing in return, as was custom amidst his people. He dismissively made note that many tended to think they were a 'druidic' type of people.[39][40] Toshe held a great deal of resentment for the Zin'jatar naga, particularly Fathom-Lord Zin'jatar, whom he held responsible for the massacre of many of the Earthen Ring shaman.[41] Cornering the fathom-lord, the two ensured his demise before returning to the rest of the Earthen Ring.[42]

Toshe later also headed to the Twilight Highlands to aid in battling the Twilight's Hammer.

Dawn of the Aspects

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

The spirit of the taunka Buniq would later appear before Kalecgos when he traveled to Galakrond's Rest in an attempt to return a cursed artifact he had found. Buniq uncovered a severed hand in the snow that held a small orb, telling Kalec some things should not remain buried before vanishing.[43] When Jaina Proudmoore was called to Galakrond's Rest and found the hole Kalec had dug, Buniq again appeared. She informed Jaina that after Kalec left, someone else appeared to investigate the hole.[44] Jaina theorized that Buniq's "ghost" was actually Tyr in disguise.[45] However, this seems unlikely as Tyr had died long beforehand in the Tirisfal Glades.[46]

Warlords of Draenor

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

During the war in Draenor, the taunka chieftain Tormak the Scarred and Sage Paluna ended up leaving Northrend to journey Azeroth together. They eventually traveled at Frostwall on Draenor if the stables were built, looking over the building. They later trained the commander of the garrison in being able to ride various mounts captured on Draenor.

Omu Spiritbreeze could also be found in the Riverside Post in Nagrand, acting as a flight master.


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

During the third invasion of the Burning Legion, Buniq appeared before a paladin adventurer who sought to recover a Spark of Tyr in order to claim  [The Silver Hand]. She then directed the paladin to Jotun.[47]

Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

The Mistscorn tribe of taunka can be found during Island Expeditions. Judging by the title of their leader, Kachota the Exiled, they appear to be an exiled tribe. They are hostile to everyone, including the Horde.

Exploring Azeroth

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

After the war against the Jailer, Muradin Bronzebeard hoped that taunka and the Alliance could find common ground now, but they were still a wary people. Some, such as Chieftain Ashtotem, didn't seem particularly interested in making friends beyond the Horde, with whom they share kindship through the tauren and because the Horde contacted them first. This also revealed that, despite their previous fears of evacuation, Camp Winterhoof remained intact.[4] It was also revealed that while Camp Oneqwah had greatly expanded from the refugees fleeing from the other camps. Taunka'le Village remained in ruins, as well as Icemist Village, both of which were still lost to the Scourge. The Bronzebeard brothers were unsure why they had not retaken their ancestral homes, though speculated that the land may have been tainted, by magic or bad memories.[19][48]

The brothers Bronzebeard also visited Camp Tunka'lo in Storm Peaks, where the sentries were wary of the dwarves when they greeted them from a safe distance, but then recognized they weren't earthen or iron dwarves and were polite after, if still a bit cagey. The dwarves chose not to overstay that small amount of welcome, however.[30]


A taunka scavenger in Hearthstone.

Tenacious and stoic, the taunka are well aware of the rigors of living in the harsh wastes of Northrend. Although they may seem dour or even cold to outsiders, those who come to know them will soon recognize an embattled race of survivors characterized by colossal hearts and unshakable resolve.[49]

The taunka are a stubborn and tenacious people as they have to be to live in Northrend. According to Muradin Bronzebeard, while he didn't have many dealings with the taunka under the Alliance banner, every taunka he ever met as Yorg Stormheart of the Frostborn had a great heart, and an even greater capacity to drink him under the table.[4]


Unlike the tauren, the taunka have survived only by forcing the land and the elements to yield to their will. Their relationship with nature has been one of constant struggle and grim perseverance.[49][50][51] When asked if taunka were dark shaman, Dave Kosak said that "taunka are taunka".[52] The taunka shaman, Toshe Chaosrender, makes it clear he has no bargains with the elements, taking what he needs from them by power alone.[53]


  • The taunka use black polar bear pelts in their religious rites, usually at the funerals of those who hunt black polar bears.[54]
  • They also collect the feathers of noble birds of prey to use in crude fortunetelling ceremonies.[55]
  • The down of the spotted hippogryph is prized by the taunka and used for everything from fletching to ceremonial clothing.[56]
  • Taunka are clan-bound to be paired.[57]
  • The taunka of Camp Winterhoof in the Howling Fjord have been hunting the giant yeti of the local hills for generations. Tradition dictates that in preparation for the hunt, a loud horn which allegedly mimics the mating call of the female yeti is to be crafted from a ram horn before being inscribed with carvings.[58][59]
  • The taunka of Taunka'le Village use steam cured caribou leather for making watertight containers.[60]
  • The taunka bury their dead in burial grounds.[61]


Most of the taunka camps are either destroyed, evacuating, or planning to evacuate. The only two exceptions to this are currently Oneqwah and Tunka'lo, though Camp Winterhoof ultimately decided against evacuating and remained intact.

Notable taunka

Name Role Status Location
Horde  Roanauk Icemist High Chieftain of the taunka Alive Agmar's Hammer & Icemist Village, Dragonblight
Horde  Akiak Companion of Trag Highmountain Alive Argent Tournament Grounds, Icecrown
Horde  Chieftain Ashtotem Chieftain of Camp Winterhoof Alive Camp Winterhoof, Howling Fjord
Neutral  Gaur Icehorn Exile and criminal, gladiator of Spiketooth Alive Deadeye Shore, Durotar
Neutral  Stormhoof Legendary Tunka'lo hero Deceased Camp Tunka'lo, Storm Peaks
Horde  Chieftain Swiftspear Brother of Stormhoof, former chieftain of Camp Tunka'lo Deceased Frostfloe Deep, Storm Peaks
Horde  Tormak the Scarred Chieftain of Camp Oneqwah Alive Camp Oneqwah, Grizzly Hills
Neutral  Toshe Chaosrender Shaman of the Earthen Ring Alive Shimmering Expanse
Horde  Chieftain Wintergale Chieftain of Taunka'le Village Deceased Taunka'le Village, Borean Tundra

Reputation faction

Faction description

These hardy people are cousins of the Tauren and have become valuable scouts for the armies of the Horde as they march northward.


Howling Fjord

Steel Gate
Vengeance Landing or New Agamand

Breadcrumb to Camp Winterhoof, you may only complete one...

Camp Winterhoof

Chieftain Ashtotem has:

While attacking Skorn, find a drop that begins:

While Dealing With Gjalerbron, find a drop that begins:

Greatmother Ankha has:

Longrunner Pembe has:

Sage Edan has:

Wind Tamer Kagan has:

Notes and trivia

The taunka's Wrath of the Lich King beta model.
  • Female taunka share the same model as that as the regular female tauren, but males have a different facial model to the male tauren.
  • The term icemist tauren was introduced with the non-canon RPG and may have the same meaning as the term taunka. This could mean that the icemist tauren are the taunka or have become the taunka. This is further reinforced by the name of the taunka's capital city, Icemist Village.
  • The name "taunka" likely comes from the word "tatanka", the Lakota word for bison. Many elements of the taunka's culture are derived from North Amerindigenous peoples and are shared with the tauren. See Tauren#Notes and trivia for more details.
  • The taunka model underwent a revision in beta to a slightly more aggressive-looking model.



  1. ^ Taunka Windfury
  2. ^ a b c d H [15-30] The Taunka and the Tauren
  3. ^ Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Features/Zones#Borean Tundra
  4. ^ a b c Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 17
  5. ^ H [10-30] Keeping Watch on the Interlopers
  6. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 90
  7. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 124
  8. ^ H [25-30] The Witness and the Hero
  9. ^  [The Legend of the Horn]
  10. ^ Legends Volume 3: Fiend
  11. ^ Legends Volume 4: Fate
  12. ^ H [10-30G3] Breaking Through
  13. ^ H [10-30] Defeat the Gearmaster
  14. ^ H [10-30] The Horn of Elemental Fury
  15. ^ H [10-30] The Collapse
  16. ^ H [10-30] The Fall of Taunka'le Village
  17. ^ H [15-30] Victory Nears...
  18. ^ H [15-30] Chains of the Anub'ar
  19. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 72
  20. ^ H [15-30] A Tauren Among Taunka
  21. ^ H [15-30] Blood Oath of the Horde
  22. ^ H [15-30] The Might of the Horde
  23. ^ H [15-30] Blightbeasts be Damned!
  24. ^ H [15-30] Strength of Icemist
  25. ^ H [15-30] Return of the High Chief
  26. ^ H [10-30] Help for Camp Winterhoof
  27. ^ H [10-30] Skorn must Fall!
  28. ^ H [15-30] The Unexpected 'Guest'
  29. ^ H [15-30] Bringing Down the Iron Thane
  30. ^ a b Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 158
  31. ^ H [25-30] The Witness and the Hero
  32. ^ H [25-30] Memories of Stormhoof
  33. ^ H [25-30] Distortions in Time
  34. ^ H [25-30] Where Time Went Wrong
  35. ^ H [25-30] The Hero's Arms
  36. ^ H [25-30] Changing the Wind's Course
  37. ^ Huntsman Yahto, Huntsman Hakan and Huntsman Lokni
  38. ^ H [1-30] Gaur Icehorn
  39. ^ N [30-35] Rundown
  40. ^ N [30-35] Vortex, completion text
  41. ^ N [30-35] Vengeful Heart
  42. ^ N [30-35] Fathom-Lord Zin'jatar
  43. ^ Dawn of the Aspects Part 1, chapter 5
  44. ^ Dawn of the Aspects Part 3, chapter 5
  45. ^ Dawn of the Aspects Part 5, chapter 4
  46. ^ Legion: Paladin Artifact Review
  47. ^ N Paladin [10-45] The Brother's Trail
  48. ^ a b Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 104
  49. ^ a b The Wrath of the Lich King Bestiary: Taunka
  50. ^ N [30-35] Vortex
  51. ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
  52. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter: "Hi, Dave, can you explan how a Shaman work, use every Shaman Decay? Or only Dark-shamans? What is with the Taunka? Thank you!" "...and that Taunka are Taunka."
  53. ^ N [30-35] Vortex
  54. ^ Mount Journal entry for  [Reins of the Black Polar Bear]
  55. ^ Imperial Eagle Chick
  56. ^ a b H [10-30] Hasty Preparations
  57. ^ Legends Volume 3: Fiend, pg. 17
  58. ^ H [10-30] Making the Horn
  59. ^ H [10-30] Mimicking Nature's Call
  60. ^ H [10-30] Patching Up
  61. ^ H [10-30] Put Them to Rest
  62. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 16

External links