- This article is about the main universe Blackhand. For his alternate universe counterpart, see Blackhand (alternate universe). For his appearance in the Warcraft movie, see Blackhand (film universe). For other uses, see Blackhand (disambiguation).
|Affiliation(s)||Blackrock clan, Sythegore Arm, Horde, Shadow Council|
|Occupation||Warchief of the Horde, Chieftain of the Blackrock clan|
|Relative(s)||Urukal (mate), Dal'rend, Maim (sons), Griselda (daughter)|
Blackhand was the chieftain of the mighty Blackrock clan and the first Warchief of the Old Horde until he was killed by Orgrim Doomhammer near the end of the First War. He was known throughout Draenor and Azeroth alike as a brutal tyrant.
Legends: A Warrior Made
Blackhand once visited the Frostwolf Village only to witness a large fire. Blackhand saw Draka hardly able to lift a bucket of water, and he took it as a sign of weakness on the part of the Frostwolf clan. He told that if such a frail child had been born in Blackrock clan they would have killed her. Because of this, Garad exiled Kelkar, Zuura, and Draka to the outskirts of the village.
Battle with ogres
A warlord with massive musculature and a dominating presence, the chieftain of the Blackrock clan formed brilliant strategies and maintained rigorous order within his armies. He could always turn the tide of battle. He could always find the enemy's weakness. When ogres attacked and his clan faced annihilation, he orchestrated a daring last-minute triumph alongside his second-in-command, Orgrim. On the eve of battle, the chieftain reclaimed a famous weapon, the Doomhammer, and restored hope for victory.
Rise of the Horde
As all the chieftains, Blackhand was present during a Kosh'harg festival in Nagrand. Later on he went to a meeting to Oshu'gun, where Ner'zhul told them that draenei were their enemies. At first, Blackhand roared in distrust to Ner'zhul's declaration, but changed his mind after learning that other shamans had visions similar to the one described by Ner'zhul. After this, Blackhand then started to attack draenei hunters.
A Raider of the Sythegore Arm, and one of the most honored warriors in the Horde, Blackhand became the renowned chieftain of the powerful Blackrock clan on Draenor. Known as a tactical genius and a ruthless dictator who demanded respect from his warriors, his ego and lust for power made him very easy to manipulate — a fact which Gul'dan discovered very quickly. Through political manipulation and by stoking the embers of Blackhand's ego, Gul'dan was able to convince the Blackrock chieftain that he was a respected equal in the warlock's dark scheme, both the public leader of the Horde and a member of the secret Shadow Council; he was in fact merely a means to an end for the evil warlock. With popular support — no doubt manipulated by Gul'dan — Blackhand was elected Warchief of the newly-formed Orcish Horde, but kept in line with Gul'dan's objectives through subtle bribery and outright blackmail.
One day, Gul'dan approached Blackhand and asked him and his clan to create a pair of daggers for his personal assassin, Garona Halforcen, to use. More specifically, he wanted the daggers to be created from a mysterious type of ore no orc had ever seen before and to be imbued with a power that would only reveal itself when the time was right. Blackhand agreed to make the weapons himself in his foundry. As he quenched the blades, he felt a terrible, dark presence fill them with unspeakable might — the raw hatred of the demon lord Kil'jaeden sinking deep within the daggers and radiating untamed agony. The Warchief named the weapons and , for he knew they would never be satisfied unless they were drinking the blood of new victims.
Blackhand eagerly offered all of his shamans, cut off by the spirits for waging their demon-incited war against the draenei, to become the first Horde warlocks. In order to increase the number of warriors the Horde would be able to field against the draenei, Blackhand even had his own children's ages accelerated, making them battle-ready. He commanded Durotan to do the same with his Frostwolves, but refused, and so Blackhand gave him another task - to lead an attack on Telmor. After its fall, Blackhand's family moved to the town. The Warchief also enlisted the aid of a group of ogres led by Krol. Commanding from the Hellfire Citadel, Blackhand directed the later campaigns against the draenei, including the invasion of the draenei temple of Karabor. After Karabor's fall, the orcish clans gathered at the Throne of Kil'jaeden, where everyone was certain that Blackhand was going to be the first to drink the blood of Mannoroth, but instead it was Grommash Hellscream who stepped first. Blackhand himself refused his daughter Griselda from drinking. After the orcs consumed Mannoroth's blood, the draenei's stronghold of Shattrath City fell and Blackhand searched for the body of the Prophet Velen in the ruins, but with no success.
The First War
Leading the Horde through the Dark Portal after defeating the draenei and after the first failed attack on Stormwind Keep, Blackhand conducted the entire war effort against the Kingdom of Stormwind led by King Llane Wrynn in what became known as the First War.
Warchief Blackhand ordered raiding parties to cut deep into Stormwind's lands to drive panic into the human populace. Entire villagers in Brightwood, Westfall, and the southern Redridge Mountains fell, their inhabitants either killed or forced to flee. By the time Stormwind's patrols rode to defend the villages, the Horde was already gone. They were an enemy unlike any the humans had ever faced.
Deciding to use the orcs' mobility against them, the King's Champion Anduin Lothar studied the pattern of targets the Horde would strike and set up ambushes along their paths of retreat. In some cases, small units of human knights were able to bring down entire orc raiding parties without any casualties. The orcs soon realized the humans were unlike any enemy they had ever faced as well.
Three years after the Dark Portal had been opened, the orcish raids on the countryside had razed farms, towns, villages, forges, and trade houses, causing ruin to Stormwind's economy. Even more dire, many sources of food supply had been destroyed or fallen into the Horde's control, threatening Stormwind City with running out of supplies in a few months. With this knowledge in mind, Warchief Blackhand decided to bring the Horde north to conquer Redridge Mountains and from there launch an attack on Stormwind City. The Horde marched on the foothills of Redridge with little resistance and believed the humans would not attack before they reached Stormwind City, which was exactly what Lothar wanted them to think.
An orc raiding party led by Blackhand went into the mountains hoping to claim Lakeshire. However, Lothar and his knights suddenly charged down the slopes without warning and surrounded the orcs in a spectacular ambush. The Horde raiders fought hard but almost all of them were slain. Lothar himself had almost killed Blackhand, but the two Shadow Council warlocks accompanying Blackhand had turned the tide of battle with their fel fire and forced Lothar to withdraw. Blackhand was humiliated by his brush with death and blamed the Shadow Council for not sensing the ambush. He personally executed the two warlocks that saved his life for incompetence, which angered Gul'dan as they were his subordinates and limited in number. Weeks later, a larger force took Lakeshire and the surrounding land.
After Brightwood, Westfall, and the Redridge Mountains had fallen, the Horde marched onto Stormwind City, the capital of the Kingdom of Stormwind. Thousands of Horde soldiers marched through Elwynn Forest and encircled Stormwind, cutting off all access except for the sea. Blackhand had ordered Kilrogg Deadeye and Cho'gall to lead their Bleeding Hollow and Twilight's Hammer clans in the assault on Stormwind. To weaken the city's defenses, siege engines bombarded the city walls through the night, and at dawn Kilrogg and Cho'gall launched their attack. While orcs charged the battlements, warlocks engulfed Stormwind's soldiers in fel fire, resulting in staggering losses. As it seemed Stormwind would fall that day, suddenly cries of an attack came from the Horde's rear lines. Lothar and the majority of Stormwind's knights had moved around the Horde by sea. The King's Commander was now leading a charge through Elwynn Forest, catching the orcs in the rearguard completely by surprise as the knights cut through their lines. As the Bleeding Hollow and Twilight's Hammer tried to push back the knights, Stormwind's large gates opened and soldiers poured out of the city to flank the orcs in a counterattack. Outflanked on both sides and suffering many casualties, the orcs were left with no choice but to flee. This was the greatest disaster to ever happen to the Horde. Blackhand was infuriated and barely stopped himself from executing Kilrogg and Cho'gall because their clan members might revolt. The Horde withdrew to Redridge to devise a new plan.
Soon after Gul'dan fell into a coma after attempting to steal information pertaining to the Tomb of Sargeras from the mind of Medivh, Blackhand was left vulnerable. Seizing the opportunity provided by the powerful warlock's incapacitation, Blackhand's second-in-command, Orgrim Doomhammer — later known as the Backstabber for the deed he was about to commit — decided to seize power from the puppet Warchief, hoping he could lead his wayward people from the path they had taken. Orgrim wasn't pleased at forced to kill as he served him as his second-in-command and was sworn to fight beside him. But tradition allowed a warrior to challenge his chieftain for supremacy and Doomhammer was forced to do that. Doomhammer defeated Blackhand in a mak'gora and crushed his skull, becoming both Warchief of the Horde and Chieftain of the Blackrock. Orgrim then led the Horde to the victory in the First War.
Blackhand's bloodthirsty reign would leave a lasting mark on the future of the Horde, particularly his own clan. Rather than joining with Thrall's Horde, the Blackrock clan would become a part of the Dark Horde, a prominent threat to both the Horde and Alliance, convinced that their savage ways were that of the "true" Horde. This hostility would last until the reign of Warchief Garrosh Hellscream, who granted amnesty to those Blackrock orcs willing to rejoin the Horde.
During the Fourth War, Varok Saurfang reflected on what the Horde's legacy truly was with King Anduin Wrynn. He recalled how Blackhand had led the first Horde's march to Azeroth on the Path of Glory, which was paved with the bones of their victims. He concluded that the monstrous actions of Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner showed that she was the true inheritor of Blackhand's bloody legacy, contrasted against Thrall and Vol'jin's diplomatic tendencies.
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Appearance and retcons
Blackhand's design has changed significantly several times since his original introduction. In artwork for the Warcraft I and Warcraft II game manuals, as well as in the canceled Warcraft Adventures, he was depicted with a distinctive antlered helmet, a feature that is noticeably missing from his first World of Warcraft appearance in the form of a chess piece in the Karazhan Chess Event. His appearance in Warcraft Legends - A Warrior Made is identical to his chess event model.
In the alternate universe of Warlords of Draenor, Blackhand was depicted as bald, with scarred, burnt skin, glowing eyes, smoldering black armor and with a fist encased in molten rock. The origin of the stone hand was explained in the web comic Blackhand, which depicted the unnamed Blackrock chieftain being enveloped by lava and his fist encased in stone by the furies upon attempting to retrieve the Doomhammer. After the battle against the ogres was won, the Blackrock orcs took to calling their chieftain "Blackhand". Several sources, including Words of Wind and Earth, the shaman artifact reveal, and Azeroth Armory, indicated the events of the comic to be canonical for the main universe Blackhand as well, retconning his previous depictions.
However, with the release of World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, Blackhand's design was changed to be nearly identical to his appearance in the Warcraft movie, with a black hand tattoo in place of a stone fist. Matt Burns explained that Blizzard had ultimately decided to move away from Blackhand's Warlords of Draenor design and backstory; the main universe Blackhand may still have helped Orgrim retrieve the Doomhammer, but he was not consumed by fire. Notably, Blackhand is the only character whose design from the movie was later adopted by the canon universe, though Thrall's new appearance in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, is heavily influenced by that of movie Durotan's.
In the RPG
Blackhand's Fangs were throwing axes given by Blackhand to Blackrock orcs.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans
In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, Blackhand briefly appeared during a cutscene. It was mentioned that Durotan, Blackhand and Doomhammer were three blood brothers, but that Gul'dan eventually manipulated the orc against his former friends.
Blackhand's antlered helm could be found in the stomach of Deathwing as an easter egg.
Notes and trivia
- During the Fourth War, Varok Saurfang declared that Sylvanas Windrunner had inherited Blackhand's bloody legacy.
- In a vision during the fight with Yogg-Saron, Garona can be seen reporting to King Llane that Blackhand is leading the assault upon Stormwind City. The Last Guardian also mention this, but the Ultimate Visual Guide and Warcraft I imply and The Dark Portal and the Fall of Stormwind directly says that it was Orgrim Doomhammer who led the assault. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2 reinforces the Warcraft I, in-game book, and UVG version.
- In the original lore from Warcraft II, Gul'dan learned about Blackhand and installed him as the Warchief of the Horde right after the Dark Portal was opened and after the Horde failed in their first assault on Stormwind Keep. The Rise of the Horde novel set Blackhand's ascension as the Warchief over 5 years before the opening of the Dark Portal.
- As a result of retcons, there is an inconsistency in A Warrior Made--Part 1, where he is already called Blackhand even though this would probably take place before Blackhand, considering Draka and Durotan are depicted as children (Orgrim would be around the same age as Durotan).
- The planned Warlords heroes for Warcraft III had antlered helmets similar to the one Blackhand originally wore.
- The Mythic Blackhand's Battlegear set features what looks like metal antlers on the helmet, which could be a reference to his original look.
- With Thrall and Sylvanas Windrunner within the Shadowlands campaign, Vol'jin within the , and Ner'zhul and Garrosh Hellscream being present within the Sanctum of Domination, Blackhand and Orgrim Doomhammer are the only former Warchiefs of the Horde to not feature in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.
Even though the story of Blackhand's hand changed from being transformed into stone to simply being tattooed black, he likely still derived his name from his hand's appearance. If so, the Blackrock chieftain's original name is unknown.
- ^ a b Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 123
- ^ Legends Volume 4, A Warrior Made--Part 1, 131
- ^ The Characters of Warcraft: Blackhand
- ^ Blackhand
- ^ Words of Wind and Earth
- ^ a b Rise of the Horde
- ^ a b Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, The History of Orcish Ascension, The Mastery of Forces - Medivh and Blackhand
- ^ a b Blood Ledger
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 124
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 129
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 131
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 132
- ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 2
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 121
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
- ^ Matt Burns on Twitter (2017-03-11). Retrieved on 2017-03-16. “Yeah that was something we ultimately decided to go away from in Chronicle. Not to say he didn't help Orgrim get the--”
- ^ Matt Burns on Twitter (2017-03-11). Retrieved on 2017-03-16. “--hammer back, but just the stuff related to him being "consumed" in fire.”
- ^ Bill Roper on Gamespot
- ^ Negotiation – Cinematic (Spoiler)
- ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 315 - 317 (ebook)
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
Chieftain of the Blackrock Clan
Ruler of the Blackrock Spire
Warchief of the Horde
(conjointly with Gul'dan)