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For other uses, see Horde (disambiguation).
NeutralDark Horde
For the Horde
Main leader None
  Formerly IconSmall Nefarian Nefarian †
IconSmall Rend Warchief Rend Blackhand †
IconSmall OrcGray Male Maim Blackhand †
Secondary leaders IconSmall Ogre Male Highlord Omokk †
IconSmall ForestTroll Male War Master Voone †
IconSmall Ogre Male Gorlop †
IconSmall OrcGray Male Tharil'zun †
IconSmall OrcDeathKnight Male Gath'Ilzogg †
Membership Approximately 5,000[1]
Race(s) Dragonmaw clanDragonmaw clan Orc
OgreOgre Ogre
Forest trollForest troll Forest troll
GoblinGoblin Goblin
IconSmall DrakeBlackBlack dragon Black dragon
IconSmall DrakeRedRed dragon Red dragon (enslaved)
Gnoll Gnoll[2]
DemonDemonDemonDemon Demon
Character classes Barbarian, Fel-sworn, Hunter, Melee hunter, Priest, Scout, Shadowwarder, Warlock, Warrior
Capital Blackrock Spire
Base of operations Blackrock Mountain
Theater of operations Blackrock Mountain, Burning Steppes, Searing Gorge, Redridge Mountains, Wetlands
Language(s) Orcish, Zandali, Goblin, Draconic, Common
Affiliation Black dragonflight
Status Cataclysm Weakened and defeated (after the Fall of the Dark Horde), but some forces yet exist, later ranks bolstered by joining the Twilight's Hammer
Mists of Pandaria Defeated,[3] many members of the Blackrock clan joined the Horde

The Dark Horde,[3][4] also referred to as the "true Horde",[5] is a renegade group of orcs, trolls, ogres, and goblins who dwell in Blackrock Spire and consist largely of the remnants of the Blackrock clan and Dragonmaw clan. They were marshaled by Nefarian and ruled by the self-styled Warchief Rend Blackhand. Unlike the orcs of Thrall's Horde, they remained steadfast to the ideals of the old Horde and embraced the demonic bloodlust.[6]


War Master Voone

War Master Voone, a Smolderthorn troll.

Defeat of the Blackrock clan[]

Blackrock Spire was the base of operations of the old Horde during the Second War.[7][8] At the Siege of Blackrock Spire, Orgrim Doomhammer was captured and sent to Lordaeron as a prisoner, and the Blackrock clan was defeated.[9] The survivors fled to their last bastion of hope, the Dark Portal, and there they fought alongside the Black Tooth Grin clan, some warriors of the Dragonmaw clan, and the Burning Blade clan.[10]

The Alliance ultimately destroyed the Burning Blade clan,[11] and the Blackrock clan and the warriors from the Dragonmaw clan were defeated and imprisoned.[11] Although some Dragonmaw warriors died at the Dark Portal defense, most of that clan was still at Grim Batol.

Aftermath of the Second War[]

At the end of the Second War, Rend Blackhand and his brother Maim, fled to find sanctuary within the mountainous stronghold of Blackrock Spire. It was there that Rend declared himself Warchief of the weakened Blackrock clan, slowly rebuilding his forces with whatever orcs had survived and could make their way to the Burning Steppes, leading to the foundation of Dark Horde.[12] The Blackrock orcs struck a bargain with the local Dark Iron dwarves. The dwarves descended even deeper into the mountain, while the orcs occupied the higher levels. However, the bargain was never intended to be kept.[13]

Two years later after the Second War, when the Horde of Draenor reopened the Dark Portal, an expedition of death knights and orc chieftains reached Blackrock to parlay with Rend and Maim, trying to get them back under Ner'zhul's leadership. The expedition was mostly interested in the Dark Horde's enslaved red dragons, but any help was refused by Warchief Rend, who wanted the Horde of Draenor to fail so he could gather all its survivors to him and start another war of conquest on the Alliance. The black dragon Deathwing then offered the help of his own flight to Teron Gorefiend, and the Aspect then ordered his son Nefarian to make his home in the upper reaches of Blackrock Mountain and make this Dark Horde his personal army.[12]

Conflict arose in Blackrock Spire between the Blackrock clan and the Dark Iron dwarves that led to many Blackrock orc casualties. They managed to displace the dwarves in the upper portions of the mountain, but only after the death of Maim.[14]

The Smolderthorn tribe, Firetree tribe and Spirestone clan retained their alliances with the Blackrock clan.[4]

After the destruction of the second Dark Portal, there was only one clan that was large and strong enough to disrupt the peace in Lordaeron, the Dragonmaw clan, led by Nekros Skullcrusher and located in Grim Batol. They held control over the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza and the red dragonflight by using the Demon Soul. Nekros planned to reunite the falling Horde, unleash the red dragons over the Alliance, and continue the conquest of Azeroth. Fortunately, Rhonin and his companions, aided with dwarven resistance fighters, destroyed the Demon Soul and set Alexstrasza free. Alexstrasza was full of vengeance and incinerated Nekros and most of the Dragonmaw clan. The few survivors were rounded up and thrown into the internment camps.[15][16]

World of Warcraft[]

WoW Icon update This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

Nefarian has taken control of Blackrock Spire and has made the Dark Horde as his pawns. They constantly fight the Dark Iron dwarves and their master, Ragnaros, that reside in the depths of the volcano. Nefarian and his brood are at work creating a Chromatic dragonflight with the powers of all the flights to release on the fire elementals and eventually the races of Azeroth.[17] They still practice demonic magic and their warlocks can summon demons to help them in battle. Also, they have contracted some goblin mercenaries and train worgs for war.

Apparently, the Firegut ogres and the Dark Horde have made an alliance, as the ogres keep the mineral-rich Dreadmaul Rock guarded and kept the supply lines open at all times.[18]

The Dragonmaws on Azeroth apparently escaped the internment camps and are now led by Chieftain Nek'rosh, son of Nekros Skullcrusher,[19] now they've regained strength, and have an encampment northeast of Menethil Harbor.[20] Nek'rosh has built catapults and aims to lay siege to Menethil.[20]

When the Horde champions sent by Thrall invaded Blackrock Spire and killed Dal'rend, the rest of his followers scattered, depriving the black dragonflight of their protectors.[21]


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Due to Nefarian's and his father's return, they have allied themselves with Deathwing[22] and are allies of the Twilight's Hammer clan. A Cataclysm has cracked the once natural defenses buffering the kingdom of Stormwind from its enemies and left openings that were taken advantage of. The Blackrock orcs have managed to sneak into Northshire through a break in the southern Elwynn Mountains though they were defeated by the Stormwind Army. Furthermore, the Dark Horde have also begun invading the Redridge Mountains in force as well. They have allied with the Redridge pack[2] and are under the command of the dragon Darkblaze. An Alliance adventurer deputized by the Stormwind Army travels to Redridge to aid the beleaguered Stormwind guards and reform Bravo Company to combat the threat. In the Burning Steppes storyline, Alliance players join John J. Keeshan and Colonel Troteman (or Eitrigg and Ariok for Horde players) in launching a retaliatory crushing blow to the Dark Horde.

Mists of Pandaria[]

Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.

With their allies—the Twilight's Hammer clan and the black dragonflight—defeated and their warchief Rend Blackhand dead, many members of the Blackrock clan joined the Horde under Garrosh Hellscream, who recently granted the clan amnesty.[23] They may have joined the Kor'kron, as evidenced by Malkorok and possibly Kor'kron Assassins.


Icon-search-48x48 This section contains information that needs to be cleaned up. Reason: replace the Dark Factions bit and reference with a canon one.

Rend Blackhand, son of Blackhand the Destroyer, is in charge of the Dark Horde. He calls himself warchief, and all the other members of the Dark Horde address him as such. The true ruler of Blackrock Spire is Nefarian the black dragon. All Dragonmaw orcs belong to Rend's force; their clan leader, Chieftain Nek'rosh Skullcrusher, leads one band far to the north, in the Wetlands.[24]

From the Troll Compendium - Forest Troll Tribes:

...the Dark Horde (is) a renegade group of orcs, trolls, and ogres who dwell in Blackrock Spire. Commanded by Rend Blackhand, the Dark Horde has not given up the battle to claim Azeroth, although Rend's forces are significantly smaller than Thrall's Horde. A group of warlocks drives the Dark Horde, which has not relinquished the original Horde's involvement in demonic magic. The Dark Horde is essentially still fighting the Second War, but Rend and his group know that they stand little chance of success, despite their alliance with the black dragonflight.
The Dark Horde's numbers are dwindling, and it has no means of recruiting new members. Realistically these evil individuals are well aware that their days are numbered. Such knowledge has given them a grim mindset: they are desperate, bitter, and completely ruthless in battle.

Military tactics[]


One of the black dragons allied with the Dark Horde.

Army of Black Dragon and Dark Horde

The army of black dragons and Dark Horde.

The remnants of the Blackrock and Dragonmaw clans, along with their forest troll, ogre and goblin allies, form a brutal though small force. They are outnumbered in a hostile land, these orcs and their allies have developed more sophisticated tactics than those they used in the past. The original Horde that came from Draenor had the benefit of large numbers; it appeared that for every orc that fell, ten more came to take his place. Now, these renegades temper their chaotic, bloodthirsty natures with caution, as they no longer have the forces to support reckless charges.

The Dark Horde uses the terrain around Blackrock Spire to its advantage. Orc and goblin lookouts hide behind carefully stacked rockfalls they can trigger in an instant, burying enemies on the path below. The renegades engage enemies in bottlenecks, where a pack of ogres or forest trolls make short work of assailants forced to approach one at a time. The renegades also know the best ambush sites on the Spire, where they throw rocks and fire missile weapons at enemies in shallow canyons.

When engaging enemies outside their territory, these renegades prefer to scout the land and pick defensible positions before attacking. The orcs try to have one or two locations to which they retreat when hard-pressed, usually rocky terrain with plenty of cover or thick forest (unless they are fighting night elves). The warriors attempt to lure their foes into unfamiliar ground where, if the orcs have no advantage, at least neither does the opposition.

The Dark Horde places its toughest warriors, usually ogres, in the front ranks, keeping weaker fighters in the back with ranged weapons and healing magic. In rare cases, the strongest orc leaders might appear mounted on the backs of black drakes, but such a sight is never seen outside Blackrock Spire. The melee fighters use intelligent tactics in battle, however, after a few attacks the bloodlust can take over the orc. Warriors lose control and lash out wildly at their opponents. Instead of using multiple attacks on one enemy, an orc may swing once at every enemy in range. These renegades train themselves to focus their attacks on the strongest enemy they can see until he falls, but in the heat of combat they often forget such training and may chase weakened stragglers across the battlefield.

Two types of spellcasters support the renegades. First, orc warlocks call down annihilating magical barrages and summon fiendish monstrosities. Second, forest troll healers, usually voodoo priests, assist the troops with healing magic and defensive spells. Orc warlocks who serve the Burning Legion also assist them.[25]

Members and allies of the Dark Horde[]

Omokk Map Art

An ogre of the Dark Horde.

Chromatic Whelp

The experimental chromatic dragonflight assisted the Dark Horde.


IconSmall OrcGray MaleIconSmall OrcGray Female Orc - Orcs make up the majority of the Dark Horde.

OgreOgre Ogre - Many ogres decided to stay under the leadership of the son of Blackhand.

  • Firegut - Allies of the Blackrock orcs. They work closely with those orcs, keeping the mineral-rich Dreadmaul Rock guarded and the supply lines open at all times.
  • Spirestone - A remnant of the Old Horde's ogre forces during the Second War. After the war, a sizable number of orcs led by Rend Blackhand and his brother Maim managed to return to their base at Blackrock Mountain.
  • Torchbelcher - An ogre tribe allied with the Dragonmaw clan of the Wetlands.
  • Stonegullet - a group of ogres found in the Searing Gorge. A group of them barricaded the road leading south to Blackrock Spire, and demand tribute from all wishing to pass, and with the help of three black drakes to ensure that all travelers paid the toll.

IconSmall ForestTroll MaleIconSmall ForestTroll Female Forest troll - A few forest trolls intend to honor the pact the Horde made with the forest trolls and continue to follow what they see as the true Horde.

  • Firetree - One of the forest troll tribes that joined the Horde during the Second War after the Horde rescued their leader Zul'jin from the human forces. The Second War ended with the defeat of the Horde, but Rend Blackhand refused to give up the fight, some orcs, trolls, and ogres followed him, including the Firetree tribe.
  • Smolderthorn - One of two tribes of forest trolls that belong to the Dark Horde. Smolderthorn trolls revere the memory of Zul'jin and consider the Firetree tribe acceptable allies, but despise all other forest trolls as deserters, particularly the Revantusk tribe, which is loosely affiliated with Thrall's Horde.

IconSmall Goblin MaleIconSmall Goblin Female Goblin - The Dark Horde has hired many goblins to assist them in assassination and forging.

IconSmall Daemon Demons - Many members of the Dark Horde practice demon worship and summon imps, felhounds, and felguards to their aid.


Goblin Laborers

A goblin hired by the Dark Horde.

IconSmall DragonBlackIconSmall DrakeBlack Black dragonflight - led by IconSmall NefarianNefarian, in truth they are controlling the Dark Horde.

  • IconSmall DragonRedIconSmall DragonBlueIconSmall DragonGreenIconSmall DragonBronze Corrupted dragonflights - The orcs have corrupted many dragons to do their bidding.
  • Chromatic dragon Chromatic dragon - The chromatic dragonflight of Blackrock Spire was created by Nefarian's magical experiments, using the blood of dragons from the other dragonflights.

Gnoll Redridge gnolls

Ritualist Tarak, a Gurubashi jungle troll

Command structure[]

IconSmall Rend Rend Blackhand

In the RPG[]

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

Two orcs and a dragon of the Dark Horde near Blackrock Spire.

In the aftermath of the Second War, the Black Tooth Grin clan was almost destroyed.[26] With this, the Second War was over. However, Rend and Maim survived and slipped into the shadows.[26]

They became a beacon for orcs who longed for the old days, and soon, their ranks began to swell again. They are fighting a war which they are unaware ended some time ago.[27]

Orc warlocks and other clans that refuse Thrall's leadership are strongest in Azeroth around the Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands.[28]

Foundation of the Dark Horde[]

After the Second War, Rend and Maim, serving as dual chieftains over the defeated Black Tooth Grin clan and the weakened Blackrock clan, apparently rescued some of their warriors from the prison camps, set up a base in Blackrock Spire, and formed the Dark Horde.[29] The Smolderthorn tribe, Firetree tribe and Spirestone clan retained their alliances with the Blackrock clan.[4][27] The Dragonmaw clan was loyal to Blackhand before his death, and when he was killed they pledged their loyalty to his sons; thus they remained with them as well.[30]

Rend Blackhand returned from the shadows and took full control of the Blackrock clan after the death of Orgrim Doomhammer.[31]

They were in constant war with Stormwind parties and Firegut ogres.[32] Eventually, Dark Iron dwarves from Blackrock Depths tried to destroy the Dark Horde. The Dark Horde fought back, and Maim was killed in savage battle. His sacrifice, plus Rend's "alliance" with the black dragonflight, allowed them to drive back the Dark Irons and maintain their hold on Blackrock Spire.[29] Apparently Firegut ogres were enemies of the Dark Horde as they were unwilling to accept non-ogre allies.[32]

They allied with the Torchbelcher tribe and the Torchbelcher provide them with warriors and mages.[33] It's rumored that Rend is willing to allow nagas, furbolgs and goblins to join him.[34]

Rend Blackhand and his orcs had several encampments in the foothills of Blackrock Spire, claiming the mountain as their own, but refusing entering in the depths of it.[32] They prefer to stay near the Dark Portal.[28]

Now the Dark Horde is barricaded inside Blackrock spire under Rend Blackhand's command. They are as bloodthirsty and savage as the Horde of old and are as barbaric as the orcs from the First and Second Wars.[35]

Thrall would have eliminated this renegade group if it wasn't for Nefarian, because the big black dragon is protecting them.[27]

Allegiance with the Forsaken[]

The Forsaken of Lordaeron happily aid the Dark Horde in the area. They don't care whether the orcs are evil or not; it's actually easier for them if their allies are evil.[28] Recently the Dark Horde may no longer accept assistance from the Forsaken. The Dark Horde may have started attacking them because they "support Thrall's Horde" which they believe is not the real Horde.[29]


Skin color[]

Blackrock Scout

A gray-skinned Blackrock orc.

Unlike other orcs, the skin tone of some of the orcs within the Dark Horde is a dull gray rather than green. Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War revealed that this skintone is a result of the clan living inside of Blackrock Mountain without sunlight for years.[37]

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.

In Warlords of Draenor, the orcs of the Blackrock clan are shown to have gray skin. It seems that the clan has had the gray skintone since long before the invasion of Azeroth and the drinking of Mannoroth's blood. However, since the gray skintone has never been shown until World of Warcraft, and they were previously depicted as green as the other orc clans, it's possible that this has been retconned already.


See also[]


  1. ^ Troll Compendium: The Trolls and the Horde: "A force of approximately five thousand strong, the Dark Horde regards itself as the true Horde, and believes that Thrall and his followers are foolish weaklings."
  2. ^ a b A [7-30] They've Wised Up...
  3. ^ a b Ultimate Visual Guide
  4. ^ a b c Troll Compendium: Forest Troll Tribes
  5. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3
  6. ^ The Story of Warcraft#Assault on Blackwing Lair
  7. ^ Tides of Darkness
  8. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2
  9. ^ Assault on Blackrock Spire (WC2 Human)
  10. ^ The Great Portal (WC2 Human)
  11. ^ a b Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual, The Aftermath of the Second War
  12. ^ a b Beyond the Dark Portal, chapter 8
  13. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 42
  14. ^ H [60] Eitrigg's Wisdom
  15. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, pg. 3
  16. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, pg. 10
  17. ^ Underdev/Blackwing Lair
  18. ^ A [52] Extinguish the Firegut
  19. ^ A [26] War Banners
  20. ^ a b A [26] Nek'rosh's Gambit
  21. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 121
  22. ^ Grand Magus Doane
  23. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 114
  24. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 134
  25. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 72
  26. ^ a b Horde Player's Guide, pg. 168
  27. ^ a b c Dark Factions, pg. 133
  28. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 166
  29. ^ a b c Dark Factions, pg. 136
  30. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 171
  31. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 167
  32. ^ a b c Lands of Conflict, pg. 43
  33. ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 80
  34. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 135
  35. ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 42
  36. ^ N [60] A Light in Dark Places
  37. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 17