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This article is about Gul'dan from the main universe. For Gul'dan from the alternate universe Draenor, see Gul'dan (alternate universe). For other uses, see Gul'dan (disambiguation).
Image of Gul'dan
Title Darkness Incarnate, Destroyer of Dreams,[1][2]
Great Betrayer[3]
Betrayer of the Orcs[4]
Gender Male
Race Orc
Class Warlock, Necrolyte, Necromancer,[5][6] Shaman (formerly)
Affiliation(s) Stormreaver clan, Independent
Former affiliation(s) Shadow Council, Burning Legion,[7] Old Horde, Shadowmoon clan
Occupation Master of the Shadow Council, Chieftain of the Stormreaver clan
Location Apostate's Reach, Tomb of Sargeras
Status Deceased
Mentor(s) Ner'zhul, Kil'jaeden
Student(s) Cho'gall

“I am Gul'dan... I am darkness incarnate. I will not be denied.”

The History of Orcish Ascension

Gul'dan was the first orcish warlock as well as the de facto founder of the Horde. He betrayed both his people and his mentor Ner'zhul to the demon lord Kil'jaeden for personal gain and power, and was directly responsible for the orcs' fall to demonic enslavement and their subsequent invasion of Azeroth. Tutored by the leaders of the Burning Legion, he is considered one of the most powerful warlocks to have ever existed.[8] He founded the Shadow Council and created the first death knights.[2] Gul'dan often referred to himself as "Darkness Incarnate" and "The Destroyer of Dreams."[2][9]

Gul'dan serves as the overarching antagonist in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, the main antagonist in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, and a posthumous antagonist for the rest of the Warcraft franchise, though his alternate version does appear as one of the main antagonists in two expansions of World of Warcraft.


Early life[]

Gul'dan HS Book of Heroes

The young Gul'dan as an outcast in Gorgrond.

Gul'dan was born crippled, weak and deformed in a village in Gorgrond.[10] His condition made him a target for constant mockery and abuse, for which he hated his clan. When the others finally tried to beat him to death to be rid of him, the clan's shaman stopped them and told Gul'dan that he saw greatness in him, advising him to go to the Throne of the Elements to seek his destiny. Gul'dan angrily rejected the shaman, and the chieftain banished Gul'dan from the village.

The bitterness that had sustained him all his life ate at him until nothing was left. After months of starvation and wandering alone through the wastes, Gul'dan began to consider that the safety of a clan might be better than endless suffering. He finally heeded the old shaman's words and, dragging himself to the Throne of the Elements, offered himself in the service of whatever would end his anguish. The spirits of fire, earth, water, and air approached him but, sensing the darkness and fury within the orc's heart,[10] violently recoiled from him. However, in the absence of the furies, Kil'jaeden[10] began to whisper to him. The demon lord offered Gul'dan power in return for becoming the harbinger of his fury.

Kil'jaeden needed a public figure to unite the orcs against the draenei, but Gul'dan could not inspire or lead his people by example. Kil'jaeden ordered him to ally with someone who could, but first he would need to eliminate everyone who knew of his past.[11] Gul'dan returned to his village, draped in tattered robes. When the chieftain furiously reminded Gul'dan that he was never allowed to return to his people, Gul'dan roared that he had no people and obliterated the chieftain with fel energy. Gul'dan then went on a rampage, killing all of his former brethren. As the village burned, Gul'dan spotted the village shaman - the only source of any relative kindness in his life. Gul'dan earnestly thanked the shaman, saying that he had found his destiny, then killed him as well. Claiming the shaman's staff and a ring, Gul'dan left the burning ruins of his birthplace behind forever. Its name and existence would be lost to history - just as the vengeful Gul'dan preferred.[12]

Rise of the Horde[]

Chronicle2 Hand of Gul'dan

Gul'dan destroys Draenor's connection to the elements.

Chronicle2 Shadow Council

Gul'dan lords over his former master.

Chronicle2 Blood-curse

Grommash about to accept the blood-curse.

Careful to hide his fel powers, Gul'dan approached the Shadowmoon clan, whose shaman commanded respect from all orcs, perfect for Kil'jaeden's plan. He told them that his village had been destroyed by ogres and he was the only survivor. Orcs accepting newcomers into clans was uncommon, but the Shadowmoon took pity on Gul'dan and did just that. Gul'dan carefully observed the clan's shaman for one that would work, and eventually settled on the chieftain Ner'zhul. He was dedicated, forthright, and persistent, but also held turmoil and sorrow because of the death of his mate Rulkan and the recent trouble with elemental spirits. Gul'dan preyed on Ner'zhul's inner darkness. He told the chieftain of his own troubles, of the family and friends he had lost at his village, and in time befriended him, and convinced him to take him on as an, unbeknownst to him, pretend shaman apprentice. Through Gul'dan, Kil'jaeden now had access to a public figure. As the demon began to manipulate Ner'zhul, he tasked Gul'dan with making the orcs see the draenei as enemies.[11] Gul'dan was present at the Kosh'harg celebration in Nagrand.[13]

As Ner'zhul rallied the orcs for a war against the draenei at the behest of a powerful ancestor referred to as "The Beautiful One" (in truth, Kil'jaeden in disguise), Gul'dan supported Ner'zhul fully. However, when Ner'zhul began to notice that they could no longer call upon the power of the elements or the ancestors, the shaman began to sense something was amiss. He discovered at Oshu'gun that he had been duped by Kil'jaeden and attempted to back out. To Ner'zhul's horror, he discovered that Gul'dan had seen everything at Oshu'gun and told Kil'jaeden of it all before Ner'zhul returned.

As a necessity of his bid for power, Gul'dan trained a number of like-minded and powerful orcs, whom he named the Shadow Council. The Council was soon using its power and influence to direct almost every aspect of orc society, so as to distract those few who opposed his dark ideals from their true masters, Gul'dan and Kil'jaeden. He opened schools of demonology and necromancy to teach shamans new power to replace their lost connections to the elements, transforming them into necrolytes and warlocks. To seal the bargain between him and Kil'jaeden, Gul'dan and the Shadow Council offered the clan chieftains the Blood of Mannoroth. The first chieftain to accept his gift was Grommash Hellscream, with majority of the remaining following suit right after. The resulting Horde was bloodthirsty, barbaric, and evil, an extension of the demons whom they now worshiped.

While creating the Shadow Council Gul'dan would encounter the ogre Cho'gall, who had been forced to flee from Highmaul after escaping assassination. Gul'dan became intrigued by Cho'gall's confidence and lust for power and made him his foremost apprentice, teaching him fel magic and of the existence of the Burning Legion.[14]

Another individual Gul'dan encountered was Garona. As a half-orc, half-draenei outcast, Garona had found survival to be brutally difficult. She had learned quickly how to avoid unwinnable fights, and how to quietly kill relentless pursuers. Gul'dan bound her mind to his will and began to secretly train her in the art of assassination. She did not fully understand his intentions, but she grew to resent his cruelty. Still, she obeyed. Survival demanded nothing less.[15] Gul'dan had her magically aged and tortured.[16] Having also traveled throughout Draenor, Garona was well-versed in the culture of the orcs. She quickly became the chief interpreter of the Shadow Council and Gul'dan's personal spy and assassin. Per Kil'jaeden's instructions, he also had the Blackrock orcs craft daggers Anguish and Sorrow for Garona, which she used to carry out countless atrocities while under Gul'dan's control, including the eventual murder of King Llane during the First War.[17]

As a test of the Horde's strength, Gul'dan and the Shadow Council guided the orcs into murdering every single draenei they could find on their homeworld. The near-extermination of the draenei, a race as old as his master Kil'jaeden, proved that the orcs were ready for the next slaughter. He also sent Blackheart the Inciter, whom he recruited after taking control of the Horde, and Vorpil with a group of orcs to plunder Auchindoun.[18] Gul'dan also manipulated the election of Blackhand as the Horde's new warchief, as he was the perfect pawn for the Shadow Council. Though Blackhand was competent in battle and a relatively sound tactician, he had a lust for power — and thus was easy for Gul'dan to control.

The First War[]

Chronicle2 Dark Portal

Gul'dan and Blackhand in the Black Morass.

Eventually, Gul'dan was contacted by the mad sorcerer Medivh - possessed by the Dark Titan Sargeras. Medivh approached Gul'dan and the Shadow Council as a hooded stranger. Gul'dan tried attacking the figure with his fel powers, which Medivh merely threw back at the orc. Seeing no reason to be gentle to someone who sold his entire race to the Burning Legion, Medivh made Gul'dan kneel before him in front of the Shadow Council, an insult Gul'dan would never forget or forgive.[19]

Medivh offered him the promise of godhood, locked away within the Tomb of Sargeras if he would use the Horde to conquer Azeroth. Gul'dan agreed, and with the assistance of the Shadow Council, he helped Medivh open the Dark Portal between Azeroth and Draenor. Nearly every draenei prisoner who still lived was brought to the base of the Dark Portal. At the moment the ritual began, Gul'dan drained all of their life essences in an instant, giving the massive burst of power needed to cross such a large distance.[20] Over the next few years, Gul'dan and his ogre-mage apprentice Cho'gall would secretly manipulate the Horde as it rampaged across Azeroth. Gul'dan convinced Grom Hellscream and his Warsong clan to remain on Draenor during the conflict later known as the First War.[21]

Gul'dan saw the Horde led to supremacy over most of the Kingdom of Stormwind. During the Year 3, prior to the final siege of Stormwind, Gul'dan was aware of a raiding party against Medivh's tower of Karazhan. Realizing that the Azerothians intended to slay the Guardian, Gul'dan hastily ransacked Medivh's mind for the Tomb's location. He was still deep within the Guardian's thoughts when Lothar and Khadgar killed him, ending Medivh's treachery and forcing Gul'dan into a coma. Garona, still under mind control of the Shadow Council, then assassinated King Llane in the name of Gul'dan, cutting his heart out.[22]

Without the counsel of Gul'dan, Blackhand was easily slain by Orgrim Doomhammer, who, with information acquired from an interrogated and tortured Garona, proceeded to slaughter Gul'dan's warlocks and the majority of the Shadow Council.[23]

The Second War[]

Gul'dan 'Submits' to Doomhammer

Gul'dan "submits" to Doomhammer.

Gul'dan by Metzen

Gul'dan by Metzen in the Warcraft II manual.

Gul'dan awoke from the coma with only Cho'gall, the Twilight's Hammer and his necrolytes still loyal to him; Blackhand, the Shadow Council and the warlocks were dead, and Garona and the other clans had betrayed him. Garona's betrayal of course had been forced. Doomhammer was willing to spare Gul'dan's life, despite his gut feeling he would one day regret this, and even let him run Balor and the ruins of Stormwind Castle, in exchange for information in regards to Blackhand's followers. This was simple enough; Rend and Maim hadn't professed continued loyalty to Gul'dan, so the warlock had no qualms about betraying them. Gul'dan informed Doomhammer that the raiders were preparing to join the sons of Blackhand and stage a coup against him, as Blackhand had once been a raider himself. Whether this information was true or not (not even Gul'dan was certain), it was possible, and Doomhammer disbanded the raiders and placed them among the many grunt regiments.

As a token of his "loyalty" to the new warchief, Gul'dan promised to create an army of undead riders loyal to him and him alone. Gul'dan and his necrolytes, led by Rakmar Sharpfang, tried to place the souls of the dead warlocks into the dead bodies of the Stormwind knights, and thus raising them as undead sorcerers. Their efforts were continuously met with failure, and a frustrated Gul'dan eventually found another way. He and Cho'gall joined his necrolytes in a powerful ritual, and at its height he slaughtered each and every one of them. He transformed their hearts into mystical gems containing all their necromantic power and their souls. He placed these gems into truncheons and gave these truncheons to the bodies of the orc-possessed knights, and was met with success as each one awakened the moment the truncheon was placed in its hand. They became the dread death knights, who Gul'dan believed would be loyal to him alone and not Doomhammer. However, neither Gul'dan nor Doomhammer realized that the death knights were loyal only to themselves.

Before the true start of the Second War, Gul'dan founded and created his own clan, the Stormreavers, to protect him from Orgrim.[24] He also created during the ensuing conflict many ogre magi out of a band of extremely loyal ogre enforcers by warping and twisting the energy of the high elven runestones.[25] Secretly Gul'dan was also amassing a great navy for the next step of his plan.[26]

During the burning of Quel'Thalas, Gul'dan intended to use the power of the Altars of Storms to break through Ban'dinoriel's protection. As the Altars were crafted from the elves' own runestones, which were originally powered by the Sunwell, the warlock thought to use that link in reverse, sending his own magic into their power source and either destroying it or wresting it away from them.[27]

Betrayal and death[]

Ultimately, Gul'dan's thirst for power proved to be the Horde's undoing. On the eve of Doomhammer's attack on Lordaeron's capital, Gul'dan took the Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer clans and set out to sea to locate the Tomb of Sargeras. With nearly half of his standing forces suddenly gone, Doomhammer was forced to retreat and hunt down the traitorous warlock. This reprieve would ultimately give the Alliance time to regroup and retaliate.

Gul'dan did indeed locate the Tomb and used his power to raise it from the ocean floor and creating the Broken Shore.[28][29] Taking with him his most select followers, Gul'dan cast open the doors and entered and began searching for the Eye of Sargeras. He did not however find the godhood he was hoping for. Instead, he was torn to shreds by a swarm of insane demons that had long ago been drawn to the tomb through the dark magics that emanated from Sargeras's remains.[8] The remainder of his clans were slaughtered by Doomhammer's retaliation.[30] In those last moments, Gul'dan realized he had just been a pawn, that Sargeras had fooled him into doing his dirty work.



Khadgar uses the skull of Gul'dan to close the Dark Portal.

Illidan skull

The skull of Gul'dan in Illidan's grasp.

Gul'dan skeleton

Gul'dan's remains in the Tomb of Sargeras.

After Gul'dan died, his skull was turned into a channeling totem for demonic energy. A small shard of Gul'dan's soul remained within the bleached bone of the skull, where he whispered to whoever held it;[31] the warlock proved to still be dangerous, even in death. The skull was used by Ner'zhul to open portals to other worlds on Draenor, and later by Khadgar to destroy the Dark Portal. After the destruction of the Dark Portal, Khadgar left the skull behind on Draenor in his haste to escape through one of Ner'zhul's rifts. Years later it would appear again on Azeroth, this time used by the Burning Legion to corrupt the forests of Felwood. After learning of its existence from Arthas the death knight, Illidan Stormrage found and took the skull, absorbing its power, remaining only half night elf and becoming half-demon. Gul'dan's memories survived within the warlock magic of his skull and the runes he painted on the walls of the Tomb. Illidan found the Tomb using Gul'dan's memories from the Skull, and Maiev Shadowsong found the runes. A magical artifact carried by Gul'dan, the Shadow Orb, was shattered and found by Maiev.

His loyalists in the Twilight's Hammer clan would turn from the Burning Legion and begin worship of new masters.

Gul'dan's alternate universe counterpart would later come to serve the Burning Legion as well. During the war in Draenor, Gul'dan captured several Alliance and Horde soldiers and tortured them for information about his counterpart from the original timeline. All he managed to learn from them was that his other self had accompanied the first Horde to war and had eventually been killed, but "details were harder to come by". When the alternate Gul'dan was later sent by the Legion to re-open the Tomb of Sargeras and allow the Legion to begin the largest demonic invasion Azeroth had ever seen, Kil'jaeden revealed why the original Gul'dan had been killed by the demons he once served.

— Kil'jaeden[7]
Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

Gul'dan's skeleton (sans his skull) and the runes he left behind are found by adventurers in the Tomb of Sargeras.

Vision of Gul'dan in Shadowmoon Valley[]


Vision of Gul'dan in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

A vision of Gul'dan can be seen at the Altar of Damnation of Shadowmoon Valley in what is now Outland — the remnants of Draenor. The altar lies in front of a massive volcano known as the Hand of Gul'dan. The repeating vision appears to depict an event prior to the opening of the Dark Portal, where according to the Earthen Ring, the volcano was raised from the valley floor by Gul'dan himself when he severed the orcish people's connection to the elemental spirits of Draenor.

Powers and abilities[]

Medivh acknowledged that Gul'dan was the single most powerful warlock among his people.[32] This was likely correct; the Skull of Gul'dan remained an incredibly powerful focus of warlock magic for decades after the orc's death, and was shown to have retained his knowledge, and personality, allowing Gul'dan to manipulate others, such as Ner'zhul, from beyond the grave. Its power was enough to fully transform Illidan Stormrage into a demon, and passed on all of Gul'dan's knowledge to him. He also was responsible for raising the gigantic fel volcano known as the Hand of Gul'dan after severing the orcs' ties to the elemental spirits of Draenor.

He was so powerful, he was able to raise the Broken Shore from the bottom of the ocean during the Second War in a great display of power, though he was overcome by the sheer number of vile, mad demons found within the Tomb.

Gul'dan was also able to wipe out the Sketh'lon arakkoa with a single spell that not only destroyed their camps, but twisted their spirits too.

Memorable quotes[]

Rise of the Horde[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.
  • "Imagine what you could do if you led a group of shaman who controlled the source of their powers, instead of begging and scraping for it. Imagine if these shaman had servants who could also fight on your side. Servants who could, say, send your enemies fleeing helplessly in terror. Suck their magic dry as the insects in the summer suck blood. Distract them so that their attention was not on battle."[33]
  • "What I am about to tell you may be hard for you to accept, but I have faith that my people are not close-minded when it comes to ways to better themselves. Just as we were surprised and awed to learn that there were powerful beings other than the ancestors and the elements, we have discovered that there are ways to harness magic other than cooperating with the elements. Power that is not predicated on asking or begging or pleading...power that comes because we are strong enough to demand it to come. To control it when it does. To force it to obey us, bend to our will, rather than the other way around."
  • "Behold those who have power, and who are not afraid to wield it. Behold... the warlocks!"[34]
  • "Even now, our ally is working to open the Portal on his side. And now, we will begin. Blood is a pure offering to those who give us these vast powers. And the blood of a child is purer still. With the life fluid of our enemies, we will open the Portal and step into a glorious new world--a new page in the history of the Horde!"[35]
  • "Beautiful." (upon receiving the plans for the Dark Portal from Medivh)

Tides of Darkness[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.
  • "But you do need warlocks. You need our magic, for the humans have magic of their own and without us you will fall to their power. And you have very few warlocks left. Myself, Cho'gall, and a handful of neophytes. I am too useful to kill simply for revenge.[36]
  • "The necrolytes have served their purpose. Now they shall have a new one, an even greater one. Gather our implements. We shall make a sacrifice."[37]
  • "Doomhammer slaughtered the other warlocks but their souls linger. We will summon them and instill them in human bodies. They will be eager to return to this world, and to serve the Horde once more."[37]
  • "Do not fear, Rakmar. This is not the end for you. On the contrary. You shall succeed at your task, with my help. You will fight again for the Horde. And Doomhammer will have his undead warriors. That is the good thing about necromancers--we never let anything go to waste."[38]
  • "Myself? No. I have no desire to march through the streets with an axe or a hammer, meeting my foes in the flesh. My path is the far greater one. I shall meet them in spirit and crush them from afar, devouring them by the hundreds and the thousands. Soon, all that was promised me shall be mine, and then Doomhammer will be as nothing against me. Even the might of the Horde will pale before me, and I shall stretch out my hand and wipe this world clean, to remake it in my own image!" (when asked by Cho'gall about becoming a warchief)

Warcraft III: Frozen Throne[]

WC3RoC-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
Quickly you fools--fan out and search for the primary passageway. We must reach the Chamber of the Eye before the tomb's guardians awaken.
His forces turn and flee and one of them is shot down by Gul'dan, halting the retreat of the others.
Spineless cowards! I said move!
Gul'dan's orcs now obey his commands and split up to search.
Now, Sargeras, I will claim whatever's left of your power--and bring this wretched world to its knees!

Blasted, feeble-minded weaklings! They're all likely dead by now!
Still, I must press on. My power should be enough to--
Ominous dark laughter echoes through the chamber.
That laughter... Is that you, Sargeras? You seek to mock me? We'll see who laughs last, demon, when I claim your burning eye for my own! the guardians... I am... dying.
If my servants... had not abandoned me, I could have claimed the Eye and--
Damn you, Sargeras! I won't be beaten like this! I am Gul'dan! I am darkness incarnate! It cannot end... like this.

World of Warcraft[]

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

The Altar of Damnation[]

  • Be silent! The shattering is soon to come!
  • Bear witness to the undeniable power of our dark master!
  • With his gift, I shall raze this land and reform it!
  • Watch! See the ground shatter before us! Watch as the energy flows! It will feed our armies...
  • We will never be without power! I have secured our future! Bask in my glory!
  • It... is... done...

Trading Card Game[]

From him[]

  • "I am darkness incarnate. I will not be denied!"

About him[]

  • The ruined world of Draenor serves as a caution to those who would follow in Gul'dan's footsteps.[40]

Heroes of the Storm trailer[]

Gul'dan: These fools were warned of my coming... for all the good it did them.
Medivh: GUL'DAN! You will NOT destroy the Nexus!
Gul'dan: Destroy it? Pitiful fool. This realm holds more power than I've ever dreamed of, and it WILL be mine! For I know the truth... in the end, everything will BURN!

In the RPG[]


Gul'dan by Samwise Didier in Shadows & Light.

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


Gul'dan possesses an unquenchable thirst for power and a ruthless personality. Equally willing to manipulate friend and foe alike, he constantly tries to better his station in life through any means possible. Even though Gul'dan constantly tends to be embroiled in many different plots and schemes, his overarching goal is always to discover the location of the Tomb of Sargeras and to claim the dark titan's powers for himself. Nothing else matters in comparison to this quest, and Gul'dan is willing to betray his own people and sacrifice his closest friends to achieve it.

Gul'dan can only be trusted to do what is in his own best interests. He often freely offers wealth to people in exchange for clues or information that might be useful, and then has them killed and reclaims his payment. Gul'dan only truly trusts people who are like himself — those who are openly ambitious and who will do anything to improve their lot in life. He feels that those people can be most easily predicted and manipulated through offers of wealth or prestige. It is the people who serve higher moral or religious powers that he fears. They are often resistant to his lures, and in Gul'dan's eyes can never be completely trusted or relied upon. Because of this, he tends to associate most easily with mages, sorcerers, rogues and scouts and dislikes druids, priests and paladins. His allegiance is with the Horde, and he is openly hostile to members of the Alliance races unless they are key to something Gul'dan desires.[41]

Combat, powers and abilities[]

Gul'dan summons monsters to distract and harass his foes before entering melee with his demon staff against foes that have been isolated by his divide-and-conquer tactics.[41]

Gul'dan is widely agreed to be one of the most powerful beings ever encountered. Brann believes that "Gul'dan became the most powerful mortal warlock in history".[42]

In Hearthstone[]

Hearthstone This section contains information exclusive to Hearthstone and is considered non-canon.
  • Gul'dan is the default hero (player character) for the warlock class in Hearthstone His flavor text reads: "Talented, persuasive and hard-working. Too bad he wants to feed your soul to demons."
  • Winning 1,000 Ranked or Arena games as a warlock unlocks the alternate Shadow Gul'dan hero, which uses artwork of Gul'dan's alternate counterpart. Shadow Gul'dan's flavor text reads: "If you thought Gul'dan was a happier, gentler soul on his homeworld, I have bad news for you."
  • In the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, the nine heroes of Warcraft have been raised as powerful death knights of the Lich King, with Gul'dan being raised as the vampire Bloodreaver Gul'dan. His flavor text reads: "Still you refuse to bend your knee? None can escape death, you old fool. And in death… all will serve me…"
  • Gul'dan's story makes up the ninth and penultimate chapter of the Book of Heroes adventure, which retells Warcraft heroes' canonical stories.
  • Gul'dan appears as a legendary Caster mercenary in the Mercenaries game mode.

In Heroes of the Storm[]

Heroes of the Storm This section concerns content related to Heroes of the Storm and is considered non-canon.

Gul'dan is a playable character in Heroes of the Storm. Azmodan, a character from Diablo, has a skin called "Azgul'dan Azmodan".

Notes and trivia[]

  • He penned the introduction of the Horde part of the Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual.
  • In Warcraft II, early material for the The Prisoners mission indicates that he was originally to be captured by the Alliance in its campaign.
  • It was originally said that Gul'dan once had his soul bound to Ner'zhul, the elder shaman wanting to keep watch over his disciple.[43]
  • The spikes coming off Gul'dan's back were originally stated as being part of his clothing.[44] However his alternate self possesses actual spikes attached to his body, a trait which was ultimately carried back to his prime self in Chronicle 2 (see below).
  • Before Chronicle Volume 2, his background was that he was originally a real member of the Shadowmoon clan, and showed extraordinary talent with the elemental powers of shamanism. Because of this, he was chosen as the honored apprentice to the elder shaman Ner'zhul, chieftain of the clan and spiritual leader of the orcs. Gul'dan also originally had no knowledge about Kil'jaeden, who was originally interested into Ner'zhul alone. Gul'dan discovered Kil'jaeden after spying on his master, and then the demon lord offered him the chance to become a master of warlock magic, on the condition that he help bring the orcs under his banner. Gul'dan accepted with no qualms whatsoever, and immediately began the work of reshaping the orcs into the bloodthirsty Old Horde.[2][45] It was also said that he orchestrated the birth of Garona Halforcen by "breeding" one of his orcish warriors to a draenei female.[46]
  • Two orcs of the Shadow Council named Fel'dan and Ur'dan, serving Lord Banehollow, are named similarly to Gul'dan.
  • Gul'dan's skeleton in the Tomb of Sargeras wears the pauldrons of his alternate counterpart, while players who transform into him using his leftover runes are shown wearing his prime version's shoulderpads.
Reforged Gul'dan skeleton

Gul'dan's skeleton in Reforged.

Alternate timelines[]

When Thrall was traveling through alternate timelines, he witnessed Durotan telling Orgrim about Gul'dan's betrayal in one of the timeways.[47]

An alternate Gul'dan appears in the alternate Draenor in the past during the war in Draenor and escapes to the "prime timeline" Azeroth.

Gul'dan from yet another universe[48] appears in the Warcraft film universe.


Heroes of the Storm
Fan art


Patch changes[]

See also[]


  1. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 43
  2. ^ a b c d Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Legends of the Land, Gul'dan
  3. ^ Lord of the Clans
  4. ^ The Characters of Warcraft/Gul'dan (original)
  5. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 88The oldest of the surviving orc necromancers after Gul'dan himself, Rakmar Sharpfang was the necrolytes' unofficial leader and often thrust into the role of conveying their accomplishments - or failures - to the high warlock.
  6. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 92: "And Doomhammer will have his undead warriors." [Gul'dan] laughed. "That is the good thing about necromancers - we never let anything go to waste."
  7. ^ a b The Tomb of Sargeras
  8. ^ a b Gul'dan, the Warlock
  9. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 304
  10. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 68
  11. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 70
  12. ^ Harbingers - Gul'dan
  13. ^ A Warrior Made--Part 2
  14. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 78 - 79
  15. ^ Blood Ledger
  16. ^ The Gathering
  17. ^ Legion: Rogue Artifact Reveal
  18. ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, chapter 19
  19. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 114
  20. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 115
  21. ^ Beyond the Dark Portal
  22. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, The History of Orcish Ascension, The First War of Orcish Ascension
  23. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 16-22
  24. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Clans of the Horde, Stormreaver Clan
  25. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Ground Units of the Orcish Horde, Ogre-Mage
  26. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, A Brief History of the Fall of Azeroth
  27. ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 15
  28. ^ Blizzcon 2015 | Alex Afrasiabi Legion behind the scenes!!
  29. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter: "The Tomb of Sargeras was raised. Other parts of the Broken Isles in Legion expansion have been around since the Sundering."
  30. ^ The Tomb of Sargeras (WC2 Orc)
  31. ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, chapter 15
  32. ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 331
  33. ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 312
  34. ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 220
  35. ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 517
  36. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 36
  37. ^ a b Tides of Darkness, pg. 135
  38. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 138
  39. ^ WoW TCG Card: Orc Necrolyte
  40. ^ WoW TCG Card: Forang Deathrattle
  41. ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 39
  42. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 132
  43. ^ The Tomb of Sargeras (WC2x Orc)
  44. ^ @Loreology, Twitter, April 15, 2014. Archive lore tweets from loreology.
  45. ^ Rise of the Horde, chapter 12
  46. ^ World of Warcraft: The Comic, issue ??
  47. ^ Twilight of the Aspects
  48. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter (2015-07-12). Retrieved on 2016-06-29.​ “@MickyNeilson Will the Warcraft movie become "canon" lore, or is it like a parallel universe like WoD? except no interaction between the two" "@Zerde3 Separate.”

External links[]

Preceded by:
(as Superior of the Temple of Karabor)
Master of the Black Temple
Succeeded by:
(as Lord of Shadowmoon Fortress)
Preceded by:
Grand Master of the Inner Circle of the Shadow Council
Succeeded by:
Grandmaster Vorpil and Fel'dan
Preceded by:
Warchief of the Horde
(conjointly with Blackhand)
Succeeded by:
Orgrim Doomhammer