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
Racial capital Unknown
Icemist Village (formerly, ruined)
Racial leader(s)  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)

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.

Although they appear similar to the tauren, they resemble bison more than cattle, and are referred to as bison-men by Apothecary Malthus.[4]


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.[5]

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".[6]


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.[7]


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.[7][8][9] When asked if taunka were dark shaman, Dave Kosak said that "taunka are taunka".[10]


  • The taunka use black polar bear pelts in their religious rites, usually at the funerals of those who hunt black polar bears.[11]
  • They also collect the feathers of noble birds of prey to use in crude fortunetelling ceremonies.[12]
  • The down of the spotted hippogryph is prized by the taunka and used for everything from fletching to ceremonial clothing.[13]
  • Taunka are clan-bound to be paired.[14]
  • 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.[15][16]
  • The taunka of Taunka'le Village use steam cured caribou leather for making watertight containers.[17]


Taunka tent

Icemist Village

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. Oneqwah is where the Camp Winterhoof taunka are evacuating to.

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 Alive Taunka'le Village, Borean Tundra


  • 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.



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:


External links