“I give my flesh and blood freely to the Warchief. I am the instrument of my Warchief's desire. I am a weapon of my Warchief's command.”
- — Excerpt from the Blood Oath of the Horde
Warchief, or War Chief, was a title used by the leader of the modern Horde. The title has also been used by leaders of the Horde's offshoots and previous incarnations—the Old Horde, the Horde of Draenor, the Fel Horde, the Dark Horde, and the Iron Horde, as well as the film universe's Horde.
During the war with the draenei before the opening of the Dark Portal, Gul'dan envisioned two groups of leaders for the orcs when he united them into the Horde: the Shadow Council who shared his vision, and the publicly elected Warchief to be its puppet. On Draenor, Ner'zhul took the title in the event Gul'dan should ever return. The Warchief became the title of the Horde's supreme leader, though their duties no longer included simply war.
The position was ultimately retired following the Fourth War, after the tenure of Sylvanas Windrunner was riddled with controversy in the wake of warchiefs such as Garrosh Hellscream. Instead, the Horde is now led by the Horde Council; though it is unknown if the position will be restored should the Horde go to war again.
List of Warchiefs
Warchiefs of the Horde
|Blackhand the Destroyer||First Warchief of the Horde, elected by the clan chieftains during the war against the draenei on Draenor. Continued as Warchief during First War between Stormwind and the Horde. He was slain by Orgrim Doomhammer in ritual combat who then took his place as Warchief.||Deceased||Various|
|Orgrim Doomhammer||Warchief of the Horde during the end of the First War (having slain Blackhand and taken his place) and the entirety of the Second War. Died when liberating orcs from the Alliance internment camps.||Deceased||Buried in Hammerfall, Arathi Highlands|
|Ner'zhul||Warchief of the Horde of Draenor. Rallied the clans that remained on Draenor after the Dark Portal was shut down at the end of the Second War. He created several portals to escape Draenor after the Alliance invaded, but was captured by Kil'jaeden, who transformed him into the Lich King.||Deceased||Unknown|
|Thrall||Warchief of the Horde. Son of Durotan, liberator of the orcs and chieftain of the Frostwolf clan. As the greatest shaman ever known, he stepped down to join the Earthen Ring in stabilizing the world following the Cataclysm.||Alive||Various|
|Garrosh Hellscream||Warchief of the Horde. Son of Grom Hellscream. Invited by Thrall to join the Horde after the reopening of the Dark Portal by Lord Kazzak and quickly advancing to the position of personal adviser, he was chosen by Thrall to be the Warchief when he stepped down to join the Earthen Ring. Deposed by the Alliance and Darkspear Rebellion due to the warmongering and genocidal policy towards non-orcs.||Deceased||Various|
|Vol'jin||Warchief of the Horde. Son of Sen'jin. Shadow Hunter and chieftain of the Darkspear tribe. Became Warchief following Garrosh's defeat at the Siege of Orgrimmar. The first non-orc to hold the position. Died in the aftermath of the Battle for Broken Shore from his wounds.||Deceased||Various|
|Sylvanas Windrunner||Warchief of the Horde and Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, became Warchief following Vol'jin's death during the third Burning Legion invasion. She is the first female, undead, and elf to hold the position. Ultimately abandoned the Horde to pursue her own agenda.||Undead||Various|
|Warchief||Blackhand||Orgrim Doomhammer||Ner'zhul||Orgrim Doomhammer||Thrall||Garrosh Hellscream||Vol'jin||Sylvanas Windrunner|
Other organizations, primarily orcish clans or offshoots of the Horde, have warchiefs as well.
|Rend Blackhand||Warchief of the Dark Horde, minion of Nefarian. Gathered together remnants of the Blackrock, Dragonmaw, and Black Tooth Grin clans after the Horde's defeat in the Second War. Resided in the Upper Blackrock Spire of Blackrock Mountain in Azeroth.||Deceased||Blackrock Stadium, Upper Blackrock Spire (formerly)|
|Kargath Bladefist||Warchief of the Fel Horde, minion of Illidan. Resides in the Shattered Halls of Hellfire Citadel in Outland.||Deceased||Hall of Blades, Shattered Halls|
|Jorin Deadeye||Refers to himself as "Warchief" of the Bleeding Hollow clan in Nagrand.||Alive||Garadar, Nagrand|
|Mor'ghor||Described as "Warchief" of the Dragonmaw clan in the Twilight Highlands, later defeated by Garrosh Hellscream's forces. Formerly the leader of the Dragonmaw forces in Shadowmoon Valley as a servant of Illidan.||Deceased||Various|
|Garrosh Hellscream||Warchief of the True Horde, after he expelled the non-orcish races.||Deceased||Various|
|Grommash Hellscream||Warchief of the Iron Horde and later the Mag'har, an organization consisting of uncorrupted orcish clans on an alternate version of Draenor after Garrosh interfered with the timeline.||Unknown||Various|
|Durotan||Warchief of the Frostwolf Orcs on alternate Draenor.||Deceased||Various|
|Gul'dan||Warchief of the (film) Horde||Alive||Azeroth|
|Blackhand||Warchief of the (film) Horde||Deceased||Azeroth|
Roles of the Warchief in the Horde
The Warchief of the Horde stands as the undisputed leader. The warchief holds dominion over the entire Horde. The warchief maintains the Horde, has the power to declare war for the entire Horde, take any precaution to ensure the stability and security of the Horde's member states, and has the final say in the induction of new Horde members.
All members of the Horde have to swear a blood oath to join the Horde and are thus obligated to follow the warchief's commands and support the warchief in times of war if the warchief calls upon them for aid.
The position of warchief can be attained by having the previous warchief chose a successor or challenging the current warchief to a Mak'gora: a prearranged duel with deadly weapons between two people following a formal procedure in the presence of witnesses and traditionally fought until one party yields or is killed, usually to settle a quarrel involving a point of honor. Above all else, the title warchief is granted to those who display strength and decisive action. Warchiefs must be able to gain respect via combat effectiveness and martial conquests but also have enough tact to keep the Horde united and stable.
The warchief may accept ambassadors and advisors from all the different tribes and members of the Horde to makes sure their voices are heard in the running of the fledgling hegemony but ultimately, only the warchief has the final say in matters concerning the entire Horde.
The Warchief of the Horde has several personal staff:
- A unit of the Kor'kron Guard acted as the bodyguards. They used to be an elite band of orcs created to serve the Warchief as protectors and enforcers of his command.
- Several heralds.
- Brolic, blade of the Warchief
- Bragor Bloodfist, hand of the Warchief
- Overlord Hun Maimfist, hand of the Warchief
- Far Seer Regulkut, eyes of the Warchief
- Shadow Hunter Ty'jin, ears of the Warchief
- Saru Steelfury warchief's personal smith.
- Advisors like Eitrigg and Rehgar Earthfury
- Just prior to the revolution in Durotar during the Fourth War, Anduin Wrynn expected Varok Saurfang to be Warchief after the deposition of Sylvanas Windrunner.
- Foreman Magrok planned to become the warchief of the Horde.
- In Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, it is a rank you can achieve.
- In The Frozen Throne, an ogre warchief appeared during Misconceptions.
- According to Rhonin, Nekros Skullcrusher could have become Warchief of the Horde with the Demon Soul's power.
- There is an unreleased yaungol warchief named Humongous.
- 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.
Warchiefs of the Horde
- ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 290 - 291 (ebook)
- ^ Rise of the Horde
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 51 (ebook)
- ^ Lord of the Clans
- ^ Slayer of the Shadowmoon (WC2 Orc)
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal
- ^ Warcraft: Durotan, chapter 15
- ^ Warcraft: Behind the Dark Portal
- ^ World of Warcraft manual, pg. 182
- ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 20