The Horde is one of the two major political factions of the mortal races in Azeroth, its counterpart being the Alliance. The Horde, a faction founded by orcish immigrants from Draenor, has survived in the hostile world of Azeroth by forging alliances with local races such as the tauren people, the trolls, and the undead of the Forsaken. Take a look below for 10 of the strongest members of the Horde.
Thrall, son of Durotan and Draka, is the former Warchief of the restored shamanistic Horde, founder of the nation of Durotar in Kalimdor and one of the second wave of shaman. His parents killed by Gul’dan’s assassins shortly after his birth in the beginning of the First War, he was found and raised by Aedelas Blackmoore who gave Thrall his name.
Raised as a slave and gladiator, he later joined Orgrim Doomhammer in freeing the orcs imprisoned after the Second War, being named Warchief after Doomhammer’s death. After leading the Horde away from the Alliance-claimed Eastern Kingdoms, he rescued and made allies of the Darkspear Trolls and Bloodhoof Tauren.
Thrall led the new Horde against their former demonic masters in the Battle of Mount Hyjal. He subsequently led diplomatic efforts at peace between the Horde and Alliance after the end of the Third War.
After the fall of the Lich King and the increasing elemental unrest heralding the Cataclysm, Thrall stepped down as leader of the Horde, appointed Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief, and joined the shamanistic Earthen Ring to combat the rampaging elements, eventually aiding the Aspects in Deathwing’s downfall.
During the war in Draenor, Thrall was a key member of the Horde expedition to an alternate version of the orcish homeworld Draenor. In addition to aiding in many key battles, he met and befriended his parents of that timeline and made allies of the Frostwolf Orcs. Knowing that Garrosh was responsible for the events in the alternate Draenor, Thrall pursued him and was ultimately successful in killing Garrosh in their final mak’gora.
Eventually, the weight of all the wars he had fought began to weigh more heavily upon the former warchief and Thrall’s own abilities and resolve eventually began to waver. During the Burning Legion’s latest invasion of Azeroth, he passed both the Doomhammer and the mantle of leader of the Earthen Ring down to a shaman adventurer, knowing the future was now in safer hands.
2. Varok Saurfang
High Overlord Varok Saurfang is the younger brother of Broxigar and a renowned orc warrior of the Blackrock clan. A famed veteran of the First, Second, and Third Wars, he served as Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer’s second-in-command during the Second War, and as Supreme Commander of the combined Might of Kalimdor during the second War of the Shifting Sands against the qiraji of Ahn’Qiraj.
He later led the Kor’kron against the Scourge in Northrend, and assisted Thrall during the Siege of Orgrimmar. Following the tragic battle on the Broken Shore and Sylvanas Windrunner’s promotion to Warchief, Saurfang took up the position as leader of the Orgrimmar orcs and resides in Grommash Hold.
3. Baine Bloodhoof
Baine Bloodhoof is the High Chieftain of the tauren tribes of Mulgore and leader of Thunder Bluff. He is the son of the late tauren leader, Cairne Bloodhoof, whom he looked up to as a role model. While Baine has formidable skill on the battlefield, his true talents lie in the arena of diplomacy. He is a strong force for moderation, calm wisdom, and unity within the Horde, especially in their dealings with the Alliance.
Following Cairne’s death in a duel with Warchief Garrosh Hellscream, Baine fled his home in Bloodhoof Village when the tauren matriarch Magatha Grimtotem’s agents attacked the village and seized Thunder Bluff. Although still pained by the loss of his father, Baine staged a counterattack on Magatha and her forces, ultimately retaking the tauren capital and defeating the treacherous matriarch.
Cairne’s honorable son spared Magatha’s life, banishing the matriarch and her traitorous allies to the harsh Stonetalon Mountains. Since then Baine has assumed the role of high chieftain of Mulgore’s courageous tauren.
While bitterness might still linger over Cairne’s demise, Baine had remained loyal to the Horde and its Warchief for the good of the tauren race. He eventually supported the Darkspear Rebellion in ousting the warchief, and eventually pledged his support to Garrosh’s successor, Vol’jin. With Vol’jin’s passing shortly after the disastrous Battle for Broken Shore, Baine remained loyal to Sylvanas Windrunner and was present when Vol’jin named her the Warchief with his dying breath. However, Baine has become disgusted with Sylvanas’ cruelty and lack of honor, and has worked in secret with legends within the Horde and even some in the Alliance to undermine Sylvanas’ plans.
4. Lor’themar Theron
Lor’themar Theron is the Regent Lord of Quel’Thalas and thus the ruler of the blood elves of Azeroth. He used to lead the sin’dorei in the absence of Prince Kael’thas Sunstrider, but after his betrayal and eventual death, Lor’themar became the sole leader of his people. Lor’themar was once the second-in-command to Ranger General Sylvanas Windrunner, and assumed temporary leadership of the high elves after the Scourge onslaught, a role that would pave the way to his regency after the prince’s return.
After surviving the brutal Scourge invasion of Quel’Thalas, Lor’themar, a former commander of the Farstriders, was entrusted with watching over the elven kingdom while Prince Kael’thas journeyed to Outland. Not long afterward, Lor’themar’s will was tested when the prince, twisted by demonic energies, returned to Azeroth and attempted to use the Sunwell to summon his new master, the demon lord Kil’jaeden.
Kael’thas’ plans were foiled and he was killed by the Shattered Sun Offensive for his treachery, leaving Lor’themar to guide the fate of the blood elves alone. With the Sunwell reborn, a bright future now lies ahead for Quel’Thalas.
Lor’themar, who had weathered many of the kingdom’s darkest days, now leads his people toward their new destiny. In light of Garrosh Hellscream’s then-increasing paranoia and lack of scruples, the Regent Lord had aligned himself with the growing Darkspear Rebellion to overthrow the Warchief after dealing with the Thunder King’s return.
Lor’themar pledged his loyalty to the new Warchief Vol’jin following the Siege of Orgrimmar. Following the disastrous Battle for Broken Shore, Lor’themar was among those present when Vol’jin named Sylvanas Windrunner the new Warchief with his dying breath.
5. Sylvanas Windrunner
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, also referred to as “the Dark Lady” and “the Banshee Queen”, is the Warchief of the Horde and supreme ruler of the Forsaken, one of the most powerful factions of undead on Azeroth. In life, Sylvanas was the ranger-general of Silvermoon, whose leadership acumen and martial prowess were without equal. During the Third War, she bravely defended Quel’Thalas from a Scourge invasion led by the death knight Arthas Menethil. Ultimately, however, Sylvanas fell in battle. Rather than honor the ranger-general with a quick death, Arthas ripped out her soul and transformed it into a banshee: a cunning and vengeful agent of the Lich King empowered by hate.
When the Lich King’s control over his minions weakened, Sylvanas broke away from her tyrannical master’s control and reclaimed her body. Vowing to avenge her death, Sylvanas gathered other renegade undead and set out to wage war against the Scourge. Thus it was that the Forsaken came to be, with Sylvanas as their queen. Under Sylvanas’ command, the Forsaken joined the Horde and later helped bring about the Lich King’s fall in the frozen wastes of Northrend. She seeks a higher purpose for a people who have already died once.
Yet many challenges still lay ahead for Sylvanas. After an uprising within her ranks that killed other members of the Horde, the banshee queen is now mistrusted by many of her allies. Most recently, Sylvanas began fortifying her territory within the Tirisfal Glades in order to establish a proper kingdom for her followers. While Sylvanas maintains that her loyalty to the Horde is undiminished, some of the faction’s members are uncertain about her true intentions.
After the fall of the Lich King, Sylvanas came to the shocking realization that she, like Arthas before her, was damned to an eternity of darkness and torture in the afterlife. After entering into a pact with the Val’kyr, Sylvanas was able to regain her place in the realm of the living for as long as her Val’kyr survive. Knowing the dark fate that will inevitably befall her, Sylvanas considers her people a bulwark against the horrifying darkness that awaits her in the end. Following this, Sylvanas has launched an aggressive attack into the regions of Lordaeron and the greater Eastern Kingdoms not directly under her control, in an attempt to conquer the continent and secure it for the Forsaken.
After being mortally wounded during the battle for the Broken Shore, Warchief Vol’jin declared Sylvanas as his successor with his dying breath, leaving her to lead the Horde against the invading forces of the Burning Legion. Following the Legion’s defeat, Sylvanas now leads the Horde against the Alliance in a war that spans all of Azeroth.
6. Jastor Gallywix
Jastor Gallywix is the much-maligned Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel, one of the most powerful goblin trade guilds on Kezan. Despite betraying his own people in wake of the Cataclysm in a petty act of vengeance, he retains his position as Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel in its service to the Horde.
Once being a vocal supporter of Garrosh Hellscream, he would eventually become one of the last leaders to support the Darkspear Rebellion, showing respect for Vol’jin and pledging his loyalty to the new Warchief following the Siege of Orgrimmar.
Despite his past actions, Gallywix wishes to find his people a secure and profitable future, which he saw neither of under Hellscream’s reign. Following Vol’jin’s fatal wounding at the Battle for Broken Shore, Gallywix was among those present when he named Sylvanas Windrunner the next Warchief with his dying breath.
7. Ji Firepaw
Ji Firepaw is a pandaren and a follower of the more direct Huojin philosophy, is adamant that inaction is the greatest injustice. He holds that it’s honorable to defend home and family no matter the cost. Outgoing, passionate, and not one for deep thought, he is always the first into the fray.
Ji finds himself attracted to the practicality that defines the Horde. Although it will cost him dearly, he will decide to carry the Horde banner when he leaves the Wandering Isle.
After the Wandering Isle, Ji can be found as a monk trainer outside the Ring of Valor in Orgrimmar’s Valley of Honor. The Orgrimmar Grunts, when asked where the monk trainer is, comment that Ji watches the fights in the arena, and occasionally participates himself.
The shadow hunter Vol’jin, son of Sen’jin, was the Warchief of the Horde, as well as Chieftain of the Darkspear tribe and rightful ruler of Durotar and the Echo Isles.
Vol’jin had sworn to do everything in his power to lead the Darkspear tribe just as his late father, Sen’jin, would have. For years Vol’jin resided in Orgrimmar, offering strategic advice to then-Warchief Thrall and assisting with critical operations such as retaking the Undercity after the Forsaken bastion had been usurped by Grand Apothecary Putress and the dreadlord Varimathras. During the Cataclysm, however, Vol’jin came into conflict with the Horde’s new warchief, Garrosh Hellscream.
Alienated by the orc’s extremism and lust for war, the troll leader departed Orgrimmar and took up residence on Darkspear Isle. Despite his conflict with the new warchief, Vol’jin remained loyal to the Horde and opposed the efforts of the Zandalari to create a new troll empire in the wake of the Cataclysm.
By the time the war between the Alliance and Horde came to the shores of Pandaria, Vol’jin had become a bitter enemy of Garrosh. After surviving an assassination attempt by one of Hellscream’s Kor’kron, Vol’jin went into hiding, while rallying support within the Horde itself to end Garrosh’s reign. With Garrosh’s defeat and capture, Vol’jin was led to assume the mantle of Warchief of the Horde, with the personal encouragement of Thrall as well as the rest of the Horde’s leadership, becoming the first non-orc to earn the title.
He ruled the Horde until he was mortally wounded during the battle for the Broken Shore; though he was evacuated back to Orgrimmar, he succumbed to fel poisoning from his wound. Following the guidance of an unknown force posing as loa, with his dying breath he named Sylvanas Windrunner, the queen of the Forsaken, as the new Warchief of the Horde.
Drek’Thar is first encountered by most adventurers as an elder general located at Frostwolf Keep in Alterac Valley. He can also occasionally be found at the Mag’har stronghold of Garadar in Nagrand.
The elder shaman of the Frostwolf clan, Drek’Thar served as Thrall’s tutor many years ago. Rumor says he was blind since birth. Drek’Thar had to prove his worth during the Horde’s dark period, being one of the first shaman eager to learn the dark arts of warlock magic. He found the spirits of the elements to be close companions, so shamanism became his path to might.
Despite his power over the elements, Drek’Thar always maintained his meekness and wisdom. He continues to shepherd the younger shaman of the Horde in the old traditions of his people. Currently Drek’Thar is the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, and the General of the Frostwolf armies in Alterac Valley, as well as one of the few remaining orcs from the old Horde in the current faction.
As of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, players get to experience his helping of Thrall’s father, Durotan and the Frostwolf clan in the Frostfire Ridge.
10. Garrosh Hellscream
Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grom Hellscream, was the Warchief of the Horde and the Iron Horde. Having grown up on Draenor, Garrosh came through the Dark Portal upon its reopening, and was invited into the Horde by Thrall himself. Quickly ascending through the ranks of the Horde military, Garrosh led troops in the Northrend campaign against the Lich King and was given the position of Warchief with Thrall’s subsequent absence during the Cataclysm.
Infamous for his raging hatred for the Alliance, Garrosh had a strong intention to take the Horde to war with its rival power, no matter the cost to his nation and those who stood in his way. During the Horde’s invasion of Pandaria, Garrosh unleashed the Sha of Pride, a long-isolated power that tainted untold swathes of land and consumed the bodies and souls of hundreds of people. He also ordered that a mana bomb be dropped on Theramore, a human bastion on the Horde-dominated continent, in an attempt to eliminate Jaina Proudmoore and provoke a war with the Alliance.
Following these and other controversial actions, elements of the Horde led by Vol’jin and Thrall united with the forces of the Alliance and launched a campaign against troops loyal to Hellscream. eventually leading to the Siege of Orgrimmar. Following a personal duel with Thrall, Hellscream was nearly executed by the shaman.
Only the intervention of Taran Zhu prevented Hellscream from being martyred on the spot by his predecessor, as Garrosh so desperately desired. Instead, it was decided that a trial would be held in neutral Pandaria and justice meted out equally for those in the Alliance and the Horde who had suffered Hellscream’s indescribable cruelty.
Hellscream’s ambitions were not tempered by his defeat, however, and the dethroned Warchief had one final trick up his sleeve. Escaping captivity with the aid of a member of the Bronze Dragonflight, Garrosh went back to the moment his race had drank the blood of the demon Mannoroth and become conquerors. His attempts to prevent this consumption led to him founding the Iron Horde, a powerful empire which arose in place of the original, honorable entity; a subsequent invasion of Azeroth by this Iron Horde and the war to stop its advance through time and space led to the deaths of thousands across multiple dimensions.
With the conflict concluded and the Iron Horde routed, Thrall challenged Garrosh to a final duel. Hellscream and his potent weapon, Gorehowl, battled with the elements controlled by Thrall and were defeated. Not willing to risk Garrosh escaping and wreaking more chaos upon the universe, Thrall killed Garrosh Hellscream and left him and his weapon on the field of battle, the place where the former Warchief had valued above all others.