Shadowmoon clan

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Shadowmoon clan
Shadowmoon Crest.png
The Shadowmoon clan banner.


Past leaders
Former affiliation(s)
Clan color



Semi active

The Shadowmoon clan, also known as Shadow Moon clan,[1] was led by the orc shaman Ner'zhul, and was the most powerful clan on Draenor prior to the world's destruction. Named for the Shadowmoon Valley in which it was based, and although the clan was very heavily influenced by shamanistic traditions, like all orcish clans at that time, they were known to be the most spiritual of the orcs.[2] Although the Shadowmoon clan practiced traditional orc shamanism, their leader, Ner'zhul practiced a much darker version of shamanism, that was heavily influenced by Warlock magic, a result of Ner'zhul's trafficking with Kil'jaeden, a demon of immense power.

The Shadowmoon had a history of astrology, and their shamanism was powered by the "language of the stars" in addition to that of the earth.[3] For centuries the Shadowmoon have charted the stars, and from them interpreted omens.[4] This focus on the night sky may explain how Ner'zhul knew about the celestial alignment that would allow him to open portals in Beyond the Dark Portal.


Warcraft II crest.

Several centuries ago, when the Genedar arrived on Draenor, the Shadowmoon clan witnessed the crash in the sky. A piece of the ship crashed down in Shadowmoon Valley, and soon afterward a shadow appeared in the sky that came to be known as the Dark Star by the orcs; in reality, the Dark Star was the naaru K'ara in a Void state, ejected from the Genedar during the crash.

By observing the Dark Star, the Shadowmoon clan discovered the powers of the Void. But when orcs began to use the shadow powers to defile the spirits of their sacred ancestors, the chieftain outlawed the shadows and the magic of the Dark Star.[3]

Centuries later, Kil'jaeden had the objective of turning the orcs into a Horde of blood-thirsty creatures to satisfy the Burning Legion, a powerful force bent on the destruction of various worlds in the Great Dark Beyond. Ner'zhul later realized what Kil'jaeden was doing, and attempted to halt the orcs' corruption. His efforts were in vain, as his own student, Gul'dan, continued Kil'jaeden's schemes to horrifying success and effectively usurped control of the clan from him.

Under Gul'dan, many orcs, including those of the Shadowmoon, broke the ancient laws and began to wield void magic. These orcs became the necrolytes, many of whom also joined the Shadow Council. One of Gul'dan's greatest students, Teron'gor, was of Shadowmoon background. He would later be transformed by Gul'dan into the first death knight; Teron Gorefiend.

The Shadowmoon clan was the major force in the conflicts following the conclusion of the Second War, conducting raids on Azeroth to procure various artifacts — the Book of Medivh, Skull of Gul'dan, Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, and Eye of Dalaran. Except for the Skull of Gul'dan these artifacts corresponded to three constellations on Draenor, and using them in conjunction with a celestial event involving those constellations gave Ner'zhul the power to open portals to other worlds, as Azeroth was deemed a lost cause. Ner'zhul attempted to open the portals, but the energy released tore Draenor apart. Ner'zhul and his select followers escaped through one of the portals into the Twisting Nether. The death knights and Shadowmoon warlocks and shaman among them were transformed into the first liches of the Scourge.[5][6]

The remainder of the Shadowmoon clan managed to survive the destruction of Draenor, and held out in Shadowmoon Valley. However some of these Shadowmoon orcs were corrupted into fel orcs by the Illidari, becoming part of their armies.


  • Bone ceremonial tattoo needles are taken from the corpses of fallen enemies and meticulously sharpened. The mystics of the Shadowmoon often inscribe secret runes into their flesh to more clearly speak to their ancestors and the elemental spirits.[7]
  • Ivory idols were used in the Void worship once practiced but now banned by the Shadowmoon Clan elders. Some idols are as dark as the night sky. Roughly and frantically chiseled from the tusk of what must have been a colossal elekk, this idol was dyed and is inlaid with complex swirling and jagged patterns.[8]
  • Consultation with the spirits of previous generations is considered essential to Shadowmoon shamans whenever an important decision is to be made. Talismans and other relics that were important to an ancestor during life provide a more clear spiritual conduit for shamans to speak to them in the afterlife.[9]

In World of Warcraft

TBC This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.

The fel orcs of the Shadowmoon clan are primarily spell-casters — to be more specific, warlocks. Shadowmoon warlocks under Keli'dan the Breaker appear to be the jailors of Magtheridon deep inside Hellfire Citadel's Blood Furnace, and the area is manned by Shadowmoon technicians and adepts using the blood of Magtheridon to turn captured Mag'har orcs into new fel orcs. The Shadowmoon warlocks can also be found inside the Shattered Halls.

The other major concentration of the Shadowmoon clan outside of Hellfire Citadel is at the Black Temple itself, on the Ata'mal Terrace. There they hold the  [Heart of Fury], one of the shards of the ata'mal crystal. The fel orcs, along with the blood elves in the Ruins of Karabor, on the Temple's south battlements, are found inside the Temple itself, in the direct service of their demon-crazed master. Many other Shadowmoons also serve Teron Gorefiend at Gorefiend's Vigil.

The orcish inhabitants in Shadowmoon Village, now members of the reformed Horde under Thrall, are likely the last uncorrupted members of the Shadowmoon clan. Warlords of Draenor reveals the village is built in an area known as Lunarfall, and there were several orc ruins in Lunarfall, implying that the village has ancestral ties to the clan. Concept art for The Burning Crusade indicates that it was the clan's village at one point, but the modern orcish architecture of the village implies that that was no longer the case.

Known members

Name Role Status Location
Neutral IconSmall Dentarg.gif Dentarg Enforcer and Right hand of Ner'zhul Deceased Hellfire Citadel
Neutral IconSmall Gul'dan.gif Gul'dan Former member Deceased Unknown
Combat IconSmall FelOrc Male.gif Keli'dan the Breaker Guardian of Magtheridon Deceased Blood Furnace, Hellfire Citadel
Neutral IconSmall Ner'zhul.gif Ner'zhul Leader, former member Became the Lich King Icecrown Citadel
Combat IconSmall FelOrc Male.gif Nethekurse Grand Warlock Deceased The Shattered Halls, Hellfire Citadel
Neutral IconSmall OrcBrown Female.gif Rulkan The Mate of Ner'zhul Deceased Unknown
Neutral IconSmall SavageWolf.gif Skychaser Mount of Ner'zhul Unknown Unknown
Neutral IconSmall Orc Male.gif J'argg Bloodfyre Deceased Unknown
Neutral IconSmall Orc Male.gif J'amogg Bloodfyre Deceased Unknown
Neutral IconSmall Orc Male.gif Jaruk Bloodfyre Deceased Unknown
Combat IconSmall Teron.gif Teron Gorefiend Leader Deceased Gorefiend's Vigil, Black Temple

Notable Leaders

History Shamanism Rise of the Horde First War Second War Interbellum Third War World of Warcraft The Burning Crusade Wrath of the Lich King Cataclysm Mists of Pandaria Warlords of Draenor
Ruler Draenor Neutral
Outland / Illidan's forces Unknown Combat
Teron Gorefiend


In Beyond the Dark Portal

WC2BnE logo 16x42.png This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.

Leader: Ner'zhul the Shaman

Color: Black

The nefarious Shadow Moon clan rules over the scattered clans of Draenor. Although the clans Draenor do not maintain the unity of the Horde in Azeroth, Ner'zhul keeps these houses subjugated through fear and brute force. The Shadow Moon is heavily influenced by ancient shamanistic principles and exemplifies the raw power of the dark Orcish magiks.[1]