Dark Horde

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NeutralDark Horde
For the Horde.JPG
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Status

Cataclysm Weakened and defeated (after the Fall of the Dark Horde), but some forces yet exist, later ranks bolstered by joining the Twilight's Hammer
MoP Defeated,[2] many members of the Blackrock clan joined the Horde

The Dark Horde[3][4] is a renegade group of orcs, trolls, ogres, and goblins who dwell in Blackrock Spire and consist largely of the remnants of the Blackrock clan and Dragonmaw clan. They were marshaled by Nefarian and ruled by the self-styled Warchief Rend Blackhand. Unlike the orcs of Thrall's Horde, they remained steadfast to the ideals of the old Horde, including demon worshipping, and depraved blood lust.[5]

History

Defeat of the Blackrock clan

Blackrock Spire was the base of operations of the Horde during the Second War.[6][7] At the assault on Blackrock Spire, Orgrim Doomhammer was captured and sent to Lordaeron as a prisoner, and the Blackrock clan was defeated.[8] The survivors fled to their last bastion of hope, The Great Portal, and there they fought alongside the Black Tooth Grin clan, some warriors of the Dragonmaw clan, and the Burning Blade clan.[9]

The Alliance ultimately destroyed the Burning Blade clan,[10] and the Black Tooth Grin clan was almost destroyed.[11] The Blackrock clan and the warriors from the Dragonmaw clan were defeated and imprisoned.[10] With this, the Second War was over. However, Rend and Maim survived and slipped into the shadows.[11] Also, although some Dragonmaw warriors died at the Dark Portal defense, most of that clan was still at Grim Batol.

Foundation of the Dark Horde

War Master Voone, a Smolderthorn troll.

After the Second War, Rend and Maim, serving as dual chieftains over the defeated Black Tooth Grin clan and the weakened Blackrock clan, apparently rescued some of their warriors from the prison camps, set up a base in Blackrock Spire, and formed the Dark Horde.[12] The Smolderthorn tribe, Firetree tribe and Spirestone clan retained their alliances with the Blackrock clan.[4][7] The Dragonmaw clan was loyal to Blackhand before his death, and when he was killed they pledged their loyalty to his sons; thus they remained with them as well.[13]

Aftermath of the Second War

DarkHordeinfobox.jpg

In the invasion of draenor the dark portal reopened and emissaries from Ner'zhul were sent to Rend and Maim asking them to rejoin the Horde and to borrow the red dragons held captive by their allied Dragonmaw clan. However, Rend refused.[14] Not long after Nefarian came to Blackrock Spire and took control of the Blackhand brothers and the forces under their control.[15]

After the destruction of the second Dark Portal there was only one clan that was large and strong enough to disrupt the peace in Lordaeron, the Dragonmaw clan, lead by Nekros Skullcrusher and located in Grim Batol, they hold control over the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza and the red dragonflight by using the Demon Soul. Nekros planned to reunite the falling Horde, unleash the red dragons over the Alliance and continue the conquest of Azeroth, but Rhonin and his companions, aided with dwarven resistance fighters destroyed the Demon Soul and set free to Alexstrasza, she was full of vengeance and incinerated Nekros and the most of the Dragonmaw clan. The few survivors were rounded and thrown in the internment camps.[16][17]

Rend Blackhand returned from the shadows and took full control of the Blackrock clan after the death of Orgrim Doomhammer.[18]

After the Third War

Though the Blackrock orcs were defeated in Lordaeron,[19] in Azeroth Rend Blackhand and his orcs had several encampments in the foothills of Blackrock Spire, claiming the mountain as their own, but refusing entering in the depths of it.[20] They prefer to stay near the Dark Portal.[21]

They were in constant war with Stormwind parties and Firegut ogres.[20] Eventually, Dark Iron dwarves from Blackrock Depths tried to destroy the Dark Horde. The Dark Horde fought back, and Maim was killed in savage battle. His sacrifice, plus Rend's "alliance" with the black dragonflight, allowed them to drive back the Dark Irons and maintain their hold on Blackrock Spire.[12]

Allegiance with the Forsaken

The Forsaken of Lordaeron happily aid the Dark Horde in the area. They don't care whether the orcs are evil or not; it's actually easier for them if their allies are evil.[21] Recently the Dark Horde may no longer accept assistance from the Forsaken. The Dark Horde may have started attacking them because they "support Thrall's Horde" which they believe is not the real Horde.[12]

Current activities

Now the Dark Horde is barricaded inside Blackrock spire under Rend Blackhand's command. They are as bloodthirsty and savage as the Horde of old and are as barbaric as the orcs from the First and Second Wars.[22] They still practice demonic magic and their warlocks can summon demons to help them in battle. Also they have contracted some goblin mercenaries and train worgs for war.

Apparently the Firegut ogres and the Dark Horde have made an alliance[23] even though the ogres were enemies of the Dark Horde and were unwillingly to accept non-ogre allies.[20]

The Dragonmaws on Azeroth apparently escaped the internment camps and are now led by Chieftain Nek'rosh, son of Nekros Skullcrusher,[24] now they've regained strength, and have an encampment northeast of Menethil Harbor.[25] They allied with the Torchbelcher tribe and the Torchbelcher provide them with warriors and mages.[26] Nek'rosh has built catapults and aims to lay siege to Menethil.[25]

Essentially, the Dark Horde has been fighting the Second War all these years, a war that has been over for around 30 years now, and counting.

Thrall would have eliminated this renegade group if it wasn't for Nefarian, because the big black dragon is protecting them.[7] Nefarian has taken control of Blackrock Spire and has made the Dark Horde as his pawns. They constantly fight the Dark Iron dwarves and their master, Ragnaros, that reside in the depths of the volcano. Nefarian and his brood are at work creating a Chromatic dragonflight with the powers of all the flights to release on the fire elementals and eventually the races of Azeroth.[27]

It's rumored that Rend is willing to allow nagas, furbolgs and goblins to join him. [28]

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

Due to Nefarian's and his father's return, they have allied themselves with Deathwing[citation needed] and are allies of the Twilight's Hammer clan. A Cataclysm has cracked the once natural defenses buffering the kingdom of Stormwind from its enemies and left openings that were taken advantaged of. The Blackrock orcs have managed to sneak into Northshire through a break in the southern Elwynn Mountains though they were defeated by the Stormwind Army. Furthermore, the Dark Horde have also begun invading Redridge in force as well under the guidance of the dragon Darkblaze. An Alliance adventurer deputized by the Stormwind Army travels to Redridge to aid the beleaguered Stormwind guards and reform Bravo Company to combat the threat. In the Burning Steppes storyline, Alliance players join John J. Keeshan and Colonel Troteman (or Eitrigg and Ariok for Horde players) in launching a retaliatory crushing blow to the Dark Horde.

Mists of Pandaria

MoP This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

With their allies, the Twilight's Hammer clan and the Black Dragonflight defeated and their warchief Rend Blackhand dead, many members of the Blackrock clan joined the Horde under Garrosh Hellscream, who recently gained the clan amnesty. Now, a formidable amount of blackrock orcs could be found in the Horde, especially as members of the Kor'kron. Many of these orcs were subsequently killed during the Pandaria Campaign and the Siege of Orgrimmar when adventurers of the Alliance and Horde swept through the ranks of Garrosh's True Horde and put an end to the dictator's reign.

Organization

Rend Blackhand, son of Blackhand the Destroyer, is in charge of the Dark Horde. He calls himself warchief, and all the other members of the Dark Horde address him as such. The true ruler of Blackrock Spire is Nefarian the black dragon. All Dragonmaw orcs belong to Rend's force; their clan leader, Chieftain Nek'rosh Skullcrusher, leads one band far to the north, in the Wetlands.[29]

From the official WoW site:

...the Dark Horde (is) a renegade group of orcs, trolls, and ogres who dwell in Blackrock Spire. Commanded by Rend Blackhand, the Dark Horde has not given up the battle to claim Azeroth, although Rend's forces are significantly smaller than Thrall's Horde. A group of warlocks drives the Dark Horde, which has not relinquished the original Horde's involvement in demonic magic. The Dark Horde is essentially still fighting the Second War, but Rend and his group know that they stand little chance of success, despite their alliance with the black dragonflight.
The Dark Horde's numbers are dwindling, and it has no means of recruiting new members. Realistically these evil individuals are well aware that their days are numbered. Such knowledge has given them a grim mindset: they are desperate, bitter, and completely ruthless in battle.

Military tactics

One of the black dragons allied with the Dark Horde.
The army of black dragons and Dark Horde.

The remnants of the Blackrock and Dagonmaw clans, along with their forest troll, ogre and goblin allies, form a brutal though small force. They are outnumbered in a hostile land, these orcs and their allies have developed more sophisticated tactics than those they used in the past. The original Horde that came from Draenor had the benefit of large numbers; it appeared that for every orc that fell, ten more came to take his place. Now these renegades temper their chaotic, bloodthirsty natures with caution, as they no longer have the forces to support reckless charges.

The Dark Horde uses the terrain around Blackrock Spire to its advantage. Orc and goblin lookouts hide behind carefully stacked rockfalls they can trigger in an instant, burying enemies on the path below. The renegades engage enemies in bottlenecks, where a pack of ogres or forest trolls make short work of assailants forced to approach one at a time. The renegades also know the best ambush sites on the Spire, where they throw rocks and fire missile weapons at enemies in shallow canyons.

When engaging enemies outside their territory, these renegades prefer to scout the land and pick defensible positions before attacking. The orcs try to have one or two locations to which they retreat when hard-pressed, usually rocky terrain with plenty of cover or thick forest (unless they are fighting night elves). The warriors attempt to lure their foes into unfamiliar ground where, if the orcs have no advantage, at least neither does the opposition.

The Dark Horde places its toughest warriors, usually ogres, in the front ranks, keeping weaker fighters in the back with ranged weapons and healing magic. In rare cases, the strongest orc leaders might appear mounted on the backs of black drakes, but such a sight is never seen outside Blackrock Spire. The melee fighters use intelligent tactics in battle, however, after a few attacks the bloodlust can take over the orc. Warriors lose control and lash out wildly at their opponents. Instead of using multiple attacks on one enemy, an orc may swing once at every enemy in range. These renegades train themselves to focus their attacks on the strongest enemy they can see until he falls, but in the heat of combat they often forget such training and may chase weakened stragglers across the battlefield.

Two types of spellcasters support the renegades. First, orc warlocks call down annihilating magical barrages and summon fiendish monstrosities. Second, forest troll healers, usually voodoo priests, assist the troops with healing magic and defensive spells. Orc warlocks who serve the Burning Legion also assist them.[30]

Members and Allies of the Dark Horde

An Ogre of the Dark Horde
The Experimental Chromatic Dragonflight assists the Dark Horde

Membership

IconSmall OrcGray Male.gifIconSmall OrcGray Female.gif Orc - Orcs make up the majority of the Dark Horde.

OgreOgre Ogre - Many ogres decided to stay under the leadership of the son of Blackhand

  • Firegut - Allies of the Blackrock orcs. They work closely with those orcs, keeping the mineral rich Dreadmaul Rock guarded and the supply lines open at all times.
  • Spirestone - A remnant of the Old Horde's ogre forces during the Second War. After the war, a sizable number of orcs led by Rend Blackhand and his brother Maim managed to return to their base at Blackrock Mountain.
  • Torchbelcher - An ogre tribe allied with the Dragonmaw clan of the Wetlands.
  • Stonegullet - a group of ogres found in the Searing Gorge. A group of them barricaded the road leading south to Blackrock Spire, and demand tribute from all wishing to pass, and with the help of three black drakes to ensure that all travelers paid the toll.

IconSmall ForestTroll Male.gifIconSmall ForestTroll Female.gif Forest troll - A few forest trolls intend to honor the pact the Horde made with the forest trolls and continue to follow what they see as the true Horde.

  • Firetree - One of the forest troll tribes that joined the Horde during the Second War after the Horde rescued their leader Zul'jin from the human forces. The Second War ended with the defeat of the Horde, but Rend Blackhand refused to give up the fight, some orcs, trolls, and ogres followed him, including the Firetree tribe
  • Smolderthorn - One of two tribes of forest trolls that belong to the Dark Horde. Smolderthorn trolls revere the memory of Zul'jin and consider the Firetree tribe acceptable allies, but despise all other forest trolls as deserters, particularly the Revantusk tribe, which is loosely affiliated with Thrall's Horde.

IconSmall Goblin Male.gifIconSmall Goblin Female.gif Goblin - The Dark Horde has hired many goblins to assist them in assassination and forging.

Red dragonflight Red dragonflight - The Dragonmaw still have red dragonkin controlled by demonic magic.[26]

IconSmall Daemon.gif Demons - Many members of the Dark Horde practice demon worship and summon imps, felhounds, and felguards to their aid.

Allies

A goblin hired by the Dark Horde.

IconSmall DragonBlack.gifIconSmall DrakeBlack.gifBlack dragonflight - led by IconSmall Nefarian.gifNefarian, in truth they are controlling the Dark Horde

  • IconSmall DragonBlack.gifIconSmall DragonRed.gifIconSmall DragonBlue.gifIconSmall DragonGreen.gifIconSmall DragonBronze.gif Corrupted dragonflights - The orcs have corrupted many dragons to do their bidding.
  • Chromatic dragonflight Chromatic dragonflight - The chromatic dragonflight of Blackrock Spire was created by Nefarian's magical experiments, using the blood of dragons from the other dragonflights.

Gnoll Redridge Gnolls

Command Structure

IconSmall Rend.gif Rend Blackhand

Gallery

Notes

The Dark Horde celebrated the Midsummer Fire Festival.[31]

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

They became a beacon for orcs who longed for the old days, and soon, their ranks began to swell again. They are fighting a war which they are unaware ended some time ago.[7]

Orc warlocks and other clans that refuse Thrall's leadership are strongest in Azeroth around the Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands.[21]

Skin color

A gray-skinned Blackrock orc.

Unlike other orcs, the skin tone of some of the orcs within the Dark Horde is a dull gray rather than green. Tides of War revealed that this skintone is a result of the clan living in the inside of Blackrock Mountain without sunlight for years.[32]

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

In Warlords of Draenor, the orcs of the Blackrock clan are shown to have gray skin. It seems that the clan has had the gray skintone since long before the invasion of Azeroth and the drinking of Mannoroth's blood. However, since they gray skintone has never been shown until World of Warcraft and they were previously depicted as green as the other orc clans, it's possible that this has been retconned already.

References

  1. ^ A [16] They've Wised Up...
  2. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  3. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  4. ^ a b http://worldofwarcraft.com/info/story/troll/foresttribes.html#smolderthorn
  5. ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/the-story-of-warcraft/chapter7
  6. ^ Tides of Darkness
  7. ^ a b c d Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 133. ISBN 9781588464460. 
  8. ^ "Human Campaign: Assault on Blackrock Spire", Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Blizzard Entertainment.
  9. ^ "Human Campaign: The Great Portal", Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Blizzard Entertainment.
  10. ^ a b Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual, The Aftermath of the Second War
  11. ^ a b Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 168. ISBN 9781588467720. 
  12. ^ a b c Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 136. ISBN 9781588464460. 
  13. ^ Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 171. ISBN 9781588467720. 
  14. ^ Rosenberg, Aaron; Christie Golden. Beyond the Dark Portal, 111-116. ISBN 978-1-4165-5086-0. 
  15. ^ Rosenberg, Aaron; Christie Golden. Beyond the Dark Portal, 121-122. ISBN 978-1-4165-5086-0. 
  16. ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 3. 
  17. ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 10. 
  18. ^ Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 167. ISBN 9781588467720. 
  19. ^ "Path of the Damned: Blackrock & Roll, Too!", Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment.
  20. ^ a b c Arthaus. Lands of Conflict, 43. ISBN 9781588469601. 
  21. ^ a b c Arthaus. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 166. ISBN 9781588467812. 
  22. ^ Arthaus. Lands of Conflict, 42. ISBN 9781588469601. 
  23. ^ Extinguish the Firegut
  24. ^ A [28] War Banners
  25. ^ a b A [31] Nek'rosh's Gambit
  26. ^ a b Arthaus. Lands of Conflict, 80. ISBN 9781588469601. 
  27. ^ "Blackwing Lair" (HTML). Official World of Warcraft Community Site. Retrieved on 2008-05-14.
  28. ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 135. ISBN 9781588464460. 
  29. ^ Dark Factions, 134
  30. ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 172. ISBN 9781588464460. 
  31. ^ N [60] A Light in Dark Places
  32. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, page 17