Old Horde

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For its modern successor faction, see Horde. For other uses, see Horde (disambiguation).
HordeOld Horde
WarCraft Raneman021c.jpg
Main leader
Secondary leaders
Character classes

None, defeated

Other major settlements
Base of operations
Theater of operations

Burning Legion (indirectly post Orgrim's slaying of the Shadow Council)


Defeated by the Alliance of Lordaeron (ending the Second War). Some reformed into the Horde of Draenor, New Horde, Dark Horde and/or Fel Horde

The Old Horde[3][4][5] (aka (Old) Horde[3] or old Horde with lower-case "old" - see below for details, or the first Horde,[6][7] or the demon-corrupted Horde,[8] and originally known as the Horde[9] or Orcish Horde[10] and Orc Horde[11] during the time of its existence) is a nickname given to the Horde from its beginning prior to the First War until it was defeated by the Alliance of Lordaeron at the end of the Second War. It is used to differentiate it from the New Horde, founded by Thrall after the Old Horde's defeat. Fundamental principles of the Old Horde included demon worship, the consumption of demon blood to become stronger, merciless killing and warfare, and victory in combat to prove one's worth. Their ranks consisted originally only of orcs, soon joined by ogres from Draenor and later by forest trolls and goblins from Azeroth.


Main article: History of the Horde

The Horde began when the demon lord Kil'jaeden discovered Draenor to be the refuge of Velen and the draenei. Kil'jaeden hoped to exact his vengeance on Velen for rejecting Sargeras' offer on Argus. He approached the orc elder shaman Ner'zhul, posing as the spirit of his deceased life-mate Rulkan. Kil'jaeden convinced Ner'zhul that the draenei were plotting against the orcs and that by stopping them he'd come into a great power. Ner'zhul soon had the orc clans attacking draenei villages, intent on 'saving' themselves.

However, Ner'zhul began to suspect something was amiss when he discovered that the orc shamans were losing their ability to call upon the elemental spirits for aid. He made a pilgrimage to the holy site Oshu'gun and discovered the real spirit of Rulkan who revealed that he'd been deceived. Ner'zhul returned to Shadowmoon Valley, intending to back out of the agreement he'd made. To his horror, his apprentice Gul'dan had already discovered the intended treachery and reported it to Kil'jaeden. The power-hungry Gul'dan was given Ner'zhul's position in both orc society and in the deal with the Legion. Ner'zhul was kept alive in humiliation to witness the downfall of his people.

Gul'dan proved an eager servant, gladly serving the Burning Legion. He quickly reshaped the orcs from a handful of scattered clans into the bloodthirsty Orcish Horde. The Blackrock clan's chieftain Blackhand was installed as Warchief and Gul'dan served as his advisor, the true power behind the throne. To replace their shamanistic abilities, Gul'dan began to train orcs in the arts of demonology and necromancy, creating the warlocks and necrolytes of the Orcish Horde. Gul'dan's most trusted warlocks and necrolytes formed the Shadow Council to control orc society from behind the scenes.

The Horde's war against the draenei picked up the pace and the orcs struck out against the greatest and most fortified of draenei locations, Karabor and Shattrath. They destroyed Karabor with relative ease but found trouble assaulting Shattrath. To overcome this roadblock, Gul'dan took the opportunity to seal the Horde's loyalty to the Legion by feeding the blood of Mannoroth to twelve clan chieftains of the Orcish Horde. They were overcome by a demonic bloodlust that soon spread to the rest of the Horde and gave them the strength and fury to break through Shattrath's defenses and destroy it. With the draenei believed extinct, Kil'jaeden left Draenor and abandoned the orcs, ushering the Dying Time.

With their world dying and without significant enemies to fight, the orcs turned on each other. Gul'dan realized that unless he found a new enemy for the Horde, it would consume itself. Fortunately, Gul'dan was contacted by Medivh, a human mage possessed by Sargeras (leader of the Burning Legion), who promised power and glory in the lush lands of Azeroth. Together, Gul'dan's Shadow Council and Medivh created the Dark Portal. The Horde marched through to Azeroth where they clashed with its inhabitants and began the First War. Despite a rocky beginning, the Orcish Horde was ultimately victorious and conquered the Kingdom of Azeroth, but shortly afterwards suffered an insurrection for leadership that would ultimately prove to be the Horde's undoing.

Orgrim Doomhammer, Blackhand's second-in-command, turned on the Warchief when Gul'dan was rendered comatose and seized power. He destroyed the Shadow Council and nearly killed Gul'dan, but the warlock awoke just in time to bargain for his life. Orgrim grudgingly agreed to spare Gul'dan's life in exchange for the creation of a legion of undead spellcasters. These new death knights proved a valuable asset to the Horde, as well as the allegiance of forest trolls and goblins, in their push northwards into the Kingdom of Lordaeron. As the Horde laid siege to the capital, Gul'dan and his loyalists abruptly abandoned them to seek the Tomb of Sargeras. With almost half of their standing forces gone, including the death knights, the Orcish Horde was forced to retreat and give Lordaeron the time it needed to regroup.

Soon the tables were turned and the Alliance of Lordaeron laid siege to Blackrock Mountain. In this battle, the Horde was soundly defeated and Orgrim Doomhammer was taken prisoner. The remaining orcs fled for the Dark Portal, with the Alliance in hot pursuit. When Khadgar destroyed the Dark Portal's structure, the orcs lost their morale and were quickly captured and put in internment camps where they suffered from demon blood withdrawal. This marked the end of the Second War and the end of the Old Horde.


Even after its defeat, the Old Horde's ideals still lived on in organizations connected to it.

The Horde of Draenor

The Horde of Draenor
Main article: Horde of Draenor

The loose alliance of orc clans that remained on Draenor during the Horde's invasion of Azeroth. It was led by Ner'zhul who, at the request of Teron Gorefiend, had agreed to rally the remaining orcs on Draenor. He planned to open new portals to other worlds for the orcs to conquer. The Horde of Draenor eventually clashed together with the Alliance Expedition when it stepped through the Dark Portal to defeat the orcs in their own home. Most of the Horde of Draenor was wiped out by this war, and even more of it when Ner'zhul's new portals tore Draenor apart. The Horde of Draenor is also referred to as the new Horde, given how it was created in the wake of the Old Horde's defeat.

The Shadow Council

Main article: Shadow Council

The Shadow Council was founded by Gul'dan after he surpassed Ner'zhul as Kil'jaeden's lieutenant. It functioned to gather, infiltrate, and corrupt the various orcish clans in order to make them Kil'jaeden's weapon. As such, the Shadow Council — and its founder and leader — can be credited for creating the Old Horde. Although the Old Horde was defeated in the Second War and the Burning Legion was once more defeated in the Third War, the Shadow Council still lives on. Their main base in Azeroth seems to be Jaedenar. Several minor organizations are working under the Shadow Council — the Burning Blade clan being one of them.

The Burning Blade clan

A blademaster of the Burning Blade clan.
Main article: Burning Blade clan

One of the orcish clans from Draenor which, like the other clans, fought against the Alliance in the First and Second War. Similar to the Blackrock clan, of which the Dark Horde (#The Dark Horde|see below) is heavily composed, members of the Burning Blade clan are avid worshipers of demons and practitioners of demonic magic. They are also known for their deadly blademasters, who apparently swore an oath after the Third War to free the clan from the demons' clench. Still, many of its members are still devoted to demonic magic. They can primarily be found in Durotar where they're plotting the New Horde's destruction, as well as in Desolace where they've erected Thunder Axe Fortress. The Burning Blade is considered dangerous enough for the New Horde to plot to destroy them with.[12]

The Dark Horde

The Dark Horde
Main article: Dark Horde

A group of orcs, trolls, ogres and goblins — mostly originating from the Blackrock and Dragonmaw clans — made their home in Blackrock Spire in upper Blackrock Mountain. Blackrock Mountain was seized from the Dark Iron clan dwarves and used as the Old Horde's headquarters during the Second War. The orcs were defeated in the Siege of Blackrock Spire, leading to the Alliance of Lordaeron's victory at the Dark Portal. In the aftermath of the Horde's defeat, survivors returned to Blackrock Spire under the rule of Rend Blackhand. Nefarian arrived shortly after and became the new leader with Rend and Maim Blackhand as his subordinates.

The Fel Horde

The Fel Horde
Main article: Fel Horde

The remaining orcs of the Horde of Draenor — having become fel orcs from demon blood — that made their home in Hellfire Peninsula. Hellfire Citadel was their headquarters. Rallied by Magtheridon after Draenor's shattering, the fel orcs in Outland became Illidan Stormrage's servants when he overthrew Magtheridon in a coup d'état after the Third War. Kargath Bladefist, who in the aftermath of the Second War helped gather the artifacts needed to open Ner'zhul's new portals, acted as their leader under Illidan. He referred to the Fel Horde as the "true", "real", and "only" Horde. Indeed, the Fel Horde was possibly the branch which resembled the Old Horde the most.

Old or old?

The early Horde is described as the "old Horde" (lower-case "old") in only one known instance in lore, Lord of the Clans, and never used since (most of the time Thrall - the protagonist in this book - just calls it the "Horde").[13] Much more frequently this version of the faction is called the Old Horde (with an uppercase 'O') and the New Horde is, consequently, used to refer to Thrall's Horde.


  • Many players familiar with the Old Horde remember it with a sense of awe and nostalgia, considering it to have been more "badass" and "hardcore" than the New Horde. At the same time, they consider the New Horde to be too much concerned about honor and too little about warfare. Chris Metzen himself acknowledged that many players felt that the Horde "has had its teeth pulled" under Thrall.[17] Other players, however, consider the New Horde to be better organized and to pursue more important aims, and appreciate it changing into a more honorable faction.[18][19][20]

Members and allies

Orcs' symbol in Warcraft I.

Forest trollForest troll Amani Empire - Allied with the Horde during the Second War after their leader, Zul'jin was rescued from the Alliance of Lordaeron by Horde warriors.

Ogre mageIconSmall OgreMage.gifOgreOgre Ogre clans - Some ogres followed the orcs through the Dark Portal.

GoblinGoblin Steamwheedle Cartel - Seeing a great profit potential in the Second War, the Steamwheedle Cartel agreed to exclusively deal with the Horde, but after the lost war decided it would be more profitable to be neutral.

IconSmall CultistOrc Male.gifIconSmall CultistOrc Female.gif Shadow Council - A group of the old Horde's most elite warlocks. Most of the faction was slain by the second Warchief Orgrim after the First War.

  • Led by IconSmall Gul'dan.gif Gul'dan
  • Daemon Daemon - These dreaded hell spawns were summoned by the warlocks of the Shadow Council to do their bidding.

IconSmall DragonRed.gifIconSmall DrakeRed.gif Red dragonkin - These noble creatures were subjugated by the Dragonmaw Clan using the Demon Soul.

IconSmall DragonBlack.gifIconSmall DrakeBlack.gif Black dragonkin - These servants of the Old Gods briefly allied themselves with the Horde of Draenor out of convenience.

HumanHuman Kingdom of Alterac - A traitor human kingdom that allied with the Horde during the second war and later temporarily allied with the Horde of Draenor. They have since engaged in hostile relations with the New Horde.

IconSmall OldDeathKnight.gif Death knight order - Order of undead magic users created from the corpses of the fallen Knights of Azeroth and the spirits of the slain orcish necrolytes from the First War.

OrcOrc Thunderlord clan - Was one of the original orc clans and part of the Horde of Draenor. All of its members seem to have been forcibly turned into fel orcs by the Illidari and Burning Legion.

OrcOrc Stormreaver clan - A clan formed by Gul'dan for his personal protection. It later betrayed the Horde to look for the Tomb of Sargeras and was slaughtered by the vengeful Blackrock clan. A few ex-members such as Drak'thul survive but none known have rejoined the Horde.

OrcOrc Twilight's Hammer clan - A clan led by Cho'gall, the first ogre mage. Cho'gall was made the leader of an orc clan after its previous chieftain was executed for disobeying the Shadow Council. The clan's name was then changed to Twilight's Hammer; its original name and that of its former chieftain were stricken from all records. Under Cho'gall's leadership, the clan became increasingly nihilistic and eventually sought the destruction of all creation. This was true of their clan even before the orcs joined the pact with Mannoroth.



IconSmall Gul'dan.gif Gul'dan / IconSmall Blackhand.gif Warchief Blackhand WCOnH logo.png
IconSmall Orgrim.gif Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer (Azeroth) / IconSmall Ner'zhul.gif Warchief Ner'zhul (Draenor) WC2BnE-logo.png

Shadow Council

IconSmall Gul'dan.gif Gul'dan WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Blackrock clan

IconSmall Blackhand.gif Chieftain Blackhand WCOnH logo.png
IconSmall Orgrim.gif Chieftain Orgrim Doomhammer WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Frostwolf clan

IconSmall Durotan.gif Chieftain Durotan WCOnH logo.png
IconSmall Drek'Thar.gif Chieftain Drek'Thar WC2BnE-logo.png

Bleeding Hollow clan

IconSmall Kilrogg.gif Chieftain Kilrogg Deadeye WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Burning Blade clan

Unknown leadership WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Dragonmaw clan

IconSmall Zuluhed.gif Chieftain Zuluhed WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Warsong clan

IconSmall Grom.gif Chieftain Grommash Hellscream WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Bonechewer clan

IconSmall Orc Male.gif Chieftain Hurkan Skullsplinter WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Thunderlord clan

IconSmall Orc Male.gif Chieftain Fenris Wolfbrother WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Shadowmoon clan

IconSmall Ner'zhul.gif Chieftain Ner'zhul WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Shattered Hand clan

IconSmall Kargath.gif Chieftain Kargath WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Laughing Skull clan

IconSmall OgreMage.gif Mogor WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Twilight's Hammer clan

IconSmall OldCho'gall.gif Chieftain Cho'gall WCOnH logo.png - WC2BnE-logo.png

Stormreaver clan

IconSmall Gul'dan.gif Chieftain Gul'dan WC2BnE-logo.png

Black Tooth Grin clan

IconSmall Rend.gif Chieftain Dal'rend Blackhand / IconSmall OrcGray Male.gif Chieftain Maim Blackhand WC2BnE-logo.png

Horde Death knights

IconSmall Teron.gif Teron Gorefiend WC2BnE-logo.png

Amani tribe

IconSmall Zul'jin.gif Zul'jin WC2BnE-logo.png

Steamwheedle Cartel

IconSmall Goblin Male.gif Trade Prince Steamwheedle WC2BnE-logo.png

History Rise of the Horde First War Second War
Horde Blackhand the Destroyer Orgrim Doomhammer Ner'zhul
Shadow Council Gul'dan
Blackrock clan Blackhand the Destroyer Orgrim Doomhammer
Frostwolf clan Durotan Drek'Thar
Bleeding Hollow clan Kilrogg Deadeye
Burning Blade clan No known leaders
Dragonmaw clan Zuluhed the Whacked Nekros Skullcrusher
Warsong clan Grommash Hellscream Grommash Hellscream
Bonechewer clan Hurkan Skullsplinter Tagar Spinebreaker
Thunderlord clan Fenris Wolfbrother Fenris Wolfbrother
Shadowmoon clan Ner'zhul Ner'zhul
Shattered Hand clan Kargath Bladefist Kargath Bladefist
Laughing Skull clan Ogre-Mage Mogor Ogre-Mage Mogor
Twilight's Hammer clan Cho'gall
Stormreaver clan Gul'dan
Black Tooth Grin clan Rend Blackhand
Maim Blackhand
Horde Death knights Teron Gorefiend
Amani trolls Zul'jin
Ogres No known leaders
Steamwheedle Cartel Trade Prince Steamwheedle
Red Dragonflight Alexstrasza (enslaved by Nekros Skullcrusher)
Black Dragonflight Deathwing

Notes and trivia

  • The "old Horde" is also a term used by Sylvanas Windrunner to refer to the core races of the new Horde: the orcs, trolls, and tauren.[21]
  • As a good marker of the differences in philosophical viewpoints between the Old Horde and the Alliance of Lordaeron, the human clerics and paladins were able to heal their wounded allies, while the orcish necrolytes and death knights were only willing to raise their fallen comrades as undead.
  • The orcs were originally not seafarers and up to the Second War, most of the superstitious clans feared the open sea. As such, the navy of the Old Horde was built with the help of the other races. The ogres were responsible for the massive juggernaughts, the jungle trolls were responsible for the swift destroyers,[22] and the goblins equipped the giant turtle submarines.
  • Until Thrall came to power and reformed it, females were not considered equals to males in the Horde.[23] Similarly, peons were badly treated by their peers.
  • In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, dragon teeth necklaces were common enough in the ranks of the Old Horde that Zul'jin could trade five of them weekly at his shop.