This wiki contains inaccurate and out-of-date information. Please head over to for more accurate and up-to-date game information.



The Dark Horde[3] 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 are ruled by the self-styled Warlord Rend Blackhand. Unlike the other Orcs, they remained steadfast to the ideals of the old Horde, including demon worship, and depraved bloodlust. 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 that nobody told them was over.[1] (DF 133) Nobody believes that they will win the war, not even themselves, and that makes them very dangerous.[1] (DF 134)

Orc warlocks and other clans that refuse Thrall's leadership are strongest in Azeroth around the Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands.[4] (WoWRPG 166)


Defeat of the Blackrock clan

Blackrock Spire was the base of operations of the Horde during the Second War.[1] (DF 133) At the assault on Blackrock Spire, Orgrim Doomhammer was captured and sent to Lordaeron as a prisoner, and the Blackrock clan was defeated. [5] 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.[6]

The Alliance ultimately destroyed the Burning Blade clan,[7] (W2BNetMan 85) and the Black Tooth Grin clan was almost destroyed[8] (HPG 168). The Blackrock clan and the warriors from the Dragonmaw clan were defeated and imprisoned.[7] (W2BNetMan 85) With this, the Second War was over. However, Rend and Maim survived and slipped into the shadows[8] (HPG 168). 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

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.[1] (DF 136) The Smolderthorn tribe, Firetree tribe and Spirestone clan retained their alliances with the Blackrock clan.[1] (DF 133)[3] 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.[8] (HPG 171)

Aftermath of the Second War

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.[9] (BtDP 111-116) Not long after Nefarian came to Blackrock Spire and took control of the Blackhand brothers and the forces under their control.[9] (BtDP 121-122)

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.[10] (W3man 3)[10] (W3man 10)

Rend Blackhand returned from the shadows and took full control of the Blackrock clan after the death of Orgrim Doomhammer.[8] (HPG 167)

After the Third War

One of the black dragons allied with the Dark Horde.

Though the Blackrock orcs were defeated in Lordaeron,[11] (W3 Undead 6) 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.[12] (LoC 43) They prefer to stay near the Dark Portal.[4] (WoWRPG 166)

They were in constant war with Stormwind parties and Firegut ogres.[12] (LoC 43) 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.[1] (DF 136)

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.[4] (WoWRPG 166) 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.[1] (DF 136)

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.[12] (LoC 42) 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 make an alliance[13] even after the ogres were enemies of the Dark Horde and were unwillingly to accept allies other than ogres.[12] (LoC 43)

The army of black dragons and Dark Horde.

The Dragonmaws on Azeroth apparently escaped the internment camps and are now led by Chieftain Nek'rosh, son of Nekros Skullcrusher,[14] now they've regained strength, and have an encampment northeast of Menethil Harbor.[15] They allied with the Torchbelcher tribe and the Torchbelcher provide them with warriors and mages.[12] (LoC 80) Nek'rosh has built catapults and aims to lay siege to Menethil.[15]

Thrall would have eliminated this renegade group if it wasn't for Nefarian, because the big black dragon is protecting them.[1] (DF 133) 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.[16]

It's rumored that Rend is willing to allow naga, furbolgs and goblins to join him.[1] (DF 135)


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.[1] (DF 134)

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

The remnants of the Blackrock and Dragonmaw 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.[1] (DF 172)

Members of the Dark Horde

Clans/Tribes in the Dark Horde

Allies of the Dark Horde

A goblin working for the Dark Horde.

Living members

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.

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.

It is unknown why and whether they originally had this skin tone or attained it in some way. Either way, the trolls and ogres within the Dark Horde seem to have the "regular" skin tones of their respective races. It might be that the dark skin is simply a natural adaptation to the barren, ashen steppes around Blackrock Mountain. Some people have speculated that the skin color is from corrupt orcs (also in Warcraft I & II), but not red as Fel Orcs, because they aren't directly corrupted like the Warsong once were.

Another possibility is that they may be tainted orcs as they are said to have mottled gray in their green skins.[19] (MoM 127-128) Perhaps the Dark Horde continued mutating more than a tainted orc and they became completely gray.

It is also possible that the Blackrocks affiliation with the black dragonflight might have something to do with their skin color. Supposedly, the black dragons' magic or possibly even genes contributed to a new or at least a different breed of orc.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n DF, 133
  2. ^ Lands of Conflict implies it once had more, they totaled 7,500 Dragonmaw, 1,500 Blackrock, and 900 firegut. As Lands of Conflict is set after Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, but before WoW and Dark Factions after the Ahn'Qiraj patch, their number may have diminished between those events. See RPG chronology.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b c WoWRPG, 166
  5. ^ "Human Campaign: Assault on Blackrock Spire", Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Blizzard Entertainment.
  6. ^ "Human Campaign: The Great Portal", Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Blizzard Entertainment.
  7. ^ a b W2BNetMan, 85
  8. ^ a b c d HPG, 168
  9. ^ a b BtDP, 111-116
  10. ^ a b W3man, 3
  11. ^ W3, Undead 6
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h LoC, 43
  13. ^ Extinguish the Firegut
  14. ^ A [28] War Banners
  15. ^ a b A [31] Nek'rosh's Gambit
  16. ^ "Blackwing Lair" (HTML). Official World of Warcraft Community Site. Retrieved on 2008-05-14.
  17. ^ Calculated by the percentage, there are 30% Dragonmaw orcs in a total of 25,000: 7,500 Dragonmaw orcs. (LoC 79)
  18. ^ Calculated by the percentage, there are 15% black dragons in a total of 3,000: 450 black dragons. (LoC 42)
  19. ^ MoM, 127-128