The Warchief, or War Chief, is the military leader of the Orcish Horde, similar to a king or Supreme Allied Commander among humans. During the war with the draenei before the opening of the Dark Portal, Gul'dan envisioned two groups of leaders for the orcs when he united them into the Horde: the Shadow Council who shared his vision and the publicly elected Warchief to be its puppet. On Draenor, Ner'zhul took the title in the event Gul'dan should ever return. The Warchief is now the title of the Horde's supreme leader, though his duties no longer include simply war.
Warchiefs of the Horde
- Blackhand — First Warchief of the Horde, elected by the clan chieftains during the war against the draenei on Draenor. Continued as Warchief during First War between Stormwind and the Horde. He was slain by Orgrim Doomhammer in ritual combat who then took his place as Warchief.
- Orgrim Doomhammer — Warchief of the Horde during the end of the First War (having slain Blackhand and taken his place) and the entirety of the Second War.
- Thrall — Warchief of the Horde. Son of Durotan, liberator of the orcs and chieftan of the Frostwolf clan. As the greatest shaman ever known, he stepped down to join the Earthen Ring in stabilizing the world following the Cataclysm.
- Garrosh Hellscream — Warchief of the Horde. Son of Grom Hellscream. Invited by Thrall to join the Horde after the reopening of the Dark Portal by Lord Kazzak and quickly advancing to the position of personal adviser, he was chosen by Thrall to be the Warchief when he stepped down to join the Earthen Ring. Deposed by the Alliance and Darkspear Rebellion due to the warmongering and genocidal policy towards non-orcs.
- Vol'jin - Warchief of the Horde. Son of Sen'jin. Shadow Hunter and chieftain of the Darkspear tribe. Became Warchief following Garrosh's defeat at the Siege of Orgrimmar. The first non-orc to hold the position.
Other organizations have warchiefs as well. At present, there are three individuals who use the title in World of Warcraft — two in Azeroth and one in Outland.
- Ner'zhul — Warchief of the Horde of Draenor. Rallied the clans that remained on Dreanor after the Dark Portal was shut down at the end of the Second War. He created several portals to escape Draenor after the Alliance invaded, but was captured by Kil'jaeden, who transformed him into the Lich King.
- Rend Blackhand — Warchief of the Dark Horde, minion of Nefarian. Gathered together remnants of the Blackrock, Dragonmaw, and Black Tooth Grin clans after the Horde's defeat in the Second War. Resided in the Upper Blackrock Spire of Blackrock Mountain in Azeroth.
- Kargath Bladefist — Warchief of the Fel Horde, minion of Illidan. Resides in the Shattered Halls of Hellfire Citadel in Outland.
- Mor'ghor — Described as "Warchief" of the Dragonmaw Clan in the Twilight Highlands, later defeated by Garrosh Hellscream's Forces.
- Garrosh Hellscream — Warchief of the True Horde, after he expelled the non-orcish races.
- Grommash Hellscream — Warchief of the Iron Horde. Consists of uncorrupted orcish clans on an alternate reality version of Draenor after Garrosh interferes with the timeline.
Roles of the Warchief in the Horde
The Warchief of the Horde stands as the undisputed leader. The warchief holds dominion over the entire Horde. The warchief maintains the Horde, has the power to declare war for the entire Horde, take any precaution to ensure the stability and security of the Horde's member states, and has the final say in the induction of new Horde members.
All members of the Horde have to swear a blood oath to join the Horde and are thus obligated to follow the warchief's commands and support the warchief in times of war if the warchief calls upon them for aid.
The position of warchief can be attained by having the previous warchief chose a successor or challenging the current warchief to a Mak'gora: a prearranged duel with deadly weapons between two people following a formal procedure in the presence of witnesses and traditionally fought until one party yields or is killed, usually to settle a quarrel involving a point of honor. Above all else, the title warchief is granted to those who display strength and decisive action. Warchiefs must be able to gain respect via combat effectiveness and martial conquests but also have enough tact to keep the Horde united and stable.
The warchief may accept ambassadors and advisors from all the different tribes and members of the Horde to makes sure their voices are heard in the running of the fledgling hegemony but ultimately, only the warchief has the final say in matters concerning the entire Horde.