Garrosh Hellscream, son of the legendary Grommash Hellscream, discovered his self-worth under the guiding hand of Thrall, a master of the elements and powerful shaman. As part of Thrall’s Horde, Garrosh proved himself a terrifying warrior and an outstanding war leader. As Warchief of the Horde, his meteoric rise and tragic descent into despotism and hunger for power marked the path of a complex figure: an uncertain orc, out of his element and trying to live up to his father’s legacy. Garrosh sought to bring honor, glory, and prosperity to his people, but, for him, good intentions only paved a path of destruction.
Over the years, Grommash’s son rose to prominence within the Mag’har clan in Outland, and was eventually invited by Thrall to the orcish capital city of Orgrimmar in Azeroth to become one of his advisors. While in the Horde capital, Garrosh learned that the orcs were surviving in Orgrimmar, but not thriving as he felt that they should. He couldn’t understand why Thrall made choices that seemed more concerned with atoning for the past and preserving peace, rather than doing whatever was necessary to attend to the present needs of his people. Similarly, he questioned why Thrall was not exerting the full might of the Horde to eliminate its foes and simply take what was needed by force. This conflict steeled Garrosh’s resolve to restore the true glory of Orgrimmar and ensure the prosperity of the orcish people, no matter what—or who—lay in his path.
Certainly, Garrosh came to see the Alliance as unequivocal enemies of the Horde, and a primary obstacle barring the Horde’s ascent from suffering to true prosperity. The Alliance stymied the Horde at every turn by contesting for resources, raiding its settlements, and killing its people. It was obvious to Garrosh that the clear path forward was to destroy the Alliance and fully secure Kalimdor’s land and resources for the Horde.
As a plague of undeath broke out across Azeroth, marking the return of the undead Scourge to all of Azeroth’s people, Garrosh was named Overlord of the Warsong Offensive, to lead the main army of the Horde’s expedition to Northrend, the land that the undead invasion stemmed from and domain of the Lich King. Garrosh was aggressive and brutal in his tactics, bordering on reckless. He warred on the Alliance nearly as often as he did against the Lich King’s undead minions. Still, there was no question that Garrosh was a talented war leader, and the Horde armies returned from Northrend flush with victory after defeating the Lich King’s forces.
Garrosh’s triumphant return to Orgrimmar was cause for a great celebration, and Thrall bestowed Grommash’s axe, Gorehowl, on him to honor his victories against the Scourge. All was not well in Orgrimmar, however. For reasons that were not yet understood, the spirits of the elements had become unruly and violent, disrupting crucial supply routes and straining the resources of the already taxed Horde capital.
The chaos among the elemental spirits was intensifying to such a degree that Orgrimmar itself was assaulted by fire and earth elementals, and the whole of Azeroth was threatened. Thrall realized that the matter was rapidly growing out of control and resolved to travel to Nagrand to consult with the wise shaman who lived there in search of a solution.
As Garrosh remained the only orc with the necessary stature and popularity among the orcs to make a suitable interim Warchief, Thrall summoned him to Grommash Hold and handed over temporary leadership of the Horde. The move caught Garrosh by surprise. He was proud of his battle prowess, but a stranger to the games involved with politics and negotiation. He warned Thrall of his reservations, but Thrall dismissed them, assuring Garrosh that he would have the full support of advisors such as the mighty tauren high chieftain, Cairne Bloodhoof. Resolved to do what was best for the Horde, Garrosh accepted the leadership role.
For a time, Cairne and Garrosh worked well together, but that was not to last. Certain that Garrosh’s reckless brutality was too dangerous, Cairne challenged Garrosh to a ritual duel for the right to lead the Horde. It would prove to be exactly the kind of opportunity that the tauren Grimtotem Matriarch, Magatha Grimtotem, had been waiting for, and she secretly poisoned Gorehowl prior to the duel. It was a titanic battle, and while of advanced age, Cairne was an experienced and powerful combatant. As he gained the upper hand, Garrosh made a desperate swing that shattered Cairne’s weapon and scored a shallow cut across Cairne’s chest. Cairne faltered as Magatha’s potent venom ran through his veins, and Garrosh seized the opportunity to strike the killing blow. Just as his axe was poisoned, this episode would taint Garrosh’s tenure as Warchief, and portend the poisoned relationship between Garrosh and the leaders of the other races that make up the Horde.
Garrosh would continue to prioritize what he perceived as the welfare of the Horde over diplomacy or political maneuvering, even within his own faction. Garrosh expanded his campaign against the Alliance, initiating conflicts across the face of Kalimdor. With a series of attacks and strategic maneuvers, Garrosh arranged for a number of the Alliance’s finest military minds to be concentrated in Theramore. Once that was achieved, he did the unthinkable— ordered a mana-bomb, a weapon of immense destructive potential, to be detonated on the Alliance outpost. Its effects were devastating, and the city was left a smoking crater. While the attack on Theramore was a major military victory, the Horde’s non-orc members were horrified by Garrosh’s actions. The attack’s ultimate result was a fractious and vulnerable Horde, leaving some of its members distrustful and resentful of Garrosh’s leadership and on the verge of rebellion. Sensing the growing unease within his faction, Garrosh dealt with the budding insurrection in the way he knew best—blunt brutality. He made it clear that any member of the Horde who was not willing to assist in the war effort against the Alliance was a traitor, and would face the wrath of his elite Kor’kron enforcers. To make matters worse, the events at Theramore did not crush the Alliance’s spirit as Garrosh had intended, but instead forged an Alliance united in purpose and dedicated to the Horde’s defeat as never before.
No hope for diplomatic solutions remained, and the Alliance was now embroiled in a full scale war with the Horde. With the discovery of Pandaria, Garrosh’s forces would clash with the Alliance to no end. Garrosh however was unaware that Pandaria had a secret—the Sha. These creatures, born from the demise of the old god Y’Sharrj, are the physical embodiment of negative emotions such as anger, pride, and hatred. Rather than see the dangers inherent in the Sha, or how war was only strengthening them, Garrosh instead was certain that they were a power that he could harness. Garrosh wanted to forge the Horde into a weapon that could decisively control Azeroth once and for all. Impatient with dissent, his reign over the Horde became totally despotic, and his quest to wield the might of the Sha lead him to commit one atrocity after another. He ordered the troll leader Vol’jin assassinated, though the attempt was unsuccessful, and rang the Divine Bell, an artifact that turned his own loyal soldiers into Sha infested horrors. He cracked down, labeled the entire Darkspear tribe of trolls traitors in the wake of Vol’jin’s “assassination,” and ordered many non-orcs in Orgrimmar to be rounded up and imprisoned or executed.
Garrosh’s actions triggered a full scale revolt, called the Darkspear Rebellion, within the dissident members of the Horde. Led by Vol’jin, and with the aid of the Alliance, they rose up against him. Undeterred, Garrosh was still determined to harness the power of Pandaria’s darkest beings, and he submerged the Heart of Y’shaarj within a sacred pool in one of Pandaria’s holiest places. The dark power of the Heart reacted with the sacred pool, causing a surge of powerful Sha energy to destroy and corrupt the surrounding area. With the Heart now energized, and Horde rebels, Pandaren, and the Alliance arrayed against him, Garrosh prepared himself to face all comers within the fortified Underhold he had constructed beneath Orgrimmar. Garrosh was not afraid. He had built the Horde into a fearsome war machine and still had many loyal soldiers. Now he was filled with forbidden and unfathomable power. He was determined to emerge triumphant against his adversaries and, with the power of the Sha at his command, return to bend Azeroth to his will and ensure the final victory of his ‘true’ Horde.
Garrosh is a controversial figure, but one thing is certain: he is always ready to bring his might to the field of battle in Hearthstone! His father’s axe rarely left his side, and its vicious edge has felled the mightiest of foes. When it is swung, the mighty axe seems to howl for the blood of its victims. Now you can use the epic power of Gorehowl in your Warrior deck to tirelessly cleave hapless minions in twain, or deliver the killing blow to your opponents, just as Grommash and Garrosh did.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Garrosh’s tumultuous past and his role in Hearthstone.
You can read about the history of the other Heroes of Hearthstone here: