This article contains plot details about an upcoming expansion or patch!
From Old Soldier
High Overlord Varok Saurfang (pronounced "VEH-rawk SAHR-fang") is the younger brother of Broxigar and a renowned orc warrior of the Blackrock Clan. A famed veteran of the First, Second, and Third Wars, he served as Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer's second-in-command during the Second War, and as Supreme Commander of the combined Might of Kalimdor during the Second War of the Shifting Sands against the qiraji of Ahn'Qiraj.
He later led the Kor'kron against the Scourge in Northrend and assisted Thrall during the Siege of Orgrimmar. Following the tragic battle on the Broken Shore and Sylvanas Windrunner's promotion to Warchief, Saurfang took up the position as leader of the Orgrimmar orcs and resides in Grommash Hold.
Varok Saurfang was born on Draenor as a member of the Blackrock Clan and the younger brother of Broxigar. Broxigar and Varok also had an unnamed half-brother, sharing the same mother but different fathers. Shortly after Blackhand was named Warchief of the Horde, 5 years before the opening of the Dark Portal, he named Varok, Eitrigg, and Orgrim Doomhammer as his lieutenants, and they helped oversee the Blackrock war machine as it prepared for the war with the Draenei. Varok made the free decision to drink the blood of Mannoroth alongside Grommash Hellscream and led forces in the sacking of Shattrath, the Blood Curse causing them to murder many innocent Draenei, children included.
Around the time of the Dark Portal's opening Varok's mate apparently died and was burned in Nagrand. Having promised his mate that their son would not be exposed to the warlocks or cross the Dark Portal, their son Dranosh was hidden away at Garadar in Nagrand, while Varok charged into the world of Azeroth, commanding Blackhand's army like an unstoppable force towards Stormwind, never losing in battle until the Horde was routed at the end of the Second War. When Orgrim seized control of the Horde in the First War, he chose Varok as his second-in-command after witnessing Saurfang's efficient and brutal tactics on the field. He participated in the siege of Stormwind City as well. When the Horde marched from the Hillsbrad Foothills into the Hinterlands during the Second War, Varok commanded a rearguard of Blackrock orcs to waylay the Alliance.
At some point during the Third War, Varok fought alongside the troll Hekazi. He participated in the Battle of Mount Hyjal, witnessing Archimonde's fall to the wisps. After the demonic bloodlust had been lifted from the orcs due to Grommash Hellscream's sacrifice, Varok helped dozens of veterans come to grips with their previous atrocities, ultimately saving the lives of many great Horde soldiers. His own actions under the Blood Curse, however, continue to haunt him, as the sound of swine being killed when they are ready for slaughter to remind him of the death screams of the Draenei children, and older veterans like Varok are often troubled by the memory. It disturbed Varok so deeply that he has refused to eat pork ever since. He will not shy away from war, or hesitate to defend his people and the Horde. However, he refuses to start a war, and if it is within his power, he will prevent a warmongering spirit from doing so. Whether through actions or by words, he will stop them any way he can... no matter what.
World of Warcraft
During the second War of the Shifting Sands, Saurfang traveled to the front lines in Silithus. He acted as the Supreme Commander of the Might of Kalimdor in the war against the Silithid and their Qiraji masters.
War against the Lich King
Saurfang is stationed in Warsong Hold as an advisor to Garrosh Hellscream. He commands the Kor'kron in Northrend and remains wary of the resurfacing bloodlust of the orcs, due to its employment in Hellscream's savage but successful tactics. Varok also assisted adventurers in killing Varidus the Flenser but insisted on not telling Garrosh about this.
During the battle for Angrathar the Wrathgate, the main entrance to Icecrown, Dranosh Saurfang fell to the Lich King shortly before the treachery of Grand Apothecary Putress. Adventurers brought Dranosh's shattered armor back to his father at the behest of Alexstrasza.
After the Battle for the Undercity, Varok reminded Thrall, who was lamenting the broken peace between the Alliance and the Horde, of his duty to lead their people.
Varok delivered a message from Korm Blackscar to Garrosh and Thrall that arrived at the Warsong Hold after the Dalaran meeting.
Fall of the Lich King
Horde players can find him standing near Tirion Fordring inside Icecrown Citadel at Light's Hammer. High Overlord Saurfang commands the gunship Orgrim's Hammer during the Gunship Battle in Icecrown Citadel.
Once the undead form of his son (now called the Deathbringer) is defeated, Varok is first engaged with Muradin Bronzebeard to not permit him to pass. Varian and Jaina arrive and Varian tells Muradin to let him pass and claims his son's body. Varok will not forget the King's kindness before leaving. He promises to give his son a proper ceremony in Nagrand, next to the pyres of his mother and ancestors. He ends with saying to the Horde players: "Honor, young heroes. No matter how dire the battle, never forsake it."
The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
Some months before the Cataclysm, Cairne Bloodhoof traveled to Warsong Hold to meet with Garrosh. It was revealed that Saurfang would remain within the hold as part of the Horde's Northrend skeleton crew and as the leader of the Warsong Offensive and the Horde Expedition. As Cairne bid Saurfang farewell, he could see in the orc's eyes that he knew that there would be plenty of ghosts to haunt him, if only in his memories.
Siege of Orgrimmar
Thrall mentioned that he would head over to Orgrimmar to find any orcs that wish to rebel against Garrosh, specifically Eitrigg and Saurfang.
Saurfang arrives at the siege to fulfill the promise he made to Garrosh many years before. He met with Thrall and attempted to enter Orgrimmar, but was stopped by Nazgrim. Nazgrim sent the Kor'kron army away and let the two orcs inside, but could not guarantee their safety. Varok then followed Thrall to the lair of Hellscream below Orgrimmar. However, he becomes injured in a battle against mantid and insists that Thrall continues without him. He is later encountered by heroes seeking to destroy Hellscream and end his reign and asks them about the fate of General Nazgrim. He is saddened to hear of Nazgrim's demise and laments the loss of the great leader and warrior Nazgrim has been. He then retrieves his axe from a dead mantid and returns to the surface.
Saurfang accompanied Go'el and Eitrigg to the trial of Garrosh Hellscream. He agreed with Baine as Garrosh's defender. Acknowledged as a hero by Horde and Alliance alike, he was called upon by Tyrande Whisperwind as the third witness and told the court of his conflicts with Garrosh in Northrend. His threat to kill Garrosh should he take the orcs down another dark road (and his subsequent uprising against Garrosh in the Siege of Orgrimmar) was key testimony, and seen as proof by many that Garrosh had gone too far in the eyes of some fellow orcs.
However, Saurfang did not desire the court to give Garrosh a death sentence. Were it up to him, Garrosh's love for his people would have earned him a trial tied to orcish customs, and a mak'gora against Saurfang to determine whether he would live and repent or perish for his crimes.
Warlords of Draenor
Varok is one of the several Garrison visitors that can appear every day. Upon entering Frostwall he will inform the Commander of various threats to the Draenor campaign and will direct them to deal with dungeon and raid bosses.
Back in Orgrimmar, Varok became commander of the city's defenses. Following the Battle for the Broken Shore Varok barred the entrance to Grommash Hold to a select few and allowed the adventurer entry to see the dying Vol'jin. Following Vol'jin's death, Varok was present at the Warchiefs' funeral ceremony at the Dranosh'ar Blockade. When Sylvanas Windrunner took the mantle of Warchief, Varok was stationed inside Grommash Hold presiding over Orgrimmar as the leader of the orcs. Varok also personally lead the defense of the Northern Barrens during the Legion Invasion event from the Crossroads.
Varok later traveled to the Broken Shore with a warrior adventurer, believing that he needed to regain his valor after the disastrous battle on the island. Unfortunately, he got shot by a fel cannon mid-air, asking the adventurer to proceed and make them pay. Master Smith Helgar of the Valarjar later sent the warrior adventurer to find Varok and duel him on the Broken Shore as he is believed to be the greatest axe wielder on Azeroth and could be an inspiration to forge The Arcanite Bladebreaker.
Following the end of the Argus Campaign, Varok Saurfang was the last Horde leader to join the Orgrimmar parade. Though Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner grudgingly respected Varok, she also sensed that out of all the Horde leaders, Varok was most likely the one to challenge or outright oppose her should she misstep too badly. At a dinner celebrating the Legion's defeat, Saurfang and Baine expressed distrust towards Gallywix, who went to speak with Sylvanas privately about a mysterious new substance. When Baine told Saurfang that Gallywix had been sending many of his goblins to Silithus, Saurfang angrily stated that nothing good ever came from Silithus.
He later arrived at the Orgrimmar Embassy with the other leaders.
War of the Thorns
Following the Gathering, Orgrimmar had been saturated with Alliance spies. Since it would be too costly for the Horde to uproot them all, Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner had chosen to tolerate their presence. After Varok chastised a group of Orgimmar grunts who were drunk on guard duty, Varok traveled to Grommash Hold to attend the secret meeting he was summoned to by his Warchief. After Sylvanas assured Varok that her champion Nathanos was keeping this meeting private from Alliance spying, Sylvanas asked Varok to make a hypothetical battle plan on how to sack Stormwind City.
After evaluating all the scenarios he could think of, Varok concluded that the Horde would be unable to sack Stormwind City and any progress at doing so would be tentative at best. Sylvanas suggested Varok think of a more elaborate strategy with Stormwind's conquering as the final phase rather than the sole objective. Enraged by Sylvanas' warmongering, Varok finally questioned his Warchief why she was eager to start a bloody war with the Alliance. Sylvanas rationalized that she believed that the Alliance and Horde will never forgive the transgressions they had committed against one another and that war was inevitable. Thus, the only way to ensure peace for the Horde was to dominate the Alliance in war and win it on their terms. When Varok suggested that the Horde should then be prepared to defend themselves for the next war instead of instigating it, Sylvanas countered by explaining that while Varok himself had shown that Stormwind City was seemingly impenetrable to conquering, the Siege of Orgrimmar showed that Orgrimmar was not; thus the Horde was more vulnerable to losing in a war than the Alliance. With Azerite undoubtedly changing warcraft, Sylvanas proposed that they take every opportunity to achieve victory and ensure lasting peace for future generations of the Horde. Varok came to agree with Sylvanas' sound reasoning but still could not fathom what strategy would be effective enough to sack Stormwind when they lack the logistics to maintain an invasion.
Sylvanas led Varok to the realization that the war with the Burning Legion had weakened both factions' navies and the deterrence of swift reprisal that enforced the stalemate between the Horde and Alliance was no longer feasible. With both the Alliance and Horde's navies diminished, they would be unable to transport troops and thus would be slow to project military power to reinforce distant warfronts. With such a weakness, the Horde could secure Kalimdor. Darnassus, the center of Alliance military power in Kalimdor, would be a feasible target to conquer; especially if the Horde took the Alliance by surprise. The cost, however, would be that their holdings in the Eastern Kingdoms would likely be susceptible to reprisal, especially Sylvanas' own capital, the Undercity.
Sylvanas, however, proposed to politically divide the Alliance by baiting the Kaldorei into demanding the Alliance prioritize the retaking of their homeland and thus dividing the Alliance's forces. The Alliance would lack the fleet nor the strength to retake Kalimdor and thus weaken or become politically fractured. Furthermore, holding Darnassus hostage would paralyze the Alliance from counterattacking as the night elves would not stand for their city being annihilated and thus create a divide between them and the Gilneans, who had lost their nation years ago and were not prioritized for military aid on that warfront either. With such a political crisis, Anduin Wrynn would not be able to act and each Alliance nation will act in its own interest to defend themselves from a unified Horde. Varok came to the realization that was how they intended to defeat Stormwind, by politically carving each individual nation away from the Alliance and then dominating them into a surrender. However, Sylvanas was well aware that they can only divide the Alliance if the war to conquer Darnassus does not unite the Alliance against the Horde. That can only happen if the Horde wins in an honorable victory, which Sylvanas knows the Horde doesn't trust her to do. Thus, Sylvanas has authorized Saurfang to create the battle plans and execute their strategy.
During the Horde's march on Ashenvale, the forces led by Saurfang were lured out into the open by Malfurion Stormrage in Astranaar. Astranaar, being an island, was somewhere that Saurfang realized the Horde could not escape from. Saurfang challenged Malfurion to mak'gora, but Malfurion did not care and simply attacked. He overwhelmed Saurfang and used roots to bind his legs, and Saurfang admitted to himself that there was nothing he could do against Malfurion's power. But as the inn began to collapse around them, Sylvanas fired an arrow of dark magic at Malfurion, distracting him from Saurfang.
Before the Burning of Teldrassil, Sylvanas ordered Saurfang to finish Malfurion, whom he had just mortally wounded, and meet her at the World Tree. He was interrupted by Tyrande, who let him leave for not killing her husband.
Battle for Lordaeron
On the eve of the Battle for Lordaeron, Varok went up on the ramparts of Lordaeron Keep. The Alliance forces were amassing before the fortress, as retaliation for the burning of Teldrassil, something he had warned Warchief Sylvanas of. He was found by Zekhan, who asked him for advice, and told him about his eagerness to die with honor and glory. Saurfang's only advice to him was not to die, and he added that there was no honor or glory in this war.
Disillusioned with the Horde, the orc removed his armor and went to meet the Alliance army head on and alone, and finally earn the warrior death he longed for. However, the young troll rushed to him and convinced him to live another day by returning Dranosh's necklace, which Varok had left behind to burn. Varok took it, the same way he retrieved it from Dranosh's body, and returned back behind the walls just as the dawn arrived and the Alliance prepared to march forward.
He defended Capital City, taking up the Horde banner and leading the charge. The orc leader managed to strike an uppercut with the haft of his axe on the Alliance leader, Anduin Wrynn, knocking down the young king but was pushed back by King Genn Greymane. After this, Sylvanas and Saurfang looked in awe as Wrynn conjured a massive dome of light to heal and rally his wavering men, before clashing once again with the Alliance.
When the Horde began to lose the battle, Saurfang was against Sylvanas's decision to use the blight. He argued with her that the Horde had to recover the bodies of the fallen as honor demanded, to which she was opposed. He then vanished, going to see the results of Sylvanas's tactics. When he returned, he confronted Sylvanas, but she didn't care about the honor. Saying he could die a warrior's death if he wanted, she ordered everyone else to the throne room, while Saurfang chose to stay behind.
Outside in the courtyard, Saurfang waited to confront the Alliance forces and refused Anduin's offer to stand down. He was defeated, but Anduin ordered his forces to stop before any could kill him, much to Saurfang's chagrin as he wanted an honorable death. Anduin said that his father had told him that Saurfang represented what was best about the Horde and admired him for that, and the new king felt the same. Anduin attempted to persuade Saurfang that simply dying there had no honor; while Saurfang disagreed that an Alliance king had any say in such matters, Anduin stated that for that moment it was, and then ordered his men to take the High Overlord to the Stormwind Stockades. Anduin stated his intention to speak with Saurfang about reclaiming honor after returning to Stormwind, though Varok was skeptical that Anduin would live that long.
Rokhan, First Arcanist Thalyssra, and the Horde adventurer infiltrated the Stockades to break out Zul and Talanji, and found Saurfang. Although they opened his cell, he stated that he had lost track of time and had spent it coming to a difficult decision: for her past actions, as long as Sylvanas was Warchief he would never return to her Horde. He also advises that one needs to know the difference between loyalty and honor and to pray to never have to choose between the two. Rokhan and Thalyssra respect his decision, and after he points out the way to the trolls, he bids them farewell with a simple lok'tar (victory), notably leaving out the Ogar (victory or death), and is left behind in his cell.
Becoming disgusted with Sylvanas' increasingly cruel and brutal reign, Saurfang turned to heroes both within the Horde and the Alliance to end her rule, culminating in a challenge of mak'gora at the gates of Orgrimmar, in which he was slain by Sylvanas' dark magic.