Top 10 – Orcs
Lok’tar Ogar! Victory or death to you scrubs, we had a tie during our last Top 10 poll and we knew we needed to make a decisive call as to which of the lists we would be doing. We had Armour and we had Orcs and we did the most decisive thing of all: We tossed a coin and it said we’re writing our Top 10 Orcs this week!
Orcs are big, they’re strong, they’re downright scary and sometimes they have really bad breath. They’re ferocious fighters with natural fighting instincts; some go as far as to being pretty adept at magics as well. But one thing is for certain: Orcs aren’t a pushover, no matter how many Orcish Peons you smack. So without further adieu, this week we’re looking at our Top 10 favourite Orcs in all media.
10. Warlord Turge – Borderlands [Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC]
Tiny Tina might be one of the most memorable characters to come out of Borderlands in recent memory, but sometimes, you have to remember the little guys. Nothing comes ‘littler’ than this great big Orcish monstrosity. Warlord Turge is a boss in Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, which is DLC that came out in 2013.
If Glam Rock is your thing, then you might want to go to a mosh pit with ol’ Warlord Turge here, who sports so many spikes, it’s hard to tell if he’s an Orc or a trap. Nevertheless, the Warlord is certainly impressive looking with that massive Warhammer (which is also spikey). He doesn’t make it high on our list, as he’s hugely insignificant, but when you look as awesome as that, you don’t need to be anything special – You just look special.
9. Boss Zagstruk – Warhammer 40,000
Coulda’ gone with Ghazghkull Thraka, Prophet of the WAAAAGH, dragging every warboss under his banner so he can burn the universe according to the whims of Gork and Mork… but there’s something about Zagstruk we can’t help but love.
Boss of a Stormboy squad named after his personal Fighta-Bommer “Da Vulcha”, Zagstruk is known for being angry and vicious even by ork standards, and rumours abound about his incredible feats of glaring at things until they shut up, or beating them until the ground is bloody. He bit through the core-systems of a space marine dreadnought with his bare teeth, and while he lost his legs in the process, it turned out to be a bit of an upgrade.
His signature weapons are a pair of Power Klawz that replaced his lower-half, combined with his Rokkit Pack it makes him as dangerous coming down as going up, flyby decapitations are a trademark. So when comparing greenskins, do you pick the most charismatic, the biggest, the strongest? Or do you go for the guy who trims heads as he coasts over the battlefield? It’s a tough call, but somebody had to make it.
8. Agronak gro-Malog, AKA: The Grey Prince – The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The most fearsome warrior to ever enter the Arena in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. He is the Grand Master of the Arena and he’s one of the most noble warriors you’ll ever have the pleasure (or displeasure) of meeting, depending if you’re going head to head with him or not. But for how powerful The Grey Prince is, for how noble he is, he’s incredibly unhappy, as he doesn’t know the truth of his heritage.
If you behave nicely around him, he tends to think of you as a good guy and he’ll ask you for a helping hand. He wants to know more about his past, so he sends you on a mission to where he grew up, in an abandoned keep. As you delve deeper, it becomes more apparent as to why he’s called The Grey Prince. He’s a half-vampire and so he has powers far greater than any typical Orc. Displeased by this outcome, upset by the futility of his existence, The Grey Prince will bow down before you in the Arena and ask that you end his life as his final request. That, or you don’t have to do the quest and you can kill him anyway! Good job, champ!
7. Rilk – Journey Quest
Whoever heard of an orc in love? Mighty warriors know little of romance and affection, only blood and violence. Well, for the most part.
Our story begins with its teller, the failing bard Wren, making inquiries of the remaining members of an orc band left battered and confused by our heroes. One call of “bardic immunity” and a potion of translation and conversation flows rather than blood, and the leader of the band plays it cool, coughs up the truth without embellishing, but enigmatically leaves without giving his name.
And then regrets it for weeks, starts following Wren like a lost sheep with a wistful look in his eyes, butchering anyone who dares stop her from where she wants to go, but sadly that little subplot causes an infraction that loses her the Epic tale of a lifetime that would have pulled her from the gutter and elevated her to fame. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I want to see their story unfold more than I want to know what’s happening with the other characters.
6. Zurgo Helmsmasher – Magic: the Gathering
There aren’t many orcs across the many worlds of M:tG, but in Tarkir there’s a hell of a lot swarming across the dragon-less world of Tarkir amidst the swarming hordes of the Mardu clan, once the brothers in arms of berserker-turned-planeswalker Sarkhan Vol, now ruled by the mighty Kahn, Zurgo Helmsmasher. The massive greyskin once dominated the battlefield, a tower of muscle and steel, who faced down the mighty dragon summoner and belittled him. As a card he’s equally intimidating.
But that was then, and though the Khan was once a butcher who could have crushed the skull of the planeswalker, after Vol tinkered with the timeline to see his world seized by dragons again, Zurgo was remade as little more than a Bellstriker, a watchman whose only duty is to raise the alarm to more capable fighters. Once a barbarian who slew the Khan of the Jeskai monks, now a servant of tyrants.
5. Nutt – Unseen Academicals (Discworld)
“Do I have worth?” – Nutt
Nutt is a peculiar one as he’s a Goblin… or so he believes! In the whole of the Unseen Academicals, he truly doesn’t think he’s an Orc, but he eventually learns that he is an Orc which is a little be surprising to him to say the least. As fans of Terry Pratchett and his very entertaining style of writing, we had to at least get Nutt a mention, even if he is the bizarrest looking Orc you ever did saw!
He seemingly enjoyed working as a dribbler, someone who poured wax for candles. A simple task for what you would assume to be a simple creature, yet Nutt was a highly complex and intelligent creature. He would go on to coach for a football team and even be a successful goalkeeper, though much of the credit should go to his two good friends, Trev and Glenda. Nutt leads a very eventful life and even ends up in a romantic relationship with Glenda, proving that it doesn’t matter who you are on the outside, but what you are on the inside that matters the most. Aww, he was a nice Gobbo, that Nutt.
4. Stryke – Orcs: Stan Nicholls
It always surprises me when I learn someone else has read Stan Nicholls trilogy that follows the bloody adventures of the orc squad The Wolverines, lieutenants Coilla, Haskeer, Alfray, and the dwarf Jup, led by their stalwart commander Stryke. They journey the world of Maras Dantia, renegades from the army ruled by a particularly evil queen, the most un-Disney Jennesta, as they gather up sacred artifacts that may very well save their world from the magic-destroying influence of humanity.
A tale told from the orc perspective is refreshing, enjoyable, and grisly, and while it may seem a little cheap to begin with, the Wolverines become something far more than a view point through which to view “history” from another perspective, and Stryke becomes almost a loveable and dependable character, who combines his loyalty to his squad and his ferocity in combat to build an incredible protagonist.
3. Uruk-Hai – Lord of the Rings
One of the most shocking Orcish visuals I think I’ve ever seen… Ever! Even to this day, I’ve not seen an orc produced so well on the big screen as I have when I first led my eyes on the savage, vicious Uruk-Hai’s, the elite warriors of the armies of Orcs that besieged the men and women of Middle-Earth. From their unsightly appearance, to their brutal natural instincts, the Uruk-Hai were an unwelcome sight to behold, yet we saw them and they left a lasting impression on anyone who saw them.
These guys really drove home the disgustingness of the enemy; With their truly vile nature and the barbaric treatment of themselves and their enemies, they were terrifying. You knew that if someone got captured by a Uruk-Hai, they weren’t likely to survive. They were intimidating and they didn’t give a hoot about their enemies. They were sent to kill and killing is what they do best and for fun. Truly a devastating look at how horrid the Orcs could be.
2. Gruumsh One-Eye – D&D
Returning to our Top 10 from a rather disappointing place in One-Eyed Characters, Gruumsh is the god of orcs, the god of war in its most brutal and feral form. He created the orcs to be his worshippers and servants in the world, but was cheated out of a homeland for his sacred children by the rest of the pantheon.
My favourite tale of Gruumsh comes from the much maligned 4th edition, in which Gruumsh saw the rise of the god of war and tyranny Bane amongst the ranks of the gods, and so hurled his entire realm of Nishrek through the Astral Plane, straight at the Black Lord, who managed to survive the mighty assault only by fusing his realm of Chernoggar together with the vast projectile. Since then the combined worlds have been an impossibly large battlefield, an endless sea of warfare and blood.
1. Garrosh Hellscream – Warcraft
Let’s be honest for a while, could Warcraft have seriously not been number one on this list? But I bet a lot of you are reading this and thinking “Hang on a minute guys, shouldn’t Thrall be the number one and not Garrosh?” Well, no frankly. Let me explain why Garrosh gets the top title and not Thrall (remember, we only do one character per franchise.)
Garrosh started off relatively respectful, much like the other Orcs of Nagrand. They were peaceful enough, even though they were great warriors and generally quite big and powerful. Living in Outland tempered these Orcs for battle, but one Orc stood head and shoulders above all the others: Garrosh. He befriended Thrall and joined the Warchief of the Horde as an advisor and a war leader.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for Thrall and he decided to outcast himself from the Horde, allowing Garrosh to take the reigns as Warchief. Within moments of Garrosh taking over, the Horde were no longer just outcasts looking for a home. They were power hungry, driven maniacs who were looking to leave their marks on the world. From the murder of Cairne Bloodhoof, the peaceful shamanic leader of the Tauren, to the blatant disregard for his enemies, Garrosh led the Horde into a new era. Unfortunately, he got a bit too brash and arrogant and soon everyone turned on him.
But he didn’t just do it because he was cocky. He did it because he had the power to do it, he had the ability to do so and it was all given to him because he played his cards right. Power corrupts, which Garrosh not only took the reigns of, but he fully embraced the power bestowed upon him. I for one think Garrosh is a true representative of what Orcs are. He’s not playing with nature: He’s better than nature to his own understanding.
Now that we’ve had a look through the mighty war leaders and the most interesting of all Orcs, it’s time to look at two more Orc units which we feel needed to at least be mentioned, lest Gruumsh decides to deny them the right to their Orcish heritage.
Orcs Must Die!
Now this is a little more like what we’re used to. Orcs without much by way of personality or uniqueness, just wave upon wave of axe-wielding grunts, and their allied troll and gnoll companions and you’re the only one who can stop them. You are the hero, and that’s not great for everyone else because you’re kind of a jerk who never really paid attention while learning the ways of magic, but at least you have a collection of creative traps, devices and conjurable warriors that you can use to hold them back.
Oh there’s a story, but who cares? The greenskins are coming, and they make a terrible squishing noise when they get mashed up by spike plates. If story was that important there wouldn’t be two sequels after the first game ended rather completely, but no, all we want to do is turn the advancing tide into goop!
Orcs – Dungeon Keeper
Units in Dungeon Keeper are generally pretty smart at what they do: You’ll find units such as the Troll who are very content to stay in their Workshop all the time, only coming out to eat and sleep… Oh and occasionally train. But then you get a unit like the Orcs of the first Dungeon Keeper game. They were highly well trained units, so were useful to send to war, but they would double up as a unit to keep around in the Workshops.
Whilst they were very convenient to keep around, in the later levels their use dwindled somewhat, as all other units seemingly got better than them. With this said though, they were inevitably one of the most useful “dual-purpose” units I could remember. They always stood out to me in Dungeon Keeper, as they were purple, which made me think they were really the trolls and the trolls were then really the Orcs. The Trolls were green skinned after all… Hmm…
Lay down your weapons men, we’ve survived yet another wave of the green skinned ones. No more beheadings will be taking place on our watch, no siree! These vile, nasty beasts will spill no more blood today. Now you can rest at ease whilst we sit back and open up our usual weekly poll. You decide what our topic for next week is!
That’s it, it’s time for us all come together like a band of brutish Orcs and hug! What? Who ever said that the Orcs were an uncompassionate lot?! They’ve got greatly diverse interests and passions as we’ve now seen. But that’s it for this week so what do you think of our list? Do you think we hit all the right spots, or are we sorely missing that special Orc in your life? Do you think we arranged our list in the wrong order? As always, let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.