The Zandalar tribe is the progenitor tribe from which all other trolls arose. Most Zandalari were scholarly and valued knowledge; The Zandalari preserved troll history, and they worked to further the goals of troll society as a whole. Alarmed by the terrible losses of life among all trolls, the Zandalari tribe traveled around the world to reunite their race and rebuild their once-powerful empire. The Zandalari have begun to conduct bloody raids on territories that had once been theirs. The Cataclysm has been revealed to be the cause behind their sudden urges for conquest, for it's caused the Island of Zandalar to sink into the ocean.
However in Battle for Azeroth it is revealed that Zul exaggerated about the effects of the Cataclysm on Zandalar to further his own ends, and his actions in Pandaria and elsewhere were not at Rastakhan's order. After his failure to achieve his goal of conquest, Zul launched an insurrection against King Rastakhan, which prompted the ruler to seek aid from the Horde.
- A God Am I: They have a bit of a superiority complex, sticking "God" onto many of their titles for seemingly no other reason than self-aggrandisement.
- All Trolls Are Different: The Zandalari are unique among Warcraft's Trolls. Most trolls keep a Primal Stance, but Zandalari stand up straight. They have rocky skin, their eyes are a pristine blue, and they tend to have larger tusks. Their society is also somewhat different from other trolls; while they still have the same practices of offering sacrifices and making deals with their Loa, their major city is made of 3 giant pyramids forged from gold, and they have a massive navy, called The Golden Fleet, that only Kul Tiras itself can rival.
- Art Evolution: The portrayal of Zandalari trolls has changed a few times. Originally, they were grey-pink recolors of the player jungle trolls. After their FaceHeel Turn and subsequent return to the spotlight, they were depicted as recolors again, this time as banana-colored ice trolls. In patch 5.2, they have been given their own unique appearance with posture and build similar to night elves. Blizzard says that their final appearance is how they always imagined them but could never properly depict in the game before.
- Blood Knight: While they were originally introduced as a peace-minded tribe of historians and magicians, Mists of Pandaria has revealed a lot more about their culture, including their warlike ways, and violent rites of passages for young trolls seeking to rise in the tribe. It seems that they are Not So Different from their less-reputable cousins but they at least have the sense to make good first impressions.
- Civil War: Since Cataclysm, the Zandalari tribe has been split between two factions, one loyal to King Rastakhan and the other following the Prophet Zul; we see this in Battle for Azeroth.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: All trolls are associated with dinosaurs, but the Zandalari take it Up to Eleven. They have ravasaurs, devilsaurs, pterrorwings, direhornsnote , brutosaursnote , ankylodons note , and sabertusks note , as well as a special type of Druid/Hunter hybrid spellcaster, who can command and summon dinosaurs, as well as shapeshift into them. They also seem to have a tendency to take the biggest dinosaurs and stick huge, enchanted stone armor on them, resulting in living siege weapons. The word 'dinosaur' never arises; Zandalari use the term 'saur' to describe multiple reptiles.
- While they don't use these saurs, Zandalar is also home to Saurolisksnote and Sauridnote , as well as more 'mundane' reptiles like crocolisks and snakes.
- Fatal Flaw: According to Vol'jin in Shadows of the Horde, the flaw that holds back the Zandalari and all other troll tribes other than Darkspear is that they're stuck in the past. All of their efforts are towards regaining past glory from the height of their former civilization. The Darkspear are the only tribe who look to the future rather than the past, and are the only ones to thrive in the current day.
- Healing Factor: Like all Trolls.
- Mayincatec: Their architectural and cosmetic aesthetic derives heavily from this, even more so than previously seen troll tribes.
- Light Is Good: While all of the Troll tribes have priests, the Zandalari are the only Trolls known to have actual Paladins in their ranks. Hinted at in Classic and finally introduced in Mists of Pandaria as Zandalari Prelates, it was revealed in Battle For Azeroth that their Paladins channel the holy light through veneration of Rezan, the Loa of Kings. After Rezan is killed by Zul at Atal'Dazar, the Prelates were de-powered and their future left uncertain. However, with the announcement of Paladins being a playable class for the Zandalari, it's implied they've regained their powers, possibly through venerating other Loa.
- Neutral No Longer: Twice. They were originally neutral and friendly to all factions, but became aggressive in Cataclysm. However, Mists of Pandaria clarified that the hostile Zandalari were merely a faction of the Zandalari tribe led to Dark Prophet Zul, and in Battle for Azeroth we see those Zandalari who remained peaceful, loyal to King Rastakhan. However, this faction soon also foregoes their neutrality, as necessity drives them to join the Horde.
- Not So Different: To the elves, although neither race would ever admit it. The Zandalari are the most gaudy, haughty, and advanced of the trolls, not just a tribe but an empire, whose society is structured similarly to those of their Highborne descendants. They are also quite given to the arrogance and Cultural Posturing found often among Warcraft's elves (especially blood elves). Lampshaded In-Universe with the Zandalari's epithet, the "Elves of Trolls".
- Precursors: The Trolls are one of the oldest flesh race known in Azeroth, if not the oldest, and all Troll tribes originate from the Zandalari. They've existed before the Night Elves - in fact, it is confirmed that the first Night Elves were Trolls who were changed by their proximity to the Well of Eternity.
- Primal Stance: Averted with their current model, which has a very straight posture. This sets them apart from the other troll races.
- Promoted to Playable: They become part of the Horde in "Battle for Azeroth".
- Smug Snake: Derogatorily referred to sometimes as, "The Elves of Trolls."
- Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: The Zandalari tribe was originally introduced as a priestly tribe of trolls who were respected by all others, adept at ancient magics and with great interests in lore and history. They helped the players defeat the Blood God Hakkar in Zul'Gurub and documented the fall of the Drakkari empire in Zul'drak, and even fought together against the resurgent Gurubashi in early Cataclysm. However, come patch 4.1, the Zandalari suddenly began gathering the troll tribes and declared war on all others; supposedly to restore the trolls to their rightful glory. This was rather jarring, although Mists of Pandaria attempted to soften the blow by revealing that the hostile Zandalari were merely a faction of the Zandalari tribe, and were actually Invading Refugees fleeing their dying homeland. In Battle For Azeroth, they are a mixture of the original and latter portrayals, being a priestly empire following closely behind their Loa, while also being bloodthirsty.
- Vestigial Empire: The Cataclysm has left the isle of Zandalar devastated, and the swamplands of Nazmir are sinking to the sea, while the empire itself is in the middle of a civil war between the followers of King Rastakhan and Prophet Zul, who is also in league with Nazmir's blood trolls and Azshara, aiming to release an imprisoned Old God in Uldir. These events ultimately drive Princess Talanji to seek an alliance with the Horde.
- Worthy Opponent: Sort of, with the Mogu Empire. They met, and contemplated battling for supremacy. But seeing the strength in one another, they knew that the battle, no matter who triumphed, would leave them both crippled and vulnerable to the lesser powers. So instead of shooting themselves in the foot, they allied.
God King Rastakhan
Class: Paladin (Prelate)
Voiced by: Kayi Ushe
King Rastakhan is king of all trolls on Azeroth, chosen by the ancient Loa of Kings, Rezan. He is an ancient and formidable Prelate and his word is law. He is ancient and hoary, but his wire-hard muscles speak to his strength. A string of Shrunken Heads hangs from his neck, and a humanoid skull is impaled on his spear. He rules from Zuldazar on the island of Zandalar. While he technically is the king of all trolls throughout the world, it is not an entirely accurate description. This is because trolls often have trouble working with each other, despite conferences on Zandalar. King Rastakhan is strong, wise, insightful, cunning and visionary. He is a big part of the reason that Zandalars influence is again felt in the world, as he is instrumental in organizing the 6-year troll conferences and in sending representatives to work against Hakkar. Most other trolls respect him as a powerful and wise leader, although some see him as indecisive and weak, bending to the manipulations of the Zanchuli Council that advise him.
He tries to be a good king, and holds meetings with concerned citizens often. Of course, this can take a while, and the line to be in the King's presence is long, but many wait for their turn to see him in his grandeur. Some Trolls see Zandalari as the highest and most righteous - Rastakhan is not one of these, and he insists on keeping Speakers from every tribe within the city, such that the most powerful tribe might aid them all.
- Action Dad: He doesn't let his daughter have all the fun, and he is a fine warrior in his own right, especially when Loa empowered.
- Badass Boast: Gives a pretty damn impressive one to Genn when he tries to convince him to surrender during the Siege of ZuldazarYou...an exile without a homeland...you dare to invade these sacred halls and demand that I turn over my kingdom to you? The Zandalari built an empire that would endure for over ten thousand years, while your barbaric ancestors scuffled in the dirt. We civilized this world. We conquered it. And once again, you savages seek to undermine our greatness. No...I will not surrender, because no matter what happens here today...Zandalar will stand long after your Alliance has crumbled to dust! But...if you are so eager to meet Bwonsamdi, than I will be glad to send you his way. ZANDALAR FOREVER!
- Badass Cape: His cape is made of red dinosaur hide.
- Badass in Charge: That fancy blade of his isn't just for show; Rastakhan is a competent fighter and overpowers Zul in a straight fight before the latter gives up and welcomes a fatal blow.
- Casting a Shadow: After Rezan dies and he makes his deal with Bwonsamdi to protect Zandalar he begins channeling shadow magic into his swordplay.
- Cool Chair: According to Loremaster Cho: "It is said, the God King Rastakhan rules over his kingdom from a throne made of solid gold." Now, however, it has been described as a "crooked throne" due to the Cataclysm making his palace tilt to one side.
- Cool Crown: Rastakhan's crown is a huge golden headdress with horns and blue feathers.
- Cool Sword: His sword has a large wavy blade and a beautiful golden guard over his hand. When he gets empowered by the Loa, it starts glowing. It also drops from him in the Battle of Dazar'alor raid, but strangely as a dagger despite being a sword.
- Deal with the Devil: Following Rezan's demise at the hands of Zul, Rastakhan strikes a bargain with Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death, binding his entire bloodline to him in exchange for power he desperately needed to reclaim his empire from the forces loyal to the Old God, G'huun. He succeeded, but Mythrax shattered the seal holding G'huun in Uldir, while Bwonsamdi was content with the fact Rastakhan reclaimed the kingdom for both of them.
- Divine Right of Kings: He is chosen and blessed by Rezan, the Devilsaur Loa of Kings and Queens. This extends his lifespan beyond what a Troll is normally permitted.
- Eyepatch of Power: Averted. He is one-eyed, but has no eyepatch to hide it, merely a scar over his face.
- Good Is Not Soft: He's a patient and kind ruler for his people, but draw his ire and heads will roll. He is known for throwing people off the side of his pyramid.
- FaceHeel Turn: Like the rest of his tribe, but his is more notable because he's always been described as wise and benevolent, whereas his tribe has been revealed to be violent and bloodthirsty.
- Turns out he was not evil at all, merely indecisive.
- Glowing Eyes: Well, eye. He seems to only have one, but the one he has is glowing bright blue.
- The Good King: He's a fundamentally good ruler whose biggest vice is inaction, having "gone soft" over the years. To his credit, half of his advisors are traitors working to either kill, replace, or keep him ignorant of the true threats to Zandalar.
- Hero Antagonist: The only really bad things he has done are making a family pact with Bwonsamdi (who is not even a full-on evil loa, but rather The Sacred Darkness) and not listening to Zul before the Cataclysm (and Talanji after that). Yet he's a raid boss.
- Killed Off for Real: He meets his end at the hands of the Alliance. This time, he no longer has the blessing of Rezan so Bwonsamdi finally collects his soul.
- Long-Lived: Trolls are a pretty short lived race, living normally only to about 60 or 70. Rastakhan is 200 years old. This is thanks to Rezan, the loa of kings, which stalls Bwonsamdi, the loa of the dead, from claiming his soul.
- Light 'em Up: Channeling Rezan's might allows Rastakhan to use spells that are in practice nearly identical to the Light of paladins and priests. He loses these powers after Rezan is killed, however, and is forced to turn to darker magics out of desperation.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Begins to feel this at the end of his boss fight, realizing that Bwonsamdi's power was more of a curse than a blessing.
- Overprotective Dad: He welcomes the Horde champion into Zuldazar and gives them the chance to prove their worth, then casually tells them that he will annihilate the entire Horde should his beloved daughter come to any harm under their watch. In general, he's at his most gentle when interacting with Talanji.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Rastakhan is not a King who merely sits upon his throne. While he doesn't have the time to walk his city's streets, as his daughter does, he still takes time to convene with concerned citizens of Zandalar. He is also an esteemed Warrior, and a Prelate as Rezan's chosen, and skilled with sword and spear. In the climax of the Zuldazar zone questline, he rides upon Rezan's back to lead the charge against Zul and the Zanchuli Council which betrayed him.
Voiced by: Susan Wokoma
Talanji is the daughter of King Rastakhan and the Princess of the Zandalari Empire. As royalty, she is blessed by the Loa of Kings and Queens, Rezan, and is one of few people who can invoke direct council with him. Horde players first encounter her behind bars in a prison in Stormwind, alongside Zul, and you work with Rokhan and Thalyssra to break her free, which earns the Horde the King's gratitude and a place in Dazar'alor.
Talanji herself is known for being adventurous and outgoing, frequently taking time to walk the streets of her city and tour the lands of the Zandalari Empire. She is known to go exploring, seeing how outsiders run their own kingdoms and rule their own lands. Her abilities as a Priest are impressive, as Rezan is one of the most powerful Loa and grants her great magical power, although her power is diminished when Rezan perishes at the hands of Zul.
She eventually leads an expedition into Nazmir, alongside Rokhan, to root out the threat of the Blood Trolls bringing civil war into the empire.
- Barrier Warrior: As a priest of Rezan, she is able to call up a protective dome of holy magic to hold back enemies and protect her allies.
- Cool Crown: Being a Zandalari princess, Talanji wears a huge white and gold headress further decorated with horns and feathers.
- Deal with the Devil: Defied. While earning the blessing of the Loa in her rite of succession, Bwonsamdi offers her a new deal to cancel Rastakhan's. He would free her and her bloodline's bond to him in exchange for the head of Warchief Sylvanas. Talanji refuses to betray her new allies like that, however.
- Light Is Good: As a Priest, she wields the light-magic of Rezan, Loa of Kings.
- Puppet Queen: Also defied. After her coronation and the Zandalari join the Horde, she makes it very clear to Sylvanas that she is the Queen of her people and that she will not bow to Sylvanas's every whim and request (much to the latter's displeasure).
- Reluctant Ruler: Telanji is quick to jump into action on the front lines, but when it comes to considerations towards being a ruler after her father is nearly assassinated, and likely living on borrowed time after Rezan's death, the incoming burden of the throne lands on her shoulders with the weight of lead.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is known for not remaining in her palace. Astride her ravasaur, Tze'na, she roams the city streets and tends to the concerns of the citizens when and where she can. Notably, she leads an expedition into Nazmir to try and find Loa willing to aid the empire; she is able to get the willing and perfectly cordial Krag'wa, Loa of Frogs, but also the aid of Bwonsamdi, Loa of Death, which can be a double-edged sword.
- Spirit Advisor: Eventually gets advisement from the spirit of the departed Warchief Vol'jin, granting her the confidence to lead the Zandalari people in the wake of civil war.
The Dark Prophet Zul
Voiced by: Dave Fennoy(Cataclysm)
Zul is the name of a mysterious troll prophet. After the Cataclysm devastated Zandalar, Zul took a group of Zandalari warriors, led them them across the globe, united the other troll tribes together, and began the assault on Pandaria to regain ties with the mogu. He later attempts a coup against King Rastakhan, leading to a disastrous civil war.
Among the Zanchuli Council are many Priests and Mages of incredible power and forbidden knowledge. One of the most respected of these is Zul. Even as a child his dark and terrible visions had come true down to the last horrifying detail. He commanded fear and respect as one of the dark prophets: seers capable of witnessing great tragedies before they come to pass.
- Ambition Is Evil: His ability to forsee the future pushed him to seek ways to save his people from the Cataclysm (although the damage wasn't as heavy as he saw in his visions), leading him to assemble the Golden Fleet and reach out to the disparate troll tribes of Azeroth in hopes of rebuilding the pan-Troll empire, a goal he eventually becomes obsessed with. When the Thunder King is defeated, Zul begins to resort to outright lunacy, pledging himself to the Old God, G'huun and gives the order of slaughtering the Loa much like the Drakkari have done during their war against the Scourge, an event he had witnessed firsthand. He would see the troll empire rise again, no matter the cost.
- The Artifact: His first game appearance in a vision narrated by Cho depicts him as a recolored ice troll, even though Zandalari had got their modern design in the same patch. This is seemingly to identify him as the unnamed speaker in the 4.1 trailer. Battle for Azeroth however finally gives him a unique and thinner model, but keeps the hunch of the previous model.
- Back from the Dead: He is killed in Zuldazar, but he's later revived as a blood troll in Uldir, serving as a third-to-last raid boss.
- Bling of War: He wears a golden armor adorned with feathers and turqoise gems.
- Cassandra Truth: For all his background as one of Zandalar's greatest prophets, Rastakhan refuses to believe his visions of Deathwing and the Cataclysm. Three times the prophet went to his God King, and the last time he was 'tearing his clothes, and throwing his staff to the ground,' desperate for the King to believe him. And all Rastakhan did was give him a fleet of ships, just in case the vision did come true and the Zandalari people would need to find a new home.
- Clairvoyance: His ability, Sight allows him to see many different outcomes of the future.
- Co-Dragons: With Ateena and Mythrax to the Old God G'huun.
- Cool Boat: An entire fleet of them dubbed The Golden Fleet, currently housing a lot of the Zandalari population that has been displaced by the Cataclysm.
- Cool Crown: He wears a pretty impressive golden crown, adorned with turquoise (and later crimson) gems.
- Cowardly Lion: Zul's not quite a match for Rastakhan in a duel, but he doesn't flee. He puts up a decent fight and willingly falls on his opponent's sword.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He is a prominent member of the king's council, but is willing to go into extreme lengths to realize his dream of a troll empire, this including killing the loa and absorbing their power, sending the mogu to attack Zuldazar, deposing Rastakhan and resurrecting first king Dazar to act as his puppet ruler. And he's also a servant of the blood god, G'huun.
- Evil Albino: White skin and hair? Check. Pale red eyes? Check. Villain? Definitely.
- Evil Chancellor: He is a prominent member of the Zanchuli Council, and his position gained him enough followers to flock to his banner once he decided to pursue his dream of the pan-Troll empire, and even after it flopped, he could still unleash his revolt against Rastakhan, with three fellow Zanchuli Council members flocking to his side.
- Evil Former Friend: To Rastakhan. He wasn't just an advisor, he was a close friend.
- Famous Last Words: "Long may you reign... over your empire of ash."
- Lean and Mean: His model in Battle for Azeroth has a build similar to wiry jungle trolls like the Darkspear, rather than his more robust Zandalari kin. He's also the instigator of the Zandalari tribe's recent antagonism.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Especially in his blood troll form, where he displays glowing red eyes.
- Rousing Speech: To the other troll tribes in the patch 4.1 trailer. His words sway all of them under the Zandalari's banner, except Vol'jin and the Darkspear.Zul: Jin'do, of the Gurubashi! Would you see the greatness of Zul'Gurub restored? Join us, and the Zandalari will make it so. Daakara of the Amani, summon your followers to Zul'Aman! Together, we'll make Zul'jin's murderers weep for mercy. Brothers, hear us now! We Zandalari have returned to reclaim the former glory of our people! To see Trolls retake the lands that are rightfully ours! And to crush any foolish enough to stand in our way! From the wreckage of the Cataclysm, the Troll Empire will RISE AGAIN!
- The Starscream: He's leading a revolt against Rastakhan in Battle for Azeroth that aims to unleash a potential world-ending threat, leading to Rastakhan petitioning the Horde for aid.
- Treacherous Advisor: Believes Rastakhan has become an ineffectual king and seeks to depose him.
Yazma is a member of the Zanchuli Council advising King Rastakhan, and serves Shadra, the spider loa. She later betrays Rastakhan once Zul attempts his coup d'etat, kills her loa and absorbs her power. She serves as the final boss of Atal'Dazar dungeon.
Hexlord Raal is a member of the Zanchuli Council advising King Rastakhan, and serves Pa'ku, the Pterrordax Loa. He loves flying, almost as much as he enjoys invoking his Loa's command over the winds to batter his enemies. He likes to laugh, and cracks snarky jokes, something that Loti comments as annoying.
Unlike Zul, Yazma, and Vol'kaal, Raal remains loyal to Rastakhan and Zandalar.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He'd get along well with Lasan. He's a bit more subdued, but he likes to laugh."Like my loa always says...duck! Ha ha ha ha!"
- Blow You Away: Raal is a Shaman, and as a follower of Pa'ku, holds power over wind.
- Happily Married: Don't let the banter and constant bickering fool you - it's just how Raal and Loti express their love.
- Nice Guy: According to his tablet in the Zanchuli Council Chambers, Raal is seen as a charmer and a "man of the people".
- Ptero Soarer: Rides a Pterrodax into battle. He also frequently carries a smaller, shoulder-sized one that harasses his enemies.
- Undying Loyalty: He and Loti are the only Zanchuli Council members to stay loyal to Rastakhan in the wake of Zul's rebellion.
Wardruid Loti is a member of the Zanchuli Council advising King Rastakhan, and serves Gonk, the Raptor Loa. You work longside her to root out Blood Magic corruption within Zanchul. She's fairly laid back, in a casual sort of way, and finds Pa'ku and Hexlord Raal to be a bit annoying and uptight. It isn't until later you find out that Raal and Loti are actually married.
Unlike Zul, Yazma, and Vol'kaal, Loti is one of the few members of the Zanchuli Council with pure intentions, and remains loyal to Rastakhan.
- Happily Married: Don't let the banter and constant bickering fool you - it's just how Loti and Raal express their love.
- I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Most NPCs have dialogue expressing annoyance when you repeatedly click on them. Wardruid Loti gets off when you do.
- I Knew It!: She had her reservations about Prophet Zul since the beginning, describing him as a vile snake, and was not surprised once he turned traitor.
- Undying Loyalty: She and Raal are the only Zanchuli Council members to stay loyal to Rastakhan in the wake of Zul's rebellion.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: As a Druid, and disciple of Gonk, Loa of Shapes, she can take multiple animal forms for combat. She prefers the shape of a Sabertusk for fighting.*to the player* "Is that really the form you choose to walk around in?!"