"I have no desire to march through the streets with an axe or a hammer, meeting my foes in the flesh...I shall meet them in spirit and crush them from afar, devouring them by the hundreds and the thousands...and I shall...wipe this world clean, to remake it in my own image!"
—Gul'Dan to Cho'Gall, Tides of Darkness
- Across three different timelines, Gul'dan has proved that he will always be a heartless, ambitious, and power hungry monster.
- The first Big Bad, Gul'dan is a power-hungry orc who voluntarily corrupted his people into a bloodthirsty horde which he secretly controls, planned the Draenei Genocide and brought the orcs into Azeroth so they could trigger two wars. He also created Garona as a "breeding experiment" between an orc soldier and a female Draenei prisoner, after which she was magically aged, tortured and mind controlled into becoming his personal assassin. Finally, he betrayed the Horde to follow his own goals, which caused the defeat of the orcs. Even after his death his evil lingered around his skull, corrupting everything around it.
- Gul'dan from the alternate universe Draenor matches his main timeline counterpart for wickedness. While he initially fails to get his fellow orcs to drink the demon blood, Gul'dan quickly makes up for failure by serving as the Burning Legion's vanguard. He sends Cho'gall to Oshu'gun to subjugate the Naaru there, sends Teron'gor to Auchindoun to empower the Shadow Council by devouring the souls of dead Draenei, and tries himself to cause a volcano to erupt in Shadowmoon Valley. As the Iron Horde falls apart, he takes advantage by finally corrupting his people like his prime counterpart. Victorious at last, Gul'dan tries to deliver the deathblow to Draenor by destroying its elements with the Cipher of Damnation and siphons the world's ley lines—like power lines, only with magical energy instead of electricity—to power a new portal to allow the Legion to arrive in all its might. After the Legion's invasion of Draenor fails, Gul'dan is forcibly sent to Azeroth, whereupon he opens a portal in the tomb of Sargeras and causes a massive invasion by the Legion which claims the lives of many innocent people, some of whom die directly at Gul'dan's hands. Finally, after blackmailing the Nightborne into joining the Legion, Gul'dan tries to summon Sargeras into the world using the combined powers of the Nightwell and Illidan Stormrage's body before finally dying at the hands of a revived Illidan. Regardless of the circumstances provided by a new timeline, Gul'dan proves that he will always be a heartless monster willing to sacrifice everything to gain power.
- In the 2016 live-action film, Gul'dan is a ruthless orc warlock who reigns over the Horde with an iron fist. Addicted to dark fel magic, Gul'dan seeks to expand the Horde into the world of Azeroth to conquer. Opening a portal by draining the lives of hundreds of innocent Draenei prisoners, he sends the Horde out to conquer and destroy all in its path. Eventually it is revealed that Draenor was rendered a dying world by Gul'dan's own abuse of the fel, and Gul'dan has zero compunction about doing the same to Azeroth. Rounding up human captives to empower his magic, Gul'dan tortures one by slowly draining his life, plotting to use the rest to open up the portal for the rest of the Horde. When the honorable chieftain Durotan tries to stand against Gul'dan, Gul'dan orders his clan slaughtered, including Durotan's baby son. When Durotan challenges Gul'dan to a duel, Gul'dan cheats to win by using his magic to drain Durotan's life after he finds himself without the advantage and promptly murders several orcs when they turn from him in disgust. Even at the end, Gul'dan demonstrates he has no loyalty to his people or their traditions when he orders the heroic Anduin Lothar killed after Lothar defeats Gul'dan right-hand orc Blackhand in fair combat. Greedy, power-hungry, and insatiable in his desires, Gul'dan will happily condemn any world to destruction as long as he can fuel his addiction to the fel.
- Archimonde the Defiler is the supreme commander of the armies of the Burning Legion and the right hand of the Dark Titan Sargeras. Archimonde began his rise to power on the Eredar world of Argus as the apprentice of the mage Thal'kiel, who was cavorting with demons behind the backs of the Eredar leaders Kil'jaeden and Velen. Ever ambitious, Archimonde betrayed and murdered his master to prove himself to the two, despite enjoying the company of demons himself, and entrapped his master's soul in his own skull to torture his soul for 25,000 years. Becoming a member of the Triumvirate alongside his fellows, Archimonde led an order of mages called the Auguri where he had would-be apprentices undergo often-deadly trials, and personally murdered those he found unworthy. He was the first of the Eredar to contact Sargeras and forged the pact that would make the Eredar into the Man'ari, the sorcerous overlords of the Legion. As their commander, Archimonde masterminded the destruction of countless worlds and the genocide of billions before setting his sights on the world of Azeroth. Fighting as a Frontline General in the War of the Ancients, he would rain hellfire on entire legions of defenders, personally slew the ancient spirit Malorne by slowly snapping his neck, and toyed with the Elven general Jarod Shadowsong by beating him to near death and only stopped when the Legion was suddenly flung from Azeroth. His second attempt sparked the Third War when single handedly destroyed the magical nation of Dalaran and led the ravaging of the remaining human kingdoms in Lordaeron. He ultimately sought to devour the World Tree of Azeroth and use its power to wipe away all mortal resistance and eventually overthrow Sargeras himself and become the Legion's new master. Never shown to have Sargeras's intentions or Kil'jaeden's regrets, Archimonde proved to be the most monstrous demon in the entirety of the omnicidal Burning Legion.
- Azshara, the Light of Lights, is the former ancient queen of the Night Elves who, in her endless goal to obtain power and perfection, nearly led all of Azeroth to total ruin. 10,000 years ago, Azshara used her magic to enthrall her people to love her without question while also seeking to purify the world of any she deemed imperfect, who included all but herself and her Highborne servants. While attempting to enact this purification with the power of the Well of Eternity, she caught the attention of Sargeras, creator of the Omnicidal Burning Legion. When he offered to aid in her goal in exchange for allowing his armies to rampage over Azeroth, Azshara agreed without question. Her actions to satisfy her own limitless vanity led to the War of the Ancients, the deaths of countless innocents, and the breaking of the entire world. Azshara then makes a deal with the Old Gods, who turn her and her servants into the first naga. As their Empress, Azshara can be held directly responsible for every atrocity committed by the naga throughout the franchise.
- Cho'gall, the former right-hand of Gul'dan, is the mad prophet of the Twilight's Hammer whose apocalyptic goals serve as a grim reminder that the Burning Legion aren't the only monsters out amongst the stars. Born a two-headed ogre in their capitol of Highmaul, Cho'gall's ambitions and power lust eventually led to his failed assassination and exile. Swearing vengeance on his kinsmen, he sought out new forms of power and learned fel magic from Gul'dan, fully intent on betraying him and his demonic masters, and void magic from the Pale orcs beneath Oshu'gun who taught him of the Hour of Twilight prophecy. Cho'gall made fulfilling this apocalyptic prophecy his life's work, and formed the Twilight's Hammer clan to make it a reality. He would go on to raze Highmaul and slaughter its people and aid the Horde in their genocidal conquest in the First and Second Wars. Gathering new followers in droves, he carved new prophecies into the Pale orcs and skinned them all to make the Twilight Canticle, the unholy book of the Void. Many years later, he attempted to resurrect the Old God C'thun by sacrificing the young half orc Med'an, and enslaved his mother Garona and used her to reignite full scale war between the Horde and Alliance. His final attempts at fulfilling the Hour of Twilight involved healing a wounded Deathwing and using the fallen Aspect to ignite the Cataclysm, and ultimately put Azeroth within a inch of annihilation. While Gul'dan is iconic for showing how far one can fall to evil serving the Fel, Cho'gall revels in showing that one can fall equally as far in service to the Void.
- Deathwing the Destroyer is the ruler of the Black Dragonflight. Previously known as Neltharion the Earth Warder, Deathwing is one of the most ancient villains in Azeroth's history and one of the most monstrous. Deathwing possesses genocidal hatred directed towards anything that isn't a black dragon and has tried many times to exterminate all else that lives. Deathwing tricked his fellow dragonflights into binding their powers to a relic known as the Demon Soul and proceeded to depower his fellow Dragon Aspect and drove the blue dragonflight into practical extinction, gloating all the while. He raped his former consorts and due to his gaining a unique body of molten fire, only one survived, hideously scarred. He was responsible for the capture and forced breeding of Alexstraza, letting her beloved children die and all the while planning to steal her eggs and corrupt them. Deathwing unleashes the fullest measure of his evil in Cataclysm when he initiates events that cause countless deaths and occasionally attacks areas by burning any living thing he finds. Not even his own "superior" Dragonflight is exempt from his plans, as he is hinted at creating the Twilight Dragonflight to replace the remnants of his own.
- Xavius, once the high councilor to Queen Azshara, is best known for the evils he committed as the first satyr and the Nightmare Lord. Xavius can be considered the mastermind behind the Burning Legion's first invasion, when he convinced Azshara and the Highborne that Sargeras was a deity and would lead them to godhood. After his first death, he became the first satyr and corrupted many of his brethren into that form while also seeking eternal vengeance on Malfurion Stormrage, who was responsible for his first and second defeats. Changing his allegiance to the Old Gods, Xavius would go on to become the creator and master of the Emerald Nightmare. As the Nightmare Lord, he corrupted much of the Green Dragonflight and entrapped many druids, including Malfurion. Now his prisoner and plaything, Xavius upheld his end of the bargain and began destroying Azeroth. He swallowed much of the world into the Emerald Nightmare causing countless people to become eternal victims of their own worst nightmares. Eventually defeated again by Malfurion, Xavius would later pledge the Nightmare to the Burning Legion to deliver his wrath to both Malfurion and all of Azeroth.
- Zul is a troll and prophet of the Zandalari empire. Initially driven by a desire to salvage his empire, he steadily succumbs to greed and ambition. Zul leads his forces to massacre innocents all across Pandarian lands, pushing further inland while calling on other trolls to join his forces and wipe out all before them. Zul deems his own gods, the Loa, weak and murders them when he takes over the Zandalari empire. Deciding to create the Empire of Zul, Zul causes greater conflicts and attempts to free the Old God G'huun to practically wipe out the world so he can rule over what remains.