Around seven years ago the Mists of Pandaria expansion for the World of Warcraft MMO introduced nine new Humanoid Races. There was, of course, the Pandaren - the new player race that had everyone the most excited. But there was also a lot of new NPC races with deep histories and a high level of interaction with the storyline of the expansion. The thing that sticks out about Pandaria’s new humanoids is that they weren’t just slight variations of existing humanoid races like the Fel Orcs from Crusade or the Goblins from Cataclysm (though many are evolutions created by the Vale of Eternal Blossoms). Mists of Pandaria’s new races feel very new, outside of the Yaungol which are only slightly different than Tauren. Let’s take a first look at some of the Monster allies you might commonly encounter as we anticipate more spoilers next week!
“We mantid are an elder race. The pandaren you associate with - they are but children. They have their role to play.
Each cycle, our young swarm their walls. The pandaren slay the weak. The strong return. With each generation, we grow ever stronger.”
— Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver
Mantid are Sha-worshipping descendants of insect-spawns created by the Old Gods. They rest for hundred-year cycles and rely on a material called amber for just about every aspect of life. They attack the other races of Pandaria and are particularly a thorn in the side of the Yaungol.
Their society is caste-based and promotes survival of the fittest. As a whole, the mantid lust for battle and conquest imposing their inner social structure onto the rest of Pandaria. They will attack. And if you are weaker, you will not survive.
“Wet fur not fun to sleep on.
Mouth only hole that banana go in.
Don't pull own tail when there are other tails to pull.
Poo not good to eat, but very good to throw.
Firecracker for throwing, banana for eating.
Peel banana first, eat second.”
— The Wisest Hozen
Hozen are fierce tribal monkeys that live in tree tops and mountain summits. Unlike the mantid, they are driven by their fleeting passions and short term goals partly due to their short lifespans.
In Pandaria they do take part in conflicts that are larger than their simple, unfocused, lives. But more typically they can be appeased with a food tribute so long as they’re in a good mood. The only race with a longstanding conflict specifically with the hozen is the jinyu.
“It is said, ‘Never swim upstream when downstream of a hozen.”
— Standard Jinyu NPC
The jinyu trace their ancient ancestry back to the murlocs when a group of murlocs encountered the Vale of Eternal Blossoms which expanded their minds and reformed their bodies. At one time they were so powerful that they ruled over Pandaria from the Vale until the Mogu regained control. Their key to dominance during that time was the elite in their ranks: Waterspeakers - elders of their society capable of powerful magic and foresight.
Jinyu are amphibious in nature and can be territorial around large bodies of water. Unlike the other races of Pandaria, they use the pressures and currents of water to forge equipment. Like the mantid, their society hands out roles to jinyu in their egg stage based on the needs of their community at the time.
While they no longer rule Pandaria, they still have a role to play.
“To be mogu is to rule. It is why we were created. Our words are laced with power! Those who do not bend to our will must be broken by our strength. There is no strength without unity. There is no unity without obedience..” “..Together our voices shall echo across the land like the clap of a thunder before a storm. You are that storm! Rise mogu! And reclaim your birthright as rightful rulers of this land!”
— Lei Shen
Forged by the titans, mogu are magical beings of colossal might and a deep-seated desire to subjugate. They were originally created to protect and maintain order in the land, but later they became cursed and hateful.They ruled Pandaria since before recorded history until they were eventually defeated and scattered into smaller tribes by the pandaren rebellion. After millennia of peaceful pandaren rule, the mogu have returned to exact their revenge on the pandaren and restore their rule over the region.
“The saur-priests will tell you that our strength comes from Kroshik. Don't listen to their religious talk. Our strength comes from our claws, from our teeth, from our weapons. It comes from the filth that the filth-mongers gather and cultivate. It comes from us. I don't care whether we descended from some devilsaur in the sky or we were created by the mogu. All I care about is protecting this land from our enemies.”
— Saurok Cultural Quote
The saurok are reptilian humanoids that were created by the mogu to act as soldiers. Eventually some escaped and bred small communities across Pandaria in undesirable locations such as dungeons and caves.
They believe the strong is free to take from the weak and have begun organizing into groups of bandits that survive on what they can steal or murder to acquire. There is dispute among saurok-kind about whether they originated from a devilsaur or the mogu, but regardless of their origins, brutality is clearly their current state of existence.
We finally meet a humanoid native to Pandaria that isn’t looking to steal, stab, or subjugate! The grummle are superstitious nomad merchants originated from Troggs who encountered the Vale long ago. They believe highly in luck and often attribute their luck to small, smelly, trinkets believing the smellier the trinket, the more luck it provides. Female grummle are scarce and yaks are abundant - and sometimes even a meal - in their society.
They are adept hagglers and intelligent navigators, but not strong warriors or powerful magicians. With their weaknesses apparent, they struck a deal with the monks of the Shado-Pan Monastery many years prior: the grummle would deliver supplies in exchange for protection.
With escalating conflict in the region and mantid invasions of their trade routes, the grummle are currently looking to hire help as the Shao-Pan have failed to secure them.
"What's a yaungol?"
"Know what a yak is?"
"Imagine one of those walking around on two feet, only angrier."
— Yoona and Zengi
The yaungol are, as you might have guessed, a distant relative of the tauren and taunka that settled in Pandaria long ago. They were bested by the mantid invasion of their homeland and are looking to wage war in the Kun-Lai Summit in hopes of acquiring a new home for their people.
They are a society that respects strength and settles disputes by having the conflicted parties hit each other with blunt objects until one collapses. Many worship one of their kind named Ordos who ascended into demigod-hood as a fire diety. Yaungol priests regularly set themselves on fire as an act of worship and cast prayers and blessings to provide relief to their deity’s state of constant incineration.
You might say we saved the cutest for last today, but then you might also be wrong. Virmen are what you get when you put a rabbit, a rat, and a kobold in a blender. They have an insatiable desire for carrots and in large numbers can pose a real threat to the civilized races of Pandaria.
They breed quickly and grow territorial of their makeshift holes in the ground. They will steal anything edible that’s left out so long as it’s not a turnip. You see, hatred for virmen isn’t aimed toward another race for enslaving them or invading their homeland like many of their other humanoid co-inhabitants. No, passionate hatred for virmen is mostly reserved for turnips.
Jokes aside, they live to eat and breed and if you interrupt their infestation they can respond with violence. Their culture is simple with warren leaders consisting of an alpha male and a brood mother who dominate the others due to their size and strength.
Behind the Mists
I hope you enjoyed this little sneak preview / overview of the monster faction humanoids of Pandaria. None of these races will be added as non-standard races in the rules, but some of them will likely be added a favorite race in your heart. Keep an eye out, especially on our social medias, as more Into the Mists cards are unveiled. We just did some commons for today as we ramp up toward a massive dump of spoilers next week, but let us know what your favorite or least favorite cards are so far @wowtcgreborn on socials.