Practitioners of the Orcish religions, these binders of souls command the black powers that hold control over the earth. Linked into the dominions of the lower planes, Necrolytes have power over all things dark and evil, including the raising of fallen warriors to create armies of the undead. Through ceremonies performed at their Temples, they learn to warp the essence of shadow to use for their advantage.
During the First War, the main purpose of the necrolytes was to bolster the orcish forces with undead troops, similar to the necromancers of the Scourge decades later. While Necrolytes did possess other magical abilities, they were quite paltry when compared to those of the other orcish warlocks.
Slaughter of the Necrolytes
Unfortunately for the Necrolytes, the rise of Orgrim Doomhammer was a precursor to their downfall. After Doomhammer spared Gul'dan's life, Gul'dan promised to create a host of undead riders capable of using magic. The necrolytes weren't up to the task, which frustrated Gul'dan. He did nevertheless see potential in them, but not while they were among the living. Gul'dan ritually executed them all.
Gul'dan went on to create the death knights. Each newly-risen death knight was given a jeweled truncheon through which it could better focus its powers. Into these jewels were infused the raw, necromantic powers of the freshly slain necrolytes.
Necrolytes were not gone for good, as orcish necrolytes can still be found within orc and fel orc forces in Outland, and some in Broken Isles.
Necrolytes in the games