Fantasy Flight's most recent Conquest release, titled The Scourge, has given us a new warlord for the Chaos faction, known as Ku'Gath Plaguefather ("Plaguefather" is such a Germanic word, isn't it?).
In the fluff, Ku'Gath is one of the named greater demons of Nurgle (known as Great Unclean Ones), the Chaos God of entropy. All in all, Nurgle is probably the least evil of the Chaos gods, in that Nurgle represents natural processes that have simply been taken to an accelerated extreme. Ku'Gath is driven by a constant search to find or concoct the most perfect, virulent disease in the galaxy.
Disease and decay are inevitable, so can you really fault Nurgle and Ku'Gath for just wanting to move things along? I'm certainly not going to hold it against him.
Chaos was my jam in the tabletop game, so I'm excited to see a named Chaos character from the tabletop game get the warlord treatment. So how does Ku'Gath stack up with the warlords that are currently available? Let's look at his basic stats: 1 attack, 7 hit points, 7 starting resources and 7 cards in your hand to start the game. Nothing too spectacular there, but the 7 hit points is a significant part of what makes Ku'Gath dangerous, and ties in directly with his ability:
Reaction: After this warlord is declared as an attacker, move one damage from this warlord to another unit at this planet.
One damage may not seem like much, but it provides a ton of utility to Chaos players. There are two ways to make the most of this ability - damage enemy units, and buff friendly units with the "Brutal" attribute. It's also important to note that there is no restriction to this ability - even warlords can feel Ku'Gath's wrath (as befits the fluff abilities of a greater demon).
No matter which option you choose, you're also healing Ku'Gath! Suddenly warlord assassination is not only harder when facing Ku'Gath, it's downright detrimental since damaging him basically means you're giving Ku'Gath the ability to retaliate against you.
So maybe your opponent will just avoid damaging Ku'Gath until he can "1-shot" him with a powerful unit? Well, that probably won't work because there are a lot of ways for Ku'Gath to gain a damage token. Ork Kannons are an obvious choice, and have been a staple in many Chaos decks up to this point, but Ku'Gath's signature cards can also help out.
Ku'Gath's Nurglings x 4
I love this unit! Rogue Traders and Void Pirates will think twice before trying to make landfall at any planet where these little jerks are hanging out. Of course, "Brutal" units on both sides may not mind taking a point of damage, but it especially helps Ku'Gath get his ability rolling. Note that the card reads "a unit" meaning warlords and such still suffer the penalty.
The Plaguefather's Banner x 1
Another great card, but you simply won't have enough of them in your deck to build around it. I've found that it has an interesting late-game utility. Let's say Ku'Gath is bloodied, and so he's lost his ability. This attachment isn't restricted to non-warlord units, so throwing this attachment onto Ku'Gath can help get him back in the game. Of course, throwing it onto Ku'Gath early in the game makes him a healing and direct-damage monster.
It can obviously make a good attachment for other "Nurgle" units as well, and the three shields are nothing to sneeze at (get it? sneeze? because it's Nurgle...).
Vile Laboratory x 1
So, the card ability is nice, and the fact that it can be a repeatable effect is certainly something to consider. But can someone please explain to me how this fits in with Ku'Gath and the Nurgle theme? I just don't see it. Anyway, the card's ability isn't bad, but it sure isn't on par with the rest of Ku'Gath's signature cards.
Fetid Haze x 2
Continuing with the healing effects, Fetid Haze is a great card, if a little on the pricey side. It has to be pricey though, because its ability is crazy. Again, it is not restricted to non-warlord units, so no longer will Chaos players have to hope that the planet Iridial is on the table to heal their warlord. If Ku'Gath is on the brink of being bloodied then this event can not only negate all of the damage but also change the dynamic of battle by unleashing an enormous amount of indirect damage.
As Team Sandcrawla explained, the fact that the damage must be dealt as indirect damage means that your opponent won't simply be able to sacrifice a single army unit - the total damage must be dealt one at a time.
So what are your impressions of Ku'Gath? Will you fellow worshippers of Chaos be rallying around the plague banner? Or do you still swear allegiance to Zarathur and Tzeentch? Leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @PIflamesofwar. Thanks for reading!
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