Hero Focus: Kruul

Kruul believes orcs should be the dominant race on Athien and is hellbent on seeing it so in his life time. He is outspoken in his support of the new gods and believes they are the key to delivering orcs to their rightful place. His views have placed him in direct opposition with Haksa, and the two are on a collision course that could plunge orcs into a bloody civil war.

Kruul is an Orc Soulgazer, with an absolute toolbox of utility! His statline is pretty standard for an Orc (4 MOV, 4 AGI). His 0 RES means that his 15 Health at L1 (17 at L3) can be a bit squishy at times, especially as the role of a Soulgazer typically requires some amount of mid-to-front line positioning to get the job done. With a middle of the line MEL 6, and a higher, almost aggressor-worthy, MAG 7, Kruul certainly gets the job done. His Cudgel melee attack hits for a reasonable 2/3/4, whereas the Bewitched magical attack is a paltry 1/2/3.

But none of this is truly accurate to how he plays on the field… and I will show you that Kruul is a pretty potent Hero who will win you games, either by Soulgazing, or by acting as a 2nd line / backup Aggressor…!

The first of these twists, is his Soul Enhanced Innate Ability. While Kruul has 1 or more Souls bound to him, he gains +1 Cudgel damage and +1 RES. Ouch. All of a sudden, his damage track is 3/4/5 – on par with more than a couple of Aggressors, even exceeding some on the low side with his glance for 3! 1 RES also goes a long way to helping him on the front line, not dying. A caveat to be mindful of, is that as soon as he does die, or loses that Soul by other means, this benefit is gone! You will have to find that balance-point between pushing your luck and taking it too far, as this is a Soulgazer who really doesn’t want to bank them for safety.

As a bit of a safety net in this regard, he has Transferance. Another Innate Ability that can save a soul on those occasions when Kruul does push too hard. This forces you to be aware of your positioning however as it can be relatively trivial for your opponent to use game effects to force you away from friendly Heroes (pushes/places etc) before delivering the killing blow. You do have the option of just standing closer to the rest of your Warband, but then clumping up has other negatives to it as well…

Kruul can inflict the Curse condition following a melee attack with his Cudgel, however MEL 6 can make the 2S required a bit of a tricky affair at times. This is still a decent control ability as melee dice can be stacked rather easily via a number of means.

Null Magic can be a bit niche in application, but the times that you get it right, it can snowball. To use it offensively, it probably the easier application as you can drop it down in range of a particular Hero (even better if they have activated already) and then go to town with the rest of your Warband, safe in the knowledge that their defensive artefacts are now useless. Alternatively, if you think you can determine where the opposing “super-carry” is going to hit next, drop it just next to their target, and see how they fare without their offensive Artefacts. Another prime target for this would be to remove any benefit that your opponent has if they equip something like Gift of the Gods.

The last of his level 1 abilities is Extract Soul; following a damaging hit of his Bewitched attack, Kruul can spend 1F to have that model drop a soul it was carrying and push it D3″ towards him. Needless to say – this is a powerful effect in keeping the game from swinging to your opponent, just by preventing them from keeping Souls. The obvious power play here, is to have Kruul positioned to that after the Bewitched attack and Extract Soul combo, he can then immediately Soul Harvest himself. Getting the stars to align in such a way can be difficult however! The first hurdle to this is to actually deal damage with Bewitched. The 1/2/3 damage track can make it tricky, especially if your target has any RES at all.

When Kruul hits Level 2, he exerts a 6″ bubble of Soul Distortion, which stacks with standard mods. Important to note that its the Soul that has to be within 6″ of Kruul – not the person attempting the Harvest. Because it relies on the Souls’ position, it can be often easy to determine where Kruul needs to stand for best effect. Be aware for opponents who have the same thought and abuse that knowledge to set up some less than obvious attack vectors lined up on that theoretical place.

Level 3 is where it really starts getting fun. Frenzy gives all Orcs within 6″ +1 damage on basic attacks. This ability is pure gold when your Warband is stacked with other Orcs, but ignore that for now. Kruul is within 6″ of himself and so certainly gets his own benefit. Combined with Soul Enhanced, his Cudgel is now 4/5/6 and Bewitched 2/3/4. Kruul is now on par with Thorgar for max damage cap from melee, and in many regards, slightly better as the Glance and Solid values are slightly better. Looking at his MAG attack, he new has the same Basic Attack output as Istariel (ignoring her RES reduction) or Allandir. Aside from just dealing damage, this makes it vastly easier to get mileage out of Extract Soul, and the 1 Fate you might be saving to re-roll your attack could be better served on giving the Frenzy bonus.

For Artefacts, it really depends on what you need Kruul to be doing. Once he is all levelled up, he really is a jack of all toolboxes! Defensively, it can be nice to grab that Glyph of Warding to take him to RES2, allowing him to sit on the front line a bit safer. Offensively, both Ring of Power or Vorpal Blade could be tasty selections (if they haven’t been given to other Aggressors already). Armour Shredder is another nice pick if you are facing a lot of RES (or even just Svetlana) and want to make sure your Extract Soul is getting its due.

Heroes he likes are Orcs, obviously! There are other synergies too, such as Viktor or Bale & Sarna to take advantage of any loose Souls he can strip, but that’s more about Kruul helping them out as opposed to gaining synergistic bonuses himself.

Heroes he doesn’t like are Jaegar, Saiyin or even the Kruul mirror match. Any Hero who can pull Souls off of him and remove his own Soul Enhanced bonus can suddenly make him a lot more vulnerable than you were expecting.

Card Version: 1.4

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