Mathok was Warleader of the Desert tribes on Seven Cities. He was also described as "Beloved of the desert tribes". He was a black-skinned warrior who possessed an inherent nobility. He was widely considered to have a rather grating personality despite being ever courteous, even congenial, and quick to smile.
Mathok was supposed to have met up with Leoman at Y'Ghatan, however the plague, as well as the visions of his shamans, changed those plans. The visions deemed joining Leoman as futile and instead showed images of Hanar Ara. So Mathok and his army journeyed there to deliver the Book of Dryjhna to Felisin Younger. When Felisin rejected the book and would only allow Mathok and his army to join her followers if they laid down their arms, they left in disgust.
Soon after, Mathok and his army surrendered to High Fist Ganoes Paran. Not interested in retribution, Ganoes instead accepted the roughly four thousand light cavalry veterans into his army instead. He elevated Mathok to the rank of Fist and put him in charge of the new additions. Paran then informed Mathok of the standard structure employed by the Malazan army for mounted troops and tasked him with adjusting his troop disposition accordingly as well as naming suitable candidates for the officer positions.
He was kept from combat and was not pleased about it. Paran used Mathok and his cavalry in a counterattack to stop the formation of the Bonehunter regulars from being broken apart. Paran threw a card he had Ormulogun make (probably the Shaved Knuckle in a Hole, but this is unconfirmed).
Mathok slew the High Watered commander in the closing stage of the battle.