Last weekend I place a Forge World order for my first Lord of War for the Tyranids. The Hierodule I ordered is currently on its way, and I thought now would be a decent time to do a quick unit review, and then I will explain why I chose the one I did. I may do a second review after a few games with it in order to give a more experienced review.
The Hierodule comes in two options, Scythed and Barbed. The difference, besides their names, is how they are armed and their points cost. Both have the stat line of WS4, BS3, S10, T8, W6, I3, Ld10, and Sv 3+. The Scythed Hierodule has 7 attacks while the barbed has 5. Both are Gargantuan Creatures (and have all of special rules that go with that unit type) and both have the Agile special rule. Agile allows the unit to Run twice, shoot one weapon and run once, or shoot two weapons.
The difference between the two units is what they are armed with and their point’s value. The Scythed Hierodule comes with two sets of talons and a Bio-acid spray and comes in at a points cost of 535. The Bio-acid spray is a hellstorm template weapon that is S6 AP3, meaning a unit of tactical marines may just disappear. The Barbed Hierodule is armed with two bio-cannons and one set of talons. Each bio-cannon has a range of 48 inches, Strength 10, Ap 3, and is a assault 6 weapon. This means that the Barbed unit brings 12 shots to the table at a cost of 565 points. Ok, it may only hit with 6 of them on average, but that is still a lot of S10 hits.
Looking at their abilities and costs, I have to believe that the Barbed Hierodule is the better choice of the two. Yes, they are both T8 creatures, meaning a melta-gun will have a hard time wounding them (on 4s), and in close combat a Tac squad will not be able to do much against them. But if an Imperial Knight were to get into close combat with Hierodule, the knight would go first, and has a decent chance of killing it before it even attacks. Yes, poisoned weapons will only would it on 6’s (thank you 40K rules), but a small unit of Centurions could rip right through them as well. So, using the Barbed Hierodule and keeping it at a distance would be the way to go in my opinion.
So, having realized that of the two, the Barbed Hierodule is the better option, I ordered the Scythed Hierodule. I feel that while it is the worse of the two, it fits into my army slightly better. I realize that it will not be played all that often, and I wanted a unit that I liked. I think it looks better, is still killable, and it is still something that would not be able to be ignored on the board.
I cannot wait for this model to come in, I really want to build it, paint it, and field it. And while rules say I can just add it to the Army, I will not be doing so. I will ask my opponent if he minds facing it, and if they accept, then I will put it on the table. And maybe one day I will buy the Barbed Hierodule. I am, after all, a Tyranid player, and I have to have all of the units possible, even if they almost never see the battlefield (I am looking at you Maleceptor).