Hierodule: The Return

Just over 6 months ago, I ordered a scythed Hierodule (as you can see here). Now that I have had it built and painted, and even got a few games in with it, I wanted to give a short review of the unit.

The lone firewarrior tries to delay the hierodules inevitable charge

The lone firewarrior tries to delay the hierodules inevitable charge

First, the Hierodule is fast. The 12-inch move plus the ability to run twice means it can cover a lot of ground, up to 24 inches with some good rolls. This means, unless something bad happens, you will be in a position to charge in turn two. The Hierodule is also usually hard to kill. I’ve seen my Hierodule take a lot of firepower, including nearly an entire Tau army shooting at it for multiple turns. Its toughness 8 means that most standard guns (bolters) cannot even scratch it. However, a unit of Grav-Centurions can easily take it down. Wounding the Hierodule on 3’s, and ignoring its armour, means all the Hierodule has left is it’s Feel No Pain special rule, so it can be killed. Which is why a Tyranid player has to keep is cover as much as possible, which can reduce it’s range.

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Now, the Scythed Hierodule does not bring much firepower to the table. Honestly, I think I used the template weapon once, maybe twice, during a game. Yes, it can easily kill a couple of tactical squads or anything else with one wound and an armour save of 3 or better. But there are a lot of units that are multi wound or have a higher Armour value.

24 Epic Battle

However, the biggest drawback I have found is not the Scythed Hierodule’s limited firepower, it is the limited use I get from it. Since this is such a unique unit and such a tough unit, I only play it when my opponent knows what he will be facing. This is not something I want to surprise my opponent with. And this allows my opponent to prepare for it. I don’t think my Hierodule survived one of the games I used him in. Heck, thanks to those grav-cents, I’ve seen the hierodule die in turn one (it didn’t help that I rolled two very low numbers in a run phase, meaning I missed the terrain I was aiming for.

So, what is my final opinion? Excluding that it broke last night, I am very happy with my purchase. It looks good and it fun to play. Will I get the Barbed Hierodule? Probably. But I am very happy I started with the Scythed Hierorule.

Finding the Fun

In the last two weeks I have gotten four games in, and all four have ended in losses. This wouldn’t normally be that bad, I am used to losing, but it’s the way that I have lost. Either I was tabled (games 2, 3, and 4) or so close to being tabled that it didn’t matter. But the really odd thing is how I felt about them. For example, games 1 and 4 were actually a lot of fun. Game 2 was ok, not as much fun as I normally have, but it wasn’t all that bad. But game 3, that wasn’t fun at all. Not even close.

Game 1 – Tau vs. Tyranids. This was actually my second game ever against the Tau player, and I wanted to take a toned down Tyranid list, even though I knew I would be facing a fairly competitive Tau list. He had a couple of Riptides, some Broadsides, tetras, and a few other things. I was taking a Pyrovore and 2 Biovores, so obviously my list was fairly soft.

The game was the Relic, and I controlled the relic through most of the game. At least, till the last turn when I was finally shot off of it. But at least it was a close game, and I had a lot of fun trying to pull out the win with an army that had very little chance of doing it.

Game 2 – Minotaurs vs Tyranids – Now this I though would be a close game. Again, my list wasn’t amazing, but I thought it was ok. Boy was I going to be taught a lesson. I couldn’t stand up to the firepower. Grav-gun Centurians took out the Exocrine in turn one. Raveners took a beating from bolters. Gaunts and the Tervigon basically just collapsed. It wasn’t pretty. But it wasn’t a painful game like game three turned out to be. All of the doctrines allowing for rerolling was just painful.

Game 3 – Ultramarines vs Dark Eldar – Ok, I asked for this, but it just wasn’t all that much fun. I told my opponent to take whatever he wanted, and he wanted to get a second test game in of his Skyhammer Annihilation Force. My Dark Eldar Army is not competitive. They are meant for me to have fun, that’s it. But frankly, the skyhammer force, coming in on turn one, made me play defensive right away. Actually, it wasn’t even defensive. It was “Run away! Run away!” By the end of turn 2 I knew it was game over.

Game 4 – Skitarii and Mechanicus and Imperial Knight vs Tyranids – Now this game, which has the same result as game 3, was a lot more fun. I got my first game in against the Skitarii/Mechanicus pair. It was ugly, and while my list wasn’t strong, it did allow me to get a feel for my opponent’s army. It wasn’t pretty, not even close. In turn one (he went first mind you), I lost an Exocrine, Flying HT (my warlord), a Carnifex, 2 Raveners, and 4 warriors. I lost almost half my army in points, and two of my best units, and I didn’t even go yet. To make it even worse, he didn’t even roll that well (neither did I). But, at least it was a fun loss even if I was tabled that fast.

So, the question becomes why did I have fun in games 1 and 4, but not so much fun in games 2 and 3? I think that in game 1, I knew it was going to be a struggle, and that became fun. Trying to pull out a win from a game that I should not have. Game 4 was fun because it was against a new army. Yes, I got my ass handed to me in a neat little package, but it was fun to play against something new. Game 2, I think it was just disheartening how badly I lost with a list that I thought would do better. And game 3, that skyhammer force just was an unstoppable force when going against my non-competitive list. Yes, I told him to take anything, so it is my fault. I must own that. But from now on, when someone takes a competitive list, and I am taking my Dark Eldar, I have to go in asking that they take a soft list.

Two House Rules

I have decided to add two new rules to the Casa de Shorereaper. I have a few house rules, most of them for entertainment purposes. For example, there is the house rule of Pyrovore. The Pyrovore’s special rule has it go nuclear when it’s killed with a weapon that causes instant death. Obviously it is not what was intended, but even the ITC addressed it in their rules. However, the two house rules that I am adding tonight are not as comical.

First, I want to address the grey tide. Actually, not just the grey tide, but all unpainted models. So, the first new rule is that all armies played in my house gain the “Preferred Enemy Unpainted Models” special rule. What qualifies as unpainted? If the model has at least a base coat, I will count it as painted. So, models must be more than just primed. This does give a serious benefit to those who have fully painted armies, but hopefully this will also motivate those other to actually paint.

The second rule addresses an issue I have with use of proxies. I don’t have an issue with proxies when it comes to weapons. For example, if a space marine is modeled with a melta-gun and my opponent wants to use it at a grav-gun, I would allow this. However, when someone wants to proxy an entire unit, I begin to have issues. So, rule number two is that if someone proxies more than 10% of their army, their opponent gains 6+ feel no pain on their infantry. This percentage will be based on the points. So, if someone fielded more than 200 points in proxies in a 2000 point list, the opponent will get the “Feel No Pain” rule on all infantry.

How would this affect me? Well, very few of my Dark Eldar are painted, and the same goes for my Alpha Legion. The Tyranids I usually field are almost always fully painted, so I don’t lose anything there. I also hardly ever proxy, so I will not have to worry about giving up the feel no pain that often.

I will also allow someone who wants to test new units a one-time bye on the Feel No Pain penalty. And even though I will allow the bye, I will not take it, even if I am trying a new unit to see if I want to buy it.

My house, My Rules.

The Grav-cannon

As a Tyranid player and a Space Marine player, I can obviously see the benefits of the grav guns. Wounding on the strength of the armour, then ignoring that armour, they are amazing weapons for dealing with monstrous creatures. In fact, when I do field my Carcharodons, I live by the motto, “When in doubt, go with the grav.” Yes, I add melta’s into the tac squads, but the Sternguard and Bikes I field usually have grav guns added.

The three main units that can take them are Bikes, Centurions, and Devastators. Why these three? Well, both the Centurions and the bikes can fire the grav weapons at full distance and with the full amount of shots even after they moved. On the Centurions, this means they have five shots each with a range of 24 inches. This also means they have a thirty-inch effective range once you count in their movement. With the bikes, you get a mobile unit that can get six shots at 18 inches, meaning they also have an effective range of 30 inches. The Devastators, while not as mobile as the bikes, can be deployed in a drop pod and wreck a MC on turn one (if deployed right).

Now, like I said I am also a Tyranid player, so I see the other end of the grav guns more often than not. And that 30 Inch range, plus being able to re-roll wounds (in the case of centurions) scares the crap out of me. I have seen Grav Centurions take out the Swarmlord and his guard in the first turn. Some of that had to do with a mistake in deployment, but still, that was 11 wounds, first blood, and slay the warlord giving up in the first turn.

There are counters to the Cents (and other grav guns). Standard troops would be wounded on 6’s, much lower than bolters. Zoanthropes can ignore their armour with a warp lance and cause instant death by doubling their toughness. aThe Zoanthropes are wounded on 5’s, and get a invulnerable saves. Still, even with those counters, Grav guns, Grav-Centurions specifically, give Tyranid players a hell of a rough time.

Am I actually complaining about them? A little. But this was my vent. Now I just have to find a strategy that deals with them. Do I think they are OP? Against MC’s and Terminators, yes. Against anything else? Not so much. They do what they are supposed to do very well. Non-marine infantry, they will struggle against. Of course, the rest of the army is there to deal with those non-high armour save units.