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.


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.

Last Stand of the Iron Hands – Shorereaper’s perspective

So, in honor of Severus leaving us, I challenged him to a game of my own design as our final outing. I wanted his Iron Hands (and any allies he chose) to face my Tyranids in an epic battle. He knew what the mission was, and he knew approximately what was going to be in my list.

As I covered in an earlier blog, the deployment was hammer and anvil, with very little terrain in the center of the board. On his tableside, there was a Wall of Martyr Defense Line, some Defense Emplacements, and a Firestorm Redoubt with Quad Icarus Lascannons, at not cost to him, but he did get their special rules.

My list consisted of the following:

3 Tyrant Guard
Hive Tyrant
30 Termagants
30 Hormagaunts
9 Warriors
30 Gargoyles (almost fully painted too!)
9 Raveners w/ Rending Claws
Scythed Hierodule

Severus will write about his list in a blog about his perspective.

My deployment was pretty standard. I knew that my fast units had to close the gaps quickly, so they were the front line. The Gargoyles were on my left flank, the Hormagaunts were deployed next to them. The Raveners I placed on the right flank, knowing they were going to move more towards the center. The Swarmlord was in the center, giving me fantastic coverage with his synapse. The Venomthrope, Termagants, and warriors made up the rest of the right flank. Supporting the left flank was the Carnifex and the Hive Tyrant. The rules of the game required the Hierodule to be kept in reserve until turn 2. For My psychic powers, the Hive Tyrant and the Swarmlord had Warp Blast, Paroxysm, and Dominion. The Swarmlord also had Psychic Scream. Yes, I somehow managed get get all of the same powers.

Here is the wall of Nids

Here is the wall of Nids



8 Setup Nids

Turn 1 –

My Turn 1 was pretty basic. Move forward. Everything moved forward as fast as they could. In the psychic phase, I got off Dominion and didn’t even try for anything else. In the shooting phase, I ran everything forward. I wanted to close the gap. The only way I could pull this win off was if I could get engaged in combat quickly.

10 Turn 1 Nids

Severus’s turn, in short, was shoot shoot shoot. He took out a few gargoyles, a lot of Hormaguants, and most of my Raveners.

Turn 2 –

Again, the movement phase was easy, hauling forward as fast as I can. I found myself with a lot fewer Raveners and Hormaguants, and the Gargoyles were reduced as well. The Hierodule, entering the field of battle, started his movement up the center of the table. His 12-inch movement, and double run, really allowed him to cover a lot of ground.

I got my Gargoyles in position to shoot at the Skitarii, and placed my Ravener and Hormaguants in a position to charge some tactical marines. The Gargoyles killed three of the Skitarii (my first kills) in the shooting phase, but they were about to be taught a lesson about overwatch. In the psychic phase, the Swarmlord managed to get the Warp Lance off and destroyed the Vindicator’s gun.

I charged the guants into the tac squad so they could take the overwatch, and they were actually shot out of charge range. The Ravener then charged in and proceeded to kill one Tac Marine. The Gargoyles declared a long charge, and seven of them proceeded to die to overwatch. Not a very successful turn two.

11 End Nid Turn 1

Severus used hit turn to shoot more of my units, and charged the Carnifex with some of his Skitarii. It did not go well. The Carnifex killed one model and Skitarii caused a few wounds.

Turn 3 –

And here is where the excitement started happening. The hierodule closed the gap again. The Hive Tyrant and the remaining Hormaguants put themselves into a position to support the carnifex, who was now locked in mortal combat with a Skitarii unit and had one wound remaining. Warriors and Termagants continued to rush forward, now starting to get off some shots. The remaing Gargoyled actually went behind enemy lines (where I proceeded to forget about them). In the psychic phase I managed to blowup the Land Raider with a well placed warp lance from the Hive Tyrant.

12 End Nid Turn 1

While nothing noteworthy happened in the shooting phase, the Hierodule finally got into shooting range and killed three more marines, then ran forward another three inches.

20 Turn 3

In the assault phase, the Swarmlord and the Pyrovore charged the Vindicator, and proceeded to knock one hull point off of it. The Ravener finally won his close combat, and consolidated in front of the Redoubt. The Hive Tyrant and Guants managed to save the Carnifex from death.

In Severus’s turn, he charged the Hive Tyrant with Terminators, and killed it. He Killed the Carnifex (finally). And he finally wiped the Gargoyles off the board.

Turn 4 –

And now we come to the end of the game. The Tyrant? Dead. The Carnifex? Dead. The Hormaguants? Mostly Dead.

The Swarmlord and Pyrovore moved forward again, putting them in position to charge some Sternguard. The Knight failed a charge on the Hierodule in Severus’s turn, so I moved him closer so I could get off the charge. I wanted this battle to be epic. I used the Swarmlord to give the Hierodule Preferred Enemy.

22 Swarmlord

The Pyrovore killed a marine, and the Warriors and Gants killed a few others in the shooting phase. That was about all I had left to shoot with. I charged the Swarmlord and the Pyrovore into the Sternguard and charged the Hierodule into the Imperial Knight. Really, nothing exceptional happed in the combat with the Swarmlord/Pyrovore… well, other than they two of them managed to kill one marine. But the Knight/Hierodule was going to be exciting. The Knight, with his D attack, managed to knock the hierodule down to one wound. The Hierodule, with preferred enemy and S10 hits (9 of them! 7 Base, 2nd Close Combat Weapon, and the charge) obliterated that Knight. When the Knight exploded, he exploded big. The apoc template then scattered onto the Swarmlord, killing him (and taking Severus’s chance at killing the Swarmlord away again).

We all know what is about to happen.

We all know what is about to happen.

Too bad the Hierodule took a grenade to the face in Severus’s next turn. After that, with as few unit as I had left, I had to concede.

It was a fun and epic way for our last game to play out. Oh, and my record against Seth was 15 Wins, 19 Losses, and 1 Tie. Yes, I kept track.

Duel with the Dule

Hey all, Shorereaper here, and I am going to give you my perspective on the the game I had against Severus this past weekend.

As you can see from the previous post, my list was very Monstrous Creature heavy, and very much deployed on the front line. I knew I had to get most of my units into close combat, and I new they would take a lot of firepower trying to cross the battlefield. For my psychic powers, I managed to get Catalyst (feel no pain) on the Swarmlord, as well as the Horror and Psychic Scream. The Hive Tyrant got Psychic Scream and Onslaught. Of course, all four psykers got Dominion, meaning I would have two to four synapse creatures at any given time. Getting ready for the game, I felt that my best chance was to go first and get in the Tau’s face as quickly as possible. Luckily for me, I managed to seize the initiative.

Turn 1 –
This was a relatively short turn for me. Everything my army moved forward, and moved forward fast. I was going to play this game aggressively and I decided to ignore the Stealth Suits coming up on my rear flank. The Hive Crone and the FHT took to the air and immediately got into firing range.

Left Flank closes the gap.

Left Flank closes the gap.

In the shooting phase, the template from the crone took out a few fire warriors in one unit. The Hierodule, with its 12-inch move, was able to barely get into range and managed to cause a wound on the Broadsides. Of course, I ran the Hierodule after that, thanks to its agility special rule. The FHT shot at the unit of Fire Warriors with the Etheral, and killed him. Everything else just ran forward, or in the Swarmlord’s case, lumbered forward at a slow walk. The Exocrine also fired its large blast weapon, picking off a few drones.

Left Flank move up fast.

Left Flank move up fast.

Then came the pain. Severus unloaded into the Hierodule and a few of the other monsters that were trying to close the distance. The Stealth Suits and Vespids picked off a few Genestealers on the one flank. The Hierodule took three wounds, and the flying HT was brought down to just one wound. I forgot how much firepower the Tau could bring to bear in that first turn.

Here come the Nids

Here come the Nids

As I am sure Severus will say in his blog, he decided to charge his Vespids into my Genestealers. I figured this was going to go well for me. And while it did, it didn’t go as well as I hoped. While my Genestealers did kill the majority of the Vespid, and they managed to kill one Genestealer, they stayed locked in combat thanks to an amazing roll of snake eyes.

Turn 2 –

My turn two movement was exactly the same as my turn one. March forward and pressure the enemy. The FHT flew behind the Hammerhead while the Crone swept to the right. The Dule and the Dimachaeron moved in close to the left flank (again, from my perspective). The Exocrine stayed put this time, meaning I would be able to use the slightly better Ballistic Skill.

Turn 2 b

In the psychic phase, like most of the game, I managed to get off catalyst, giving the Swarmlord unit and one other unit feel no pain. I also used some dice to give most of my creatures a better synapse range (including the Broodlords).

It begins

It begins

In the shooting phase, the Crone weakened another fire warrior unit, the FHT took down the Hammerhead, and the Exocrine took out some drones (and may have cause a wound to the broadside unit). Again, all of the other units ran to close the gap on the Tau.

In this assault phase, I thought I would start to significantly crush the Tau. The Raveners charged the 4 Tetras hoping to reduce the number of markerlights that could be brought against me. The Hierodule charged the R’varna. Well, the Hierodule tried to charge R’varna. I failed to successfully make the five-inch charge that was needed. The Raveners took down two tetras, and the Genestealers finally killed off the Vespids, which opened them up to shooting in Severus’s turn.

Raveners cause the destruction of two Tetras

Raveners cause the destruction of two Tetras

Again, my units had to deal with more shooting. This time Severus brought the Hive Crone down to one wound, shot more Genestealers, and only caused one wound to the Hierodule. Severus did manage to kill off the Venomethrope and one Hive Guard with the Y’vahna, and then fled far enough away that I would not be able to charge it in my turn.

Hierodule leading the charge. After the failed charge.

Hierodule leading the charge. After the failed charge.

Turn 3 –

As with all of my movement phases, the Tyranids kept charging forward, except for the Exocrine. I shifted the Hierodule for a slightly better shooting and charging position, and the left flank Genestealers closed in on one unit another unit of Firewarriors. The Crone and the FHT, both with one wound each, flew off the board to safety. The Raveners continued to pursue the Tetras.

One Hive Guard Making sure the rear is clear.

One Hive Guard Making sure the rear is clear.

In my shooting phase, the Exocrine fired at the Y’vahra, and cause one wound. The Hierodule toasted all but one Fire Warrior in one unit and caused some wounds to the Broadside unit. Most units, of course, ran forwad.

Hierodule preparing to assault the R'varna

Hierodule preparing to assault the R’varna

This is where the heavy assaulting started. The Raveners charged the Tetras again, the Genestealers and the Dimachaeron charged the larger unit of Firewarriors, and the Hierodule charged the one Firewarrior he didn’t kill (talk about overkill). The Raveners didn’t kill anything. The Genestealers and the Dimachaeron (on the left flank) managed to kill their firewarriors, and of course, the Hierodule killed off the one Firewarrior.

Here comes the Dimachaeron

Here comes the Dimachaeron

After my turn, Severus managed to kill the Exocrine and even more Genestealers. He also knocked the Hierodule down to one wound. I will say this now, that Hierodule can take a lot of firepower.

Turn 4 –

By turn four, the Tau were beginning to be cornered. I moved the Swarmlord into position to charge the Y’vahra. The Crone and the FHT moved into position to also shoot the Y’vahra. The Hierodule and the Dimachaeron moved into position to charge the R’varna. I was also finally frustrated with those Stealth Suits and moved the Broodlord into position to charge them. Sadly, that Broodlord was the only model left in that unit.

The last two Raveners preparing for another attack.

The last two Raveners preparing for another attack.

In the assault phase (nothing happened in my shooting phase), the Swarmlord managed to kill the Y’vahra. The Dimachaeron and the Hierodule killed the R’varna, and the Broodlord took out the unit of Stealthsuits. However, the Raveners tried to assault the Riptide, and were finally killed off.

Dimachaeron prepared for his next assault.

Dimachaeron prepared for his next assault.

And then it finally happened. After three full turns of being shot at, the Hierodule could no longer stand up to Tau firepower. The last wound was finally knocked off. I am left feeling that my first game with the Hierodule was successful, even if he didn’t make it to the end of the game. The FHT also was finally taken off the board.
Turn 5 –

With almost no available shooting left from my army, I just tried to shoot two tentaclids at a unit of firewarriors, killing off one. This being my final turn (unknown to me at that time), I charged the Dimachaeron into the broadsides and the other Broodlord into the remaining tetras. I did successfully kill one tetra (losing a Genestealer in the resulting explosion) and finally finished off the Broadsides.

In what turned out to be Severus’s final turn, he killed off the Dimachaeron with a lot of firepower. I still had the Swarmlord (and two of his guard), two Broodlords (but no Genestealers), and the Hive Crone.

So, throughout the game, I left my right flank soft and exposed, but thanks to a lucky scatter from Severus, the flank never collapsed. The left flank hit hard and fast, which seemed to work in my favor for this game.

Turn 4 c

So, the Tyranids managed to pull out a victory under the stated conditions. I had some MCs left on the table. And even when we broke it down by the modified victory points, my Tyranids managed to take home the victory. Although I believe I had an advantage with the Hierodule, it was still a very close game.

Set up 1


Nowhere to Run – Tau Vs Nids Special Scenario

20150207_153139Howdy everyone!  Severus here (and Shorereaper adding some input as well), and I have a special battle report for you today.  Not that long ago, Shorereaper got himself a scythed hierodule. He has finished it’s assembly and painting.  For it’s first game we made up a little narrative and rules to go along with it.  The Tau have attempted to capture an imperial agriworld.  Everything was going well for the greater good until the tyranids showed up. With access to plentiful biomass on the agriworld, the nids began to run rampant.  The tau never mount static defenses, they prefer to retreat and retake the lost land later.  Unfortunately for Darkstar and Aun’Ro, they have literally run out of ground to retreat to and are waiting on air evac off the continent.  The hive mind, knowing it’s prey is finally cornered, sends in a force to deliver the killing blow.

Mission wise we randomized the deployment and got hammer and anvil (which seemed fitting).  Victory conditions were set as such.  The tau are going to try to break the tyranid swarm by killing all the large creatures.  If the tau can kill all the monstrous creatures by the end of the game (random game length), then they can successfully disengage from the tyranids and make it to there transports.  If they leave any of the monstrous creatures alive, then the tau can not disengage and are overrun.

As a secondary victory condition, we decided to keep track of a modified kill points.  The idea being if it came down to a close game, then we could have a different method of determining the fate of the tau.  We settled on the following.  HQ’s are worth 5 points, Elites are worth 4, Heavy Support are worth 3, Fast Attack are worth 2, and Troops are worth 1.

Now for the army lists.  Knowing this would be the first game for either of us with a hierodule, we decided to make it a suitably epic game.  We settled on 2500 point lists.  Here is what I fielded:

  • Commander Darkstar – Iridium Battlesuit, Puretide Engram Chip, Command and Control Node, Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suit
  • Aun’Ro – Ethereal
  • Stealth Suits – 5 man with Shas’vre, all with counterfire defense systems
  • Riptide – Heavy Burst Cannon, Stimulant Injector, Velocity Tracker
  • Crisis Team – 3 man with Shas’vre, all with twin-linked missile pods and plasma rifles
  • Fire Warriors – 12 man with Shas’ui
  • Fire Warriors – 12 man with Shas’ui
  • Fire Warriors – 12 man with Shas’ui
  • Tetras – 4 tetras
  • Vespid Stingwings – 11 man with Strainleader
  • Y’varha – Stimulant injector
  • Hammerhead – Railgun with submunission rounds
  • R’varna- Stimulant Injector
  • Broadsides – 3 man with Shas’vre, all with high-yield missile pods, counterfire defense system, and 6 missile drones

Shorereaper here, I brought out the following:

  • Swarmlord w/ 3 Hive Guard
  • Hive Tyrant w/ wings and two TL devourers w/ Brainleech worms
  • 14 Genestealers w/ Broodlord
  • 14 Genestealers w/ Broodlord
  • Venomthrope
  • Hive Crone
  • 6 Raveners w/ Rending Claws
  • Dimachaeron
  • Exocrine
  • And of course, the Scythed Hierodule

Set up 1

Back to Severus

Now onto deployement.  We rolled off and the Tau got the first choice.  I decided to deploy right on the line.  My reasoning was that as the nids advanced, I could slowly retreat deeper into my deployment zone.  As soon as I ran out of room to retreat, I would be in big trouble.  I anchored the left flank with the riptide and vespid.  I put the hammerhead, r’varna, ethereal and 2 units of fire warriors on the right flank.  The center I placed the broadsides, the commander with them, a unit of fire warriors, the 4 tetras, and the unit of crisis suits.  I held the y’varha in reserve and infiltrated the stealth suits to harass the nids.


The tau deployement


The Riptide supporting the left flank


The R’varna supporting the right flank

And back to Shorereaper for his Deployment.

So, since my Tyranid Army was based heavily for close combat, I also decided to deploy as close to the Tau as possible. I knew that there would be a couple of turns trying to advance through a lot of fire power. I also knew that the Tau would slowly fall back making it harder for me to close in on them.

Set Up 3

I placed the Swarmlord right in the center of my deployment zone. I knew that I would need his synapse range to cover most of the board since the only other synapse creature was the Flying Hive Tyrant and he would advance up the board quickly. With the Swarmlord I placed the Raveners, the Venomthrope (for that added cover), the, Dimachaeron, and the Exocrine to sure up the center. The Crone and the Hive Tyrant I placed on my left flank with the hope of softening up that side on my initial run. The Hierodule was also placed on that side as well. I decided to infiltrate my Genestealers, one unit on each flank. The one unit was the only unit on the my right flank, which I hoped would be able to slow any Tau that tried hit that side, knowing that the Raveners could get there to support them if needed. The plan was to hit the Tau’s left flank (from my perspective) and sweep in across the table.

Set Up 5

Set up 4

Set up 2

And there we have it.  The stage is set for an epic battle.  Will the tau hold out long enough to be evacuated?  Or will the nids overwhelm them and consume there biomass?  You will just have to wait for next time.  Until then this is Severus (and Shorereaper) saying have a good one and take it easy.


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).