Hierodules are one of the largest Tyranid creatures, smaller than the Hierophant but a lot larger than the Carnifex. They are often treated as Bio-Titans, but they are roughly the equivalent of super-heavy tanks in both size and battlefield role. They come in two known flavours:
- Scythed Hierodules (Hierodule domitor sica) are armed with four massive scything talons and armour that is up to 30cm (one foot) thick. It also has an acid-spitting organism on its back, resulting in its hunched stance.
- Barbed Hierodules (Hierodule domitor uncus) exchanges the secondary organism and one pair of scything talons for a pair of Barbed Strangler Bio-Cannons
Like several Tyranid units, the Hierodule was given an impressive and intimidating-sounding name in Latin. However, unlike the more-fortunate Carnifex ("executioner") the Hierodule was saddled with a name that means "sacred prostitute", which is not so much badass as it is creepy: people would have sex with Hierodule in lieu of gods/goddesses during Hierogamic rites. Hence, logically, that name should have gone to tyranids especially made to eat up things.
Forge World makes two Hierodule kits, one for the Scythed and one for the Barbed. Both cost £95, or about $115/140€.
On the tabletop
In eighth edition, both are fairly solid choices, however, the Scythed hierodule is arguably the better option, having a more consistent output with its more forgiving degradation profile, and extra attacks. It's arguably better output-wise than a Knight since it re-rolls 1s to hit, and since it's D6 damage per swing, and not a straight 6 (But has double the attacks), it averages at about 3.5 damage per successful wound. Assuming you are attacking a T8 vehicle (The S12 of the Chainsword only matters VS S6 targets and T12 targets, the former being uncommon and the latter nonexistent in normal games), factoring in no external buffs, the Hierodule gets about ~15 damage, and the Knight gets about 10 damage (Although, in a mechanics sense, it's more likely just 6 or 12, buuut that's not a point in its favor since it just means you're gonna be relying on whatever your attacking failing it's save more often, especially if it has invulns) Given what you're likely attacking (Land Raiders, Russes, Tyranid Monsters, big walkers, other superheavies) That is the difference between a dead model and one that's able to swing back in CQC, or potentially back up next turn and blow your big boy into flaming shrapnel/meaty bits without you getting a chance to consolidate into the next thing you want to kill. Not to mention how much cheaper it is (32 points cheaper as of Chapter Approved).
Notably, it's one of your only sources of melee strength above 8 in the army that doesn't take penalties to hit (See Crushing Claws on OOE and other Carnifexes). Use this to your advantage and target things it will be wounding on a 3+ or better. If you really *need* to, it can indeed rip apart that squad of Custodes that was giving you trouble, or pop open a land raider or battlewagon equivilant to get at the sweet meats inside.
With the Barbed Hierodule, you would be better off getting more consistent weapons from your Heavy Support options, however, it's guns do have a good amount of S8 shots, which is worth considering, and it can still do pretty good in melee. HOWEVER, It's weapons only hit on a 4+, not to mention the guns only being AP -2, and only D3 damage... why is this one the more expensive one again?. For the points, it's much better to get two Tyrannofexes if you need to bust vehicles, or two Exocrines should you need to fry heavy infantry. It does combo well, however, with the Kronos and Jormungandr adaptations, whereas the Scythed hierodule is more suited to Leviathan, Gorgon and Behemoth, since it's far less likely to stand still then it's shooty counterpart.
Both are also incredibly durable, especially if you pile on the buffs. Malanthrope nearby for a -1 to hit it, Catalyst or Leviathan's trait for a 5+ (Or 6+ with the latter) FNP, and if you don't advance or charge and have Jormungandr's trait, you count as being in cover, giving you a 2+ save... however, you're gonna want to keep moving as the Scythed hierodule, so skip Jormungandr for one of the more directly useful traits, unless you just want to use the thing as a distraction carnifex, and aren't overly concerned about it getting into CQC.
|Leader Organisms:||Broodlord - Hive Tyrant - Norn Queen |
Swarmlord - Tyranid Warrior
|Small Creatures:||Gargoyle - Genestealer - Hormagaunt - Ripper - Termagant|
|Biovore - Hive Guard - Lictor - Neurothrope - Pyrovore |
Ravener - Tyrant Guard - Venomthrope - Zoanthrope
|Monstrous Creatures:||Carnifex - Dimachaeron - Exocrine - Haruspex - Malanthrope |
Maleceptor - Mawloc - Tervigon - Toxicrene - Trygon - Tyrannofex
|Gargantuan Creatures:||Cerebore - Dactylis - Hierodule - Malefactor - Nautiloid - Viragon|
|Flying Creatures:||Harpy - Harridan - Hive Crone - Mucolid Spore|
|Spaceborne Creatures:||Tyrannocyte - Mycetic Spore - Ether-Swimming Brood|
|Bio-Titans:||Dominatrix - Hierophant - Hydraphant - Viciator|
|Floral Structures:||Capillary Tower - Reclamation Pool|
|Other Organisms:||Bio-Weapons - Cortex Leech - Meiotic Spore |
Spore Mine - Sporocyst - Zoats
|Unique Creatures:||Deathleaper - Laius Horror - Old One-Eye - The Red Terror|