Tyranid Forgeworld Review – LoW: Hierophant

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and I am back from a few weeks lost in the wilds, and today, we wrap up the last unit review of the codex until hopefully, we get a fancy new 2.0 at some point.  Let’s look at our biggest and baddest bug, the one of our dreams and our wallet’s nightmares: The Hierophant.  Of course, don’t forget to check out the ever expanding library of useful tips and tricks at Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

Equipment and Wargear: 

  • Dire Bio-Cannon: Range 48” Macro 6 S10 AP-2 Dmg 2d6 gun (Yay for 2 of them).
  • Gargantuan Scything Talons: S20 AP -5 Dmg 2d6 melee weapon.
  • Bio-plasma Torrent: Range 8” Pistol 2d6 S5 AP-2 D1. This weapon hits automatically.
  • Lashwhip Pods: S10 AP-1 D2 melee weapon that makes 3 hit rolls for each attack made with it.


Special Rules:

  • Bio-Titan Warp Field: a 5++ invulnerable save
  • Death Throes: When this model dies, on a 4+, every unit within 6” suffers D6 mortal wounds.
  • Frenzied Metabolism: When using the Dire Bio-Cannon, you can suffer d3 mortal wounds to double the strength of the Dire Bio-Cannons.
  • Incendiary Ichor: Whenever an enemy unit inflicts one or more wounds to this model in the Fight Phase, roll a D6. On a 4+, the unit suffers a mortal wound.
  • Swarm Incubation Chamber: The Hierophant gains the TRANSPORT keyword and may carry either 20 HIVE FLEET Genestealers, Hormagaunts, Termagants, or it may carry up to 6 Hive guard, Tyrant Guard, or Warriors. In addition, it may also carry a single Tyranid Prime or Broodlord.
  • Titanic Monster: A Hierophant can Fall Back and still charge/shoot as normal. When it falls back, it can move over enemy Infantry models, so long as it can end its movement more than 1” away. A Hierophant can shoot when enemies are within 1”, so long as they are all Infantry. The Hierophant may shoot the unit within 1” of it or any other legal target.  A Hierophant only gains the benefit of cover if it is 50% or more obscured.

Wow, so our biggest of bigs, the queen bee, the Hierophant is our largest and most in-chargest threat.  First, as a shooting platform, the Hierophant gets to gun down just about anything it wants.  With 12 shots at BS 3+ (that never degrades) at S10 base that do 2d6 damage each, you only need to land a few hits to destroy just about any non-titanic target. If that target happens to be Titanic or a Building, well then it is even more screwed as this turns on the Macro ability, doubling the amount of wounds taken (done after the roll to determine damage, so it becomes 2d6 x 2 rather than 4d6). On average dice, a Hierophant does 18.85 wounds per gun to a T8 or 9 target with a 4++ if it is Titanic. This becomes 23.3 wounds per gun if you turn on Frenzied Metabolism.   In short, a Hierophant has a good chance of killing 2 Knights a turn at range. Really, the Hierophant is built to kill other Titans, so comparing it to Warhounds and Reavers, if it puts all 12 shots into them, on average dice, it will kill a Warhound in one volley (without using Frenzied Metabolism) and will do about half a Reaver’s wounds if it Frenzies.   It also has a decent pistol if you are getting stuck in combat against chaff, doing 2d6 autohits before the stomps isn’t so bad, but really, this bug wants to use those big, big cannons as often as it can. The whole -2 AP isn’t great so a lot of super heavy threats get a 4+ armor save (or even a 3+ in cover), but for Bug shooting, it is as scary as it gets.

In melee, a Hierophant is not quite as scary but still respectable. Unlike other Titans, the Hierophant is actually fairly accurate in melee, at least when healthy, with WS 3+.  This makes those 6 S20 AP-5 Dmg 2d6 attacks pretty accurate, and again, a Hierophant going into just about any multi-wound model is going to mean that model dies, outside of another Titan class threat like a Warhound.  The Hierophant is not bad at chewing through infantry with up to 18 S5 attacks and when coupled with the Bio-plasma, it is not actually that easy to completely tie up a Hierophant in combat.  With only 6 (or 18) attacks, a Hierophant isn’t really built to be a close combat super threat, but it certainly not a threat to ignore either.  If playing a 2500+ point game, a Hierophant could feasibly kill 3 Knights in a single turn between 2 shot to death at range and one clobbered in melee.

In terms of defense, the Hierophant is quite literally the burliest bug that we have access to at the moment. With an impressive 50 wounds, T8, and, shock, a 5++ and a 2+ armor save, this bug is as resilient as we are likely to get.  If you throw Catalyst on this bug, wow, that is a whole lot of protection against just about anything except for other Macro weapons.  It is important to measure the Hierophant against other Titans as it is not really designed to fight Leman Russes but rather Warhounds, so on the defense side of things, it is not the most resilient compared to other Titans, but then the Hierophant’s defenses never degrade either. It has the most forgiving Damage table as its melee prowess and movement is what degrades, not its shooting, and well, the Hierophant is really a gun beast more than anything else, so score.   Incendiary Ichor is not all that great of an upgrade as the way it is worded (with no FAQ clarification) is that it only does a single mortal wound at most, but the Incubation Chamber is fantastic, allowing the Hierophant to safely shuttle 20 Genestealers and a Broodlord up the field. Even dropping out 6 Tyrant Guard loaded with crushing claws is another heavy melee threat that can threaten big armor to an extent.

Hive Fleet does have impact here as it changes how you want to run the Hierophant.  It is a bit slow compared to some Titans, so Kraken does give it a bit of an extra edge in speed, and with how expensive it is, at any game under 3000 points, you’ll likely want it to share the same Hive Fleet as the Genestealers inside. This is a bit sub-optimal though as you want the Hiero to shoot, not advance.  If you want a super accurate, long-range killing machine, Kronos is great as the Hierophant has the range to sit still and do some big damage, so rerolling 1s to hit on the guns is money.  Leviathan isn’t bad either as giving the Hierophant an inherent 6+++ Feel No Pain when near Synapse lets you give Catalyst to another unit, and a Malanthrope walking behind this bug, giving it -1 to hit and a 6+++ isn’t shabby at all. Gorgon lets you get the most out of its melee if you really want that, and since Jormungandr doesn’t exclude Titanic models, you can get the Hierophant to a +1 save to shooting so long as it does not advance, which is awesome.   Hydra of course doesn’t work for it, and Behemoth is ok for a reroll charge, but again, this bug really excels at shooting, so you should focus on that.

So why isn’t this bug just the Queen of the Hive? Well, first and foremost, unless you are time-traveling back to the very start of 8th edition, you can’t run one in a 2000 point game, so unless you are playing in some big point games (or the just launched Apocalypse system), you are not going to get a lot of playtime with this bug.  It is hard to really know what the Hierophant will look like in Apocalypse (since as of writing this article, I can’t really speak to Apocalyse), so we’ll see how that shakes out.  In terms of actual 40k though, unless you are playing a 3000+ game, you are not going to be taking this bug, and even at 3000 points, spending 2/3s of your army on one model may not be the best idea, unless you want to set speed records.  That said, if you are playing such high points games, this bug will obliterate just about anything out there save for the heaviest of heavies like Reavers and Warlords.

XX/100. Really, it is impossible to rate this bug as it is not intended for any point size of competitive 40k, but as a model, it is awesome (but reinforce those legs) and for large games or Apocalpyse, it is definitely a must have to compete with all the super toys out there.  Thanks as always for reading, and welp, that is everything, codex or Forgeworld, in the Tyranid catalog, so now maybe I look at some Chaos Knights or maybe take a look at different Bug Lists out there in the world.  If you have a specific topic you want me to cover, just let me know!


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!




About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.

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