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The Heresiarch is attacking the player in Hexen on Hub 3: Heresiarch's Seminary. His invulnerability field is up and he is shooting fireballs at the player.

Heresiarch Heretic

The Heresiarch as it appears at the end of the third episode of Heretic

The Heresiarch is a boss enemy from Hexen that appears as a large demonic sorcerer. Three mana container-like cubes circle his head. He makes a cameo at the end of The Dome of D'Sparil in Heretic and appears as an enemy at the end of two hubs: Hub 3: Heresiarch's Seminary and Hub 4: Castle of Grief. In Hexen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel, there is one at the beginning of the Constable's Gate hub and another in Chantry, one of the maps in the Nave hub. He has 5000 hitpoints making him just as tough as Korax himself.

The Heresiarch can cast four different spells:

  • Create a barrier that makes him invincible and deflects projectiles.
  • Shoot a stream of purple fireballs in a waving pattern.
  • Summon two fireballs that bounce along the floor and home in on the target.
  • When his health is low, he can summon Dark Bishops.

There are three cubes orbiting slightly above the Heresiarch, and it is these cubes from which the Heresiarch draws his power. The purple cube allows the Heresiarch to use attack #2 (as listed above), and to cast the homing fireballs. The blue cube allows the Heresiarch to generate his reflective/invulnerable shield, and the green cube allows the Heresiarch to summon Dark Bishops.

For players using Baratus (the Fighter) and Daedolon (the Mage), the Heresiarch can be hard to kill because he can only be hurt while his barrier is down, so wait until his shield is down and hit him twice (or three times, but twice is best) with the Quietus sword or Bloodscourge before he reactivates his shield, rinse and repeat; use a Krater of Might if you're almost out of mana. However, players using Parias (the Cleric) can kill the Heresiarch easily with large numbers of gas clouds (using fléchettes which will hurt the Heresiarch even when his barrier is up. Even the Mage's flechettes can bypass the Heresiarch's barrier for some good damage.

When the Heresiarch dies, the cubes will fall to the floor and bounce several times before exploding. The explosions are very powerful and the blast radius is much larger than is apparent from the explosion sprites. Extra danger comes from the fact that a player might mistake the cubes for mana containers.

The Heresiarch incurs splash damage from its own purple missiles. However, the ZDoom source port changes this behavior so that he does not.

Anti-shield Strategy for All Classes[]

The Heresiarch only casts spells when the player is within his line of sight. This includes his shield spell, so it is possible to minimize the amount of time that the Heresiarch's shield is active by the following strategy: When the Heresiarch first enters battle, damage him as much as possible, e.g. with one's relic weapon, which should always be available by the time you face a Heresiarch in stock Hexen/Deathkings. Do not use the Dark Servant, as it might provide the Heresiarch with another target and foil the strategy. As soon as the Heresiarch raises his shield, run and hide nearby but out of his line of sight and count to 30 (this approximates the amount of time it takes the shield to wear off fairly accurately). If the Heresiarch begins to come into view before the shield is down, immediately retreat deeper into hiding. As soon as the count is up, though, rush out and damage the Heresiarch as much as possible once again until he raises his shield, then repeat the process as needed to kill him. With this tactic, it is possible to prevent the otherwise annoying situation where the Heresiarch starts casting a spell just before his shield wears off, choosing the shield spell to immediately restore his shield. As an added bonus, it also lets the player avoid suffering attack from the Heresiarch during his invulnerable period (not counting pursuit by the possessed lava balls). Heresiarch cannot climb nor descend upon staircases, so the stairs should absorb most of the purple balls and not hurt you if you stay far enough away. Just be careful, for the lava balls can climb up and down steps.

The Heresiarch's Attack Technicalities[]

The Heresiarch uses the cubes to cast his attacks, the Heresiarch himself does not actually fire these, this is why he can still attack when he is in a pain chance. If one were to create an actor with these cubes, the cubes would still fire, but the actor would just be doing what it normally does, unless it has the same attack states as the Heresiarch.


  • The Heresiarch as he appears in the end of the Dome of D'sparil was planned to be the second Serpent Rider, but he was scrapped for unknown reasons and replaced by Korax. Perhaps he was to be Korax's right-hand man.
  • The Heresiarch is apparently referred to as the Sorcerer in Hexen's game files, which can be deduced from the shortened variants "SOR" (on the audio files) and "SORC" (on the graphics files)
  • The Heresiarch's sight and active sounds appear to be the phrases "my sacrifice" and "your weakness" reversed and put through a filter.


1. I did only read the first post here, but I was once in the forum of Raven's, and asked the same question to Ken Hoekstra (One of the Raven officials). He admitted that the Heresiarch (as shown at the end of Heretic) was originally supposed to be Hexen's final boss (and thus D'sparils brother). Later, they decided to make the boss very different, but kept the original concept for the Heresiarch.