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Ah, the Defiler. You want to love it – it’s a big giant spidery daemon. However, in the past this poor thing has had its share of problems. It was too expensive, and had such a mixed role that you weren’t even sure what you should be doing with it.
The Defiler has the stock daemon engine abilities: Daemonic and Infernal Regeneration.
Daemonic gives a 5+ invulnerable save. It’s for that reason that I’ve always been a fan of the daemon engines, but especially now in 8th edition.
Infernal Regeneration lets it automatically regain a wound at the start of your turn. As I said in the Forgefiend review, I love this change from 7th. No more rolling and crossing your fingers to get a wound back.
There is a bit of a boost since the last codex. Now it can move 8″ at full health and it also has 14 wounds. The bit of extra movement will of course help get into combat, and 14 wounds is decent on a model like this.
Stock the Defiler comes with a Battle Cannon, Reaper Autocannon, Twin Heavy Flamer, and Defiler Claws. This all comes in at a price of 189pts, which is down from the old codex. All things considered, the price isn’t that bad when you look at similar options. Of course it has a 4+ BS and WS, so there is that.
You can also replace the Reaper Autocannon. The choices there are Twin Heavy Bolter, and Twin Lascannon. The Twin Heavy Bolter will at least get you 6 shots over the 4 from the Reaper, which helps with that 4+ BS. You lose some strength in the shots, but it’s negligible if you ask me. Honestly, the Twin Heavy Bolter isn’t a bad option in 8th edition.
Then there’s the Twin Lascannon, which is 50pts. I would have told you never to take this option in the last codex, but now…it’s an option. You are paying for a premium weapon that only hits 50% of the time, less than that if you move, but if you want a gunboat then have at it.
It could work, sit in the backfield shooting stuff until it gets close then go tackle it. It’s probably not worth the points that way, but it’s such an odd model anyway that it’s really no worse a choice than others.
The Twin Heavy Flamer can be replaced by a Havoc Launcher or Defiler Scourge. I love the Twin Heavy Flamer. It’s a bit pricey at 34pts, but no need to roll to hit, and with an average of 7 shots a turn, you can really do some damage. The only reason I could see putting a Havoc Launcher on instead is to save points, or you plan to park in the backfield to shoot all game long.
Now, if you want to play in close combat then the Scourge is a great choice now. The downside is it replaces the Twin Heavy Flamer, which is also great for a close combat daemon engine. The Scourge is only 12pts, so savings on the Twin Heavy Flamer, and gets you more attacks.
The profile is: S+4, AP-2, D3, and you get +3A with it.
You’ll wound most things on 2’s and do some damage with anything that sticks. This will also mean your Defiler will get 7 attacks in combat, which is something it desperately needed in 7th.
While I don’t like having to give up that Twin Heavy Flamer, if you want to smash face then it really is worth the trade-in.
A neat bonus is you can now take a combi-weapon. If you’ve got the points, and want a little more punch, then do it.
Use on the Battlefield
In 7th the Defiler had a mixed bag. It was hard to nail down a role for it because of how things were setup. Now though, I feel the Defiler can clearly do a few things, even if it doesn’t do them amazingly well.
As I mentioned a few times, you can load it up with ranged weapons, sit in the backfield, and fire away. The Defiler Claws are a good deterrent for most things to come at you, and you can use the Defiler to cover your backfield assets like Havocs, Predators, etc.
Again, the BS4+ isn’t great, however, you can use the Daemonforge stratagem at 1pt to re-roll all hits and wounds. It’s one of the best stratagems Chaos has and well worth making use of.
Of course there’s the close combat option too using the Scourge. As said, getting 7 attacks is pretty decent, and Daemonforge also works in close combat, so if something needs to die it very likely may. The 14 wounds will help keep it in the fight, especially backed with a 5+ invulnerable.
While the Defiler may not be the best choice for a single given role, it’s got a bit of versatility to it, and isn’t prohibitively expensive. If you like Defilers, which I always have, and want an excuse to field it then you have that in 8th edition I feel. I’ve used mine quite a lot and haven’t been disappointed, which is a big difference from the old days.
If you focus on a single role though, and use stratagems appropriately, then you may actually be surprised at what it can do.
How are you all liking the Defiler in 8th?
Rules - 8/10
Options & Wargear - 7/10
Cost - 7/10
Effectiveness - 6/10
The Defiler is much improved over previous editions and can be a useful inclusion in your list, even if it's not the best choice.
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