Chaos Defiler for 8th

Is the Chaos Defiler Worth Using in 8th Edition? (Review)

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.

Now that we have 8th edition 40K, and a new Chaos codex, has that changed at all? I feel it has.

Rules & Info


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.

Defiler Wargear

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?

Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition)

Defiler Review
  • 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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…I still want one! One day I shall have all the demon engines I want. Regardless of how bad people think they are ;)


I have occasionally used one for fun,but it loses out to the Soul Grinder on every count.

I generally put it in a ruin, its spidery legs mean its easy to get 25% obscured whilst still being able to shoot, and the cover save, 4 hull points, IWND and 5++ make it reasonably durable even with AV12 and since its a walker it can move around the ruin without immobilising itself. I always swap out the Reaper for the free Power Fist.

I use it the same way I use loyalist Dreadnoughts, as a babysitter for shooty units, generally my IA13 Rapiers or Artillery. It isn’t bad against deep striking Terminators for instance as it hits at I3 and will chew through sternguard etc, and can hit clumped up deepstrikers with that heavy flamer before charging them. Now infantry can only use one grenade per turn against it it is more robust, along with other walkers, and better in this countercharge role.

Might be cool to combine a Defiler or two with a Warpsmith, the Warpsmith can use ‘shatter defences’ against the terrain on the other side of the board reducing the cover save enemies will get against the battlecannon, and he can repair the Defiler. The two together, along with a rapier battery to make the Warpsmith T7, would be a good fire base and a pretty mean CC proposition if the enemy got too close.


They really really need to give it a rule called stabilizing legs or something so it doesn’t snap fire the rest of the weapons. Also 200pts (near enough) for AV 12 is sad face.


I was close to picking up a Defiler the other week, it’s an awesome model. But it suffers. The rules just don’t cut it. It should have an option to exchange the Battle Cannon for a chaos version of the Punisher Gatling Cannon or a light version of Hades Gatling Cannon that the Lord of Skull is toting. Something that would reward you going forward and mesh well with its close combat prowess.

And av13 for crying out loud.


I find using a defiler as the daemon walker is the best use of it. (counts as the av13 walker…dang i am horrible at names today)


Yeah, the comparison with the Soul Grinder just kills it. Give a Soul Grinder Phlegm and the Torrent, and it’s basically the same, except it’s 10 Points cheaper, and it trades in a bunch of rarely used things for an extra Point of Armour everywhere, which is huge.

It needs a price drop, or Front AV13, at the bare minimum. Being able to start with something cheaper and non-Ordnance, like a Hades Autocannon, instead of the Battle Cannon, would be a big help, too. If it were like 130 with the Hades Autocannon, I’d be all over it. Also, the Power Scourge should either be like 5 Points, or a Specialist Weapon for maybe 15.


I’m coming into this conversation late, but I have similar concerns.
I love my defiler! I just wish it worked out better. It sure seems like it should be an evil engine of massive destruction, but it just never works out like that. Usually dies too soon.
I agree on the general juxtiposition of the battle cannon vs a fleet heavy combat hitter. Do I move forward to smash stuff or use my turn to lob a big shell into the enemy? It usually turns out that i fire the big gun and inch forward, or end up going into smash mode when the enemy comes too close. I’ve done some great things with this thing (like smashing in the hood of vehicles with my big claws), but not very often. it usually gets gunned down before i can make great use of it.