Saturday, November 17, 2012

CSM in 6th Review: Defiler

Since Abaddon commanded its construction from the dark forges, the defiler has been a mainstay of the chaos space marine force.  But for 6th edition, I can see fewer and fewer defilers being fielded.  One of the biggest changes in the new codex is the increase in points.  Upgrades being extra takes the total for a single defiler to over 200 points.  Considering the price of other heavy support options, this is a lot of points. But let's look closer before being too judgemental.

Clearly the defiler has a metric ton of weaponry.  Battle cannon, reaper autocannon, heavy flamer (twin linked), power fists all add up to a heck of an arsenal, especially combined with the daemonforge rule.  Here's the first issue though: if you want to fire the battle cannon -- and to be fair, I would want to -- then you're taking snap shots with the rest of the gear.  Darn!  So, we have to decide whether we want this beast to be a long-range pseudo-obliterator, or a close combat specialist.  I'm already thinking there's better options for *both* roles for the points cost.

Digging further, the defensive capabilities of the defiler is strong.  Its a daemons, meaning a 5+ save, it has AV12 on the front (not quite soul grinder standard), but it does have 4 hull points.  Coupled with "It Will Not Die" special rule means that it should hang around a fair while to do both battlefield roles (shooty and choppy).  On the flip-side BS and WS=3 isn't great.  Especially with only 3 close combat attacks.  Fleet, Smoke Launchers and Searchlights round out the generic equipment for the defiler, but don't add too much for the cost.

The defiler can also access the chaos armoury for vehicles.  Obvious upgrades that one could consider are the warpflame gargoyles (for soul blaze), extra armour, and a dirge caster (prevent overwatch when charging).

Here's a couple of potential configurations to toy about with.

Defiler, warpflame gargoyles, havoc launcher (replacing twin linked heavy flamer) (205 points)
Stand back and shoot.  Repeat.  If approached, charge.  Simple.

Defiler, power scourge (replacing twin linked heavy flamer), twin linked heavy bolter (replacing the reaper autocannon), dirge caster, extra armour (235 points)
A close combat variant.  Shoot on the way to melee, and engage.  Exchange the reaper for another power fist perhaps, to taste.  But really for the points, why aren't you going for a daemon prince instead?  Or land raider?  Its hard to justify this expenditure.

Defiler.  No upgrades.
Simple, but still pricey.

Overall, I think the defiler has priced itself out of the heavy support slot now - its an all rounder that's got expensive.  The cynical amongst you may see this as a way to get players buying forgefiends and maulerfiends... but they're a review topic for a different day.

16 comments:

Tim Skawinski said...

"Overall, I think the defiler has priced itself out of the heavy support slot now - its an all rounder that's got expensive." - You nailed it. It's not a vehicle with duality, it's a vehicle with versatility. Versatility meaning rather than trying to do two things well (duality) it tries to do everything, and fails. The worst inclusion is the points spent on Fleet and 2 power fists, as this thing will NEVER make it into melee, unless the enemy has advanced so close you can walk up to them, in which case you're already screwed.

I don't think it's even that GW wanted to sell Forgefiends/Maulerfiends; ANY big scary option out-paces the Defiler. They could have released a new predator or Hellbrute model, with no rules changes, and that model would fly off the shelves to replace the Defiler; the Defiler is just that bad.

Malthus said...

Great article...I diagree with Tim the defiler used to be scary.
And who knows if they willingly outprice the Defiler.
Tzeentch powers also kinda tend to suck...which seems odd to me.

Dan said...

I am building a steampunky looking Chaos Space Marines force and the Defiler looks way too steampunky (especially with a smoke stack)for me to leave out. I plan to keep him in the back as a shooter though (I think... I may experiment with him as an assault unit though just because I'm a bit short in that department).

Anyway, I have been contemplating various builds and I wanted to share my thoughts and questions. First, I had been planning to mount a Havoc Launcher (or maybe 2 using the vehicle upgrades), until I discovered that you cannot snap fire blast weapons. Since the Battle Cannon is an Ordinance weapon, it requires everything else to snap fire, meaning you could not fire the Havoc Launchers in any turn when the Cannon fired. Seeing this, I scrapped the Launchers. I figure the heavy flamer is more useful for overwatch and for the rare time I would assault with the Defiler. You have a build though where you mount one and I'm curious as to why?

Secondly, I'm debating the TL Lascannon vs the Reaper. I'm not sure the Lascaonnon at BS3 with constant snap shots is worth taking though and I assume since you never even mentioned this option, you don't either?

Finally, I am considering buying the absolute cheapest weapon add-on I can from the vehicle list not so much because I want to shoot it, but because I want the additional weapon for the randomized destroyed weapon in the event of that 1/6 chance on the penetrating hit table. That would reduce slightly the chance of losing the battle cannon. Do you think this is worth the points?

Thanks.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Dan:
Excellent points -- particularly about the havoc launcher!
The TL lascannon vs the reaper ... hmmmm. Constant BS3 snapshots are okay with twin-linked ... but this has to be weighed against how long we think the defiler should/can last in a game.
I think you're dead right about having an extra weapon to lower the chances of removing the battle cannon - so yes, its certainly worth 5 points for a combi bolter if those points aren't going elsewhere!

Dan said...

It occurred to me as I was reading your reply, that if all you do is snap shots, the BS doesn't matter. Both the Reaper and the TL Lascannon will hit about 1/3 of the time. So the question is whether or not the LC is worth it's cost every third turn. As you point out, that may be a question as to its survival ability. Alone, it will get wasted by turn 2. However, if you have a Warpsmith, you might be able to keep it around, especially if you can make it hull down and keep it shooting in the back. It also would help it if you gave it some back-up like a Heldrake, a Land Raider (with or without the Terminators in it), a Vindicator/Predator, and/or a Forgefiend. That would create a lot of competition for highest value target compared with a Defiler that is not advancing. Granted, if your enemy has a lot of anti-armor weapons, you could still have a serious problem, but no army design is perfect.

Tim Skawinski said...

If you are dead-set on the Defiler, load-up on twin-linked guns. Not only will it help you when you're firing along with the Battle Cannon, but with two twin-linked guns (personally I favor the reaper) you can be a decent anti-air platform. 4 twin-linked shots with a pair of reapers will net you on average 1.167 hits on a flier, and that's nothing to sniff at, considering fliers are at most AV12, and often less. Pretend you're a big ol' goofy Rifleman Dreadnought with a tank turret.

Dan said...

Tim, how would I be able to get more than 1 TL gun b/c Ican't figure it out.? And I agree with you I think - the reaper is the best gun option for the Defiler. I'm thinking my Defiler will be pretty close to the basic model with an upgrade for Warpflame Gargoyles and an extra storm bolter (not sure how to model those though).

Tim Skawinski said...

You're right; I just checked the options, and you can't get a second reaper. Never mind, shove that thing back in its box, and hope it gets better next edition. Or, do what I did; convert them into counts-as Forgefiends/Maulerfiends. You now have the aesthetics of a Defiler, and the functionality of your chosen counts-as, because frankly the Forge/Maulerfiend models are not what I call "Chaos". Take yer filthy round-surfaced models and crap them back in Privateer Press's outhouse where they belong.

Tim Skawinski said...

*cram, not crap. Man, talk about your Freudian slip.

jabberjabber said...

lol on cram vs. crap! :-)

Dan said...

LOL at your Freudian slip - not that you seem to have prejudice against the Defiler. I admit I like the aesthetics, but if you did it as counts-as you'd still be standing tall for LOS (both good and bad).

And I'll admit to liking a lot of the aesthetics of the Forgefiend from my steampunk army perspective, although it could be improved. I don't mind rounded edges so much (Zepplins are round), what I could do without is the whole flesh-to-metal look. I'd prefer an all mechanical look. If I could force GW to redo a model, it would be the Oblits hands down.

Oh and speaking of Zepplins. I decided that modeling a Zepplin above my Heldrake would look dumb, but I don't see a lot of other places to add a Zepplin to the force, either as Chaos Marines or as an ally. If you have any idea, by all means, let me know.

Tim Skawinski said...

Well I did convert mine a considerable amount, so they are much closer now to the height of Forgefiends. They're also both quadrupedal beast-things, so they do look a lot like Forgefiends built of Defiler parts. The Defiler model itself is certainly too large.

I could see converting a zeppelin-like craft to count as a Nurgle Blight Drone. Those are a lot more like hovering flyers rather than jets, and have the Mawcannons that behave a bit like bombs might, being large blasts.

Dan said...

I have no idea what a blight drone is. Is it in the Codex?

Tim Skawinski said...

The Blight Drone is a Forgeworld flier. It's BS2 AV12/11/10 Hover, daemon. It's got a Reaper and a maw cannon, with either vomit or phlegm, your choosing. It's a Fast choice for Daemons and CSM, but if you want it in CSM you must take a unit of Plague Marines, and it costs 120 points. It's not as good as a Helldrake, but it's cheaper, and does something different in that you can get the S:8 large blast with some range. I don't have it on me but I believe it's in Imperial Armor Volume 7: Siege of Vraks part III.

jabberjabber said...

See also Imperial Armour Apocalypse vol.II.

I rather like the Blight Drone! I think it has a very nice place in daemons armies at the moment!

Tim Skawinski said...

I think it's decent, I just think that the Helldrake is better. It's 50 pts. more expensive, but you do get a lot of benefit from it. If the Blight Drone were cheaper (or had It Will Not Die) and the Phlegm mode on the Maw cannon was Ordinance it would be a serious contendor, being able to scare large amounts of heavy infantry and up to medium armor at the same time.

But if you're playing Daemons you can't take the Helldrake anyways (save as an Ally) so yeah, take the Blight Drone. It adds to your flier saturation you can get with all of your flying monstrous creatures.

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