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Defiler, Preadator and Dreadnought, a comparative study
Have you ever took the time to read the Defiler entry in the Chaos Codex (p. 37). I bet you did. Then, why does everybody say that Defilers are waste of points. The question is relevant since it's one of the three new units included in the last Codex (the other two being Furies and Screamers). So, why to design a tank that nobody would like to use ?
So here is a small comparative study about three heavy support choices provided to Chaos players. The final objective is to rehabilitate this little monster.
Basis of the analysis
First of all, lets establish the most common configurations of those three vehicles, Preadator, Dreadnought and Defiler :
Heavy Hunter Configuration
- Twin Linked Lascannon Turret
- Lascannon sponsons
Cost 145 points
Medium Hunter Configuration
- Autocannon Turret
- Lascannon sponsons
Cost 125 points
Light Hunter Configuration
- Twin Linked Lascannon Turret
- Heavy Bolter Sponsons
Cost 130 points
Considering that your objective is to go tank hunt with a predator, the Medium Hunter Configuration is obviously the most cost efficient one. At 125 points, it's the best anti-Tank choice of the whole Chaos Codex. The Light Hunter Configuration is only usefull if you're playing Dawn Of War (GW's Video Game). Now keep in mind the 125 points anti-tank option here.
Heavy Infantry killer Dreadnought (HIKD)
- Plasma Cannon
Cost 115 points
Tank-Hunter Dreadnought (THD)
Cost 125 points
Now those are the two most common chaos dreadnought's configurations. The HIKD is pretty efficient against stuff with good armour save such as terminators. The anti-tank version is a poor choice if compared to the Medium Hunter predator's configuration, but yet still a popular one. At the same cost, the predator get you 3 extra shots and better armor value.
Raging Daemon Engine
Cost 150 points
- Indirect fire configuration
Cost 175 points
First of all, i'll state right now that I sincerely believe the defiler should never use indirect fire. Indirect fire is nice, but if you want to fire indirectly, just play Iron Warriors and get yourself a basilisk. Otherwise, there is no point in using a defiler as artillery in a Chaos Space Marines army, it's a waste of points [this issue is still under debate]. The defiler is a raging daemon engine to whom their master gave a lot of weapons to play with.
Standard edition only, if you want to pay for upgrades, that's your call
In comparison to a dreadnought, here is the real cost of a defiler without it's weapons:
Reaper Autocannon...............-35 (based on autocannon cost)
Battle Cannon.......................-40 (personnal approximation - Plasma Cannon)
The defiler's frame cost half the dreadnought's frame, with the same basic close combat equipment. Ok, the dreadnought is a better close combat fighter, but this is not my point. The defiler doesn't realy cost much. In fact, it costs way less than a dreadnought that would be equipped with the same weaponry.
Now, everybody understand that a defiler is equipped with a battle cannon, that's obvious if I base my judgement on many threads on this forum. But it's also equiped with an Reaper Autocannon and a Heavy Flamer.
Boom ! This is the big template gun. Use it against infantry to achieve best results. May be used against vehicles, but scatter risk is to high to consider it a good idea. But, if scatter bring the template into contact with a vehicle, there is still good chance for you to destroy it.
A Reaper Autocannon is made for Tank Hunting. Ok, you cannot get through Lemann Russ's frontal armour or through a Land Raider, but you can still bring down things like Dreadnoughts, most of Eldar's vehicles, Dark Eldar's Raiders, etc. And the fact it's twin linked means you're most likely to hit the target twice.
Another option is to fire it before going melee.
If you ever think of going into close combat, this is the weapon you need to fire (with the reaper autocannon). Also, firing a flamer in a closed area automaticaly hit all models inside, so here's another way to have fun with fuel.
Close combat weapons
The defiler, as a daemon engine, has been granted with a mean to fight close up and personnal, which is great. The only thing is the daemon is not so good with those two limbs and often misses. You will usualy need 4+ to hit a space marine, which is not bad, but you'll need 5+ to hit a lord. Therefore, my advice is not to attack lord with this beast. In counter part, most creature in this game will hit the defiler on 3+. Always remember that even if it's strength's 8, it's still a monstrous creature that can tear other vehicles apart or instant kill most independant caracter.
Ok, here's the main argument to justify the "waste of point" epiteth given to the daemon engine. But take it this way : this is a pretty good dreadnought. If you compare the costs of those two walkers (see above), you'll understand that this dreadnought's frame come at a "lower" cost.
Most non-chaos players fear the Defiler. It's reputation and it's shape made it one of the main target on the battle field. This is one big disavantage compared to the discretion of the dreadnought which will attract less attention. Therefore, the idea is to field more than one defiler, to divide fire power.
We have already established that as a Tank Hunter, the Predator, Medium Hunter Configuration, is the most cost efficient choice at 125 points.
Now, that we have established the strength and weakness of the defiler, this is one of the most versatile heavy vehicle of Chaos. It can either hunt light / medium armored vehicles, blast away infantry units, fill with incandescent fuel whole buildings and fight hand to hands against most opponent. So ! If you were planing in fielding a dreadnought, you might as well consider the idea of using this more versatile option.
In fact, the Defiler should be fielded to allow your predator(s) to concentrate on heavy vehicles targets. Infantry, except real annoying one, should be left to your own infantry. The defiler should be used to blast anoying infantry units (HQ, Havocs, Bright Lances, etc.) or to hunt light vehicles such as troop transports. Also, never fear to send it into close combat, it will wreak havoc in most situation.
I hope this small tactica regave the defiler it's place of honor in your mind.
Last edited by MindRaked; June 5th, 2006 at 15:33.
CHAOS Undiv.: won 14/22 games EC: 4/7 WE: 6/9 DG: 10/15, TS: 3/7 Orks : 13/20 SM NL : 1/6 TAU: 14 of 24 IG: 3/7
An excellent tactica although there are a few small points I disagree with. For any legion thats not playing Iron Warriors an indirect defiler is the only means of getting ordnance/pinning/really long range/large blast/high strength that isn't a lascannon. Indirect basically assures you 6 shots with the battle cannon making it quite nasty and since its ordnance you dont really want to be out in the open and moving with it anyway. You have also compared a defiler to a dradnought saying that it has more firepower. I would not take a dreadnought for firepower either, predators just outshine them all. A single lascannon will put an end to dreadnought and defiler alike.
Next point is that I wasnt aware that defilers were going out of fashion. there are far more army lists posted up here with defilers rather dreadnoughts or land raiders. As a close combat beast it isnt that nasty being unable to go toe-to-toe with the giants of other races. Even against hordes I believe the defiler has only 1 or 2 attacks and is unlikely to kill much compared to a dreadnought. Dreadnoughts also get the benefit of blood frenzy.
Overall I believe that defilers are the artillery of chaos and should always be indirect and as cheap as possible.
I would have to agree with lordlink's statment about the chaos defiler being a artillery vehicule. Even if its frame is cheaper then the Dreads, dont run it into close combat!
(unless you cant get out of assult range and you get the assult, then by all means kill them all and let the Dark Lords sort them out)
Having used one (and two in some cases) it tends to draw alot of firepower away from your troops. Having said that, two of them with indirect fire would be costly, but there is a chance that the opponent will position himself in a unfavorable place (like out in clear terrain) just for a chance to destroy it. and thats a 1/6 on a glance and a 3/6 on a pen, so survivability is at 50%. Mind you im not calculating the STR-AV from the weapons and vehicules.
So if you dont put the indirect fire, make shure it is your last Heavy support to hit the table and hope to whatever chaos got you follow that they dont set up thier tank-poppers in direct LOS to your defiler(s).
Hope this helps people choose the Defiler as a Hvy choice, or at least get people to own this one of a kind Deamon-posessed mad machine)
There are a couple things I would like to add.
I believe there are two ways to efficiently field a predator for hunting tanks.
1 - All lascannons: expensive, but if you want a dedicated tank hunting vehicle that's the way to go. Its risky but with a little luck(not skill) it will do its job very well.
2- TLLC turret + Heavy bolter sponsons.
Quite simply this gives you the best mobility with an almost sure to hit weapon, and it allows you to efficiently go after infantry when its dealt with its target.
In my years hunting tanks with predators this is what I've noticed-
Gaining the initiative with armor, and I don't mean the 'I' score, I mean that in the tactical sense. The initiative, being that you are controlling the situation, in this case by at LEAST stunning or shaking the vehicle to keep it from firing back. The more times you get to shoot at it uncontested, the greater your chances become of destroying it.
1) Most tank targets are targets of priority on the battlefield, seldom do big nasty tanks last to round 3. Both players go after the oponent's armor with a vengence the first few turns.
2) All accomplished tacticians will ALWAYS hide their armor in deployment. Counting on going first on the 1st turn can lose you the game. Almost every game I've played against a veteran player, I've had to move to hit his armor, unless they just couldn't help it for reasons of terrain.
To gain the tactical initiative means that in most circumstances you will have to roll out and take a shot to try to do SOMETHING right away. Its important to look at what gives you the best oportunity to seize the initiative and keep it.
To do this, you simply will need to keep your armor hidden until the oportune moment, then to move out from cover and shoot.
*remember, if he has more anti tank than you do, you will need to keep in mind where his supporting AT is so you can cleverly maneuver the pred to minimize getting shot back.
For dedicated tank hunting the all lascannon pred is excellent at seizing the initiative and keeping it.
1st turn, hope to at least get a stun. Twin linked means you'll hit almost 90% of the time as oposed to a sponson's 66%, then the following turn, you sit still and blow holes in it with 3 lascannons. With the autocannon turret you can only shoot with one sponson, and if you miss, your precious initiative is lost. If not, GREAT, but I'm talking about hedging your bet, and getting statistical averages to your advantage, not theirs.
Now look at TLLC turret with HB sponsons. Roll out, hit 90% of the time, and repeat. Not as
effective in subsequent rounds as the all lascannon turret, but still effective for keeping the other tank out of commission.
What the lascannon, Autocannon combo is great at, is the sustained attack. But this means you will have to get lucky for the first round of fire, hoping they don't get a stun, or a destroyed. Once you're sitting still, its a great configuration. Every time I've played against it, it has never ever taken my armor, EVER. I know for a fact that it needs to stay still to use its most effective guns, so why should I hand over my tank on a plate?
It comes down to mobility. The ability to reposition as you want, to get the angle you need. Seize the battlefield initiative and keep it.
The exceptions are against light skimmers- those annoying AV10 to 12 things that count everything as glancings. This is where the Autocannon/lascannon combos would simply outshine the other configs. More oportunity to hit, best chances of more glancing hits.
W/D/L Eleventy trillion billion/NONE/ NONE - I am STILL rulezor!
WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
Ok I dont want to hijack this thread theyak so im just going to point you to the link. If you want to debate the case further then by all means start a new thread.
Anyway sorry about that little diversion mindraked, excellent tactica.
I always love when someone links one of my threads. It's a huge ego boost.
Anyways, to summarize, diversity is only worthwhile if you get it for free. Being able to function in multiple roles is fine, but not if you have to use points or sacrifice fire power in doing so. Having a Predator that has one anti-tank weapon and two anti-infantry weapons is a waste of points, no matter what you shoot at.
About the Defiler.
The points about the effective cost that MindRaked stated are a bit skewed - in fact, the Battle Cannon, Autocannon and Flamer should cost less than what he has listed, since they're not as effective on a Defiler as they are on any other platform. This is because you can't fire both them and the Battle Cannon, which reduces their worth significantly, which will in turn raise the base cost of the Defiler, making for a slightly worse "deal". This shouldn't be enough to turn you off to the Defiler, of course, but just a point in effeciency.
I would be interested in hearing others opinions on the following.
1. Indirect fire is guess range meaning it's minimum range is 36", correct?
Seems like a disadvantage on smaller boards. What is your experience with this?
2. I love the Idea of a Slaaneshi Defiler with warp amp and blasphemous rune.
I know that it is expensive and considered a waste of points, but how could one make
it work in game terms. It would be super fun to model and watching the opponent run in t
terror would be great! What would one have to do to keep it alive long enough to make
Thanks in advance.
I have never used a Defiler due to the cost of the model , but have always been interesed in it because of the model , soo sweet :yes: I am not a big fan of inderect fire because my enemys are ussally on top of me in the 2nd turn and I am not a big fan about leaving alot of points parked out in the open to get blasted. I will say I have seen defilers used to back up the primary attack wave by acting as either a dread or infantry killer ( that big bang really takes some of the wind out of the bad guys counter charge units ) o and that slaness defiler would look pretty hot.
my Csm are cool with thier preds but I am starting a new L&TD force that could really benifit from the defilers fire power and optional upgrades.
Thought for the day: A Burning Heretic , Will brighten the Decor of any room.
Brilliant Tactica and exactly why I like Defielrs over dreads. You know the game and chaos very well. Abddon shall award you with rep.
Very interesting article, but I must disagree with your "defiler should never use indirect fire". Iron Warriors are only one of nine legions, and you can't get any other ordnance for the other eight. I'm just a newbie, but it seems that artillery weapons would be extremely useful for legions like Thousand Sons.