Zerg Defiler

Description Edit

The Defiler is a Zerg Hive tech unit, and one of the Zerg's most powerful spell casters. Defilers can be morphed from any of the Zerg player's larvae as long as they control a Defiler Mound.

Purely a support unit, the Defiler is a late-game unit best known for its Dark Swarm and Plague abilities. It has no basic attack, and thus is very vulnerable to an opponent's units. Additionally, Defilers are one of the Zerg army's slowest units, and will easily fall to the rear of the Zerg forces; to mitigate this, Defilers are commonly transported inside of Overlords, which provide additional protection and mobility across terrain. Defilers are commonly used against Terran and Protoss, but are rarely seen in Zerg vs Zerg games, as these often end before Hive tech is reached.

Unit Information Edit

Type: Biological - Medium
Cost: Minerals 50 Gas 150 Control 2
Build time: 42 seconds
Life: 80
Energy: 50/200 (Can be upgraded to 62/250 by researching Metasynaptic Node)
Armor: 1
Movement Speed: 2.25 (1.75 when burrowed. Burrowed movement requires Tunneling Claws)
Built from: Larva
Requires: Defiler Mound

Abilities Edit

Dark Swarm
Dark Swarm
Energy: 100
Range: 10
Effect Radius: 3.16
Duration: 32 seconds

Summons a swirling orange cloud over the targeted area, under which units take no direct damage from ranged attacks. (Buildings are not affected, and will still be dealt damage normally.) For units that deal splash damage with their attacks, such as the Archon or Siege Tank in Siege Mode, only half of the splash damage will be dealt to the target. Ranged attacks which are not affected by Dark Swarm include the Reaver's Scarabs and the Lurker's spine attacks. Targeted spell abilities such as Psionic Storm are not affected by Dark Swarm.

Upgrades Edit


Destroys any targeted friendly unit within 1 range and restores 50 energy. This ability will restore 50 energy regardless of the unit consumed, but will not exceed the Defiler's current max energy. This ability cannot be used if the Defiler's energy is full.

Researched from Defiler Mound.
Energy: 150
Range: 9
Effect Radius: 2.68
Duration: 16 seconds

Applies a debuff to units and buildings within a targeted area, causing them to take up to 319 damage over 16 seconds. This debuff cannot kill or destroy affected targets, and will deal no damage to those with only 1 HP remaining. The effect will expire at the end of its 16 second duration, and can also be removed by the Medic's Restoration ability.

Researched from Defiler Mound.
Metasynaptic Node
Metasynaptic Node
Cost: Minerals 150 Gas 150
Evolution Time: 138 seconds

Increases the starting energy of Vipers and Defilers by 12 and their maximum energy by 50.

Researched from Defiler Mound.
Tunneling Claws
Tunneling Claws
Cost: Minerals 50 Gas 50
Research Time: 30 seconds

Allows Drones, Swarm Queens, Zerglings, Hydralisks, Eruptors, Defilers, and Ultraliks to move slowly and regenerate life faster while burrowed. Burrowed units move faster under creep.

Researched from Hatchery, Lair or Hive.Requires Burrow.

Usage Edit

Zerg players can use the Dark Swarm ability to attack or defend against an army consisting mostly of ranged units. Defilers are frequently targeted by opponents due to their potent spells and slow movement speed, so Zerg players often hide them inside of Overlords (using the drop/speed upgrades), or in the center of their armies to provide them with additional protection.

versus Zerg Edit

Although rarely seen in Zerg vs. Zerg games due to these match-ups rarely reaching the Hive stage, a Defiler can single-handedly swing the momentum in a player's favor with one well placed Plague. Because ZvZ games are generally limited to Zergling and Mutalisk play, a Plague over a group of the enemy's stacked Mutalisks can completely devastate them.

versus Terran Edit

Defilers are most commonly used against Terran, as only FirebatsSiege Tanks in and Spider Mines are able to damage units protected by Dark Swarm at all, with Siege Tanks only able to deal half damage while in Siege Mode.

The best time to use Dark Swarm is usually to protect a small area of the map, either offensively or defensively. This includes attacking enemy-controlled bases or choke points, or defending the Zerg player's own choke points. It is common for the Zerg to utilize Mutalisks to stall the Bio Terran in the early game while quickly teching to Defilers, which can render the Marine and Siege Tank army largely ineffective. Although Dark Swarm is also effective in more neutral engagements (such as two armies clashing in the center of the map), Terran players will often be able to move their troops from under the Dark Swarm in these engagements to minimize damage. Lurkers underneath Dark Swarm are extremely powerful; because they are burrowed, Siege Tanks do minimal damage to them, and Firebats (which deal concussive damage) are not very effective against Lurkers.

Plague is also very useful against tightly packed units like Marines or against Science Vessels. It is best used when the Zerg player's army is located away from the Defiler, but the Terran opponent's army is in range. Any Zerg units hit by the Plague spores will also see their health severely damaged. A Plagued infantry army becomes immensely fragile since their Hit Points will sit at 1 for a while even as any nearby Medics attempt to heal them. When used on clumps of Science Vessels, this either leaves them extremely vulnerable, or forces the Terran to retreat and repair them. Plague amplifies the power of Hydralisk/Lurker against SK Terran, as the Hydralisks are very effective at picking off a Plagued Terran army as it retreats. These troops will each only require one Hydralisk or Mutalisk attack to complete be destroyed. Plague can also be devastating against Terran buildings, which will continually take damage from burning if reduced below 1/3 of their HP.

Because of their potent spell casting abilities, Defilers are often the first priority for Science Vessels to Irradiate. One Irradiate is sufficient to kill the Defiler, but the Zerg player will have a few seconds to cast a last Dark Swarm or Plague for defensive or offensive purposes before expiring.

versus Protoss Edit

Defilers are somewhat popular versus Protoss, although players will usually wait until they have about four mining bases until they start producing them. Generally, they are more popular in the professional scene than among amateurs as they require additional multitasking and micro management to properly control.

Dark Swarm is particularly effective when used against a Protoss army consisting heavily of Dragoons or Archons, as the Dragoons get nullified due to its range attack and Archons are reduced to splash damage as its most potent attack is its short-range fire. Dark Swarm is also very effective at destroying isolated expansions. In the mid-game, Protoss often rely on Photon Cannons alone for defense for the Nexus, but they deal zero damage to units under Dark Swarm, so even a small group of Zerglings can destroy a large group of cannons if the Protoss has nothing else to defend with.

Plague is powerful against tightly packed ground units with high Hit Points, such as Zealots and Dragoons. Note the Plague is not effective against Archons, as most of their health is composed of its Plasma Shields.

If the Protoss elects to build Carriers, the Defiler's Plague is an effective counter, as Carriers are usually stacked. Additionally, Plagued Interceptors will stay in the Carrier until Plague wears off. This is because Interceptors will return to the Carrier to heal. Carriers are also countered by Dark Swarm with Hydralisks, as Hydralisks can fire from under the Swarm without incurring damage from Interceptors.

Related Links Edit

Units and Buildings
Protoss Overview
Units Probe · Zealot · Dragoon · High Templar · Dark Templar · Archon · Dark Archon · Observer · Warp Prism · Reaver · Corsair · Scout · Sentinel · Arbiter · Carrier
Buildings Nexus · Assimilator · Pylon · Gateway (Warp Gate) · Cybernetics Core · Forge · Photon Cannon · Twilight Council · Templar Archives · Robotics Facility · Robotics Bay · Observatory · Stargate · Fleet Beacon · Arbiter Tribunal
Terran Overview
Units SCV · Marine · Medic · Firebat · Enforcer · Ghost · Vulture (Spider Mine) · Siege Tank · Goliath · Dropship · Wraith · Viking · Science Vessel · Battlecruiser
Buildings Command Center (Orbital Command · Planetary Fortress) · Refinery · Supply Depot · Barracks · Engineering Bay · Bunker · Missile Turret · Covert Ops · Academy · Factory · Armory · Starport · Fusion Core · Tech Lab
Zerg Overview
Units Drone · Overlord · Swarm Queen · Zergling · Hydralisk (Lurker) · Mutalisk (Guardian · Devourer) · Scourge · Eruptor · Viper · Ultralisk · Defiler
Buildings Hatchery (Lair · Hive) · Extractor · Spawning Pool · Evolution Chamber · Hydralisk Den · Spine Crawler · Spore Crawler · Spire (Greater Spire) · Viper Nest · Ultralisk Cavern · Defiler Mound · Greater Nydus Network