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Defiler
Hit Points: 80
Size: Medium
Supply: 2
Cost: 50 150
Build Time: 50
Produced at: Hive/Hatchery
Requires: Defiler Mound
Energy: 200 (Upgrade to 250)
Base Ground Attack: N/A
Base Air Attack: N/A
Base Armor: 1
Range: N/A
Sight: 10
Cooldown: N/A
Production Hot Key: F

This breed is very rarely encountered, and we can be thankful for that. Vaguely resembling a scorpion in appearance, Defilers are veritable cancer factories. They generate a number of virus-like biochemicals which are capable of overpowering even the most effective anti-toxins. Defilers also appear to feed on other Zerg for biomaterial to produce these chemicals, and are often found with Zergling escorts. This self-destructive behavior only underscores the Zergs single-mindedness.

The Defiler draws its strength from the metasynaptic energy it creates. With that energy, the Defiler can unleash abilities like Plague and Dark Swarm that can demolish enemy forces unfortunate enough to be caught by the effects. In addition, the Defiler can also be evolved to include the ability to Consume other Zerg units from the same brood. Upon consumption, the Defiler's energy is partially recharged, allowing it to continue to use its other abilities without having to waste the time it usually takes to wait for energy to recharge. For more details about these abilities refer to the Special Abilities section below.

Despite its awesome abilities, the Defiler has a key weakness: the complete lack of a physical attack. This leaves the Defiler very vulnerable and should it be caught unescorted, even a simple Drone, SCV, or Probe can put an end to the Defiler threat. Because of this, the Defiler should always be in the company of friendly support units. If the occasion ever arises where the Defiler is alone, it should use the Burrow ability to hide and recharge its energy stores safely.

Countermeasures

The Defiler is completely vulnerable to attack from any source and should be hunted down whenever the opportunity arises with whatever units are immediately available.

Terrans

  • Use any unit with a ground attack to eliminate Defilers on sight.
  • Siege Tanks in Siege Mode can nail Defilers before they can get within range to use their abilities.
  • Use Scanner Sweeps from the ComSat Station to reveal Burrowed Defilers and use any available units to destroy them where they are.
  • Use Science Vessels to find Burrowed Defilers and Irradiate them.

Protoss

  • Use any unit with a ground attack to eliminate Defilers on sight.
  • The High Templar's Psionic Storm can be an effective counter to approaching Defilers.
  • Use Observers to find Burrowed Defilers and follow up any discovery with a quick strike to kill them where they are.
Zerg
  • Use any unit with a ground attack to eliminate Defilers on sight.
  • Use the Queen's Spawn Broodling ability to quickly destroy Defilers before they have a chance to unleash any of their own abilities.
  • Always keep Overlords in key positions to spot Burrowed Defilers that may be nearby.
  • Ultralisks are unaffected by Dark Swarm, and are not completely crippled by a Plague. Use them to charge Defilers whenever possible.

Upgrades

Burrow Burrow
100 100
Carapace Carapace
Level 1 - 150 150
Level 2 - 225 225
Level 3 - 300 300
Metasynaptic Node Metasynaptic Node
150 150
(+50 Defiler energy)

Burrow - Use the Burrow ability to keep Defilers safe while their energy recharges. Burrow also comes in handy for setting up ambushes with the Defiler.

Carapace - Each upgrade adds +1 to the Carapace for a total of +3 when fully upgraded.

Metasynaptic Node - This upgrade is a must. It increases the energy limit of a Defiler to 250.

Special Abilities


Consume Consume
100 100
Cost: None
Range: 1

Consume gives Defilers the ability to instantly gain 50 energy by metabolizing a Zerg unit within close proximity. The Defiler can only consume units from its own brood (yours or your teammate's). This ability does not affect the Defiler's maximum energy capacity, and therefore can never give more than 200 energy (or 250 if the Defiler has been evolved with a Metasynaptic Node).

The metabolized unit is destroyed in the process of Consume and since the amount of energy gained is NOT dependent on the size of the target unit, it's usually a good idea to use the least expensive unit as Consume fodder -- the Zergling. At only 25 Minerals per Zergling, the Defiler can be completely recharged for a very minimal cost and when a Defiler is used in combat, it should always have an escort of Zerglings nearby for a quick energy refill.

Note that the Defiler has the ability to Consume units even when they are Burrowed. This can come to your advantage if your opponent sees the Defiler but no nearby units and assumes that the Defiler has no means of a quick recharge. Some may attempt to redouble a failing attack if they feel that there is no chance of being affected by a Dark Swarm or Plague when in fact there is a very real possibility of your Defiler using those abilities over and over.

Dark Swarm Dark Swarm
Cost: 100 Energy
Range: 9

Dark Swarm is created from a countless number of smaller creatures that typically cover the Defiler. The Defiler has the natural ability to launch these creatures to a projected position, creating a thick cloud of living insects that prevent any units outside from accurately targeting any units within the cloud.

The Dark Swarm covers a 6x6 matrix area and lasts approximately 60 seconds. Ground units within the cloud cannot be hit by ranged attacks from either ground or air, however this will not stop melee attacks or splash damage from affecting the units inside the Dark Swarm. Note that while ranged attacks will not affect units within the cloud, ranged attacks from units inside the cloud can still hit units outside of the cloud. Also, ranged attacks from units within the cloud will not work against other units inside of the Dark Swarm. To further clarify, listed below are a few strategies to use with Dark Swarm.

By launching a Dark Swarm over enemy ranged attack forces, defensive structures, or a projected battle area, you can give your own melee attack units (Zerglings or Ultralisks) a short period of invulnerability while attacking. A Zergling/Dark Swarm combination makes the Zergling much more valuable. A typical blockade of Bunkers or Photon Cannons can easily be overrun if they're covered with a Dark Swarm and attacked by Zerglings.

Dark Swarm can also serve as protection for your own Hydralisks from enemy ranged attacks. This is especially useful for countering fleets of Carriers or Battlecruisers or even forces of Dragoons, Marines, Goliaths, etc. One thing to watch for when using Dark Swarm on your own units is the enemy trying to sneak in to use it to their advantage. Keep your units at the edge of the cloud to get the most out of the units' attack range as well as to prevent enemy units from sneaking in. Should the enemy approach your Dark Swarm with melee attack units, do everything you can to keep them out. Once they manage to make their way in, they will be able to ravage your ranged attack units within the cloud and turn the advantage against you. If there is no way to stop an incoming melee attack group, retreat far enough so that the enemy is no longer protected by the Dark Swarm and resume the attack.

While Dark Swarm will prevent damage from ranged attacks, it will not protect from ranged special ability effects. Psionic Storm, Maelstrom, Plague, Ensnare, Irradiate, EMP Shockwave, etc. will all still be able to affect units beneath the Dark Swarm.

Terrans are especially vulnerable to Dark Swarm since every Terran unit, except for the Firebat, has a ranged attack and therefore are unable to attack any units within the cloud. A flood of Zerglings protected by a Dark Swarm can easily ravage a Terran base or force. With multiple Dark Swarms covering a large area, the Zerglings have an even greater advantage with free reign over the entire affected location. Be sure to eliminate Firebats and Siege Tanks in Siege Mode first to ensure the advantage they have with the Dark Swarm.

The Protoss, with their Zealots and Dark Templar, are better able to defend against a Dark Swarmed invasion. However, depending on the number of Protoss defenders, a flood of Zerglings protected by Dark Swarm can still be too overwhelming. Watch for Psionic Storms within the Dark Swarm, since they will still ravage hordes of Zerglings at a time. Also keep an eye out for Archons, as their attack does a small amount of splash damage even to units protected under a Dark Swarm.

Opposing Zerg broods can be difficult to use Dark Swarm against, since they can produce their own Zerglings in which case the Dark Swarm is useless. However, Dark Swarm can be used to protect your bases from Guardian/Mutalisk or Hydralisk attack but, once again, be sure to have lots of Zerglings at hand to really turn the tide of battle.

Here is a list of units that are NOT affected by Dark Swarm:

Terrans:

  • Firebats
  • Siege Tanks in Siege Mode (can still inflict splash damage)
Protoss:
  • Probes
  • Zealots
  • Dark Templar
  • Reavers (can still inflict splash damage)
  • Archons
Zerg:
  • Drones
  • Zerglings
  • Lurkers (can inflict both direct and splash damage)
  • Ultralisks
  • Broodlings
  • Infested Terrans (can inflict both direct and splash damage)
When facing these units, it is usually not worth it to use the Dark Swarm unless you have the numbers to overwhelm them.

One thing to note is that Dark Swarm does not affect buildings in any way or form. Should they be covered in a Dark Swarm, they will NOT be protected from ranged attack either from units inside or outside the cloud, they will take damage as normal.

Plague Plague
200 200
Cost: 150 Energy
Range: 9

Once evolved, the Defiler has the ability to produce and project a batch of corrosive spores that quickly corrodes and destroys anything caught within its effects. Plague is indiscriminate in its effects and can seriously damage both units and structures, friendly or not. Once the corrosion process begins, Plague will cause 25 points of damage per second to each affected unit. After Plague has run its course, an affected unit will have taken 300 total damage, though Plague will not cause a unit to actually die (the Plague continues, but damage from Plague stops if a unit has only 1 HP). The Terran Medic's Restore ability is the only way to halt the course of the Plague. Note that when Protoss units are Plagued, their shields are unaffected--only their HP are reduced.

Like Ensnare, Plague can reveal any cloaked units within the area of effect and the corrosion begins as quickly with cloaked units as it does with normal units. Plague will not affect Burrowed units, however if a unit is infected with a Plague before it Burrows, it will still take the damage after it Burrows until the infection runs its course.

To take full advantage of Plague, be sure to follow it up with an attack to finish off the affected units or buildings. Plague will never destroy a target on its own and if the targets are left on their own, they may get repaired, have their shields recharged or regenerate their HP (depending on their race).

To truly unleash a large epidemic of Plague, have Zerglings nearby to quickly recharge the Defiler's energy with Consume and use Plague in areas containing tightly packed groups of enemy units or structures. A Plagued unit will not take damage more quickly if it is Plagued again, so for the best effect, each burst of Plague should cover as many unaffected units as possible.



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