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A Defiler in service to the Chaos Space Marines

A Defiler is a massive Daemon Engine in the service of the Traitor Legions of Chaos and it is a truly potent beast of war, mounted upon six massive spine-legs. It is twice the size of most other Daemon Engines and is possessed of a temper to match. Each Defiler is roughly tank-sized, and both extremely violent in its actions and indiscriminate with who bears the brunt of its wrath. Whether using its massive Battle Cannon to destroy entire formations or ripping apart enemies with its massive claws, this engine of war acts as a harbinger of utter devastation to its foes. Though their origins are lost to the ages, Defilers were created sometime after the end of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium on the orders of Abaddon the Despoiler to supplement the forces of the Traitor Legions, whose remaining Chaos Dreadnoughts were no longer the reliable heavy support units they had once been before their transformation into the insane cybernetic servants of the Ruinous Powers.


Defiler of Khorne2

A Chaos Defiler dedicated to the Blood God Khorne in battle

The origins of the Chaotic war machines called Defilers are shrouded in mystery. No one truly knows how they came into existence, but there are tantalising clues and forgotten fragments of ancient texts of Chaotic history that indicate how such abominations came into being in the material realm on the orders of Abaddon the Despoiler, Horus' successor as the Warmaster of Chaos Undivided, in the immediate aftermath of the Horus Heresy. As the Traitor Legions watched the sanity of their surviving Chaos Dreadnoughts devolve into cybernetic madness as their exposure to the power of the Warp increased, Abaddon realised that the Forces of Chaos would need to find another source of heavy support for their heavy infantry in the field. He tasked the foremost Chaos Sorcerers of the Black Legion and the Hereteks of the Dark Mechanicus with finding a solution, and after delving deep into the forbidden lore of Chaos, they devised the necessary rituals to trap the spirit of a daemon within the cybernetic shell of what would become a the first Defilers. The Warpsmiths who created these nightmarish constructions originally devised them to serve as walking artillery pieces, though their possessing daemons' obsession with destruction soon saw these twisted creations becoming ever more bestial and aggressive.

Tactical Role

Over time, the multi-legged chassis that bears the Defiler has been adapted to include shearing claws and spiked armour plates. The Defiler's crab-like body supports a daemonic torso that carries an array of deadly weaponry, ranging from Reaper Autocannon to racks of highly explosive missiles. It is the Battle Cannon mounted in its chest turret, however, that is undoubtedly its most potent armament. Each hell-forged shell that thunders out from its growing muzzle is capable of crippling enemy squads in a single earth-shaking blast. Those foes fortunate enough to survive a Defiler's barrage of shells must then face its full fury at close quarters. Built with piston-driven claws to grab and crush the enemy and boasting whirring blades or whip-like flails mounted on articulated limbs, the Defiler charges into the foe, crushing and grinding as it smashes aside all opposition. Its mechanical growls drown out the cries of the wounded and dying; trampled corpses and mutilated limbs are left scattered in a red path behind it as the Defiler rampages through the enemy's ranks.

Unlike the main battle tanks of the Imperial Guard and the Loyalist Space Marines, the Defiler is not operated by a human crew, but by the Warp energy of a daemon of Chaos bound within its metallic shell. Using complex sorcerous rites, the Adepts of the so-called Dark Mechanicus work with Chaos Sorcerers to draw forth the essence of a daemon from the Warp and trap it within the rune-bound mechanical body of a Defiler. Enraged by its imprisonment, the daemon needs to be sedated by spells of appeasement which are only lifted when battle begins. With its full anger at its imprisonment unleashed, the daemon drives the Defiler forward on its six legs, spewing death from its implanted weaponry. It rejoices in battle, ripping apart the enemy with its great claws while emitting terrible roars of rage and delirious battle-joy from its Vox-grilles. Unconcerned for its survival since it seeks release back into the Immaterium, the Defiler's bound daemon ignores the blasts of missiles and detonations of artillery and Bolter shells against its armoured body, advancing through the heaviest weapons fire without hesitation.

Defiler Variants

  • Slaughterfiend - Dedicated to Khorne the Blood God, a Slaughterfiend is a Defiler subjugated and ridden by a Khornate Berzerker. The first recorded instance of this reckless tactic came during the campaign for the world of Eclipsion Prime, when the Berzerker Champion of Chaos, Akraghar of the World Eaters Traitor Legion, jumped from the ruins of a hive city onto the eponymous Defiler, known as Slaughterfiend, and managed to subdue the daemonic machine to his own will and ride it like a monstrous steed. Ever since, Khornate Berzerkers have attempted to emulate Akraghar’s actions and carve rune-etched links about the throat of the infernal vehicle, binding it to the will and rage of Khorne. Competition to ride such beasts is fierce and though many try, few succeed. In battle, whole units of Berzerkers will attempt to clamber onto a nearby Slaughterfiend, if only to steal a ride into the fray. Typically Slaughterfiends renounce most ranged weapons in accordance with the preferences of the Blood God and are armed with additional close assault weapons. They are often also faster than other Defiler variants, as they are as filled with bloodthirst as the Bezerkers who ride them. Groups of Slaughterfiends are known as Bloodpacks.
  • Desecrator - Dedicated by the Death Guard Traitor Legion to the service of the Plague Lord Nurgle, a Desecrator is a Defiler armed with a Vomit Cannon, Reaper Autocannons and Battle Claws.
  • Debaser - A Debaser is a Defiler perverted to the Dark Prince of Pleasure, Slaanesh, by the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion. It is armed with a devastating payload of Sonic Weaponry, including Ultrasonic Disruptors, a Death Wailer and Blastmasters, as well as razor-sharp Battle Claws.
  • Deceiver - When the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion dedicate a Defiler to the nefarious will of the Lord of Change, Tzeentch, it is called a Deceiver. Such vehicles make use of an array of confusing weapons such as Tzeentch Cannons, Ether Cannons and Heavy Flamers, as well as Battle Claws and Warp Flames which are used in close assault. Typically, Deceivers are more accurate in a ranged fire fight than other types of Defiler as a result of these modifications.

Ordo Malleus Departmento Analyticus Technical Specifications

The technical specifications of the Defiler have not yet been determined by the Ordos of the Inquisition.

Canon Conflict

It is not clear when Abaddon the Despoiler ordered the creation of the Defilers; in the audio book Garro: Oath of Moment, Nathaniel Garro fights against a giant war machine that matches the description of a Defiler, though it is never named as such, during the Battle of Calth.


  • Apocalypse Reload, pg. 58
  • Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pg. 116
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 53
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 41
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 37
  • Garro: Oath of Moment (Audio) by James Swallow
  • Warhammer 40,000: Index Chaotica - Defilers (Digital Edition)
  • Fanatic Online (Defunct), "Death Guard Experimental Army List v1.0," "Thousand Sons Army List v2.1, " "Emperor's Children Experimental Army List v2.0"


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