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The defiler is a high-tier zerg ground-based offensive-support "spellcaster."

It is voiced by Allen Adham.


Defilers become available to the player in the campaign with the mission "The Culling" in Episode II and "The Kel-Morian Combine" in Episode VI.


The defiler is a late game unit. It has no direct attack and is slower than other zerg ground units; it is a support/harassment unit. Using multiple defilers makes it easier to manage the simultaneous deployment of Dark Swarm and Plague.

Dark Swarm[]

Dark Swarm casts a cloud over an area which prevents both friendly and enemy units (but not structures) under the cloud from taking damage from ranged attacks. Units under the cloud may still be damaged from splash effects. Lurker, firebat, and reaver attacks are not affected by the cloud. Units outside the cloud may still be hit from ranged attacks originating from inside the cloud.

Dark Swarm may be used to cover the advance and attack of melee attackers, or shelter ranged attackers from return ranged fire.


Plague has a smaller area-of-effect than Dark Swarm. It inflicts up to 295[1] damage, to a minimum of 1, over time to each affect unit. Plague affects units and structures. Plague does not affect shields; damage is applied directly to the hit points underneath. It is especially useful against the protoss because their HP cannot be restored.

Defensive lines and other enemy concentrations may be softened up with Plague prior to an assault.


Consume kills a zerg unit and restores 50 energy to the defiler. The ability should be targeted on cheap units, like zerglings, but cannot be used on larva.[2]


As a support unit, burrowing keeps the defiler out of harm's way while its energy recharges. It may be used to set up ambushes using Plague, or help position the defiler to cover the arrival of friendly forces with Dark Swarm.


Defilers are an unarmed caster unit, so they are vulnerable to any attacking unit, especially faster air units that it would not be able to run from very well. Specific hunter units are particularly deadly such as vultures and their spider mines and groups of wraiths.

Defilers can burrow to help hide them from these vulnerabilities.


Many zerg ground units may burrow, rendering themselves invisible but incapable of moving or attacking.

Hotkey U
Purchased from Hatchery/Lair/Hive
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 80seconds
DarkSwarm Icon SC1.PNG
Dark Swarm

Shields units in a 6x6 area from ranged attacks. Ranged attacks with splash damage only deal minimal splash damage. Firebat and lurker attacks, and damage from cast abilities, are totally unaffected. Structures are not shielded.

Hotkey W
Cost 100 Energy
Range 9
Plague Icon SC1.PNG

Sprays all units and buildings in a 3 x 3 target area with spores that inflicts 25 damage per second for a maximum of 295 damage. 'Plague' will not kill or destroy affected units and buildings leaving at least 1 hit point. Plague does not drain shields but will affect the hit points underneath regardless of shield strength. Affected cloaked units will be revealed.

Hotkey G
Cost 150 Energy
Range 9
Purchased from Defiler mound
Hotkey G
Cost 200 Minerals 200 Vespene gas 100seconds
Consume Icon SC1.PNG

Kills a "friendly" zerg unit while giving the consuming defiler 50 energy points. The amount of energy gained is the same regardless of the unit 'consumed'. Therefore a cheap unit, such as a zergling, or one that is about to die, is considered the best "food".

Hotkey C
Range 1
Purchased from Defiler mound
Hotkey C
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 100seconds


Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey C
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals 150 Vespene gas 266seconds
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals 225 Vespene gas 298seconds
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals 300 Vespene gas 330seconds
Required Hive
MetaNode Defiler Icon SC1.PNG
Metasynaptic Node
  • Increases defiler maximum energy by 50.
  • Increases defiler starting energy from 50 to 62.5.
Purchased from Defiler mound
Hotkey M
Cost 150 Minerals 150 Vespene gas 166seconds


Selected Confirming order
Repeatedly selected
Other lines


The following section contains information from a previous version of StarCraft which is no longer valid.

  • The defiler's Plague and Dark Swarm abilities were previously possessed by the queen.[3]
  • The defiler was described as producing "plague toxins" that dissolved fellow zerg to produce catastrophic effects.[4][5][6][7] This may have been a reference to their Consume ability.
  • The defiler previously spat "corrosive venom" or "projected plasma bursts" as a ranged attack.[4][6][7] This attack may be reactivated by editing the game's files.[8]



  1. Spells (Zerg). Staredit Network. Accessed 2010-02-27.
  2. Defiler. StarCraft Compendium. Accessed on 2008-02-07
  3. Hidden Pics, Angelfire. Accessed on 2018-06-06
  4. 4.0 4.1 StarCraft Beta Manual. Internet Archive. Accessed 2019-08-28.
  5. Starcraft: Zerg Land-Based Breeds. StarCraft Beta. Accessed 2019-08-28.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Beta image 58. Blizzard Archive. Accessed 2019-08-28.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Beta image 58. StarCraft Evolution. Accessed 2019-08-28.
  8. StarCraft 1: The unused Defiler attack (Venom). YouTube. Accessed 2019-08-28.