Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Adeptus Custodes(8E)

From 1d4chan
Jump to: navigation, search

After a daemonic incursion on Holy Terra, the Custodes decided to stop locking themselves inside the Emperor's house and finally went out into the galaxy to do shit.

Why play Adeptus Custodes[edit]

Maybe you really like gold, maybe you liked playing as them for the 20 minutes between their initial release in 7e and the announcement of 8e, or maybe you have the 30k version of the Custodes and don't want to pay for another army for use outside of Horus Heresy games. Maybe you want profiles for your basic infantry that make Terminators envious or maybe, just maybe, you just like the idea that all of your dudes are extremely fucking hard to kill.

In any case, the Adeptus Custodes function as the high-profile, multi-wound elite army, with absurdly strong profiles backed up by equally steep point costs. When even an all-Paladin Grey Knights force consistently fields larger armies than you, every lost model will be sorely felt. However, their innate resilience compensates for their low numbers and if you play your cards right you can pull off some crazy stuff even when you're outnumbered. Just watch out for horde armies that can pour enough dakka into you to force unsaved wounds, or tarpit your super-troops through sheer numbers. Dawneagle Jetbikes with hurricane bolters are probably your best bet to counter these horde armies if you want a pure Custodes army. If you don’t mind/care, consider allied detachements, especially Guardsmen or SM dreads with assault cannons. The 40k Custodes now have a proper Codex, complete with options in every slot now- and in a future Imperial Armor 30k units are going to be getting 40k rules as well, which means grav-tanks, uber-Dreadnoughts, specialist long range infantry (praise the Emperor!), disintegration cannons welded to spears, and arguably the most beautiful airborne unit in the whole game.

Experimental rules for the Contemptor-Achillus dreadnought, Contemptor-Exemplar dreadnought, Caladius Grav-Tank, and the Coronus Grav-Carrier can be found here: [1]

The experimental rules for the Telemon Heavy Dreanought can be found here: [2]


  • You like running an army that, to whatever battle zone they deploy, the Administratum will immediately classify as a victory. Even before they actually get there. Even if they (somehow) lose. Oh yeah.
  • You want to build, paint and transport an army consisting of about ~25 models total. This makes movement and understanding the game very easy.
  • Everyone in your army is basically a really tough hero compared to other armies: T5, 2+/4++, 3W is normal here!
  • Although not very diverse, they have BEAUTIFUL models with nice armour and weapons.
  • You're the personal bodyguards of the Emperor himself!
  • Your guys are BIG! Even Marines look like Squats next to you!
  • You want a shooty army without having them being vulnerable in assault or an assault army that is just as good at shooting. Custodes melee weapons usually come with the profile of a Relic Bolter. If they don't carry a gun they will have access to some sort of firepower.
  • Currently the only Imperium list with Jetbikes. Not A Jetbike, JETBIKES. If Forgeworld stops moving at the pace of a drunken Space Wolf, we will have access to two types of Jetbike.
  • They have the biggest pauldrons you’ve ever seen!!!
  • Technically quite good for beginners due to very low model count.
  • Can be extremely easy to paint - gold undercoat, red capes and plumes, silver weaponry. And it's not hard to make them look good either - Duncan has great tutorials on Custodes. Even better, due to the nature of Retributor Gold and how it reacts to light and shadow, you don't need washes and layers/drybrushing to create artificial light/shadow contrasts.


  • While we assume that the Custodes Forgeworld units are going to be among the best in the game when they all get rules, we can't be entirely sure that drug dealing alone will be enough to pay for things like the Orion and the Telemon. But hey, you only need one lung and one kidney to live. Nobody said they have to be yours.
  • Even a single lost model will hurt like hell, and even with your buffed version of Objective Secured you can expect to struggle in holding objectives.
  • Command points can be hard to come by in a pure Custodes list. With the new Big FAQ change to Battalions though, you'll start with a cool 8 CP now with 2 HQs and 3 MSU Guard squads coming out to well under 800 points.
  • Only five Custodes Forgeworld units have public rules at the moment, and one of them you have to convert yourself. Plus, you're only allowed one of each per detachment (though come to think of it, that may actually be a good thing- do you really want to fight a guy spamming super-tanks that have FnP on top of invulnerable saves?). These are beta rules and FW is actively seeking playtest feedback.
  • Without an allied detachment, your plasma game is severely lacking. Not a huge problem for Custodes but using Terminators, Jetbikes and Dreadnoughts to deal with TEQ heavy or mechanized armies is expensive, so once again, players have limited options until Forgeworld gets up off their asses.
  • No psykers means no Deny the Witch, and Aegis of the Emperor can't protect you from every mindbullet coming your way. Bringing in an allied detachment with a psyker (or better yet, a few Sisters of Silence) is a good idea.
    • Custodes however, do have three different ways to Deny the Witch via a 1 CP stratagem any of their units can use, a vexilla relic, and a Warlord Trait. Not the most reliable psychic protection but better than nothing if you want to stick to pure Custodes. Keep in mind that a 1/6 chance of blocking a mortal wound is certainly not good enough when facing psychically formidable armies like Aeldari, who will spam smite so much it’ll be like your golden boys are simply Conscripts with more Close Combat attacks.
  • The easiest way to deal with the above two Cons is to bring an allied spearhead detachement of guard. A couple Infantry Squads, Company Commanders, and Primaris Psykers will be instrumental in victory. The other, albeit less competitive, but more fun option is to bring a Primaris Psyker and Sisters of Silence. A gain of one CP after the recent FAQ and is also very fluffy. You could bring a Culexus as well, with the -1CP cancelling out the gain and completing a solid anti-psyker taskforce. So when Magnus is trying to cast with a -6 you can scream "TALONS OF THE EMPRAH!" and call the Space Wolves to start burning nerdy mage planets again.
  • Your Battle Plans are, for the most part, very basic and therefore easily predictable. The vast majority includes getting your Custodians up the pitch and into combat recklessly fast with no regard for Objectives as the primary target. Of course, the only ultimate objective the Custodians care for in the fluff is saving old Emps, so what do you expect? Elaborate plans are for pussies.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Aegis of the Emperor: Lore wise, it's the blessing of the Emperor to the unwashed masses and a bunch of refractor fields to everyone else; Game play wise it gives all units with this rule a 5+ invulnerable save. Now your Custodes are Terminators on steroids.
    • As of the codex, it comes with an additional 6+ against wounds caused in the "psychic phase", shoring up the Custodes’ weakness to mortal wounds from smite and the like, while also protecting them from other indirect mortal wound sources, such as an exploding rhino. Given the new rules that were introduced to limit smite abuse, opponents won't be able to rely on psychic powers alone to bypass your ubiquitous invulnerable saves.
  • The Emperor's Chosen: In a pure Custodes detachment, all your infantry and biker units get a +1 to their invulnerable saves, up to a maximum of a 3++. Correction to the above, now your Custodes are Terminators on steroids. Your actual Terminators are even TOUGHER.
    • This means that your basic Custodian is running around with a 4++ save and 3 wounds, making stuff like singular lascannons, thunder hammers and powerfists less threatening, as well as a backup 6+ save against mortal wounds caused by psychic powers. Your opponents only real choices are to find more dakka (be it through bringing more weapons or really focusing fire) or using other methods of inflicting mortal wounds such as Stratagems. Once the Custodians get on a bike or don some terminator armor, they only get more resilient.
  • Sworn Protectors: The ObSec equivalent for Custodes is special- all Custodes Infantry and Bikers can use it, not just Troops. This means that unlike the majority of other armies, you can use deep striking scoring Terminators and jetbikes to snatch objectives from under your opponent's nose, and with The Emperor's Chosen they have a good chance of surviving the inevitable counterattack. You'll need it, too- this is the Custodes' only real way to compete in objective games due to their cripplingly low average model count.
    • This is especially potent against armies that cut down on Troops in order to save points for other parts of their forces- their equivalent rules only apply to Troops, so if they only have a few of those they'll be hard-pressed to deny you objectives.


The glaring downside for the Custodes is that due to their high points cost, you'll have a hard time building armies that yield higher amounts of Command Points. Take the time to really get to know the stratagems available to you, so that you can employ the right one at the right time to devastating effect. If you brought Trajann, his Moment Shackle will, on average, give you back 2 CP for a 3 CP stratagem, 1.67 for a 2 CP stratagem, and a full 1 CP for a 1 CP stratagem.

  • Avatars of the Emperor (1 CP): At the beginning of the Morale phase, choose a non-Vehicle Custodes unit (remember, your bikes don't count as vehicles). All Imperium infantry within 6" can use that unit's Ld for that morale phase.
  • Avenge the Fallen (1 CP): During the fight phase, select an Adeptus Custodes unit. Each model in the selected unit gains a bonus attack for every model in the unit that was slain on that turn.
    • The main weakness of the Custodes in melee is in dealing with hordes that will wear them down by inflicting more wounds than they can save against while being too numerous for the golden boys to wipe out in a single fight phase. While falling back can be an option in those situations, your model count will likely be so low that any such hordes can surround you completely, disabling your ability to fall back and leaving you to deal with a death of a thousand cuts. This Stratagem can mitigate that issue somewhat: in a 10-model unit, 5 models lost in the turn it's activated means the remaining 5 models will be packing 5 more attacks per model. Of course, you'll have to pay through the nose just to max out a single unit's size in the first place, but it's better than being up to your golden armpits in Gaunts or Boyz.
      • From a math perspective, in absolute terms, this adds the most attacks when the unit has lost exactly half of its model count that turn, or, if it started at an odd number, 1/2 a model more or less than half: for example, a 3 man squad gets 2 bonus attacks when it loses 1 or 2 men, while a 10 man squad gets 25 extra attacks when it loses 5 men. As you lose more or fewer models, you get diminishing returns - e.g.the 10 man squad gets +25 at 5 losses, but +9 at 9 losses or 1 loss. As you can see, it also works better on squads that were larger to begin with, but larger squads hurt your CP pool, so you probably went MSU if you're relying on stratagems.
  • Bringers of the Emperor's Justice (1 CP): Ripped straight from the Blood Angels. an extra swing on a 6+ to hit, upped to a 4+ against Black Legion. Helps patch our number of attacks when it comes to dealing with hordes and/or Abbadon's bitches. When used with the Vexilla Imperialis’ ability, your custodes will have an extra 2 attacks. Just in case something somehow survived your initial attacks.
  • Burst Missile Net (1 CP): If your bikes fire flakkburst at the same target, reroll damage. Decent for setting up a charge on a FLY Vehicle or a Flyer but....really? Just charge the thing and save your CP.
  • Castellan Strike (1 CP): If all the castellan axes in a unit are aimed at the same target, they get +1 to their AP. Great for taking on big things that would otherwise sit on a slightly better save.
  • Concussion Grenade (1 CP): When selecting an Allarus Terminator unit to attack in the shooting phase, their balistarus grenade launcher become AP0. However, enemy infantry hit by it cannot overwatch and take a -1 penalty to hit (like the Reivers' shock grenades).
  • Only in Death... (2 CP): When an Adeptus Custodes character is slain, he can make an out-of-phase shooting or fight action before being removed. A copy of the Space Marine Stratagem "Only in Death Does Duty End".
  • Ever Vigilant (2 CP): When an enemy lands within 12", shoot at them with -1 to hit. same as marines (except you'll hit on 3+).
  • Eyes of the Emperor (1 CP): Discard and draw a new tactical objective. super situational, but nice to have for Maelstrom of War missions.
  • From Golden Light They Come (1 CP/ 3 CP): During deployment, deep strike up to two units of Adeptus Custodes Infantry, Bikers, or Dreadnoughts(!). Like other deep strike Stratagems, it can only be used once per game - it costs 1 CP for a single unit and 3 CP for two. Still totally worth it for getting turn 1 deep striking back.
    • The limit of two units doesn’t matter too much to the custodes as they have a low unit count (so two deep striking units might be your entire infantry contingent) and at least half of your army must be on the board during deployment; the more difficult factor is the 3cp price, especially considering the excellent competition this stratagem is up against.
      • Can be utterly devastating when used on a Telemon Heavy Dreadnought (or basically any FW Custodes dread). This is especially useful against character screening armies, such as a Typhus-poxwalkers Death Guard, a Chaplain Dread or Guilliman with Guard Spam. For maximum damage deploy the Emperor's Golden Cock On Legs on your opponent’s back-marker objective(s), and watch him panic as his gun line is torn to shreds/blown to pieces by a nigh-unstoppable death machine, and all the while your other melee units, such as Wardens and Spear Guard, get ever closer to his army. Unless he brought something ridiculous, like a Knight Gallant or Castigator Lancer, he may as well just give up, because if he doesn’t shoot the Telemon, he’ll die, and if he doesn’t shoot your footslogging units, he’ll die. It is expensive in points, however, and people wise up to this trick very fast after the first time you pull it off.
      • Remember, your opponent still has a huge advantage in actually holding onto objectives (at least until your ObSec Jetbikes with HBs get up the board). Make sure that, whatever you do, DO NOT charge your Telemon into combat unless you're going at a character with no bubble wrapping bodyguard and equipped it with the power fists. If you attempt to charge a bubble wrapping horde, even poxwalkers or gaunts can bring you down easily, and 800 points have just gone down the drain. If you do this deep-strike tactic, make sure that you keep your distance from hordes and shoot them to death instead, and prioritise by proximity (unless you really need that <insert unit> dead).
  • Indomitable Guardians (1 CP): After an enemy charges and fights with at least 1 unit, you can choose a unit of Custodes within 3" of an objective and fight with them. Every little advantage you can claim in defending objectives helps. Don't forget this Stratagem! It is basically a discounted Interrupt with a contingency. A little situational but VERY useful when it comes to fruition.
  • Inescapable Vengence (2 CP): When selecting a unit of Allarus Terminators to attack in the Shooting phase, they can target Characters with their attacks regardless of whether or not they're the closest target. Allarus Terminators already have a similar bonus when it comes to consolidating after a fight, cementing their role as anti-character death squads. Combining the fact that the shooting from their axes/spears do 2 damage a piece along with their armor shredding grenade launchers, your Allarus Custodians might end up killing their target character just from their shooting.
  • Inspire Fear (1 CP): -1 to enemy leadership (really a +1 to enemy morale check, but same difference). You have hurricane bolters, why are your opponent's hordes still alive to run away?
  • Networked Machine Spirits (1 CP): Can be used when 2 of your Venerable Land Raiders are snuggled up within 6” and makes them immune to any negative to-hit modifiers. Situational since you already have PoTMS and a 2+ BS, but great if you’re up against Venomthropes, Alpha Legion, Raven Guard, or just decide that unit of Eldar Shadow Spectres+cover+Conceal+Alaitoc Attribute were looking a little smug with their 2+ Save on top of a -4 to-hit bullshit and really might as well not be on the table anymore.
  • Piercing Strike (1 CP): When a Custodes is selected to fight in the Fight phase, it may add +1 to wound rolls made for attacks with its guardian spears. Excellent for those times when you need a squad of custodians to take down a land raider or a greater demon, also means that you'll be mowing down marines of all varieties on a 2+. Considering that you're hitting on a 2+ already with a high AP, pumping up your chances to wound really push you over the edge from "spooky" to "downright terrifying". Another advantage is that your opponent often overlooks this stratagem, focussing on defending against the "Big Bads", like FGLTC or Vexilla Teleport Homer, so the first time you use this will generally be completely unexpected. Save it until they make a mistake, like charging a newly teleported Abby into the basic 5-man unit you have holding the backmarker objective.
  • Plant the Vexilla (1 CP): Add 6" to a vexilla's bubble, so long as the bearer didn't move. Our other AMAZING strat. Being able to give 5++ to allies or +1 attack from 12" away pairs great with the Vexilla Teleporter Homer.
  • Sentinel Storm (2 CP): At the end of your enemy's shooting phase, fire with your sentinel blades. Not really the best, based on what the sentinel blade is, but really nice for softening an incoming charge or screwing with an enemy's plan if you get lucky.
  • Shoulder the Mantle (1 CP): And you thought Alpharius' tricks were for heretics only. If your Warlord dies, select a Shield-Captain in your army. They become the new Warlord and generate a WT. As an added bonus, as long as the new Warlord is on the field the opponent can't claim VP for slaying your Warlord. Since this Strategem does not designate that that the Warlord must be a Custodian Shield-Captian or Captian General, you can shoulder the mantle from an Astra Militarum Company Commander or other low quality efficient HQ, to your Shield Captian and give him a Warlord trait like Superior Creation or Radiant Mantle, all the while not giving up Warlord.
  • Spark of Divinity (1 CP): If a psyker casts from within 12" of a Custodes unit, that unit can deny the power as if it was a psyker. Excellent against Aeldari, especially for the price.
  • Stooping Dive (3 CP): At the end of your opponent's Charge phase, pick a Biker unit within 12" of an enemy model. It can charge as if it was your own charge phase, and if it makes the charge it gets to fight first even if the opponent charged with someone else. Conflicts with similar rules (e.g. Banshees, Emperor's Children CSMs, etc.) are resolved as normal. Considering how hard bikes can hit it is capable of canceling an important enemy charge attack entirely, wich can compleatly change the battle. One of the best strategems in the game or at least in the Imperium, albeit expensive.
  • Tanglefoot Grenade (1 CP): At the start of the enemy movement or charge phase, pick a non-FLY enemy unit within 12" of a Custodes infantry unit. Roll a d6; the target's Movement characteristic or charge distance is reduced by the result for the rest of the phase.
    • Even just a -1 to charge distances can be enough to effectively neutralise an enemy unit. Now imagine what will happen if they end up losing an average of 3-4" of charge distance. Excellent on melee fighters that will sorely miss even a single inch of mobility, and nothing is more hilarious than a squad of Howling Banshees being forced to move slower than Death Guard Terminators. It's worth noting that this strat is also amazing for ensuring enemy units will have a much harder time trying to flee from combat or put some more space between them and the incoming golden wrecking ball.
    • REMEMBER, this stratagem is usable in both the movement AND charge phases. Since stratagems can be used a maximum of once per phase you can stunt a nearby enemy's regular movement, and then later in the turn you can ruin the same or other unit's charge. For only 1 CP each time you can seriously handicap your enemy's plans throughout their entire turn depending on which units they're trying to maneuver.
  • Unflinching (1 CP): Gives you a 5+ overwatch. There is no escaping Hurricane Bolters, as the Emperor knows you have committed great sins.
  • Unleash the Lions (2 CP): At the start of the Movement phase, select a unit of Allarus Terminators. They split up into separate units consisting of a single model apiece. Keep in mind that each Terminator has 4 wounds, the typical Custodes saves, and has rules meant for them to single out Characters from far away; this allows them to take on several Characters at once while preventing foes from just focusing fire on their squad or using morale to wear them down.
  • Vexilla Teleport Homer (3 CP): Can deep strike within 6" of a vexilla (who was already on the board), so long as you are 3" away from the enemy. Fucking AMAZING. Drop a 10-man termie squad 3" away from your enemy, cripple behind them with some shooting, then melee everything dead. Keep in mind that you can't use this stratagem the same turn that your vexilla deep strikes (if in Allarus Terminator armor), so they will either need a screen to take enemy shooting or give your opponent other immediate threats to shoot at plus the -1 to hit vexilla and maybe the Eagle's Eye relic to survive a round of shooting so you can deep strike your golden boys down next turn.

Alternative Opinion: For this strategy to work, it takes 2 turns and 3 command points to work. If you are spending all those points and command points you better be praying to the Emperor and Kitten's naked body that you don't think about the odds of this actually working and just have faith in the Emperor.

    • The FAQ says you can only deep strike one squad per use, so consider From Golden Light They Come if you want to deep strike more than that.
  • Victor of the Blood Games (2 CP): Almost an autotake. Before the game starts, choose a character. That guy gets to reroll 1 hit, wound, or save roll per turn. This right here is one of the best Stratagems we get as an army, if not the best one. If you thought a Shield-Captain on the Auric Aquilas packing a 3++ (and possibly a FnP on a 5+ depending on his WT) was hard to kill before, hooo boy, just you wait.
    • Alternate Opinion: While certainly a kick-ass stratagem, here is something to consider. Most of time this is going to be used on a Shield Captain. Unless he's taking a negative on his to-hit rolls for some reason, he's already rerolling all his 1's, so you can't spend the reroll there. That leaves only the wound rolls and saves that will ever get used for this. While still AMAZING to have that sort of insurance in your back pocket, for a CP hungry army like this, this (usually) two-option single reroll may not be worth a whole 2CP. Against certain lists it definitely could be, but you should always consider what you're going to get out of it first. If you don't think your shield-captain on jetbike will be threatened by much or have trouble wounding in a certain match, consider saving the 2CP for something else.
  • Wisdom Of The Ancients (1 CP): Man, Imperials love to listen to their assorted Grandpas’ stories, don’t they? Does the same thing it does in all the other codices which is give a Dreadnought in your army a 6” reroll-ones-to-hit bubble. Useful when your shield-captains have better places to be, like handing your opponent's warlord his ass on a golden platter (which he will statistically do unless it’s an ork warboss, girlyman etc).

Tactical Objectives[edit]

11 - Deliver Victory
If you scored at least 1 VP from another Tactical Objective this turn, gain 1 VP.
12 - Eliminate Threats
1 VP if you completely destroy an enemy unit, improved to d3 VP if you destroyed at least 3.
13 - War Zone Secure
1 VP if you control at least 3 objectives.
14 - Keep Them At Spear's Length
1 VP if there are no other units within 3" of Adeptus Custodes units from your army (not counting other Adeptus Custodes units). This cannot be completed on the first turn. Keep in mind that "no other units" does count allies as well as enemies, so mind how you place your allied detachments!
15 - Crush Their Resistance
Your opponent selects an objective. If you control it by the end of the turn, gain d3 VP.
16 - The Emperor's Vengeance
d3 VP if you steal an objective from an enemy, which is upped to d3+3 if you steal 3 or more.


Ranged Weapons[edit]

  • Guardian Spear/Castellan Axe: When shooting these weapons, they are both 24" S4 AP-1, with Rapid fire 1 and D2, that's 2 wounds per failed save. Yes, your basic gun has two wounds.
    • Excellent for taking down most things; slightly overkill on GEQs, but anything with more than one wound will drop like flies. The bonus AP will also make a huge difference, effectively doubling your damage output against TEQs and the like. In short, a normal marine's Relic Bolter is our normal weapon.
    • Additional Note: You'd be surprised how effective this gun can be against T7 or lower vehicles. Even though 5's to wound is a bit rough, rapid firing can knock off a decent chunk of wounds with that nasty 2 damage per wound and can potentially put a vehicle a damage bracket lower if you’re lucky. Don't write off shooting at vehicles with these lovely guns, especially if you haven’t invested in VLRs or Dreadnoughts.
      • In addition, if you find yourself facing a Mechron army, the 2 damage on these guns is excellent for taking out the lower-wound vehicles, like the 9-wound Annihilation Barge, as your opponent has a 1-in-6 chance of Quantum Shield-ing the damage.
  • Sentinel Blades: Pistol 2 S4 ap0 D1 , your only weapon choice if you're running shielded custodians for when you really need to ensure they don't die. It also benefits from multiple stratagems exclusively.
  • Balistus Grenade Launcher: The main armament of the Allarus and a marine killer of some quality. 12", Assault D3, S4, AP-3, D1. Combine with the Guardian Spear or Castellan Axe shooting for some shockingly good infantry mulching at short range. Being AP-3 but only D1 makes it superior to the spear at MEQ hunting and will do unspeakable things to things like storm troopers and eldar, and as you can now deep strike again this weapon is perfectly suited to be plonked in an enemies flank or rear to do unspeakable damage.
  • Hurricane Bolter: Standard issue on your Dawneagle Jetbikes. With a lovely 12 S4 AP0 shots at 12” range (6 at 24”) per Bike, this makes your Jetbike squads excellent for mincing lightly armored infantry units that might bog down your expensive Banana Boyz. The fact that this weapon is fitted to a unit which can FLY also means that you will almost always be able to fire this weapon every turn, and a unit of these overwatching will be hilarious, if very short lived for the charging unit.
  • Salvo Launcher: The other weapon option for your Jetbikes, it has 24” range and is either a Multi-Melta shot that re-rolls wounds against Vehicles but does not get melta dice at half range, or a Heavy D3 S7 AP-1 D3 missile that gets +1 to hit against things with Fly but -1 to hit against anything that doesn’t. This little quirk shouldn’t be a problem, though, since your normal BS is 2+. The melta version is great for ripping apart vehicles and the flakk choice is great for shoring up your slightly spotty anti-air. Very situational, but fills out the lack of high strength anti tank shooting that Custodes lack immensely. Hurricane bolters are usually (If not always) better in the current meta, but a few can be strong in your weekend gaming.
    • Its only real flaws are that, as a Heavy weapon, it's less able to take advantage of the jetbike's mobility, but a 3+ to hit is still pretty good and it's not like you have cheaper ranged anti-vehicle weapons. The secondary flaw is that, while it's better than a multi-melta against vehicles, it's noticeably worse against everything else when firing using its "melta" profile as well as being more than double the price of hurricane bolters.
  • Multi-melta- Found exclusively on the venerable contemptor dreadnought. Same as any other multi-melta, and one of the few anti-armor ranged weapons you have.
  • Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon- The other option for your Venerable Contemptors. 36" range, Heavy 6, S7 AP-1. Less close-range clout than the Dawneagle's hurricane bolters, but more reliable when targeting heavier infantry or light vehicles due to its better range and higher shot output.

Melee Weapons[edit]

  • Guardian Spear: It's a S+1 (i.e. S6) AP-3 melee weapon that does D3 damage to a target. In other words, effectively a souped up force axe/sword, and is your most standard weapon throughout the list.
  • Castellan Axe: S+3 (i.e. S8) AP-2 D3 damage axe of crack and doom. Use when Strength 6 from the Guardian Spear isn’t quite cutting it and AP isn’t quite as important as actually landing wounds, such as when you’re going toe-to-toe with Tyranid beasties or light vehicles. Wardens and Allarus Custodians with these can threaten any Heavy Support in the game.
    • Mathhammer-wise, axes are usually your best choice against T6 (both weapons are equivalent against T6/2+ with 5++ or worse, but the spear is cheaper, giving it the edge there) and T7/8 regardless of save, or anything with a 4++ or better, while spears shine against T1/2/3/5/9/10 models without a 4++. The difference in damage output between spears and axes against T4 models without an invulnerable save is minuscule (6.25% worse against 2+ and equivalent against 3+, i.e. only worse due to cost) so you should always go full Castellan when facing pure MEQ armies and keep the spears for GEQs and things with 2+ saves, although it's bad form to make your list after knowing your opponent's. General rule, if the Custodian can take an axe he takes the axe!
  • Interceptor Lance: Standard issue for your Jetbikes; same stat-wise as a Guardian Spear, but without any shooting and it allows you to re-roll wounds on the charge. Tasty as hell.
  • Misericordia: This power knife grants an additional attack at S:U AP-2 unless the model is equipped with a Storm Shield. At only 4 points, it's not too bad of a weapon, though with how expensive we already are per model, it's not an auto-include. Still, remember you could get 13 additional misericordia attacks in your army for the price of a single Custodian Guard, so it's definitely worth taking under certain circumstances. That, and 30k Legio Custodes players won't skin you alive for actually having rules for the Misericordia and not using them.
  • Sentinel Blade: Strength User, AP-3, D3 damage; not as killy as the Spear, but your only option if you take a Storm Shield. A good option if you want to outfit a unit to hunt T4 meqs and teqs, since they will wound just as well as the spear but also get 2 pistol shots each in melee. Add stormshields if you anticipate said meqs/teqs having thunder hammers...

Special Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Storm Shield: The tried and true Storm Shield, commonly known to make dirty xenos and heretics alike light up with rage. Cannot be taken with Guardian Spears, no Space Hoplites unfortunately but should not be overlooked as a unit of 5 of these is an excellent distraction Carnifex which will die so slowly that it will make an actual distraction Carnifex look like a squad of conscripts in heavy bolter fire. With Custodes in their own detachment all benefiting from a 4++ naturally, one must weigh the loss of certain melee and ranged effectiveness for an increase of a save from 4 to 3. If you want your Custodian Guard to hold backfield objectives for you, it might be worth giving one or two of your guys a Storm Shield to soak up AP -2 and better shots while letting the rest of your Spear guys take the low AP shots.


Figures that the golden bananas would get the best toys - you have a jaw-dropping 13 Relics to choose from. Many of which are incredible.

  • Auric Aquilas: BIKER models only. Their uber golden jetbike has a 3+ invulnerable save and allows them to re-roll failed charge rolls. Strictly better than the Eagle's Eye. One of, if not our best relic, makes Shield-Captain on DawnEagle Jetbike one of the best units in the game.
  • Auric Shackles: Subtract 1 from the attacks characteristic of enemy CHARACTERS to a minimum of 1 whilst they are within 6" of the bearer. In addition, if the bearer slays the enemy Warlord in the fight phase he scores an additional D3 victory points for his side.
  • Castellan's Mark: Allows you to redeploy the bearer and 1 unit before the game starts. The Swarmlord had to give up a WT for this effect, and can only redeploy itself - you get it as a free Relic option, and can redeploy an extra unit. Underrated relic, so commence smugness.
  • Eagle's Eye: A special helmet that has special sensors that warn the bearer against danger, giving him a +1 to his Invulnerable save (maximum 3+). No need for a Storm Shield when you have this and the faith in the Emperor.
  • Emperor's Light: A misericordia. Besides the "make an additional attack" thing, enemy units within 12" of the bearer must add 1 to their Morale tests. Strictly not worth your points as you have to pay for it, and you could go for the better Gatekeeper (albeit not the best choice) if you have a Guardian Spear or just go for durability with Auric Aquilas or The Eagles Eye.
  • Gatekeeper: Replaces a guardian spear. The close-combat profile is the same but the inbuilt bolter is Rapid Fire 3 and can make Overwatch shots on a roll of 3+. This effectively gives your HQ unit the same shooting power as a 3-man Custodian squad. Now, while it may give some decent shooting, if your Custodes are shooting it's usually either early game or you're playing them very wrong. Still good for softening up a target with some pre-charge shooting or some defence against a charge in the opponent’s turn. Better options, but don’t underestimate having more shots as a Custodes player.
  • Obliteratum: Terminator only, replaces the Balistus grenade launcher. S10 AP-4 D3 makes it one of your few ranged weapons not mounted on a Land Raider that has a good chance at hurting stronger vehicles.
  • Praetorian Plate: TERMINATOR models only. When you set the bearer up, you can choose a friendly IMPERIUM CHARACTER (note it doesn't have to be a Custodian) and if at the end of any opponent's Charge phase, there is an enemy model within 1" of that character, you can set up the bearer of the Praetorian Plate within 3" of that character (whether they were already deployed on the battlefield or not) and within 1" of an enemy model, but they do not count as charging. An excellent way of forcing your opponent to reconsider whether or not he should charge that seemingly unprotected character. Amazing for fun games but any decently experienced player will bubble wrap you like a veggie tales sing along.
    • The Fun is here - Celestine might be fun, she now has a golden boyfriend to go with her Geminae Superia. Or maybe Grey Knights. A Nemesis Babycarrier Grand Master backed up with a Custodes might be quite funny. With Gate these two will take the bonds of their friendship allover the place. In short - Either protect a small character (like those company commanders) or to support your distraction fex and make him even more killy.
    • It's perfectly legal to use this on a VEHICLE character, as well. Yup, Carab Culln in a Leviathan Dreadnought suddenly got even more dangerous.
  • Raiment of Sorrows: A suit of armour that allows a killed Custodian within 6" to perform one last shooting or melee attack on a 4+. Does not stack with the Even In Death... Stratagem.
  • Veiled Blade: A relic sentinel blade with the same profile. Each time the bearer fights whilst within 3" of an objective marker, they can make 2 additional attacks with this weapon. Pairs well with Indomitable Guardians for 1CP.
  • Replacement Vexilla: These options all replace a Vexilla, making them Vexilus Praetor only:
    • Faith Absolute: Lose the Custodes Vexilla ability and instead give friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY and BIKER units within 6" fearless. Also allows the bearer to deny one psychic powers per psychic phase.
    • Fulminaris Aggressor: Lose the Custodes Vexilla ability and instead give friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY and BIKER units within 6" fearless. In addition, the vexilla can be used as a weapon:
      • Shooting: Range: 8" S4 AP-1 D1 Assault D6, autohits like a flamer.
      • Melee: S+2 AP-1 D1
    • Wrath Angelis: Lose the Custodes Vexilla ability and instead give friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY and BIKER units within 6" fearless. Also, you get a one-use 6" nova around the bearer that does d3 mortal wounds on a 4+ to friend or foe (5+ if the target is a Character), though only hits Custodes units on a 6+.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  • Champion of the Imperium: Friendly ADEPTUS CUSTODES INFANTRY, BIKER, and DREADNOUGHT units within 12" at the start of the Charge phase can make heroic interventions as if they were characters. Trajann Valoris has this trait.
  • Impregnable Mind: The warlord can Deny the Witch once per turn as if he was a psyker. He also adds +1 to the result of the test.
  • Superior Creation: Proof that not all Custodians are created equal. The cellular alchemy that made this hero means he gets Feel No Pain on a 5+. Put this on a Jetbike Shield-Captain with the Auric Aquilas for one of THE tankiest HQ choices in the game!
  • Emperor's Companion: Re-roll your damage. Nice, considering that almost all of our weapons are d3 damage.
  • Radiant Mantle: -1 to hit the bearer. Lulzy when paired with the -1 to hit banner, especially when going up against MEQs, as they will go from hitting 2/3rds of the time to 1/3rd of the time. When facing down shooty MEQ armies, especially as they generally don’t come in huge numbers, this can be invaluable.
  • Peerless Warrior: Make an extra attack on a 6+ to hit. Quite nice, but remember that those do not generate further attacks.

Unit Analysis[edit]

Common keywords are IMPERIUM, and ADEPTUS CUSTODES.


  • Shield-Captain: Your standard HQ and a fairly good one. For 122 points you got a melee monster packing that sweet Custodes statline with 6 Wounds and 5 attacks. He has the Aegis of the Emperor and Inspirational Fighter special rules, the latter being your usual "re-roll of 1 to hit to all ADEPTUS CUSTODES units within 6" aura. You can gear him with a Guardian spear, Castellan axe, Sentinel blade/Storm shield combo and a Misericordia.
    • Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armor: The fat TANKY fat THICC version of the previous guy. Same statline with an extra Wound, but you get the signature Balistus grenade launcher and From Golden Light special rule from the Allarus Terminators. You lose the Sentinel blade/Storm shield option, but the Eagle's Eye can fill in for it without making you give up any offensive capability.
    • Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike: YEAH FUCK YOU SAMMAEL WE HAVE JETBIKES NOW!!! Ahem... "They see me flyin, they hatin", golden boys edition. This Pimpstodes is a Shield-Captain with the usual +1 Wounds and Toughness bonuses and 14" move from the Dawneagle jetbike. His wargear options are limited to the Interceptor lance and misericordia, but who cares ? You will hit harder than any Castellan axe on the charge and you can take the Auric Aquila relic for a 3++ save while looking so goddamn metal. Add the Superior Creation WT and the Victor of the Blood Games Stratagem, and he'll be nearly immortal with a FnP on a 5+ and several rerolls. Don’t forget that, as he has the FLY keyword, he can engage flyers in close combat. The ultimate “Fuck You” to that Storm Eagle your opponent brought (assuming he gets into cqc, of course).
  • Captain-General Trajann Valoris: Your big boss. With a Shield-Captain statline, 7 Wounds, Ld10 and a 3+ invulnerable save, he is no slouch. His Watcher's Axe is a S10 AP-3 castellan axe (whose shooting is also boosted to S5) and his Legendary Commander ability is an aura granting rerolls of 1 to hit and to wound to all ADEPTUS CUSTODES units within 6" of him. Basically, you should take him if you can, but don't worry if you can't - a Shield Captain costs half as much as he does, and still has a re-roll aura as well.

He also carries something called the Moment Shackle that can do one of the following once per game:

  • Restore d3 wounds lost on the phase it's used (but not if he's been killed). Use it to shore him up if he gets caught in a nasty cross fire, or to ensure that he survives the next round of combat against the enemy's warlord.
  • Allow him to fight a second time at the end of the Fight Phase. A little situational, as unless he's facing your opponent's warlord or something really tough that'll kill you next turn (like a Primarch) his extra round may end up being overkill.
  • Regain up to D3 CP after using a Stratagem, although it can't restore more than the amount used to activate the Stratagem. From Golden Light They Come is an excellent candidate for this- at full blast, it costs 3 CP and you can then plan around your remaining regained CP before the battle has even begun. As an army starving for CP due to how expensive all the good stuff is, this will likely be the option you choose if you don't bring detachments from other Imperial forces, as we have many great 2/3 CP stratagems and mitigating any heavy CP spending is invaluable.
    • Be warned, however, if using the Moment Shackle for regaining CP, Trajann needs to be on the board to use it. This means if you want the CP back from the Golden Light strategm, he can't be part of the deep striking unit, nor in reserve or in a transport. Bummer.


  • Custodian Guard Squad: 3-10 custodians. Deep striking is back, so the Venerable Land Raider isn't quite the necessity it used to be. As far as load outs are concerned, with the new wounding system + how powerful invulnerable saves are now you might want to go for either a mix of both weapons or a full unit of sword & shields. They're very expensive and also need transport if you would prefer to save the CP needed to deep strike, but in return they will annihilate virtually anything in a golden storm of death if you get them into a fight. With the codex pumping them to a 2+/4++, the shield is no longer that necessary, but still nice if you want to make your opponent cry when they've only killed 1 or 2 models the first half of the game.


The majority of Custodian units are Elites, from Wardens to SuperDreads. Consequently, your main detachment will probably be the Vanguard, for +1 CP. If you want more CPs, better stock up on those £70/$120 10 man Guard squads.

  • Custodian Wardens: Tougher Custodian Guard that get a 6+++ FnP (which will stack with the one from the Aegis) and +1 A and Ld (for A4 and Ld9). You know, because all those invulnerable saves didn't make them tough enough to kill already. They also trade access to storm shields for access to the castellan axes, just in case you wanted an extra unit for tank/big thing hunting. They also have a compulsory Misericordia each, which allows you to make an additional attack using it. Good to finish off that one model on a single wound, without having to waste your more useful attacks.
    • The difference in cost between a Spear Guard and a Warden is 13 points - from 52 to 65, or about 25%. This means you take, at best, 16.67% less damage (less as incoming damage tends to exceed 3 - for example, a lascannon will deal about 6.67% less). If you go MSU on both, the leadership difference won't matter, so the only other differences are in melee (the Warden has 33.33% more spear swings, plus a misericordia swing) - and you have no good way to get these guys there, so you should not be looking at these guys as dedicated melee. Axes have a similar problem - they'll get you more melee bang for your buck against many opponents, but you're still paying more points for more melee output from something too slow to guarantee you melee on your terms. On the other hand...the entire army is dedicated melee anyway.
    • If the Coronus ends up being viable, the extra threat per model of Wardens would be worthwhile in one.
  • Allarus Custodians: Custodians in Terminator Armor...with four wounds each and equipped with balistus grenade launchers in addition to their guardian spear/castellan axe...and can deep strike without needing the Stratagem to do so. Ouch. They're designated character killers, with Slayers of Tyrants allowing them to move up to 3" towards the nearest character when piling in and consolidating even if the character isn't the nearest enemy model.
    • These guys can do some surprisingly strong work, since you don't need to pay any CP to deep strike them, and their guns aren't shit. The key selling point is that the launcher is "free" (i.e. it's baked into their cost), so when they deep strike to get the launcher in range, one 82 point model shooting anything all 3 points of penetration will count against, such as a TEQ, will do the work of two spears at once - which would otherwise cost you more points, since you'd have to pay for someone to carry it. Take Allarus Custodians if you want an elite unit to disrupt and distract enemies with deep strike that can hunt down Characters.
  • Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought: Uber Contemptor dreadnought. It does dreadnought things, but with a 5++ and the ability to ignore regular wounds on 6s (Being nearly as tough as some Nurgle followers) thanks to the Unyielding Ancient special rule. With the From Golden Light They Come stratagem, you can now deep strike these guys right up in your opponent's face and force them to deal with it.
    • Your heaviest hitting non-FW melee unit coming in at S14 with its melee weapon, and although your army is hitting with at least S6 ap-2 this is not enough to take big beasties like Magnus down in one or two rounds of melee. Its incredible durability also allows it to play the role of distraction carnifex (most custodes units can play the role of a distraction carnifex better than an actual carnifex), especially as deep striking one of these behind enemy lines will guarantee that your opponent is distracted. Also useful for killing vehicles, since its multi-melta is a far cheaper alternative to bringing along a Land Raider.
  • Vexilus Praetors: Like their Marine cousins, the Vexilla bearers are going it alone as Characters now. Makes a huge difference to the custodes as before your banner had to be part of a unit and the +1 attack only effected that unit, and now you're not limited to one per detachment anymore. They can also keep thier weapon now and have the option to take a sword, axe, spear or storm shield. Can be taken wearing Allarus Terminator armor so you can deep strike that aura anywhere you want and also really take advantage of the Vexilla Teleport Homer stratagem. They lose their close combat weapon but get the grenade launcher and can still take a Misericordia. Unlike the Ancients, however, they get a choice of three different Vexillas, each of which costs various points values according to what they do.
    • For 50 points, the Vexilla Imperius allows non-Vehicle Custodes within 6" to make an extra attack. Effectively the old banner but with an AOE effect, thereby making it superior as you can have it effect more than one unit.
    • For 20 points, the Vexilla Defensor grants a 5++ invulnerable save against ranged weapons to all Imperium Infantry within 9". Redundant on your own forces due to all the invulnerable saves you already have; on an allied force, on the other hand...well, you can figure it out.
      • Those guardsmen begin to look very, very scary when they all have 5++ saves, not to mention 2+/3++ Bullgryns. Best way to add it would be in its own separate detachment so that you can still use eg Astra Militarum in your other detachments.
      • Take 2 (the Magnifica and the Defensor, upgrading the Magnifica to the relic version and you once again have guard blobs that won't go anywhere. This is a key unit in a guard custodes list arguably the most important one. If you can manage to keep those guard blobs around till the end of the game this would have been with it.
    • For 30 points, the faaabulous Vexilla Magnifica forces the opponent to subtract 1 from all hit rolls in the shooting phase for attacks targeting Custodes units within 6" of the Vexilla. Whether you take this or the 6” +1 attack depends on how you're running your custodes, jetbikes and spear wielding units will benefit from the -1 to hit against shooting attacks most, while that squad of 10 storm shield bananas with swords, a 5-man warden squad with a Shield Captain, or just any Allarus squad will annihilate anything with that +1 attack. Great if they're deep striking in with your Allarus Custodians, if they don't make their 9 inch charge at least they'll have some durability against enemy shooting next turn.
  • Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought (Forge World): Though it may have lost the almighty D in its transition to 40k, the Achilus Dread still keeps its reputation as a melee monster. His shooting weapon, is a 36" Heavy d3 S9 AP-3 d3 D weapon, which means that in a pinch it can also provide some much needed anti-vehicle firepower as it gets close to the enemy; the 2 Lastrum Storm Bolters aren't quite as powerful (a Combi-Bolter with +1S and AP) but the extra shots never hurt. But in melee, it's an absolute beast: it packs 4 attacks with S14 AP-3 d6 damage, where all damage rolls under 3 count as having rolled a 3. As an added bonus, when it charges all attacks that, on a roll of 6 to hit, causes an extra mortal wound in addition to the damage they'd normally cause. Deep strike it with From Golden Light They Come on turn 1, and it will fuck shit up in no time.
    • Both FW Contemptors keep the 5+ invulnerable and FnP on a 6+, and also get 2 extra wounds and +1 Ld. However, when they explode their explosion range is 2d6" instead of 6" making a deepstriking suicide dread even more enticing if very expensive. Keep in mind that ALL Forge World units (except the Telemon) in this army are limited to one-per-detachment, so if you want to spam them be prepared to pay for more Shield-Captains.
  • Contemptor-Exemplar Dreadnought (Forge World): Basically Achillus without a spear (yes, it can be built like that in 30k) with an upcoming weapon hand to boot. As usual it's a somewhat souped up Contemptor, by default it comes with two normal dreadnought CCWs, but instead of regular Storm Bolters you get the Lastrum variant, which acts like a Storm Bolter (24" rapid fire 2) firing Heavy Bolter shells (S5 AP-1), they lost their heliothermic detonation rule from Heresy, but that's to be expected since instant death and glancing/penetrating hits are a thing of the past. The Lastrum Storm Bolters can be replaced with normal heavy flamers, or fancy new plasma ejectors which are basically plasma flamers (S7 AP-3 D6 autohitting shots), no Adrathic destructors yet though. Additionally, you can swap out one of the CCWs for a Twin Las-Pulsar. Compared to a twin lascannon, it has 12" less range and only does d3 damage per shot, but compensates by being Heavy 2d3. The Las-Pulsar is 60 points but due to the second CCW costing 10 points and the Lastrum Storm Bolter costing 5 it's effectively 45, you should definitely take it as it's one of this army's only sources of long range heavy firepower, and unlike pretty much every other dread you get no bonus for having two CCWs anyway. Keep in mind that ALL Forge World units (except the Telemon) in this army are limited to one-per-detachment, so if you want to spam them be prepared to pay for more Shield-Captains.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Vertus Praetors (aka Dawneagle Jetbikes): A must take. These are easily your most versatile unit. Hurricane bolters will munch tarpits that could’ve threatened your Allaruses or Wardens through sheer volume of attacks, or for long(ish) range vehicle hunting, they can take Salvo launchers. With the FLY keyword, they can provide excellent anti-air fire, or engage flyers in CC, meaning these guys are better flyer hunters than Heldrakes or other dedicated flyer hunters. With their stupidly fast movement and 'charge on your opponents turn' stratagem these guys will be your bread and butter in a pure Custodes list. With the Custodes’ ObSec rule, these guys can also nab an objective or two from your opponent one the final turn. Oh, and remember that they also get a 4++ if they come in a pure custodes detachment. Make of that what you will.
    • Speaking of anti-aircraft, remember how most Flyers can't be hit in close combat by things without the FLY Keyword? And that said fliers typically have only a generic CCW and a mediocre number of attacks if they do get engaged? Well abuse this fact to kill fliers in melee. Even with the ability to fall back and still shoot, the average flyer will either have to waste time playing keep-away at the expense of losing opportunities to attack easier targets or let you wail on them in melee with no way to deal meaningful damage themselves.
    • With the number of models that can fly and the crap-ton of Anti Air in 8th Edition, you may have trouble deciding between the horde-busting dakka of the Hurricane Bolters and the FU vehicle power of the Salvo Launcher. The solution is take both. The Bolters act as a screen while the Launchers wreck vehicles. The Melta Missile is like a shorter ranged Plasma Cannon without the 'suicide mode' or an improved Multi Melta (it re-rolls ALL failed wound rolls against vehicles. Put on Shield-Cap for 2+ to hit, rerolling 1s, 3s to wound against almost anything, rerolling 1s and 2s, and followed up by -4 AP and d3 damage. Time to wreck some shit). The flakkburst missile is the only designated anti-flyer weapon you have. So keep them behind the Hurricane Bolters if possible.
    • Remember that you are flexible with your missiles. You can always use your anti aircraft missiles against ground targets if needed and with the -1 to hit you are still at 3+ being the cool uber guy that you are.
    • The Interceptor lances aren't too shabby against vehicles, but you don't always have the chance to get stuck in and in some cases it's safer to keep your distance. Besides, you don't exactly have many options for anti-armor shooting in the first place. Until Forgeworld gets off their asses.
    • Note that they also re-roll all failed to-wound hits on the turn they charged (a "cherry on the top" to what's written above)
  • Caladius Grav-Tank (Forge World): Remember the Sicaran's infantry-mulching accelerator cannon? Yours doesn't have the anti-flyer bonuses and is Heavy instead of Assault, but with 8 60" shots that possess S8 AP-3 Dd3 and the Standard Custodes BS2+, the Caladius has the best range of any Custodes unit thus far and fills the valuable anti-armor niche with impressive ease. Combine with its W14 3+/6++/6+++ (yes, it has both an invulnerable save and a FNP, because of course it does), the -1 to hit penalty it imposes on melee attackers, and the Lastrum Bolt Cannons (heavy bolters with their S and AP improved by 1) that provide extra anti-infantry firepower, and you have a very nasty tank indeed. It also has the FLY keyword with all its benefits and drawbacks. Beware the part where you explode on a 5+, and watch for anti-air weapons. It's also stonking fast at 16" when undamaged, and even when critically damaged its movement never drops below 8". Keep in mind that ALL Forge World units (except the Telemon) in this army are limited to one-per-detachment, so if you want to spam them be prepared to pay for more Shield-Captains.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Venerable Land Raider: Still your uberslighty-less-survivable transport with 16 wounds sitting comfortable on a 2+ save and FNP 6+++. Thanks to the buff to formerly twin-linked lascannons and lascannons in general, this is your heavy anti-tank option for when the Vertus Praetors' salvo launchers won't cut it and the Venerable Contemptor's multi-melta isn't long-ranged enough. Given that you will most likely also transport a Custodian Guard squad you may imagine the amount of fire this 600+ points package will attract and maybe even survive. While expensive, bringing them in pairs lets you use their Stratagem to shut down attempts at stacking penalties to hit against them.
  • Coronus Grav-Carrier (Forge World): Only a 3+ armor save compared to the Land Raider's 2+ and only holds 6 models, but with 2 more wounds, a 6+ invulnerable save from Flare Shields, a FnP on a 6+, and a -1 penalty to hit against enemies attacking it in melee it probably doesn't need it much. It's also faster than the Land Raider (14") and having FLY means it doesn't loose the ability to shoot when menaced by a hormagaunt (and, of course, can just fly over things before vomiting golden death). The Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon is basically a twin heavy bolter with +1S and -1AP, making it a bit more useful against more heavily armored infantry. The Arachnus Blaze Cannon on the other hand comes with 2 modes: Burst mode is 24" Heavy d6 S5 AP-1 Dd3, best used against groups of light-to-medium armored multi-wound infantry (e.g. Warriors, Nobz, Ogryns), and Beam mode is a 2-shot lascannon (albeit at only 36" range). Hilariously, despite all these bells and whistles the Coronus is actually cheaper than the Land Raider. Perfect for shuttling a couple of 3-man squads (like Allaruses) to where they need to be. As a model with the FLY keyword, beware of anti-air. Keep in mind that ALL Forge World units (except the Telemon) in this army are limited to one-per-detachment, so if you want to spam them be prepared to pay for more Shield-Captains.
    • If it's near death, make sure your units are a safe distance from it - the Coronus explodes on a 5+ instead of a 6+!
    • Alternate view : While cheaper by 20 points than the Land Raider, the Coronus suffers from several significant downsides. The first is the Arachnus cannon being basically a short-ranged lascannon and nothing else, which sucks when anti-vehicle weaponry is precisely what your army lacks. The second is the absence of the Power of the Machine Spirit special rule which means that your giant floater will hit on a 3+ because YES, it WILL be on the move almost every turn since Custodes REALLY need transports. Now do the math and you'll realize that the Coronus only gets +/-50% of the Land Raider's firepower against vehicles at shorter range and is actually worse against infantry too. Last but not least, the Land Raider is still significantly tougher than the Coronus against shooting attacks (+/-30% on average). Sure you're faster, sure you're flying over obstacles and can Fall Back, but you're still paying 380 points for ONE transport that won't fulfill the "moving fortress" role as well as the Land Raider would. All in all, the Coronus is an interresting unit when you really need extra mobility for a few models or expect a lot of close-combat units that would tarpit a ground vehicle but by no means it can replace a Land Raider otherwise. Your best bet is to use it as the designated shuttle for a pair of 3-man Warden squads.
  • Telemon Heavy Dreadnought (Forge World): It's a Dreadnought with almost as many wounds as a Land Raider, and at 2+/4++/6+++ it’s far tougher than any landraider, or any other vehicle for that matter, especially as it lacks the TITANIC keyword (so it doesn’t give a pair of dingos kidneys about titans) however, unlike the other FW units, you can only take one in your army. Sorry. However, it easily makes up for this by its sheer game-breaking power- for starters, its shooting game is very impressive. It can shoot its Spiculus Bolt Launcher (24” heavy 5 S5 ap-2 D1) twice when it doesn't move, by itself this makes it a perfect back field camper for chewing GEQ’s, while also having (by default) two 8” Heavy 2D6 S7 ap-3 D1 auto hitting flamer/plasma gun hybrids which hit like baby Inferno Guns, if you don’t want the standard flamer and fists (the latter being A4 S18! Ap-3 D3 re-rolling wounds rolls of 1, i.e. you have a 1/36 chance of failing a cqc attack that wounds Warhound titans on 2s) and would prefer a more long range dakka varient, you can swap one or both of the fists for either Arachnus las-storms (48” Heavy 10 S7 ap-1 DD3) for your light vehicle and horde chewing needs (the high rate of fire making up for the low ap), or a Iliastus accelerator culverin (36” Heavy 6 S8 ap-3 DD3) for your pseudo las cannon needs, something you desperately, because as already stated the custodes don’t have a lot of ranged anti armour. (Yes, we know this is the opposite of how those weapons work in 30k, blame it on being beta rules.) At 410 points for the default fisting loadout this king of all dreadnoughts is by no means cheaper, but expect it to last a very long time and to take a lot of other models down first, but unless your playing more than 1250 point games this model will define your army, and as the Custodes you’ll struggle to fill out a basic detachment with only 500-600 points left.
    • While it provide some much needed ranged anti-armor, the Telemon is very pricey for what it does: more shots and armor than a land raider, but only Dd3 at best, no machine spirit to fire on the move and most of all not a transport, which your custodes infantry desperately need.
      • Alternate take: Equipped with two Iliastus Accelerator Culverins, at 310 points you're putting 12 STR 8 AP -3 DD3 shots down at any tank that looks at you funny with the sheer number of shots compensating for the lack of D6 damage at a very reasonable cost (no need to take fists when we desperately need long ranged anti-tank, plus we have enough units that can threaten pretty much anything in melee). Plus compared to a Venerable Land Raider, this thing is more durable with a 4++, can deep strike anywhere you want to get all its guns in range, and actually does a much better job at anti-tank duty. This thing is at least as good as a Leviathan Dreadnought, if not better. Its incredible fisting strength makes it one of the few things in this army which can deal with Titans and things like the Knight Porphyrion - it's strength 9 (S18 with fists), allowing it to bypass these models high toughness characteristics, while looking “cheap” by comparison. It’s guns are no slouch either, making this a golden demon to rival all others.
    • Being a dreadnought, it can be FGLTC'd right where you need it, when you need it. Terrifying indeed, and best used by a fisting dred to get stuck into melee as soon as possible. Or you can use FGLTC to protect your big golden boy from turn 1 shooting and then drop him down within 24 inches of an enemy to get him in range of all his guns.
    • Don't take two fists, as they are hugely overpriced and you don’t even get an extra attack to taking two. If you must, take one to deter charges and smash vehicles if any are within range but otherwise stick with two guns. Also, a Telemon is intended to be far more of a mobile gunrig rather than a full-on melee beatstick. If you want a beatstick Dread, take the Achillus or a Contemptor with dual fists. In any case, 4 S9 attacks will still wound most tanks on 3s. In case you were thinking of taking a second fist for the extra autohitting plasma/flamer thing, don’t (unless you know you’re going up against melee hordes, like Gauntspam). Paying an extra 65 points for essentially another twin plasma ejector when it was already overcosted in the first place isn't worth sacrificing more meaningful shooting in the shooting phase, especially when you're only paying 45/60 points per gun in comparison. One fist should be enough to deter chargers when they know they have to eat 2D6 auto hitting plasma shots already on top of needing to survive 4 swings of STR 18 AP -3 D3 attacks rerolling wound rolls of 1 if they really want to tango with your Telemon in close combat.


Officio Assassinorum[edit]

Meh. They don’t really bring anything major. The vindicare provides long range shooting, and the callidus is a good cqc character hunter, but the Custodes don’t really need more character hunters, especially a cqc one. The eversor could be kind of viable, as an anti-horde merchant or a distraction carnifex, but there are better options. The Culexus plugs the DTW hole nicely, but if you’re going for a null unit, the sisters of silence are a better, and fluffier, bet. You could also, you know, take an actual psyker instead?

Astra Militarum[edit]

Now we’re talking! The guard bring something that your golden boys desperately need: cheap, expendable bodies that can hold objectives (something that is a major limiting factor to the Custodes), and A LOT of them. This means your Golden boys can get up the field and get stuck into combat, with a guard Battalion providing you with the cheapest 8CP available in the game. Need I say more? For best results, combine 3 or 4 30-man guard squads with a Vexilla Defensor each to give your blobs a 5++. And suddenly your opponent shits themselves. In addition, the guard also bring another vital lacking component: anti armour. LONG RANGED anti armour, so much of it that I can’t possibly name it all. But when you have a Custodes melee Death Star, supported by your pick of a Baneblade, a Shadowsword (for Custodes with anti Titan firepower), Basilisks, a Manticore or two, or, if you’re feeling lucky, a Deathstrike (because The Golden Pimp Bananas with nukes in support is too much fun), your opponent will be trembling. Even if you wanted to be a cheapskate, a trio of Russes with Pask will still do the anti-armour job nicely. All in all, the Guard plug (nearly) every single plot hole with the Custodes’ crunch, making this one of, if not the, best alliances you can run as a Custodes player. Just... try not to be that guy, ok?

Space Marines[edit]

A very fluffy mix, as Guilliman goes nowhere without Custodes and his Pimp Marines. You've also almost certainly got some lying around, so that's another plus. The main upside to the Marines is their being a an extremely versatile jack-of-all trades force with no equal. Need an easy source of mortal wounds? Librarians. Need Plasma? Hellblasters. Need a lot of low-strength firepower? Intercessors or Tactical Marines or even scouts. Need a game-breaking unit that'll lose you all your friends? Chaplain Dreadnought/ Leviathan Dread/ Spartan Assault Tank/ Astraeus Gunship/ Thunderhawk. Need a melée beatstick that'll also give you extra CPs, make your units get up the field in record time and allow you to re-roll all failed hit and wound rolls, all for under 365pts? Grandpapa Smurf is your man. The list goes on and on, as the Space Marines are capable of fulfilling any role, making them arguably the best ally currently in the game. The only downside is that they cost a lot relative to the Guard, so are not a good candidate for character screening duty. In addition, as you're burning points like there's no tomorrow when building a Custodes army, you might find it difficult to include all the Marines units you want to, so prioritise what your army needs most of all.

Imperial Knights[edit]

An interesting and complementary mix, as the Custodes are excellent character hunters and are capable of controlling objectives with their (very) fast Jetbikes, but lack dedicated anti-vehicle weapons, while knights are excellent at hunting down vehicles but lack the shot output to deal with hordes. This combo will definitely struggle to rake in the command points that other armies do, but your army will be effective whatever enemy is thrown at it, and it gives you an excuse to paint your knight gold and red (go on, you know you want a golden banana knight). Incidentally, these Banana Knights are actually kinda Canon - No, seriously, the first drawings of the Custodes and Golden Throne by John Blanche (praised be his name) had a pair of titans standing guard in the background, yeah? And The Beast Arises series also confirmed these Warhound titan guards to be canon. Therefore, is it really too far to stretch the mind that the pimpstodes have a couple of knight suits lying 'round the Emprah's dusty old house? They do have access to tech that most people can only dream of (Jetbikes, hover tanks with cannons as long as they are, disintegration guns welded onto power spears (once FW gets off their asses), etc.). They also use the Contemptor Chassis as their most common type of dreadnought.

In addition, the Knights (sorry, Questor Imperialis) are set to get their codex VERY soon, so the wierd keywords and stratagem stuff that’s been plaguing them for ages will be fixed. Both armies could soon be getting (even more) new models, as well as FW releasing additional experimental (and, eventually, official) rules for their Custodes models, opening up even more customisation options to very specifically tailor your army list to whatever you’re fighting (even though it’s considered incredibly bad “sportsmanship” to only build your list once you know your opponent’s). In short, it’s a good time to have a custodian or a knight army, it’s an even better time to have the two together in a single force.

(Plus there's really cool Custodes Knight conversions on Shapeways).

Adeptus Titanicus[edit]

Ok, lets get one thing straight. If you bring a Custodes + Titan combo to any game, be it Apocalypse, Tournaments (good luck finding one with a point limit high enough), or even just a casual beer-and-pretzel game at a friend's house, your name will be worse than mud within two minutes, and you will automatically be regarded as That Guy forevermore. Regardless, if you don't mind losing ALL your friends, and have this sort of money to throw around (i.e. if you're a drug lord), then this is THE most rage-inducing, unfair, game-breaking alliance currently in the game. Custodes-Titanicus is everything good about the Custard Knights combo turned up to 11 and then some. Titans, the most powerful, durable, expensive (in points and dollars) units in the game, providing fire support for the strongest fighting army in the game. Strap the Apocalypse missile launchers, Volcano Cannon, and Plasma Annihilator to a warlord titan, bring Valoris and a sprinkling of Jetbikes and Wardens along for the ride, waltz into your gaming club, proclaim yourself as having brought Custardes and a Titan, and expect LITERALLY NO-ONE to fight you. However, if someone is dumb enough to go against you, expect to curb-stomp them in well under four game rounds. It also gives you the chance to paint a titan gold and red, and come on, you just know you want to do that.

Adeptus Mechanicus[edit]

Much like the Ultramarines before Ward fucked them over, in that they’re good at everything but not the best at anything. Cheap bodies for screening/objective holding, anti-horde duty, heavy firepower, you name it, they can do it, but with nowhere near the ability of other forces (IG, SMs, SOSs, etc.). Personally, my experience is that they’re best when with war machines (duh), so maybe bring Cawl and magi with either 3 Dunecrawlers (armed appropriately according to your enemy), or Cawl and two Magi-Dominus in a SCD when you’re running the Custard Knights or Titan team-up. Otherwise, don’t bother.

  • Alternative Opinion: AdMech actually works quite well with Custodes. They provide a cheap battalion and also fill in the hole Custodes have in shooting. Two Dominus (or one and a Tech-Priest), two squads of 5 Vanguard, and a squad of 10 Rangers with 2 Transuranic Arquebus gives you 5 command points for about 500 points (keep in mind, however, that this is more a nice bonus than a fully-fledged reason you should take AdMech as an ally. If you want a source of quick and easy CPs, go for Imperial Guard). If you made your Warlord a Dominus and gave him Monitor Malevolus, you will get 1CP on a 6+ for any Stratagem that you or your opponent use. As a Custodes player, I don't think I need to tell you how important this is. The Arquebus can target Characters when it shoots, and two S7 AP-2 shots (with the possibility of dealing additional mortal wounds), re-rolling hit rolls of 1 from the Dominus and an additional BS with a Strategem is extremely dangerous. Make them Stygies VIII for that -1 to hit, throw in a Vexilla Mangifica for another -1 to hit (or a Vexilla Defensor for a 5++), and they become near impossible to kill. Furthermore, the -1 to toughness from the Vanguard makes it worth sending a squad to go into combat alongside a Warden squad to make them even more lethal. If you have the points, a Dunecrawler supported by a Dominus gives you far more ranged power, especially anti-horde. They make a great support to a Custodes army, as they're tougher than IG and so useful for more things than simply sitting on backfield objectives or providing bubblewrap cover for Valoris (although they don't have as many armoured options as the IG).
    • Alternative Alternative: Stygies VIII also gives you access to an aggressive first turn that will either shut down your opponent's front line units or force some wasteful CP use to keep them relevant. After getting in your above-mentioned Loyal 11-32 robots, consider Electro-Priests, Sicarans, or Dragoons to round out your list and provide a first-turn Anvil to your Vertus Praetor Hammer by landing easy first turn charges.

Sisters Of Silence[edit]

Do it. Just do it. You have no reason not to - VERY fluffy, they plug the DTW hole, they make basically no impact on your points tally as a Custodes player, and a Talons force is basically identical to a pure CustardPimp army, both aesthetically and in play-style. As for how to use them, do you need to be told? Have them hunting psykers, or as bodyguards for Valoris when playing against Aeldari or smite spammers (for obvious reasons).

General Tactics[edit]

Psychic/Anti-Psychic Support[edit]

If you find yourself facing a psychic-heavy army (Craftworlds, Thousand Sons, Daemons, etc) you may want to invest in some ways to supplement the built in 6+++ Custodes have in against psychic mortal wounds. You're either going to want to pick up some allied psykers yourself, or find ways to negate the abilities of your enemy. Here's some strategies:

  • Supreme Command of AM Primaris Psykers: For only 138 points, you can bring a supreme command detachment of Astra Militarum Primaris Psykers. At the VERY least, this nets you 3 smites, 3 DTW's (for the psychic defense we're talking about), and 1CP to boot. This is a good option for players that prefer to run Custodes as close to pure as possible, but are worried about the 4-5 psykers and tonnes of mortal wounds that their friend is likely bringing to face them on the weekend. Run these guys up behind whichever footslogging Custodes you're bringing in order to keep the Psykers safe while covering the Custodes with Smites and Denies.
    • In terms of psychic powers to choose from, at first it seems bleak since 4 out of the 6 options are buffs for other AM units. The only two possible options actually turn out to be more useful than they first appear. Terrifying Visions goes off on a 7 and debuffs an enemy unit within 18" for -2 Ld. While not amazing, this could be incredibly useful if the Custodes squad in front of your psyker is about to chop an enemy unit to bits and you want that extra insurance that any survivors will flee to morale. The second choice is Psychic Maelstrom which also goes off on a 7 and allows you to mortal-wound a target on progressively harder D6 rolls until you fail one. 2+ (1 MW), 3+ (1 MW), 4+ (1 MW), etc. While this won't go off as easily or wound as reliably as smite, it does have the benefit of allowing you to target an enemy unit within 18" instead of having to select the closest. This can allow you to microwave an enemy character's brain that your opponent though he had protected safe behind a bubblewrap. It may not always kill the character depending on their stats, but many 3 or even 4 wound characters will be sweating as you roll those dice; ESPECIALLY if they've already lost a wound or two earlier in the game. Then whatever support aura they were supplying to their units is gone and your Custodes friends can get stuck in with even less worry. If neither of these powers apply to the current turn, just smite away! Remember, you took these 3 guys for the Denies and the CP.
  • Sisters of Silence: Exactly what it sounds like, get Sisters of Silence, put them in front of your Custodes, and most of your Smight Spam will be solved.

Close Combat Specialists[edit]

1. Make half your army Termies, the other half Wardens and Valoris in a VLR. Arm them how you want, I don't care.

If you get 1st turn:

2. Move up the field with your VLR and Wardens as far and fast as possible, using the lascannons on the VLR to wreck any enemies that pose a potential threat (e.g. Bloodthirsters).

3. Teleport the entire Terminator contingent right in front of your enemy's gun line, using Unleash the Lions stratagem if you want to.

4. Soften up intended targets with shooting from bolters and VLR.

5. Give 'em hell.

If you don't get 1st turn:

2. Wardens and Valoris survive Turn 1 shooting via the VLRs' protection.

3. Teleport the entire Terminator contingent right in front of your enemy's gun line, while Wardens, Valoris and VLR get up the pitch as quick as possible. Use Unleash the Lions Stratagem if you want to.

4. Soften up intended targets with shooting from bolters and VLR.

5. Give 'em hell.

An extremely basic and rudimentary tactic that your opponent WILL see coming even pre-game, unless he's an absolute retard, and even the retards will see it coming after Deployment. If it comes off (which it will, unless something awful happens to your save rolls in turn 1 shooting), this will break the back of your enemy's infantry contingent, exposing his tanks and characters for your Termies and incoming Warden Wrecking Ball to tackle next turn. Employ any remaining reserves as surgical strike teams, taking out important targets squirrelled away at the back of the board. Good for beginners but probably not viable for big tournaments such as the Vegas Open.

Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
General Tactics