Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Adeptus Custodes(8E)
After a daemonic incursion on Holy Terra and the return of Gorillaman, the Custodes decided to stop locking themselves inside the Emperor's house and finally went out into the galaxy to do shit.
Keep in mind these are the rules for 8th edition 40k, the rules for 9th edition can be found here.
- 1 Why play Talons of The Emperor
- 2 Special Rules
- 3 Stratagems
- 4 Tactical Objectives
- 5 Armoury
- 6 Warlord Traits
- 7 Unit Analysis
- 8 Allies
- 9 General Tactics
Why play Talons of The Emperor
Maybe you like gold, perhaps you like playing as them for the 20 minutes between their initial release in 7e and the announcement of 8e, or perhaps 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. The 40k Custodes now have a proper Codex, complete with options in every slot- and Forge World finally released 40k rules for all their Legio Custodes units, 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.
The full rules for the Custodes Forge World materiel can be found here.
- You like anything close to this: golden armored better than the best of the best of the defenders of humanity, with the genes of the emprah himself.
- You like running an army that, to whatever battlezone they deploy, the Administratum will immediately classify as a victory. Even before they 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 moving and understanding the game very easy.
- Your infantry are individually as tough as a hero compared to other armies: T5, 2+/4++, 3W is normal here!
- If you want to you can upgrade that 4++ to a 3++ relatively easily, and still hit like a tonne of bricks.
- You want to have access to the toughest, non-named character in the game (T6, W7, 2+/3++/5++ and rerolls on those saves)... We thought we'd seen His mightiest. We thought we'd witnessed the smashiest and fuckiest character in the game. Then, the War of the Spider raged and we were, oh, so wrong.
- Although not very diverse, they have BEAUTIFUL models with nice armor 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 to play as Super Space Marines, but don't like the idea of playing teamkilling psychopaths!
- 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. Now Forgeworld has stopped moving slow as fuck we 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 and a playstyle which isn't exactly hard to master.
- 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.
- It's not that expensive to build a Custodes army when compared to quite a few other factions (still expensive but every GW army is). 2000pts worth of Custodes will likely cost you less than a 2000pt Guard, Tau or Tyranid army as examples, and you will certainly save money on paint and glue and your dudes will take less than a quarter of the time to build and paint that a nid/guard/ork horde army would.
- The Legio Custodes units are finally unleashed upon the Dark Imperium. Of course, this comes with all the goodies that entails.
- You might get tired of gold after a while (in which case, start painting Shadowkeepers or Solar Watch instead).
- You WILL get tired of the Austin Powers jokes.
- You will get even more tired of the "Little Kitten" jokes.
- In 8th edition a.k.a The Volume of Fire Edition your high priced (both points and dollars) Bananamen are at risk of falling to high volumes of low strength fire. There are plenty of ways to protect yourself, but even The Emperor’s Companions are not immortal in these dark times.
- While the Custodes Forgeworld units are among the best in the game now they have 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.
- Only three named characters and no real diversity to them (either 1 of 2 big guys that kick ass in melee or a terrifying women that makes you wet yourself to look upon her) such as dreadnought or mounted units. There’s also no forge world HQ’s to make use of all the forge world goodies.
- Without an allied detachment or Forgeworld units, your anti-armor and long-range games are severely lacking. Not a huge problem for Custodes but using Allarus Terminators, Vertus Jetbikes and Contemptor Dreadnoughts to deal with TEQ heavy or mechanized armies can be quite expensive.
- No psykers means no Deny the Witch. Sure, you have Aegis of the Emperor and some relics/strats that can help with this, but you will want a dedicated Psyker defense. Bringing in an allied detachment with a psyker or a few Sisters of Silence, or(both) is a good idea.
- You might be considered That Guy.
- 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 actually holding Objectives. 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.
- A pure Custodes list without allies isn't very competitive in 8th, you can bring allies to reliably win.
- As you scroll through the unit analysis section, you might notice one major thing: this is the only army in the game where forge world units make up more than half of all available units (14 FW to 11 GW). As a result, practically the only way to make a pure Custodes list faintly competitive is to use Forge World, which is a problem if you’re poor like most of the editors of 1d4chan are. Hey! The sucker punch here, however, is that there are not yet forge world HQ variants of the forge world units. So no jet pack captain to deep strike with your jet packs. No uber jet bike captain to escort your uber jet bikes. And no terminator captain with the uber power Fist to lead your murderball of S: 10 destruction.
- Another negative is that some local store tournament organizers or puritan players may not allow Forge World units to be used in "official" games. This is highly subjective to your local competitive scene. Do note that official GW tournaments and any tournaments following the ITC rule set decree that all currently supported Forge World units are fully legal for use.
- You will suffer against anything with decent invulnerability saves or stuff like quantum shielding that allows a model to ignore high damage weapons. Regardless of how good you are in combat, things like Wulfen and bike squads with TH/SS will gladly stay and fight you, or worse chase you down. Fail one save and you're gone, while it might take two attacks from us to kill a multiple wound model. Custodes rely on high damage per hit to kill their targets as opposed to eg. The imperial guard who rely on rate of fire, and in the 8th edition a high rate of fire is king. The good news is that your basic guns are only 2 damage, so while they can still knock a decent chunk of wounds off a target, they'll still be quite hard to stop with stuff like Quantum Shielding. This only gets better in CC as you now have an eye-watering high number of attacks to add to high S and AP characteristics, essentially making you become the Imperial Guard Shooting Phase when in combat. D3 damage again also helps you dodge QS.
- Aegis of the Emperor: Lore wise, it's the blessing of the Emperor; Gameplay-wise it gives all units with this rule a 5+ invulnerable save and a 6+ against wounds caused in the "psychic phase". Now your Custodes are Terminators on steroids and opponents won't be able to so reliably use psychic powers alone to bypass your high 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. See "Talons of the Emperor" for interaction with Sisters of Silence.
- 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 6+ save against mortal wounds caused by psychic powers. Your opponent's only real choices are to find more dakka (be it through bringing more weapons or 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.
- Shield Host: The Custodes finally have rules for the different shield hosts, allowing for some gamey combos. Want to protect a huge blob? Maybe see about the extra aura distance of the Emissaries. Want to have a character absolutely fuck up another character in melee? Shadow keepers have a relic for that. Want to make an Imperial Knight live forever? Aquilan Shield has him covered like a condom. But, honestly, let's stop bullshitting. The juiciest piece is the Dread Host reserve bomb.
- 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 (outside of simply slaughtering the enemy completely) due to their cripplingly low average model count.
- This is especially potent against armies that cut down on Troops 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.
- Witch Hunters: Re-roll all failed rolls to wound when attacking a PSYKER in the Fight phase.
- Psychic Abomination: Sisters of Silence can never be targeted by any psychic power, friend or foe. Additionally, when not in a transport they force enemy PSYKERs to subtract 1 from all Psychic and DtW tests they take if a unit with this rule is within 18" of them. This stacks for each unit with the rule that's present up to a maximum of -4, so having enough Sisters of Silence near a unit will make psychic tests practically impossible for them.
- If you have a hater-boner for your friend playing a psyker-heavy army, include an auxiliary detachment with an indomitus crusader librarian and take the reliquary of Gathalamor. -4 to psychic test and 50% chance of d3 mortal wounds on a failed psychic ability means they will be SMITING THEMSELVES.
- The above may now only be useful against Grey Knights and Tzeentch, as they are the only factions who can Smite Spam without any penalty.
- The Index Imperium FAQ to this rule explains that it completely shuts down the Smite power if they are the closest target. It does not skip over them and affect the next nearest target. This is incredibly useful against opponents who heavily spam the power, opponents who were once praying to get to play you in tournaments.
- Negative to cast modifiers also make it easier for you to Deny The Witch through e.g. Impregnable Mind WT or Spark of Divinity strat as it becomes easier to beat their total and cancel their power.
- Null Maidens: Sisters of Silence can be taken in any army with the Imperium keyword as a Vanguard detachment, even though they have no HQ units to fill the HQ slot. However, this detachment will not grant its customary +1CP as a Vanguard detachment normally would. Sadly White Dwarf October updated this rule and now taking an Astra Telepathica HQ doesn't allow the detachment to retain the +1 CP.
- Talons of the Emperor: The one we've been waiting for, Sisters of Silence in a detachment of Custodes, in a battle-forged army, no longer interrupts the detachment being "Adeptus Custodes" for the purposes of The Emperors Chosen and similar rules. The Sisters, though, do not gain these rules themselves. This applies to all factions that have at least one faction keyword in common with the Sisters.
- If your army is battle-forged, select a Shield Host for each detachment of Custodes; all Custodes within that detachment, except Trajann, gain <Shield Host> special rule.
- If your army is led by a Custodes Warlord, you may give the <Shield Host> relic to an AC character within the <Shield Host> detachment instead of one from the Codex. You can give your <Shield Host> warlord their respective warlord trait, and that detachment can use their respective strategem.
- WLT: "Lock Warden": -1 HR vs. Characters, -1 to Character saves (including Invuln).
- Other than higher damage weapons this is the only real way for your characters to increase their damage output against those pesky hero’s running around with 4+ and 3+ invuln saves. This does not specify that it is in the fight phase either, so have fun shooting your bike captain with a hurricane bolter at characters and watching them melt. One funny way to run this is with a normal captain with a spear, give him the Gatekeeper relic alongside this warlord trait, and now you're shooting 6 spear shots at a character with -2 ap essentially. Combo with the strat for double shots and that's 12 spear shots now.
- Relic: "Statis Oubliette": Select one enemy Character at 3" of the bearer at the start of fight phase. This character has his Attacks value halves (rounded up) and Shadowkeepers units can reroll their Wound rolls of 1 against them.
- Note that there is no range limitation to not benefiting from the rerolls to 1, so that dreadnought, land raider and any mates they have in the back line can join in the fun. Functionally a bit meh if you’ve brought big boss along (which you will have).
- Strat: "Grim Responsibility" (1CP): Enemy attacks suffer a -1 malus to their Strength value when targeting a Shadowkeeper unit (any phase).
- Superb for those moments when your units would be up against strength 10 weapons which would otherwise wipe them out. Also an amazing way to counter bolter or flamer spam. Suddenly making all of those weapons St3 means they need 6s to wound your bikes or vehicles. Obviously good against St3 weapons to turn them St2. Tons of application with this strat. Force Lascannons to wound on 4s against your Telemon. Force meltas to wound on 4s against your tanks. Amazing.
- WLT: "Sally Forth": 6" Aura of +1" to move and advance and, while within this aura, units that have advanced can shoot with Rapid Fire weapons, at a -1HR, in the shooting phase.
- Turns smashfucker and his mates on bikes into even faster monsters that can still fire after advancing up the field, and even at -1 to hit 10 hurricane bolters in rapid fire range will kill something.
- Relic: "Swiftsilver Talon" (Guardian Spear): Standard melee profile and Assault 4 S4 AP-1 D2 shooting. AND it allows the bearer to fire and shoot even if he made Advance or Fall Back this turn.
- Strat: "Eagle Strikes" 0CP: After enemy Character is destroyed, +1 CP to next opponent strat (Once Per BR).
- WLT: "Voice of the Emperor": While within 9", Imperium units use the warlord's leadership, +3" range to OTHER Auras (this has been applied to the leadership range).
- Relic: "Vexillus Dominatus": <6" Re-roll failed leadership for Imperium Inf/Bikes. While within 6", EI Custodes are considered to be 3 models when counting for securing objectives. (1 = 3, 2 = 6, 3 = 9...)
- Strat: "The Emperor's Hand" 1CP: Ignore modifiers when shooting/fighting.
- WLT: "Revered Companion": Halves damage against the Warlord.
- Relic: "Praesidius": Storm Shield, -1 to Wound rolls that target this character.
- Strat: "Shield of Honour" 1CP: Imperium Character <3", resolve all attacks vs an Aquilan Shield unit instead.
- WLT: "All-Seeing Annihilator": 6" Aura, all melee gain additional hit on 6s.
- Relic: "Admonimortis": A Castellan Axe with S+3 AP-3 D3 in melee. Your ONLY infantry melee weapon with a flat Damage value in the entire Custodes list, perfect to reliably hunt down characters or monsters.
- Strat: "The Golden Light of the Moiraides" 1/2CP: Select in the charge phase; Teleported units, 3d6 drop lowest for charges out of deep-strike. 1CP = 1 Unit, 2CP = up to 3 Units.
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 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, 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.
- another weakness is that the opponents would rather focus down a unit rather than spread it out, so only one or two units will benefit if not the whole unit gets destroyed.
- 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 larger squads, 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 against Chaos Space Marines, increased 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 the wound roll. 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 becomes AP0. However, enemy infantry hit by it cannot overwatch and take a -1 penalty to hit (like the Reivers' shock grenades).
- Even 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.
- 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 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 300 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 prioritize by proximity (unless you need that <insert unit> dead).
- 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.
- 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 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 does 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 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 the best, based on what the sentinel blade is, but nice for softening an incoming charge or screwing with an enemy's plan if you get lucky. However, if you run a sword and board squad for dealing with hordes, the two pistol shots each will help them to not get drowned in attacks, and the ability to get off even more horde clearance cannot be overstated, although it does compete for CP with other ridiculously good stratagems.
- 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 a 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 traits like Superior Creation or Radiant Mantle, all the while not giving up Warlord.
- Spark of Divinity (1 CP): Forget the others, like FGLTC and VTH, this is your single most important stratagem in your arsenal. Overstatement? Well, for just 1CP it allows your Custodians to Deny The Witch within 12 inches. If you've come this far (and if you keep going) in this article, you'll have noticed that the Custodians have 3 main problems: CPs, the volume of fire (both enemy and friendly), and Psychic Defence. This Stratagem plugs two of them. It's cheap for what it does, and helps keep your boys alive long enough against Psyker armies like Aeldari, Thousand Sons, Daemons, Grey Knights, etc. to get into combat and kill the witches (or for your Venatari and Termies to deepstrike on Turn 2 and assassinate them). It's not going to be a good substitute for normal Psyker defense on its own though, because while they can spam Smite and other powers you cannot spam this Stratagem. Finally, if you bring Valoris you can use his moment shackle after using this to essentially give you a free use. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT IT.
- 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 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, which can completely change the battle. One of the best stratagems 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 neutralize 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, 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. Pair this with the Coronus Grav-Carrier's -2 to charge distance for some true cheese.
- 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 auto take. 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 the 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.
- Remember that this stratagem is used during 'deployment, meaning if you have a Grand Strategist-alike, you roll for EACH CP spent and can (potentially) get them all back, as the battle round has yet to begin.
- Also remember that this reroll is per PLAYER turn, meaning you can reroll a failed wound roll in your turn, and a save in your opponents. Contrary to the above, if you have the CP to spare, you absolutely should be using this Strategem.
- 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 by giving 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 a Primarch, Typhus, Ghazghkul Thraka, etc).
Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider Strategems
- Captain-commander (1CP): Use this Strategem before the battle, and select a Shield-Captain model from your army that is not a named character. Select one of the following traits for that model; this stratagem is usable once per battle.
- Bane of Abominations: Re-roll Wound Roll against Monsters and vehicles. Not bad, but seems half usable on a biker captain.
- Defiant to the Last: +1 attack per wound lost, to a maximum of +3 attacks. Looks tempting, but usually if your captain is taking damage, he lost maybe 1 wound from failing a random 2+ save or he got focused and nuked down and is dead now.
- Indomitable Constitution: +2 wounds. Amazing. Bike captain is now tougher than Roboute Guilliman (if you take the 3++ relic), but without the ability to come back to life.
- Inspirational Exemplar: +3" to aura effects. Good on a captain sitting back with tanks or walking up the board with foot soldiers.
- Master of Melee: +2 Attacks when within 1" from 5 or more enemy models. Better than the Defiant to the Last trait.
- Slayer of the Unclean: Double damage on WR of 6, melee AND shooting.
- Strategic Mastermind: 5+ Regen per CP SPENT
- Swift as the Eagle: +1" move/adv/charge
- Unstoppable Destroyer: D3+3' pile in, consolidate pile in towards any model in range. Consolidate can be away from enemy models.
- Ancient Artifice (1 CP): Half damage to Dreadnoughts.
- Arcane Genetic Alchemy (2 CP): When a non-vehicle unit is chosen to be attacked, wound rolls of 1-3 always fails until the end of the phase. Transhuman on our units!
- Archeotech Munitions (1 CP): DD6 weapons, roll 2 dice and select the highest. Melta rules on weapons that don't have melta. Situational but definitely good when you rememeber to use it.
- Auramite and Adamantium (1 CP): Custodes Terminators ignore AP-1 and AP-2, until end of the phase.
- Blood Games Veterans (1/2 CP): Units of 5 models, 1CP. 6+ models is 2CP; shooting phase unmodified 6 to hit = Auto-wound target. Great when you have a lost of shots against tough targets and you just need to pick it apart.
- Eternal Penitent (1 CP): Select a Dread, selectable once. Dread has +1 Attack and Reroll Charges for the game. Really cool if you want to get your new Telemon dread into combat without committing to Dread Host.
- Fortress of Willpower (1 CP): Custodes targeted by Psychic Powers, after DTW, on 4+ no effect. (+3 if wardens).
- Fraternity of Heroes (1 CP): At the end of the enemy's charge phase, one Custodes unit that's not within 1" of an enemy model can immediately perform a Heroic Intervention. If your enemy ever thought that they're dealing with only one bunch, throw some more bananas into the mix!
- Indomitable Engines (1 CP): Vehicle 5+ FNP against Mortal Wounds, starting when you WOULD take a mortal wound on a vehicle. Lasts one phase. Know you're about to take a bunch of mortals from Smite spam? Throw that Pallas tank or Contemptor dread up front and try to tank some of the hits before your Guard do.
- Slayer of Nightmares (2 CP): Can +1WR if targeted something with higher Toughness than own, in the fight phase. We really needed this. Makes axes wound on 3s against knights. Spears have a cheaper version of this, but still good.
- Superior Fire Patterns (1 CP): During the shooting phase, pick one unit of Custodes Infantry. For this phase, they can double all shots using Pistol and Rapid Fire weapons. This is one of those strats that you will be using every phase if you can. The main application would be on terminators of both kinds. The Allarus will get double shots on their axes when they sniper characters, and a squad of 5 alone would get 20 shots. The Aquilon Terminators with their Storm Bolters would get 8 shots each...That's 40 shots with a squad of 5. Also, a funny way to run this would be if you took the Gatekeeper Spear relic. That's 12 shots with a single character.
- Ten Thousand Heroes (1 CP): Once per battle, additional Warlord Trait for a non-warlord Adeptus Custodes model. Each WLT in your army must be unique. (ONLY ONE)
- The Emperor's Auspice (2 CP): No re-rolls for attacks against this unit for the phase.
- Useful against many enemies, but especially Death Stars which would otherwise attempt to swarm you with reroll all hits and reroll 1’s to wound. At the top end you can reduce damage taken by 20%, and potentially cause mortal wounds from plasma.
- Vengeance of the Machine Spirit (2 CP): When a vehicle with PotMS is destroyed it can Auto-explode, make a shooting attack, or make single weapon attack. Use top row of damage table for resolving attacks.
Sisters of Silence
- Creeping Dread (1 CP): -1HR <6", one phase.
- Decapitating Strikes (1 CP): Vigilators are +1WR, until end of phase.
- Desperation's Price (1 CP): 18" additional D3 MWs perils.
- Empyric Severance (1 CP): 18" 3+ stops a psychic power, AFTER DTW.
- Immaterial Dissonance (1 CP): Psyk-out grenades that hit 1 daemon/psyker, no overwatch and -1HR in melee until end of turn.
- Punishment Fire (1 CP): Prosecutors bolters, 18" Assault 3.
- Purgation Sweep (1/2 CP): Units up to 5, 1CP. 6+, 2CP. Flamers rolling less than 4W = 4W.
- Talons (1 CP): Until the end of phase, re-roll HR for SoS unit when <6" of Custodes THAT HAVE ALREADY ATTACKED IN THAT PHASE.
- 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 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 found on the Games Workshop units are as follows:
- 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 MEQ’s, TEQ’s, custodes, anything less than toughness 8, GEQ’s; although 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.
- Sentinel Blades: Pistol 2 S4 ap0 D1, your only weapon choice if you're running shielded custodians for when you 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 that 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.
- Outperforms the Salvo Launcher against most targets (including some vehicles of toughness 7 or less) when in rapid-fire range by sheer Ork levels of dice, especially when coupled with re-rolls to hit. Your go-to choice unless you have some toughness 7 or higher with good armor saves which require your tender administrations.
- 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. When using Flakk to shoot non-supersonic FLY, however, your BS will still be 2+ even if you moved. 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.
- As Chapter Approved dropped its points so that it's a mere 5 points more than a Hurricane Bolter, its flaws might no longer outweigh the benefit.
- Multi-melta: Found exclusively on the venerable contemptor dreadnought. Same as any other multi-melta, and one of the few ranged anti-armor 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 strength and AP.
Ranged Weapons found on the Forge World units are as follows:
- Achillus Dreadspear: 24" Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 d3D, making it essentially a Leman Russ battle cannon, instead of a d3 shot and d3 damage lascannon. A decent anti-armor weapon, but more of a tool for softening up the vehicle before the Achillus charges it and reduces said vehicle to slag.
- Adrasite Weapons: The Disintegration Beam weapons from the Horus Heresy are upgrades of the Space Marine Grav weapons, and are similarly odd weapons. While high AP and damage output seem tempting at first, it is offset by their rather mediocre strength. They will struggle to wound most vehicles while shooting at infantry will often result in overkill. They can have their applications against multi-wound models with low/medium toughness and a high armor save (e.g. Primaris Marines and TEQs, against whom they are perfect), and are usually cheaper than any alternatives. But it's questionable if you can afford to have dedicated anti-marine weapons in an army with such a low model count and no guarantee that you’ll face Marines. Ironically, they are also quite effective against other Custodes!
- Adrasite Spear: 18" Assault 1 S5 AP-3 D3, available on your FW troops. 4 points cheaper than its Pyrithite counterpart, so add a Misericordia to your A3 S6 AP-3 Dd3 melee and watch Marines cry.
- Adrastus Bolt Caliver: Has 2 profiles: the first one is Bolt volley 36" Assault 3 Heavy Bolter (S5 AP-1 D1) or a Disintegration beam 15" Assault 1 S5 AP-3 D3. Exclusive to Sagittarum Custodians. As usual with combi-weapons, you can fire both profiles during a single shooting phase at the cost of getting -1 on your hit rolls, which is mathematically worth it in the case of the caliver.
- Adrathic Devastator: Found on Dickbike Custodians. 18" Heavy 2 S6 AP-3 D3. A little meh but it will chew through all the varieties of infantry and chip away at vehicles before a charge.
- Twin Adrathic Destructor: An option for Aquilons and spearnaughts. 18" Assault 2 S5 AP-3 D3.
- Arachnus Weapons A heavy weapon that has two fire modes, an Anti-vehicle beam that rerolls against Vehicles and a Burst that trades quality for quantity and is more adept against MEQ and TEQ.
- Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon: Found on big boi Orion, it has 2 firing modes: Beam, which is a 48" Heavy 1 S9 Ap-4 3D+3 re-rolls wounds against Vehicles and Burst, which is a 36" Heavy 4 S7 AP-2 D1. Increases the Orion's firepower flexibility greatly, allowing it to aid Pyrithite Spear-wielding Guard in tank-busting or Talon-and-Firepike Aquilons in horde-chewing.
- Arachnus Storm Cannon: As always, 2 firing modes: Beam, which is now a 36" Heavy 2 S8 Ap-4 3 re-rolls wounds against Vehicles and Burst, which is a 24" Heavy 6 S7 AP-2 D1.
- Twin Arachnus Blaze Cannon: A lighter Arachnus weapon: Beam is a 36" Heavy 2 S7 Ap-4 3 re-rolls wounds against Vehicles and Burst is a 24" Heavy 6 S5 AP-2 D1.
- Twin Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon: A Heavy Blaze Cannon with twice the shots on each mode.
- Arachnus magna-blaze cannon: found on the Ares gunship. its beam don't rerolls, but instead a 72" Heavy d3, S14 D3+6. and Burst is Heavy 3 S9 D3. The kind of gun that disintegrates tanks.
- Galatus Warblade: Twin heavy flamer with +1S.
- Iliastus Accelerator Culverin: 48" Heavy 4 S7 AP-3 D2; Exclusive to the Telemon. Your weapon of choice for dealing with Primaris-like infantry and light vehicles.
- Infernus Firepike: 12" heavy flamer with +1S exclusive to Aquilon Custodians. Now you can cook some units the turn you deepstrike.
- Infernus Incinerator: +1S heavy flamer. Good for dealing with GEQs. However, because it's Heavy, you can't advance. Found on Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnoughts.
- Kinetic Destroyer: Exclusive to Venatari Custodians. The only pistol in Forge World Custodes guns which means you can fire it in melee (but you want your flying boy in melee or not is another story). 18" Pistol 2 S6 AP-2 D2 can score an additional hit on an unmodified roll of 6. MEQ/Primaris/TEQ killers with enough range to put you out of rapid-fire range of most troops.
- Lastrum Bolt Cannon: A heavy bolter with +1S and -1AP.
- Lastrum Storm Bolter: A storm bolter that fires heavy bolter shells. Found on Aquilon Terminators and the Contemptor Achillus. It would be decent anti-MEQ firepower due to output and strength. Let down by its comparative lack of AP. Skip.
- For 5 pts, putting down 4 heavy bolter shots in rapid-fire range makes it a very efficient anti-infantry option for the points and puts it in serious contention vs the Infernus Firepike for Aquilons.
- Thanks to BS2 that is on average 3.33 (3.88 with Reroll 1) hits vs. the 3.5 of the Firepike at 12". Beyond 12" the Pike gets useless. While S6 is certainly beneficial on wounding it comes together with charge Protection at a premium of 10 Points.
- Plasma Ejector: More or less a Plasma Gun pretending to be a Heavy Flamer, with D6 S7 AP-3 D1 Autohits. As expensive as both weapons combined and now only found on the Exemplar's DCCW.
- Pyrithite Spear: A meltagun on a custodian spear. Utterly hilarious to use, especially when the bearers are FGLTC'd right on top of a tank column. The fact that it's an assault weapon also means that Guard armed with these can get up the field much quicker than regular guard while maintaining their ability to shoot (and even a -1 to hit still gives you 5 MEQ-level meltagun shots), which helps them go hunting T7 vehicles like dreadnoughts.
- Spiculus Bolt Launcher: 24" 5 shots heavy bolter; found on the Telemon.
- Spiculus Heavy Bolt Launcher: 48" Heavy 3 S7 AP-1 2D. Another Orion weapon. Again, it increases the versatility of the Orion as a fire support unit, this time allowing it to take on light vehicles and multi-wound infantry like Primaris Marines.
- Twin Iliastus Accelerator Cannon: Another Caladius gun; 60" Heavy 8 S7 AP-3 D2. The latest rules nerfed the Iliastus cannon's impact against vehicles and MEQs. However, the flat Damage value of 2 makes it way more reliable against multi-wound infantry. And let's be honest, the Caladius was too good for what it costed.
- Twin Las-Pulser: 24" Heavy 4 S8 AP-2 Dd3. Found on the Dickbikes and the Exemplar, and the best choice for both of them due to potentially high shot output and high strength. Previously a fairly unpredictable weapon because of its random number of shots, it was nicely buffed by the August 2019 new rules.
- Note the Exemplar's gun is a Las-Pulsar, which is 20 more points but has +1 Strength and AP, as well as a foot more range. Since the Exemplar is only in the first batch of beta rules and the Dickbikes are only in the second, it stands to question if you should use the old stats on the Dread's sheet or assume the new spelling (and thus stats) found on the bike take priority. Make sure to check with your opponent beforehand!
- Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon: You know what it is. Lastrum Bolt Cannon with double shots.
- Twin Plasma Projector: Comes with the Telemon's fist. 8" Heavy2d3 S6 AP-2 D1 auto-hit. It seems to have been specifically designed to help the Telemon deal with GEQs (S6 = 2+ to wound, Ap-2 = 7+ save, D1 has no overkill). However, it isn't very good at this due to its unreliable and comparatively low shot output - you will struggle to kill 10 conscripts over two turns' worth of shooting with one of these.
- Venatari Lance: 12" Assault 2 S6 AP-2 D2. Slight overkill on GEQs thanks to the D2 but can also do good work against MEQs and Primaris Marines thanks to its +2 strength and +1 AP over the Guardian Spear. It is also Assault, so you'll always get 2 shots and can fire it at MEQ-level BS when flying at full speed. A solid choice, but slightly overshadowed by the Destroyer. The better melee is what makes this shine.
The Melee Weapons for Games Workshop's Custodes units are as follows:
- Guardian Spear: It's a S+1 (i.e. S6) AP-3 melee weapon that does DD3 damage to a target. In other words, effectively a souped-up force axe/sword, and is your most standard weapon throughout the list. At only 9 points it is a very effective weapon.
- 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. The 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 (the guns are on the bikes) and it allows you to re-roll wounds on the charge. Tasty as hell.
- Jetbikes have the Fly Keyword, which means they can charge and attack flyers in melee. Just think about that.
- Misericordia: This power knife grants an additional attack at S: U AP-2 unless the model is equipped with a Storm Shield. At only 3 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 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. Also how you will be using any leftover points.
- Sentinel Blade: Strength User, AP-3, D3 damage; not as killy/strong 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...
The Melee Weapons for Forge World's Custodes units are as follows:
- Achillus Dreadspear: A brutal Sx2 (14) AP-3 DD6 weapon that treats all Damage rolls of 1 or 2 as 3 and also deals d3 mortal wounds on the charge. Perfect for hunting down large, single entities toughness 7 or less. Bend over and we'll make this quick. It can also handle T8-T13 thanks to its high strength, but if you charge a titan with it expect the Achillus to die immediately after attacking.
- Adrasite/Pyrthite Spear: A Guardian spear without access to the Piercing Strike stratagem, possibly in error as they only switched out their Bolters for disintegrators or meltas.
- Galatus Warblade: A 3 Damage Power Sword that now allows your dude to do D3 additional attacks. Sounds pretty good, yeah? Now give it to a Dreadnought.
- Solerite Power Gauntlet: An upgraded power fist for Forge World's class of Custodes Terminator, the Aquilon. Essentially a power fist with Ap-4 and no -1 to hit roll. So, this means that from a unit of 3 Aquilons, you will get 12 strength 10 Ap -4 Damage d3 attacks hitting on 2s. Anything without a high invuln will evaporate. This makes the Aquilon your go-to footsloggers for killing big beasties like greater daemons or superheavies.
- You will generally take this on your Aquilons over the Talon as the price is really the only downside to it when comparing it to the Talon (and even then the gauntlet is only 4 points more expensive), while the higher strength, ap, and damage means it can tackle a much wider range of opponents and, really, going from wounding everything T6 and above on 4s and 5s to wounding everything below Reaver Titans on 2s and 3s will make a big big difference, both to your play style and your opponent's (funnily enough, people don't like the idea of leaving A4 WS2+ relic power fists alone).
- Solerite Power Talon: Str 6 Ap-2 damage 1, reroll failed wound rolls AND now allows you to make an additional attack with it. Now a quite decent choice if you want to gear your Aquilon for horde-crushing. It is very reliable for taking on GEQs as it can reroll failed wound rolls (which will only ever be the 1s), and Ap -2 means they don't get a save. It can't handle MEQs TEQs or vehicles as well as the Fist due to its lower Strength, AP, and only 1 Damage, although its ability to reroll all failed wound rolls does help it slightly against the MEQs and TEQs. If you take these, it will be because you're saving points for Misericordias on other units (the difference in points between the Talon and the Gauntlet is 4 - the same as a Misericordia's cost). In this lone case, combine them with the Infernus Firepike and have Aquilons with these go GEQ-hunting.
- Tarsus Buckler: Designed for destroying GEQs. Like the Power Talon, this is a S: 6 Ap: -2 melee weapon but 1 damage will limit the variety of opponents this can go up against. However, the reason you want to take this is for a) the kinetic destroyer (a two-shot S6 ap-2 D2 pistol with 18" range and what is basically a Volkite rule), and b) the fact that they reduce weapons of Ap-1 to Ap 0, limiting the consequences of having only a 3+/4++ save.
- Telemon Caestus: IT'S FISTIN' TIME!!!!! *Ahem* The Imperial Fister for the Telemon Dreadnought, as the name suggests. The updated rules mean you now get +1 attack if you take two, which would translate to 5 Strength 16 AP-3 D4 attacks, and, like the Power Gauntlet, with no -1 to hit that you'd usually see on a weapon like this. This means that, while unbalancing your force, Titans will fall to something more than half their height. Get your Troll face ready. (Seriously, this things wounds Imperial Knights on 2s).
- Venatari Lance: +1 STR, AP -3, D3 damage. A Guardian Spear but without access to the Piercing Strike stratagem.
- The 1D3 value also leads to some Damage rolls of 1 being "lost" due to the distribution of Damage between dice. Let's say you're fighting a unit of models with 2 Wounds each and you inflict two unsaved wounds. Rolling a 2 then a 1 on your Damage rolls isn't the same thing than rolling a 1 then a 2. While the two combinations are statistically identical, the later will only remove one model and leave the rest of the unit unharmed: the 1 you rolled is useless.
- So what is this fucking paragraph about? Just remember that weapons dealing 1D3 wounds are quite different from ones with a flat Damage value of 2 and you should take those differences into account when doing or using some mathammer. It isn't much of a problem against single tanky models like vehicles, monsters and characters since most of them have enough Wounds to smoothen the overall result of your rolls, but multi-wounds infantry may turn out to be tougher than you expected because of how the Damage mechanics work.
Special Issue Wargear
- 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 a 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, and another based on your Shield Host. 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. Also, 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 defense 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. Fires antimatter shells at Assault 1 S10 AP-4 D3 making it one of your few ranged weapons not mounted on a Land Raider or Forge World unit 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 all over 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 armor 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. It also allows the bearer to deny one psychic power per psychic phase.
- Fulminaris Aggressor: Lose the Custodes Vexilla ability and instead give friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY and BIKER units within 6" fearless. Also, the vexilla can be used as a weapon:
- Shooting: Range: 8" S4 AP-1 D1 Assault D6, auto hits 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+.
- 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. Excellent when running a melee death star against other melee armies, as if the opponent tries to charge any unit, they'll immediately have around five others Heroically Intervening right into their brood of Genestealers, which will force him to split his attacks, making them easier to deal with. And Custodes can take down anything when there's enough of them. Heck, you can even heroically intervene a fucking TELEMON into that Bloodthirster who just charged your allied-in Knight!
- 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. Always useful in a Custodes army.
- 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 THE tankiest, non-named HQ choice 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. It is also hilarious to pair with the -1 to hit vexilla and use against models with BS 5+ or 6+ as it means they cannot hit you, which is highly useful against hordes of poor quality troops like Conscripts.
- Peerless Warrior: Make an extra attack on a 6+ to hit. Quite nice, but remember that those do not generate further attacks. Essentially gives you Death to the False Emperor, except against EVERYTHING. You'll generally get ~1 more attack per phase using this, although a couple of lucky roll could see your shield-captain felling Knights!
Common keywords are IMPERIUM, and ADEPTUS CUSTODES.
- Shield-Captain: Your standard HQ and a fairly good one. For 99 points (with spear) you get 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 can always supplement this with a Misericordia.
- Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armor: The
fat TANKY fatTHICC version of the previous guy. Same stat line with an extra Wound, but you get the signature Balistus grenade launcher and From Golden Light special rule from the Allarus Terminators (for only 10 points more than the vanilla version at 109 points). 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. (Here's the humongous golden terminator daddy you've always wanted.)
- Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike: 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. Consider this popular build for smashing and fuckering: Captain-Commander Smashfucker
- Captain-Commander: With WotS, Your Shield-Captain can now be buffed for 1CP to make him a Captain-Commander. This nets him a trait along the lines of WLTs. Thought that VotBG Jetbike Captain was tough before? Hows 2 more wounds sound? Or maybe some double-damage, or bonus attacks on 6s, to really bring the pain. On top of that and for another 1CP you can give him a unique, as in not used by anyone else, WLT from those rightly available to your detachment. This stacks more power behind a single model, but he'll be an absolute bruiser.
- Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armor: The
- Captain-General Trajann Valoris: Your big boss. With a Shield-Captain’s stat line, 7 Wounds, Ld10 and a 3+ invulnerable save, he is no slouch. His Watcher's Axe is a S:10 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. You should take him if you can, since with the new Chapter Approved, he now costs just 180pts, which makes him incredibly cost-effective.
- Oddly enough, Trajann can’t hold his own in combat very well when fighting a character who can reduce their damage intake - Typhus, for example, and Abby (though the fight is completely flipped on its head if you use ‘attacks explode on 4+ against Black Legion’ strat) will destroy him, as will Draigo and Lysander (but that’s due to the fact they hit at S10 and have storm shields). He can take Guilliman with a bit(a lot) of luck but that’s only if he attacks first and uses the MS to attack again, for that you're better off sending your jet bike death star at him to kill his padding and girlyman.
- 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 crossfire, 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 stratagem, he can't be part of the deep striking unit, nor in reserve or means of transport. Bummer.
- Shield-Captain Valerian: Character from the Watchers of the Throne novel. Features a Shield-Captain statline, an S7 Guardian Spear, and a once-per-game re-roll to Hit (which is useless in most cases as he rerolls hits anyway), Wound, or Damage. Pending updates promised by Psychic Awakening, also unplayable in literally any army and not simply because he costs more than Valoris for a single-use ability that every Salamanders unit gets every phase, worse melee, shooting, defence, and no Moment Shackle. Instead, it is because he must be taken in the same unit as Aleya (the new SoS HQ - the two deploy in the same manner as Lieutenants and Armigers).
- Also worth noting that the points cost is meant to be the combined cost, rather than per model, since the power level of the unit (aka, both of them) is 10, the same as Valoris who is 185 points.
- Tanau Aleya: Valerian's Bff. One of the narrators of the Watchers of the Throne novel, Aleya is essentially a normal sister with the normal character buffs to the hit rolls, wounds, and attacks stats (in her case, this translates to WS 2+, A4, and W5). She is armed with the Somnus Blade, essentially just a normal executioner greatblade. As a Witch Hunter she can re-roll wounds against Psyker units in melee, and as a Psychic Abomination she can't be targeted by psychic abilities. Fairly expensive (as in, 188-points-kind-of-expensive; this is also more than Valoris, if you were wondering) for what she does, and right now still crippled by (in-game) her T3, 3+ save and lack of an invuln making her the definition of a glass cannon.
- Because of the sisters' null rule, Aleya can't protect your golden boys from smite unless they're in front of them. Unfortunately, this directly clashes with the under-10-wounds character rule. This means if you try to use Aleya, she'll need her own bodyguard of Sisters with her due to avoid her getting shot to hell. Which defeats the point of having her. Hopefully GW change her null rule to an aura instead in the Psychic Awakening book, because otherwise she'll be tough to use.
- You could sit a Aquilan Shield unit like a Telemon right behind her and use Shield of Honor on her however weather this is worth using 1CP and a Dreadnought is up to you
- Because of the sisters' null rule, Aleya can't protect your golden boys from smite unless they're in front of them. Unfortunately, this directly clashes with the under-10-wounds character rule. This means if you try to use Aleya, she'll need her own bodyguard of Sisters with her due to avoid her getting shot to hell. Which defeats the point of having her. Hopefully GW change her null rule to an aura instead in the Psychic Awakening book, because otherwise she'll be tough to use.
- 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. Against most armies, you'll likely want spears. Against hordes, the sword and board may be a better choice. A good comprise for min squads is 2 spears, 1 shield - max melee potential while still having a 3+ invuln. to fall back to. The biggest weakness these guys have is hordes as they simply get overwhelmed by the number of dice rolls thrown at them and can't kill quickly enough. Once they get there the 2 pistol shots from the sentinel blades are also a lot more useful against gaunts, guardsmen and boys with their weak armor save essentially giving each Custodian 5 attacks in close combat (6 with the vexilla) which makes them better at dealing with hordes than their spear-wielding brethren.
- While your Vexilla bearer has been turned into an independent Character, the Vexilla Custodes banner is still usable via the Index entry. It grants a 6" radius bubble of Morale re-rolls for allied IMPERIUM units and the unit it's in gains +1 Attack. At 25 points, it's not something you can just toss in without thinking about it, especially since the bearer is reduced to taking a Power Knife (not Misericordia, a Power Knife, so no extra attack) and optionally a Storm Shield, and you can only take one in a given detachment. However, RAW, its Attack buff stacks with the Vexilla Imperius, so if you're building a melee squad and are trying to squeeze every last drop out of it, maybe give this a look.
- Custodian Guard with Adrasite and Pyrithite SpearsForge World: Previously an Elite slot, now Troops. Functionally regular old Custodians with Spears but replaced the bolter with one of two things. The Adrasite is an 18" Assault 1 S5 AP-3 D3 weapon. It's 3 points more than a Guardian Spear, but its more efficient at taking down primaries Grav like units, especially with Aggressors defines the space marine meta. The other, pricier (7 more than a spear) option is the Pyrithite Spear, which is a Guardian Spear with a god damn Melta attached. Great for after piling out of a Coronus to turn that troublesome Knight your opponent plopped down to slag. Just keep them out of sight; they may have Custodian durability, but the threat of BS 2+ Meltas are all but guaranteed to draw most of your enemy's fire for as long as they exist. Your are putting more points into a single model, but you get the ability to turn vehicles to slag - something Custodes have very few options for. They are still strong on the move as both guns are assault weapons and you are still Custodians with Spears when it comes to melee. If you don't have a Telemon or Land Raider they're arguably a must take.
- Sagittarum CustodiansForge World: Custodes with guns. Take the basic 40pts Custodian Guard and give him an Adrastus Bolt Caliver instead of a spear. The most recent buffs have finally given a reason to take them over the spears, since they are now combi-weapons the Disintegration beam deals a flat 3 damage. Besides, now that they're troops the Custodes have a dedicated objective holder for a Battalion. Unlike the 30k version, they also don't sap precious Heavy Support slots from Caladiuses or Telemons, meaning they can be used as a backup unit for a gun-line. They are 50 points per model opposed to 49 points base for spear Custodian Guard and not as effective in CC. You want them in the backfield to hold objectives but they can take Misericordias if you expect flank attacks. Better than the Custodian Guard? Not necessarily, but they perform different enough roles and they both succeed. A solid troops choice.
- Coronus Grav-carrierForge World: The new rules shifted it from a Heavy Support pick to a Dedicated Transport, I shit you not. This monster is now fully spammable, and it's only gotten better! Though it lost its FNP save, it's invuln went up to 5++, Gravitic Backwash now inflicts a -2 to incoming charges, it gained Power of the Machine Spirit AND got a massive price reduction on top of all this. In addition to its Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon (+1S and AP over a regular Twin Heavy Bolter), it's main gun is a bit different now. The Burst mode is now a Twin Heavy Bolter with AP-2 and the Beam mode is now an interesting S7 AP-4 D3 gun that rerolls Wounds against VEHICLES, as opposed to just being a massively over-costed Twin Lascannon. Can still carry only 6 of your INFANTRY, but since you pretty much always take minimum sized squads anyways, that's not much of an issue.
- Null-Maiden Rhino: Null-Maiden Rhinos lose the Psychic Abomination rule they had for the eleven minutes they existed in 7th but retain the other familiar features: smoke launchers, a storm bolter, the Repair attempt, and can take a hunter-killer missile. As mentioned above, almost necessary for Vigilators, as their Toughness of 3 isn't doing them any favors (power armor or not). Drop off the ladies, charge with the Rhino first to eat overwatch, and then have the Vigilators charge in to clean up. Also useful for obscuring sightlines and blocking off chokepoints, which helps keep your somewhat expensive, relatively fragile Sisters alive.
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 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.
- After Chapter Approved 2019, the difference in cost between a Spear Guard and a Warden is 3 points- from 49 to 52. 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 and they're no longer that much more expensive than a Custodian Guard squad.
- Check out the Forgeworld Orion Gunship and Coronus Grav-carrier, the vehicles are very expensive but so good that the extra threat per model of Wardens would be worthwhile in them.
- If you already have a Battalion, it may be worth using Vanguard detachments and Wardens instead of Custodian Guard Battalions. Though you increase in (minuscule) points per model and lose access to Sentinel Blades and Storm Shields in exchange for the buffs and Castellan Axes, you do reduce your HQ tax by one HQ, ultimately saving you space and points.
- 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 77 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.
- These guys should really be Dread Host, 2 units deep striking with an allarus captain each rolling 3d6 on the charge discarding the lowest is a pretty terrifying threat particularly if your shield captain has Admonimortis.
- 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 S5 ap-2 D1 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 affected that unit, and now you're not limited to one per detachment anymore. They can also keep their weapon now and have the option to take a sword, axe, spear or storm shield. It 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. Gloss over the impossibility of the custodian being able to hold a Misericordia, Storm Shield, and the Vexilla all at one time while in combat, this is a setting where green things fix robots by whacking a piece of metal with a spanner. 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 20 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 affect 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 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. The best way to add it would be in a 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.
- Aquilon Custodians: More traditionally armed Custodian Terminators, bringing a Lastrum Storm Bolter and a Solerite Power Gauntlet, which is a Chainfist with no -1 to hit. They have the option of taking a Solarite Power Claw instead, a +1S Lightning Claw with plus 1 attack, to cut their cost down a bit and can also swap the Bolter out for either a Twin Adrathic Destructor, a strange, expensive Assault 2 S5 AP-3 D3 weapon, or the Infernus Firepike a +1S Heavy Flamer with 12" range. And you can load up all 6 of these super bananas with them! Do what every terminator enthusiast has wet dreams about and deepstrike a half dozen super heavy flamers exactly where you want them to be and carbonize your opponent's entire infantry contingent and then proceed to charge their artillery piece to turn it into mulch with their power gauntlets. Oh, and you can still take a Misericordia on each, of course.
- The Aquilons are easily the most versatile and powerful infantry unit available to Custodes. Primaris Marines? Take the gauntlets and eventually some destructors. Hordes? Solerite talons and Firepikes are here for you. They are still quite expensive when fully geared, but they can get any job done if you use them well. With the new strat that doubles rapid fire shots for an infantry unit, their Storm Bolters are probably the better option over Firepikes now. Firepikes roll randomly for shots, but each terminator gets 8 Heavy Bolter Equivalent shots hitting on 2s and cost less in points. For one CP when they drop down, that's 40 shots with a squad of 5.
- Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought: 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 24" Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 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, and actually help the Achillus put the hurt on GEQs and MEQs without needing to get up close and personal. You can replace either of the Storm Bolters with an Infernus Incinerator for 16pts or a twin-linked Adrathic destructor for 20pts. Anyway, once in melee this guy 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 a bonus, each time the fucker successfully charges, you can choose an enemy unit within 1"; on a 4+ it takes 1d3 mortal wounds. Deep strike it with From Golden Light They Come on turn 2, and it will fuck shit up in no time.
- At 140pts with the dreadspear and 2 Lastrum storm bolters, the Achillus is cheaper than a Venerable dread for a similar profile but much more hitting power.
- Contemptor-Exemplar Dreadnought: 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 like plasma flamers (S7 AP-3 D6 auto hitting 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-Pulser 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.
- Note this did NOT get an updated data sheet with the new rules, so while it retains its +2W, +1 Leadership, and better Explosion rule, you can still only have one per detachment. You also can't haul it in an Orion, so if you're planning on taking this as a melee beatstick, you'll likely have to use From The Golden Light They Come to get it where you want it quickly.
- Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought: The new dread on the block is a sword and board monster. Its Galatus Warblade functions both as a +1S Twin Heavy Flamer and as a 3 Damage Power Sword that gives you D3 extra attacks. Yep, old school Rampage is back baby! Its shield not only gives it 4++ but also inflicts a -1 to hit penalty on anyone attacking it in Melee. This combined makes it a fantastic candidate for either From The Golden Light They Come or the Dreadnought slot on an Orion, as it will be a dead weight until it can close with the enemy and has no business footslogging across the field.
- With its extra attacks, flamers and high resistance, the Galatus is the Dread you need to deal with hard-hitting units with T6 or less. S7 isn't enough to efficiently deal with monsters or vehicles but okay for everything else, so use it as an anchor to dissuade TEQs from coming too close.
Sister of Silence
- Prosecutors: Imagine a Sisters of Battle Celestian squad with no acts of faith, but who can shut down Psykers by pure genetics rather than a whole lot of faith, and you'll have an idea of what Prosecutors can do. Power Armoured veteran ladies with Bolters and Psyk-Out Grenades. No bolt pistols or option for any special/heavy weapon, but they do have a 7" movement range, meaning you can move around the battlefield as quickly as Eldar.
- Prosecutors have "Prosecution Protocols," which is a rule the other Silent Sisters do not have, giving them the ability to shoot at Psyker Characters even if they are not the closest unit. This is especially good against Psyker heavy armies such as Eldar, who can hide their warlocks, and more importantly, spirit and Farseers, behind squads of Guardians.
- These girls are probably most useful for you as Custodians, as they allow you to take down at least a couple of the enemy’s psykers before your custodians get closer and they start smiting 50-100 points per psychic phase. Also helpful for killing said psykers without sending a 5-man Guard squad to chew through bubble wrap for two turns, all the while taking losses from the psyker they guard. Bear in mind, however, that their bolters are just bolters so will utterly wilt against high toughness and/or saves.
- These are the only models in the game we can be fairly confident have law degrees, but hopefully, we'll gain access to judges at some point.
- Vigilators: A squad of battle sisters armed with what is essentially a guardian spear. This squad has the potential to do some remarkable damage to high-value targets, and not necessarily only Psykers, though the Witch Hunters rule comes into its own with this unit since it only applies in the Fight Phase. This means they are capable of wounding even Magnus on a re-rollable 5+, just over 55%. Bear in mind that multiple wounds do not carry over from slain models, so going charging into an Ork mob is still going to get you murdered. The big problem, though, is that they do not have any guns to speak of. That means no overwatch, no pistols for combat, and no way to strike at opponents at any distance, aside from 1 psyk-out grenade for the entire unit.
- Moreso than Prosecutors and Witchseekers, the ladies with swords would do better with a transport vehicle. Since they cannot shoot, they should be kept carefully encapsulated until you need them, so that when they disembark and assault for the first time, they will hit with devastating effect.
- Witchseekers: Sisters of Silence attempting to take a leaf out of the Sisters of Battle handbook and come to battle armed entirely with Flamethrowers. Their effectiveness is difficult to quantify. When compared to Sororitas Dominions with Flamers, Witchseekers are one point more expensive, but come without bolt pistols or frag/Krak grenades (they have psyk-out grenades instead, which are usually worse). If neither squad has a transport, then Witchseekers do have a movement range of 7", but Dominions get a free move at the start of the battle, and can, therefore, cover the same distance over a six turn game, and Dominions have acts of faith, allowing them to repeat certain actions. Not to knock against the Sisters of Silence though, because they still have their hard anti-psychic benefits, plus the entire squad is armed with flamers, meaning you can get 10d6 automatic hits if you go full-sized, and they are veterans, so are slightly better at melee (though without any actual melee weapons beyond the basic one everyone gets). If you're looking for an awful lot of flamers then only Tzeentch can do it better, and as a Custodes player they help out in anti-horde, making them perfect candidates for going for that Malignant Plaguecaster bubble-wrapped in Poxwalkers. Witchseekers in a Rhino can make great objective grabbers - move them forward and hose down important points, then dare the enemy to come close and take it from them.
- 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 to 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 was the only designated anti-flyer weapon you had before these rules. So keep them behind the Hurricane Bolters if possible (although this isn't much of a problem at all with Custodes, even with the -1 to hit, you've still got marine-level shooting and rerolling 1s to hit. Most flyers also have the Vehicle keyword, so don't rule out softening up that Stormtalon with a few Melta Missiles before charging it).
- The interceptor lances on the charge make these units the most reliable wounders in the entire game. The only things they won’t wound on at least a 5+ is a Warlord Titan (heaven forbid you have to fight it in melee) and the newest Titan, the Nemesis Warbringer. Together with your rerolls to wound you will wound 55% of the time, and with strength 6 you will be wounding most things on a 3+ anyway (88%). Combined with an average damage of 2 per hit and ap-3 means that all units in the game fear the arrival of these lightning-fast monsters (even against a Baneblade a single biker will deal 3.6 damage on the charge with rerolls to hit).
- Agamatus CustodiansForge World: The Glorious Dickbikes. A 3-6 men-strong squadron of Vertus Praetors with different guns. Same baseline stats, cost, and interceptor lance, but different tools for the jetbikes themselves. They come with a Lastrum bolt cannon as standard, a Heavy 3 36" S6 AP-2 gun that makes MEQs sweat each time it fires. You can replace it with either an Adrathic devastator (Heavy 2 18" S6 AP-3 dealing 3 damage for 15pts or a twin-linked las-pulser (Heavy 4 24" S8 AP-2 D3 damage) for 40pts.
- The las-pulser is by far the best choice in the list, even if expensive. But overall that's the only reason to take Agamati over Vertus Praetors. Assuming you moved, Hurricane bolters are better than the Lastrum cannon against infantry (and even light vehicles) most of the time and the salvo launcher is better than the Adrathic devastator against monsters and vehicles. However, the las-pulser provides solutions against everything and is very good at taking down MEQs.
- Pallas Grav-AttackForge World: The Custodian's "Light" Tank, the Pallas is Fast as hell at 16", but that's the only "Light" thing about it. Ok, it's only got 6 Toughness, but it still has a 3+/5++ save, plus no degrading stat line and the Gravitic Backwash rule, which inflicts a -2 penalty on Charge rolls against it. For firepower, it's a Coronus-lite, with the same Twin Arachnus Blaze Cannon, but no Bolt Cannon. Oh, and it has Power of the Machine Spirit. For a meager 100 points. Yeah, you heard that right. 100 Emperor damned points. Unlike the 30K version, it cannot be taken in squads of three though.
- Venatari CustodiansForge World: Jetpack Custodians that can deepstrike. Unlike every other custodian, they have a 3+ armor save, but their default setup equips them with a shield that negates AP-1 and doubles as a power axe. Unfortunately, this falls flat against plasma and melta, but it doesn't matter since AP-2 or better against a 2+ save would trigger your 4++, and an AP-1 would take you down to a 3+ anyway. However, this still leaves them more vulnerable to massed AP0 fire compared to the Custodian Guard. These shields are accompanied by Kinetic Destroyers (Pistol 2 18" S6 AP-2 D2 which deals an additional hit for every 6 to-hit, or you can forgo the gun-and-shield for the multipurpose Venetari lance (S+1 AP-3 Dd3 in melee, Kinetic Destroyer but 12" and Assault 2 at range). And as per usual, they can take Misericordias. Their big benefit is that they're considerably cheaper than the bikes and can kick ass in melee, but this cost is offset by their relative fragility (if you can call something with T5 and 3+/4++ 'fragile'). Generally, you will either run these guys alongside either class of jetbike due to their high movement or have them going down one flank as the jetties go down the other in a good old-fashioned stretch play. Also, don't forget that they can deep strike and so provide support for deep striking termies.
- Don't forget these guys are Infantry, so they can get cover and maneuver around terrain much easier than jetbikes. And because jetbikes will normally draw a lot of fire, Venatari are probably used best to steal objectives and harass your opponent's troops camping objectives.
- While the buckler's AP and Damage values seem underwhelming when compared with the spear's, remember that you can shoot with your 2 shots S6 AP-2 pistols in melee, giving you some extra punch should you choose to stay in combat for some reason. All in all, the spear only makes a big difference if you're planning to hunt down characters and multi-wound infantry. Otherwise, the buckler + kinetic destroyer loadout provides better protection, extra range and slightly more firepower that will never be lost no matter what happens to your flying dudes. And even though the Buckler isn't as good in melee as the Lances it's more than enough to handle GEQ/MEQs.
- 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 500+ 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.
- Caladius Grav-TankForge World: Remember the Sicaran's infantry-mulching accelerator cannon? Your twin Iliastus accelerator doesn't have the anti-flyer bonuses and is Heavy instead of Assault, but with 8 60" shots that possess S7 AP-3 D2 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 good ease. Oh, and you get Power of the Machine Spirit just like the Sicaran does, so being a Heavy weapon doesn't impair you at all. Combine with its W14 3+/5++, the -2 penalty to charge move it imposes to the enemy, and the twin Lastrum Bolt Cannons (heavy bolters with S6 AP-2) 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, so watch for anti-air weapons. It's also stinking fast at 14" when undamaged, and even when critically damaged its movement never drops below 8", so don't be afraid to zip around the board and fire with impunity.
- You can replace the Iliastus accelerator cannon by a twin Arachnus cannon, a Heavy weapon that can shoot in burst mode (8 shots at 36" S7 AP-2 D1) or as a beam (2 shots at 48" S9 AP-4 D3+1D3 rerolling failed to-wound rolls against VEHICLES), for stronger anti-superheavy fire, and some flexibility when facing down mech/horde armies like Orks with Gorkanauts and lots of Boyz.
- All in all, the Iliastus generally remains a better all-rounded choice. It is cheaper, has more range, is clearly superior to the burst mode against hordes, has enough Damage to murder heavy infantry and can still do a solid amount of damage against vehicles. The Arachnus cannon only really shines against T7+ vehicles (remember that you don't get the re-roll to wound against monsters or big characters), which is a valuable niche indeed that shouldn't be overlooked.
- Telemon Heavy DreadnoughtForge World: It's a Dreadnought with almost as many wounds as a Land Raider, and at T8 with 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 dingo kidneys about Macro weapons dealing bonus damage to it). Comes default with a Spiculus Bolt Launcher and 2 Arachnus Storm Cannons for 282 points and provides the Custodes with one of the few options they have for anti-armor fire.
- It can shoot its Spiculus Bolt Launcher (24” Heavy 5, S5, AP-1, D1) twice when it doesn't move; by itself, this makes it a perfect backfield camper for chewing GEQs.
- The 2 Arachnus storm cannons (36” Heavy 2, S8, AP-4, D3 or in Burst mode 24” Heavy 6, S7, AP-2, D1) making them great against vehicles and light infantry. The range was seriously nerfed but the latest rules, making the Arachnus storm cannon less efficient as a long-ranged anti-horde weapon unless you can deep-strike your Telemon in a safe spot where no melee unit will tarpit it. These still provide something you desperately need because as already stated, the Custodes don’t have a lot of ranged anti-armor.
- The other ranged option you can choose over the cannons is 1 or 2 Iliastus Accelerator Culverins (48” Heavy 4, S7, AP-3, D2) perfect for chewing up MEQs (especially Primaris) and light vehicles. Custodes can already reliably beat almost any kind of heavy infantry in combat, making the Iliastus questionable, but it will certainly do that job well if you choose it. With the nerf of the Arachnus storm cannon, this is also your better take if you want your Telemon to stay far from enemy units. The jack-of-all-trade range weapon for your giant Dreadnought, and also the cheapest one.
- The close combat option is to arm it with one or two Telemon Caestii (S16, AP-3, D4) which come with a twin plasma projector (8” Heavy 2D3, S6, AP-2, D1 auto hitting flamer/plasma gun hybrids) which hit like baby Inferno Guns and if you use two you get an extra attack. The melee weapons got a massive price cut in the rules update (35 pts for a single caestus+projector bundle, 60 for two), so if you want to punch a Knight to death, then the fists are what you choose. The Telemon can serve your army far better as a mobile gun rig rather than a full-on melee beatstick, so if you want a beatstick Dread, take an Achillus, a Galatus or an Exemplar or Venerable Contemptor with dual fists instead.
- 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 dread 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.
- Overall, it's an incredibly useful model for a custodes army, and considering it's only 282pts at its max loadout in an army where even a 3-man squad costs 153 points default, there is little reason to not take it considering the firepower it can lay down on anything from GEQs to Knights depending on what you want from it. Whatever you load it out to do, it will do well, but unless your list has a good amount of anti-armor firepower (from Pyrithite spears generally), the best option is to go for the storm cannons.
- Another take on the melee variant: It's cheaper than any other weapon combo you can give it. On top of that, while it's an expensive combo in terms of CP, you can FGLTC it, then use the Teleport Homer stratagem to get it within 3" nearly guaranteeing a charge against a target, while being able to fire its guns before the charge. Trajann's Moment Shackle can also offset the cost to make it more appealing (assuming it isn't used on Victor of the Blood Games or a full cost FGLTC).
- Orion Assault Dropship Forge World: Oh yes, it's finally here. The Orion is a beast of a machine. with 22 Wounds and a 3+/5++ save, plus the usual suite of Airborne/Hard to Hit/Hover Jet/Supersonic; it will be exceptionally hard to bring down without some dedicated heavy AA. It's also loaded to the gills with weapons, armed with 2 Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannons (+2S over the regular Blaze Cannon), 2 Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannons AND 2 Spiculus Heavy Bolt Launchers. It also, like every Custodes machine, packs Power of the Machine Spirit and its lowest wound table slot still has a 4+ to hit, so this maelstrom of firepower will be continuing unabated until it finally fucking dies. In addition, it can hold either a full 12 INFANTRY models, which is a LOT for Custodes, or it can carry an Achillus, a Galatus or a Venerable Contemptor (no Exemplars or Telemons, sorry) by taking up 5 normal transport slots, making this the only way to get your melee Dreads into the thick of it without Stratagems! It's very reasonably priced to boot, only about 100 more than a fully kitted Venerable Land Raider! Loaded up with a Dread, a Shield-captain and 6 Custodes of your choice, this bad boy can blow a giant hole in your opponent's gun-line and fill it back in with your very own creamy golden goodness.
- Ares Gunship Forge World: if the Orion is a Transport and anti-infantry Flyer, the Ares is an Anti-tank in the observed Custodes way. The main reason why you may pick the Ares over the Orion is the Arachnus magna-blaze cannon the daddy of all Arachnus weapons. The burst mode is Heavy 3 48" S9 AP-3 D D3, which isn't going to impress anybody for a unit of this grade. And here comes the beam mode: Heavy D3 72" S14 AP-4 D 6+D3. Now we are talking. It also comes with 2 Arachnus heavy blaze cannon for more anti-vehicle shooting and 2 Infernus Firebombs, which are basically identical to the ones on the Thunderhawk (pick a unit you flew over, roll 1d6 for each model in the unit (3d6 for vehicles or monsters), a roll of 4+ = 1 Mortal Wound), the big difference being you can use them twice per game.
- The Ares truly makes sense as a dedicated VEHICLE hunter since it can reliably annihilate vehicles like Land Raiders in a single turn if you have a bit of luck. However, you could have a similar amount of firepower from a pair of Caladii, which are also better at dealing with infantry so it isn't as interesting for a Custodes army list as the Orion. It is still quite good for its job, so feel free to take one if you like the miniature and have the points for a specialized unit.
Regarding the Callidus, Eversor, and Culexus: Meh. They don’t bring anything major. The Callidus is a good CQC character hunter, but the Custodes don’t need more character hunters, especially a CQC one. The new rules for the Eversor make him more viable as a horde blender. The Eversor may be a decent distraction Carnifex among other Imperium armies but as most custodes units can play the role of distraction Carnifex better than an actual Carnifex, this guy will likely be quite low on your opponent's threat register. A6 is nice for helping out in anti-horde, but just don't expect him to delete entire squads at once. The Culexus plugs the DTW hole nicely, but taking it subtracts from your CP total (a big no-no for a Custodes army), and 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?
However, the Vindicare, when used in the correct way and against the correct target, can help the custodes. For starters, he is insanely cheap for what he does, at only 85 points (this is good for custodes). He won't plug your anti-horde hole, but when you are going up against armies where character are vital lynchpins without which the army unravels at the seams (Nids, Guard) he is incredibly effective - Creed may be a tactical genius, but even he won't survive a headshot from a Vindicare! The Deadshot rule is useful for showing the middle finger to the guy who bubble wrapped Calgar in conscripts, and Headshot means whatever he wounds will go down for good. His rifle is insane against Infantry Characters. Finally, the priority threat neutralized stratagem will allow you to gain a command point for every character he picks off, giving your golden banana men a few more points to play around with and meaning that you don't NEED to always build for a battalion against character-heavy lists. There is, however, a limit to his usefulness: against the big bads like primarchs, Greater Daemons, and Da Schwärmführer he will have pretty much no effect, and Nurgle units' Disgustingly Resilient rule will wreak absolute havoc with your damage output. Also, as your entire army is likely to be swarming up the table as fast as they can, he might be left vulnerable to your opponent deep striking behind you.
Now we’re talking! The guard brings 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 12CP 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. Also, the guard brings another vital lacking component: anti-armor. LONG RANGED anti-armor, 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-armor job nicely. As discussed later on, you can also take IG Psykers to plug that gaping Psychic hole. 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?
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 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 just 350pts? 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 they are not a good candidate for character screening duty. Also, 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 prioritize what your army needs most of all.
Budget Custodes with Psychic powers. That’s it. If you want more expensive sisters of silence that can hit back in the psychic phase and (just about) keep pace with your golden boys in combat, here you go. Psychic powers also grant the Knights a versatility and surprising mobility, allowing them to be the hammer to your Custodes' anvil against any foe that thought your shiny silver and gold army couldn't maneuver their way out of a paperbag. The Knights are also all equipped with at least a storm bolter, so don’t underestimate the dakka they can bring to bear at short to medium range.
Plus, visually, their silver armor will contrast nicely with your golden bois. It's a match made in a jewelry store.
An interesting and complementary mix that will render your name mud before the day is out, 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 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 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 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, etc.). They also use the Contemptor Chassis as their most common type of dreadnought.
Also, the Knights (sorry, Questor Imperialis) finally got their codex, so the weird keywords and stratagem stuff that was plaguing them prior to that has been fixed. The knights have also got some of the sickest models in the game (so it gives you an excuse to buy and paint them), and FW is going to keep 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.
Ok, let’s 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 Superdreads 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 (which means you win by default!). However, if someone is dumb enough to go against you, expect to destroy 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.
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.
Sisters of Silence
Do it. Just do it. You have no reason not to - VERY fluffy, they plug the DTW hole, they make almost no impact on your points tally as a Custodes player, and a Talons force is nearly identical to a pure CustardPimp army in 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).
Another view is that sisters while incredibly fluffy are not as effective as other options unless you're against armies relying heavily on psychic powers such as Thousand Sons or Eldar. Against an army not relying as heavily on their psykers you have bolter bitches without the faith. Guard make a much better combination with Custodes as they give easy access to both numbers and anti vehicle fire, Marines also give more flexibility and options such as vehicles, psykers than the sisters. As a Custodes player since the changes to smite psychic power is not going to be your biggest problem against most armies. You lose because loads of dice being thrown at your small number of models hurts, tarpitted because sometimes you can't kill quickly enough or because units that deal multiple damage can reliably remove your models such as the Riptide. Guard and Marines will tend to be more flexible and effective options. Unless GW make the Sisters work better alongside Custodes with the Talon of the Emperor changes coming in psychic awakening it's arguably better to go with Guard or Marines.
With the release of War of the Spider, Sisters of Silence can now be taken in a detachment of Adeptus Custodes without the Custodes losing any benefits such as Sworn Guardians or The Emperor’s Chosen. The Sisters do not gain those abilities.
Sisters of Battle
Just take Sisters of Silence.
Another interesting mix. Between their inbuilt Bolter Discipline, Mission Tactics and Special Issue Ammunition, along with easy access to rerolls, the deathwatch boasts some of the most reliable anti-infantry shooting in the game, the humble Boltgun becoming an instrument of enormous damage in their hands. The frag cannon also provides flexible anti-armour/-infantry, and you can take four in a single five-man squad. The fact that it’s an assault weapon and hits harder the closer you get to the target helps out hugely with providing close-range fire support for your golden boys. Their main problem, like GKs and SMs, is a high price for a standard MEQ defense. You will pay around 40 points for a single marine with a Frag Cannon, and their relatively fragile defense means they will wilt in the face of heavy firepower. On the plus side, if they’re attracting high amounts of dakka, then your golden boys aren’t, and you have ways of protecting them (transports, storm shields, cover, etc).
Some interesting options, focused on helping your CP starved army generate more CP and giving you Anti-Psyker/Psyker support, to make best use of them you must spend 1CP on the Inquisitorial Mandate stratagem:
- Hector Rex - Deny the witch - Psychic Mastery warlord trait: knows 3, casts 3 and denies 4 (with +1 within 12"). Powers should be: Mental Interrogation to generate CP, Terrify to bypass overwatch, and Dominate/Castigation. Tanky (2+/3++), can deep strike, and he is BRUTAL vs daemons. At 100 points and 1CP, probably the best option unless you are really short on points.
- Basic Inquisitor - Cheap CP farming - Mental Interrogation psychic power, Esoteric Lore warlord trait and Seize For Interrogation stratagem; switch the bolt pistol for a Boltgun and take the Blackshroud Relic. If you want some support swap Mental Interrogation for Terrify. All that for a mere 55 points and 1CP.
If you find yourself facing a psychic-heavy army (Craftworlds, Thousand Sons, Daemons, etc) you will want to invest in some ways to supplement the built-in 6+++ Custodes have in against psychic mortal wounds (unless you take a sadistic pleasure in watching your guys die). You're either going to want to pick up some allied psykers yourself or find ways to negate the abilities of your enemy. Here are some strategies:
- Inquisitor-Lord Hector Rex: For a mere 100 points a 2-known, 2-cast, and 3-deny (with a +1 to his deny rolls) psyker; if that is not enough you can spend 1CP to give him +1 known, +1 cast, and +1 deny. Did I mention that he is 2+/3++, DEADLY against demons, and can teleport strike? His powers should be Mental Interrogation to generate CP, Terrify to bypass overwatch and Dominate/Castigation. A bargain at 100 points and 1CP, definitely your best choice.
- 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 Denies (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 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 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 thought he had protected 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 applies 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 Smite Spam problem will be solved. The fluffiest option of the lot and they don't even need to pass a DtW test to stop powers from being used.
- AdMech- Graia: A somewhat under-appreciated version of the Rusty 17, the Graia stratagem lets you stop a psychic power on a 4+, giving you a 75% (with a reroll) chance of auto denying any power of your choice. For only 1 CP per turn, this can do wonders against that Warptiming Magnus or stopping that Doom going off against your Telemon.
Flight of the Golden Valkyries
The custodes jetbikes are dangerous. Full stop. They run around at 14”, advance 6”, are toughness 6 (which protects against S3, 5, 6, & 10 weapons), 4 wounds, 2+/5++, and hit with 4 attacks on 2’s, strength 6, rerolling wounds on the charge, ap-3 DD3. 3 units of 3 headed up by Captain-Commander Smashfucker (the toughest unnamed character in 8E at T6, 7W, 2+/3++/5+++ with rerolls) will kill everything on the charge.
How many guardsmen will you kill? 38.75. Terminators? 19.68 (the average Damage value of an interceptor spear against a 2W model being 1.667). Baneblades? And even Reaver titans? They will take 39.90 damage, enough to outright annihilate the former and cripple the latter All of this math is old, as of June 20th. We'll get back to you once we figure out exactly which shield host and other shit these guys should be using. All of this comes at the cost of roughly 980 points (depending on your guns, no misericordias unfortunately) in an Outrider detachment, giving you the most powerful, fastest, and toughest death star in the entirety of 40k. And that is before you even take into account their guns. How does 120 bolter shots sound to you hitting on re-rollable 2’s? Well, that alone would give you 51.85 dead guardsmen, 19.44 dead marines or even 6.41 damage to a baneblade. In short, you have no reason to not take a detachment of custodes bikers. And the icing on the cake? Your 10 unit, 1000 point army will only cost you £117.6 £105 to £140, depending on a discount. (Other countries pricing may vary, for example, the US pays the equivalent of £164 to £193.27.)
- Agamatus versions of this tactic are also available, but you can only afford the Lastrum bolters on your 9 bikers. In a 2000 point game, you can take the las pulsars, but the great strength of your bikes is their balance between impressive melee power and ranged volume of fire. If you want to take bikes with pulsars it is advised that you take them as a supplement to your main melee Death Star. If you want to have more than one flying circus Death Star, however (at least until they release rules for a jet pack shield captain) you will need to take three units of agamastus custodians because of the rule of 3.
Matchups and Counterplay
These tactics are good and all, but knowing your enemy is important. For simplicity's sake we're going to assume that you and your enemy's list is NOT a soup list, which is the slang term for taking multiple factions that share the Imperial, Chaos, or Aeldari keywords or the like in the same army. Feel free to add any strategies that have worked against these factions.
- Space Marines: They'll know you hit like a sock with a brick inside in close combat and will do whatever it takes to screen you out. Here are some select Chapter Tactics: Ultramarines can fall back and shoot with a -1 to hit penalty, so you have to either surround surviving models (not an easy feat given you're playing Custodes) or just go for the squad wipe (much easier). Raven Guard's -1 to hit outside of 12" is fairly easy to counter with FGLTC, Terminators, and your Vertus Praetors. Imperial Fists ignore cover and gain bonuses against fortifications, neither of which hard counter you unless you like to hide in cover from Bolt Rifles and other AP-1 weapons. Black Templars re-roll failed charges, and since it's combat-oriented and doesn't give them true bonuses in the combat phase (hint: you excel at that) it's to their detriment and your benefit. Iron Hands have nice overwatch and 6++, but overall that's not the main issue. Your main problem with them will be their vehicles, which are hard to bracket.
- Blood Angels: Red-colored Marines that specialize in Blitz attacks. While they shoot as good as basic Marines above, their main draw is essentially a plus 1 to wound rolls modifier in the first round of combat. That is huge against Custodes, as even basic scouts will go from wounding on 5+ to 4+, and their power fists and Thunder Hammers will wound you on 2+. Custodes rely on their toughness to survive, and the Blood Angels hard-counter that toughness and can throw down in the Combat phase better than other marines. Also, Death Company and any characters with the Black Rage stratagem gain a 5+ shrug and add 1 to attacks when they charge. This won't be like basic marines where close combat will be a one-sided walk in the park, pick and choose your combats. Bring Storm Shields to counter said power fists and thunder hammers.
- Dark Angels: The Mean Green Marines. Their chapter tactic lets them re-roll 1s to hit in shooting and overwatch if they stand still, and they are almost immune to morale (and Deathwing units are Fearless). If they're using standard Power Armor or Primaris units, they're likely going for a gun line. Their specialty is in Plasma weaponry, and their infamous Weapons of the Dark Age stratagem adds 1 to the damage characteristic of a given unit's plasma weapons. That's right, a Dark Angel marine overcharging a plasma gun with that stratagem can 1-shot a Custodian guard or Warden. To this end, beware the hell out of Dark Angel Hellblasters.
- Space Wolves: The furries are roughly the same as blood angels, and you deal with them in the same way. Termies (and allied in snipers, like the Vindicare or the Primaris Eliminators) to assassinate the psykers. These guys also need to get into melee to function effectively, so bring a caladius grav tank to soften up the big ones like Bjorn and Murderfang, then use Telemons with a pair of Caestuses (Caestusi? Caestusae?) to take them down. Use jetbikes to outmaneuver them, and adrasite weapons to bring down primaris units thanks to their lovely S: 5 (= wounding on 3s) AP-3 (= 6+ save) D3 (so a straight kill.)
- Grey Knights: Hey look it's budget Custodes with psychic powers. With the number of mortal wounds they can put out, plus the odd Vortex of Doom power, your 6+ shrug in the psychic phase won't save you and neither will the relic Vexilla or Warlord trait. Allies, especially sisters of silence, are beyond crucial here; you WILL lose if you don't take them. Their smite has reduced range, so take a good deal of shooty units, and use terminators (having W4 is invaluable as they can tank a d3 wound smite at full blast) to assassinate the characters, who can manifest more than once (especially Voldus). Draigo, true to being the mother of all mary sues, is an absolute beast in melee with a 2+/3++ and The Titansword hitting at S8 (+1 to wound with the Hammerhand psychic power), so wounds on 2s. your best bet against him is sending storm shield-wielding guard at him, along with a vexilla imperius, to drown him in attacks and force wounds. If you take Valoris, ensure he has a bodyguard of sisters at all times.
- Deathwatch: They're Marines that have special issue ammo. Watch out for hellfire rounds at range since those rounds don't give a shit about your T5/6 and wound you on 2+. Frag Cannons are also a bitch by handing out 2d6 S6 AP-1 auto-hitting shots or can fire two slug rounds (S7 AP-1 above half range, S9 AP-3 up close), and a single Veteran squad can have four of those brokenly good things.
- Adeptus Mechanicus BEWARE DRAGOONS, they are no slouch in melee and can put some real punishment into your units, either shoot them down or make sure you're charging and fighting first. Like facing other shooting armies the vexilla magnifica is your best friend, use it to reduce the effectiveness of the robots, blind their sensors with golden light. Do watch out for armies spamming Skitarii Vanguard, their Radium Carbines put out a surprising amount of shots and with wound rolls of 6 dealing 2 damage flat, a few unlucky failed saves can chunk your banana boys with shocking efficiency.
- Imperial Guard: FOR EVERY ONE OF US THAT FALLS, TEN MORE WILL TAKE HIS PLACE! is the rule here. These guys have bodies, and with that, a large volume of dice. Your Banana Boys will die under massed Lasgun fire, so don’t underestimate a Guardsmen squad. Pask/Tank Commanders can spell trouble with their varied load-outs, and Baneblade variants can kick your shit in. Your objective is to turn Infantry into mulch with your Jetbikes (you did bring Jetbikes, right?) and cripple or eliminate any armor. The biggest weakness of mechanized Guard lists is a lack of Invuln saves; use this to your advantage. Beware their Psykers; nothing says FUN like a Baneblade with Psychic Barrier and Nightshroud on it.
- Special mention to Tempestus Scions: they are an entirely different beast. These little shits will be bringing their Specialist Detachment and safely dropping out of Valkyries, loaded for bear with regular Scions and Command squads carrying cheap Guard Plasma. If you can get the first turn on them, shoot those sitting ducks out of the sky before they can drop on you.
- Imperial Knights: A super-elite army versus another super-elite army. The dirty secret about knights is that they aren’t very good - they put out surprisingly little damage, and die surprisingly quickly, especially to high strength weapons that force their 5++). Expect a lot of shots to be missed and a lot of saves to be failed; of course, this isn’t an excuse to be cocky - Knights hurt when they hit and are difficult to wound thanks to army-wide T8. They are also pretty quick so try to not get flanked.
- If you don't have Forge World, use your Jetbikes and deep-striking Allarus termies with Castellan Axes to get up close as quickly as possible. You can try and win off of objectives, but Custodes are such a low model count army that the Knight player will have a bit easier of a time trying to up and table you to win the game than they usually would. In melee you have the particular problem that a knights proper melee weapon ie chainsword, will kill one of your guys in one hit, wiping out 50+ points at a time, and even with a storm shield a knight can reliably kill one custodian each round of combat.
- If you have the money, consider making your whole army from spearhead detachments, bringing bare-bones SCs, Valoris as your warlord, and a shit ton of Telemons with the storm cannons (at least one should have twin Caestii) and Grav-tanks with the Arachnus cannon. An expensive list (in both points and dollars,) and one with very few CPs, but is insanely tough (Telemons are actually TOUGHER than knights to put down and come at half the price) and will curb stomp a knights army reliably often, and pretty quickly as well (watch out for the Dominus Castellan though, that thing shits anti-armour like nothing else in the game).
- Sisters of Silence: The Talons are doing wargame practice. These guys won’t cause you any trouble as their special anti-psyker rules don’t mean shit against you (this may be the only matchup in 8e where your not having Psykers is an actual ADVANTAGE. They are quite hard-hitting in melee but have nothing on you. Charge them or shoot them, doesn’t matter.
- Sisters of Battle: If you face sisters TAKE JETBIKES. They’re fast enough to escape you being outmaneuvered (which will probably happen), their hurricane Bolters blenderize sister squads (12 S4 shots vs T3) and the salvo launchers will evaporate penitent engines and the like. Shield captains on said Jetbikes will annihilate all their characters in cc (A5, WS2+ reroll 1s, S6 vs T3, AP-3, Dd3). Again, however, the biggest threat in this matchup is not likely to come from the units on the board, more the person wielding them.
- Adeptus Titanicus: Just give up. You have no chance. Sorry.
- (In all fairness though, this is the same with every single faction in the game so don’t feel alone in this).
- Other Imperium Factions: This is for the Inquisition and Assassinorum and other factions that are index only or have mini-dexes.
- Chaos Space Marines: May the Chaos gods have mercy on your opponent if they are using the Black Legion Tactics, otherwise you're going to stomp him harder than you already will with attacks that explode on a 4+. Alpha Legion and Iron Warriors play out like Raven Guard and Imperial Fists, respectively. Read the loyalist marine section to see how you deal with those. The closest analog Slaanesh type shooter units can focus fire and wipe out your units if they get in range. Berzerkers don't give a fuck how tough you are (but they are soft themselves, charge first) Tzeentch and Nurgle guys are tougher and throw psychic bullshit at you. They can combo up some pretty nasty warlords as well. Abbadon is a mighty beast, but as mentioned, the Custodes can fuck him up proper.
- Chaos Daemons: Hordes of daemonic freaks galore. Nurgle Daemons have Disgustingly Resilient which gives them a 5+ shrug against all of your attacks. Your guys will have to put in double time to get rid of them. Khorne Daemons hit like freight trains on the charge with a potential 2 damage coming from a basic Bloodletter's sword. Tzeentch Daemons will spell doom for you with psychic spam, akin to the Thousand Sons below and the Grey Knights. Ironically Slaanesh's daemonettes will be a cinch at range considering that they can only get up to S4 on their units and are way too fragile against ranged attacks. Assault Cannon Venerable Contemptor Dreads and the standard Jetbikes will rip holes in their number quite good, and avoid close combat with their greater Daemons unless you throw a squad of Stormshield guard at them since Greater Daemons struggle to get around high invuln saves in close combat.
- Death Guard: Mortal wound spam (both psychic and non-psychic), plus Mortarion. Have fun! They are not very numerous though, but they are disgustingly resilient. Pox walkers, on the other hand, form their screens and are quite the tarpit. Their elite infantry is also very tough potentially resulting in prolonged combats, something to keep in mind.
- Thousand Sons: Mmmm… did somebody say ooey-gooey Psychic cheese? With Custodes alone, you do have the Spark of Divinity Stratagem to Deny the Witch, a built-in 6+ against wounds caused in be Psychic phase, and the Impregnable Mind Warlord trait to Deny and get a +1 when doing so, but you're going to need more. They can spam their powers while you cannot spam that Stratagem or a Warlord Trait, so ally in either other Psykers or take Sisters of Silence. Think of the Thousand Sons Psychic phase as a second Shooting phase, since nearly everything can at least cast smite. Additionally, all their basic guns are AP -2, the perfect AP for taking on Custodes as you’ll pretty much always be using your 4++ to save. If your opponent is taking Magnus, remove him quickly, using a Telemon's Fisters or an Ares’ dakka; he’ll buff himself up and others if you don’t. It also doesn’t help that Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators have All is Dust to give them -1 to hit, and they’re pretty tanky too. Removing whole units at a time is key here, as it removes one more Psyker each time.
- Renegade Knights: Like Imperial Knights, but even nastier in close combat. Even after their Codex, they still play very similarly to their Loyalist counterparts.
- Renegades and Heretics: Think Guard, but with all their strengths and weaknesses amplified. Their fodder is even more pathetic, but they can field so much of it, it is a possibility you will literally not have enough guns to kill all of them, unless you brought Allarus Terminators or sniper allies, and kill all of them you must, as their Enforcers almost completely negate Morale loses. Meanwhile, their vehicles may not be quite as mean as their loyalist counterparts without things like Regimental Doctrines or Tank Orders, but a Leman Russ Demolisher is still point-for-point the nastiest tank in the game, and the boys in R&H can field a LOT of them.
- Craftworlds: Sneaky space Elves who specialize in psychic shenanigans, and spamming -1 to hit modifiers like no tomorrow. Their psykers will fuck you up something fierce by spamming smite and Executioner to hell and back, plus Warlocks and Spiritseers can cast buffs on their units, and debuff your units. Their fleshy aspect warriors are easy enough prey, but take care against any of their wraith units; they come packed with enough D to one-shot your dudes and are slightly sturdier (if the opposing player bothers to support them properly, at least) for it. Still, they'll fall quickly enough if you get the jump on them first. Their squads are also very overspecialized - if you outmaneuver them you’ll have a much easier time of it. Be wary of getting swamped by shuriken weapons, which will force you to rely on your invulnerable saves.
- Dark Eldar: Sadomasochist space Elves. They won't give a damn about your higher than average toughness, but many of their basic weapons will struggle to get through your armor. Conversely, they may as well be flouncing around naked for all the armor they have on. What's better is you won't need to worry about psychic shenanigans from this flavor of spess elf. Watch out for disintegrator cannons, they are prime Multi-wound killers, as well as Coven type models who can partially match your durability. Otherwise, you may find that their army doesn't have as many anti-TEQ options as others. However, they can swamp you in cheap shots and their Wyches bring a very high volume of attacks for cheap models.
- Harlequins: Clown space Elves, almost as dangerous in melee as you are, but much, much faster and considerably more numerous. They have fewer options to engage your Custodes at range and their T3 bodies are mostly protected by a 4++, so you won't be wanting for ways to kill them. Charge first if you can, don't let your squads get surrounded, and don’t forget the Interrupt stratagem to strike first in combat. The Vexilla Imperius will help you enormously in this matchup.
- Orks: You shouldn't need any help killing Orks, but just in case, remember your Hurricane Bolters on your bikes. You can quite easily play keep-away while hailing shots on the Ork hordes. Also, don't go wantonly charging in with your close combat units since that will play right into the Ork player's hands. Whittle them down like every other race, knock out the supporting Nobz and Warboss, then mop up the weaklings.
- Tau Empire Make sure the Magnifica is in your army, and laugh as the space communists hit your foot slogging troops on 5s (put the radiant mantle on your warlord for 6s to hit). Note that half the army has fly so tying up units is not easy. Also like facing guard, beware of volume of fire. Else wise Tau have a plethora of weapons that can fire a ton of shots AP -1/2 with high damage, the perfect sort of weapons for facing down golden boys. On the plus side, they have no access to psykers! Pro tip from a T'au player: Fear the Riptide, for it is the literal definition of a perfect counter to your army. The longer you are in melee, the less they will be shooting at you. However, the more aggressively you play, the more easily they can catch you in a trap. Units to eliminate on sight are Markerlight sources, Riptides, and any vehicles or drones the Weebs might have brought. Know the Sunshark bomber: It can dish out mortal wounds on your infantry units on a 4+.
- Necrons: Play for keeps, don't fight in half-measures. Focus down a Necron unit until it is wiped, otherwise, you'll likely see a majority of the unit stand back up with Reanimation Protocols. These guys also can’t take psykers so exploit that and bring some SM librarians in a SCD and see how psyker suffering looks from the other side. Watch out for destroyers, they are fairly tough and their beefed-up gauss weapons are prime Custode killers. 'Crons can be slow, but they can also slug it out if you can't kill them efficiently. Wraiths can also be a problem and may survive longer in melee than you would like, though they are only deadly when very expensive.
- Tyranids: One of the most fun matchups in the current meta, as nids and custodes are both combat-based. The key to taking on nids is, as always, to take out the synapse creatures and the big ones. Also, this is one of the few times where you don't want to get in combat immediately; at least try and whittle down the genestealer and gaunt blobs before you charge them. Beware of many heavy melee weapons they have which are a straight 3D. Nids have potent psychic output as well and can surprise you in the shooting phase.
- Genestealer Cults: Deep-striking Genestealers and other terrifying close combat units. Fun!
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