Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Adeptus Custodes (7E)
So Roboute Guilliman had enough of those freeloaders in his dad's house and finally sent them out into the galaxy to do shit, giving us Adeptus Custodes rules for the first time since 40k was made (it only took about 30 years, maybe in another 30 we'll get stats for the Emperor and the Chaos gods).
Why play Adeptus Custodes
Because you want to have the smallest amount of miniatures, but pay the same price as everyone else for their armies. Maybe you really like gold, or maybe you like the idea that the Custodes' entire army comes from 3 boxes grand total. Maybe you want a profile that makes marine envious, or 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, and provided you play your cards right are capable of pulling off some crazy shit (such as blocking Strength D weapons with pointy sticks).
The 40k Custodes are nowhere near as overpowered as their 30k counterparts, and while they lack all of their former toys like antigrav vehicles, super-Dreadnoughts, Terminators and Jetbikes, they still roll with some of the best tech the 40k Imperium has to offer and they get the Aegis of the Emperor rule, something the 30k army is dying to have.
- Aegis of the Emperor: Lorewise it's the blessing of the Emperor. Gameplay wise it gives all units with this rule a 5+ invulnerable save and Eternal Warrior. Now your Custodes are REALLY Terminators on steroids.
- Adamantium Will: Hope you like it, because the Custodes have fucking nothing else to help them against Psykers (not even their own Psykers). Granted they're supposed to work alongside the Sisters of Silence (who you should probably ally in) and they can also benefit from an attached psychic Inquisitor/Primaris Psyker, but they're still very vulnerable to Psychic Powers.
- Bulky: The price of being bigger than a Space Marine. Probably the unfortunate reason that Custodes don't get Rhino's, or really any transport of any kind besides the basic Land Raider, but thankfully the next rule mitigates this a lot.
- Deep Strike: The Custodes do very well in melee and not nearly so well at range (mostly thanks to bolter-grade ranged weaponry) but when your cheapest transport's close to 300 points it becomes hard to get them there. Thankfully this mitigates that by a lot (and their formation helps them to survive the landing), just make sure to take enough hard-as-nails ground forces (such as a squad in a Land Raider or a Venerable Contemptor) to make sure that you won't get tabled before they arrive. An allied Astropath from Imperial Agents can also greatly help you out here, as can a Mystic that's in the right spot at the right time.
- Fearless: Because if there's one thing the golden banana's have learned in the 10,000 years since the Horus Heresy, it's to stay and fight!
- Note that as awesome as having your whole army be fearless is, this can really fuck you over badly. The Custodes do not have access to any sort of Armourbane weapon, or any Power/Chain fists of any kind, meaning that if you get charged by something they cannot hurt like a Contemptor Dreadnought (or something worse like a Knight), the squad will fight and fight until they're all turned into golden pulp without any chance of escape. To this end you should make sure to keep them away from AV13/AV14 walkers until your own Contemptor's/Land Raider have dealt with them (or ally in somebody else to take care of those problems for you).
- Character: Not necessarily a special rule, but it is extremely important. All Custodes are Characters, which means that you can play pass the hit with a unit, allowing you to dictate who actually takes the hit half the time. This means that you can spread Wounds throughout the unit, rather than being forced to delegate them to one model until it dies, and it means that it'll take significantly longer for your squads to get weaker and when you cost as much as Custodes do, that's a gift from heaven.
- Do note too that this means that bad positioning will still allow you to use your storm shields to take at least half the hits that affect the unit, even if they're not the closest models. Never forget it!
Custodes now have their own Warlord Traits, most of them making your Warlord even scarier in close-combat.
- Saviour of the Imperium: Friendly units from the Armies of the Imperium within 6" of your Warlord have a 6+ invulnerable save.
- Peerless Warrior: Your Warlord re-rolls failed To Hit and To Wound rolls in challenge. AKA "I really want to slaughter your HQ.
- Champion of the Blood Games: Your Warlord has the Preferred Enemy (Everything) special rule. ...and so does his unit. Now your ten-man squad with Vexilla is really an unstoppable, hideously expensive bulldozer.
- Impregnable Mind: Your Warlord and his unit pass Deny the Witch tests on a 2+ roll that cannot be modified by any means. Fuck you psykers. Totally useless against some armies, but helpful against the more psychic-oriented ones.
- Light of the Emperor: Your Warlord has the Shrouded special rule. Can be decent if you dodge around cover as even though there's a lot of Ignores Cover weaponry, most of those weapons aren't AP2 so you'll usually be getting an Armour save, or a boosted Cover save.
- Emperor's Companion: Your Warlord gets +1WS and BS. Great if you face something with WS7, WS6 and WS3 and under, pretty useless otherwise.
As you can guess, the Adeptus Custodes have access to arguably the single best melee weapon in the game, though it only becomes great if the unit has a lot of it. Aside from that though the weapon variety's really lacking on squads, and you're going to have to use vehicles/dreadnoughts to make up the difference.
- Guardian Spear: Just like the one the Deathwatch Watch Masters can take, only now it's not heresy to do so! The Guardian Spear incorporates a regular Boltgun and it is also a Two-Handed S+1 AP2 melee weapon (as mentioned, it can be used as both in the same turn). Also comes with the Block rule. Each model in this unit with this rule can attempt to block a single attack made against the unit, and they can even choose to try blocking the same attack as another model. In either case, you roll dice for each model trying to block the attack and add them together (in the case of multiple Custodes blocking the same attack). If the score is higher than the to-hit score, then the attack is blocked and has no effect.
- This means that so long as two Custodes try blocking the same attack, the odds are that you'll nullify that attack. Yes this means that statistically, 8 Custodes will be immune to any character who has 4 attacks or less (although when you factor in the amount of attacks that miss, it'll usually only require 4-6 Custodes).
- Keep in mind that if your results are equal then the attack isn't blocked (and most of the time they're hit on 4's anyway), so in general it's better to have at least two Custodes trying to block the same attack, rather than having them attempt to block different attacks with a much higher chance of their block failing.
- Sentinel Blade: Only AP3, but incorporates a Bolt Caster (12" Storm Bolter) that fires Snapshots (aka Overwatch and shooting at Invisibility if you really need to) at BS2.
- Power Knife: It's a Power Sword. It's good because it stacks with the Sentinel blade for +1 attack, unless you took a Storm Shield. It also means models with spears can use them in situations where AP2/S6 aren't needed to get an additional attack.
- Unfortunately for this combo the Custodes aren't left wanting for Attacks. On the charge they have 4, with a Vexilla they have 5, and at that point they Knives suffer a diminishing return in comparison to the Guardian Spear, as upping 4-5 attacks' Strength by 1 is better than just increasing the Attacks by 1 (Guardian Spears wound MEQ's on 2's and ID GEQ's). Given the very high cost of even a single Custodes, you'd be better off in something that offers a bit more durability rather trying a lesser way to make them more killy. Guardian Spears can block shit, Storm Shield's massively boost the save to the unit, and if you really want more attacks then just get/stay near the Vexilla.
- Custodes Vexilla: One Custodes in your army can take this. It's a boosted Company Standard which gives all Armies of the Imperium units within 12" Fearless and +1 Attack to the owners unit. Unfortunately you lose your Guardian Spear (but thanks to the Power Knife you're still S5/AP3).
- Storm Shield: You know them, you love them. 3+ Invulnerable. Specifically says you cannot take this if you have a Guardian Spear though (you also cannot choose to not use the shield, which means you cannot suddenly decide to use the Sentinal Blade with the Power Knife for +1 Attack), which figures, though it is a shame you can't make space hoplites.
Golden Legion Task Force:
- Compulsory: 1 Troops
- Optional: 2 Troops + 1 Elite. Do note that Venerable Land Raiders are Dedicated Transports in addition to an HS option. Yes, this means your entire army can be used with this detachment and there's next to no reason to not use it, unless you cannot afford 3 squads of Custodes and the Dreadnought.
- Restrictions: All your units must be from the Adeptus Custodes faction.
- Command benefits:
- The Emperor's Chosen: If you field the maximum number of units choices in your Detachment, all said units within 6" of at least another unit from the Legio Custodes faction can re-roll invulnerable save rolls of 1. You basically trade tactical mobility for a bit of resistance. Nice for your guys with shields, not that powerful for your regular spearman.
- From Golden Light They Come: Units that deep-strike only roll one die for deviation distance and can re-roll any result on the Deep Strike Mishap table. Technically means that with a nearby servo-skull, they don't scatter at all
- Right Hand of the Emperor: You can re-roll any result on the Warlord Traits table if the Golden Legion is your Primary Detachment. Because Impregnable Mind against Tau is rather sad.
- The main reason you'd use this is to turn your Shieldstodes into super Cataphractii Captains, and because Deep Strike heavily mitigates their low mobility so a bonus to that is wonderful. That said if you're playing a smaller game where taking the 4 units isn't ideal, you're better off using the Combined Arms Detachment which is still possible, so long as you use one of the following special characters: Saint Celestine, Belisarius Cawl, Grand Master Voldus, Inquisitor Greyfax and/or Cypher. Granted all of these characters are quite expensive, however none of them are more expensive than even a single unit of Custodes and now you don't have to get the dreadnought too.
- Do note that if you just want to use the Custodes as allies, you'd be better off with one of the listed characters and a unit or two as a part of the Allied Detachment. This way the Custodes gain objective secured and with their rules and statline, they're not going anywhere. It's not like you can't buy them good transports from whoever you're allying with anyway, so with a force that small both The Emperor's Chosen and From Golden Light They Come will not come into play at all.
- Custodian Guard Squad: Custodes all have Terminator-grade saves and combined with being able to Look Out Sir! on each other thanks to being Characters, as well as having the Fearless rule means they can be the meatshield squad of your dreams, easily able to rival infamous ones like Lychguard. While ultimately quite expensive they are highly survivable in either weapon loadout and can match the damage output of just about any other close combat squad. Much like their fluff implies, while individually being amazing fighters they lack the tactical flexibility of their brothers the Astartes, with shortcomings in serious long-range firepower, effective anti-armour (let your other units worry about that, its beneath these guys anyway), and mobility (unless you deep strike or buy a Land Raider). Don't use them as end-all units, instead treat them as what they are, a powerful assault combat squad that can hold their own in a fight. May take a Venerable Land Raider as a DT, which is something you should likely have at least one of if you're running a pure Custodes force since your Anti-Armour's rather limited without it.
- Something worth considering is getting more Custodes for one unit, rather than multiple units of Custodes to take advantage of the Block rule. In general the more Custodes with spears that are a part of the unit, the more attacks you can Block safely which can really help you out if you're up against a melee powerhouse. There's no harm in attempting to block either and as a quick example, if 6 Custodes have spears, you can ignore 3 attacks on average, no matter who they're from. You can even use the Block rule to keep somebody alive in a challenge since the Custodes can (albeit unfairly) block the enemy challenger's blows (although it is fitting for a squad of bodyguards). Quite ironically for a group that's always made out to fight as individuals, they've better close combat teamwork than most Marines.
- Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought: For 30 points over a regular Contemptor Dreadnought, you get a Contemptor Dreadnought with Venerable, Deep Strike, Adamantium Will, and a permanent 5+ Invuln save, making the Atomantic Shielding functionally useless unless you wanted it to explode. If you're not happy with the multi-melta and CCW that Contemptor Dreadnoughts get, you can replace the multi-melta with a Kheres pattern assault cannon and... that's all. Just like regular Contemptors They lack the versatility of the other Dreadnought types and have nowhere near the killing power of the 30k-era Galatus and Achillus, but the Custodes versions are tougher than regular Marine Contemptors and more mobile thanks to Deep Strike. Considering these options, the Comtemptor is arguably the best anti-armour in the army, with the far safer Deep Strike available to Custodians, you can get this little guy where you need him for some melta fun. Best focus on the things your base squads will not like, namely AV13/AV14, But don't discount a good assault cannon or the idea of a CC dread either.
- Do note that should this Dreadnought fail to kill the vehicle it's shooting at with its Multi-melta/Assault Cannon, it does stand a really good chance at finishing the job in CC. While it's still a bad idea to charge something like GC's and Knights, it's more than capable of ripping apart Land Raiders as a quick example.
- Venerable Land Raider: YES THANK YOU GW! The solution to your footslogging and vehicle-hunting problems. It's not antigrav like the Custodes Rhino that doesn't have rules or the Coronus Grav Carrier, but for just 25 points above the price of a standard Land Raider you get some cool additional stuff : BS5, Adamantium Will, Aegis of the Emperor (yes, your mobile bunker has a 5++ save), Venerable and Magos-class Machine Spirit (you ignore the Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned results on the Vehicle Damage chart). Your wargear options are limited to a storm-bolter (5pts), one hunter-killer missile (10pts) and extra armour (10pts but ultimately useless thanks to the Machine Spirit). But this is more than made up for by its inherent superiority to base-line Land Raiders. Twin-Linked lascannons that hit on twos is a great anti-everything weapon and the extra defenses mean it's not completely screwed by the usual vehicle predators (grav, melta, and lance to name a few).
- While it does still have the same issue as every other army that can have a Land Raider (that of having long-ranged weapon on a transport that needs to close in) you're going to need at least one if you're running a pure Custodes force, as you simply don't have anything aside from a Deep Striking Venerable Contemptor that can handle AV13/AV14. Luckily the extra survivability and extra BS help make up for its shortcomings.
The Legio Custodes are Armies of the Imperium, and ally as it implies. Every other ally level isn't worth mentioning.
- Adepta Sororitas: They have Immolators and come with shit tons of Melta and flamers. Also can bring warm bodies with 3+ armor saves.
- Adeptus Mechanicus: They bring loads of ranged firepower, while you guys provide a solid anchor and beatstick. Also take the Vexilla to ensure your slow-moving gunline never retreats! That is really all that there is to say about Skitarii or the Cult Mechanicus.
- Astra Telepathica: Ally them in. Seriously, ally them in. 25 points gets you the ability to re-roll your reserves and when you have the ability to Deep Strike your entire army you do not want to get fucked over by a bad reserve roll. Primaris Psykers with Biomancy can also greatly help the unit as they can make it harder to kill with Endurance, restore Wounds to the unit with Life Leech, hold their own with Iron Arm/Warp Speed/Smite, weaken enemies with Enfeeble (in case you wanted to ID Marines with your S6 dudes) and act as a Warp Battery for more useful Psykers if they end up rolling Haemorrhage.
- Space Marines: If you're taking Custodes in a Marines army, it's because they wished their Terminators/Command Squad was as good as you. That, or you needed to borrow their Spartan Assault Tanks/Stormravens.
- Grey Knights: Can work with Draigo since one of the Custodes' weak points is their low mobility barring Deep Strike and Draigo's fixed power of Gate of Infinity will overcome that. Or you could just buy the Venerable Land Raider, since Draigo is only 40 points less anyway.
- Blood Angels: Sanguinary priest can make these already tough bastards unstoppable, especially as they have eternal warrior. Quickening (imagine 8 s6 ap2 i8 attacks) and Unleash rage can also be really helpful.
- Imperial Guard: They bring the cheap warm bodies to hold objectives, and lots of ranged goodies like the Leman Russ tank and Basilisk artillery. The only thing they cannot give you is Assault Vehicles.
- Imperial Knights: Custodes don't bring much to the baby titans that they couldn't already do, but the baby titans do put out rapid-fire ordnance and AP3 miniguns.
- Inquisition: Oh hell yes. Henchmen squads of Acolytes provide the bodies, Mystics and servo-skulls help you in case you wanted to Deep Strike your Custodes into battle. Also, the Custodes make the best bodyguards to an Inquisitor of any kind. The Hereticus Inquisitor can straight-up shut down psychic attacks with the Null-rod, and the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor can help you guys with Rad Grenades to weaken the enemy, and Psychotroke grenades to fuck with the enemy and help you out tonnes. The Ordo Malleus Inquisitor in Terminator Armor will probably blend in the most with you guys. Also if you care, this maybe the fluffyist option; if the Adeptus Custodes goes to war in the 41st Millennium, only the Inquisition's gonna know about it.
- Do note that the Inquition's Null Rod is one of the best ways to deal with Psychic shenanigans (especially if you didn't get the right Warlord Trait, or have multiple units that are vulnerable). Sure the Inquisitor with it will cost the same as another Custodes, but if you use the Inquisitorial Representative Detachment you can gain another Warlord Trait out of it too, and the immunity to mind fuckery's well worth it. Maybe you'll get lucky and manage to get Master of Ambush, thus bypassing all of the Custodes' mobility issues.
- Sisters of Silence: Golden armored anti-Psyker girls with Golden armored Glory boys. These girls give you anti-Psyker protection while you give the beatstick to them. Nearly vital if you don't have the right Warlord Trait and are up against Psykers while not allying in any of your own.
- Also: one thing to note is it is possible to form a Combined arms detatchment with the custodes with the use of Greyfax, Cawl or Celestine.
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