Warhammer 40,000/9th Edition Tactics/Talons of the Emperor

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40k's beefiest supermen, and played by Superman himself.

If you're looking for the tactics for the Emprah's BFFs for the big daddy problem clusterfuck, you can find them here

This is the current 9th Edition's Adeptus Custodes/Sisters of Silence tactics. 8th Edition Tactics are here.

Why play Talons of The Emperor[edit]

Maybe you like gold, 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 nearly 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.

Overall, Custodes find their selves in a great spot at the start of 9th Ed. After a difficult few years of being worn down by increases in AP across the game (and especially by GW's favourite power armoured whiney children), the Custodes Psychic Awakening has given us better tools for survivability and damage output alike. This puts us in a strong position to grab the new meta by the balls and put our beautiful Golden Bananas were they where meant to be, with the rest of the Imperial Forces taking one from our huge golden throbbing members. The addition of the Sisters of Silence to their faction is both a perfect match with the fluff and a hard counter to the psychic shenanigans that could semi-reliably bypass their otherwise considerable resilience, and also acts as a cheap way to fill up your army without spending a shitload of points in the process.

The current rules for the Custodes Forge World models can be found here. There has not yet been an update to the rules for these models since the 9th edition codex was released, but points cost changes 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!
  • You want to have access to the toughest, non-named character in the game (T6, W7, 2+/3++/5+++)... 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, nor do you like those fancy-schmancy primary sues.
  • 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 at the pace of a Space Wolf in his natural state, we have access to two types of Jetbike! Trouble is, jetbikes have to choose between being your best horde mulcher (hurricane bolter) or your only real answer for ranged anti-armor (salvo launcher).
  • You like Dreadnoughts, especially Contemptors? Custodes have some nasty walkers in their Terran garage.
  • They have the biggest pauldrons you’ve ever seen!!!
  • No psykers? No problem.
  • 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.
  • The Sisters of Silence provide you a very convenient means of interfering with psykers and taking them down.


  • 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.
  • Every person and their neighbour is getting toughness 5 now, so your niche isn’t as special anymore.
  • 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. Each FIGURE of your troops has roughly the points cost of a squad of guardsmen.
  • Only three named characters and no real diversity to them (either 1 of 2 big guys that kick ass in melee or a terrifying woman 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.
  • On top of the anti-armor situation, the only armies you can expect to consistently outnumber use giant robots, and frankly both those match ups favor them over you.
  • No psykers means no Deny the Witch. Sure, you have Aegis of the Emperor and some relics/strats that can mitigate damage, but you will want a dedicated Psyker defense. The Sisters of Silence can only deny using a stratagem, so you will need some other sort of psyker like an Inquisitor in order to have an effective counter to psykers.
  • 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.
  • 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 12 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 S10 destruction. It may be worth looking into asking a friend to print some models for you, or just getting a printer for yourself. Afterall, the cost of a single Orion Assault Dropship ($445 on Forgeworld) will more than cover the cost of getting a good resin printer.
    • 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 ruleset decree that all currently supported Forge World units are fully legal for use.
  • You will suffer against anything with decent invulnerability saves or damage reduction. 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 armies like the Imperial Guard who rely on rate of fire. The good news is that your basic guns deal 2 damage, so while they can still knock a decent chunk of wounds off a target, they'll still be quite hard to stop. This only gets better in melee as you now have an eye-wateringly high number of attacks to add to high S and AP characteristics, essentially making you become the Imperial Guard Shooting Phase when in combat.
  • While you can make a detachment comprised entirely of Sisters of Silence, you'll find that you get very little for your troubles aside from the bare essentials. Only a fraction of the stratagems can actually work for you, and your composition will be extremely limited with only one unit choice for each FOC slot.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Objective Secured: What allows the sisters of Silence to join a Custodes detachment without issues, permitting all the perks seen here and giving Core Adeptus Custodes infantry and Anathema Psykana units ObSec, with the bananas counting as having an extra model for capping. Arks Of Omen introduces some rollbacks and changes, including adding ObSec to all Custodes Core infantry.
    • An interesting shift here is that there are also benefits for a pure Sisters of Silence (barring Agents of the Imperium and Unaligned units, as well as Valerian) detachment, though it's only for the sake of giving those sisters ObSec. Sadly, they get much less.
  • Aegis of the Emperor: The reason the Custodes are so damn hard to kill. Not only do they get a 4++, but they also get a 6+++ against mortal wounds, making sure they can tank most things they come across.
  • Daughters of the Abyss: Sisters of Silence can never be targeted by any psychic power, friend or foe. Additionally, when not in a transport they force any PSYKERs to subtract 1 from all Psychic and Deny 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 -3, so having enough Sisters of Silence near a unit will make psychic tests practically impossible for them. In addition, they gain a +1 to wound enemy PSYKERs and DAEMONs, giving them a bit of an edge against Chaos Daemons.
    • If you have a hate-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.
    • Negative to cast modifiers also make it easier for you to Deny the Witch through e.g. the Impregnable Mind WT or Empyric Severance strat, as it becomes easier to beat their total and cancel their power.
    • Since you also debuff their Denies, you can use Sisters to buff an allied caster's casting, although you haven't got any in Sisters or Custodes directly, of course.
  • Emperor's Legion: The big issue dealing with the Sisters. You can't have more Sisters of Silence units in the Troops and HQ slots than you do Custodes units. It also blocks the Knight-Centura from being your Warlord when in a Custodes detachment, limiting her value.
  • Host of Heroes: You can only have one of each Shield-Captain model (Standard, Terminator, and Jetbike) in your detachment.
  • Watchers of the Throne: When accounting for Look Out, Sir, Custodes infantry and jetbikes units count as having twice as many models in their units, allowing your troops to act as a walking golden wall for your captain.

Martial Ka'tah[edit]

A sort-of equivalent of the Space Marine Doctrines, you get to select three different ka'tahs (a set of two stances) in an order you assign (1, 2, 3) that you can transition to throughout the battle. Each Command Phase you must pick a stance if possible, subject to these rules:

  • You must start with a stance from Ka'tah 1.
  • You can't pick a stance you've already picked.
  • Once you pick a stance from a different Ka'tah than the one from your previous turn, you can't return to that Ka'tah.
  • You can't pick a stance from Ka'tah 3 until you've picked one from Ka'tah 2.

This means the fastest you can exhaust your Ka'tahs is a stance from Ka'tah 1 on Turn 1, then from 2 on 2 and 3 on 3, so Turn 4 you have no stance (nor do you on Turn 5).

  • Calistus: A mobility-focused style, which you'll likely be running for the first turn or two. The first stance lets you roll two dice and drop one when advancing, allowing you to cover ground immediately and cap objectives. The second stance allows any units that move normally or advance count as stationary in the Shooting phase, letting you unleash all your firepower even after capping points.
  • Conservai: The defensive style, but its value varies heavily upon which objectives you pick. The first stance allows your units to perform objective actions after advancing or falling back, which will see use based on what your objectives are. The second stance allows your units to shoot while performing actions without issue.
  • Dacatarai: This style focuses upon keeping foes at an arm's length and handling crowds. The first stance makes engaged enemies suffer a -2" penalty to any consolidation or pile-in moves they make, useful for keeping away cultists and guardsmen but maybe less gaunts. The second stance gives you an optional ability you can use each time the unit fights, granting +1A/model but setting D to 1 for all melee weapons in the unit for that entire fight (so you can choose the ability or not each time the unit is selected to fight, in other words) to better handle mobs with less overkill. Also a straight-up buff against any armies that have "reduce damage by 1" rules, like Death Guard, assuming you were using D2 melee weapons.
  • Kaptaris: The style made to trap enemies in combat by pretending you're a Dark Eldar Wych. The first style makes enemies unable to re-roll to hit your custodians in melee, flat-out negating captains and various stratagems. The second style lets you and your opponent roll a d6 whenever an enemy unit that's not a monster or vehicle wants to fall back from your Infantry units, adding +1 to the enemy's roll if they can fly. If you win, the enemy can't retreat and you get to whale on them for another turn.
  • Rendax: The style made for killing big things. The first stance makes any natural 6s to hit an enemy Vehicle or Monster automatically wound (since you're WS2+ BS2+, this the same thing as saying 1/5 of your hits automatically wound). The second stance gives you +1S if you charge, heroically intervene, or get charged by an enemy Vehicle or Monster, meaning you really want to be S7 or S8 base when this goes off - try not to be S5, and if you're S6, you shouldn't have bothered with this stance, period.
  • Salvus: The Dakka'tah, as it were. The first stance gives all models a +4" boost to the range of their guns. The second stance lets Infantry units that didn't move didn't advance and aren't engaged fire their Auric weapons twice, which accounts for pretty much all of the major weapons like the spears and axes.

Shield Hosts[edit]

As with any other sub-faction, selecting a certain <Shield Host> gives you access to the Warlord Trait, Relic, and stratagem exclusive to them. However, they also have a Shield Host Fighting Style, adding two faction traits and the ability to trigger both stances of a certain ka'tah favored by the shield host, though you count as only using one of them.

Aquilan Shield[edit]

It is His Will that His servants shall be protected.

As their name suggests, these are the tankiest of the Custodes. Their traits help them shrug off gunfire like nothing while plodding forward as an invincible gunline, a golden tide made to shatter the opposition.

  • Shield Host Fighting Style - Gilded Guardians: All units can perform heroic interventions despite not being characters. The more interesting trait allows them to treat any AP-1 attacks as AP0, forcing the opposition to pull out the big guns if they hope to take down your boys. It would be better if people didn't already use tons of ap-2 due to certain armies.
  • Warlord Trait - Revered Companion: Halves damage taken by the Warlord. With the Auric Aquilas and Eagle's Eye nerfed defensively, this becomes your single way to becoming a tank on legs.
  • Relic - Praesidius: Replaces a praesidium shield. -1 to Wound rolls that target the bearer, which will be necessary since this forces your hero to use the short-ranged sentinel sword.
  • Stratagem - Shield of Honour (1 CP): "Imperium Character <3" the stratagem. During the enemy's shooting phase, they cannot target one selected Imperium Infantry Character while they're within 6" of any Aquilan Shield Core units. Take a look at the keywords mentioned for your charge. This means that this can protect even inquisitors, giving you one of the few venues for ensuring the safety of your allies.
  • Favored Ka'tah - Salvus: While there's nothing that directly synergizes with the shield host's traits, the fact that they can sit still and ignore all but the worst guns while blasting the enemy without remorse does make for a decent insurance policy.

Dread Host[edit]

It is His Will that His enemies shall be annihilated.

The most relentless of the shield hosts. These are the most aggressive of the lot and thus require getting stuck in immediately. Fortunately, they have a means of getting there without an issue.

  • Shield Host Fighting Style - Instruments of the Emperor's Wrath: Any attacks your units make at enemies within 9" improve their AP by 1 (which means more than anyone else, you should always take Axes over Spears) and they can re-roll charge rolls.
  • Warlord Trait - All-Seeing Annihilator: Pick a friendly Dread Host Core unit within 6" of the warlord during the command phase. A natural 6 on a hit roll scores one additional hit, which can help you crack the enemy open a little faster.
    • RAW, the ability affects ALL attacks, both shooting and melee. Therefore it greatly benefits units that can dish out good damage in multiple phases, like Venatari, talons + stormbolter Aquilons or bikes. Combined with Dacatarai and the good unit, it's an excellent tool to deal with hordes.
  • Relic - Admonimortis: Replaces a Castellan Axe. The gun part's now upped to S5 AP-1 D2, with the melee bit being S+3 AP-3 D3. While the axe isn't much stronger against monsters, it remains perfect to reliably hunt down characters or monsters.
    • This is upped to AP-2 (shooting within 9") and AP-4 in melee. Compared to the other relics, it has the most damage, and it's AP-4 compared to the AP-5 the EC get, but AP-5 can be a tad excessive
  • Stratagem - The Golden Light of the Moiraides (2 CP): Use during the movement phase after deep-striking a Dread Host unit. This unit can charge without fear of overwatch or setting to defend and all attacks against them take -1 to hit. Tired of turning up and having your best units shot to shit without getting into combat? So are we, and apparently so are GW. This strat is well worth the investment. Especially when you consider that your traits let you re-roll a charge, this can turn a decent unit which can be destroyed by enemy fire into a match winning rape train from NOWHERE.
    • This gives you one of your Warlord Traits (-1 to hit), if only for a turn. Lets you put the Warlord trait elsewhere since the malus to hit is capped at -1, and gives you the piece of mind to double-up on the Smashfucker build.
  • Favored Ka'tah - Dacatarai: This is the mob management ka'tah, so the AP improvement can be handy when used properly. Using both stances allows you to hack through crowds a little faster, with your charge buff making sure you can actually get stuck in immediately. The extra Attack is also a slight but much needed buff against units reducing the Damage value of your D2 weapons, so it's a good ka'tah to have in your roster in many situations.

Emissaries Imperatus[edit]

It is His Will that His voice shall be heard.

While their role is not apparent on the outset, the Emissaries do contain a few nice tricks in order to weather debuffs a little better than other custodians.

  • Shield Host Fighting Style - Heralds of the Throne: All of your units fight first and can ignore any penalties to hit or wound. Considering the numbers you'll have, they'll need that advantage to take down the enemy before suffering any costly losses.
    • Do remember that things like Transhuman Physiology and other rules preventing you from hitting/wounding on specific results aren't affected by this ability.
  • Warlord Trait - Voice of the Emperor: Improves the range of any other auras by +3". This also provide a separate aura (Already set at 9") that provides +1 Leadership for friendly Adeptus Custodes and Anathema Psykana units.
  • Relic - Halo of the Torchbearer: Provides a small 3" bubble for support and debuffs. Friendly Emissaries Imperatus units can ignore all penalties to movement, advance rolls, and charge rolls. During the fight phase, roll a d6 for any enemy units in this bubble; on a 4+ that unit suffers a mortal wound or d3 mortal wounds if the unit has a Leadership of 7 or less.
  • Stratagem - Into the Darkness (2/3 CP): Pick one Emissaries Imperatus Core unit before the start of the games. This unit can make a normal move so long as they're at least 9" away from the enemy, which is very helpful for getting started with the fight. Costs 2 CP for a unit with 3 or fewer models, but costs 3 CP if the unit has 4+ models.
  • Favored Ka'tah - Conservai: Let's be honest - despite the theming of activity while advancing or falling back, your odds of using this hinge heavily upon actually using objective actions. If you use them, you'll have plenty to work with, blasting the enemy while capping points. Otherwise, it's a waste.

The Emperor's Chosen[edit]

It is His Will that His Palace shall be guarded.

The generic Custodes faction, unique in that it has actual traits rather than providing custom traits to pick up piecemeal. This makes you something of a well-rounded army.

  • Shield Host Fighting Style - Magna Imperator: Each unit can re-roll one hit or wound roll when fighting or shooting and each model has a 4+++ against mortal wounds. That means you want as few attacks per unit as possible, as well as caring less about Strength and more about AP and Damage - e.g. you field some of the best Sentinel Blades going, since you actively don't mind losing the Misericordia attack and S6 vs S8 is significantly less of a downside for you.
  • Warlord Trait - Auric Exemplar: After the warlord fights, they can attack an additional number of times equal to how many models they just killed, up to a maximum of 4 attacks.
    • If you bought the Vertus Captain-Commander with Tip of the Spear, the buff stays up, so congrats! Fierce Hunter, on the other hand, won't apply a second time, as the model isn't selected to fight again, it just makes more attacks. Fierce Hunter is just bad compared to Tip of the Spear to begin with, but if you have this WT, smack yourself every time you contemplate Fierce Hunter.
    • Before putting it on a Hurricanis-dedicated Blade Champion because 8 extra attacks after mowing down a horde sounds like a lot of fun, remember that bonus Attacks generated during combat don't benefit from rules providing multiple hit rolls or extra hits; your Champion will never get more than 4 of those S5 AP-1 swings. It can be situationally useful though when engaging multiple units like a horde and a character, but the odds are fairly low. On the other hand, you can and should simply change profiles with this combo, as you pick a profile every time you pick your targets.
  • Relic - Paragon Spear: Replaces a guardian spear. While the gun merely gets upped to S5 AP-1 D2, the spear becomes a monstrous S+3 AP-5 D2, putting the castellan axe to shame as a beatstick. If you're looking to find someone to kill an enemy hero without fail, this is just the thing for the job. Just stay away from units with this obnoxious -1 Damage, as your high Strength and AP won't help when your Damage output is halved.
  • Stratagem - Esteemed Amalgam (1 CP): One Emperor's Chosen unit can replace their Shield Host Fighting Style with that of another Shield Host until the next command phase.
    • This stratagem alone makes the Emperor's Chosen one of the most powerful Shield-Hosts, and the most versatile by a mile. While temporarily nerfed for a time it is now useable multiples times in a battle. Returning Emperors Chosen to the most versatile shield host.
  • Favored Ka'tah - Rendax: This is a bit unusual for a favored stance, though it's likely because this is the only one another shield host didn't already claim. That said, monsters and vehicles are likely the biggest threats against your bananas, being something that likely won't go down in one round of fighting.


It is His Will that His secrets shall be kept.

The Shadowkeepers are a legion dedicated to hunting down and overwhelming the foe. Their particular traits let them strip away any illusions of safety that the enemy might have, and their favored martial ka'tah traps enemies in unwinnable situations.

  • Shield Host Fighting Style - Wardens of the Dark Cells: Your troops can re-roll wound rolls against enemy Characters and when Engaged with an enemy unit, every model in that unit suffers -1A (minimum 1). The errata had turned the attack penalty to affect any units they're engaged, giving you a bit more use out of having a unit tied up by multiple enemies.
  • Warlord Trait - Lockwarden: The warlord's attacks against enemy Characters bypass any invulns they have, which does great for knocking out daemon princes, smash captains, and anything in between.
    • Do note that all of your attacks ignore invulnerable saves, including your shooting. Sure, you will have a hard time sniping an enemy character if it's correctly protected, but think of the sweet slaughter a salvo launcher or Obliteratum could make if you manage to get a clean shot...
    • RAW, Daemon Saves aren't invulns and can't ever be modified/ignored; only the GK have a rule that specifically mentions Daemon Saves, and that was added in the 2023 Q1 FAQ update, but no distinction was made for this trait.
  • Relic - Stasis Oubliette: Select one enemy unit in engagement range of the bearer at the start of fight phase. This unit always fights last.
  • Stratagem - Grim Responsibility (1 CP): Enemy attacks suffer -1S when targeting a non-vehicle Shadowkeepers unit.
    • Makes you nonsensically resilient to S3 fire but also protects you from S5 and S6 fire, which you likely care more about. Sadly, this doesn't do anything for your dreads anymore.
  • Favored Ka'tah - Kaptaris: A vicious combo with the Shadowkeeper's fighting style, as the enemy has even less of a chance to escape your onslaught. Not only are they losing attacks, but triggering both stances robs them of re-rolls and makes retreat even tougher.

Solar Watch[edit]

It is His Will that His skies shall be defended.

The mobile faction. Where some focus on either shooting or moving, these custodians can strike while retreating without missing a beat.

  • Shield Host Fighting Style - Talon Sortie: All units add +1 to their advance rolls while those with the Implacable Vanguard ability (jetbikes) can move an additional 1" (7 total) on an advance. All units can also charge after falling back.
  • Warlord Trait - Sally Forth: During the charge phase, pick one Solar Watch Infantry unit within 6" of the warlord. This unit can charge after advancing. This makes your Guard and Warden squads more viable on foot, as they can shoot and fight after advancing without any issues. You're still going to want a transport or deep strike, though.
    • While it's tempting to put it on a Jetbiker, you're better of building them as Smashfucker or to support Praetors. This has more synergy with a Swift-as-the-Eagle Captain-Commander, who can also charge-after-advancing.
  • Relic - Swiftsilver Talon: Replaces a guardian spear. S+2 AP-4 D2 in melee and S4 AP-2 D2 shooting, making it a bit better, but not by much. It also allows the bearer to fire and shoot even if he made Advance or Fall Back this turn, which is what you really want.
  • Stratagem - Eagle Strikes (1 CP): After enemy Character is destroyed, the Solar Watch unit that killed them gains a permanent -1 to all combat attrition checks.
  • Favored Ka'tah - Calistus: As the mobility-based faction, it only makes sense that this is the favored ka'tah. Combining these allows your forces to move even faster and immediately open fire at full capacity once there.


  • Arcane Genetic Alchemy (1/2 CP): Transhuman Physiology, but for Custodes. Whenever an Adeptus Custodes INFANTRY unit is attacked, this makes it so that they are only wounded on a 4, 5, or 6, foiling the use of high-strength weapons like plasma and meltas. Costs 1 CP for a unit of 3 models or less, but 2 CP otherwise. Nerfed in the April 2022 dataslate.
  • Death Mark (1 CP): Pick one enemy unit before the game starts. Any units of Vigilators attacking this marked enemy can re-roll to hit.
  • Praesidium Shieldwall (1 CP): Select a unit of Custodian Guard with praesidium shields during the fight phase, limiting you to swords. Any enemies attacking these guys will have to suffer a -1 penalty to hit, making them a bit more of a hassle to fight up front though they aren't as dangerous as the classic spears.
  • Purgation Sweep (1/2 CP): During the shooting phase or when firing overwatch, a Witchseeker unit improves the strength of their flamers by 1.
  • Slayer of Nightmares (1/2 CP): Pick a Custodes unit in the fight phase, they get +1 to wound roll if targeting something with higher Toughness than themselves. Never forget this one. Combined with a charging unit of bikes you can have your bikers hit on 2s and wound Knights on 3s.
    • Costs 2 CP for a unit of 4+ models, otherwise it costs 1 CP.
  • Sweeping Advance (1 CP): Allows an Adeptus Custodes Biker unit to consolidate an additional +3", allowing them to tie up an enemy unit way faster.
  • Talons of the Emperor (1 CP): Triggered after any time where an Adeptus Custodes unit fights or shoots. This allows you to pick one Anathema Psykana character and let them re-roll 1s to wound, providing a likely needed boost in order to take down a softened enemy. Unfortunately, this won't work the other way around, so you'll need to ensure that those sisters won't get crushed before they can benefit from this.
  • Earning of a Name (1 CP): When a nameless Custodes character kills an enemy character, that character can either take the trait of a shield host fighting style they don't have or take a permanent stance from one of the ka'tahs.
  • Indomitable Engine (1 CP): One Adeptus Custodes Vehicle or Anathema Psykana Vehicle unit gains a 5+++ save, which gives you a measure of extra protection against a stray lascannon.
  • Retribution of the Machine Spirit (1 CP): Makes one Adeptus Custodes Machine Spirit unit count as having max wounds, which you can use for that last hurrah for your land raider.
  • Vigil Unending (1 CP): Whenever a Adeptus Custodes Character dies before they could fight, you can trigger this and let them fight one more time before being removed. Considering how incomparably valuable this is, you're likely to only use this to take down an equally vital unit.
  • Wisdom of the Moritoi (1 CP): Grants a Venerable Dreadnought either the Shield Captain or Blade Champion's re-roll auras, allowing them to support their boys.
  • Eternal Penitent (1 CP): Select a Dreadnought, usable once. Dread has +1A and re-roll charges for the game.
  • The Emperor's Heroes (1 CP): The typical "Extra character gets a WT" stratagem, which gives you a WT for another custodian or a Knight-Centura. Note that this is the only way for a Knight-Centura to get a WT in a blended detachment.
  • Open the Vaults (1 CP): The typical "Extra relic for a new character" stratagem, accessible to both Sisters and Custodes characters. As with any others, the number of times you can use this is based on the size of the game.
  • Victor of the Blood Games (1 CP): Provides your Warlord a second WT. Explicitly cannot add a third warlord trait to a single character because you only have one warlord. This is still dirt cheap for what it provides
  • Creeping Dread (1 CP): For one phase, pick a unit of Anathema Psykana Infantry. Enemies within 6" of them take -1 to hit your sisters.
  • Desperation's Price (1 CP): Whenever an enemy psyker suffers Perils while within 18" of an Anathema Psykana Infantry unit during their psychic phase, you can make that Perils suffer another d3 mortal wounds.
  • The Emperor's Auspice (1/2 CP): When a Custodes unit is attacked, the enemy cannot re-roll to hit, to wound, or damage rolls against this unit, crippling a great many advantages they might use to harm your men.
  • Empyric Severance (1 CP): a Anathema Psykana Infantry unit within 18" can stop a psychic power, AFTER Deny the Witch, on a 4+ roll. Without an allied psyker, this is your only means of rejecting the touch of the witch.
  • Fraternity of Heroes (1 CP): At the end of the enemy's charge phase, one Custodes unit within 6" of an enemy unit can immediately perform a Heroic Intervention moving 6" horizontally and 5" vertically. If your enemy ever thought that they're dealing with only one bunch, throw some more bananas into the mix!
  • From Golden Light They Come (1 CP): During deployment, one Adeptus Custodes Infantry, Character or Dreadnought unit gains the deep-strike ability of the Allarus, giving you a great amount of options for surprise attacks
    • A reminder: Before game stratagems can be used multiple times, it's why most relic stratagems have to have a clause written into them limiting how many times you can use them. So if you want to deep strike your whole army. . . you can.
    • 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 units 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).
  • Indomitable Guardians (1 CP): After an enemy 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.
  • Manoeuvre and Fire (1 CP): Whenever a Custodes unit with Fly falls back, you can use this to let them shoot after falling back. Extremely useful for your jetbikes, though the Solar Watch pretty much lets you pull this off without costing CP.
  • Martial Discretion (1/2 CP): One Custodes unit can activate a stance from a martial ka'tah that's different from the rest of your army. Costs 2 CP for a unit of 4+ models, otherwise it costs 1 CP.
  • Rapid Reactions (1 CP): When an enemy falls back from an Adeptus Custodes Infantry unit, you can have that unit make some last parting shots as the enemy flees. For marines in particular, this can be a death sentence as you can trigger this to take down another unit or two and turn that fleeing pack of three into a lone model, maybe even wipe them all out.
  • Shoulder the Mantle (1 CP): And you thought Alpharius' tricks were for heretics only. If your Warlord dies, select another Custodes character in your army. They become the new Warlord and take up the WT the last guy had. As a bonus, as long as the new Warlord is on the field the opponent can't claim VP for slaying your Warlord. The only missing part on this is if you can also gain a second WT from Victor of the Blood Games or by succeeding Trajan.
  • Unleash the Lions (2 CP): At the start of the Command 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.
  • Covered Advance (1 CP): Whenever an Adeptus Custodes/Anathema Psykana Smokescreen unit is shot at, you can pop this to make the enemy take -1 to hit this unit. Vital for getting your rhinos and LRs up the field.
  • Psyk-Out Grenades (1 CP): During the shooting phase, you can let one Anathema Psykana Infantry unit throw this at an enemy psyker within 6". On a 2+, this psyker immediately suffer Perils.
  • Tanglefoot Grenade (1 CP): At the start of the enemy movement or charge phase, pick a non-FLY enemy unit within 12" of an Adeptus 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. Unfortunately, this can only be used once per turn, forcing you to prioritize either stopping them from charging you or limiting their ability to flee from you.
    • Worth noting that if you suspect a tied up unit is about to attempt a desperate breakout, thus opening your big golden boys up to shooting, you can throw this grenade and possibly prevent them from doing so. Used properly, it is as match winning in 9e as it was in 8e.
    • Also worth noting, you can totally legit use it against a glass cannon melee deep strike unit. Your Sagittarium Custodians in the back suddenly got more protected than the Dread Host Allarus termies that just dropped in.
  • Teleport Homer (1 CP): An Adeptus Custodes Teleport Homer unit can immediately deep strike within 3" of a Vexilus Praetor or Aleya, so long as you are 9" away from the enemy. Fucking AMAZING. Drop a 10-man termie squad on your enemy, cripple them from the rear 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, more immediate threats to shoot at.
    • 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 fact that this can be used on Aleya can make her something of a bait character now, as you can suddenly drop in a pack of terminators to interrupt what might be a lone sister wandering on her own.


  • Assassinate: With the character killing specialty of the Allarus Terminators, this one can prove an excellent one to max.
  • Bring it Down: You'll be fairly reliant on your Telemon to make this one work, but with the sheer amount of hurt those things bring you can make it work.
  • Titan Slayers: As with Bring it Down, but more reliable. Since you pick secondaries at the start of a mission, bring this one if your enemy brought titanic units, then deliver the Telemon into Fisting range.
  • Slay the Warlord: We're perfectly serviceable at doing this, considering our characters can out-duel most anything short of an enemy primarch. However, it's not going to bring you as many points as you could get with the others.
  • Auric Mortalis: Mark one enemy Primarch, Supreme Commander, or other high-value non-Aircraft unit on the enemy army. You score 5 VP for killing this unit, 5 more if you used a Custodes or Sisters of Silence unit to kill them, and another 5 VP if you kill them while more than 6" from your enemy DZ. However, this secondary is one that can take away 2 VP for each unit your marked foe kills.
  • Abhor the Witch: This is the only one that we can take without soup or an AGENTS Inquisitor, and it's a niche pick. Pick it every time against 1kS and GK, alongside Assassinate to double up on your points if you're up against something with a lot of psykers and let your Sisters go to town.
  • Thin their Ranks: Horde clearing is one of the things we actually struggle with, and this is best against enemies who bring lots of hordes. Could have some nice combination with Bring it Down and Titan Slayers though.
  • Attrition: You should always take this secondary. Considering how few units we field and how tough and deadly they are, you will almost always max this one out if you have any idea what you're doing.
  • While We Stand, We Fight: Considering the aforementioned resilience of our units, this is another good pick. The bannancycles and Telemon are most likely to be chosen for this, and both are quite difficult to put down, particularly if you add Victor of the Blood Games.
  • First Strike: Not out best choice. While our bikes are very fast and quite good with the Hurricane bolters, Custodes really come online in the second and third round.
  • Might of Terra: Essentially Attrition, you gain 4 VP for each turn you kill enemy units without casualties.
  • Engage on All Fronts: With the fast moving bikes and teleportation we have access to, it's not difficult to spread the field. Secondly, our units are composed of bloody three man hero squads, making us rely less on castles or bubbles than some armies. However, it can stretch the sister's warp defense coverage, so consider how many psykers there are, and how many points you could take from taking abhor the witch instead.
  • Linebreaker: We again have plenty of units who can break through the front line quickly and cause havoc there, particularly if we're taking teleportation into account. A solid choice, and one that allows for closer knit blobs that will be very difficult for the enemy to remove.
  • Domination: This one is effectively "double down on holding". Consider your enemy's army. If you are certain you're going to win the objective game (say you're fighting Tau), then go for it.
  • Stand Vigil: 3 VP for each round where you control more VP outside of any DZ than the enemy does.
  • Raise the Banners High: Out of all the Shadow operations, this one is the least bad for us. The problem with all of these is that they require our glorious oiled death-machines to stop killing for a moment to do something else, and with as few units as we have, that's not an action cost we can afford. This one is the least bad, as it at least means we're in the same area as the objectives.
  • Investigate Sites: This one is the worst, simply because its so easy to disrupt. When we have everything else to choose from, why would you choose an objective that ties up one of your units and is so easy to deny.
  • Repair Teleportation Homer: Considering you'll probably move your own teleportation homer into the enemy backline with the Praetor already, this one isn't so bad. It is worth noting that you can potentially FGLTC a large unit of Custodes back there to pull this off, as they're durable enough to last through the enemy's attack. Overall, this is the second least bad of a bad set of secondaries.

Crusade Additions[edit]

  • Pursuit of Excellence - At the end of the battle, Adeptus Custodes unit with lowest experience (if there are several such units you choose which one) gains 1 exp for each of the following conditions:
    • That unit hasn't been destroyed
    • That unit controls an Objective Marker outside your deployment zone
    • That unit combat tally is one or more
    • That unit combat tally is either the hightst or is tight to the highest
  • Bound For The Dark Cells
  • The Great Tithe
  • Shed the Black - At the end of the battle, Adeptus Custodes unit with Battle Scar gains 1 exp for each of the following conditions (and removes one Battle Scar for free if earned 2 or more exp from it):
    • That unit combat tally is one or more
    • That unit combat tally is three or more
    • That unit combat tally is either the hightst or is tight to the highest
  • Judgement Delivered - Angels of Death: Gold Edition. If you wiped your opponent from the table, all Adeptus Custodes and Anathema Psykana units on the battlefield gain 3 exp.
  • Captain-Commander (1RP) - The way to get Captain-Commander abilities in Crusade Mode, purchased when Shield-Captain unit gains Heroic or Legendary rank
  • Artefact of the Vaults (1RP) -
  • Earning a Name (1RP) - Purchased after a battle in which o
  • Honoured Advancment (1RP) -
  • Adeptus Custodes Infantry unit:
    • Masterful Form - Unit gains it's own Preferred Ka'tah (treats both Stances of chosen Ka'tah as active, regardless of chosen Stance)
    • Rapid Salvoes - Always in Rapid Fire range for auric weapons (so spears and axes)
    • Companion's Watch - 5+++ while within range of Objective Marker
    • Flawless Bladework - 6 to hit autowound the target in Melee
    • Unfazed and Undaunted - One free save reroll per Battle Round
    • Spark of Divinity - Can Deny the Witch as if were Psyker (or Deny twice, if has Impregnable Mind WT)
  • Adeptus Custodes Biker unit:
    • Flawless Manoeuvring - -1 to hit that unit, unless it Remained Stationary (then it loses -1 to hit until your next Movement Phase)
    • Close-Range Experts - +1S for ranged attacks against enemy unit within 6" of model in this unit
    • Thundering Advance - Changes Implacable Vanguard ability to add 10" when unit Advances (11" with trait 1 of Solar Watch Fighting Style)
  • Anathema Psykana Infantry unit:
    • Furious Combatants - +1A if unit made a Charge
    • Hunt and Purge - reroll Advance and Charge rolls
    • Rapid Prosecution - when Advances, until the end of the turn couns as having made Normal Move instead
  • Blade Champion unit:
    • Martial Focus - Re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1 while within 3" of Objective Marker or enemy Warlord
    • Inexorable Persecution - Ignore modifiers for Move, Advance and Charge and count Charge rolls of less then 7" as 7"
    • Champion Exemplar - Once per battle use Adeptus Custodes Stratagem for 0CP
  • Allarus Custodians unit:
    • Bane of Champions - Can reroll wound rolls against Character
    • Bellicose - can Heroically Intervene as if were a Character (and can do so for 6" if already is eligible for Heroic Intervention)
    • Aggressive Heroism - +1A for each model while unit is within enemy Deployment Zone
  • Adeptus Custodes Character (Torchbearer Crusade Force only)
    • Martial Exemplar - During Command phase, give a Adeptus Astartes Core unit reroll Melee hit rolls until your next Command Phase
    • Fearless Fleetwarden - After reroll Charge rolls for Torchbearer units within 12", if enemy unit they Charge is within Engagement Range of this model

Custodes Battle Scars contain both a debuff and buff:

  • Atonement in Battle:
    • Buff part -
  • Honour Blemished
  • Study the Martial Ka'tahs


  • Artificer Relics - Can be taken by any Adeptus Custodes Character
    • Aurulent Warding - something akin to Unfazed and Undaunted, gives free save reroll once per Turn.
    • Auspice Mantle - Bearer can't be targeted while further then 12" of enemy units (wait wat?).
  • Antiquity Relics - Can be taken by Heroic or higher ranked Anathema Psykana Character and increases their Crusade Points by 1 (to a total of 2 if you account Battle Honour).
    • Veracity, The Sword of Oblivion - THE murder sword of Aunt Jenne herself (and of Big E before her). S+3 AP-5 D2 executioner greatblade, that always wounds on 2+.
    • Misery's Burden - Replaces misericordia. Still retain extra attack, but you can only make 1 attack using this Relic. Autowounds on 2+ to wound and deals 2MW instead normal Damage on successful wound.
  • Legendary Relics - Can be taken by Legendary ranked Adeptus Custodes Character. It requires 1 RP to be spent and increases Character's Crusade Points by 2 (3 in total with Battle Honour).
    • Lucent Aureole - 3++. Simple as that. With Aurulent Warding Crusade Relic and Unfazed and Undaunted Battle Trait makes your Character unkillable on the verge of you beign called that guy
    • Apollonian Spear - following the pattern, paragon spear of Constantin Valdor, gifted to him by Emperor himself. Actually "Turn off" button in a form of wargear - its shooting profile becomes Assault 2 S5 AP-2 D2, but in close combat it hits with Sx2 AP -4 D3, both profiles ignoring invulnerable saves on 4+ to wound. Anything on the business end of this spear just dies.

"Damn I need to win this battle!" style Crusade Relic, which can't be obtained normally. Instead, it can only be temporarily given to Adeptus Custodes Character via Artefact of the Vaults Requisition and while you are claiming Magisterium Lex Ultima. As normal Relics, they can't be given to Named Characters or Vehicle units.

Each Artefact increases it's bearer Crusade Points by 1. They can be removed before or after the battle and are forcibly removed when your Crusade Force complete its active Imperative or abandons its Endeavor (substrating previous bearers Crusade Points by 1).

  • Arae-Shrike - Prevents all Reinforcement set ups within 12" of the bearer and kills all Aura abilities of enemy models within same radius to 1"
  • Mortis Gyre - Can be actived once per battle, when bearer is selected to fight. Until the end of the fight, his attacks ignore invuls
  • Twilight Pallium - Can be activated once per battle at the end of any of your Phases. Remove the bearer and set him up anywhere more than 1" from the enemy. Unless he was set up more than 9" of all enemy models, he is not eligeble to Charge this turn.
  • Anathematic Diadem - gives bearer an 18" Aura Ablility of -1 to all enemy Psyker unit Psychic tests while manifesting Psychic Power and if the result of the Psychic Test is 7 or less, bearer can deny as if he were a Psyker (twice per enemy Psychic Phase).
  • Amelioration Pail - Once per battle, in your Command Phase bearer can regain D6 wounds.
  • Auriferous Orb - One use 6" D3 S1 AP0 D1 Grenade, that deals D3 mortal wounds per each sucessful hit and blinds the target for -1 to hit untill the start of your next Turn
  • Epoch Auspice Once per battle, at the start of the 1st Battle Round or in your Command Phase, bearer can deploy the Epoch. If he does so, then untill the start of your next Command phase all friendly Infantry and Biker units within 3" of the bearer (that is not an Aura ability) have -1 to wound malus against them


Auric Weapons: While not many things count them due to their prevalence, this is a term given to all guardian spears, castellan axes, sentinel swords, and any weapons that replace them. Valerian's and Trajann's named weapons also qualify.

Ranged Weapons[edit]

  • Auric Weapons
    Guardian Spear/Castellan Axe
    When shooting these weapons, they are both 24" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP-1 D2. Yes, your basic gun inflicts 2 damage. Excellent for taking down most things: MEQ, TEQ, custodes, anything less than toughness 8, GEQ; slightly overkill on GEQ, 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 TEQ and the like. In short, a normal marine's Relic Bolter is our normal weapon.
    Sentinel Blades
    Now using the same high grade ammo as the the spears and axes for an improved Pistol 2 S4 AP-1 D2 profile. 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. 18", Assault D3, S5, AP-3, D1. Combine with the Guardian Spear or Castellan Axe shooting for some shockingly good infantry mulching at short range. Being S5 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 ministrations.
  • Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon: The other option for your Venerable Contemptors. 24" 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.
  • 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. With the advent of the Space Marines 2020 codex these have been changed to Heavy 2 and damage is now D6 and at half range D6+2!
  • Salvo Launcher: The other weapon option for your Jetbikes. Gone is the flak profile and the situational re-roll against vehicles, the weapon has been streamlined into a Heavy 1 24" S8 AP-4 D3+d3 monster. A very great alternative to Hurricane Bolters, as it fills out the lack of high strength anti-tank shooting that Custodes lack immensely. With the new codex providing alternative means to deal with hordes (Dacatarai, the Blade Champion) and Custodes lacking high Damage weapons in a meta where the -1 Damage debuff is more and more widespread, the salvo launcher is arguably more valuable than the bolters right now.
    • 9th Edition has done a good job of cleaning up this weapon's flaws by getting rid of the -1 to hit after moving. The salvo launcher is still a five point upgrade, but you should choose based on what your army needs.

Forge World[edit]

Ranged Weapons found on the Forge World units are as follows:

  • Achillus Dreadspear: 24" Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 D3, making it essentially a buffed 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. 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 D2) 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, and a no-brainer if you advanced or are shooting into a -1 penalty already as you're already at cap.
    • 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 D3 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 but regular D1 instead of D2. Yeah it makes absolutely no sense, maybe it will be FAQed one day.
  • 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. It should be noted this is extremely easy to kitbash if you have spare melta barrels, hell even if you have spare exhausts. Never pay FW prices for these.
  • Spiculus Bolt Launcher: 24" 5 shots heavy bolter, but with D1 only. Found on the Telemon, it becomes Heavy 10 if the bearer didn't move during its turn.
  • 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. 12" 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.

Melee Weapons[edit]

  • Auric Weapons
    Castellan Axe
    S+3(8) AP-2 D2 axe of crack and doom. Use when Strength 7 from the Guardian Spear isn’t quite cutting it, 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. Like the Spear, compatible with a Misericordia.
    • Mathhammer-wise, axes are usually your best choice against T7/8 regardless of save or T4 with a 4++ or better, while spears shine against T1-3/5-6/9-10 models without a 4++ (due to improved penetration). 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+), so you should always go full Castellan when facing pure MEQ armies and keep the spears for GEQ 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!
    Guardian Spear
    It's an S+2(7) AP-3 D2 melee weapon. In other words, effectively a master-crafted power axe/sword, and is your most standard weapon throughout the list. As such, it is a very effective weapon. Like the Axe, compatible with a Misericordia.
    Sentinel Blades
    S+1(6) AP-3 D2; not as killy/strong as the Spear, but your only option if you take a Storm Shield. Same cost as the Spear with only a negligible difference in performance (since S7 is nearly meaningless compared to S6). A good option if you want to outfit a unit to hunt T4 meq and teq, since they will wound just as well as the spear but also get 2 pistol shots each in melee, which works especially well with the improved shooting profile of your bladegun. Take them when you want Storm Shields on a unit to sit there and never die.
  • Interceptor Lance: Standard issue for your Jetbikes; identical to a Guardian Spear in every way except that it has no gun (the guns are on the bikes) and it allows you to add 1 to your to-wound rolls on the charge. Slightly less powerful than the previous re-roll to wound, but still tasty as hell, as you can now accumulate the +1 bonus with re-rolls of 1s from Trajann or a Dreadnought using the Wisdom of the Moritoi stratagem.
    • Jetbikes have the Fly Keyword, which means they can charge and attack flyers in melee. Just think about that.
  • Misericordia: A power knife grants an additional attack at SU AP-2 D1 unless the model is equipped with a Storm Shield, and of course your base attacks can be made with it. That, and 30k Legio Custodes players won't skin you alive for actually having rules for the Misericordia and not using them.FREE, because you are the Emperor's Special Boys. Think of it like a Custodes chainsword; the extra attack will kill an extra GEQ, and maybe the last wound off an MEQ, or Plague Marine. A lot more helpful if your Custodes doesn't have any other melee weapons

Forge World[edit]

  • Achillus Dreadspear: A brutal Sx2 (14) AP-3 Damage 3+d3 weapon. Prior to the 2020 FW Compendium they used to deal mortal wounds on the charge, but the various buffs it get were worth the loss. 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: An older Guardian spear, being that despite being Errata'd to be D2 it's still S+1 rather than S+2 like the Codex versions.
  • 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 2 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).
  • Solarite Power Talon: A+1 S6 AP-2 D1, re-roll failed wound rolls. 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 provide a plain 2+ save, givin your golden birds of prey the toughness you expect from Custodes.
  • 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, Damage 2 and you can make an extra swing with it in melee. A more reliable Guardian Spear perfect to cut down Marines, but lacking access to the Piercing Strike stratagem means you will struggle against tough units.

Special Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Praesidium Shield: Nerfed yet again from absolute glory, these shields no longer offer an improved Invuln for your custodians. However, like the Bladeguard, these add +1 to their armor saves, effectively providing a 1+ save to your basic rank and file bananas (so 0+ in light/heavy cover). Is it still really powerful? Quite. It's just no longer the end-all be-all of protection, just like the basic storm shield.


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.

Adeptus Custodes Characters only.

  • Auric Aquilas: BIKER models only. Their uber golden jetbike can sacrifice shooting and charging to move at twice the speed and allows them to re-roll failed charge rolls (or add +1 to that roll if they can already re-roll charges). This sadly no longer makes the jetbike captain as busted, but it's still insanely good for him.
  • Castellan's Mark: Allows you to redeploy 2 units 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 2 units, including the bearer. Underrated relic, so commence smugness.
  • Eagle's Eye: A special helmet that has special sensors that warn the bearer against danger, giving him an extra wound and a single-use 3++ save. Talk about a fall from grace, as this relic lost an insane lot in the rewrite, making for only a minor buff in durability.
  • Fulminaris Aggressor: Vexilus Praetors only. Provides a new 6" bubble that gives friendly <Shield Host> Core and Characters the ability to ignore Light and Heavy cover.
  • Gatekeeper: Replaces a guardian spear. The close-combat profile is the same, but the inbuilt bolter is an auto-hitting Rapid Fire 2 S5 AP-2 D2. The fact that it can auto-hit pretty much guarantees at least one or two dead marines a shot, making it perfect for thinning out a squad of MEQ, but not much more.
  • Obliteratum: Replaces the Balistus Grenade Launcher, making it only useful on Allarus Terminators. Fires antimatter shells at 18" Assault 1 S10 AP-4 D3+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. Might be worth it as an extra relic, but certainly not the only one you should take.
  • Praetorian Plate: TERMINATOR models only. The bearer gains +1 Toughness and once per battle during the Heroic Intervention step of any opponent's Charge phase, if there is an enemy model that isn't in engagement range of that character, you can set up the bearer of the Praetorian Plate within 3" of a friendly non-vehicle unit (note that it isn't discriminating on keywords, but there are all the other things you'll lose from an allied list) and within engagement range of said enemy model, counting as a Heroic Intervention move. 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.
    • Do not use the teleporting trick lightly, as once you're in melee, there is no going back. If your opponent has encountered the Plate before and is smart enough, they will try to bait you into combat in order to clear the field. Sometime it's better to keep your captain where he is and let a unit face the storm alone.
  • Veiled Blade: Replaces the Sentinel Blade. Shooting profile is the same, but it gains an extra AP, and makes two additional attacks in melee.
  • Wrath Angelis: Vexilus Praetors only. Once per game during your command phase, the bearer can mark one point on the field. On your next command phase (your opponent gets their entire turn to walk away from it), you can roll a d6 for each enemy unit within 6" of the marker, +1 if they're within 3" of the marker and -1 if the unit is a character; a 2+ deals d3 mortal wounds and a 6 deals a whopping d6 mortal wounds. The point of this is to drop the marker on an objective in the hopes of scaring your opponent away from it, but an average of 1.92 mortals base (1.33 against characters who aren't within 3") and 2.83 mortals within 3" once ever just... isn't a lot.

Anathema Psykana Characters only, leaving this only on...the Knight-Centura.

  • Enhanced Voidsheen Cloak: The only one that doesn't replace a weapon, this gives you a 4++ and enemies take a -1 to hit and wound against this bearer.
  • Excruciatus Flamer: Replaces the Witchseeker Flamer. This flamer deals a constant 6 hits at S6 AP-3, letting you to demolish hordes like paper and even harm things upwards without a lot of hassle.
  • Raptor Blade: Replaces the executioner greatblade with an S+3 AP-4 D2 whopper made to rip through MEQ.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Master of Martial Strategy: Allows you to gain a CP on a 5+ each turn and a once-per-game reshuffle of Martial Ka'tahs, though it won't let you use them multiple times. That former one is an incredibly useful one for an army as reliant on stratagems as yours. Trajan gets this as his second WT when he's called a Warlord of a pure Custodes detachment.
  2. Champion of the Imperium: Your warlord gets an expanded Heroic Intervention range and can re-roll to hit. This expanded Heroic Intervention range means absolutely nothing to a blade champion, but even a shield captain wouldn't see much use to this aside from being affected by their own auras. After all, you have your troops to intervene for you. Trajan uses this WT.
  3. Superior Creation: Proof that not all Custodians are created equal. The cellular alchemy that made this hero means he gets a 5+++ on all wounds. Put this on a Jetbike or Sword+Board Shield-Captain for THE tankiest non-named HQ choice in the game!
  4. Impregnable Mind: Allows the warlord to Deny the Witch and count as two additional models when capping. This will likely be the one you'll pick the most if you're worried about psykers and don't trust your sisters to hunt them down.
  5. Radiant Mantle: -1 to hit the bearer. Never a bad option and can be maddening for the enemy to deal with, which can tamper with buff auras. Doesn't stack with the Vexilla anymore, so this gives some independence now.
  6. Peerless Warrior: Deals a mortal wound on a 6+ to wound and enemies can't re-roll their saves. While this isn't much, it can be more of an issue for enemy characters. Valerian uses this WT.
  1. Oblivion Knight: Grants a new 6" aura that allows friendly Anathema Psykana Infantry to add +1 to advance and charge rolls, as well as allowing her to re-roll 1s to wound. This makes a sword knight-centura to offer a lot more to her vigilators, giving them a better chance to reach the foe as well as benefiting from her own aura. Aleya uses the WT.
  2. Silent Judge (Aura): A small 3" aura that robs enemies of ObSec and makes them take a -1 to combat attrition. If you have a means to trap an enemy, this can make sure that your sisters can lock down a point and crush the enemy.
  3. Mistress of Persecution (Aura): A 6" aura that gives nearby Anathema Psykana Infantry light and heavy cover as well as adding +3" to the range of their guns. This gives you more reason to group her with prosecutors and witchseekers.

Unit Analysis[edit]

Common keywords are IMPERIUM, ADEPTUS CUSTODES, and <SHIELD HOST>. Sisters of Silence all share ANATHEMA PSYKANA.


  • Shield-Captain: Your basic captain, providing you with everything you need to take on the worst of the worst. The Arks Of Omen update lets you bypass the "one captain of each type" rule by spending a CP, if you're thinking of doubling up on Jetbike Captain-Commanders or even basic Shield-Captains upgraded buff vectors.
    • Captain-Commander (Upgrade): As with the other character promotion stratagems of 8th, this is becoming a baked-in feature for the new codex. However, unlike other codices, your choice in loadout for the Shield-Captain will also influence which of three promotion options they can pick from. All of them cost 1 Power Level and a certain set of points. Each Captain lists the upgrades they can take.
    • Shield-Captain: Your standard HQ and a fairly good one. For 110 points (with spear) you get a melee monster packing that sweet Custodes statline with 7 Wounds and 6 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 <SHIELD-HOST> CORE units within 6" aura. You can gear him with a Guardian spear, Castellan axe, or Sentinel blade/Storm shield combo, and can always supplement this with a Misericordia.
      Inspirational Exemplar
      Improves the range of the buff aura by +3". Considering the value of this buff aura, it's convenient for supporting your troops. Usually the best option here - it radically reduces the extent to which you need to keep up with whatever you were buffing.
      Master of the Stances
      Provides the commander a hook-in to that new ka'tah system by allowing one Adeptus Custodes Core or Character unit within 6" in the Command Phase to use both stances of their current ka'tah.
      Swift as the Eagle
      This allows the basic commander to charge after advancing. Considering that you won't have any teleporter and might lack transports, you'll have plenty of reason to consider this, but it's still the worst option here - you're a lot better off with using either of the other two traits to support your army doing the murdering for you.
    • Allarus Terminator Armor: The THICC version. 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 15 points more than the vanilla version at 125 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.)
      Bane of Abominations
      +1 to wound against enemy vehicles, monsters, and characters. A basic boost for a beatstick captain.
      Defiant to the Last
      +1A while missing any wounds but above half (so 4-6 wounds remaining),+2A while at half or fewer wounds remaining (so 1-3 wounds remaining). This is an unfathomably bad idea, because all it does is encourage your opponent to do what they should be doing anyway, i.e. committing to killing you or not wasting resources trying - and this doesn't do anything on the turn you deep strike in to wreck face. Either of the other two traits will reward you for playing competently, which is much better.
      Unstoppable Destroyer
      IT'S THE JUGGERNAUT, BITCH! This increases the range of the model’s Pile-ins and Consolidations by 1”, and also adds a ton of flexibility for movement. When piling in or performing a Heroic Intervention, the model can move in any direction (even if already base to base with something) as long as it ends up in Engagement Range of an enemy unit. Reliably the best of the three choices here, due to the incredible utility involved in waltzing into, out of, and through melees to be exactly where you want to be.
    • Dawneagle Jetbike: This Pimpstodes is a Shield-Captain with the usual +2 FUCKING WOUNDS BITCHES and +1 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. Sadly the Auric Aquilas no longers provides that sweet 3++ save, but re-rolling charge distances is still a good investment. This is Captain-Commander Smashfucker.
      Ceaseless Hunter
      Allows the captain to charge after falling back, which is the ideal role for a captain. However, the Solar Watch makes this redundant.
      Fierce Conqueror
      The captain gains two extra attacks if he's close to an enemy unit of 6+ models, giving him a bit of an edge when dealing with mobs of any sort, and proving GW is bad at math: this takes you from 5 spear attacks and 1 misericordia attack to 7 and 1 when it triggers, but Tip of the Spear takes you to the equivalent of 6.81 spear attacks and 1.28 misericordia attacks, meaning your total output against the chaff Conqueror is meant to help you against is higher with Tip. Never take this.
      Tip of the Spear
      The alpha-strike upgrade, you're taking this to take offensive advantage of the jetbike captain. If he charges or heroically intervenes, you can re-roll 1s to hit or wound. Easily the best option here.
  • Blade Champion: The new hero introduced in the Shadow Throne box, he's billed as being even more of a beatstick than the shield captain and with 6 attacks, he's more than ready for the job. Melee is his stomping ground, as he not only has an expanded intervention range like the Emperor's Champion but also a hyper-tanky +1 to saves when fighting in melee and can't be hit on a 1-3 at any point. He also helps fellow <SHIELD HOST> units by giving them +1 to charge rolls if they target the same unit as the champion. Each one comes with a vaultsword he can use in one of three different styles tailor-made to kill whomever he faces, listed below. His one weakness is at range: not only is he not issued a gun with his sword, but he gains nothing against shooting. You absolutely 100% need to get him a transport (or a badass, thundering arrival from golden light DS) so he can approach whoever he's needed to kill.
    S+2(7) AP-4 D2, auto-wounds monsters and vehicles on 4+ to hit.
    Ax2 SU(5) AP-1 D1.
    S+1(6) AP-4 D3, re-rolls wounds against characters.
  • Shower thought: Since he can only get hit on 4s, and we have a stratagem that allows us to only be wounded on 4's, the Blade Champion may actually be the single best distraction carnifex we have. Even Ghaz will struggle to bring him down. Go with Lockwarden warlord trait, open a bottle of Diet Kek, and enjoy the salt as you explain to the Ork player that his model hits like a Guardsmen and wounds like a marine, while subtracting 1 from the attacks and being able to slice right through his invulnverable save!
  • Knight-Centura: Now that the Sisters of Silence are being officially integrated into the codex, this means that you can actually create a detachment full of Sisters. She has a selection between a pretty fierce sword that lets her hit almost as hard as a custodian, an AP-1 flamer, or an AP-1 D2 bolter. She also contains a lieutenant-like aura that lets her sisters re-roll 1s to wound.
    • If you're taking her, it's entirely to support your sisters. Unlike the Shield-Captain, you can't use her as a budget warlord and require a stratagem in order to claim a WT in a mixed army. Her loadout is limited entirely to one of three weapons, forcing you to pick out one and leave the sisters unlike her to dry.

Named Characters[edit]

  • Captain-General Trajann Valoris: Your big boss. With a Shield-Captain’s stat line, W8, Ld11, and a 5+++ FNP, he is no slouch. His Watcher's Axe is an S10 AP-3 D3 castellan axe (whose shooting is also boosted to S5) and his Legendary Commander ability is an aura granting re-rolls of 1 to hit and wound to all CORE ADEPTUS CUSTODES units within 6" of him. At 200 points with the most recent rules updates, he serves as much more of a side-grade to a normal Shield-Captain than he previously did, costing almost twice as much as them for his enhanced combat and utility power. He also serves as a mandatory warlord, and if he's in a mono-Custodes army he can claim two WTs.
    • He also carries something called the Moment Shackle that can do one of the following once per game:
      • 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.
      • Negate any damage taken by one attack. If you're really desperate to avoid like a hammerhead railgun or tank, this might buy you a turn to approach the enemy.
      • Allow him to fight right after an enemy fights, but only if he didn't fight before. Only useful in an instance where he just got charged.
    • One extremely important detail is the <SHIELD-HOST> tag Trajann gets as a keyword, meaning he can be fielded in any Custodes sub-faction and benefits from all the Fighting Style bonuses for your army. He can steal whatever Fighting Style he needs using the Esteemed Amalgam strat if you're playing the Emperor's Chosen host. Gone are the days when other characters could easily slap our boss in a duel.
  • Shield-Captain Valerian: Character from the Watchers of the Throne novel. Features a Shield-Captain statline, an AP-4 Guardian Spear that prevents the target from using rules preventing the loss of Wounds (e.g. FNP or Ghazghkull's "no more than 4 wounds per phase" ability), which doesn't affect most abilities reducing Damage as they directly lower the Damage value of the weapon. He also gets a once-per-battle round re-roll to hit, wound, save, or charge from his shiny laurels, which is a straight buff over the previous iteration. His best aspect, however, is his ability to never be wounded on a 1-3, making him super tanky without needing terminator armor.
    • Just like Trajann Valoris, Valerian isn't bound to any particular Shield-Host, which lets you pick him for your army whatever your favourite flavour of banana may be.
  • Tanau Aleya: Valerian's Bff. One of the narrators of the Watchers of the Throne novel, Aleya is essentially a Knight-Centura with a 5++ Invuln, a misericordia and a slightly stronger executioner greatblade. Her chief boost is her ability to always fight first, which she'll need before getting hit back, but she can always fight one last time before she goes down. Her Oblivion Knight WT isn't too bad either, as it provides all INFANTRY ANATHEMA PSYKANA units around 6" with a +1 bonus to advance and charge moves and allows here to reroll wound rolls of 1.


  • Custodian Guard Squad: - 9th ed has changed things subtly for the banana men, with A3 (+1 with the Vexilla, and a bonus attack with the free Misericordia) WS2+ S5 T5 Sv 2+/4++ W3. Your basic troops are still tonka-tough and more elite than the Elite section of Space Marines.
    • You have two options for your loadout, either the Spears (A3 S7 AP-3 D2, comes with a rapid fire gun), plus a free Misericordia, or the Sword (A3 S6 AP-3 D2, comes with a pistol) and Shield, which adds +1 to your armour saves. The Spear comes with an extra Misericordia attack, and the gun has twice the shooting range of the Sword, but both have 2 shots at 12".
    • If you're dedicated to bringing shields, then park them in cover next to an objective for 0+ armour saves and drink salty space marine tears as even Primaris bolters are now just as effective as lasguns.
    • Ld11 means that you will never flee, barring Leadership shenanigans.
  • Custodian Guard with Adrasite and Pyrithite SpearsForge World: Previously an Elite slot, now Troops. Functionally regular old Custodians with Spears but replace the bolter with one of two things. The Adrasite is an 18" Assault 1 S5 AP-3 D3 weapon. It's more efficient at taking down primaris, terminator, and gravis-like units. The other option is the Pyrithite Spear, which is a Guardian Spear with a god-damn meltagun 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 BS2+ melta is all but guaranteed to draw most of your enemy's fire for as long as they exist. You 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, even more with the deep strike stratagem.
    • Unfortunately, the new codex does make these guys show their age, as their spears are sorta stuck on the old 8E statline at S+1, though that doesn't really matter too much. On top of that, these dudes haven't been included in non-Forge World points updates, making them more expensive base in addition to having to pay extra for a Misericordia, whereas your regular Custodians get them for free now.
  • Sagittarum CustodiansForge World: Custodes with guns. Take the basic 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-heavy bolters with the Disintegration beam mode dealing a flat D3. 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 Caladii or Telemons, meaning they can be used as a backup unit for a gun-line. They are 50 points per model as opposed to 49 points base for spear Custodian Guard and not as effective in melee against TEQ and MEQ. You want them in the backfield to hold objectives or stay in the back, 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.
    • On the surface, these guys can appear to be much worse in combat than their basic Custodian Guard counterparts, but the rules do not prevent you from using your Misericordia on all of your attacks in combat, which for only 3 (or 0) points turns your 3 AP0 attacks into 4 AP-2 attacks. This is usually well worth the upgrade. The Misericordia is free now if you have a permissive opponent (see below), so you may have no reason to not take it. The Banana Guards are now better Assault Marines, coming with AP-2 Chainswords, and assault combis that will disintegrate terminators.
      • Misericordias: Custodes have an official points update here that makes Misericordias free for everything in the codex, and there's a designer's note stating that Misericordias are intended to be free across the board for everything, but the pdf doesn't actually make them free for anything not in the codex, which is all of your Forge World options. If you can persuade your opponent to honor the designer's note, then you can take free Misericordias, but if your opponent is a stickler for RAW, then indisputably the RAW is that Forge World units, including this one, still have to pay for them.
    • As of the 9e, the battlefield is smaller in 1000pts, so basically, their Caliver can shoot anywhere. Most significantly (in 9th) advancing and firing both weapon profiles applies a total of -1 to hit. Most of the time, you should be doing this. Doubly against enemies that apply a penalty to attack rolls already.
  • Prosecutors: The firing squad, snipers, and cheapest of the sisters. 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. Due to the FOC limitations of getting sisters, you'll be keeping them shielded by the custodians so they can keep firing away without interruption.

Dedicated Transport[edit]

  • Anathema Psykana Rhino: A basic Rhino with the familiar features: smoke launchers, a storm bolter, and can take a hunter-killer missile (which is the only anti-tank weapon in a pure Sisters list). Almost necessary for Vigilators, as their T3 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.
  • 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, its invuln went up to 5++ 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), its main gun is a bit different now. The Burst mode vomits 6 S5 AP-2 shots and the Beam mode is now an interesting S7 AP-4 D3 gun that re-rolls 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.


The majority of Custodian units are Elites, from Wardens to SuperDreads. Consequently, your main detachment will probably be the Vanguard.

  • 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 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 65-70 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 rerolling the charge roll is a pretty terrifying threat particularly if your shield captain has Admonimortis.
  • Aquilon CustodiansForge World: More traditionally armed Custodian Terminators, bringing a Lastrum Storm Bolter and a Solerite Power Gauntlet, which is a AP-4 power fist 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 15" 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.
    • In 9e, we are going to be seeing a lot of Terminators in competitive Custodes builds. The question is which we will be seeing, and why. The Allarus Terminators have the advantages of being cheaper (by at least 10 points per model) and have a strat allowing them to target characters with their powerful shooting. This strat is not shared by their Aquilon brothers and is a real downside when you consider how easy this makes it to shut down re-roll buffs and psykers. The Aquilons, do not gain access to as many strats, however, they have many of the most interesting and powerful weapons we have, notably the Storm Bolter and Gauntlet build, which can put out insane damage with a small amount of CP support. The Allarus is better at character killing, and good all-rounders for their points, however, the Aquilons can be built to take on more specific types of foes. Choosing between these 2 units therefore requires some thought as to what you want the unit to actually do.
    • The wording of several of our new WotS strats helps these guys' damage output significantly, and it is worth discussing quite how powerful they now are.
      • Thanks to Slayer of Nightmares, for 1CP we can gain a +1 to wound against anything with a T higher than 5 in the Fight Phase. This is essentially every vehicle and scary monster in the game, which means the talons wound on a 4 against Knights, and the Gauntlets now wound them on 2+. A squad of 4 with Gauntlets (16 attacks) is likely to mortally wound, if not kill a knight outright with 16 attacks, hitting and wounding on 2s at AP-4.
      • The second strat to look for should be Superior Fire Patterns (also 1CP), which doubles the shots on their Lastrum Storm Bolters. This makes the storm bolters Rapid Fire 4 (giving 8 shots PER MODEL at half range!). A squad of 4, therefore, puts out the equivalent of 32 D1 Heavy Bolter shots at 12" range. It goes without saying that emerging from Deep Strike and dropping this is an incredible chaff clearer.
  • Contemptor-Achillus DreadnoughtForge World: Though it may have lost the almighty D in its transition to 40k, the Achilus Dread still keeps its reputation as a melee monster. His shooting weapon is a 24" Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 D3 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 or a twin-linked Adrathic destructor, both costing 10pts. Anyway, once in melee this guy an absolute beast as it packs 5 attacks with S14 AP-3 d3+3 damage, enough to reduce most targets to slags. Deep strike it with From Golden Light They Come on turn 2, and it will fuck shit up in no time, especially with the bonuses from the Eternal Penitent stratagem. And because GW sometimes do things right, the Achillus received the Custodes version of the Duty Eternal special rule : Guardian Eternal reduce the Damage taken by your Dreadnought by 1 (to a minimum of 1).
    • At 160pts with the dreadspear and 2 Lastrum storm bolters, the Achillus is just a bit over a Venerable dread but gets much more hitting power and versatility, while being harder to take down with multi-Damage attacks.
    • Assuming you pick the twin Adrathic destructors, an Achillus can throw 11 attacks, each with a minimum Damage value of 3, for just 180 points. This makes the Spearnought one of the most cost-effective unit in the whole army when it comes to annihilating vehicles and heavy infantry.
  • Contemptor-Galatus DreadnoughtForge World: 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 D3 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 AND it also get the new Guardian Eternal for extra durability. 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 dispatch monsters or vehicles but okay for everything else, so use it as an anchor to dissuade TEQs from coming too close.
  • Custodian Wardens: Tougher Custodian Guard that get a 6+++ FnP and +1 A and Ld as well as blocking LoS for nearby custodes characters. 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. The misericordias are now an option, so feel free to dismiss them if you're running short on points. Still, they're good to finish off that one model on a single wound, without having to waste your more useful attacks.
    • As of the 9th edition Codex (January 2022), the difference in cost between a Spear Guard and a Warden is 5 points - from 45 to 50. 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). The only other differences are in melee (the Warden has 33.33% more spear swings) - 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.
  • 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 and got a lot buffed in this edition: deep striking a beast with 2 shots 2+to hit S8 AP-4 DD6+2 is something scary (potentially 16 wounds).
  • Vexilus Praetor: 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 with a specific effect. With the release of the Munitorum Manual FAQ in February 2021, the point cost of some vexillas have been included in the Praetor's base cost.
    Vexilla Imperius
    Allows <SHIELD HOST> Core or Character units 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. The new wording now lets it affect dreads as well.
    Vexilla Defensor
    Grants light cover to all <SHIELD HOST> Core or Character within 6". Since this no longer provides an invuln, it kinda stings, but it's now applicable on all your Custodians. This also makes it no longer applicable to any soup lists due to keywords. Thanks to your native 2+ this completely overlaps with reducing AP-1 to AP0, if you have that, but if you put it on a 1+ model, what you get is ignoring AP-1 and AP-2, which is great.
    Vexilla Magnifica
    For 10 points, grants dense cover to all <SHIELD HOST> Core or Character units within 6". 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 be 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.
  • Vigilators: A squad of silent sisters armed with a greatblade; two girls put out the same damage as a single custodian with a sentinel blade for less than half his price, but they're relative glass cannons. This squad has the potential to do some remarkable damage to high-value targets, and not necessarily only Psykers, though the Daughters of the Abyss rule comes into its own with this unit. This means they are capable of wounding even Magnus on a 4+. 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 melee, and no way to strike at opponents at any distance, aside from the psyk-out grenade stratagem.
    • 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.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • 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 (95 ppm). You can replace it with either an Adrathic devastator (Heavy 2 18" S6 AP-3 dealing 3 damage for (100 ppm) or a twin-linked las-pulser (Heavy 4 24" S8 AP-2 D3 damage) for (110 ppm).
    • 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. 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, while the Adrathic devastator's flat 3 Damage and high AP are exactly what you need if you expect your opponent to spam Gravis marines or other 3W infantry models.
  • 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. For firepower, it's a Coronus-lite, with the same Twin Arachnus Blaze Cannon, but no Bolt Cannon. For a meager 95 points. Yeah, you heard that right. 95 Emperor damned points. Unlike the 30K version, it cannot be taken in squads of three though, and the 2020 Forge World Compendium deleted the Gravitic Backwash rule, which used to inflict a -2 penalty on Charge rolls against it. If you have points to spend on an extra Agamatus or Vertus Praetor for one of your jetbikes units, consider getting a Pallas instead.
    • The Pallas is perfect to take down models with a 3+ and no invulnerable save, as its blaze cannon will completely negate their armour save. Vehicles with T7 or less are your targets of choice, but re-rolling to wound means even T8 metal boxes aren't safe. The burst mode cannot compete with hurricane bolters in terms of sheer damage output against W1 models, but having better range and being mounted on a VEHICLE is a huge advantage now that jetbikes can't shoot after Falling Back if they get tarpitted.
    • The blaze cannon's flat Damage 3 is also your best friend when it comes to killing Plague Marines, Gravis, Terminators, Nobs, Tyranid Warriors or any W3 model from afar, a niche that shouldn't be overlooked in the current meta. Using the blaze cannon on infantry units may sound like a complete waste, but the Pallas is actually cheap enough to earn its points back if you keep it away from the biggest guns and pick the right fights.
    • Taking down a single Pallas can prove surprisingly consuming since it requires focusing a lot of heavy firepower on a single model. Though it lacks the 2+/4++ of a Custodes jetbike, the Pallas is actually tougher overall against attacks with a AP value of -1 or better and cannot be one-shot by a lucky hit with Damage 4. While saturating a jetbikes squadron with high Damage attacks may be worth it since you can potentially kill multiple models, you will never destroy more than one Pallas and splitting fire may result in the grav-attack surviving. And shooting back at full power next turn.
  • 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 provides a 2+ save and doubles as a S+1 AP-2 weapon. 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 (+1 Attack, S+1 AP-3 D2 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. Venatari are probably best used to steal objectives and harass your opponent's troops camping on 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.
  • Vertus Praetors (aka Dawneagle Jetbikes): A must take, even after the 9E nerf. They are no longer ObSec, nor can they counter-charge in your opponent's phase, but 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; because they're specifically not AIRCRAFT, a lot of your mobility and board-control secondaries still apply to them, making them very useful in that regard. Oh, and remember that they also get a 4++ if they come in a pure custodes detachment. Make of that what you will.
    • Their interceptor lance is S7 AP-3 D2, +1 to wound on the charge. Very useful intercepting flyers and smashing medium vehicles.
    • 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.
      • The Salvo Launcher is free, like the Hurricane bolter, so the choice is yours if you like a more anti-vehicle unit or a more generalist unit. And remember that anything without a high invulnerable will vaporize in charge. Feel free to try what do you think is the best loadout.
  • 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. They are an anti-horde option with the entire squad armed with flamers, meaning you can get 10d6 automatic hits if you go full-sized, with their stratagem guaranteeing that each can only roll a min of 4 shots (min: 40 hits). 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. 9th Edition is giving them a helpful push by letting them move 6" before the game even starts, allowing you to get started with the burnination right away.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • 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. Combine with its W14 3+/5++ and the twin Lastrum Bolt Cannons (heavy bolters with S6 AP-2) that provide extra anti-infantry firepower, and you have quite a nasty tank. 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 with 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.
    • 9th edition has not been kind with the Caladius so far. Models that FLY can't disengage and shoot anymore, it has lost the Gravitic Backwash special rule and the twin Lastrum cannon didn't get a Damage buff as the baseline heavy bolter did. Overall, the unit is more vulnerable in melee - both against tank hunters and tarpitting units - and its extra range isn't a decisive factor on the more compact battlefields of 9th edition. At 205 points it is still a decent unit, but one may be interrested in a tougher, more durable heavy weapons platform...
  • Telemon Heavy DreadnoughtForge World: You thought the SM Leviathan Dreadnought was a tough cookie to crack? Sit down and behold the mighty Telemon. With a statline of M8/6/4 A4 WS2/3/4+ S8 BS2/3/4+ T8 Sv2+/4++/6+++ W14 Ld8 and the Guardian Eternal rule it’s far tougher than any Land Raider... 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 Iliastus accelerator culverins for 260 points and provides the Custodes with one of their few anti-armor options, although either culverin can be swapped out for another arm option.
    Spiculus Bolt Launcher
    24” Heavy 5 S5 AP-1 D1, shoots twice when it doesn't move; by itself, this makes it a perfect backfield camper for chewing GEQ.
    Iliastus Accelerator Culverins
    2 sets of 48” Heavy 4 S7 AP-3 D2, perfect for chewing up MEQ (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.
    Arachnus Storm Cannons
    Two profiles: 36” Heavy 2 S8 AP-4 D3, re-rolls wounds against vehicles or 24” Heavy 6 S7 AP-2 D1, making them designed to deal with both vehicles and light infantry. It has a more limited range than the culverin, 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, Custodes lack anti-armor firepower.
    • The Arachnus storm cannon may also prove a very useful weapon to deal with the bunch of new 3W models Astartes get with their 9th edition codex. Multi-wound models in general are a real pain for Custodes since your infantry is mostly stuck with D3 melee weapons or low Strength/AP guns, and T5 W3 units becoming more widespread will certainly make things even worse. In this regard, the storm cannon is a real blessing as it can reliably one-shot any baseline Gravis model with no save allowed while being able to out-range those damned melta rifles.
    Telemon Caestus and Twin Plasma Projector
    The close combat option is to arm it with one or two of these - your melee is WS2+/3+/4+ A4 SU(8) AP0 D1 base, then the first one of these brings you to A5 Sx2(16) AP-3 D4, and the second brings you to A6 Sx2(16) AP-3 D4, so the melee benefit of the second one is significantly less than the first. However, each comes with a gun, with normal gun scaling; said gun is 12" Heavy 2d3 S6 AP-2 D1, automatically hits (remember, your BS is 2+/3+/4+, and this will average 4 shots). The melee weapons (and their built-in flamers) are free, so if you want to punch a Knight to death, then the fists are what you choose. The Telemon, however, can serve your army far better as a mobile gun rig rather than a full-on melee beatstick - in fact, you're a lot better off with an Achillus than a full melee Telemon.
    • Also, remember Custodes Dreadnoughts can use their guns in melee, which makes the Telemon in particular even more versatile, as even a range-focused build may deal with small units trying to tarpit your giant robot of death. It also makes mixed melee/shooting loadouts much more viable, as your guns will never be wasted and may even outdamage a pure fisty build.
      • Overall, it's an incredibly useful model for a custodes army, and considering it's "only" 310pts 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.
  • Venerable Land Raider: Still your slighty-less-survivable transport with W16 sitting comfortably on a 2+/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.


  • Ares GunshipForge World: If the Orion is a Transport and anti-infantry Flyer, the Ares is 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 Dd3, 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 D6+d3. Now we're talking. It also comes with 2 Arachnus heavy blaze cannons 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.
  • Orion Assault DropshipForge 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.


Officio Assassinorum[edit]

  • Every assassin is 100pt, as of 9e, but every assassin is good, from the Vindicare(if you don't use allarus, which you should) to the Eversor(horde-cleaning)
  • Culexus might be an idea for psyker sniping as well - less useful against armies with lots of them like Grey Knights though.

Astra Militarum[edit]

Used right, you can kick some serious ass with this matchup. The guard still gives you some hilariously cheap models relative to your banana men. Seriously, you can bring a squad of 9 guardsmen and their sergeant for one point more than a single standard Custodian model costs. Or if you’re into even cheaper models, for the cost of a 147 point stock Custodes 3 man squad, for 150 points you can take a 30 man conscript squad. This is good for holding objectives, or just slowing down your foes while your heavy hitters get into position to beat the enemy over the head with a lock inside a tube sock.

They still have their long range, high strength and high AP anti tank weapons, which is something you have less of. Additionally, they offer long range artillery. A Leman Russ with a punisher Gatling cannon can remove horde armies with ease that would otherwise bog you down with 20 S5 1D shots. Or alternatively an executioner with standard S7 1D AP-3 for those tougher targets.

Or just grab a Basilisk with a whopping 240” range, D6 shots, S9, AP-3, D3 damage. Yeah, that’s a nice fuck you to anything nearby. They still fill almost every weakness the Custodes have. Just still try not to be that guy.

Space Marines[edit]

Imagine what the Imperial Guard does for you in terms of covering up weaknesses, and just add on a lot more point costs. Flexible and versatile ally that can do almost anything. Psyker support, anti-vehicle, melee support, or nowadays even bringing along girly man himself.

Just keep in mind the points cost. Your Custodes already burn through points like wildfire, so it’s easy to end up having to compromise in some spots if you’re not careful. Take what you need for your army. Obviously psychic support is probably a given. Anti-vehicle is next on the list unless you’re bringing along some Custodes dreads. If you’ve got those two areas filled and you’ve got points left over, why not invest in some tactical squads for cheap(er) objective holders?

Grey Knights[edit]

Cheaper Custodes but with psychic powers. Yep, that’s grey knights in a nutshell. But they do offer some strategies if taken other than the obvious DTW and psychic abilities. For instance, they have better transport options with their Rhino and Razorback, which can allow you to get some infantry into the fight a bit quicker. Both of those options are noticeably cheaper than bringing a grav-carrier to the fight.

Their infantry can hold their own better than the sisters of silence can. Overall, a solid choice. Just keep in mind their higher points cost compared to other potential allies. Also great for recreating the fight at the lions gate if you bring Valerian and Aleya along.

Imperial Knights[edit]

See Adeptus Titanicus, below, but diluted in budget-brand gold paint; you are still just as much of a raging asshole as a Titanicustodes player, but there's at least a remote chance that you had a Knight to spare already and decided to pair it with your Custodes, rather than consciously making the decision to get a Titan to pair with them.

Adeptus Titanicus[edit]

God help whoever is dumb enough to play against a team up between Titans and Custodes. The hardest part, other than managing to live with one kidney and lung after selling them to afford this army, is finding someone willing to fight this army. Roll out a squad of bikes and shield captain Smashfucker with them to hunt down any models that flee. Maybe add in some terminators and split them up with unleash the lions, then just hold objectives with one model each. Annihilate anything else with the titan. But come on, really?

Adeptus Mechanicus[edit]

Mechanicustodes is an interesting pairing; it plays like the opposite of a Guardstodes army. With Guardstodes, the Guard is largely the bubble wrap for your valuable Custodians; with Mechanicustodes, the Custodians are the bubble wrap giant gleaming brick wall for your hard-hitting Mechanicus models to hide behind. You won't get cheap infantry blobs out of Skitarii as effectively as you will with guardsmen, but they're much more capable at range. The heavier kit that Mechanicus brings can make up well for the lack of anti-armor firepower the Custodes have - Ironstriders and Dunecrawlers are the noteworthy options. Kataphrons are okay too, but... just take an ironstrider for those points, or more custodes. And for the love of god, no Secutarii.

Sisters of Battle[edit]

In theory the Sororitas have access to great melta and flamer options. In practice Sisters don't get along well with the other kids because they lose their Acts of Faith if they ally with anyone. Just take Sisters of Silence.


See Space Marines, but with some better anti-infantry options. They are still rather pricey, especially when combined with your already expensive banana men. Their frag cannon still wrings out the tears from anyone that tries to rush up to you.

Again, keep in mind they’re not as tough as your Custodes, but they still make an excellent distraction. Make good use of transports or other protective methods if you want to keep them alive longer.



General Tactics[edit]

Psychic/Anti-Psychic Support[edit]

Custodes are pretty well protected from psychic with a 6+++ against psychic mortal wounds, a 4+ to deny psychic power strat, and a strat deny the witch strat for any unit with 12" range so most the time that will be enough to counteract any psychic you come up against as you have other stratagems that counter powerful psychic buff/debuffs, like the Emperor's Auspices against Doom and Guide for example.

Bear in mind that you can pay 1cp for an extra warlord trait if you want, so you could take Impregnable mind on one of your characters just in case all the above wasn't enough already.

Sagittarum Horde[edit]

If you don't like thinking during your turn but still want a freakishly high chance of winning any particular battle, consider this simple tactic:

- Take the Emissaries Imperatus Shield Host

- Fill your troops with nothing but Sagittarum Custodians

The Heralds of the Throne fighting style of Emissaries Imperatus means you ignore both the penalty for advancing and firing with the Adrastus Bolt Caliver, and the penalty for firing it on both modes. With 2,000 points, you can bring 25 Sagittarum Custodians, Trajann Valoris, a Shield-Captain on a Dawnbike, and a Praetor in terminator armor. In total, you're firing off 75 S5 -1AP D2 shots, and 25 S5 -3AP D3 shots. If you don't know how bonkers this is, it's enough damage to put down around two Knights per turn, or shred through an arbitrary amount of guardsmen, MEQs, TEQs, or even vehicles.

Flight of the Golden Valkyries[edit]

Matchups and Counterplay[edit]

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 in 9th edition, isn't an unreasonable thing to assume), which is the slang term for taking multiple factions that share the Imperial, Chaos, Aeldari or Tyranid keywords or the like in the same army. Feel free to add any strategies that have worked against these factions.


  • Space Marines: Just remember to use Emperor's Auspecies and you should do very well as a lot of the space marines efficiency comes from their re-rolls, try and stop null zone as well as that can lose you the game by itself in some cases. The amount of variety marines have and the sheer absurdity of some of their combos may present a challenge in some cases, but between your stratagems and innate durability you're one of the few armies that should be able to get into combat and hold objectives against them.
  • Blood Angels: Same as above but targeting the characters is important here, if you can pick off a smash captain or librarian dreadnought with your terminators you're in a very good place, as most other units will still be outmatched by yours in melee, which is where blood angels are made to fight.
  • Dark Angels: Dark Angels can be a tough match up. Unlike most factions, they don't give a stinky shit about your high AP weapons, especially their Ravenwing. Dark Angels are most dangerous when fighting as a combined force, which grants them powerful Terminators, Plasma up the wazoo, and bikes to wrestle objectives from you. Target the bikes and sources of Plasma fire, while ignoring Terminators with Storm bolters. Don't forget that Dark Angels gain +1 to hit when not moving, so Devastators with Heavy Bolters will tear you a new one.
  • Grey Knights: The second most elite army in the Imperium (minus Knights). To be honest, if you haven't brought anti-psyker support you're very likely going to lose this matchup. Screen out the GK with Sisters of Silence to deny them their smites and take advantage of stratagems, and maybe the relic banner and warlord trait.
  • Deathwatch: Their Hellfire rounds don't give a shit about your T5. Thankfully your stratagems don't give a shit about their characters.
  • Imperial Guard: Take a banner with -1 to hit as with tau the army wide 4+ BS really doesn't like negative hit modifiers, tanks commanders do have a 3+ BS but most the russ weapons are ap -2 or -1 so your terminators can just ignore most their firepower with Auramite and Adamantium.
  • Imperial Knights: This can actually a surprisingly hard match-up for the Custodes as knights can easily outrun most of your units and can't be tied up in combat, they can even move over you in the movement phase now so they really can't be hemmed in. On the upside they don't (usually) have an invulnerable save in melee and always have a higher toughness than you so you can spam slayers of nightmares and shred them up close. Otherwise just play to objectives and you should have a good chance.
  • Sisters of Silence: On their own they're no threat to Custodes at all, they're painfully outmatched in combat and Custodes have no psychic for them to counter.
  • Sisters of Battle: A very good army all round, but probably a bit lacking in heavy shooting and dedicated combat to really hurt Custodes with the advent of 9th, kill their meltas and try to tie them up in melee which shouldn't be too difficult given the large footprint of many of their units, penetant engines are surprisingly deadly in combat but that's what Telemon dreadnoughts and Salvo launchers are for. Try not to have too many units charged by a wave of Bloody Rose Repentia at a time.
  • Adeptus Titanicus: If you do find yourself playing against one of the 10 people who even play this then you should probably just play for the objectives, almost every weapon they have will kill your units outright at D4 or higher, use Alchemical when necessary and don't suicide your guys for the sake of it, even titans probably can't table you completely if you play cautiously, and they certainly aren't scoring more VP than you.
  • Other Imperium Factions:


  • Chaos Space Marines:
  • Chaos Daemons: Sisters of Silence will wreck face against Deamons, particularly the melee built ones like Bloodletters, which are particularly vulnerable to Purjagators and their flamers of Justice. The Psychic shenanigans of Tzeentch armies is utterly terrifying, but a screen of Sisters of Silence should help. Honestly, just having a large number of Sisters units will come in real handy.
  • Death Guard: Death guard are an anathema to you, being very slow, tanky as high heaven, but rather than dealing absurd amounts of damage, they shrug off whatever you throw at them and slap you in the face until you die. Misercordia and attack spam will be key to breaking through them, and Vexilla will come in clutch. Beware the mortal wound spam, as Death Guard have some nasty mortal wound tricks they can do in engagement range to foul up your day.
  • Thousand Sons: Alt + F4. In all seriousness, you're in for a tough fight here. Thousand Sons have way too many tricks to punch through your invuln saves, though 99% of said tricks rely on Psychic powers. Vigilators will come in clutch to counter anything from Magnus the Red (whom they will wound on 4s!!) to Ahriman to Rubric Marines. A screen of Sisters should keep your valuable stuff safe until you can waste the Blue nerds in melee.
  • Renegade Knights: Pretty much the same as Imperial Knights.
  • Renegades and Heretics: AH HAHAHAHAHAHA They're not supported who cares? Just stomp them.


  • Craftworlds: Formerly the bane of Custodes (and most other armies as well) in 8th, for now they are an absolute cakewalk, just turn doom and guide off whenever you want with Emperor's Auspices, deny executioner and smite reliablely every turn and rape their shining spears in combat where they don't have an invulnerable to protect them.
  • Dark Eldar: Unlike their space magic oriented brethren they lack psychic powers. Trouble is their Splinter weaponry always wounds you on 4+, they don't give a shit about your toughness or the Alchemical physiology that blocks 1-3s to wound. Their Disintegrators and Dark Lances do notice the difference, however.
  • Harlequins: A tough one to be sure, their 4++ across the board completely invalidates Custodes high AP weapons, but not too bad a match-up if you know how they play, almost always kill the fusion-carrying boats first,then the clowns they're carrying. Don't be fooled into prioritising the bikes unless for VP reasons as the damage they do is just worse overall, particularly as your terminators can now ignore ap -1 and -2 with adamantium and aurumite, the bikes will outrun you yes, so just take objectives and watch them desperately try and wound you as you rack up VP.
  • Orks: Got nerfed into the ground during the edition change so no longer the threat they were, if your opponent takes a shokk attack gun just snipe it with your Allarus terminator strat, lootas are still very dangerous unless you're terminators and play adamantium and auramite, generally as stupid as it sounds orks are better at shooting than combat in this match up so getting into combat quickly is your best bet, don't be conservative with tangle-foot grenades either, that strat is a real ace up your sleeve in this match-up. The Blade Champion can tie up Ghazkull at a very cost effective price, and Valerian can help end Ghaz due to ignoring his very balanced rule regarding the taking of wounds.
  • Tau Empire Not much to say on Tau really that you probably haven't already guessed, don't waste time shooting at range they'll outmatch you completely just get up close as quickly as possible and swarm them in melee, a vexilla Magnifica is a very good idea as most of the Tau army starts on BS 4+ and making them 5+ to hit most if not all of your units will severely impact their damage output.
  • Necrons: The new Necron codex is out and while it's not a huge change, invulnerable saves are common between wraiths, quantum shielding and chronomancer buffs. The Silent King and C'tan in particular are great counter's to Custodes as their defensive buffs negate a lot of your expensive high AP weapons, better just to play around them and tie up your opponents shooting units in melee. Their fly units are far less irritating than before as they can't back out and charge now and they generally don't want to stay in combat with you even if they can shoot into melee. Make sure to use Auspecies against their destroyer strat and don't let their new choppy destroyers charge you if at all possible.
  • Tyranids: Remember the Tanglefoot Grenade stratagem. Even if a Genestealer bomb gets right up in your face you can still throw off the charge attempt. Don't immediately charge in, that's playing right into the Tyranid player's hands. Soften them up with shooting (Vertus Praetors, Sagittarum guard, the dick bikes) before charging and then go in.
  • Genestealer Cults: Just a joke in current 9th edition so probably not even worth mentioning, try and keep your important units out of deepstrike charge range of Genestealers and abberants and you should be fine.