Guide to Adeptus Custodes
The Golden Legion
TL;DR - Don't take anything except for Custodian Guard and Vertus Praetors...And probably forget about Custodian Guard and use Allies.
Spoiler: Special RulesAegis of the Emperor: Every single one of your models has a 5+ Invulnerable save. Additionally, your models ignore Mortal Wounds in the Psychic Phase on a '6'. Anything that stops your models from dying, is good. You don't have a lot. So you want to make sure that the ones you do have, stick around.
All <Infantry> and <Bikers> in a Custodes Detachment - unlike Space Marines, not <Dreadnoughts> - gain the following;
The Emperor's Chosen; Increase all your models' Invulnerables by 1 - to a maximum of 3+. Great. Now all your dudes have a 4++. Minimum.
Sworn Guardians; All of your models are Objective Secured. Not just the Troops. All of them...Well...Except <Vehicles> and <Dreadnoughts>. But, no-one likes them anyway. Like many 'elite-model' Codecies, this rule seems good, until you actually see it used on the table, where every player and their cyberdog has the exact same rule, except that they have more models than you. So they always win. Then again, you're Custodes. You gain Objectives by murdering all of your opponent's models. Objective Secured doesn't matter when they're dead.
Relics of Terra - If your Warlord is a Custodes model, get one.
Gatekeeper; Guardian Spear. It has more shots and hits better on Overwatch. Terrible.
Raiment of Sorrows; Every time an <Infantry> or <Biker> model dies within 6", on a 4+, it gets to make a shooting attack with one of its weapons, or make a single attack in Melee. This is always better shooting, because one Melee attack isn't going to do anything. Unfortunately, 50% of the time, this doesn't even work, and it's not like you have spammable models that make this a worthwhile investment.
Eagle's Eye; +1 to your Invulnerable save.
Auric Aquilas; <Biker> only. Get a 3++, and re-roll your Charges. This is not a Storm Shield. You do not have to pay anything for it. Yes please.
The Praetorian Plate; <Terminator> only. Select an [COLOR="#0000FF"]<Imperium Character>[COLOR] in your army. If there are ever any enemy models with 1" of that Character at the end of your opponent's Charge phase, teleport the model with the 'Plate within 3" of your friendly model, and within 1" of enemy models. Nothing personnel, kid.
The Veiled Blade; Sentinel Blade. +2 Attacks in the Fight phase if you're within 3" of an Objective. Whatever.
Emperor's Light; Here's what you should do; Waste your Relic slot on a special Misericordia. Hard pass.
Wrath Angelis; Vexilla Magnifica. <Imperium Infantry> and <Bikers> auto-pass Morale tests. Additionally, once per game, roll a D6 for each unit within 6" (friend or foe). On a 4+, the unit takes D3 Mortal Wounds. -2 if you're trying to hit a Character, -1 if you're trying to hit a Custodes. So, you need a '7' on a D6 to hit <Custodes Characters>, so at least that's something. Not quite sure why you'd give up your Vexilla Magnifica abilities for this, though.
Auric Shackles; Enemy <Characters> near these get -1 Attack. If this model destroys your opponent's Warlord in the Fight phase, you get another D3 Victory Points.
Obliteratum; SO COOL. BUT SO USELESS. It's a Ballistarus Grenade, except it's S10, -4. It's concentrated anti-matter that shoots 'eruptions of nothingness'. How is this not dealing Mortal Wounds and literally annihilating enemy models. No, like literal annihilation. It shoots ****ing anti-matter.
Fulminaris Aggressor; Vexilla Defensor. <Imperium Infantry> and <Bikers> auto-pass Morale tests. Additionally, the model gets an AP-1 Flamer, and a Power Maul. Terrible. Why would you ever trade away your Vexilla ability? That makes zero sense. Especially for a Defensor.
The Castellan's Mark; The bearer and one <Custodes> unit within 6" can redeploy before the first turn begins. Or, just not deploy badly, and use your Relic for something else.
Faith Absolute; ...*headdesk*
1. All your dudes within 12" can make Heroic Interventions.
2. Do more attacks in the Fight phase on a 6+ to hit.
3. 5+ Ignore Wounds.
4. Deny the Witch like a <Psyker> with +1.
5. Your opponent gets -1 to hit against your Warlord.
6. Your Warlord can re-roll Damage on his attacks.
****. Why would you ever make a Custodes model your Warlord? ...On your army list.
Tactical Objectives - If your Warlord is a Custodes, these are not optional.
11. Score one VP if you score...Another VP? Wait. WTF!? Is this for real!? Who wrote this!?
12. Destroy your opponent's units. Sure.
13. It's exactly the same as Supremacy, but you only score 1 VP...The ****!?
14. 1 VP if there are no other units from your army within 3" of your <Custodes> models. Can't score on first turn. So...Custodes really want to have expendable Allies. But they literally have an Objective telling them not to. Ugh. How much is this worth? 1!? *** damn it.
15. Your opponent chooses the Objective marker you have to control.
16. Control your opponent's Objectives.
...You know what? No. I'm done.
A Custodes model can't be your Warlord. Don't do it. You're not playing Custodes solo. Don't waste your time. All of the Warlord Traits are terrible, and all of the Tactical Objectives are stupid and difficult, and will cause you to lose the game. Have a Custodes Detachment. Sure. They're really good. But do not make one your Warlord. What? You lose out on Relics? Fine. Cool. Pick up another Detachment of something that actually has a good Warlord choice. Battalions give you 5 CPs. Spend one of them to pick up a Custodes Relic. Done. You get what you were going to get anyway. You don't have a garbage Warlord Trait. You aren't hamstrung by garbage Objectives. And you get the one Relic you were allowed anyway. Job's a good'un.
Seriously though. Don't play Custodes solo. Hate to break it to you. But solo-Custodes will lose games.
From the Golden Light They Come; Put one or two of your units into Reserves during Deployment. You can't really afford to have such expensive units in Reserve for one turn, let alone two. Still, you can do it <Bikers>, so that's neat. Do it or don't...But actually don't.
Unflinching; Overwatch on a 5+. Next.
Unleash the Lions; Pick one of your units of Allarus Custodians. Split however many models you've got in the unit, into separate units of single models. This is incredibly strong, or incredibly worse than useless. It's 2 CPs. If your opponent can do quick maths in their head (yeah, right), they'll be able to calculate their firepower accordingly, so this probably wont do anything. Or, you accuse your opponent of slow-playing and tell them to hurry the **** up. Either way, your opponent is either incredibly well prepared to deal with it, or, they're woefully unprepared and you're about to roll hard.
Tanglefoot Grenade; Reduce an enemy unit's Charge range by D6". It'll save you in a pinch. Other times, it wont do a ***-damned thing. At least it's only 1 CP.
Ever Vigilant; One of your <Infantry> units can shoot any unit that arrives from Reserves within 12" of them, at -1 to hit. Rock out with Guardian Spears for 2 CPs.
Vexilla Teleport Homer; For 3 CPs, a <Custodes> unit can arrive from Reserves wholly within 6" from the Vexilla - except Custodes have huge bases. But the kicker is that they only have to be 3" away from enemy models. So, first, you have a Vexilla, that's at least 9" away from enemy models, and not dead. Then you also have a unit in Reserves, and it has to be your turn. You can't use it on the same turn you set up the Praetor, so that's out. Another Stratagem that seems useful, until you front up against an opponent who knows what they're doing, and shuts you down...3 CPs is a lot.
Open the Vaults; More Relics. As per Shoulder the Mantle (below), it's unlikely that you're going to want a Custodes model as your Warlord (see Tactical Objectives, also). But, there's at least one very important Relic that you definitely do want.
Avatars of the Emperor; <Imperium> units within 6" of a non-Vehicle Custodes unit, can use the Custodes' Leadership, instead, during the Morale phase.
Shoulder the Mantle; When your Warlord is slain, choose a <Shield-Captain>. They become your Warlord. They get a brand new Warlord Trait. And your opponent doesn't count as having killed your Warlord. This can be used multiple times per game.
'Your Warlord' is literally anything you want it to be (e.g; AM Company Commander). Play this Stratagem when your squishy Warlord dies, and suddenly the Custodes are in charge. However, remember that that means that you'll have their Tactical Objectives at the start of the game.
Networked Machine Spirits; If you have at least two Venerable Land Raiders near each other, neither of them take any penalties to hit for the rest of the phase. This is very strong against Aeldari models who like to stack negs to hit...Wait...How any points is two Venerable Land Raiders again?
Indomitable Guardians; Interrupt your opponent's Fight phase for 1 CP. As opposed to Counter-Defensive's 2 CPs. Decent.
Inspire Fear; Your opponent takes +1 to their Morale tests if they just lost a Fight phase against you.
Burst Missile Net; If all your Vertus Praetors in the same unit, fire Flakkburst Missiles at the same target, with the <Fly> Keyword, they get to re-roll to wound. For 1 CP, it's not bad. Especially since you're definitely taking Vertus Praetors, and <Fly> models rank among some of the best in the game...Except it's a waste of time. Any Infantry on the board will auto-die to Hurricane Bolters, and Jetbikes have <Fly>, so if you really want to destroy an Airborne model...Just charge them, and they'll disappear.
Spark of Divinity; Deny the Witch as if you were a Psyker.
Plant the Vexilla; Increase the range of a <Vexillus Praetor> until your next Movement phase. Very strong. 1 CP is a bargain. Especially 'cause you need to be 'wholly within' the Vexilla, and Custodes' bases are massive.
Piercing Strike; +1 to wound in the Fight phase with Guardian Spears. A'ight.
Inescapable Vengeance; Allarus Custodians can target <Characters> with their shooting attacks. Grenades only do 1 Damage each, and this Stratagem is 2 CPs.
Wisdom of the Ancients; <Custodes> units near one of your Dreadnoughts can re-roll 1s to hit for a single phase.
Castellan Strike; Improve the AP of Castellan Axes in a single unit to -3. Not by -3 - that would make this a very different Stratagem. Still, spending a Command Point to make Axes -3 is very strong.
Concussion Grenades; Ballistus Grenades have their AP reduced to 0. Any <Infantry> unit hit by the Grenades, can't shoot Overwatch and take -1 to hit until the end of turn.
Eyes of the Emperor; Discard one Tactical Objective, and redraw for 1 CP. As opposed to New Orders' 2 CPs. Actually useful. Sometimes... Well, it depends how many Command Points you have. If you're playing solo-Custodes, probably not many.
Victor of the Blood Games; Start of game. One of your <Characters> gets a free re-roll every turn. Hey, that's pretty good for 2 CPs. As long as you use them.
Even in Death...; For 2 CPs, your Character gets to make a Shooting attack or Fight before you remove the model as a casualty. Your Characters are usually pretty good, and it's well worth it.
Avenge the Fallen; Each model in a unit gets +1 Attack for each other model that died this turn - play in your opponent's turn, obviously. 1 CP isn't a lot...But then again, how many attacks are you actually going to get out of it?
Bringers of the Emperor's Justice; Generate extra attacks in the Fight phase against <Heretic Astartes> on a 6+ to hit. Alternatively, 4+ if they're <Black Legion>. 'Cause **** 'em. That's why.
Stooping Dive; 3 CPs. And potentially one of the strongest Stratagems in the entire game. At the end of your opponent's Charge phase, pick one of your <Biker> units. Your unit can declare a Charge in your opponent's turn. Additionally, your unit gains Always Strike First - even over other Charging units, lol. This Stratagem is so stupidly ridiculously strong that it's almost not even fair. I wonder if Custodes have good <Biker> units?
Spoiler: HQCaptain-General Trajann Valoris: He's got T5, 7 Wounds and a 3+ Invulnerable. Beast. He has 5 attacks with a S10 Power Fist that doesn't have -1 to hit. Once per game, Trajann can do one of the following instantly;
- Regain D3 Wounds...But not during an attack.
- Fight twice in the same phase.
- Regain D3 Command Points after you use a Stratagem - but not more than what was spent on the Stratagem, itself.
Additionally, all <Custodes> models in his Aura re-roll 1s to hit and to wound.
Now...If you read all of that, and thought "...Lame.", you would be correct. He's 250 Points, and he's not even a <Shield-Captain>, so if he's your Warlord (which he definitely shouldn't be), he has to die first. Secondly, he's not even on a Bike, either. What is even the point!? He can't even be placed in Reserves, naturally.
Shield-Captain: Custodes with 6" get re-roll 1s to hit. What else do you want? You can get away with any Melee weapon you want - not the Misericordia. However, the Sentinel Blade is the worst at shooting. But who even cares? The Storm Shield will set you back 15 Points, whilst the Castellan Axe is only 3 Points more expensive than the Blade. Your choice.
- ...in Allarus Terminator Armour: +1 Wound. Same T5, Same 7 Wounds. Can be placed in Reserves. For over 100 less points than Trajann. Gee, I hope Trajann's Warlord Trait is worth it. Just kidding...They're all Custodes Warlord Traits, so they're all terrible. So, what? Pay 100 Points for his once per game ability? You're better than that. Except also comes with a Grenade Launcher that you don't really want. In any case, the Spear and the Axe are practically identical, but the Spear is 2 Points cheaper. Only thing you lose out on with Trajann, is that 3++ save...
- ...on Dawneagle Jetbike: T6. 7 Wounds. Access to the Relic Jetbike for the 3++ and re-roll to Charges. Nice. Definitely one of the best choices in the entire book. The Hurricane is the cheaper default, and good against Infantry. The Salvo Launcher is the way more expensive one that's barely okay against higher Toughness targets.
Spoiler: TroopsCustodian Guard: With the Storm Shield not being optional, the Guardian Spear looks like a far more obvious choice. Guardian Spears also allow you better shots with Ever Vigilant, and opens up access to Piercing Strike. All of your models come stock with T5, 3 Wounds and 4++ to begin with. Do you really need to spend 10 Points each to grab +1 Invulnerable save? Not really. You're already strapped for points as it is. However, don't underestimate having a cheap(ish...Well...It's what you've got) 'tank' unit just to have around to hold your home Objectives.
Spoiler: ElitesCustodian Wardens: Pay 9 Points for +1 Attack, and the ability to ignore Wounds on a '6'. However, they lose access to Storm Shields. If you're going to run Guard with Spears, you may as well run Wardens, unless you start running out of points very quickly. Isn't everything you own Objective Secured anyway? Point is, offensively, they aren't that much better than the Guard. You take them 'cause the ignore Wounds on a '6', and you don't even really need a Storm Shield anyway...Unfortunately, you're Custodes. You're strapped for points as it is. You don't have +9 Points per model to spare. Unfortunately, it's a pass on this unit. Keep running your Custodian Guard.
Vexilla Praetor: Same as before. Spears and Axes may as well be identical. Unfortunately, you can have one of those or a Storm Shield. It's fairly rare that your Vexilla will actually get stuck in Melee, since that's what everyone else is for. However, what you get on a Vexilus is the Custodes Vexilla ability - which you lose if you take a Relic. <Imperium> Infantry and Bikers gain And They Shall Know No Fear, which isn't really anything, but also;
- Imperius; All of your Custodes get +1 Attack. For +50 Points, your Custodes definitely don't need it.
- Defensor; <Imperium Infantry> get a 5++ against Shooting attacks. This is extremely strong just for...Having. It's also the cheapest Vexilla. Unfortunately, it doesn't help you, Custodes, because every single one of your models has a 4++ stock. Vexilla Defensor isn't a Custodes banner. Not really. Pick the other one.
- Magnifica; Your opponent gets -1 to hit for Shooting, against your Custodes models. How is this less points than the Imperius? Whatever. Doesn't matter. Rules is rules. This is an auto-include every time. Always bring a Vexilla Magnifica.
- ...in Allarus Terminator Armour: +1 Wound and gain the ability to set up anywhere. For 20 Points? It doesn't matter. Not really. However, you get a Ballistus Grenade Launcher instead of anything else.
Allarus Custodians: Just...No.
Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought: No.
...There really just isn't a reason to not just run all Custodian Guard, all the time...
Spoiler: Fast Attack...unless...
Vertus Praetors: Best unit in the entire book, by far. 14" Move puts them in Rapid Fire range on their Hurricane Bolters on Turn 1. Don't bother with Salvo Launchers. All Hurricane Bolters, all the time. In a big unit of Praetors, you might want a few Melta Missiles, just to cover your bases. But, if you're a big unit of Praetors, then that just means more Melee attacks, so that means things are more likely to disappear in Melee. When in doubt, take more Praetors. T6, 2+/4++ and 4 Wounds each. They don't die and they hit like a truck. They also get targeted by Stooping Dive, which is one of the best Stratagems in the game, because it also just happens to also target one of the best units in the game. Hot damn. You can auto-Advance 6", too. So, you lose the ability to shoot your Hurricane Bolters, but, you can still Charge in your opponent's turn - if they don't Charge you, first. Still, if you're 4" away from your opponent during their Charge phase, and they let you Charge them...Punish them. There is only one preferable option to being Charged by Praetors, and that's Charging them.
Another cosmic joke, is that Vertus Praetors are that strong, and they're Objective Secured. If Custodes are every Charged by something that they don't like (generally T7+ models with Invulnerable saves...Uh...What even is that?), Praetors are still Jetbikes with <Fly> and Hurricane Bolters. You know what to do. You can not go wrong with Vertus Praetors. A Vexilla Magnifica can give your opponent -1 To Hit on Turn 1, just in case you really don't want them to die if your opponent goes first. It's not really required (see Praetors' defensive stats to begin with), but it is a pretty solid middle finger to your opponent, just 'cause you put the boot in.
You can use Custodian Guard to hold your home Objectives. Or, some kind of cheap Battalion that can give you a lot of Command Points and a better Warlord, with better Objectives.
Space Marine Centurion Devastators being 110 Points each, minimum, is ****ing atrocious. But, that's Power Creep for you.
Spoiler: Heavy SupportVenerable Land Raider: 400 Points to Transport your Custodian Guard around the board. Custodian Guard that want to move very fast are called 'Vertus Praetors', and 400 Points would get you 4-and-a-half of them...Your Custodian Guard can stay in your DZ. The only thing that a Land Raider brings to your table is two Twin Lascannons. That's...Fine...For Custodes.
Unfortunately, you're still part of the <Imperium> Faction, and 400 Points for two sets of two Lascannons, is a horrendous waste of points.