Matt Rooot Cause Analysis: Geoff Robinson's Custodes


Hey guys! This is Matt and the first of my articles, Root’s Cause Analysis, where I look at competitive lists and tell you what you need to know about GT winning lists! Today, we’re going to look at the BAO Winning List with the new Forgeworld Custodes:

The list is very blunt and straightforward: Murder you with bullets. Not only bullets, but high quality ones as well. You are absolutely going to be seeing a lot of lists similar to thisthis is going to become a gatekeeper army. You need to know how what it does and how to beat it.
Let’s start with the meat of the list: The Custodes. The meat of the list is essentially in 3 firing platforms: the 2x Calladius tanks and the Telemon. They are the anchor to this list which is going to reach out and touch you with insanely high quality shooting that not only hits on 2s (rerolling 1s) but often WOUNDS on 2s or 3’s (rerolling 1s) because of Valdor.
The Calladius are no joke, and are going to be showing up in the meta in the near future. You need to know what they do – this is going to become a gatekeeper army. At first blush, the don’t seem like a terrible impressive profile: T7 with a 3+ armor and a middling amount of wounds doesn’t seem hard to kill, but it adds up: it has a 5++ invul base with fly, so it is NEVER not shooting, moves insanely far at 14+ inches, and subtracts -2 to all charges. Further, this is buffed by the vexilla who makes all the tanks -1 to be shot. This makes it insanely resilient. You can’t shut this thing down until it is dead.

The Telemon is another stable firing platform. The telemon is, in my opinion, not nearly as efficient as a Callidius, but it trades speed for resilience with a T8, 2+ armor, a 4+ invul, and a 6+ FNP with some significantly strong downtown firepower. It is like a mini knight that will plant its feet and slam you with guns that have a MINIMUM of -2 AP, that can do 2-3 damage per shot, that can even reroll to wound against vehicles. Did I mention it shoots like 22 shots a turn? Again, hyper efficient.
The Ad Mech are a cp generating battery – they serve one other purpose, and that is the ability to deny enemy powers on a 4+ with the use of a strategem.

The Catachan are a melee screen, meant to slow down units like boys, GSC, and other units. They make it further hard to hit in combat and serve as obsec bodies that provide yet another source of CP. It has a double shooting wyvern to further smoke hordes out of LOS, and with the use of a extra warlord trait or relic, he can even ignore cover, making units like your precious Reapers (who are actually super useful against this list) disappear.
Finally, you’ve got Voldus, who is a beast in CC, along with some heavy flamer Aquilon terminators that have str 10 power fist hits in close combat. Bonus! They can deep strike and flame you because they have a 12” gun.

Weaknesses: The list is fairly light on bodies – a plaguebearer wall it is not. It has little to no psychic defense, and although the Calladius are fast, they only really want to be moving forward when the opponent is dead. This is a mobile, but slow and hard hitting castle.
It also lacks good horde killing ability in CC. It does have catachan guardsmen, but at only 30 dudes, they fall quite fast. Furthermore, although the Aquilon terminators hit brutally hard, they only have so many attacks, and at 3 of them, that’s not a lot of horde killing power.
Tricks to be careful of: If you are a melee army, NEVER charge a tank or ad mech unit or guard unit while within 12” of one of the infantry custodes, because he will spend 1 CP to use a tanglefoot grenade and subtract d6 inches from your charge, making a charge that much harder to get off.
Also, be aware that if he has the Vex near your army, he can deepstrike his terminators within 3” of the guy using a strategem, ignoring the 9” rule. This means he can easily get a charge off to smoke a target that gets too close.

How to beat it: The list is hyper efficient, but it has a few chinks in its golden armor that make it susceptible to a few key points.
First, it has little to no psychic defense. The list can make use of a Culexus, but one dude can only go so far. A thousand son psyker list that can get past the screen of guard and ad mech will have some very juice targets for smites.
Second, it’s slow. Don’t be fooled by the Calladius – these guys can move quick, but they DO NOT want to be moving forward into being punched by your army (unless you’re tau and literally have nothing to hurt it with). The army likes sitting in a single 6” bubble near the vexilla to maximize the use of -1 to be shot, which means that the list plants a flag – and tends to stick on it.
Third, as Sun Tzu says, “Use the enemy’s strengths as their weaknesses”. What’s the strength of the army? Its shooting. How does it protect its tanks? With screens. So let’s use the screens to stop the shooting.

Do you need to bring your lawyer to every game?

If you can charge the Telemon, the ad mech, or any of the tanks and wrap – he can’t touch you with his scary shooting. The only unit that can fall back and shoot are the calladius, and so a heavy melee army really wants to make use of trapping units to stay in combat to kill on the Custodes turn.
You need to treat this list like a Tau list: you win against it NOT by tabling it, but by playing the mission against it. Trap units, sit on objectives. Pick off guardsmen units slowly in order to make use of a kill every turn in ITC format.  Feed his shooting pointless units in order to hold board control. Force him to spread his 6” castle out to try and take board control. All of this is easier said than done, but the strength of this list is its coherency – take the coherency apart, and even the golden plates of the Custodes will fall off.
Hope this helps guys! As always, I’m here as part of the Nights PRO to provide you with list breakdowns and tactics. If you’re looking for more info, all you do is contact me on facebook or check out our facebook page.
See you next time on Matt’s Root Cause Analysis!

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