Custodes Tactics: The Next Step Up


The Golden Boys are moving up to 2,000 points for our intermediate guide.  However, we are avoiding Forge World models at the moment and sticking with pure Games Workshop single faction Custodes for our Custodes Tactics. In the Custodes Tactics Beginner’s Guide, the 1,000 point list a strong viable build but is limited for organized play if the rule of 2 is in effect. Fortunately, moving to 2,000 points that’s no longer an issue because its now the rule of 3 at that point level. All those Salvo Launchers helped deal with one of the weaknesses of Custodes, toughness 7 and 8 models at range. One change that can be made is just moving the models around in the detachment for efficiency without changing the points at all. So our basic first list is now this.

Custodes Revised Outrider 1000

  • Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter
  • Vertus Praetor Squad w/ Hurricane Bolter x3
  • 2x Vertus Praetor Squads w/ Salvo Launcher x3
Custodes Tactics

Now the shield captain can focus on hunting down and clearing chaff units. In regards to 1 command point stratagems, 3 stand out: From Golden Light They Come, Unflinching, Indomitable. The squads are focused on doing a job and making better use of those stratagems. Such as putting the right unit(s) in reserve should you use From Golden Light They Come. The Hurricane bolter squad will make the best use of Unflinching to overwatch on a 5+. It’s unlikely that you will use the Burst Missile Net stratagem but having the option is nice if you need it.

Obviously, command points are an issue but try and keep 3 saved for Stooping Dive versus an assault army. This is best when your opponent is charging one squad of bikes but can’t get to a second squad or was relying on the pile in moves to tag that squad. Since Stooping Dive happens in the Charge Phase, you will be able to hop over models.

Expanding Your Army to Use Custodes Tactics

For the next thousand points, we have a couple of options to make use of Custodes Tactics. The first option is we add command points using a Custodes battalion. In order to get the 10 bikes for the first detachment, 12 were purchased as they come in boxes of 3.  So we use the last two bikes making a second bike captain and adding another Hurricane Bolter bike to the squad of hurricanes. Trajan is the only character with a re-roll 1’s to wound aura. So he goes into the list. He can also hit really hard and fight twice without having to die. Up to 3 command points could be refunded by him instead for when lists are command point light. Fortunately, by adding Infantry we can now make use of the Tangle Foot Grenade.

The leeway comes about with 6 odd points. They could be used to give Misercordia to bike captains for there chaff clearing role. However, in this list 2 of the guardian squads had one member exchange a Guardian Spear for a Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield. Finishing up the list is the Vexilla Praetor bearing the Vexilla Magnifica. Some armies don’t handle the -1 to hit all that well.  So the initial 4 boxes of Vertus Praetors, 2 boxes of Guardian Squads and 1 Trajan Valoris is all it takes for these 2 detachments. This army retails at $395

Custodes 2,000 Point List 9 Command points.

Custodes Battalion 910

  • Trajan Valoris
  • Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter
  • 2x Custodian Guard Squad w/ Guardian Spears x2 Sentinel Blade & Storm Shield x1
  • Custodian Guard Squad w/ Guardian Spears x3
  • Vexillus Praetor Vexilla w/ Vexilla Magnifica, Misericordia & Storm Shield, 

Custodes Outrider 1090

  • Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter
  • Vertus Praetor Squad Hurricane Bolter x4
  • 2x Vertus Praetor Squads w/ Salvo Launcher x3

Even with the -1 to hit aura centered on the Vexilla, you don’t want to stand in front of your opponent’s guns. The 2+ armor save and the 4++ invulnerable saves only go so far on what is a 23 model army. However, now you have the command points to have 4 Characters with a 3++ Invulnerable save. Trajan, the Vexilla with his Storm shield, a bike Captain with the Eagle’s Eye and the other one with the Auric Aquilas. You can afford to place units in reserve to help counter your opponent’s reserves or just get across a long No Man’s Land. With his re-roll to charges, if you do decide to place a character in reserve, the Auric Aquilas bike captain is a good target for that ability. 

Deepstrike Custodes Tactics

There are two other Custodes infantry squads and they have their appeal. The Wardens and the Allarus Terminators come with the strength 8 Axes at the cost of some armor-piercing. Adding a vanguard will still leave your Custodes Command Point starved but comes with a plethora of axes. The question then becomes how to get them in. Fortunately, the Terminators can deep strike in. Save those 3 command points for that off chance you can use the Vexilla Teleport Homer. Or Stooping Dive should you be able to set either up. One way to try and set this up would be to use the relic Praetorian Plate on the Terminator Vexilla. Set the protected character as the Shield-Captain on Dawn Eagle. Play the Shield-Captain forward. At the end of your opponent’s charge phase when the Terminator Vexilla jumps to protect the Shield-captain he can’t be hit by units that charged. 

The Vexilla Imperius will allow for extra attacks and was placed on the Terminator should it deep strike in with the Allarus Custodians. As well as grant an extra attack to the captain should the Praetorian Plate option be used. The extra relic and placing the wardens in reserve would leave just 3 command points to play with. To make this detachment we added 2 boxes of Allarus Custodians, 1 box of Wardens and Trajan. 

2,000 Custodes 5 Command points. 

Custodes Vanguard 997

  • Captain-General Trajann Valoris 
  • Allarus Custodians w/ Axe x5
  • Custodian Wardens w/ Axe x4
  • Vexillus w/ Praetor Axe & Vexilla Magnifica
  • Vexillus Praetor in Allarus Terminator Armor w/ Misericordia & Vexilla Imperius

Custodes Outrider 1003

  • Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter & Misericordia
  • Vertus Praetor Squad Hurricane Bolter x3
  • 2x Vertus Praetor Squads w/ Salvo Launcher x3

This army is not without its limitations. Mortal wounds don’t care about the good saves of this army. Weight of dice will also crush them as well. Without Psykers they have limited opportunities to Deny the Witch. One Custodes Tactics option is to exchange the Vexilla Magnifica for the relic, Faith Absolute. Make the Vexillus Praetor the warlord and take Impregnable Mind. The +1 to Deny the Witch will work for all attempts. A third attempt can be made by this warlord with the stratagem Spark Of Divinity.  Save a command point for when the Vexillus Praetor inevitably dies from being so close when attempting to deny all those psychic powers and Shoulder The Mantle onto one of the Bike Captains. Unfortunately, Captain-General Trajan lacks the Keyword Shield-Captain in order for him to Shoulder The Mantle himself.

What about Vehicles?

The Landraider lost its invulnerable save in the second Custodes Codex. Yes, it is the second one even though the first was just the index options put into a thin paperback and the word Codex slapped onto it. This happened near the beginning of 8th edition. Networked Machine Spirits sounds good until you realize you need at least two Landraiders to make it work. Even adding Trajan for the re-rolls to help the Lascannon hits and wounds, they are just too expensive for this army. Further limiting this army’s ability to wound toughness 8. 

The Venerable Contemtor Dreadnought has an invulnerable save of 5++ but does not benefit from Sworn Guardians. Most likely this unit will eat up the anti-tank weaponry. The 6+++ feel no pain from Unyielding Ancient will help a little bit. As a lone model, he can not wrap and trap models by himself. However, this model brings consistent melee damage 3 at high strength and can bring a Multi-Melta. If you are going to bring dreadnoughts, bring several as one is too easy to focus down.

Custodes Tactics

Still, this is the army Superman would play. Advance play could involve Forgeworld Units and possibly Imperium Soup. Not unlike the former great Geoff Robinson and his list.

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