Adeptus Custodes Preview: New Rules for the Imperium in War of the Spider

Bmoy here with my intitial thoughts from this morning’s Warhammer Community Preview for New Rules for the Imperium. I will primarily be focusing on the Adeptus Custodes.

Let’s recap the stream and then take a quick look at some of the current issues with Custodes and discuss how the reveals may address some of these issues.

Overview and Recap

Overall, I’m extremely hopeful and optimistic that Custodes are going to get exactly what they need to be competitive. We really aren’t too far off and just the fact that we will have access to Shield Hosts with access to new “chapter tactics”, Warlord Traits, Stratagems, and Relics give me hope that it’ll be exactly what we need.

However, much of what was previewed leans into the army’s current strengths (strong characters, ability to clear chaff, individuality of units to impact the game in unique ways)


  • Custodes now have access to 5 Shield Host sub-factions with specific relics and stratagems
  • New stratagems
  • Shield Captains can be upgraded to Captain-Commanders
  • Shadowkeepers Shield Host used as example
  • Stratagem to allow a non-character unit to Heroically Intervene
  • Stratagem to upgrade Dreadnoughts (potentially to characters?)
  • Sisters of Silence can now be placed in Custodes army (or any Imperium army) without losing battle-forged
  • Assassins have their stuff from WD reprinted and updated with a few new things

    Quick shout out to GDFC Discord member Josh aka: Zyggy567 who continues to provide the best recaps in the industry. Doing the Emprah’s work!
Issue #1: Resources

Currently, our beloved Custodes have resource problems, specifically, high points costs and access to CP. The latter will be addressed in 9th edition, so we won’t touch on that. Being an elite army, each model counts and it’s important to try and get the most out of every model to ensure it can successfully fulfill its role on the battlefield.

Issue #2: Board Control and Overall Durability

Due to high points costs, we’re often the lowest model count army, with Knights armies being the exception. With such a low model count, our ability to command the board is limited. Limited movement and less than ideal transport options also limit our mobility. Lastly, as an overall army, we may not boast the same durability or wounds per point that other armies have. While durable as individual models, each loss is felt and really diminishes our ability to command the battlefield.

Issue #3: Anti-Armor Long-Range Firepower

While Custodes do boast solid melee options for taking on durable targets, there are limited options when it comes to ranged firepower. Potentially, terrain that can obscure Line of Sight may become a bigger issue in 9th edition (a Bmoy hunch) and there will be a premium placed on mobile anti-tank weaponry.

Shield Hosts

I am extremely excited about the Shield Hosts and they may be exactly what we need to push us over the hump to competitive relevance again.

The Shadowkeeper Shield Host was alluded to and the corresponding Warlord Trait: Lockwarden is a nice balance of increased durability and enhanced threat to enemy characters. Toss this on a Shield-Captain (or Captain-Commander) on Dawn Eagle Jetbike for an extremely killy and potentially tanky character.


Lords of the Shield Hosts: Custodes already boasted arguably the most powerful non-named character in the game in the Shield-Captain on Dawn Eagle Jetbike. Now, for 1CP you can upgrade that character to rival the Gods themselves!

Very interested to see what some of the other options are but 9 wound Captain-Commanders on Dawn Eagle Jetbikes with 2+/3++ (Auric Aquilas and Eagle Eye)/5+++ (Superior Creation) That seems pretty ok to me …

The Emperor’s Hand: Stratagem that appears to be tied to a Shield Host that allows a unit to ignore negative modifiers to hit, wound, AP characteristic modifiers, and benefits to saving throws as a result of cover. Depending on how terrain continues to shape-up, this could be a very nice Stratagem to make our firepower go the extra mile or even make our punches even punchier.

Scalable AND defensible. My favorite types of terrain for the ol’e Caladius. Out before the Yellow Card hits me …

Superior Fire Patterns: Essentially doubles your output for Rapid Fire and Pistol weapons. While clearing chaff was never a particularly big problem, this does start to look juicy on a unit of Aquilons and especially Venatari Custodians with their Kinetic Destroyers. Pistol 4 Str 6 AP -2 D 2 with 6’s scoring an additional hit? Yeah they might see some play with this Stratagem.

Fraternity of Heroes: Another ability that allows a unit to Heroically Intervene as if they were a character. While Custodes already had access to an ability like this, this can be an extremely powerful ability in certain situations to pull-in additional Custodes unit into combat and catch your opponent off guard.

Character Upgrade for Dreadnoughts: Something that was alluded during the stream was the ability to upgrade a dreadnought. Although Custodes do not have access to any < 10 wound dreadnoughts, I can see an argument for a 3++ Telemon that can bully the board. I’m extremely excited to learn more about this ability.


Custodes already have access to some pretty good relics, especially for increased durability. It would be nice to see some additional relics that could potentially fill the gaps for some needed firepower. Enter The Swiftsilver Talon. Not earth-shattering but a cool new option nonetheless. Still, I’m extremely excited to see what new toys our Golden Boys will have access to in War of the Spider.

Sisters of Silence

PB&J, Custodes and Sisters of Silence. Sometimes you just can’t have one without the other (except you can, and I don’t use Sisters … yet). With the Talons of the Emperor rule, Sisters can be added into any Custodes army without losing our mono-faction bonus.

Overall, I’m excited to see how Sisters will interact with Custodes armies and how they can fill gaps in our army.


Empyric Severance: Sisters doing what Sisters do best. Shutting them psykers down. What’s great about this Stratagem, is that you can use it after you fail to Deny the Witch. It’s a great 1 CP Stratagem that can be crucial to shut down that one key power.

Purgation Sweep: Could be a very handy Stratagem to cut swathes through hordes (though Custodes never had too much difficulty handling chaff to begin with).

Officio Assassinorum

Admittedly, I have not used Assassin’s all that much but it seems that there could be some interesting impacts in how you can take assassins now that detachments may be changing (or if they cost CP). Will definitely require some more information but it’s nice that Priority Threat Neutralised costs 0 CP and Shadow Assignment opens up some flexibility in your assassin options.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I’m looking forward to what War of the Spider offers our beloved Golden Boys. While the previews seem to lean more into the army’s strengths, the fact that we will have access to Shield Hosts, new Stratagems, Relics, Warlord Traits, and other abilities gives me hope that they might address some of the underlying weaknesses of the army.

Let us know in the comments what you think of the New Rules for the Imperium from today’s stream and Warhammer Community Preview.

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As always, stay gold pony boys and girls!