Adeptus Custodes War of the Spider Review: Stay Gold Pony Boys (and Nulls)

Introduction and Agenda

Hey all, Bmoy here to breakdown the new rules for the Adeptus Custodes from GW’s latest Psychic Awakening release, War of the Spider. Since I’m admittedly a relatively new Custodes player, we thought it would be wise to bring in a Custodes expert to help me break down the Emperor’s beloved Golden Boys.

Enter Darren Tse from CanHammer, the Tribune himself! Darren has been an avid Custodes player since before the forming of the Imperium of Man and he’s graced us with some of this thoughts and takes on the new Custodes rules.

Reader beware, this may be the definitive and most comprehensive review of Custodes you’ll encounter, so prepare yourself to take it all in.

Let the blood games begin!

  • Overview and initial thoughts
  • Shield Hosts
  • Stratagems
  • Lords of the Shield Hosts (should have been called Tribunes)
  • Standout Units
  • Strategies and potential builds
  • Closing thoughts

Overview and Initial Thoughts

Custodes Key Strengths: Overall strong selection of Stratagems that provide utility and have a significant impact on the game, chaff clearing ability, strong characters, strong combat output, durable with tough traditional defenses
Custodes Key Weaknesses: Heavy reliance on CP to feed Stratagem usage, board control, overall army durability (wounds per point), lack of ranged anti-armor (S8+) firepower options, susceptibility to mortal wounds

Adeptus Custodes are one of the premier elite armies in 40k today. With the exception of Knights armies, your Golden Boys are sure to be outnumbered and surrounded, but not to worry though, we’re the Ten Thousand, we’re supposed to be surrounded.

Darren Tse Thoughts: increased defense is a huge one here, over all the other things. You can’t kill anything if you are dead. Also, an overall strength now are the many different ways to play and combinations of strong units, very adaptable to all sorts of metas. Also, reliance on CP is another big there here. We were CP starved before, and despite the newfound CP, we are CP starved again! We are still the most elite army in the game, and will always struggle with board control, but with the new rules we project power and threat to larger areas of the board.

We’re the Ten Thousand. We’re supposed to be surrounded.

As is befitting of the most elite forces the Imperium have to boast, Custodes have a wealth of Stratagems that provide significant utility and flexibility on the battlefield. They have access to weapons and abilities to clear screens with ease, have a claim to one of the most powerful non-named characters in the game in the Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, each Custodian is a major threat in combat, and thanks to a host of abilities and Stratagems, Custodes can be incredibly durable. With a low model count, Custodes tend to be a relatively “simple” army to play, especially with minimal interactions in the psychic phase, but don’t let that fool you, they are anything but an easy army to play effectively. As an elite army, every move is critically important, every wound taken and model lost has a huge impact on the tabletop relative to our army size. Additionally, their wealth of Stratagems means you will need to be tight on your rules interactions, order of operations, and learn how to budget your valuable command points like you’re a Fortune 500 CFO.

For all their strengths, Custodes also have their limitations. Heavy resource cost, both in points and command points can limit your presence on the battlefield. Other than Vertus Praetors and deep striking options, Custodes are semi-limited in mobility, so movement and positioning are key elements for successful Custodes players. While durable per model, due to their high points cost, they lack overall durability per point and each loss significantly reduces your overall output. Traditionally, Custodes have been susceptible to armies that can spam mortal wounds, but we’ve received a few small boosts in that department thanks to War of the Spider. Lastly, in a predominantly shooting-centric game, Custodes have mediocre options for long-range anti-armor firepower and tend to rely more on combat to address high toughness units.

Custodes in War of the Spider
Custodes have been in an interesting space as an overall faction lately, and War of the Spider has gone a long way to making them more competitively viable to level the playing field with all the power creep. A few key Stratagems and new abilities have really increased the durability of Custodes as we trek onward to 9th edition. Some other new strats and abilities have increased their utility and damage output as well. Without further ado, let’s get into the review.

Darren Tse Thoughts: That’s a great summary. I don’t have too much to add.  We had significant weakness before (limited play styles with hide-hammer being the only way to win, shooting and melee power that was falling behind most factions, durability per model that was very subpar as the game got killier, and a distinct lack of command points to do anything significant with some good Stratagems, susceptible to all forms of psychic manipulation and damage, over-reliant on combat with minimal reliable delivery methods), but now, we have had the majority of those issues addressed.  We are completely CP reliant now though, and although 9th edition will give us 12 cp to start (more than we have ever known for a pure Custodes army), we are going to be using every one of them and more!  The successful Custodes player will have to play smart, decide which Stratagems are optimal to use at any given time and situation, move very carefully and deliberately, and strike when the opportunity allows. No space for mistakes when you have only 15-20 models.

Shield Hosts

Custodes now have access to exclusive Shield Hosts, which open up exclusive Warlord traits, Relics, and Stratagems specifically for units within that Shield Host. Many were hoping the Shield Hosts would open up passive abilities, a la Doctrines or other Chapter Tactic-Esque rules, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. While not overtly “overpowered”, a common theme for all of the Shield Hosts, is increased board control each of these options provide in slightly different ways. Some increase durability of units, others of characters, some enhance movement, or through increased offensive output.

Overall, the Shield Hosts are a nice addition and allow for some customization and unique Custodes builds.

Dread Host

Warlord Trait: All-Seeing Annihilator
When resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by a model in a friendly Dread Host unt within 6″ of this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of 6 scores 1 additional hit.
Rating: 3.5/5
Use: Exploding 6s is never bad and when combined with Bringers of the Emperor’s Justice for additional attacks on a hit roll of 6+, you suddenly have a unit that’s capable of mulching a legion of enemy units or the toughest of units. Could be very powerful on a unit of say Aquilon or Allarus Terminators coming down from Deep Strike …

Darren Tse Warlord Trait Thoughts: This is a great Warlord Trait. Since most of our units are run in large units, they commonly have at least 20-30 attacks, the number of extra attacks is amazing. There is likely overkill though, but it does allow us to get away with maybe slightly smaller hammer units. How many times have you been 1-2 wounds short of killing that Knight?? Also, Smash Captain shenanigans with Peerless Warrior…. just sayin’.

Relic: Admonimortis

Rating: 3.5/5
Use: Finally, some flat damage! This relic really shines on Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armour. Pair this with the exploding 6s and all of a sudden you really have a beat stick. The question is whether this edges out the usual suspects for the relic slot. It is nice to have the option to really upgrade to a beatstick Smash Shield-Captain though!

Darren Tse Relic Thoughts: I really like this relic. In fact I am trying it over a second 3++ which is something. The lure of flat 3 damage is hard to resist, especially paired with ability to reliably make charges, base 5 attacks, and 2 sources of exploding 6s. The extra AP over a standard axe is also amazing, putting most things on 6s to save. This can also go on a Vexilla if you have HQs doing something else, the Vexilla is often in range to get into combat and has also 5 attacks, so that is a serious consideration.

Stratagem: Golden Light of the Moiraides (1/2CP)
Use the Stratagem at the start of your Charge phase. Select one DREAD HOST unit from your army that teleported into battle this turn for 1CP, or up to three such units for 2CP. Until the end of that phase, when a charge roll is made for those units, roll one additional D6 and discard one of the dice.
Rating: 5/5
Use: So incredibly powerful. Allowing an extra D6 and discarding the lowest result, increases the probability of a successful charge from 28% to 52%. With a CP re-roll, you’re boosting your chances significantly, and with the ability to re-roll charge rolls such as Eternal Penitent, you’re looking at close to a 77% success rate. The challenge will be ensuring you have enough firepower on the board to clear screens effectively to allow your hammer units such as Aquilon or Allarus Terminators, Vertus Praetors, Telemon Heavy Dreadnoughts, to attempt a charge on some vital elements of your opponent’s forces. The additional combination involving the Vexila Teleport Homer could be an interesting play, though incredibly CP costly.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Brian Moy Thoughts: Overall, I expect Dread Host to be the most popular of the Shield Hosts as its Warlord Trait, Relic, and Stratagem are all very good. The ability to positively impact your charge coming in from deep strike cannot be overstated, and this will be a popular gameplay mechanic many Custodes players will gravitate towards. This style of gameplay will be incredibly CP hungry as you will want 5 CP off the bat to put units in deep strike and then the need to bring them down for a reliable charge, as well as the additional CP for a re-roll in case your 3D6 discard the lowest result doesn’t quite net you that 9″ charge. For this reason, and your opponent’s ability to screen out these types of deep strike tactics, I believe that Shadowkeepers may be another useful Shield Host many Custodes players will gravitate towards.

Darren Tse Thoughts: We need a slightly cheaper delivery option than the Teleport Homer (which is arguably the best deepstrike Stratagem in the game already), and this Stratagem delivers. 3 units for just 2 CPs is amazing, and 3D6 dropping the lowest, while not a sure thing, is definitely better than straight-up 9” charge. Add a re-roll for CP, or a re-roll charge rule, and now you are talking. Remember, you can just still homer 1 unit and then use this strat on one other for just 1 CP. Then you get one guaranteed charge and one pretty good one. This was one of the weaknesses we had to fix, often if you failed your 9” charge, it was game over, so this Stratagem is very welcome. It’s especially awesome since your unit can be anywhere on the board and still benefit.


Warlord Trait: Lockwarden
When resolving an attack made by a CHARACTER model against this warlord, subtract 1 from the hit roll. When resolving an attack made by this warlord against an enemy CHARACTER, subtract 1 from their save throw (including invulnerable saves).
Rating: 3/5
Use: This likely won’t be taken over Superior Creation for the 5+++ or even Champion of the Imperium, but it does make your Warlord an beatstick especially against other characters. An Allarus Shield-Captain could potentially make good use of this ability as a character assassin.

Darren Tse Warlord Trait Thoughts: This WLT is ok if you are character hunting with a Shield-Captain on bike, which might be fun, but at the end of the day with new character targeting rules, a Caladius is likely a better character hunter than any of your other units, save maybe a large Allarus unit popping the sniper strat.

Relic: Stasis Oubilee
At the start of the fight phase, choose an enemy CHARACTER model unit within 3″ of a model with this relic. Until the end of that phase, halve the attack characteristic of models in that unit (rounding up), and when resolving attacks made by friendly SHADOWKEEPERS model against that CHARCTER unit, re-roll a wound roll of 1.
Rating: 2.5/5
Use: Can be used as a counter to some of the more potent offensive beatstick characters such as Smash Captains, other Shield-Captains, Daemon Princes, Solitaires, Daemon Princes, Mortarion, etc.

Stratagem: Grim Responsibility (1CP)
Use this Stratagem in any phase in which a SHADOWKEEPER unit of your army is chosen as the target of an attack. Subtract 1 from the strength value unl the end of that phase if you attack that unit.
Rating: 10/5
Use: Probably one of the single most powerful Stratagems Custodes can access. This becomes incredibly powerful on a squad of Vertus Praetors which reduces the majority of small arms fire to Strength 3, thus requiring 6s to wound them. Also powerful on Caladius Grav Tanks, Telemon Heavy Dreadnoughts, or other castle units that can mitigate anti-tank firepower. Can be used in multiple phases and will go a long way in increasing your units’ longevity on the battlefield. Combine this with Auramite and Adamantium (ignore AP -1&2 for Terminators) as well as some other abilities like Ancient Artifice (Dreadnought units halving damage) and you have some incredibly durable platforms. 

Overall Rating: 4/5

Brian Moy Thoughts: This Shield Host might fly under the radar for sexier Shield Host’s such as the Dread Host. However, my hunch is that the increased durability the Grim Responsibility Stratagem provides is going to significantly enhance our staying power on the tabletop (more than most would initially think), thus enhancing our board control ability, which means we won’t strictly have to hide all game long.

Darren Tse Thoughts: As you said Brian, definitely most useful on our mech lists, or bikes. T5 is just not that great for -1 strength. -1 to wound would have been universally better (obviously) and it’s a bit disappointing we didn’t get it considering some armies get it as a tactic or trait. But this still has its uses. If you are running a bike heavy or mech heavy list, you likely want to play Shadowkeepers just for this strat.

Solar Watch

Warlord Trait: Sally Forth
At the start of your Movement phase, add 1″ to the Move characteristic of all friendly SOLAR WATCH units within 6″ of this Warlord until the end of that phase. Whilst their unit is within 6″ of this Warlord, models in friendly SOLAR WATCH units that have Advanced can shoot with Rapid Fire weapons in the following Shooting phase, but must subtract 1 from hit rolls for those attacks.
Rating: 4/5
Use: Movement is king, and as we trek on towards 9th edition, everything we know says that will remain the case. The ability to increase your movement, as well as shooting and advancing with Rapid Fire weapons is very powerful.

Darren Tse Warlord Trait Thoughts: An extra inch is an extra inch (insert “that’s what she said” joke here). This is a good trait in and by itself, then add some gravy in terms of advancing and firing rapid-fire weapons. Of course this means the next turn you likely won’t be in range to benefit from extra 1” again without trailing models back, and we don’t have that many models to trail back. Still, it’s a decent WLT.

Relic: The Swiftsilver Talon

Rating: 3/5
Use: A pretty good relic option, particularly for a support character such as a Vexilus Praetor. This would allow them to contribute some output while being able to keep pace with other elements of your army. However, Custodes do not lack for good relics, so this one may be somewhat of an after thought compared to the usual suspects.

Darren Tse Relic Thoughts: On a Vexilla who often advances anyway to get into homer position, this is actually a decent spear relic. But other than that, this is not better than a 3+ invulnerable save, or even the 3D relic axe.

Stratagem: The Eagle’s Strike (0CP)
Use this Stratagem in any phase when an enemy CHARACTER unit is destroyed as a result of an attack made by a SOLAR WATCH model from your army. The next time your opponent wishes to use a Stratagem, they must spend one extra CP to use that Stratagem. This Stratagem can be used once per battle round.
Rating: 3/5
Use: This can be a useful Stratagem to help diplenish your opponet’s CP pool more quickly to gain an edge on resources. However, due to the condition, it is unlikely to occur more than a few times per game.

Darren Tse Stratagem Thoughts: Pretty situational, and the enemy character has to be killed by the solar watch unit as well. It would obviously be better if it was any character killed anywhere. As such, this is not a great stratagem despite being free. 

Overall Rating: 3/5

Brian Moy Thoughts: A pretty solid Shield Host option that helps offset one of Custodes primary weaknesses in board control, mostly due to the increased mobility it provides. This can be strong on units of Vertus Praetors that could take advantage of their Implaccable Vanguard ability to auto-advance 6″ and still be able to fire thus increasing their movement to 20″ and threat range to 44″. Movement wins games, and I expect this to have more subtle impacts on the game that may help you net more VP for generals skilled with their movement.

Darren Tse’s Thoughts: Overall i like the extra movement, but when you take a Shield Host, you take all of it, and the relic and Stratagem are a bit too disappointing and situational for me to want to devote a whole detachment to it. Situationally good though depending on your list, but I feel there are better Shield Host options. Plus who wants to paint white Custodes??

Emissaries Imperatus

Warlord Trait: Voice of the Emperor
Whilst they are within 9″ of this Warlord, friendly IMPERIUM units can use this Warlord’s Leadership characteristic. Add 3″ to the range of this Warlord’s aura abilities (this has already been added to this trait’s aura ability)
Rating: 2/5
Use: The useful part of this ability is the 3″ extended range of the Warlord’s aura abilities. The Vexilus Praetor’s Faith Absolute relic is more useful overall and includes a built in deny in addition to automatically passing morale for IMPERIUM INFANTRY and BIKER units within 6″. Overall, this is not the most competitive option though it could be useful in Imperial soup armies.

Darren Tse Warlord Trait Thoughts: I agree, 3” extra on auras like the Vexilla is definitely useful, the whole leadership thing in Custodes was something that have failed to address The fact that we are not all immune to morale is a mystery, and so letting me use morale that is slightly higher yet still not perfect is just not compelling.

Relic: Vexilla Dominatus
Whilst they are within 6″ of a model with this Relic, you can re-roll failed Morale tests for friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY and IMPERIUM BIKER units. Whilst their unit is within 6″ of a model with this Relic, friendly EMISSARIES IMPERATUS models count as 3 models for the purposes of determining who controls an objective marker.
Rating: 2/5
Use: Potentially useful when including units of Sisters of Silence or other souped Imperium detachments. The increased model count for determining who controls objective markers can be situationally good, given Custodes will have low model counts to begin with.

Darren Tse Relic Thoughts: If you have played enough Custodes, you know that 1-2 guys with obsec is usually already good enough, so this relic just doesn’t seem as good as a 3+ invulnerable save. It also requires the taking of the worst Vexilla we have and then replacing the only reason to take that Vexilla (the 5++ aura) with something not as good. We won’t really be souping anymore, so really you are talking about making Sisters of Silence obsec. I guess that might be situationally good but that’s a lot invested into making that happen and means your Vexilla will be stuck babysitting some Sisters when he should be doing something else.

Stratagem: The Emperor’s Hand (1CP)
Use this Stratagem in any phase when an EMISSARIES IMPERATUS unit from your army is chosen to shoot or fight with. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made by a model in that unit, ignore any negative hit roll, wound roll, and Amour Penetration characteristic modifiers and any benefit to the saving throw as a result of cover for that attack.
Rating: 4/5
Use: Can be potentially very useful for a gunline/mech based Custodes list featuring Caladius Grav Tanks or other dakka platforms. However, there are still some unknowns here without the full terrain ruleset being unveiled to us.

Darren Tse Stratagem Thoughts: This Stratagem is excellent. There are so many minuses now to hit (although now capped at -1) and wound, and AP changes, as well as more sources of cover coming in the new edition, that this is likely a nifty stratagem to have around. The biggest downside of course is having to commit a whole detachment to this Shield Host just to get access to it.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Brian Moy Thoughts: Interesting, is probably the best way to describe this Shield Host. There are some potential plays with the Stratagem The Emperor’s Hand which could boost damage output, however, without the full terrain ruleset, it’s hard to say just how good this will be. My hunch is that the increased durability from Shadowkeepers will outweigh the potential increased offensive output that The Emperor’s Hand provides.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Again, I just don’t think all three parts together are a compelling choice for your 1-2 detachments in your army. Situationally might be useful in a small patrol that is just meant to stay back or midfield and hold things with a cheap HQ, but you commit a Vexilla to helping you out, and that’s likely not a smart thing to do.

Aquilan Shield

Warlord Trait: Revered Companion
When resolving an attack made against this Warlord, halve any damage inflicted (rounding up)
Rating: 3.5/5
Use: Another Trait that helps create very durable Warlords. Can be used to help boost durability on Smash Shield-Captains or keep support characters such as a Warlord Vexilus Praetor alive longer.

Darren Tse Warlord Trait Thoughts: While good, it is also situational, and the things that are sniping at your character are not usually high damage weapons, its sniper weapons and mortal wounds. So it’s probably not going to come in handy that often.

Relic: Praesidius
Model with a storm shield only. When resolving an attack against a model with this Relic, subtract 1 from the wound roll.
Rating: 3/5
Use: Again, another ability that helps increase the durability of one of your characters. if you’re looking to create a nigh unkillable character to squad on objectives all-game, or tank shots for other characters <ahem> Character Imperial Knights, than this may be a cute relic to take.

Darren Tse Relic Thoughts: While very cool, and since you paid for the storm shield you don’t need a relic for 3++, it just seems a bit overkill since our guys with storm shield, and character protection, are hard enough to kill already. Still, if you are in this Shield Host, you could go worse than making your character even harder to kill.

Stratagem: Shield of Honour (1CP)
Use this Stratagem in any phase when an IMPERIUM CHARACTER unit of your army is chosen as the target for an attack of an enemy unit model. Select one friendly AQUILAN SHIELD INFANTRY or AQUILAN SHIELD DREADNOUGHT unit within 3″ of that IMPERIUM CHARACTER unit. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made by a model in that enemy unit, measure range to that IMPERIUM CHARACTER unit, but resolve attacks made by models in that enemy model’s unit against the unit you selected. If the unit you selected is destroyed, any remaining attacks are lost.
Rating: 2.5/5
Use: This is a cute little Stratagem that can be something of a “gotcha” tactic that you can use to protect IMPERIUM CHARACTERS such as … oh let’s say a Knight Castellan. The ability to halve damage, subtract 1 from wound rolls, on a 3++ Shield-Captain or Vexilus Praetor with Victor of the Blood Games could be fun. This is a cute little piece of tech, but one that comes as a bit of an investment at the opportunity costs to impact the game on a wider-scale from other Shield Hosts. Do note, that the Stratagem only works against a single enemy unit, so it is limited in overall impact.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Brian Moy Thoughts: Another Shield Host that helps Custodes with some of their board control issues by providing enhanced character durability and the ability to body guard some interesting Imperium units. The obvious play is to soup in a Knight and provide it with some bodyguard defense to keep it firing deeper into the game. There are some other options that could make this interesting depending on how Actions and the Command Phase factor into the game. More to come on this one, but it’s a middle-of-the-pack option right now.

Darren Tse Thoughts: I think this is one of the weaker Shield Hosts overall. Maybe someone can come up with a cute way to make this work or be situationally excellent, but as with all other things in our book, there is opportunity cost to every choice and the opportunity cost of choosing this Shield Host seems too high.


Custodes armies gained access to 14 new Stratagems in addition to the Shield Host exclusive Stratagems. All of which contribute to enhancing some of our weak areas (such as durability and board control) and others augment our strengths (powerful characters, overall utility, offensive output, etc.). One of the strengths of playing Custodes is the wealth and usefulness of our Stratagems, and a good Custodes general will be aware of the Strats that will make the greatest impact of each game given the mission, your opponent, and board state. You’ll see these ranked relatively high … that’s because they’re all relatively powerful.

Darren Tse Thought: We already had some of the best Stratagems in the game. Tanglefoot is right up there with Tremor shells, Teleport Homer is one of the best deep strike Stratagems in the game, a 1CP interrupt, a sniping Sstratagem. This new supply of amazing Stratagems is great, although it will really tax our CP usage!

Top-Tier Stratagems

Ten Thousand Heroes (1CP): Use this Stratagem before the battle, after nominating your Warlord, Select one ADEPTUS CUSTODES CHARACTER model from your army that is not your Warlord and determine one Warlord Trait for it; it is regarded as your Warlord for the purposes of that Warlord Trait. Each Warlord Trait in your army must be unique (if randomly generated, re-roll duplicate results). You can only use this Stratagem once per battle.
• Rating: 5/5
• Use: Your standard “buy an extra Warlord Trait” stratagem. However, this is incredibly good for Custodes because we have access to some very powerful Warlord Traits. Almost an auto-include to budget a CP pre-game for this ability.

Darren Tse Thought: Agree, for all intents and purposes, you are starting every game with max 11 CP due to this Stratagem. Our Warlord Traits are so diverse and useful and there are so many good ones for every situation, you are definitely spoiled for choice.

Auramite and Adamantium (1CP): Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES TERMINATOR unit from your army is selected as the target of an attack. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack against that unit, an Amour Penetration characteristic of -1 or -2 is resolved as 0 for that attack.
Rating: 4.5/5
Use: This is going to be an incredibly powerful Stratagem that really shifts the power of Custodes into our Aquilon and Allarus Terminators. Resolving attacks at AP 0 and taking saves on our 2+ armor save is a huge boon against the vast majority of mid-strength, mid-ap, mid-to-high rate of fire, multi-damage weapons that posed a great threat to our armies (looking at you Avenger gatling cannons and pretty much all cannon variants, etc.). A savvy opponent will adjust their target priority for those weapons to focus down other units such as Guardian squads, that are still susceptible, but in addition to other Stratagems and abilities, our forces have received a big bonus to our overall durability.

Darren Tse Thought: I was hoping for some Shield Host detachment rule or even army-wide rule that would allow this benefit, but I guess a 1CP Stratagem is definitely acceptable! Amazing Stratagem, you will use this Strat multiple times in most games. This makes you almost immune to so many shooting and fighting units in the game right now.

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

Fraternity of Heroes (1CP): Use this Stratagem at the end of your opponent’s Charge phase. Select one ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army more than 1″ away from any enemy models. That unit can immediately perform a Heroic Intervention as if it were a CHARACTER, but must finish that move within 1″ of one or more enemy units.
Rating: 4/5
Use: This is an incredibly powerful Stratagem with the changes to charge rules in 9th edition that requires your charge roll to be sufficient to reach ALL of the units you declare a charge against. Many opponents will not want to risk longer charges to tag Characters or other units, and having a counter-assault unit within HI” range but 8-11″ away from your “screen” or anvil unit, will be an unpleasant surprise for your opponent. Just be aware, that with the changes in nominating units to Fight in the Fight phase, you may be putting this unit in harm’s way if you are unable to wipe that enemy unit in the first round of combat.

Darren Tse Thought: It’s also nice not to have to run a Warlord Trait to achieve the same effect now, as well as not having to worry about aura range. This is situationally useful and it will be up to the player to have this in their top level of consciousness at all times during the opponent’s charge phase. Its more likely however, that come the time, there may not be enough CP to do this!

Ancient Artifice (1CP): Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES DREADNOUGHT unit from your army is chosen as the target for an attack. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made against that unit, halve the damage inflicted (rounding up).
Rating: 4/5
Use: Holy invincible Telemon Batman! I have to think there’s a chance this gets updated to reduce damage by 1 instead of halving damage, but then again the DID say this book was made with 9th in mind … This is another great ability that GW has provided Custodes to enhance our durability and increase our overall board presence. Really nice when coupled with the next Stratagem …

Eternal Penitent (1CP): Use this Stratagem before the battle. Select one ADEPTUS CUSTODES DREADNOUGHT unit from your army. Increase that unit’s Attacks characteristic by 1. You can re-roll charge rolls made for that unit. Each ADEPTUS CUSTODES DREADNOUGHT unit from your army can only be selected for this STRATAGEM once.
Rating: 4/5
Use: Yes. Couple this with Ancient Artifice and all of a sudden you have a real powerful / durable Hammer Telemon (or other Dreadnought, unit I suppose) that cannot be ignored but is also incredibly tanky. If the Telemon’s points don’t increase exponentially, they are likely to be staples of Custodes armies heading into 9th edition. Couple this with the Dread Host Stratagem, Golden Light of the Moiraides and all of a sudden you have an absolute juggernaut coming from deep strike that can pretty reliably make their charges at a clip greater than 77% of the time.

Darren Tse Thoughts: First off, the Space Wolves version has not been FAQ’d yet, so maybe there’s hope Ancient Artifice remains untouched. Even -1 damage though, on the Telemon, is a lot of reduction considering how tough he is already. The final piece in the puzzle to make all our Forgeworld Dreads better, and more reliable in charging. All our Dreads are pretty strong melee Dreads, and the lack of reliable delivery was a big problem, but now with Dread Host deep strike Stratagem and re-roll charges, this means your Dreads will be ready to deliver a pounding. One warning, you may find yourself spending half your starting CP on things like this, and you might have to make a difficult decision about which Stratagems are a priority.  Also remember you can only deep strike 50% of your points (assuming that rule does not change in 9th).

The Emperor’s Auspice (2CP): Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army is chosen as the target of an attack. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack against that unit, your opponent cannot re-roll any dice for that attack.
Rating: 4/5
Use: This is one of the first Stratagems that can simply shut down your opponent’s abilities to access re-rolls any and all re-rolls (there are precedents for shutting down auras that provide re-rolls but this is the first that straight-up denies re-rolls outright). Custodes now have the ability to basically make it incredibly inefficient to attack certain elements of your army that they might as well be shrouded. This is another ability that GW has extended to Custodes players which increases our durability, longevity, and overall board presence. There are so a ton of applications for this ability that has yet to be discovered, but so far I’m really liking the direction that GW has taken Custodes in War of the Spider.

Darren Tse Thoughts: This Stratagem is so powerful, I suspect we have not even begun to fathom how good it is.  Obviously, you stop all the crazy re-roll shenanigans that armies have (looking at you Chapter Masters), but you also stop re-rolling number of shots (sorry guard tanks), and re-rolling damage (grav amp? What is that?).  Not only that, but indirectly you have now protection against some of the worst things that used to screw us over, like DOOM and GUIDE, so those are buffs that result in re-rolls.  This stratagem will affect every single army you play against, and you will probably smile for days after every time you discover a new way it screws with your opponent.

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

Superior Fire Patterns (1CP): Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES INFANTRY unit from your army that did not Advance in your previous Movement phase is chosen to shoot with. Until the end of that phase, models in that unit make double the number of attacks with Rapid Fire and Pistol weapons.
Rating: 4/5
Use: One of the most powerful Stratagems at our disposal, especially for 1CP to increase the overall output of one of our infantry units. It can be powerful in conjunction with Aquilon Terminators with Lastrum storm bolters, larger squads of Allarus Terminators or Custodian Guard, but can really shine with Venatari Custodians and their Kinetic Destroyers. Venatari offer up some interesting play options with their Primaris killing ability, however, I do think they are rather fragile, especially for their cost and this type of play could become a one-trick-pony type of gimmick. Still very powerful and a skilled general will take advantage of their output and movement on the battlefield. Allarus Terminators see an additional benefit as they become even more deadly character killers coupled with the Inescapable Vengeance Stratagem.

Darren Tse Thoughts: This Stratagem instantly gives us credible ranged shooting, especially in rapid-fire range. Almost all of our units benefit from this and can now put out solid firepower. This definitely calls for larger units to maximize CP usage efficiency. But boy, watch out. And with new rules to kill characters when they have accidentally been left outside 3” of a unit, there is going to be a lot of dead stuff. This strat alone has made Venatari viable despite not getting any other buffs.

Opinions are subject to change if/when additional 9th edition and updated Forgeworld rules are available
Situational Stratagems

Fortress of Willpower (1CP): use this Stratagem in your opponent’s Psychic phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army is selected as the target of a Psychic power that was successfully manifested this turn. Roll one D6, adding 1 to the result if that unit is a CUSTODIAN WARDENS unit; on a 4+ that psychic power has no effect.
Rating: 3.5/5
Use: Really good to deny some key powers that your opponent is relying on for their gameplan. In addition, to some of our other “deny” abilities such as Spark of Divinity, the Relic Faith Absolute, the Warlord trait Impregnable Mind, and access to Sisters of Silence and their psychic defense, this is another great boost to our durability to increase our longevity on the battlefield.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Another straw in our anti-psychic hood/hat. It doesn’t seem right out of the gate that bringing a lot of Sisters of Silence is going to be the best way to play (future changes may prove me wrong), so yet another Stratagem that adds to our existing defenses is very welcome.

Arcane Genetic Alchemy (2CP): Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army that is not a VEHICLE is chosen as a target for an attack. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made against that unit, an unmodified wound roll of 1-3 always fails, irrespective of any abilities that the weapon or the model making that attack has.
Rating: 3.5/5
Use: Transhuman for our Golden Boys. Solid defensive Stratagem that can be a pain for those high strength, low volume shots your opponent was leveling at your units. May not be the most CP efficient defensive option but it’s another solid defensive ability we’ve gained.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Having Transhuman is obviously great, but 2CP seems steep, since we are less able to utilize it effectively other than anything Toughness 4. But this will still help against a lot of damaging high strength weapons, and we have other Stratagems now to deal with small arms fire (ignore AP, -1 strength, etc). In fact, it will really be part of the skill of being a Custodes player to know which Stratagem is best to use in any given situation to minimize unnecessary CP usage.

Indomitable Engines (1CP): Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES VEHICLE model from your army would lose a wound as a result of a mortal wound. Roll one D6; on a 5+ that wound is not lost. In addition, until the end of that phase, when this model would lose a wound as a result of a mortal wound, roll one D6; on a 5+ that wound is not lost.
Rating: 3.5/5
Use: Another great boost to durability. Afraid of Haywire or Smite spam? This Stratagem should help keep your vehicles ticking for a while longer. Could open up some interesting options of actually using your vehicles as a screen against mortal wound heavy armies (such as Grey Knights) to protect other elements of your forces.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Situationally useful, especially for Dreads and mech lists, to protect against Smites and Haywire. We may see a lot of Haywire from those armies that can take it, due to the predicted vehicle heavy meta. This certainly helps. 

Blood Games Veterans (1/2CP): Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase. Select one ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army that contains five or less models for 1CP or six or more models for 2CP. Until the end of the phase, when resolving an attack made with a ranged weapon by a model in that unit, an unmodified hit roll of 6 automatically sores a hit and successfully wounds the target (do not make a wound roll).
Rating: 3/5
Use: This starts to look very interesting on Vertus Praetors or other high volume fire support platforms and I start to wonder if units of 5 are now the optimal size for our jetbike squads. This can really help push through wounds to clear screens and even threaten other targets through sheer volume of wounds.

Darren Tse Thoughts: For 1 cp, this is an amazing Stratagem, both for low strength low AP but high volume shooting (like Hurricane bolters) and for lower volume but high AP high damage shooting (like Caladius tanks).  The only downside is the 2CP for larger units, and that’s a bit steep considering everything else we need to spend CP on, but situationally very good to get those wounds through.

Slayers of Nightmares (2CP): Use this Stratagem in the Fight phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army is chosen to fight with. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by a model in that unit against a unit with a higher Toughness characteristic than its own, you can add 1 to the wound roll.
Rating: 3/5
Use: Situationally pretty good but would have been nice if it was a flat add 1 to wound on any target, not just targets with higher toughness. Castellan Axes are now wounding T7 vehicles and monsters on 2+ and T8 units on 3+. Also interesting on Aquilon Terminators that will be wounding almost everything in the game on 2s. This can also pair with Piercing Strike on Guardian Spears, but is a rather expensive combo.

Darren Tse Thoughts: I do like this Stratagem, and I can understand why they couldn’t give us another straight +1 to wound Stratagem since they have Piercing Strike, but man, I wish it was just 1 CP. Still, when you really need to kill that Knight, here we go! This is the nail in the coffin of our former nemesis, the all Knight list.

Vengeance of the Machine Spirit (2CP): Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES VEHICLE model from your army with the Power of the Machine Spirit ability is destroyed. That model can either automatically explode (do not roll a D6), shoot with one of its ranged weapons as if it were your Shooting phase, or make one attack with one of its melee weapons as if it were the Fight phase (use the top row of that model’s damage table when shooting with that ranged weapon or resolving that attack with a melee weapon).
Rating: 2.5/5
Use: Situationally, it’s always nice to have in your back pocket when you just need to that extra wound here or there to swing the game in your favor but 2CP is a steep price to pay given we are hungry for CP to fuel our abilities.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Nice to have if you are running a mech list, just explode everything! If your Telemon is stuck in and just needs a few more wounds to finish something off then for sure this might be useful, but again 2CP is steep

Archeotech Munitions (1CP): Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase, when an ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army is chosen to shoot with. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made with a ranged weapon with a Damage characteristic of D6 by a model in that unit, roll one additional D6 and discard one of the Dice.
Rating: 2.5/5
Use: This Stratagem can be helpful when you need to maximize the damage of your heavy weapons against a crucial target. Situational, but nice to have in your back pocket when you need it.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Unless you are running all mech involving 3 Landraiders, you probably won’t even use this that much. If you are the rare guy running the melta spears, then this will help you.  More likely this will be a strat you use if you are running salvo launchers either on your biker cap or on a unit of salvo bikes.  Even still, it’s not super compelling.  I secretly feel like this was the stratagem that was supposed to help us mitigate D3 variance, but instead, they decided that was too strong so just changed it to melta strat.  Too bad.

Lords of the Shield Hosts (TRIBUNES)

You can bank on spending 1CP pre-game on upgrading one of your Shield-Captains to a Tribune, I mean Captain-Commander. There are a few Captain-Commander Traits that stand apart from the others, but there are a lot of options here to customize your build-a-hero Shield-Captain however you’d like to. This will also be nice if these are customizable for tournaments so that you can choose the trait that provides the most benefit for your matchup.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Like extra WLT, I think this is basically you starting every game with 10CP now. This is a must take, if not for anything except the CP Regen trait, which we sorely need. The list of things is amazing, but unfortunately the situation is such that we will likely default to the CP regen trait, but for fun games trying some of these other ones out would be fun

Strategic Mastermind: Whilst this model is on the battlefield, you can roll one D6 for each Command Point you spend to use a Stratagem; on a 5+ that Command Point is refunded. You can only have 1 Command Point refunded per battle round by this ability.
Rating: 5/5
Use: Given our reliance on Command Points for Stratagems, this may become the go-to (albeit unsexy) trait for most Captain-Commanders. This and Unstoppable Destroyers will likely be competing for my Captain-Commander trait most games.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Our new powers are CP based, so the more CP we have the longer we can keep going, I think this trait is basically the auto-take default unless we get a new book that someone increases our base CP.

Unstoppable Destroyer: When this model piles in, it can move up to D3+3″ and can end the move closer to any enemy model within the distance of this model. When this model consolidates, it can move up to D3+3″ and does not have to end the move closer to the nearest enemy model.
Rating: 5/5
Use: One of my favorite Captain-Commander Traits. There are so many uses here to take advantage of the additional pile in and consolidate movement such as: picking fights against more desirable targets, mitigating damage by consolidating out of combat, stealing VPs by consolidating towards objectives, and quite a few other janky plays.

Darren Tse Thoughts: I have always harped on about how good Allarus movement shenanigans are in the combat phase, and this just gives that to your Captain and twice the distance. The pile-in is slightly restrictive given the wording, but the consolidate is where it’s at, basically allowing you to move however you want and also out of combat to avoid strike backs. If the CP regen trait wasn’t here, this would be my auto-take.

Swift as an Eagle: Add 1 to Advance and charge rolls made for this model. Add 1″ to Move characteristic of this model.
Rating: 4.5/5
Use: As any competitive player can attest, increased movement and reducing your charge requirements (especially out of deep strike) are keys to mitigating your risk and ultimately winning more games. There’s some really nice play here in conjunction with the Dread Host Stratagem Golden Light of the Moiraides. This may be a popular choice for Allarus Captain-Commanders.

Inspirational Exemplar: Add 3″ to the range of this model’s aura abilities
Rating: 4/5
Use: This will be an interesting option to turn your Tribune into more of a support model. The 9″ range on abilities such as the Dread Host Warlord Trait All-Seeing Annihilator can be very powerful, especially when coming down from deep strike. This basically means, if your Captain-Commander does not make the charge, and other units do, your units can still benefit from the Captain-Commander’s buffs.

Darren Tse Thoughts: Tempting to throw this on, but only on 6s and with the other traits in this list, unfortunately we won’t see this very often.

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

Indomitable Constitution: Add 2 to the Wounds characteristic of this model.
Rating: 4/5
Use: I see this as a great way of creating a super durable Captain-Commander, say on Dawn Eage Jetbike with 2+/3++/5+++ 9 wound tank. Couple this with Victor of the Blood Games and you suddenly have a very durable character that can solo isolated elements of your opponent’s forces, and steal objectives with the Sworn Guardians objective secured rule.

Darren Tse Thoughts: This is deceptively good. Making a Shield-Captain 9 wounds makes him that much tougher. If you have played Custodes enough, you will know how many times a Shield-Captain with 1-wound remaining has caused havoc for your opponent at the end of a game. Now imagine he has 3 wounds left …

Slayer of the Unclean: When resolving an attack made by this model, on an unmodified wound roll of 6, double the Damage characteristic of the weapon for that attack (e.g. D3 becomes 2D3)
Rating: 3.5/5
Use: This can be used to help make your Tribune even more of a beaststick. Flat 6 damage with the Dread Host Relic Admonimortis can be very nice.

Bane of Abominations: When resolving an attack made by this model against an enemy MONSTER unit of VEHICLE unit, you can re-roll the wound roll.
Rating: 3/5
Use: This Stratagems really turns your Captain-Commander into a dedicated Big Game Hunter. As this is a little more situational, this may not be as impactful most games, but against heavy mechanized lists or monster-mash types of lists, this could be an option for you.

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

Master of Melee: Whilst this model is within 1″ of any enemy units that contain six or more models, increase its Attacks characteristic by 2.
Rating: 2.5/5
Use: Useful if you want your Captain-Commander to go around soloing far away objectives or mashing larger units. As a condition-based trait, I’m not a huge fan of it, when other traits can provide a bigger impact on the game, however, this trait does have its uses.

Defiant to the Last: For each wound this model has lost, increase its Attacks characteristic by 1 (to a maximum of 3 additional attacks)
Rating: 2/5
Use: I’m never a huge fan of conditional abilities, especially ones that require your unit to take wounds to activate. Could be helpful to have a late-game Captain-Commander that’s capable of soloing whole enemy squads by himself. Cute, but there are likely more useful options for this slot.

Darren Tse Captain-Commander Trait Thoughts: Overall, this is a nice little buff for the Shield-Captain, especially non-bikers who were always second class citizens to the biker cap and to Trajann. Too bad we can only have 1, would love to have at least 2! Unfortunately, the CP regen trait is going to be the most used simply because we need CP to even use our new powers in this book

Standout Units

Basically every unit at our disposal has benefited from the new WOTS rules. However, these are the units that stand out in my mind (with where we’re at in 8th, what we know about 9th, and current FW rules and points)

Photo Cred: GDFC Discord member Christian aka: RandomScrub2
  • Aquilon and Allarus Terminators: Aquilon and Allarus Terminators are going to be very powerful as they can take advantage of a number of powerful Stratagems. Auramite and Adamantium to tank shots on their 2+ armor, Superior Fire Patterns to double their shooting output, the Dread Host Stratagem Golden Light of the Moiraides to help get them where they need to be on the battlefield more reliably, the Shadowkeeper Grim Responsibility Stratagem also protects them from strength 5+ weapons, and basically all of the other Shield Host abilities will positively impact their gameplay. I expect Custodes Hammer units to step out of the shadows and really take to the board en masse, making them play on the battlefield how I envision them in Black Library novels.
  • Telemon Heavy Dreadnought: As it stands right now, the Telemon is a big winner with the changes to shooting in 9th edition, as well as Ancient Artifice, Eternal Penitent, the Telemon benefits immensely from the Dread Host Golden Light of the Moiraides stratagem, and can even be an ultra-durable tank with the Shadowkeepers Grim Responsibility Stratagem to mitigate incoming firepower even further. I expect these beefcakes to be a staple in many Custodes army as a midfield bully unit with a hybrid Caestus / gun loadout or even a very reliable backfield gunline anchor with the double shooty setups.
  • Vertus Praetors: While they may not have received the same direct benefits as Terminators or Dreadnoughts, I feel people are sleeping on Vertus Praetors. Grim Responsibility is a huge boon as most small arms fire will require 6s to wound them. Veterans of the Blood Games, turns up their damage output and with some of the changes to 9th edition, especially the charge mechanics, I feel their flexibility, mobility, screen-clearing abilities, and versatile damage output is going to be undervalued. Stooping Dive may become even better in this edition than in 8th.
  • Shield-Captains of ALL Varieties: With the ability to upgrade to a Captain-Commander (TRIBUNE), we now boast some of the most game-changing non-named characters in 40k. Shield-Captains can be made even more versatile as support characters or suped-up beatsticks.
  • Venatari Custodians: Their Kinetic Destroyers make fantastic Primaris killers and they will be extremely serviceable in this role. They are a tad on the squishier side for a Custodian, but their mobility offers tools that only Dawneagle Jetbikes currently provide. Interesting options and I can see some Custodes players including these in their list builds.
Photo Cred: GDFC Discord member Christian aka: RandomScrub2

Darren Tse Thoughts: I agree with Brian’s list totally. Terminators won the lottery.  So much more damage, and so much more durable. We have already been hearing stories from our colleagues in the Discord about a unit of such and such Terminator just tanking swathes of firepower with little to no wounds lost, let alone models lost.  I think any army is going to want at least one large unit of Terminators.  Bikes definitely got better indirectly, although it is disappointing yet again, for bikes to not get any specific love.  GW is likely scared of making them too good, which is admittedly not that hard to do.  Still, they gain some nice toughness buffs mostly, with the odd offensive buff that really makes a bike unit viable in any army.  Finally, my baby, Big Bertha, The Telemon.  Oh boy, be ready for this bad boy coming at you either on foot or dropping down with reroll 3D6 charge, rocking 5-6 attacks that might explode, 4 damage apiece, and shooting into and out of combat with Launchers, Storm cannons and Plasma flamers, all without penalty, meanwhile rocking T8, 4+ invuln and 6+ FNP, half damage to boot.  The Telemon is going to do some work

Strategies and Builds

Given that we’re in this strange limbo period between editions, it’s difficult to point to a specific list knowing that points are going to change as well as a complete Forgeworld rework. Overall, I expect Custodes to take advantage of their new-found durability and may be incentivized to take to the board. Hopefully, the days of hide-hammer are gone. Here are a couple of elements I expect many Custodes lists to feature or build around:

  • Terminators: I expect many lists to feature a powerful Terminator “bomb” with Allarus or Aquilon Terminators. The durability and board-control they offer are second-to-none with the new Custodes rules
  • Mobile Fast Attack Fire-Power: Whether in the form of Vertus Praetors or Venatari, many Custodes builds will include these mobile fire support platforms to clear screens or dedicate firepower to clearing Primaris. The added benefit of being able to take objectives and contribute towards mission win conditions will be key.
  • Telemon: If all things remain equal, I can’t imagine Custodes will want to leave ol’e Tele at home. I expect you’ll see the hybrid loadout more frequently, but any variant will be viable and effective.
  • Shield-Captains: Whether the smash variety or support variety, Shield-Captains are here to stay
  • Trajann: We still need CP and he provides a reliable source of replenishing the CP pool. His buffs are helpful as well, and let’s not forget that he is a beatstick in combat and provides access to a fight twice ability for himself which can be game-changing.
Bmoy's 2,000 point premature 9th edition Custodes list based on hunches and doesn't factor in updated points costs or Forgeworld updates

Shadowkeepers Patrol
• [HQ] Trajann Valoris
• [TROOP] Custodian Guard Squad w/ 3x Storm Shield, and Sentinel Blade
• [ELITE] Vexilus Praetor w/ Storm Shield, and Vexilla Magnifica
• [FAST ATTACK] Vertus Praetors x 5 w/ Hurricane Bolters, and Interceptor Lances

Dread Host Patrol
• [HQ] Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Salvo Launcher, Misericordia, Strategic Mastermind Captain-Commander Trait, Auric Aquilis, Superior Creation
• [TROOP] Custodian Guard Squad w/ 3x Storm Shield, and Sentinel Blade
• [ELITE] Allarus Terminators x 7 w/ Castellan axe, Balistus grenade launcher
• [HEAVY SUPPORT] Telemon Heavy Dreadnought w/ Arachnus Storm Cannon, Telemon Caestus, Eternal Penitent

Granted it’s way too early to even begin thinking about list design for 9th edition, but let’s have some fun anyway. I prefer to have tools in my tool kit and a list that has a solution to any list archetype I’m likely to run up against. The challenge with playing Custodes is that our tools will never be as specialized or varied as other armies with more options (e.g. Space Marines, Aeldari, Chaos, etc.)

This list takes advantage of multiple sources of durability to extend board control. Grim Responsibility for the Shadowkeeper Vertus Praetors protect them early on and to help them clear screens with Blood Game Veterans for the Dread Host Aquilon Terminators, potentially the Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, and Telemon to deep strike safely. Aquilon Terminators can take advantage of Superior Fire Patterns to help with offensive output, leverage Auramite and Adamantium, as well as a host of other potential defensive strats. The beatstick Telemon will take advantage of Eternal Penitent and Ancient Artifice and could potentially start on the board or go into deep strike. The lack of long-range fire support could be a weakness, but with the durability and combat punch, I should be taking the fight to my gaming partner relatively quickly and boast the durability to last with my hammer units.

A couple of other variants that are based on the double patrol design include a more potent firebase:

Option 1) The Vertus Praetors can be swapped out for 2 Caladius Grav tanks
Option 2) The Aquilon Terminators can be swapped for 2 Caladius Grav tanks

Overall, I feel it’s a decent start and I’m excited to start playtesting to see how the units feel with the new rules!

Darren Tse Thoughts: Looking forward to 9th edition, it is a little bit difficult to know what is going to be good and not quite as good. I can honestly say I do not think anything in our book is BAD now.  It’s just completely meta and situation-dependent.  We have so many options in terms of what units to take and how to play the army now, it is amazing and people should enjoy the arguments about what is better in any given situation.  It’s better to have options than have no options!  There are still many unknowns as of the writing of this review, including detachment costs, mission details, points changes for 9th edition, and of course, the Forgeworld rewrite.  Many things could happen, so for now, enjoy the ride!

Closing Thoughts

Bmoy Closing Thoughts:
Overall, this is an incredibly exciting time to play Custodes and I’m likely going to be focusing on them as my 9th edition Crusade army for a change of pace from the Aeldari and Grey Knights I’ve played throughout 8th. The updated rules have gone a long way in providing Custodes with the tools to compete on the tabletop and as 9th edition is chock-full of options and choices, a savvy Custodes general will need to think carefully through the plethora of decisions that will need to be made throughout the course of a game to get the most impact from their wealth of Stratagems.

I want to thank Darren Tse and CanHammer for helping out with this review and for the countless hours of in-depth discussion with members of their Discord community that contributed to this article.

Darren Tse Closing Thoughts:
I think Custodes players should be very happy with this book, and should be super excited to play the faction again in the style it was meant to be played: pure golden boys, wrecking face, unkillable killing machines clearing the battlefield of filth. It’s still going to be a challenging elite army to play, every mistake is going to hurt, but it’s going to hurt a little bit less now, and your opponent will definitely be hurting.

If you are a Custodes player and looking for a fantastic helpful community of Custodes players to talk strategy and tactics, list and build options, then please don’t hesitate to check us out on YouTube and Twitch at CanHammer, and to join our Discord community!

If you’re interested in joining the GDFC Discord Community, please reach out to us at You can check out our latest content on our YouTube channel, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Spotify, and follow us on the typical social platforms for all the latest releases from the GDFC team. Also, I would highly recommend checking out Darren’s Emergency Psychic Awakening review video for an in-depth breakdown of all the rules. The video is embedded below.

As always, stay gold pony boys and girls!