TacMap Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Battle Report: Custodes vs. Craftworlds

Hey everyone, Mike here and I’m proud to introduce a new series of battle reports with the help of my competitive sparring partner and co-Author Nicholas Bergman. This is the first official episode of the TacMap series; a series designed to bring more life to text battle reports by providing turn by turn breakdowns with the help of top-down view maps.

Nick’s Custodes

I have spent most of my time with the Custodes this edition trying to figure out how to deal with tanks. My latest answer is a House Raven Castellan with Cawls Wrath and Ion Bulwark. It is expensive with both points and the 5 CP to take it. However, it brings a ton of antitank and the 3 CP Order of Companions strat lets it kill like crazy. The game plan for the list is to put the Venatari and axe Allarus into deepstrike, let the Castellan start killing any tanks it can see, and unleash the lions on the spear Allarus to start grabbing objectives. The rest of the army moves up the board to knock people off objectives. If the list goes second, even if the Knight gets crippled it heals 1 wound for being Questor Mechanicus and you can use the command phase CP to make it act at top bracket.

2000 PTS - Custodes/Imperial Knights

Custodes Patrol (Solar Watch)
• 103 Shield Captain: Spear, Misericordia, Sally Forth, Ten Thousand Heroes
• 178 Dawn-eagle Captain: Captain Commander, Misericordia, Salvo Launcher, Unstoppable Destroyer, Auric Aquilis
• 260 Custodian Guard x5: Spear, Misericordia
• 292 Allarus Custodian x4: Axe, Misericordia
• 340 Allarus Custodian x5: Spear, Misericordia
• 189 Venatari Custodian x3: Kinetic Destroyer, Buckler

Super-Heavy Auxiliary (House Raven)
• 635 Knight Castellan: Cawls Wrath, Ion Bulwark


Mike’s Craftworlds

I have struggled recently to come up with a Craftworlds list that makes me happy. This led me to create a poll on the GDFC Discord where I let the community decide which Forgeworld centerpiece unit I would build my army around, and the Scorpion super-heavy tank destroyer won by a fair margin. With that sorted out, I decided to go with a small core of Dire Avengers, Farseer, and Warlock Skyrunner. I added some additional firepower with War Walkers and added a unit of Shining Spears and Wraithblades to give me some midfield melee potential. I then rounded out the list with some Striking Scorpions and Warp Spiders, not for their damage output, but for their utility when it comes to secondary objectives.

Mike's 2000 PTS - Craftworlds
Patrol (Hunters of Ancient Relics/Expert Crafters)
• 115 Farseer: Doom, Fortune, Faolchu’s Wing, Seer of the Shifting Vectors
• 65 Warlock Skyrunner: Protect/Jinx, Focus Will
• 70 Dire Avenger x5: Exarch w/2 catapults, Bladestorm
• 70 Dire Avenger x5: Exarch w/2 catapults, Bladestorm
• 88 Striking Scorpions x6: Exarch w/Claw, Stalker
• 200 Wraithblade x 5: Axe/Shield
• 180 Shining Spear x5: Exarch w/Star Lance, Swooping Dive
• 95 Warp Spider x5: Exarch w/2 spinners, Web of Deceit
• 210 War Walker x3: 2 Starcannons
• 160 Wave Serpent: Twin Starcannon

Super-Heavy Auxiliary (Hunters of Ancient Relics/Expert Crafters)

• 740 Scorpion: Crystal Targeting Matrix, Spirit Stones, Star Engines, Starcannon


Pre-Game

Mission: Grand Tournament 2020 Retrieval Mission
Custodes Secondaries: Titan Hunter, Engage on all Fronts, Abhor the Witch
Craftworld Secondaries: Titan Hunter, Engage on all Fronts, Raise the Banners

The Custodes deployed defensively, either in forests or behind ruins. The Knight deployed in the center in an effort to get the best sight lines.

The Craftworld forces deployed more aggressively, but after losing the first turn roll off, used Phantasm to redeploy further back in an effort to reduce the incoming fire from the Knight until the Scorpion can come in from reserves an neutralize the threat.

Custodes Turn 1

The Custodes start off by using Unleash the Lions to spit the Terminator squad into 1 model units, they then began to spread out onto the objectives. The Castellan moved down onto the bottom objective also giving him a line of sight on the War Walkers and Shining Spears. The 5 man Guard squad moved up to grab the third objective. With every objective controlled by Custodes, it was a good start on the primary game. In the shooting phase Order of Companions was used on the Castellan giving him reroll 1s and with that boost, he killed two War Walkers with the main guns and was able to take down 4 of the bikes with the shoulder cannons, missile, and a little help from both War Walkers exploding. The rest of the army wasn’t in range to shoot.

Craftworld Turn 1

After suffering high casualties in the opening salvo some plans needed to be changed. There was no point in going after the midfield objectives this turn because the Custodes would simply counter charge and use their Obsec to take away control. The remaining Shining Spear went to get some value before his inevitable death and the rest of the army maneuvered to the flank opposite the shield captains and terminators.

Custodes Turn 2

With the clock ticking on the Scorpion, it was the last guaranteed turn to get value from the Knight and he pushed up the board with an advance to get him better-firing lines. The Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike shot up the board to hunt down the Warp Spiders. The Guard Squad moved forward now that the Allarus Terminator arrived to hold the objective. The Venatari descended on top of a ruin to start harassing backfield objectives, and the axe Terminators stayed in deepstrike to respond to the scorpion. The Castellan unloaded into the War Walker and Wave Serpent bringing them both down. One Wraithblade died getting out of the transport. The rest of the Custodes continued to prove their mediocre ability at shooting except for the Venatari who have the best guns in the army, not on a tank. In the charge phase, the Guard Squad failed an 11-inch charge at the Wraithblades, but the Shield-Captain made his into the Warp Spiders Killing 3.

Craftworld Turn 2

It was pretty clear at this point that the Craftworld forces were on the back foot and needed to have a solid turn two to get back into the game, unfortunately, that would not be the case. Despite having +1 to cast from Seer Council and rerolling all the casts with warlord traits, runes, and a CP reroll; Doom, Jinx, and Fortune all failed to go off. To top it off, the Scorpion rolled low on the number of shots despite using another CP re-roll and then rolled a staggering number of 1s and 2s to wound. This left the Knight with 13 wounds remaining. Elsewhere on the board, the Spiders warp out of combat to the other side of the board, the Scorpions come in from reserve make a charge and the exarch uppercuts the Terminator with his claw.

Custodes Turn 3

It was clear that if the Scorpion didn’t die this turn the time of the Castellan was done. Machine Spirit Resurgent was activated and everything moved in for the kill. in addition two of the Allarus Terminators left their objectives to take down the Striking Scorpions. Finally, the Axe Terminators flashed onto the field, but with the Forwarned strat, the Scorpion blew them off the table. The Castellan unloaded into the Scorpion but wasn’t able to bring it down. In the charge phase, the Venatari charged through the ruin to avoid overwatch on the Scorpion. They were quickly joined by the Castellan and Shield-Captain. Even with all of that, it wasn’t enough to bring down the Scorpion and left it at 14 W. The Wraithblades and Guard Squad traded blows and one the Allarus Terminators made his charge killing most of the Striking Scorpions and taking back the objective.

Craftworld Turn 3

At this point it was very clear that the game was lost, so it became a fight to achieve as many points as possible. The bulk of the remaining forces moved up the north flank, screened by the scorpion and the remaining Wraithblades. This time the psychic phase was more successful with both Doom and Jinx going off on the Knight and Fortune being placed on the wraiths. The shooting phase started off with the Scorpion leveling its Twin Pulsars at the Knight. This time with the silent scream of the void, the Knight was utterly annihilated. The Scorpions on the objective were killed when the Terminator activated first, thanks to ongoing combat order, and the Wraiths continued to trade while sitting on the objective.

Custodes Turn 4

Knowing they only needed a few more points to max the primary, the Custodes abandoned most of the objectives to move in for the kill, particularly the 20 points still on the table between the Scorpion and the two psykers. The last of the Aspect Warriors fall to bolter fire and the Wraithblades finally go down under the remaining fire. The Venatari get gunned down in overwatch and the Farseer is crushed by the Terminator.

Craftworld Turn 4

At this point there isn’t much to be said. The Shield-Captain and a Terminator are killed and the Warp Spiders move onto an objective in a vain effort to get “hold 2” while the Scorpions chassis physically prevents the Obsec Custodes from getting onto the objective underneath it.

Custodes Turn 5

In the final round the Dawn-eagle Captain kills the Warlock while the Terminators finish off the squad of warp Spiders.

Craftworld Turn 5

In a turn played out purely for spite, the Craftworld forces score 5 points for holding 1. The Scorpion then guns down the Dawn-eagle Captain and a Custodian Guard to end the game.

Post Game

Nicks Thoughts:
I’ve been looking for a way for Custodes to bring down tanks and I think the Castellan fits that role nicely. He hits hard against a variety of targets and draws fire away from the Allarus Terminators who are holding Objectives. I know my Shied Captain on Bike could be more survivable, but I don’t think it’s worth the CP to go further on him than I did. The Venatari work great as backfield harassment and with their gun they can easily clear off objectives and deny primaries. I love playing Custodes as they hit hard and Solar Watch makes them pretty fast too. The army really loves to get close and bully units off objectives. I am a bit concerned about noises that are coming from Imperial Guard and Nurgle players as I don’t know if I can kill 120 Conscripts in 5 turns.

Mikes Thoughts:
This match made it abundantly clear that I am rusty when it comes to my beloved Craftworld army. I made mistakes in deployment and secondary selection that ended up costing me the game. I took Raise the Banners because every time I play my Harlequins I’ve scored 13+ points, but I just didn’t have the infantry or table presence to effectively score it this game. That being said, any game where I can bring my beloved Scorpion to the table ends up being a blast. I’m going to continue taking Wraithblades in my future games. They bring durability that Craftworlds normally just doesn’t have.

Overall it was a great game and we both can’t wait until the next one.

Please let us know what you thought of this match! Leave your comments below and follow us on the usual social platforms to stay current with the latest GDFC releases. If you’re interested in joining our Discord community, please reach out to us at grimdarkfilthycasuals@gmail.com for an invite!