Warhammer 40k 9th Edition 1,850 Point Battle Report: Custodes vs Orks

In our first game with 9th Edition rules (not yet the new points and FAQ), Chief Krumpin’ Officer Dustin Quebedeaux has brought a company of Goff Orks to face down Chief Filthy Casual Brian Moy’s fearsome Custodes Shadowkeepers!

Watch GDFC’s Battle Report and then read the After Action Report below for commentary from Dustin and Brian.

The Pre-Game Show

  • Overview
  • The Lists
  • The Game Plan


Thoughts from the Filthy Casuals: 

Like every other Warhammer 40,000 player, we were ecstatic to get a chance to play with the new 9th Edition ruleset before its official launch later this month. In this battle report you may find some rules that have been tweaked in the FAQ, and certainly some new points changes. We opted to play the Core Rules’ provided mission, Only War, to first dive deep into the intricate differences between 8th and 9th Edition, before getting into the even more complex changes still to be seen with the release of the Chapter Approved: Grand Tournament 2020 Mission Pack. This means we’ll also intentionally be missing some other leaks to-date (such as the list of blast weapons and Supreme Commanders). We’ll be tackling those new missions along with its many secondary objectives in our next video. We welcome your feedback on all of our content, so please feel free to Like or Comment the video, or comment on this article after viewing today’s battle report.

Also of note, given this was our first official game of 9th edition and our first game since coming out of Covid-19 lockdown, there’s a bit of rust we needed to shake off and we certainly did not get all of our 9th edition rules correct (no heroic intervention once in engagement range), miscount some CP arithmetic, and forget a few army rules here and there. We definitely apologize for some of these oversights, 40k is a complex game, and even more complex when you’re playing with rules from 2 new Psychic Awakening books, and a new 9th edition ruleset.


The Open War mission, found in the Core Rules PDF, is intentionally designed to be a very straightforward game; as you’ll see in the video and this report, however, this simple mission hides some very deep thinking and rewards a new style of play.  With the presumption that 2,000 point 8th Edition lists would see an average 150 point increase to its costs, both the Orks and Custodes opted to field 1850 points (Editor’s Update: the recently released points updates would list 2002 points for the Orks and 1900 points for the Custodes). Both lists take advantage of new strengths gained in their Psychic Awakening Books. This battle report will focus on some of the competitive aspects of the game as Dustin’s Orks tested the efficacy of a Goff list supported by Ghazghull Thraka, and Brian pushed the limits of Custodes survivability through the Shadowkeepers shield host.

Mission: Core Rules – Only War

Deployment: Hammer & Anvil (Fixed with Mission)

Mission Objectives:

  • Slay the Warlord: A player scores 1 victory point if the enemy WARLORD is destroyed at the end of the battle
  • Capture and Control: At the end of each player’s Command phase, the player whose turn it is scores 1 victory point for each objective marker they currently control (see opposite for details of how to set up Objective Markers). Players control objective markers as described on page 24. In addition, if one player controls more objective markers than their opponent does at the end of the battle, they score 1 bonus victory point.

The Lists

Dustin Quebedeaux’s 1,850 point Ork Army – “Ghaz’ Krumpin’ Krew”

Dustin Quebedeaux's 1,850 point Ork Goffs Army

Ghazghkull Thraka
Big Mek w/ KFF
29 Boyz & Nob w/ Powerklaw and 3x Tankbusta Grenades (Skarboys)
26 Boyz & Nob w/ Powerklaw and 3x Tankbusta Grenades
9 Boyz & Nob w/ Powerklaw and 1x Tankbusta Grenade
10 MegaNobz w/ Powerklaw & Kustom Shootas
Nob w/ Waagh Banner

Big Mek w/ Shokk Attack Gun (Warlord Trait – Big Killa Boss, Relic – Souped-Up Shokka)
Weirdboy (Warphead) – Warpath & Da Jump
10x Gretchin
2x Burna-bommers

“With such a beautiful new Ghazghkull Thraka model released with Saga of the Beast, I had to give the big boss his due and let him lead the first battle report into 9th Edition. While attempting to create a compelling list, I opted to also use this opportunity to test some new features, rather than make a bleeding-edge competitive list. Many brainboyz have been talking about the new strengths of MegaNobz and the Burna Bommer. MegaNobz can gain a great deal more melee output as Goffs when fighting alongside Thraka, so I was determined to see how fierce a maximum-sized squad could be. To keep Ghaz on the table, I also brought along Makari and a Painboy, both of whom I don’t think will be showing up in many more lists. At the same time, I was worried about whether I could properly pilot the Burna Bommers to maximize the new suicidal “Flyin’ Headbutt” stratagem. Practice makes perfect!  Unsure of both core units’ performance, I brought in the classic meat n’ taters of any hard-nosed Ork list – two full mobs of Ork Boyz, a minimum sized squad of Gretchin and boyz, a Warphead Weirdboy, Nob w/ Waagh Banner, a Big Mek w/ Kustom Forcefield (KFF) and the smoking hot Big Mek w/ Da Souped-Up Shokk Attack Gun (SAG).

The goal from the get-go was to have a powerful, hard-hitting deathball of Goffs, supported by sneaky Da Jumped boyz squads, while the bommers and SAG provided the long-ranged firepower to either open up jump zones, or punch through enemy ranged threats.”

Brian Moy’s 1,850 Point Shadowkeepers Adeptus Custodes Army

Bmoy's 1,850 point premature 9th edition Custodes list based on hunches and doesn't factor in updated points costs or Forgeworld updates

++ Patrol Detachment (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [106 PL, 1,850pts] ++

  • Configuration +
    Shield Host: Shadowkeepers
  • HQ +
    Shield Captain in Allarus Terminator Armor [8 PL, 111pts]: Castellan Axe
    Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, 165pts]: Salvo Launcher, Warlord
    . Auric Aquilis, Captain-Commander, Strategic Mastermind, Victor of the Blood Games
  • Troops +
    Custodian Guard Squad [8 PL, 153pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
    . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
    . Custodian: Guardian Spear

    Custodian Guard Squad [8 PL, 150pts] . Custodian: Guardian Spear
    . Custodian: Guardian Spear
    . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
  • Elites +
    Allarus Custodians [28 PL, 426pts] . Allarus Custodian: Castellan Axe
    . Allarus Custodian: Castellan Axe
    . Allarus Custodian: Castellan Axe
    . Allarus Custodian: Castellan Axe
    . Allarus Custodian: Castellan Axe
    . Allarus Custodian: Castellan Axe

    Vexillus Praetor [6 PL, 123pts]: Misericordia, Storm Shield, Vexilla Magnifica
  • Fast Attack +
    Vertus Praetors [25 PL, 450pts] . Vertus Praetor: Hurricane Bolter
    . Vertus Praetor: Hurricane Bolter
    . Vertus Praetor: Hurricane Bolter
    . Vertus Praetor: Hurricane Bolter
    . Vertus Praetor: Hurricane Bolter
  • Heavy Support +
    Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 272pts]: Arachnus Storm Cannon, Spiculus Bolt Launcher
    . Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector, Eternal Penitent

    ++ Total: [106 PL, 1,850pts] ++

For those who know me, I’ve been all on the Shadowkeepers hype train since day 1 of War of the Spider. One of the things that Custodes desperately needed were abilities that could enhance their durability. Fortunately, War of the Spider provided multiple ways to achieve this. Grim Responsibility, while not overtly sexy, is an ability that reduces the strength of an incoming attack by -1 for a specific Custodes unit. In of itself, it’s not as good as a flat -1 to wound, BUT there are so many applications where you are essentially altering the necessary wound roll that a savvy Custodes player will in effect, be -1 to wound for the remainder of that phase. The best part is that it can be used in multiple phases, and the impact it will have throughout the game will be huge, especially as 9th edition missions lean towards board control and units that can stand their ground on objectives.

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. Allarus Terminators can leverage Auramite and Adamantium to ignore -1AP and -2AP weaponry, and Arcane Genetic Alchemy for the Custodes version of Transhuman. The beatstick Telemon will take advantage of Eternal Penitent for the additional attack and re-rolls for charges but also Ancient Artifice to halve incoming damage.

Pre-game, I’m spending 1CP for Captain-Comander trait Strategic Mastermind, 2CP for Victor of the Blood Games on the Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, 1CP for Eternal Penitent, and 1CP on From Golden Light They Come which brings me down to 7CP.

The Game Plans


I love getting up close and personal as I generally feel pretty comfortable calculating my chances to duff it up in the fight phase. Looking at the battlefield and the mission, I can see there is a huge mismatch in the number of models on the board, which I thought would be favorable for me in a mission that only rewarded objective capture and nothing else.

Through cagey deployment, however, Brian had managed to put down a very effective “null deployment,” depriving me of any early chances to erase targets with the Big Mek’s SAG. With the two NOVA style “Ls” in the center of the board, I saw that the middle zone would quickly become the stage for a big fight, which would be perfect for Ghaz and the Nobz’ slow movement. My deployment provided very favorable Line of Sight blockers to hold my own points without worrying about getting shot off, but with almost 1000 points of Custodes sitting in deep strike, we would need to make some dangerous assumptions on where they would arrive.  Killing the unit of Dawneagle Jetbikes are, in my mind at this time, my number one win condition, and I have no idea where they’re going to show up. On the flip side, the Custodes objectives were also well covered by terrain, which would make them perfect places for my Ork boyz to charge and hold… if they could overcome the dreaded tanglefoot grenade stratagem.

Adeptus Custodes

My game plan is pretty simple, with 4 objectives and slay the warlord for this mission, there aren’t many points on the board. With an elite army, I find that my margin for victories tend to be pretty narrow as I tend to follow a conservative game plan. Overall, I plan to hold my two objectives, snipe out his warlord with the Allarus terminators, and try to stem the green tide long enough to secure the victory. Nothing terribly fancy. I’ll be relying on durability to try and hold the “hot gates” for as long as I can.

Tanglefoot Grenade will be huge for me in this matchup, and I’d like to try and bait a couple of Da Jumps early on, to try and isolate portions of his army and maybe take them out when I deep strike in with bikes or Terminators.

The After Action Report

  • Game Defining Moments
  • Takeaways
  • Closing Thoughts

Do not read below if you do not want to be spoiled of the outcome of the battle report

Game Defining Moments


“The first half of the game was filled with some pretty soul-crushing luck. I had relied on my relic Shokk Attack gun to drop the hammer on the Telemon dreadnought, but after spending almost half my CP to boost its output, I had barely scratched its paint and crippled my CP for the rest of the game. I learned a very hard lesson, however. When encountering a Shadowkeeper Telemon, just ignore it if you can.  Although my initial suicide run with the Burna Bommer did respectable damage on Brian’s very pricey infantry, the absolute worst scenario occurred on my front line. Even though Thraka and his crew of MegaNobz were in prime position to make an easy charge and wipe out the jet bikes (my #1 win condition) and a squad of Boyz were positioned to take and hold a backfield Custodes objective for the remainder of the game, all three catastrophically failed their charge, leaving them to the whims of an enormous amount of highly accurate shooting. To add insult to injury, Makari, the only one to make it into combat, hilariously failed half of his normally easy 2++ invulnerable saves.

Luck, however, was in my favor on the next turn. The Custodes had difficulty cutting down my entire frontline, and the MegaNobz showed up in a big way during the enemy fight phase, cutting down a wide swath of terminators through good use of the new “Hit ‘Em Harder” stratagem, while being supported by Thraka’s auras and the Goff trait. The second Burna-Bommer arrived at just the right time to use the “Flyin’ Headbutt” stratagem and free a soon-to-die Thraka from a bad melee fight through a wide application of its flat 3 mortal wounds explosion.

Brian rightly focused on obliterating my first squad of Skarboyz menacing his backfield objective, but my second squad was able to maneuver into charge range of the jet bikes unscathed. Through the power of Thraka and a Weirdboy, the second squad of Boyz were able to reach their maximum doomsday level of power, tossing out a literal bucket of dice to eliminate the overwhelming threat of the bikes and fully swing the balance of power.

Adeptus Custodes

Tanglefoot Grenade was indeed a big player for me. The game-defining moment was Turn 3 where I had some major misplays. I had a prime opportunity to take advantage of Dustin’s failed charges in turn 2 but failed to capitalize on that. Had I simply played a little more conservative, I could’ve cleared the Meganobz, Ghaz, and the characters, and even if I surrendered my backfield objective, I would be able to threaten two of his on Turn 4/5, essentially a 2 for 1 trade. But by overextending the bikes, I left them vulnerable to the big Boyz squad and didn’t have a tanglefoot nearby to protect them from that charge. Also, the Telemon going down was big as it allowed Ghaz to get in there and do work against the Bikes as well

My goal in turn 3 was to try and deal with a couple of different threats and simply block Dustin from getting to my objectives. Instead of overextending the Vertus Praetors and only charging the Painboy, I really should have positioned them better to charge the MANz (Meganobz) and the Banner. Realistically, shooting the KFF didn’t make too much of a difference at that point, as the Meganobz would still benefit from a 5+ armor save even if I used the AP-3 Stratagem. It would’ve been better to focus down the MANz and charge into them with the bikes and the termies to finish them off, as they did tons of damage back.

I also had little risk and should have gone all-in with the Shield-Captain on DEJB as well. Really silly mistake, but with all the new Psychic Awakening rules and 9th edition rules, there were a lot of mental gymnastics going on and I had a big brain fart on the CP side of things.

Takeaways and Lessons Learned


“Approaching this match from an experimental point of view, I think two hypotheses were proven. First, MegaNobz are the real deal. They were beginning to pop up in high placing lists at LVO 2020, Saga of the Beast would have propelled them further, and the 9th Edition missions support them even more.  In 9th Edition, I think the big winners are going to be units that are resilient and fast or strong counter-attackers. They check some good boxes there. Second, Burna Bommers are a super deadly scalpel that slashes through elite armies; fielding two seems to be the sweet spot in having enough boom to finish off important characters. The smaller map allows them to hit literally anywhere on the board.  The next experiment was bringing Ghaz and fielding Goffs. The catastrophic failures on the charge alone is reason enough to not play Goffs; had I been Evil Sunz, the most important changes would have passed. The jury is still out on Ghaz, we’ll have to see how his points change.  The Big Mek w/ SAG, on the other hand, is going to be a tough sell in the future. His output is already very swingy, and the -2CP for a patrol and -1CP for the specialist detachment is just not worthwhile; if the SAG isn’t listed as a Supreme Commander in the new rules, he won’t be featured in my lists.

Looking at the Custodes, I learned you can never, ever underestimate a Telemon. They’re big, they’re beefy and they’re next to impossible to kill through conventional methods. Next is that bikers haven’t changed too much on the mathhammer, but I believe the mission types and terrain will favor them and bring them back to popularity.

Biggest takeaway though is that people need to completely rethink how they approach missions. I had written an article earlier encouraging people to try other game systems to prepare for 9th Edition, and I think seasoned AoS players will see huge success with objective swarming and line blocking tactics.  On the flip side, if you were already skilled in 8th Edition, especially in highly complex phases like the Fight Phase, you’ll find those skills carry over and are rewarded even more with objective play.  Is melee fighting more deadly in 9th? Hard to say. Where it reigns supreme is objective control, which is the end-all, be-all for winning in 9th.

Adeptus Custodes

Always good to play a great player like Dustin and it was so much fun to get the first game of 9th edition under our belts. Since then, the game has started to feel more natural with the changes from 8th edition as well as being much more comfortable with the new War of the Spider Custodes rules. Custodes are such a fun army to play and I’ve really enjoyed playing them in 9th edition.

Couple of key takeaways below:

  1. CP Management: CP plays such a big role for Custodes and it will be critically important to manage those valuable resources well.
  2. Defeat in Detail: Custodes are a hard army to grasp because each one of your units tends to be a significant portion of your army. Evaluating “trades” can be difficult as you may want to commit your Terminators early to say, a big blob of boyz, but realizing that you’re putting almost 500 points of your army at risk to address 200ish points of your opponent’s army is not a good trade. Finding ways to isolate your opponent’s army early on (baiting them to deep strike charge and use tanglefoot, clever use of Stooping Dive/teleport homer, etc.) will be important to start leveling the playing field early on.
  3. Durability and Board Control: Though Custodes have significantly increased durability, it will be important for Custodes players to know when to commit to the field, and what Stratagems will help mitigate the most damage. This will get even more complex in missions with Actions as each unit is a major contributor to your overall army.

Closing Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed GDFC’s second battle report and first of 9th edition. We would love to hear your thoughts so please leave us a message in the comments to let us know what you liked, what you didn’t like, how we can improve or what you’d like to see next.

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