Today we talk about my absolutely favorite force in all of the grimdark universe, the Adeptus Custodes.
Today we’ll be looking at the Vexilus Praetors, including the Allarus armored version.
All About Vexillas
The Vexilla are standards depicting not only the might of the Imperium, but the power of the Emperor himself. Crafted with the same care and detail that their weapons and armor are, Custodes use these relics to rally Imperial forces and protect them from harm. It takes a century to craft one, and they are only crafted on Terra. Inlaid within them are secret technologies that include teleport homers, so Custodians can be drawn precisely into the fight at a moment’s notice. Though there are scores of Vexilla, several are used primarily for ceremonial purposes. There are typically three variants seen on the battlefield.
Vexilla Imperius is the most common and lends additional strength to push the endurance of the super humans beyond their extraordinary capabilities.
Vexilla Defensor shields those nearby from punishing enemy fire.
Vexilla Magnifica emanates radiant and glorious light, blinding the enemies of the Golden Legion.
A Vexilla planted means an unbreakable line, for the Custodes will fight all the harder when inspired by such Imperial magnificence. Not only though, do these standards inspire and provide boosts to nearby Custodes, but they also collect data over the fight and relay it to Imperial commanders. It is no surprise then that Custodians rarely, if ever, deploy without them.
Onto the Rules
In terms of gameplay, the Vexilla are borne into the fight by either a Custodian Warden, or an Allarus Custodian. Seeing as I’ve already covered these guys pretty well, I’m going to be spending time focusing more on the rules surrounding the three different standards.
One thing to note though is how many Wounds these guys have. The Allarus Terminator has 6 Wounds and can Deep Strike and can carry a guardian spear or castellan axe; the traditional armor Custodian has 5 Wounds but can carry a storm shield and sentinel blade or a guardian spear or castellan axe. The Allarus model before gear or vexilla is 100pts. and the Custodian is 80pts. Now, onto the Vexillas.
You can re-roll failed Morale tests for friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY and BIKER units within 6″ of this model. In addition, when you add this model to your army, choose one of the following Vexillas for this model to carry:
Vexilla Imperius: 20pts.
ADEPTUS CUSTODES models (other than VEHICLES) add 1 to their Attacks characteristic whilst their unit is within 6″ of any friendly VEXILUS PRAETORS with this vexilla.
Vexilla Defensor: 30pts.
IMPERIUM INFANTRY units have a 5+ invulnerable save against ranged weapons whilst they are wholly within 9″ of any friendly VEXILUS PRAETORS with this vexilla.
Vexilla Magnifica: 50pts.
Your opponent must subtract 1 from hit rolls in the Shooting Phase for attacks that target ADEPTUS CUSTODES units within 6″ of any friendly VEXILUS PRAETORS with this vexilla.
So we have some really interesting options here with the Vexillas. They fit rather particular roles and will only be useful if you use them correctly. Due to their high points costs, they really can’t just be thrown into army lists willy-nilly like I’ve seen them used so often.
First things first, if you’re going to be using your Vexilla aggressively, bring the Allarus guy. Defensively, use the Warden/Guard. This is because of the deep striking ability that the Allarus has to help ensure that you get your Vexilla where you really need it to go. For me, I like to have an Allarus carrying the Magnifica Deep Strike behind my Vertus Praetors and Dawn-Eagle Shield-Captains on the first turn to help them make it to the front line of my opponent more quickly. This isn’t cheap, not at all; but it can really save my jetbikes from being butchered. If you’re going to have a Custodian Vexilla with a Defensor providing Invulnerable Saves to something like an Imperial Guard artillery piece, then it doesn’t make any sense to buy the Custodian that can Deep Strike.
On that note, let’s examine how to maximize these Vexillas. The generic ability of all of them to help with Imperial Morale means that this unit is helpful to keep units like IG Infantry Squads stick around. Most often, Marines don’t really care about Morale, and ATSKNF makes the Vexilla redundant. Off the bat, we see that Vexilla vastly benefit non-Marine Imperials.
The Imperius Vexilla is a very aggressive Vexilla. I really like it on the Allarus model, for the purpose of getting it into the fight quickly. Deep Strike is a great tool, or if you’re going to make him walk, he is durable enough to get there and quick enough to keep up with most other units. The Vexilla Teleport Homer Stratagem is tempting until you look at that cost. 3 Command Points is crazy, but in the right situation could be worth it to win the game. I’d more often than not advise against it. The Imperius is good when he’s close to a big block of Custodes that are pushing up the board super aggressively. I’ve used it behind a big block of Custodian Guard with storm shields who Deep Struck in, and the unit ate through virtually everything. For 20 points, it’s a good one I think if you’re planning on bring nice Infantry blocks.
The Defensor Vexilla to me is for defensive purposes to hang out around gun line armies. Mostly artillery pieces though, because the entire unit needs to be within 9 inches. With some units, that can really hamstring how you can deploy them to maximum effect. The Defensor is useless in a Custodes army. Don’t bring it. In certain situations they can be very useful to keep tarpits and chaff units on the board by providing them an Invulnerable Save against shooting, so then your opponent is forced to Assault through them and you can counter assault them with your Custodes. This one to me is usually my least favorite. It’s useless for Custodes and only helpful with certain allies in certain situations.
The Magnifica Vexilla is cool, but it’s not cheap. I’d be very wary of bringing this guy into your army, and have a very specific role in mind for it. I’d usually put it on the Allarus, which compounds the cost problem, but helps to get it onto the board to maximize its point cost. I use it most often in conjunction with the Vertus Praetors or a giant block of Deep Striking Custodes who will be aggressive. This one can also be used to defend arty pieces in the back, but that’s a lot of points to spend on defending those.
Summing Them Up
The Vexilla are definitely worth considering. Even in the obvious Vertus Praetors spam army, there is a place for two of the Vexilla. If I were to sum them up in a sentence each, they’d be as so.
Imperius; good for an aggressive big block of Custodes, but make sure he stays behind them.
Defensor; terrible in pure Custodes factions, but can find a place helping with an Imperial gun line.
Magnifica; can be useful for defending Imperial gun lines, but truly finds its home protecting Custodes units that have to slog up the table or Deep Strike in front of the enemy for a turn.
The Magnifica is just so expensive, it really requires a maximization of the army to make it worthwhile, but it can very much be a game changer. The Defensor is to me the least impressive, situational and useful only in the army lists that I don’t think are that successful. The Imperius is good if you plan on having lots of aggressive units in nice blocks that can maximize the Vexilla; which makes it situational, but still fits into how I think Custodes need to fight to win.
Choose your Vexilla carefully, think about how and where you will deploy them and how you’ll try to maximize them. It’ll be very easy to feel disappointed and let down with these things, and wasting points is not an option for a Custodes army.
~How do you use your Vexillas?
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