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40K: Using Custodes To Support Your Army

7 Minute Read
Jan 25 2018
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So you don’t have a Custodes army, but want to use some in your army? Here is how.

The other day I talked about how to best make a Custodes army competitive.  In that article I focused on using a mainly Custodes force. Today I want to turn that on its head and talk about some options for including a bit of Custodes in your existing Imperial army. Lets take a look.

The Flag Dude

A lot of people took one look at the Custodes book and latched on to the possibilities of including a Vexilus Praetor in an Imperial list. In particular they are talking about using one with the Vexilla Defensor. This single character, clocking in at around 115 pts (depending on wargear) or 135 in Terminator armor, gives you a solid combat dude and a 5++ invulnerable save (vs shooting) to all Imperial infantry within 9 inches. Of course the main thing people want here is the invulnerable save, which is a great boost to regular Imperium troops. Mostly I’ve heard people talking about using this in Astra Militarum armies to give a horde of Guardswomen an extra save.

While this is totally an option I’m not sure its really worth it in an AM army. For the cost of a Vexilus you could just buy 30 more Guardswomen, which is most likely more than you will save with the 5++ save. On the other hand I think this is arguably a much better ability in a Marine list. There, adding the extra save will protect your much more expensive marines against the weapons that normally kill them. A unit of Intercessors or even better – Hellblasters, in cover next to a Vexilla are effectively as tough as Terminators. The Vexilla will also be a big boon to units like Inceptors, Aggressors and Centurions, big expensive infantry models that don’t have invulnerable saves. Making just a couple saves on those units will pay for the Vellia.

Never Run Away Again

Another option for running a Vexilus Praetor in your army is to give him one of the relic banners. Now this does require you to take a detachment of Custodes, so it is a little harder to pull off, (though it can be an Auxiliary Support Detachment). There are 3 different Relic banners you can take that all replace the normal effect of your Vexilla. While each banner has its own special effect, they all have one thing in common: all friendly Imperium Infantry within 6 inches auto pass morale checks.


This is a pretty powerful ability to throw into an army. In particular this seems like the way to go to support your AM army, replacing the nerfed commissars with a much harder to kill model. You can now stick a Vexilus in the middle of your mass of guardswomen and have them never run away. While all the relic banners have uses, I’d most likely go with the Faith Absolute that lets you Deny the Witch, as it gives you a nice added bonus.

The Bully Boys

Custodes excel at close combat. If you are taking any of the units other than a Vexlius it’s for the close combat boost. You could take pretty much any Custodes unit and plop it into your army to boost your CC potential. However, most of these units have two weaknesses. First off they tend to be slow. While they can deep strike onto the table for one command point, once landed, with the exception of the Jetbikes, they can’t move all that fast. Taking a 400 pts Land Raider to transport them isn’t much of an option either. The second issue they run into is that they will tend to get shot. As a small elite unit, the enemy will almost certainly focus fire on them, often killing them before they can do much. Unless of course they are a character.

This brings me to my favorite unit in the Codex and the one I’m most excited to use in other armies: The Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike. This guy is effectively the Imperial version of a Khorne winged demon Prince, with a pretty comparable stat line. He’s cheaper than a generic deamon prince and has better saves, but of course can’t use pyskic powers. With a Hurricane Bolter and miisericordia he clocks in at 164 points. He’s got decent anti-infantry firepower, and is a beast in close combat. Taking a few of these gives you a potent counter-attack force, that is fast and can’t be easily targeted.


The Detachment

I think the Shield-Captain on Jetbike is particularity of use in an AM army, which is often hurting for a counter punch unit that can bully things in close combat. Here is one of the detachments I’ve been thinking of taking in an AM army:

Supreme Command Detachment 

Shield-Captain On Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter and misericordia 164

Shield-Captain On Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter and misericordia 164

Shield-Captain On Dawneagle Jetbike w/ Hurricane Bolter and misericordia 164

Vexilus Prator w/ Vexilla Magnifica and Storm Sheild- 125 (Vexilla Magnific replaced w. Faith Absolute)


Total Points – 617

At just over a quarter of your points this detachment does a number of things. The Vexlius gives you a 6″ radius bubble of auto passing morale, as well as an extra deny the witch attempt, both powerful. The three Shield-Captains give you an extremely powerful close combat force, that care take on most things in the game. In addition they are fast and can race across the board to threats, are tough enough to take a beating and are not easy to shoot (characters). They themselves add a decent amount of very accurate bolter fire to your list (up to 36 shots a turn hitting on 2+, re-rolling 1’s). Lastly they are randomly objective secured! In a slow moving AM army, they may be just what you need to sneaky-steal an objective. With just under 1400 points left you should still be able to build a powerful AM force as the core of your army.

Stratagems To Use

Assuming you’ve taken a whole detachment of Custodes, either the above one or maybe just a Vexilus in an Auxiliary Detachment, you’ll have accesses to the Custodes stratagems. Even with only a few models on the table these are not to be overlooked. Here are a few key ones you might want to keep in mind:

Avatars of the Emperor: Not taking a relic Vexliia or not near that model but near another Custodes? Get a nice LD bubble for a turn.

Plant the Vexilla: This lets add 6″ to the range on your Vexllia ability. That’s going to give you a 15″ radius aura of 5++ saves. It’s a little unclear if this works with the Relic Vexilla, but if its does thats also a 12″ auto pass moral, pretty nice!.


Tanglefoot Grenade: You Vexilus can use this one to make an enemy unit within 12″ inches reduce their movement or charge distance by d6. This is great one to hit a unit that just teleported in and wants to charge with. You can use it even if the Vexilus isn’t the target of the charge, so if hes in the middle of a group of Guard, he can try to foil a charge.

Spark of Divinity: Gives you a Deny the With attempt within 12 inches of a Custodes unit. Could come in useful in a pinch to supplement whatever other defense you have.

Shoulder The Mantle: You can use this when your warlord dies to make one of your Shield-Captains the new warlord. This is more of corner case, but I kind of love it. You’d use then when your AM Commander goes down, to steal the warlord kill from and buff one of your Captains.

Options Options Options

The Custdoes book has a lot of great options for supporting your other armies. I’ve covered a few here that fit my play style, but there are more.  Depending on how you want to run your army there are several other Relics and Stratagems that could befit you. Obviously I’ve also only talked about using two of the units in the list. You could find a place for pretty much any of the units in the Codex to support other armies. The two that I’ve talked about happen to be my favorite, and I think the best, but they are by no means the only choice. Ultimately its up to you to find the option that works best for your list.


Let us know how you plan on using Custodes to bolster your existing army, down in the comments! 




Author: Abe Apfel
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