Monday, February 4, 2019

Custodes Beta Rules Review: Part 1- The Elites

Over the next few days I will be breaking down the Adeptus Custodes Beta Rules for Warhammer 40k that were released last month. You can download them here (for free) if you haven't had the chance to check them out yet.
Part One below will discuss the Elites Choices.
Part Two will be about the Fast Attack. Part Three will cover Heavy Support. Part Four will go into their Lord of War and Dedicated transport, as well as closing thoughts on the Beta rules.
Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought
Other than the fact I think this is the cooler looking for the two Custodes Contemptors, I prefer the Achillus on paper to the Galatus (we will get to him next). The Dreadspear is just a beast of a weapon, and at the cost of 1CP, you can get this guy  DS in imminent threat range. Have him deep strike with some terminators or land near some bikes, and your opponent will have a hard time what to prioritize if you fail to make the charge out of DS. But burning a CP on rerolls to ensure that charge is worth it, because the dreadspear really will wreck things. Hunt LoW or other vehicles with this guy. BIG threat to Armigers, and a threat still to other Knights.
For his other wargear I would pass on the Incinerators. They are great anti-horde, but really they just serve as overwatch protection on this dread, and hopefully you are not often putting it in a place where you are faced with this guy being bogged down. As I said above, set up to target big scary things. If you have the points though, the Adrathic Destructors are promising and can really ramp up the damage output the dread has. The risk of mortal wounds does stink, but if you can have a Shield captain nearby (remember those bikes and terminators that should be on hand in support) then if becomes a minute worry. And even if you take 1 wound from your own shooting, it is tough enough that it should survive another turn with 9 wounds left.
Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought
This unit is just does not have enough offensive power to see much use IMO. It is really really defensive. In an army were almost everything is a 2+/3+, 2+/4+ or 2+/5+… why do you need something this defensive?
The first real unfortunate thing is the 8’ range of its weapon. It makes the DS less viable. Now if you are running an Orion Dropship, it would probably be worth having this be the dread that rides on it. The other thing is it is S7 on its sword. Really? Couldn’t have at least been +1 S to make it S8? S7 means Space Marines are wounded on 3+ and most vehicles on a 5+. For a CC dread that’s just not impressive. A normal Astartes dread does more at that price point.
Essentially it suffers from being an armoured tortoise in an army of snapping turtles. While a Galatus would be a tough nut to crack, it has none of the bite of other Custodes units, all of which are touch as nails themselves.
Maybe if you regularly play against horde/swarm armies it would be useful, but in general, I’d give it a pass.
Aquilon Custodians
These guys are one of the stars of the new Beta rules, almost eclipsing Allarus all together. Allarus still have their uses, but you have to really plan your army and game plan around them and the strategems they have to make them work over their Aquilon brothers.
These guys are a great addition to any Custodes army. The first and most obvious configuration is Infernus Firepike + Solerite power gauntlet (and add a misericordia). 3d6 12” auto-hitting superheavy flamers! Yes please! And getting that in only 3 guys, you have a small footprint you can DS into a lot of places if you opponent is not careful. I foresee a lot of Warlords being toasted off the table in the future. The Guantlets are great too. S10 attacks, AP-4, d3 Damage each. Just sheer brutality.  Obviously the hope is to make the charge on the DS, but these guys are all so tough that they should weather any shooting the next turn (2+/4+, T5, 4 wounds each!) and really will make your opponent think about charging them or not with their firepikes.
Their other weapons just don’t stand out as much. First of all I’d probably always leave the Adrathic Destructors at home unless I was always DS them with a SC. The risk of Mortal wounds to them is too much IMO at the 20 point price point, especially when the flame is already cheaper. Their Storm Bolters are just economical enough to be worth it possibly. Its really a hard sell over the firepike, but when strapped for points, swapping 1 out of 3 pikes out wouldn’t be that bad. Take all your wounds on this guy first. As for the talons, I really don’t see why you would ever take them over the gauntlets. Rule of Cool only really, the reroll to wound just doesn’t balance out with the sheer ability to wound + damage output of the Solerite Guantlet.
Speaking of reroll to wound, I would really consider supporting these guys with Trajann Deep Striking. Auto-hitting Flamers + RR 1’s to wound, plus RR hits and wounds of 1 in combat. You just make this unit brutally efficient.
The only drawback of the Aquilon is the fact they are sold with their weapons. HH Terminators have always been sold torso and weapons separate. It really stinks for these guys, because the idea configuration of Gauntlet + Pike mean you are either buying 2 sets of terminators (one for the pike and one for the gauntlet) or shaving claws off of fists in the Pike set. And having paid FW money, and the fact these are still beta rules, I would be really hesitant to do that.
Custodian Guard with Adrasite and Pyrithite Spears
First I’ll talk about the squad… and then about how the spears really should have just been wargear.
So it is basically normal foot custodes with either a gets hot plasma gun or a melta gun. The Pyrithite is the better option FOR THIS SQUAD IMO. Most of the time your shield captains will be too busy baby sitting other units. Having them sit neat a foot squad with only 3 x 18” shots to protect them against mortal wounds is a waste. But without him, those mortal wounds just stink.
For all their superior tech, why do they essentially just have worse plasma guns on their spears. They’d be better mounting a Plasma Pistol to the end of them IMO. At least then they wouldn’t risk death every time they shoot, only when the REALLY needed too.
The Pyrithite is good if used right. If you are bound and determined to field an Orion Drop ship, these are prime candidates to go inside. You can also spend 1CP to DS them, but I’d only do that if you were taking a larger squad or had a lot of CP.
There are a few things hold this squad back IMO. One they are elites. I get why in the way they structured the beta list, but there are other choices I’d rather take. Two, it would have been nice if they had the option to include a Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield. They are Custodian Guard after all. I’d be fine with the unit and their place in elites if they had this one option added.
But honestly I had hoped these weapons would be wargear. I think Wardens could greatly benefit from them and Foot Shield Captains would be a lot more useful and interesting. Obviously it would be great to have them in Troop Custodian Guard Squads, and I really don’t think it would be game breaking either, as we are talking assault 1 weapons with only up to an 18” range. And pricey ones at that.
With a pure Custodes list already having to invest around 500 points for min foot troops, buying more of them with a low volume of fire just isn’t really appealing to me personally.
That is it for part one! Tell us what you think in the comments below and come back for tomorrow where we discuss Fast Attack in Part Two!