Hi all Dan here and my thoughts on the new Custodes book. I know the Internet has been fairly critical of this book, but from what I can see, it's really not that bad. This book is a solid transition to 9th, and the sky is not falling. So let's dive in.
Biggest Winner / Best Unit
This is a tough one, I don't feel many units have changed drastically, what makes them more than the sum of there parts is the shield host rules.
For me the biggest winner is Trajann Valoris, as well as the other captains he received a nice glow up in stats. He now gets 2 great warlord traits, benefits from shield hosts and gains a 5+ FNP. He has lost the 3+ invulnerable save but that's feature of 40k at the moment, which I think is the right move by GW. The 3+ was very "feels bad" when it spikes and you pass 6/6 saves for example.
Followed shortly by an increase on the Bikes wounds characteristic. I may be biased as I have a whole Shield Host of them but it's a massive upgrade for them considering all the Damage 2 out there. Secondly, their Salvo Launcher has had the D3+3 damage treatment and gives (non-FW Custodes) a real option to crack open vehicles at range.
The humble mention goes to the Blade Champion; our new unit. We had seen what he could do before the new book but now he get's the new Shield Hosts, Relics and Strats which turn him into a pretty beastly character.
Biggest Loser / Worst Unit
So we didn't see really any nerfs to the units (forge world excluded until we see an FAQ), some Stratagems are gone but I think the biggest loser section is more about what we didn't get:
· No extra attack (other than Captains)
· No damage 3 axe
What I would say is a lot of the units got cheaper (and look to be getting cheaper still in the new CA), also if the chapter approved leaks are to be believed the Misericordia is becoming free and there is your extra attack (sort of).
There are a lot of combos in the book, the Shield Hosts add to this further. (More on that in a minute)
However I am sure you have all seen the main one that everyone has picked up on. This is the Allarus Terminator Captain that can appear anywhere, counting as 4 Objective Secured models and able to pile in 4" in any direction provided it finishes in Engagement Range with an enemy model. This is all backed by a tough profile of toughness 6, 8 wounds, a 2+ save, 4+ invulnerable save and a 5+ feel no pain.
This is achieved by taking the Pretorian Plate, Unstoppable Destroyer, Captain Commander, Superior Creation and Impregnable Mind Warlord Traits.
Oh boy this is where the meat of the codex is. I believe they are all good and whilst they do all have some play, some are clearly much stronger.
The 2 strongest are Emperors Chosen and Solar Watch.
Emperors Chosen allow a 4+ against mortals and 1 reroll to hit or wound. Its real strength is its Stratagem (not that the traits are bad with Grey Knights, Crusher Stampede and Talos running around doing Mortals. The re-roll is also super useful on the new Bikes Salvo Launcher), the stratagem allows a unit to adopt, for 1cp, another Shield Host ability. This gives a huge amount of flexibility.
The Solar Watch are all about going fast, they most certainly do this with +1 to advance and charge and fall back and charge. This is so powerful on units that often need to fight first and need the extra movement to get up the board.
They are by far the most manoeuvrable Custodes force (even more so with their preferred martial Ka'tah). They also have an advance and charge Warlord Trait, pick an infantry unit within 6" and it can advance and charge.
Now my favourite is Emissaries Imperators, which gives fight first and when making an attack ignore any and all hit and wound modifiers. The traits combined with a pre move stratagem makes them very interesting in my opinion, I can't wait to get my golden army down on the table and using this.
I will touch on these briefly. They are not nearly as complicated I initally thought and they work similar to the Necron Protocols (but less restrictive.)
You pick 3 pre game and put them in order of use (I suggest cards), each has 2 stances, 1 of which you pick to be active in your command phase, next command you either use the next stance in your current Ka'tah or move to the next Ka'tah and pick a stance.
You cannot go back up the Ka'tah or reuse a stance, though there are some exceptions. First there is a warlord trait that lets you change the order, there is a stratagem that lets you put a unit in any Ka'tah stance (even one you haven't picked) and finally each Shield Host has a favoured one, which allows them once per game to use both stances at once even of one has been used.
The stances give out a lot of buffs and are fairly flexible from rolling extra dice to advance, to turning off reroll hits in combat.
Well this is interesting as I own most of the range I can flit about a lot and I am interested in what can be done so I will be shortly giving the following a run out in a Battle Report so keep an eye out for that!
Battalion Emissaries Imperators
Trajann Valoris (has to be warlord)
Terminator Captain, Pretorian Plate, Impregnable Mind and Superior Creation Trait, Unstoppable Destroyer Captain Commander.
Blade Champion - Eagle Eye
2 X 3 Shield Guard
1 X 5 Prosecuters
3 X 3 Allarus Terminators
Vexilla Praetor - Banner Magnifica, Voice of the Emperor trait and Castallen Mark (allows 2 units to redeploy)
1x6 Vertus Praetors - Salvo launchers.
The idea is if the army gets Turn 1, I can move those Jet Bikes 28" putting me firmly in my opponents deployment zone, getting line of sight of what I need and charging or tying up his lines. They then become a nuisance to remove while the army capture points. They can also tap an objective to stop any Actions being used on it for that first turn (such as Raise the Banners Secondary)
If not and turn 2 I can redeploy the Vertus Praetors to safety and play a normal Custodes game, albeit with new improved rules.
I'm very excited to get the Custodes out and play some games with the new stuff and if the Chapter Approved Points changes we've seen are true then they're looking to be a very solid faction!