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Custodes Tweaks


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It is pretty clear, based on their very strong showing at LVO, that Custodes are quite a competitive army right out the gate and I expect, given the depth of the book and overall strong rules (and recent points drops in Chapter Approved), that they will remain so for some time to come. The only two significant areas that I think Custodes are lacking right now, relative to other strong 9th edition armies, is general access to some kind of “Fights Last” capability (Shadowkeepers get it via their unique Relic, but there is no other way for Custodes to otherwise force enemy units to Fight Last) and almost all of their weapons being Dmg2 or below, which makes them exceptionally vulnerable to the (many) armies who now are getting access to -1 Dmg, half Dmg, etc.

 

 

 

Additionally, overall it appears that the Custodes Codex has some pretty good internal balance, with most units being viable options (including FW options not in the main Codex) and very few units being a “never take” for competitive players (i.e. even baseline Venerable Contemptor Dreads with MMs look like a viable option, since they have “Core”). The only two exceptions to this that I can see are the Venerable Land Raider and the SoS Vigilators squads (the other SoS options are actually quite useable, with Prosecutors providing a very affordable Troops units to cheaply hold Objectives/do actions and Witchseekers giving a sold “anti-horde” option with their mobility and massed AP-1 flamers).

 

 

 

The Venerable Land Raider, despite its BS2+ and 6+++ FNP, is still suffering from the same fate as all the other Space Marine/Grey Knight Land Raiders, namely that it costs too much for how much damage it puts out/how easy it is to kill in the current 9th edition meta, which is compounded even more in a Custodes army, where everything is already very expensive points-wise. As for the Vigilators, while they are decently pointed for their combat output (i.e. 2 x S5 AP-3 Dmg2 attacks a piece, so basically “Bladeguard-lite”), their problem is that there are TONS of better close combat options for Custodes that competitive players would rather use the points on.

 

 

 

So, considering all these things, I thought that perhaps there is a way to both make these two units more viable choices for a competitive Custodes player and also mitigate these two “problem” areas for Custodes. With that in mind, here is my ideas for how to address both of these issues at once (perhaps in a future rules update):

 

 

 

1) For Venerable Land Raiders, add a Special Rule to their datasheet called “Icon of the Emperor’s Might” which gives the Venerable Land Raider a permanent 6” aura that causes all friendly <Shield Host> units within range to never suffer the effects of any abilities that reduce, halves, etc. the Damage of their weapons. This would mean that all those Dmg2 weapons could actually fight to full effect against Dreads, THICC City Talos, Crusher Stampede Monsters, etc. that are proliferating the meta right now. This would also make taking a Venerable Land Raider a much more attractive choice for a Custodes player, since giving out this kind of buff could be essential for them in many match-ups.

 

 

2) For Vigilators, give them a Special Rule on their datasheet called “Bearers of Unending Wrath” which causes all enemy units in Engagement Range with them to Fight Last. This not only incentivizes players to take Vigilators within a competitive army, but gives Custodes a tool in their Codex for dealing out “Fights Last” (just like the Whirlwind and Judiciar do in the Space Marine Codex, for example).

 

 

 

I absolutely understand that this is not realistically going to happen (or at least not anywhere in the near future, given that the book just came out), but I thought it would be a neat way to improve some of the small issues of internal balance and “gaps” in the Custodes abilities all with a couple of simple changes to these two dataslates.

Edited by L30n1d4s
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I actually quite like the ability changes for Land Raiders and Vigilators. It boosts the army but only with units that are otherwise inefficient and not taken.

 

The Land Raider I still think the Land Raider should be able to move, disgorge its cargo and they can charge. It's a solid trick but it's a lot of points.

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Land Raiders are an iconic tank but are weak across all factions that use them. I would prefer to see a fix that helped them in every army.

 

I think that giving Land Raiders T9 would be a good start. GW have shown they are happy to break the ceiling of 10 for Strength so I am puzzled that they have not dared exceed Toughness 8. T9 would mean that Lascannons and the like would need a 4+ to Wound and common AT weapons like melta would go to needing a 5+. Would it give Land Raiders everything they need? Probably not but I think it would be a good start in making them somewhat viable without requiring complex new rules or exceptions.

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I've seen suggestions for master crafted weapons on land raiders and/or it can have a vexilla, I like both ideas.

 

E.g. master crafted 'auric' (any unique name) lascannon, 2D3+1 damage.

Master crafted heavy bolter, damage 3.

Master crafted storm bolter, damage 2.

Master crafted Hunter killer damage D6 +1

 

Vexilla would just be same options as infantry

 

It's probably always gonna be rough though as it's trying to be both a transport and a tank, ah well

 

I like the suggestion for SOS swordsman, really good in differing from custodes melee too

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People keep saying the book is strong.... but it doesn't capture the feel of the custodes and that is the greatest problem imo. I don't know what could be added but I feel removing the Katahs would be a good start. They are inflexible and not individualistic, they really don't feel like they represent the custodes imo. Changes that need to be made should bring to front the individualistic nature of custodes. It feels more like a SM codex at the moment and just doesn't have soul. Edited by Subtleknife
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People keep saying the book is strong.... but it doesn't capture the feel of the custodes and that is the greatest problem imo. I don't know what could be added but I feel removing the Katahs would be a good start. They are inflexible and not individualistic, they really don't feel like they represent the custodes imo. Changes that need to be made should bring to front the individualistic nature of custodes. It feels more like a SM codex at the moment and just doesn't have soul.

I've had this... identity crisis for stodes since the stances were announced.

 

 

Then looking at how they NAILED battle focus, and Tau have a preserved identity with their guns and them having their own kind of stances makes sense they are an army.

 

 

Stodes don't have that. They are no some weird hybrid blend of marines but beefier.

 

I get that the Dex is competitive.

 

 

It just feels like a not custodes Dex.

 

Alas, I won't give them up.

 

As far as tweaks go...make Auric weapons something more impactful than one stance.

 

 

Or just drop auric all together and make all custodes bolter weapons be lastrum with some cool exploding carry over wounds or something.

 

Custodes have two completely unique weapon types that are so underused. Lastrum and Adrathic should both be awesome. Instead...both are mostly tame.

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Having played a few games now, I can say the Ka'tahs are really strong and actually are flexible since they're so good. It's easy to see that you want Stance 2 Salvus turn 2, for example, when dropping in with Allarus. Easy to plan for.

 

Whether it is fluffy is very much dependent on how accepting you are of abstract rules that provide some flavour - the Ka'tahs represent individual choices made for a situation but can they be guided by a commander? Would the Custodes all make the same choice? Is it abstract rules to provide some flavour whilst the paying homage to the fighting styles of Custodes?

 

Ultimately, it's no big deal really. Having rules that represent every model is impractical and just not going to work.

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People keep saying the book is strong.... but it doesn't capture the feel of the custodes and that is the greatest problem imo. I don't know what could be added but I feel removing the Katahs would be a good start. They are inflexible and not individualistic, they really don't feel like they represent the custodes imo. Changes that need to be made should bring to front the individualistic nature of custodes. It feels more like a SM codex at the moment and just doesn't have soul.

I have to disagree completely. On paper, I had the same thoughts as you at first, but after playing a few games, the opposite is true. Katas in a vacuum might seem inflexible, but in reality, they add another layer of flexibility to the army.

 

In my opinion, the codex captures the feel of custodes extremely well on the table even if on paper it might not appear that way. They are a super flexible army and especially if you play Emperor's Chosen.

 

You can change stances and shield hosts on individual units, that's as individualistic as you can get considering the limitations of a game. If every single unit in the army could do that, sure, it'd be even more like the fluff but it'd be absolute mess to play as a game.

 

It's a great compromise now.

 

You can adapt so well to the opponent. Great book.

Edited by Balerion84
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I really enjoyed just how elite they felt. Emperor's Auspice, Arcane Genetic Alchemy and a 4+ Invulnerable save just made the army feel very difficult to shift.

 

I suspect many of the online net lists have it wrong to be honest - they promote large numbers of small units, particularly Allarus Terminators in solo drops. Those things have a place but it means you can't efficiently use Strategums to protect units.

 

One thing I would like tweaked though is "infantry models hit by an Auric weapon cannot use damage reducing abilities or Strategums against these attacks." So Dreadnoughts and monsters still do, because they're big and tough, but smaller targets that are spammed with multiple wounds won't be so difficult for Custodes to face.

Edited by Captain Idaho
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I personally played with only one man allarus units and I can't praise them enough. They completely shut down GK teleport shenanigans, held objectives, did actions, deployed teleport homers in opponent's dz, they are easy deepstrike being just 1 model.

 

Basically, amazing utility units.

 

I haven't tried a brick of allarus yet, simply because they are less tough than bikes now since they lost AAA strat, and lack their mobility to get where I want that brick to be, they are easier to screen for deep strike too. I was thinking of trying them out, but in the end, I always went to one man units.

 

Especially if you want to use Auric mortalis secondary, they prevent your opponent to deep strike/teleport the target into your dz, thus preventing you from getting 5 points from it.

 

A brick of them, once they get to cc, will definitely do some work, but the problem always was getting them to cc,especially, since now you can't Homer to vex and be under 9" from enemy.

Edited by Balerion84
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Oh like I said, those sorts of combination still have a place. I suspect Adeptus Mechanicus, Tau and Eldar of all flavours won't be as bothered by lots of small units of Allarus, however.
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Last game I played against admech, lost by 1 point in the end, but the single man allarus did a lot of work. First off, screened my dz, because I was trying Auric mortalis against his electropriests unit that were in deep strike. So I could try and score full 15. And they managed to hold objective and scan in the nachmund Scouring mission.

If I'm going with 2 or 3 units of bikes, I think the utility of single model units of Allarus is more valuable, than the potential of their damage output. At that point, big bricks are in my opinion redundant and lower you options for scoring objectives in the new missions. Because I either have to footslog them across the table (which is risky without ignoring -1 and -2ap) or I hope for a 9" charge from ds and I don't trust those.

 

Of course, if I'm not running bikes or I'd play Solar Watch, then I think I'd go with big unit(s) of allarus instead. But otherwise, I think small units offer too much value overall.

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@Idaho. It isn't about how strong the Katahs are. I don't mean they arent flexible in that you can chose x or y. I mean they are inflexible in that they force a whole army to fight the same. It essentially comes down to a lore vs game thing. In my opinion it goes against the Army of individual theme the custodes have going in the lore. My big complaint is the codex doesn't capture this feeling for me. I feel like I'm playing a SM Army rather than Custodes. If you like it, then I'm glad but for me I don't feel like I'm playing custodes and that is the most important thing for me.

 

@ Balerion. Katas make you whole Army fight in unison in the same style. That is highly inflexible imo. Sure you can change one unit but then what about the rest. It doesn't for me feel like I'm playing custodes and as I have said to Idaho that is the most important part for me and I feel that feeling is missing with the dex. I therefor don't think it is a good book. I'm glad you like it though and wish you all the best with it but for me I feel like I'm playing Space Marines.

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@ Balerion. Katas make you whole Army fight in unison in the same style. That is highly inflexible imo. Sure you can change one unit but then what about the rest. It doesn't for me feel like I'm playing custodes and as I have said to Idaho that is the most important part for me and I feel that feeling is missing with the dex. I therefor don't think it is a good book. I'm glad you like it though and wish you all the best with it but for me I feel like I'm playing Space Marines.

. I understand, because I felt the same way at first, before actually playing with the codex. But it's not really true, the whole army doesn't fight with the same Kata.

 

From my experience, only a few units in the army actually use the selected Kata each turn and then thanks to martial discretion, one unit can have a completely different stance/Kata. So in the army, which has around 10 units in total, you fight in 3 ways each turn: default (no stance)/kata stance/martial discretion stance.

I think that's pretty good. Because we have to remember that it's still a game and has limitations. Brains would melt if every unit could have a different stance.

 

But, the most important thing is, if we take the previous codex as a baseline, this new one is a much, much better representation of the fluff and differentiates custodes from space marines more in my opinion. The previous one was much worse when it comes to fluff representation on the table, since the only difference was in a bit better stats.

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@ Balerion. Katas make you whole Army fight in unison in the same style. That is highly inflexible imo. Sure you can change one unit but then what about the rest. It doesn't for me feel like I'm playing custodes and as I have said to Idaho that is the most important part for me and I feel that feeling is missing with the dex. I therefor don't think it is a good book. I'm glad you like it though and wish you all the best with it but for me I feel like I'm playing Space Marines.

. I understand, because I felt the same way at first, before actually playing with the codex. But it's not really true, the whole army doesn't fight with the same Kata.

 

From my experience, only a few units in the army actually use the selected Kata each turn and then thanks to martial discretion, one unit can have a completely different stance/Kata. So in the army, which has around 10 units in total, you fight in 3 ways each turn: default (no stance)/kata stance/martial discretion stance.

I think that's pretty good. Because we have to remember that it's still a game and has limitations. Brains would melt if every unit could have a different stance.

 

But, the most important thing is, if we take the previous codex as a baseline, this new one is a much, much better representation of the fluff and differentiates custodes from space marines more in my opinion. The previous one was much worse when it comes to fluff representation on the table, since the only difference was in a bit better stats.

I'm not sure I agree. If you have ten units will fight in the same katah one will not with strats. No stance is a result of the inflexibility of the katah placing the entire army in the stance, they don't get to use it. I don't count that as a separate option.

 

I'm not advocating units having different stances either, I would prefer if the whole thing was scrapped and we got a new, fluffier thing. I just don't feel katahs are very representative of the way custodes fight and this then permeates through the rest of the codex. Personally I feel gw have made better codexes that represent the chosen faction. This feels like I'm playing space marines.

 

I think it is really one of those things that come down to what custodes mean to a person. It is highly subjective so there is no right or wrong answer. For you, they are representative which is great. For me they are not, which is not so great but not the end of the world.

Edited by Subtleknife
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Which part of Blade Champion? Do you mean Consummate Swordsman rule? Because having that army wide would be broken as hell :D Plus it'd just be another rule like Aegis, that'd be the same for every single custodes unit and wouldn't show their individualism.
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Also, are we going to apply that to a single model within units or are we happy with units of Custodes fighting as a coherent group over the army?

 

Would vote whole units.

 

And maybe it would need to be toned down.

 

But literally the stances he can do are exactly what I thought our army ability should be.

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I don't see how that feels any different to Ka'tahs but with another name? Except you choose at the beginning of the turn.

 

It's still not representing the individualistic nature of their fighting style to apply it to whole units anyway, so I don't really see it as a solution to the problem, just a different way of buffing the army.

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