New Adeptus Custodes Codex & 40k Rules

custodes-new-rules-adeptusThe new 40k Adeptus Custodes are here – from Stratagems, Traits, Datasheets, and army-wide rules, here is our review and how to play them.

After the Warhammer Day Previews, we saw two new characters featured in Shadow Throne, a new boxset featuring Adeptus Custodes vs Genestealer Cults.

New Shadow Throne 40k box Announced

Shadow throne box

The Genestealer Cults have found their way to the heart of the Imperium, and when such a threat to the Emperor rears its head the elite Adeptus Custodes will stop at nothing to stamp it out. 

Now onto the Shadow Throne box set, which contains a total of 25 minis with 2 new characters for each 40k faction.  Let’s start with the Genestealer Cults value then go to the Adeptus Custodes.

shadow throne contents

  • Broodcoven $60
  • Neophyte Hybrids $44
  • Reductus Saboteur $35 (Based on recent characters, might be as high as $40)

Genestealer Cults MSRP: $139-$144

  • Allarus Custodians $50
  • Witchseeker Squad $49
  • Blade Champion $35 (Based on recent characters, might be as high as $40)

Adeptus Custodes MSRP: $134-$139

Overall MSRP: $273-283

Cost of Box: $170

Total Estimated Value: $103-113

So, if you break it down with a friend, you’ll be paying right around $85 a person and getting about $55 in value each. So, honestly, there is solid value inside (but still less than Hexfire, which got $80 in value per person) and the units included are pretty decent judging from their new rules.

If the retail price does go up, it could be a reflection of increasing prices as we have seen with the Warcry Red Harvest and Harrowdeep starter prices creeping up as its rumored raw components like paper and pulp may be affected by supply chain issues now as well.

Is Shadow Throne Worth It?

reductus saboteur blade champion rulesAt $170 Shadow Throne is a solid value at release and probably worth it for anyone looking to start either of these armies or bolster existing ones.

While the Genestealer Cults side gets a bit more value, the total overall is a little less than both the recent Hexfire and Piety & Pain battlebox sets.

Plus you can always sell off the side you may not want if you can’t find someone to split it with on Shadow Throne release weekend (that we assume will be early to mid-December now).

But there are also two new models! One for GSC and one for the Custodes, so let’s check those out in more detail.

How To Play Adeptus Custodes Warhammer 40k & Rules Review

Codex Adeptus CustodesThese rules are collected from all the following reviews on YouTube, and Warhammer Community alike, so be sure to watch your favorite presenters talk about their take on the book at the links below!

New Adeptus Custodes 40k Rules Shield Hosts

custodes shield host

Shield Hosts, if you didn’t know, function very similarly to sub-factions, meaning your detachments will align themselves with one of the Shield Hosts and gain exclusive benefits that are tied to it!

Each Host has a preferred Ka’tah, which unlocks additional benefits. If you activate one stance of your Shield Host’s preferred Martial Ka’tah in the command phase, you get the benefit of both stances. The stance you didn’t pick may then be used in the next turn – which makes for a potent two-turn combo.

This can really give your army a big swing turn where you combine the two stances. Then, you can still advance it next turn if you need.

adeptusThese are army-wide rules to give your Custodes a little more punch. with a 4+ invuln and not losing Mortals on 6’s adds to their survivability. They also count as double the models for ObSec, which will really give you some extra power to score those points!

Emperor’s Chosen Shield Host Rules

Emperor's Chosen

The Magna Imperator fighting style has two great traits.  Both of these are really strong. First, re-rolling hits or wounds is always going to be a powerful mechanic. Then, getting a 4+ save against all mortals is nice, especially when you have such few minis.

Probably the default shield host we will see going forward, these saves conferring to Dreadnoughts is just hugely powerful, not to mention the rest of the army as well.

As for the other options, An upgraded spear is always nice, but the Warlord trait seems very good. With such an elite force, extra attack counts are super important as chaff will usually be the hardest thing to deal with if you don’t have enough shots or attacks.

Shadowkeepers Adeptus Custodes Shield Host Rules


The Wardens of the Dark Cells fighting style also looks pretty good but is a little more specialized. Subtracting 1 from attacks from nearby enemies can be extremely powerful, however, if an 8 attack unit goes to 7, it’s not that much of a difference totals-wise. Similarly, if a ranged unit with no melee weapon goes from 2 to 1, they probably weren’t going to do damage anyways! The best case is most likely for low attack count, high damage melee units, like a space marine with a thunder hammer. Secondly, bonuses to wounding characters are nice, but it depends on what faction you play against as some desperately want to protect their characters, and others don’t mind at all when they die.

Both the Relic and Warlord Trait for this host seems very strong! Each one allows you to effectively neuter a powerhouse melee character by forcing them to attack last or preventing any invulnerable save from being used, allowing you to kill them easier and prevent them from attacking back (if you do kill them first).

Dead Host Shield Host

dread host

The Dread Host is another great close-range option. Their Instruments of the Emperor’s Wraith fighting style is pretty decent with a bonus to AP when within 9″ of the target and having full re-rollable charges making them a good middle ground for a melee-focused force that need to get into melee.

The rest of the options are decent, but nothing too flashy.

Aquilan Shield: Adeptus Custodes Shield Host Rules

aquilan shield

Aquilan Shield gets access to a super unique trait in their Gilded Guardians fighting style. We saw rumors about the entire army being able to Heroically Intervene, but this is pretty close so we’ll give the rumor a thumbs up. Then they gain some decent defense against small arms fire.

Shield host Rules 4Pick this shield host when you absolutely, positively, want an enemy force incredibly dead.

Giving core units heroic intervention completely changes the dynamic of opponents ever trying to charge you.  The warlord trait option is also pretty great, halving all the damage that warlord would take.

Shield host Rules 5

And that’s not all. Each Shield Host has its own stratagem, such as the Aquilan Shield Host’s ability to close ranks around vulnerable characters – perfect for keeping those slightly squishier Sisters of Silence characters alive.

For 1 CP, keeping your characters alive isn’t too bad.

Solar Watch Shield Host Rules

Solar Watch

Solar Watch‘s Talon Sortie is all about movement and mobility gaining plus 1 to advance and charge rolls, even gaining +1 to movement if the unit has an Implacable Vanguard.

Shield host Rules 6

The Warlord trait could really take your opponent by surprise because you can cover a ton of ground and still charge. Even though it’s one unit, it’s still pretty strong.

Shield host Rules 7

The relic on the other hand is nice with their falling back, shooting, and charging in the same turn really gives you a ton of flexibility.

Emissaries Imperatus Shield Host Rules

Emissaries Imperatus

Emissaries Imperatus get Heralds of the Throne giving them fight first ability and allowing them to ignore any hit and wound roll modifiers they wish.

As for their other options, Halo of the Torchbearer seems like an interesting choice giving you access to some “free” mortal wound damage output each fight phase.

How to Play Adeptus Custodes 40k Rules Captain Commander

captain commander

Getting into the new Captain Commander rules for the Adeptus Custodes there will be three selections for each HQ type.

Being able to upgrade your Adeptus Custodes HQ models to a Captain Commander with new rules makes them feel even more toolbox-y fitting whatever you need out of them. The extra customization helps each new list really feel like your own.

guardian captain commander

Being able to use rules like this on both a character like a Shield-Captain, and Adeptus Custodes core unit make this possibly quite strong. We’ll have to see how the other characters can really benefit from this.

captain commander rules

A Captain-Commander, however, can make nearby units even stronger by eliminating the need to choose from the two stances of a particular ka’tah.

allarus captain commander

Unstoppable Destroyer allows the captain to intervene or pile in any direction will let them get to whoever you want and with the extra move, you’ll be able to pull off some cheeky maneuvers.

Defiant to the Last makes it so you’ll want him to take at least one wound to get the extra attack, then if he gets close to death, you’ll be gaining two attacks which for a Captain-Commander is super strong.

vertus captain commander

Fierce Conqueror makes it so you’ll want to get him stuck in with at least 6 models, as you’ll be getting 8 attacks hitting on 2’s, with super high strength and serious damage!

Tip of the Spear gives you re-rolls to all your ones in combat and is seriously strong, especially considering you already hit on 2’s.

Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition 40k Warlord Traits Rules

custode warlord traits

Of the 6 new Warlord traits, two look a little better than the rest. Master of Martial Strategy looks amazing for both its CP refunds and its power with being able to swap up your combat bonuses from Martial Ka’tah to exactly what you need.

Superior creation will still be a go-to depending on the Shield host we imagine as well.

Additionally, Impregnable Mind will probably be good since the Custodes don’t have access to psykers, being able to deny a key psychic power can help a lot on a lynchpin turn.

sisters of silence warlord traits

The Sisters of SIlence also get their own traits, with actually two options being pretty good.

Silent Judge lets you get in some cheeky points by removing Objective secured from enemy units around the warlord, meaning if your warlord lives, you can steal points even if you are outnumbered on an objective.  The trick will be keeping her safe…

Mistress of Persecution is just a good combat option as it allows your units to ignore cover and get a bonus to ranged weapons.

How to Play Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition 40k Relic Rules

custode relic

There are quite a few new Relics, with the first page containing six options for Custodes. Ignoring the weapons upgrades (because they are usually decent, but straightforward), Fulminaris Aggresspr looks pretty decent giving both CORE and SHIELD HOST characters the ability to ignore heavy and light cover!

For a more selfish option, Auric Aquilas looks to upgrade a biker, giving them re-rollable charges, or +1 to charge if they have two sources of re-rollable charges, and it can double move by “boosting” but then gives up its shooting and charging for that turn. All in all, a great mobility boost to already extremely mobile models.

Obviously, the Aquilas and Eagles Eye have changed some, but perhaps the Praetorian Plate makes up for that.

custode relicc 2

Closing out Custodes, there are 3 more options and Wrath Angels looks great for some free mortals on objectives, of course, if the opponent dodges it, then it still works as battlefield manipulation. It’s a win-win!


sisters of silence relic

The Sisters of Silence got three relic options with Enhanced Voidsheen Cloak looking insane! If you combine this with the warlord trait that removes objectives secured from enemies, you can have an extremely hard-to-kill warlord stealing points from opponents. A 4+ invulvn AND -1 to hit and wound on paper is super great!

Although even with all this, a Knight-Centura is only a 3 toughness 5 wound model, so she won’t be impossible to kill. Especially since outside of Lookout sir, the Custodes ability does not extend to Sisters as they are not “shield host”.

Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition 40k Unit Rules Datasheets

First up for the Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition 40k unit rules datasheets is Trajann Valoris, who is is coming out swinging!

trajann valoris datasheet

Trajann got a few upgrades this time around like +1 Wound, +1 Attack, and his signature Watcher’s Axe now has flat 3 damage instead of d3, making him quite a bit more deadly in melee on paper. However, his “built in” 3+ invulvn is now a 5+ FNP, which is a clear downgrade and could his survivability a bit.

Of course, there are other changes, such as his re-roll aura being updated to only affect CORE units, which was expected. Additionally, his Moment Shackle traded the heal and free stratagem options for damage mitigation and a “fight next” ability.

shield captain datasheet

Just like Trajann, the base Shield-Captain sees a buff of +1 wound and +1 Attack. Some of his weapons are also buffed, with Sentinel Blades shooting attack gaining an AP and a Damage, Castelan Axe melee goes to 2 flat damage instead of d3, Guardian Spear melee getting +1 Strength and flat 2 damage, and Sentinel Blade melee getting +1 strength and flat 2 damage.

Sadly the custodes shield also got NERFED, no longer giving an Invuln save, instead only granting +1 armour saves.

Additionally as expected, his aura is also changed to only affect CORE units.

shiedl captain in allarus terminator armour datasheet

Just like Trajann and the base Shield-Captain, the terminator captain sees a buff of +1 wound and +1 Attack. The weapons see the same changes as the base Shield-Captain with the addition of the Balistus Grenade Launcher getting +1 Strength and +6″ range.

Additionally as expected, his aura is also changed to only affect CORE units.

shield captain on dawneagle jetbike datasheet

The Shield-Captain on Jetbike also sees some buffs to their statline with a nice +2 wounds and +1 attack. The Salvo launcher is also changed to only have the Melta Missile profile, getting its damage changed to d3+3 and losing the wound re-rolls against vehicles. The Interceptor lance gets +1 strength, flat 2 damage, and trades its re-roll trait for +1 to wound on charge and intervention.

Additionally as expected, his aura is also changed to only affect CORE units.

knight-centura datasheet

Comparing the Knight-Centura to a base Sisters of Silence, we see that she now has 5 wounds and 4 attacks, compared to the previous base of 1 and 2. Additionally, the Witchseeker flamer got an AP and the Executioner greatblade now has flat 2 damage instead of d3.

She also has a wound re-roll aura that only affects the Sisters of Silence models.

Custodian Guard datasheet

The Custodian Guard gets +2 to leadership, but no other statline changes, additionally their weapons see the same changes as above with the other units where applicable.

Other than that, they are mostly the same!

Now let’s recap the Shadowthrone units to give you a better overview of some of the factions updated model performance.

Shadowthrone Unit Datasheets

prosecutor rules from shadowthrone

Prosecutors didn’t gain anything and Lost Psyk-out grenades and Prosecution Protocols

        Overall, Prosecutors look to have only lost rules, but joining the Adeptus Custodes Codex might mean their extra rules in the new full book is enough to counteract the loss.

        vigilators rules from shadowthrone

        Vigilators on the other hand had their Executioner Greatblade changed to flat 2 damage (was d3) and once again lost Psyk-out grenades.

            Overall, Vigilators look to have only lost rules. However, like the Prosecutors, joining the Adeptus Custodes Codex might mean their extra rules in the new full book is enough to counteract the loss.

            allarus custodians rules from shadowthrone

            Allarus Custodians saw a few changes such as; Leadership is now 11 (was 9) and the same weapon changes as above where applicable.

            A small change that might not seem big is the new minimum squad size of one, making it easier to squeeze in extra units for that extra bit of value.

                Vexilus Praetor rules from shadowthrone

                Vexilus Praetors saw quite a few changes. Their statline Leadership is now 11 (was 9) and Wounds is now 7 (was 5). Their wargear options were also changed as they are now equipped with Balistus Grenade Launcher by default and can no longer take the Castellan Axe or Guardian Spear.

                Vexilla’s have been adjusted and streamlined in reference to existing cover rules and you can only take one of each Vexilla in an army. They also lost their re-roll failed Morale test aura.

                      Overall, the Vexilus Praetor seems to have gotten neutral changes, meaning most people who play them will probably continue to.

                      Finally the new kid on the block…

                      Blade Champion rules from shadowthroneThe way that this is worded seems to imply you get access to all three options with one weapon loadout! If that’s true, this model will be nigh unstoppable in melee and can easily put a hurting on a variety of target types. Assuming the Blade Champion can get into melee he will be a huge force multiplier.

                      Even more so, you can feel free to challenge any model in melee thanks to his extremely good defensive ability Consummate Swordsman which makes 1-3 hit rolls auto fail! Not to mention if they actually get a hit through, he gets a +1 bonus to his save in melee.

                      legacy of combat preview

                      While Legacy of Combat gives him a fight-first rule, which is critical to melee-centric models, being able to alpha strike opposing units and prevent as much swing back damage. His additional ability to intervene from further away is a great boost to mobility, allowing him to abuse his CQC defensive buffs more frequently.

                      At 110 points, and based on what we’ve seen so far he should be pretty strong! Especially when you consider everything in Custodes is so high costed, 110 doesn’t seem too bad.

                      Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition 40k Wargear

                      custodes new weapon profiles

                      We’ve seen a lot of weapon profiles already, and a lot of them seem to be getting better! Removing d3 damage in favor of flat 2 speeds up games, and removes the variable of feels bad, either for the player or the opponent when high/low rolls happen.

                      Additionally, the NERF to Shields and some characters like Trajann getting their invuln removed means that if weapons weren’t buffed, Custodes wouldn’t really have a chance. We’ll have to wait and see which weapons are the best going forward, but the 4+ INV and +1 from shields sorta makes it close to a 3+ still if you have vexilla support giving you cover.

                      Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition 40k Points Changes

                      Here are the big points changes for just the Games Workshop plastic products.

                      adeptus custodes points highlights

                      Misericordias are now free for all! These exquisite blades are awarded to Custodians as a symbol of the Magisterium Lex Ultima,* which places them above any law save the Emperor’s will. In the endless war of the 41st Millenium, these weapons are used to deliver the Emperor’s Peace to mortally wounded foes.

                      Multiple HQ choices are enjoying a discount, including Valerian and Trajann Valoris himself. If you want to deliver your Custodes to the front lines in style you’ll be happy to see that Venerable Land Raiders and the sleek Coronus Grav-Carrier are falling in price by 20 and 30 points respectively.

                      While the Games workshop PDF is nice, it, unfortunately, isn’t the same as the points changes that will appear in Chapter Approved 2022, which have already been spotted:

                      Custodes Points 2

                      3dartguy ruler cropClick Here To Get The New Sci-Fi Ruler Miniature!

                      We were hoping they would put the Agamatus points down, but at least they didn’t go up. The Orion and Ares both went down 50 points each, so we might see more of them on the tabletop.  Lastly, it also looks like the Telemon went down 20 points, so pretty surprising and decent there. There are some increases and drops, but nothing too insane overall for Forge World stuff.

                      Adeptus Custodes Codex Points Changes

                      • Blade Champion +10

                      • Shield Captain -5

                      • Allarus Captain -10

                      • Valerian -10

                      • Allarus Terminators -5 per model

                      • Vertus Bikes -5 per model

                      • Land Raider -20

                      • Trajann -10

                      • Bike Captain -10

                      Forge World Adeptus Custodes Points Changes

                      • Telemon -20
                      • Aquilon Terminators -5 ppm

                      • Orion & Ares -50
                      • Coronus Grav-carrier -30

                      Misericordia’s for free on everyone except Sagittarum Guard.

                      Is It Still Worth Playing Adeptus Custodes?

                      blade champion black background

                      Yeah absolutely, the new Blade Champion looks like a fantastic option for his points and his raw melee power. He’s basically only 5 points more than a Shield-Captain once you give them a shield. Trajann going down 10 points is huge, considering he lost a large chunk of his survivability.

                      Still, we’ll have to see if he is worth the points while losing some of his perks.

                      Now while some folks will be upset by the immediate “invalidation” of yet another in print Games Workshop book, it’s worth mentioning that this Codex, in theory, is being released way later than originally intended. So it is “butting up” so to speak against the new twice-yearly GT updates.

                      Updates in general for any game are just good business. That being said it also seems like in 2022 GW will have their hands full trying to monetize these updates while getting hobbyists to adopt their new DLC style pay-to-play path to market.

                      Here’s all the latest on the Adeptus Custodes 9th Edition rules updates and points changes for Warhammer 40k

                      What do you think about the new rules for Adeptus Custodes?

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                      About the Author: Travis Pasch

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