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Are Custodes the best "Pound-for-Pound" Codex?


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#1
L30n1d4s

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The more I look at them, especially the leaked new points values from Chapter Approved which makes many key units even cheaper, the more I am wondering if, for points costs per model, Custodes are not one of the very best (maybe even the best) "value" Codex in 40K right now.


For instance, let me provide the example of the new Versus Praetor Biker, compared to a Space Marine Captain on Bike.


To make them as "equivalent" as possible, let's give the Captain a Storm Shield and a Power Fist. So, in comparison, the Biker Captain has the following stats:

M14" WS2+ BS2+ S4 T5 W6 A4 Ld9 Sv2+/4++ (Note: He makes 5 melee attacks on the charge at S8 AP-3 Dmg2, with -1 to hit from the PF. Additionally, he has a RF2 Twin-Bolter as his shooting option)


Now, in comparison, a single Vertus Praetor has the following profile:

M14" WS2+ BS2+ S5 T6 W5 A4 Ld11Sv2+/4++ (Note: He makes 4 attacks on the charge at S7 AP-3 Dmg2, with +1 to wound on the charge, plus a free Misericordia attack at S5 AP-2 Dmg1. He also has a RF6 Hurricane Bolter as his shooting option).


Comparing the two, the Bike Captain has 1 more wound, but the Versus Praetor is +1T and has a built in 6+++ against MWs, so they are very close in overall survivability. In terms of mobility, the both move 14" and auto-advance 6", but the Versus Praetor has Fly, so he can move over intervening models and units, giving him a definitive mobility advantage (Oh, and you can use a Strat to Deep Strike him anywhere on the board, which the Bike Captain cannot do, being limited to Strategic Reserve options).

In terms of shooting, they are both BS2+, so the Vertus Praetor has a tremendous advantage with his 12 Hurricane Bolter shots compared to the Captain's 4 Twin-Bolter shots within rapid fire range. Moving to melee output, the Bike Captain gets one more attack on the charge, thanks to Shock Assault, and attacks at S8 vice S7, but the Versus Praetor gets +1 to wound on the charge (so basically the same as or better than S8 in all situations) and does not have a -1 to hit, plus the Praetor also gets a weaker 5th attack from the Misericordia, all of which basically puts him in par with Bike Captain overall.

Finally, in terms of additional "force multiplier" notes, the Bike Captain is a character, so he gets built-in Heroic Intervention and benefits from Look Out, Sir, while the Vertus Praetor benefits from the Custodes rule of counting as 2 models for purposes of holding objectives and, importantly, has the "Core" key word, meaning it can benefit from a whole slew of buffs that the Bike Captain cannot take advantage of (i.e. such as re-rolls to hit and wound auras, for example).


Taken all together, I would say that the Bike Captain and Vertus Praetor are VERY close in overall value and combat capability, with each having advantages in certain areas over the other.


So, knowing all that, how do their points line up? Well, based on the CA leaks, a single Vertus Praetor will cost 80 points, while a Captain on Bike (with PF and SS, to bring him up to "equivalency" with the status of the Praetor) costs 120 points.... i.e. the Bike Captain is 50% more expensive than the Vertus Praetor! Put another way, for the price of two Bike Captains, you could take three Vertus Praetors.


Now, I realize some of this is not an equitable comparison, as Bike Captains can take WL Traits, Relics, and have all kinds of Chapters Tactics, Strats, Litanies, and Psychic Powers to buff them, but Vertus Praetor also benefit from Shield-Host rules, Strats, and buffs from outside sources which, taken with the fact that they are literally 40 points cheaper per model, makes them a pretty incredible deal (remember, Bike Captains are a very solid competitive choice for SM armies right now).

More to the point, despite running small armies of very elite models, "pound-for-poind" it appears that Custodes units (like the Vertus Praetor example here) are an exceptional bargain.

I am not saying that every Custodes unit is as good of a deal as the Versus Praetor, but a lot of their units are in the same ball park (i.e. look at the new 45 point cost Custodian Guard... for 10 points more than a Bladeguard they get basically the same stats across the board, with the addition of +1T, +2S on their melee attacks, WAY better shooting, WS2+ instead of WS3+, and, most importantly, Objective Secured/being a Troops selection instead of an Elites choice).

Anyway, my entire point here is that, maybe, the whole Custodes "theme" is being an elite army that across the board has some of the very best points value per unit of any Codex in the game right now.


Thoughts on this? Agree? Disagree? Would love to hear other players' perspective on this! ;)

Edited by L30n1d4s, 19 January 2022 - 05:10 AM.

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#2
Karhedron

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Another option are Grey Knights. Your basic Grey Knight in power armour costs 22 points which is the same as a Veteran Intercessor. Conveniently enough they have almost identical profiles. The Grey Knight gets a storm bolter which is probably slightly better than the Intercessor bolter variants and is a Troop choice so gains ObjSec.

Now the biggie. The Grey Knight has a Nemesis Force Sword which has the same profile as a Master Crafted Power Sword (+1S AP-2 D2). This would normally be worth at least points. Not only are GK Troops better than some Elite squads, they are crazily effective for what they bring to the table.

I admit I just got curb-stomped by a GK power-armoured horde so I may be slightly biased but when you look at what you get with GKs, you cannot argue they represent great value. Unlike the Vertus Praetor, they are Troops so you can fill your army with them and then add a sprinkling of Interceptor squad for mobility and a few Dreadnoghts or even Dreadknights to take on big targets.
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It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#3
Captain Idaho

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For what the individual models can do on an inter-unit basis, it's evident the Custodes do get things cheaply. An example would be Allarus Terminators - each one is the equivalent or better than the characters of other armies in combat, coming in nicely at 60pts each.

However, it's definitely not black and white on this comparison. They aren't force multipliers and on the table the army as a whole does struggle with a number of issues that being powerful doesn't quite overcome (numbers and redundancy being large factors, especially in a game of objectives).

Overall, Custodes are dirt cheap for what they do but as an army they need to be! These new Chapter Approved points drops will help the army very well, especially since some opponents will be tough paper rock scissors affairs.

******

@ Karhedron: regarding a recent curb stomping... funnily enough I think infantry heavy Elites are playing with fire against Custodes. You want to play the Elites game against the Custodes? Come at us, brah.

That's a good comparison anyway, yes. They seem to have similar attributes in some ways.

Edited by Captain Idaho, 19 January 2022 - 11:50 AM.

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#4
Feral_80

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Legit observations. Although I think the Bike Cpt should be considered armed with a thunder hammer for the all-important D3 which the Vertus has no access to. Even if the TH costs more points, nobody runs a bike Cpt with a power fist.

Access to D3 is an expensive, but important advantage that the captain has over the Custodes.

#5
Captain Idaho

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It is a very powerful advantage and one Custodes are severely weak to and provide little in return.

Still, for anything that doesn't require damage 3 the Dawneagle Shield Captain will still put out very prodigious amounts of killing potential.

I do wish even just the Axes got a 15pts price and could be damage 3, but I suppose the problem GW had here was Relics are all going to be poor compared to it. Right now the Relic Spears are actually good over a normal Spear, though I must say the Dreadhost Relic will be an auto-include in a Dreadhost list.

#6
Jace

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I think the nature of a low model count army is they have to give more than an equivalent cost of more numerous troops. Model count and minimum cost per unit are both characteristics to consider as well, where an elite army sucks at both.

If the 85pt vertus praetor was strictly equal to 85 points of guard fast attack but had 1/8 the model count and a minimum cost of 255 vs 75 for example, it would just be worse due to less flexibility/coverage etc.

I think that thinking would shift depending on the game but with comparatively large armies of 40k this seems right.




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