Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex Preview

Following our Shadow Throne preview for Warhammer 40K, we check out the books for both factions starting in our Adeptus Custodes Codex Preview.

Published: January 8, 2022 5:00 AM /

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Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex.

Hot on the heels of our Shadow Throne preview, the narrative box set for Warhammer 40K, which saw the nefarious infiltration of humanities' homeworld by the Genestealer Cults, met with force from the Emperor's golden protectors, the Adeptus Custodes, this month sees the release of the full rules codexes for both factions. In this article, we'll have a look at what the Adeptus Custodes Codex contains, the rules, and what if any differences there are from those presented in the Shadow Throne booklet.

Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex.

Who Are The Adeptus Custodes?

The Adeptus Custodes are genetically-engineered super-soldiers, each created to be extremely capable warriors for their sole purpose of protecting the Emperor. They differ from the Space Marines, who are created to work in units with overwhelming force to defeat their enemies, the Custodes are created as individual warriors, with extremely high levels of intelligence in order to best enact the defense of the Emperor. Only recently have they started to leave the homeworld of Terra, actively dealing with threats as they arise. The Custodes also work alongside the Sisters of Silence, Pariah’s, or blanks who nullify nearby psychic powers, and collectively they are known as the Talons of the Emperor.

Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex.

What's Included In The Adeptus Custodes Codex?

The new Adeptus Custodes codex begins with several pages of background information and lore, history, and composition of the Adeptus Custodes, along with the different shield hosts, specialist sub-factions, each with their own duties. It also includes a few pages of painted miniatures in different color schemes and photos of the Custodes in action for inspiration.

The rules section also has details of the upcoming Combat Patrol for the Adeptus Custodes, a box of pre-set miniatures to get you playing straight away. The Adeptus Custodes combat patrol will contain:

  • 1 Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike
  • 5 Custodian Guard
  • 5 Sisters of Silence Prosecutors
  • 5 Sisters of Silence Vigilators
  • 2 Vertus Praetors are pictured, but not listed on the Combat Patrol page
Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex.

The codex includes stratagems, battlefield abilities that can be used during the game, warlord traits, unique abilities given to your armies' leader, and relics, powerful equipment that can be given to your armies' characters. These can be taken for any Adeptus Custodes army, and the codex also includes unique stratagems, warlord traits, and relics for six different shield hosts, along with two fighting style traits for each.

The six Adeptus Custodes Shield Hosts are:

  • Emperor's Chosen - A generic host for the non-fixed gathering of Custodes, they have a fighting-style trait that gives them a 4+ save against mortal wounds.
  • Shadowkeepers - The guardians and wardens of evil technology, artifacts, and enemies. They have a warlord trait that negates invulnerable saving throws when your leader attacks an enemy character.
  • Dread Host - An aggressive shield host that attacks threats head-on. They have a relic that increases the ranged strength of a castellan axe, and the AP and damage of it in melee.
  • Aquilan Shield - Bodyguards of those deemed important to the safety of Terra. They have a stratagem that stops an Imperium Infantry character from being the target of ranged attacks while nearby to an Aquilian Shield Custodes unit.
  • Solar Watch - A Custodes strike force. They have a warlord trait that lets a nearby infantry unit advance and charge in the same turn.
  • Emissaries Imperatus - They carry the Emperor's messages both spoken and physical around the Imperium. They have a fighting style trait that means they always fight first if they start the fight phase within engagement range of an enemy unit.

The rules section also includes unique Custodes crusade rules, for taking your force on a narrative campaign. These include agendas, like Shed the Black, which allows your units to remove battle scars by gaining experience points, requisitions, like upgrading your shield-captain to a Captain-Commander, battle traits, relics, artifacts, battle scars, and the rules for the Magisterium Lex Ultima, a set of objectives that form a unique endeavor for your force.

Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex.

What's Included In The Datasheets Section Of The Adeptus Custodes Codex?

The Datasheets section includes the rules for the three sisters of silence units and their Knight Centura, along with the characters Valerian and Aleya, straight from the Black Library novels by Chris Wraight, and the new Blade Champion from the Shadow Throne box, along with all the units from the previous codex. The Talons of the Emperor units from the Shadow Throne box see a slight power cost drop across them all from the Shadow Throne booklet, but nothing too drastic. It also gives you full access to the rules mentioned in Shadow Throne but not detailed, like the Aegis of the Emperor, Martia K'atah, Daughters of the Abyss, and From Golden Light abilities.

Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex.

Playing an Adeptus Custodes forces means that you're always going to be outnumbered, but with the best weapons and equipment, and the golden light of the Emperor behind you, you'll never be outgunned.

The copy of the Warhammer 40K Adeptus Custodes Codex used in this preview was provided by Games Workshop.


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A Potts TechRaptor
| Senior Tabletop Writer

Adam is a Tabletop Specialist for TechRaptor. He started writing for TechRaptor in 2017 and took over as Tabletop Editor in 2019 and has since stood down… More about Adam

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Warhammer 40,000
Game Page Warhammer 40,000
Games Workshop
Release Date
September 1, 1987 (Calendar)
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