Adeptus Custodes Codex Review: Shield-Captains

Mr.MoreTanks back to talk about my absolutely favorite force in all of the grimdark universe, the Adeptus Custodes.  As always, for more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!

Today I’ll be looking over the leaders of the Golden Chosen as I’ve grown fond of calling them.  Shield-Captains are the leaders of the Shield-Companies of the Adeptus Custodes.  These ferocious combat monsters can take on most anything in the game while providing nice support for your other Custodes units.

There are three options for Shield-Captains, running them on foot in traditional Custodes armor, or in Allarus Terminator armor, or riding a dawn-eagle jetbike.  All of them offer a buff, where friendly Custodes with 6 inches can reroll 1’s to Hit.  This ups the punching power of your warriors quite a bit, and also benefits the Shield-Captain.

This is essentially the “baseline” for the Shield-Captains, and depending on which one you’re using, their stats may change.

WS: 2+  BS: 2+  S: 5  T: 5  W:6  A: 5  Ld: 9  Sv: 2+/5++

CRIKEY! Just look at the Attacks and the Wounds on that bad boy, isn’t he just marvelous?  This stat line really does put just about any other HQ in the game beyond a few outliers to shame.  Backed up with the right gear and using their special rules, they can turn the tabletop battle in your favor very quickly.

First let’s review the one on foot in “regular” armor.  At 7 power points, and depending on the gear, they range from as little as 122pts to 138pts.  Considering their killing power and their durability, any load out is a steal.  I’m a fan of the castellan axe myself for the one on foot.  When you’re on a budget to build a Battalion, this guy will be faithful and dependable.  You won’t feel too bad about leaving this guy in the back field to help guard Objectives, nor will you be overly concerned with him pushing up the field with other warriors.

Next is the fella in Allarus Terminator armor.  Starting at 130pts before gear, he essentially gains a Wound for a total of 7 as well as the ability to Deep Strike.  Not too shabby for an additional 20pts.  One additional thing to notice is that Allarus Terminators can still move 6 inches a turn, and anyone who plays with other Terminators will tell you, every bit of Movement matters.  The Allarus armor also comes with a Balistus grenade launcher with a range of 12 inches, Assault D3, Strength 4, AP -3, and a Damage of 1.  Considering that you get to use it along with whatever gun is built into the close combat weapon he’s carrying, that’s some respectable firepower from a combat monster character.  With a minimum load out, he clocks in at 142pts.  Again though, I’d probably opt with the castellan axe over the spear or sword and board.  The strength bonus means you’ll be wounding Toughness 4 units on 2+, which are fairly common throughout the game.  This is the guy to bring when you want to have options.  He can stay home to guard your deployment zone, push to midfield since his movement isn’t slowed unlike other Terminators in the game, or be aggressive and Deep Strike in to support other units.  You probably won’t see him on the board much though to be honest, mostly because of the last option…

The jetbike option is far away the best option, and will be the most prevalent option for Shield-Captains.  For as little as 160pts, you get an outstanding killing machine.  For another 15 points, you can replace the hurricane bolters on the bike with a salvo launcher, which has some decent missile options.  I think that these can be justified for sure, but I don’t think I’ll ever use them.  I don’t like negative to hit modifiers frankly, and you shouldn’t be relying on the firepower from these guys to carry the day against bigger things. The best part about him is his improved Toughness (6), Wounds (7), and speed.  Fast, durable, and just brutal on the charge, makes him head and shoulders above the other two options.  Moving at least 14 inches a turn helps to ensure the your Shield-Captain can get to where he wants to be and will pretty much only have to fight on his terms unless something goes terribly wrong.  The biggest downside is the reduction of weapon options for him; since he’s only able to carry the interceptor lance, you don’t get to tailor him to hunt for certain things.  The lance is awesome though, and when he charges he gets to reroll to wound, which ensures that he is bringing the pain.  He is the clear winner for sure.

While one of the Shield-Captains may be further ahead than the others, the other two shouldn’t be totally brushed aside.  You can easily find a reasonable role for them within your army for sure.  The fact is though, at the end of the day, the dawn-eagle option is far and away the best choice.

Some closing thoughts that I think can be applied to all of them; you can leave the Misericordia at home.  It’s just not necessary, and if you scatter them around your army, you will add them up to be a significant chunk quickly.  If you have a spare 4 points and don’t what to do with it, then that’s fine.  Frankly though, I always forget about it anytime I bring it, which is part of why I stopped bringing it.  Even when I did though, I was never really impressed.  They all tend to do better when they can be around other Custodes.  This may seem obvious, but you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to buff the abilities of what your Custodes do best, and that’s murder the living daylights out of enemy units.  There are really only a handful of units or characters that these guys fear, but don’t leave them alone to hold an entire flank.  There’s forging a narrative, and then there are bad choices.


Thanks for reading! See you next time as we crack into the rest of this book.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Mr.MoreTanks

Lover of gaming, whiskey, steak, poker, and politics. T.O. of the and events.

13 Responses to “Adeptus Custodes Codex Review: Shield-Captains”

  1. Avatar
    Ujayim April 11, 2018 6:53 am #

    “You won’t feel too bad about leaving this guy in the back field to help guard Objectives, nor will you be overly concerned with him pushing up the field with other warriors.”

    I absolutely feel bad about this. Custodes don’t have the range to even allow anything to sit back and hold objectives. Why would they be doing this? Hell, especially for around 130pts, why would you ever feel comfortable spending that much for a character that can only move 6 inches to stand in the back and do nothing, potentially the entire game.

    I dunno, man. I appreciate you being kind about these units, but they’re awful where they are. A SM Captain, with a jump pack, thunder hammer and storm shield, costs less than a Custodes Shield captain and has 8″ more movement, more strength, the same attacks, higher invuln, and assumedly better bonuses from their traits, etc.

    They’re way, way too expensive and don’t do anything special enough for what they are. We can’t even justify them as a backfield reroll machine, because Custodes don’t have anything in the backfield you need to be buffing.

    Zero salt. It just is what it is.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy April 11, 2018 8:15 am #

      > A SM Captain, with a jump pack, thunder hammer and storm shield, costs less than a Custodes Shield captain and has 8″ more movement, more strength, the same attacks, higher invuln, and assumedly better bonuses from their traits, etc.

      Well, he doesn’t have as many attacks (he has one fewer) and is less accurate (hitting on 3s not 2s.) The Shield-Captain also can access a 3+ invuln any of several ways that don’t cost points.

      Now, that’s not to say that the Shield-Captain on foot is better, but you’re definitely misstating the reality of the situation there. Moreover, you ought to be comparing the Jump Pack Captain to the Shield-Captain on a Jetbike, which is a more equivalent unit. And that comparison I think is a lot more fair- the Shield-Captain is more survivable and hits harder (certainly with shooting, arguably with melee) but is more expensive.

      With all of that said, I don’t think there’s really ever an excuse to take one on foot. The jetbike simply adds too much to their usefulness, as is often the case with mobility upgrades. GW consistently underestimates how good increasing a character’s movement is- the movement phase, as has often been said, wins games.

      • Avatar
        Ujayim April 11, 2018 8:38 am #

        I’m willing to concede an amount of sensationalism for the point of illustrating how poor the unit is.

      • Avatar
        Munchform April 14, 2018 1:57 am #

        Being able to innately deep strike is always useful. Custodes are not competitive unless combined with other codices and as such total reliance upon the dawneagle isn’t necessary… sure it’s good but not an auto include.

  2. Avatar
    Dakkath April 11, 2018 6:54 am #

    I think the salvo launcher is better than you’re giving it credit for. The flakkburst is still hitting on 2s (rerolling 1s) against anything with FLY even of you move. And there’s a LOT of things with FLY. Every jump pack, jet pack, winged,or skimmer unit in the game is a valid target. And then there’s the melta missile, which still hits on 3+ rerolling 1s.

  3. Avatar
    Rob Butcher April 11, 2018 7:18 am #

    Will shield-captains get FAQed?

    They are such a useful choice for Supreme Command Detachments, so many are taking them on bikes competitively in Imperial Soup lists.

    • Avatar
      iNcontroL April 11, 2018 7:29 am #

      Is taking a unit grounds for nerf to you? Are they a problem in the scene?

      I know it’s common place to whine in warhammer but what are we whining about.. them being used?

      • Avatar
        Ujayim April 11, 2018 7:46 am #

        People think they’re scarey boogeymen. They’re FOTM. People need to relax with all the doomsaying.

        They’re a fine, normal unit that isn’t decimating things on their own. They’re just better than the rest of the Custodes. Fix the others.

    • Avatar
      Leth April 11, 2018 7:42 am #

      Having used them they are nice, and they help fill some holes, but they are not so powerful that they are broken.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy April 11, 2018 8:16 am #

        This is pretty much what I’ve been saying since the beginning.

    • Avatar
      MooMooKai April 14, 2018 1:51 am #

      I doubt it as the Shield-Cpt is the only HQ choice for Custodes. This is just speculation on your part.

  4. Avatar
    Dakkath April 11, 2018 8:25 pm #

    Since T’au Commanders got limited instead I’m just going to bring the following:

    ++Supreme Command Detachment++
    4x Shield-Captains on jetbikes

    ++Supreme Command Detachment ++
    4x Shield Captains on jetbikes

    ++Supreme Command Detachment++
    4x Shield Captains on jetbikes w/ salvo launchers and misericordias
    one of these is the warlord and gets the Auric Aquilus and Superior Creation trait

    [/sarcasm mode]

  5. Avatar
    Kraggy April 12, 2018 1:07 am #

    The Shield Captain in Allarus Terminator armour can only have the Castellan Axe or Guardian Spear. No Sword and Board for him (I guess a copy past issue)

    Other than this its a good article. I still think Custodes work better in a soup list than on their own, but it is somethings fun to play with all those golden bodies.

    The Dawneagle Shield Captain is amazing, but they definately all have their place. Remembering that those 120 points for a basic guy on foot isnt terrible as he can hold an objective on his own against anything other than troops from other armies, and against Troops he can probably kill them fast enough that holding it against troops wont be an issue!

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