Today, I’ll be taking a deeper look at the veteran elite forces of the Adeptus Custodes, Custodian Wardens. The Wardens are a unique group within the Golden Ten Thousand; on top of everything that goes into being of the amazing and super-human warriors that is a Custodes, Wardens are older and more experienced. Custodes must serve a minimum of 500 years before they are offered the ceremonial and ornate robes of the Wardens. However, it is not simply a status of seniority that earns one the robes. Wardens meditate for an entire year on a personal oath, one that is focused around patience and dedication to their watch as immovable champions. Only when the oath is completed are the robes set upon the armor and the title rewarded.
Let’s look at what that translates to onto the table top.
- M: 6 inches, WS: 2+, BS: 2+, S: 5, T: 5, W: 3, A: 4, Ld: 9, Sv: 2+/5++
Wardens come armed with a Castellan Axe and a Misericordia, with the option to trade out the axe for the Guardian Spear.
- Castellan Axe: (melee) S: +3, AP: -2, D: D3
- Castellan Axe: (shooting) S: 4, AP: -1, D: 2, Range: 24 inches, Rapid Fire 1
- Guardian Spear: (melee) S: +1, AP: -3, D: D3
- Guardian Spear: (shooting) S: 4, AP: -1, D: 2, Range: 24 inches, Rapid Fire 1
- Misericordia: (melee) S: user, AP: -2, D: 1, Each time the bearer fights, it can make 1 additional attack with this weapon unless it is also equipped with a Storm Shield.
Being taken in minimum units of 3 to maximum sized units of 10. Clocking in at 49 points base, a minimum unit costs 147 points before wargear. Guardian Spears are 12 points, and Castellan Axes are 14 points, so we need to think about costs and what we are going to get out of our weapons when we write our list. I’ll get a bit more into that shortly. I think that Wardens should be brought to the battlefield in units of 5 packing axes, which clocks in at 315 points. Not cheap, but I’ll dig into that aspect.
Wardens also have an additional Special Rule that is a reflection of their dedication to their oaths. Binding Oaths Special Rule lets Wardens ignore Wounds they suffer on a D6 roll of a 6. Considering that each Warden has 3 Wounds, this is a big deal. While they don’t have access to Storm Shields, Wardens get some more durability at least in this regard. Remember, that in a detachment made up exclusively of units with the ADEPTUS CUSTODES key word, all of them gain +1 to their Invulnerable Save. So really at the end of the day, Wardens will have a 4++ in most cases.
Offensively, Wardens pack a serious punch. The axes combined with the higher number of attacks that Wardens have access to make them the correct choice without a doubt. Strength 8 really makes Wardens able to put the hurt down onto essentially everything. Demon Primarchs, Knights, anything with high Toughness values don’t want to be getting hit by a plethora of attacks from these axes. The spears are excellent weapons, but they’re just so much more prolific in the rest of the Custodes army that I think having a different weapon is the right call.
Wardens I think need to be very aggressive, you’re paying a premium in points for killing power that cannot stay exposed for too long. You’ll need to use the Stratagem to Deep Strike them, but you’ll have to be smart about how to get them to the appropriate target. With the big expensive price tag, the Wardens have to be carving into the most durable and powerful units in your opponent’s army. So to get the most out of them, I’d run a unit of 5 with axes that is Deep Striking which will at least cost you 1 Command Point. Quite frankly, that high cost gives me serious pause. If I didn’t dislike the other elite unit of the Codex so much, I’d probably not take these guys as seriously for consideration. If I didn’t think that their role was so much for targeting the big nasty things, then I’d think that maybe you could get away with minimum unit sizes with Wardens. That’s not an option though here, so we need to think about bigger units and making sure that they Deep Strike into the heart of the enemy if they’ll be worthwhile.
So the final verdict for me? I’d really only consider Wardens if I didn’t have cheap units to hold backfield or even some midfield objectives. Otherwise, I think that they’re just too expensive. If you do bring them, go for the throat and bring axes. Think of them like an executioner unit, and their target is basically poor Ned Stark. That being said, you’ll have to bring other fast and aggressive units to keep the pressure with them. Wardens are a unit that I think would really benefit from being close by to Captain-General Valoris; but that combo would just be way too many points.
I’m always wary of elite units in elite armies. When you don’t have points to spare, it’s hard to justify adding such a big points increase on models that can relatively do the same job fairly well. I don’t think that I’ll probably be bringing Wardens anytime soon, they just don’t bring enough to the table to wow me.
See you next time guys, I’ll be looking at the terminators next.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!