Alright you fans of the Golden boys, it’s time to talk about the 2nd most hyped unit for the Custodes in 9th, the Telemon Heavy Dreadnought!
Like all Custodes, a WS and BS of 2+ is standard (though it can degrade to as low as a 4+). Strength and Toughness 8 are huge, particularly with all the Astartes that are out and about. 14 Wounds, 4 Attacks, Leadership of 8, a 2+/4++ save, and ignoring wounds on a 6+ round him out to be a total tank. We also have a stratagem, Ancient Artifice, that allows us to halve incoming Damage. When the Space Marine Eradicators start to target our dreadnought, this 1 command point stratagem can easily be the difference between life and death.
Clocking in anywhere from 260pts to 290pts. depending on wargear, the Telemon isn’t cheap. As Custodes players though, we’re used to that. There are several schools of thought when it comes to how to get the most from him, that can generally be put into one of three schools of thought; firesupport, linebacker, or spearhead.
First off, the firesupport. This approach has us take double guns, and they’re usually going to be 2 of the same. We can either bring the arachnus storm cannon with it’s 2 firing modes, or the illastus accelerator culverin. The storm cannon can either shoot 2 shots 36in. with S8, AP-4, Damage 3, this firing mode also gets to reroll to wound against Vehicles. The other mode is 6 shots at 24in. with S7, AP-2 and Damage 1. Both options are excellent, and are versatile enough to make this weapon very tempting. Range has become less of an issue with most Objectives being placed in the middle of the board in 9th, along with the board shrinking to 44×60. The accelerator culverin brings a long reach of 48in., 4 shots, S7, AP-3, and Damage 2. These are the ole’ reliable, and I love them for waxing units of Primaris Marines, and with the incoming Wound bump, all Astartes, off of Objectives. S7 makes it somewhat useful for hitting vehicles, but they’ll have to be medium to lighter ones to truly be effective. Personally between the two, I am a big advocate for the double storm cannons if you want a super shooty dread. March this guy to midfield and let him delete things as he sees fit, one other bonus is the spiculus bolt launcher on top of the dreadnought. 24inches, 5 shots, Strength 5, AP -1, and Damage 1 aren’t anything to sneeze at, and if the Telemon doesn’t move he may fire it twice, including Overwatch. With a double shooting bolt launcher, and two bolt cannons firing their anti-infantry shots, your Telemon is shooting 22 shots. I don’t care who you are, that’s awesome!
When we look at the linebacker or spearhead approach, we are almost always going to make him an Eternal Penitent for 1 Command Point, especially if he has a Caestus (super mega power fist) on him. This gives him the ability to re-roll charges as well as gain an additional Attack, turning him into an even further threat in melee and increasing his charge reliability. We can combine this with From Golden Light They Come and Vexilla Teleport Homer stratagems for a pricey but devastating drop. The only time I’d consider passing on this is if we go the firesupport route with our Telemon.
The linebacker brings a caestus and one of the main guns. I again prefer the storm cannon, but there isn’t necessarily a wrong answer if you feel your army needs the reach of the accelerator. This guy is a great fit for armies that plan on pushing to midfield and don’t have as much melee power as other Custodes armies. Think Sagittarium Custodian spam lists. By benefiting from the re-rolls offered by Trajan, who will of course be in that type of list, you’ll have a guy blasting away at the enemy and ready to rip stuff apart that gets too close. You’ll also have the protection of the inevitable Vexilla Magnifica, further increasing your Telemon’s survivability. Between one of these and a juiced up Dawneagle Shield-Captain with all the bells and whistles, your opponent won’t want to come in close. Reserves are definitely an option here depending on your opponent, if they have lots of anti-vehicle shooting, dropping him in with Golden Light They Come or using Strategic Reserves to bring him in on a vulnerable board edge are great options. This is by far the most flexible build, not too over committed to any idea and able to handle most tasks you ask it to.
Finally we have the spearhead, double Caestus fists. With two of these weapons, and Eternal Penitent, this Telemon has an ludacris 6 Attacks. Strength 16, AP -3 and Damage 4!!!! Don’t forget about your built in twin plasma ejectors either, even better with the ability to fire in melee as a vehicle. Each one has a range of 8 inches, Heavy 2D3, Strength 6, AP-3, and Damage 1 that auto hit mean you’re clearing hordes with them and your bolt launcher on top. With all that horde clearing firepower and devastating melee punch, you’re unlikely to really get bogged down in a melee you don’t want to be in. Now this is the one that I love to do the command point heavy move of dropping next to a Vexilla with the teleport homer stratagem. Being only 3 inches from the enemy with a reroll charge is awesome. Plus, your Trajan will be there to make one of those 3 Command Point stratagems free with his new wording on his Moment Shackle.
One more quick thought is which Shield Company brings out the best in these guys. Aquilan Shield has the Shield of Honor stratagem that helps you use units to protect characters by taking all attacks allocated to them for an entire phase if they’re within 3 inches of the target. With how durable the Telemon is, that could really save our Vexilla Praetor. It won’t work on Trajan though, since he isn’t an Aquilan Shield character. The Emissaries Imperatus have The Emperor’s Hand stratagem, which is fantastic. For a phase, when resolving an attack made by a model, ignore any negative hit, wound, and AP characteristic modifiers and any cover saves for the target. For the shooting Telemons, this strat is payday.
It’s pretty obvious to see why Custodes players are so excited about this guy. The days of getting bogged down in melee are a thing of the past with being able to shoot at what you’re in combat with, and the push to midfield means our assault heavy builds can really get in there and mix it up.
I caution bringing more than one, with how pricey our units are we need to have enough stuff for board control. While we got away better than most from the points increases, that doesn’t mean that the costs don’t still add up quickly.
The Telemon is a great tool, a game winning one potentially. Their durability and damage output make them an easy choice for Custodes in 9th. I think you will see them regularly to help add a bit of punch up to the Golden Company. Let me know what your thoughts are and how they’ve been performing for you guys!
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