Cracking Transports; A Custodes Conundrum

As we try to figure out 9th edition metas without real event data, one of the things that seems to be clear to me, is that transports are going to be popular. Read on for more of my thoughts on Adeptus Custodes!

Keeping your Ob Sec units protected and moving quickly, is an obvious winning strategy with how important hold ground is in this edition. Similarly, if you want to have a better chance of winning, you’ll have to be able to stop such units. 

For Adeptus Custodes, this is somewhat of a tricky problem. The Golden Company quite simply doesn’t have a ton of long range armor cracking ability, especially if you don’t include Forge World units. 

So what few tools do we have that can be useful? Well in the codex the first one that comes to mind are dawn-eagle jetbikes armed with the salvo launcher. For those unfamiliar, the weapon has two firing modes, the first is 24 inches, Heavy 1, Strength 8, AP-4 and Damage D6. This missile can also re-roll failed wounds against a Vehicle. The second shot is 24 inches, Heavy D3, Strength 7, AP -1, Damage D3, and is +1 to hit any target with the Fly keyword, and -1 to hit any other target. 

I know, I know, it’s a shield-captain, but it’s a bike.

A large amount of transports in the game have Fly; all of the Primaris transports for Space Marines, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau, Necrons, and even one of the Custodes transports! This makes our salvo launcher flexible, and lets us use either a weight of D3 shots to drag down ones with little health remaining, or our melta missile to crack tougher eggs or non-fly transports. That being said, dawn-eagle bikes are not cheap. Using them for tank hunting in my opinion doesn’t necessarily maximize their utility. Acknowledging that, it is quite nice to crack open a transport in the shooting phase and then cut down the squad inside during the assault phase, clearing the table and Objectives quickly and effectively. With the Archeotech Munitions Stratagem from the War of the Spider Psychic Awakening book, you can actually roll 2D6 and discard one of them when rolling for damage with melta missiles. This dramatically improves their killing power, especially from a unit of 4 or more bikes. Overall I’m still not sold on the points investment, but if you’re going to bring jetbikes, salvo launchers are significantly more appealing than they used to be. Don’t forget that you can never be modified more than +1 or -1 on your Hit roll either. 

Another option is one that frankly I have never seen on the table in a 40k game before, Custodian Guard with Pyrithite Spears. A Troop choice that is identical to Custodian Guard with Guardian spears in almost every way; the only difference being the ranged weapon in the spear, which is a meltagun. Now this is certainly not a bad choice for 55 points including wargear, but by the time you’re in range, it’s likely that the transport has already done its primary job of moving onto an Objective. If you want to bring Guard Troops with spears, they’re worth considering, but frankly I think there are better Troop choices, and better transport killing choices. 

One choice I jump to is the Pallas Grav-Attack for 105 points in a Fast Attack slot. These little dudes rip, especially because they don’t degrade. With a movement of 16 inches and fly, you can quickly get to where you need to go. They have two firing modes with their gun. The first is 36 inches, Heavy 2, Strength 7, AP -4, and Damage 3. Additionally it can re-roll wound rolls against Vehicles it targets. This bonus rule makes up for being only Strength 7, and the flat Damage 3 means this guy is ripping vehicles apart. The second profile is better for cracking into groups of infantry. I simply can’t say enough good stuff about this unit. It is a smaller model, so pretty easy to hide. With a 5++ it is surprisingly durable for it’s points, and is just reliable when it comes to damaging enemy units. The fast movement and respectable range of the anti-vehicle shots mean that targets really cannot hide. This guy for me is the best choice, especially for the points, for taking out transports. 

Now Custodes have other FW units that have good anti-vehicle capabilities, but I think they are better off at facing off either heavy infantry or heavy armor. Transports fit a unique role in the game, and require the right tool to dispatch them. We don’t need a sledgehammer to crack an egg when we need it to crack the concrete slab. What do you guys think? Did I miss any obvious suggestions? How do you guys handle breaking open transports with your faction?

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About Mr.MoreTanks

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

2 Responses to “Cracking Transports; A Custodes Conundrum”

  1. Avatar
    Rob Butcher September 7, 2020 12:44 am #

    One of the interesting/unique things about AC is that they are ultra-elite and rely on deep-striking exactly to get where they are needed or using ‘bikes to do so, rather than relying on the rhinos/land-raiders of the classic marines. (Though they can take the latter with lascannons!!) I like the fact that they are totally different.

    That means you need a different viewpoint from playing as a transport/obsec army. Most of the AC melee weapons will crack open a rhino/wave serpent etal, especially once it’s been weakened by firepower wounding most things on a 5 or 6.

    I liked the late Geoff Robinson’s army that won London GT 2018 and one local player build a similar massed ‘bike army that easily cracks open rhinos in the shooting phase, then kills the OBSEC troops in the fight phase – especially now that overwatch is limited. The best approach against it is to kill the characters and remove the buffs – whilst not relying on rhino/OBSEC. (Watch Chaos vs AC on last week’s youtube SMbattleReports game — LordDisco and Chaos daemon dreadnaughts won easily.)

  2. Avatar
    Tim Pinney September 8, 2020 6:24 pm #

    Venetari are actually pretty good at popping transports, especially if you use the double-shots stratagem.

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