Codex Adeptus Custodes – 10th Edition: Crusade Review


Beanith: When the editors told Norman and myself that the Golden Boys and Girls were getting a reboot, I was overcome with joy and spent the afternoon wondering if Lisa Kudrow would have big enough chops to fill Betty White’s shoes and if Amy Poehler would be sassy enough to play a believable Sophia.

Norman: I would have pictured Tina Fey as Blanche rather than Dorothy.

Beanith: It was a wild fifteen-minute roller coaster of emotions and vicious argumentation, but it was very quickly spoiled by Captain ‘Killjoy’ TheChirurgeon linking to the Snopes article pointing out it was satire and to stop mucking about, because this Custodes Crusade Rules review wasn’t going to write itself.

Editors: We will admit we were particularly impressed by the quality of the Conspiracy Wall though.

Beanith: Games Workshop is continuing to follow the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” path where the later ninth edition codexes with more thematic rule sets are given a few tweaks and a quick balancing pass before being sent to press. And as we’ve seen so far, it’s working for the most part.

Although we’re still sore about the Necron Dynastic Epithets not making the leap from ninth to tenth. Travesty. Also as a bit of foreshadowing, here is our coverage of the Ninth Edition Adeptus Custodes Codex’s Crusade Content and we’re suggesting that you read that before continuing.

As always thanks to Games Workshop for providing us with a review copy.

Magisterium Lex Ultima

Custodian Guard
Custodian Guard. Credit: Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty

The Golden Boys and Girls are back, and they’re still holding on tight to the note from the Emperor granting them Magisterium Lex Ultima which makes them answerable only to the direct authority of the Master of Mankind. This is the ultimate ‘Get out of Jail for free’ card which in theory lets them ignore any commands to go into battles. But in practice, they will still go into that battle but they’re going to do it their way and practise some trick shots whilst doing it.

This is represented by the Adeptus Custodes attempting to complete three different Endeavour Imperatives over the course of nine battles in the order they were generated, by rolling a d6 to choose between two tables and then rolling it again for one of six results from either table.

I’m impressed that Games Workshop keeps denying the existence of d12 dice but then I suppose two separate tables look prettier from a design perspective in the codex.

The first table has been updated from ninth, where they were mostly based around completing a particular category of Agenda (i.e. Battlefield Supremacy or Shadow Operations) over two battles. Instead, if you’re lucky, you could get the cruisy result Make An Example which is to win a battle by more than 10 Victory points. (10 minutes with a rattle can of gold spray paint, some textured paint and a splash of Nuln oil will net you that bonus 10 points for a Battle Ready army… just saying.) You can also phone it in with Shadowed Directive or Absolute Mastery by completing Custodes/non-Custodes Agendas over two battles.

The other three Imperatives on this table are where the Trick shots start coming in. Emperors Domain wants you to end up with more of your units than the enemies in your deployment zone at the end of two battles. Vital Targets wants to bump off the three most expensive units in two battles, which lets be honest you were going to do this anyway. Lastly we have Wrath of the Emperor which we think is the hardest of the lot where you are required to have destroyed four or more units before the start of the third battle round (again over two battles).

The second Imperative table remains almost completely unchanged from ninth edition, though they did change the names at least for most of them (Hello, Annihilation). They can all be achieved over the course of a single battle except for Emperor’s Will Be Done which was changed to ending two battles with more of your units than your enemies in their deployment zone instead of just the one in ninth. The rest are all straightforward: Kill the Warlord, hold objectives, and kill everything. You were going to do all that anyway, but the tricky part is still having to complete the Imperatives in order that you generated them.

In ninth edition, you needed to complete all three Imperatives within the nine battles before only receiving the Endeavour Reward associated with the third Imperative. Now in glorious tenth, when you’ve completed the third Imperative you may select any of the three Endeavour Rewards and apply the effect immediately. And as a special little treat for the Emperor’s companions, there’s a participation trophy for those that completed the first two Imperatives but either run out of time or just plain don’t wanna compete the last Imperative: They get to randomly pick the reward from the two completed Imperatives. They still have brought Dishonour upon themselves, though, and will need to roll on the Dishonour table along with the other losers who couldn’t do three ‘simple’ tasks over nine battles.

The Endeavour Rewards themselves remain the same from ninth with a mix of Instant and Persistent Reward effects. The Instant rewards are all about rewarding various units with extra XP for the most part but there are a couple that reward Battle Honours or extra Requisition for your Crusade roster. All of the changes from ninth to tenth aside from the obvious name changes are for the Persistent Rewards which change which Stratagem you get to use once per battle for 0CP. Overall, the rewards aren’t game breaking by themselves; the Persistent rewards could come in handy during clutch moments depending on which Stratagem is free for one turn, but it is a little bit of a letdown after all that hard work completing the three Endeavours.

Adeptus Custodes – Custodian Guard
Adeptus Custodes – Custodian Guard
Credit: Pendulin

And speaking of letdowns and not who was last seen near Greg’s BMX with the flat tyres, we are instead focusing on those that have brought shame to the Golden Throne by not completing their Endeavours. They now get to roll on the Dishonour table and end up with one of three different options that could very well ruin your whole day.

  • Command in Question slaps one of your Shield Captains with not one but two Battle Scars. Disgraced will prevent them from being Marked for Greatness and they also can’t be targeted by Stratagems, and Mark of Shame means they’ll be running around by themselves unable to hide behind some convenient meatshields because they can’t be attached to a unit. TLDR? You’re either going to pay through the nose for Repair and Recuperate to remove these two Battle Scars ASAP or they’re going to fall into a wood chipper and their identical twin will replace them on the Crusade roster.
  • Damage Limitation is the nicest of the three where you halve the amount of XP (rounding down) that your units will earn for the next number of battles equivalent to the number of Endeavours you failed to complete. One or two battles? Big whoop.
  • Petition the Tower of Hegemon could be a massive kick in the teeth on the off chance you were hoarding Requisition at the time for some reason like planning on removing a battle scar from a Legendary unit or reinforcements for a Veteran unit of Custodes. Reduce your Requisition points to 0 and then don’t gain any more Requisition for the next number of battles equivalent to the number of Endeavours you failed to complete.

Ninth vs. Tenth Comparison

  • Magisterium Lex Ultima – It’s almost the same but as mentioned there is a consolation prize.
  • Endeavour Imperatives – One third of them are new thanks to changes in how Agendas are sorted in ninth edition.
  • Endeavour Rewards – Roughly the same but polished and updated for tenth with some minor edits.
  • Dishonour – Not a lot of change but the effects have much more potential to cripple your Crusade roster.

Battle Scars

Custodes get their own table of three bespoke Battle Scars. Similar to the above, if you’re familiar with the ninth edition rules these will look plenty familiar. All the scars have an upside in addition to their downside, which is a really cool design space that I wish was explored more.

Adeptus Custodes Telemon by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

Immediate Threats: You can only charge the closest enemy unit but you get re-roll 1s to wound in melee. This is one of those “might as well be a Battle Honor.” Careful positioning will make the downside non existent and reroll wounds is really nice, if redundant on Custodian Guard

Lions, Not Wolves: You can’t use Ka’tahs but you reroll Hit Rolls of 1 and Wound Rolls of 1. This one is more of an upgrade, but a proper scar if you’re running Shield Host. In any other context though, it’s better than Sustained Hits and potentially better than Lethal Hits.

Sense of Insufficiency: Your OC becomes 0 and can’t be increased, but you get both Ka’tahs when you fight. This is the first one where the scar outweighs the benefit. Losing OC on your infantry or bikes removes a huge chunk of your ability to score in most games.

Norman: I want to point out here that if you are playing Custodes and get a scar on any vehicle or even primarily shooting platform, this table is mostly free. The OC one sucks, but the rest literally only matter in melee so this is an easy way to get scars you can keep that don’t matter (just don’t get enough that you die). For the crusade arbitrators out there, I suggest only letting Custodes players take these on Infantry.

Beanith: I could see a case to take it a step further and restrict it to Characters or at the very least drop the “subtract 1 from its Crusade points total for each Battle Scar”. Depends on if your Custodes player needs a little reining in or not. Results will vary from campaign to campaign of course. Plus Jack Harpster might be the player in question, in which case you may need more than an extra Crusade blessing or three on your side. Meh, play it by ear and have fun.

Ninth vs. Tenth Comparison

Aside from the obvious change in names, there are a couple of changes to note;

  • Immediate Threats – No free or compulsory Heroic Interventions.
  • Lions, Not Wolves – No longer just for Shield Captains who lost their +1 to Hit auras anyway.
  • Sense of Insufficiency remains the same basically.


Four of the five Agendas have made the transition from ninth to tenth mostly unscathed; all of the Actions required to trigger them have been removed, allowing your units to still be an effective force on the field and not stand around waving their arms like they just don’t care.

Custodes Vertus Praetors
Custodes Vertus Praetors. Credit: Jack Hunter

Pursuit of Excellence still rewards the unit with the least amount of XP with 1XP for each sub-objective achieved. Surviving the battle within range of an objective outside your deployment that you control and destroying one or more enemy units all remain the same. The final sub-objective has changed from having the highest number of enemy units killed to killing three or more enemy units.

Judgement Delivered is almost identical. The goal remains the same: Kill everything. The change is that succeeding in this worthy goal now rewards each unit 2XP instead of 3XP.

Great Tithe returned as well for the Sisters of Silence, and good news, you no longer have to stand around for a turn like a wally twiddling your thumbs over the grave markers of whatever Pskyer they walloped the previous turn. Even better news, the Pskyer doesn’t need to be killed by an Anathema Psykana unit; they can get murked by anyone else and the nearest Anathema Psykana unit gets a participation trophy and 1XP. Of course, doing the deed themselves earns them 2XP instead but we still think it’s hilarious that an Anathema Psykana Rhino could gain XP all the way from the otherside of the table. Other changes from ninth to tenth are the loss of the XP cap (yay) and Requisition (boo).

The wall of text that was Bound for the Dark Cells is gone and in its place is the sleek and simple Unto the Dark Cells where for the simple price of holding one or more objective markers in No Man’s Land than your opponent, three of those units will gain 2XP each. As mentioned earlier, the Action requiring you to leave an Infantry unit standing around for a round like a goose is gone and there’s no bonus XP for the Warlord.

Ninth vs. Tenth Comparison

This section is here to remember Shed the Black which we’re happy to see gone as it was the goto Agenda for Custodes players in ninth wanting to get rid of Battle Scars without paying the Requisition and earn XP while doing it.


Four is the magic number in Agendas, Requisitions and the number of times I got distracted while writing this para-squirrel! Artefacts of the Vaults makes a comeback from ninth and is the Requisition to use when you want to give one of your characters any one of a number of cool toys while on an Endeavour which we’ll cover in depth later in the article. Plus it also functions as a way of switching out Enhancements which is a first.

Allarus Custodians
Allarus Custodians. Credit: Pendulin

Earning of a Name can be granted to your character if they have managed to bump off the enemy Warlord in the most recent battle. It grants them the ability Earned Name which lets them and their unit use both Ka’tah Stances when fighting. Games Workshop does recommend using their handy dandy Name Generator as well for a sprinkle of narrative but I find it sparks more joy to use my own name generation. Athena Desmondages Drund Drund may sound like someone who has their shit together but I’d much rather hang out with Steve Steeve Steeeve McStephen Esq III.

Superhuman Focus is this book’s Cowards Option allowing you to spend one Req each time you roll your Imperative to disregard whatever result the Dice Gods gave you and instead you just get to pick your cruisy Endeavour choices like Make An Example. We will be casting judgement; there will be much frowning and tutting… unless it’s to change the Wrath of the Emperor Endeavour. I’ve read the main review and I agree the Golden Boys and Girls don’t need any more of a kicking while they’re down.

Honoured Advancement has also returned from ninth and is now the somewhat improved Proven Mettle which lets you select a Custodes unit that has hit the 30XP cap, and instead of spending 3RP on Legendary Veterans, you can instead pay the 1RP to add a Custodes Character to your Order of Battle with a starting 30XP and the appropriate number of Battle Honours. You then take that original unit and bust them back down to 6XP and remove all but one of their Battle Honours. I know Honoured Advancement would have dropped that unit back down to 16XP and two Battle Honours but with non-character units hard capped at 30XP unless you pay the Three; I still think it’s a nice discount.

Battle Traits

I was so tempted to just cut and paste the Battle Traits section from the ninth edition review, update the names and call it a Bit but that’s a little too snarky even for me. Still gonna pout though.

While these are the same three tables from the previous book, they have all been updated for tenth with a couple of balance tweaks here and there as well as replacing one with a free Counter-offensive Stratagem. These are still all great upgrades for the Custodes Infantry, Custodes Mounted and Anathema Psykana Infantry (aka 5/6 of the datasheets in this codex) in your Custodes roster.

Sisters of Silence – Credit: Keewa

The Adeptus Custodes Infantry table is the biggest of the three tables with six possible results to give to the chaps not lucky enough to be jetting around on jetbikes.

  • Celeritous Sentries lets you use the Counter-offensive Stratagem for 0CP;
  • Not a Shell Wasted authorises your Custodes to thumb the switch on their ranged weapons to Full-Auto when they target a unit with 10 or more models (Sustained Hits 1);
  • Companion’s Watch returns almost unchanged except it has been dialed back from a 5+ FNP to a 6+FNP when you’re within range of an objective;
  • Flawless Bladework is now a much more welcomed re-rolling Hit rolls of 1 in melee;
  • Will of Auramite is another new one where you can still use Stratagems even when Battle-shocked;
  • Genalchemic Warding used to be the Spark of Divinity letting you run around Deny the Witch. These days, it’s the genetic alchemy makeup of your golden lads that makes them slightly harder to hit with Psychic Attacks.

The Adeptus Custodes Mounted keyword was created to just give us the false hope that Knight-Draconis or even the Dracolines would accidentally make the leap from Age of Sigmar into a proper game (fight me Alice) but alas no, this is still just the Dawneagle Jetbike table for now.

  • On Gilded Wings is a tad weaker than its ninth edition counterpart. It’s still the same -1 to be hit by ranged attacks but now because it grants the unit the Stealth ability, if you’re attaching a Jetbike Captain to a unit of Jetbikes then both units need this Battle Honour in order to use it. Good news though, since there’s only 3 possible results on this table, just how badly can you beef the roll?
  • Tip of the Talon is unchanged beyond the name, +1 Strength to ranged attacks at units within 6”
  • Heralds of the Host or “we got the zoomies” with a nice simple +2” when Advancing. It’s a shame about the whole “no shooting or charging after moving 20”” though but I suppose you can still drop a bunch of Mortal Wounds on some poor soul as you fly overhead.

The Anathema Psykana Infantry (or Sisters of Silence to their friends) was just straight-up fire back in ninth, which is handy because it’s the same table in tenth beyond names being changed to protect the innocent or something. Each of the three results make them hit harder on the charge, reroll said charge or advance; or still be eligible to shoot OR charge after advancing. Those running the Null Maiden Vigil detachment will be very pleased with any or even all of the results on your Quieter Golden Girls.

Some may remember that the Blade-Champion and Allarus had Battle Trait tables included in the Shadow Throne box. These didn’t make the cut into this book, but to be fair, most of the traits are baked into the units now so the tables are mostly defunct.

Crusade Relics

It’s the same gear from ninth edition, but they’ve all been improved except for Aurulent Warding’s save reroll and Lucent Aureole’s 3+ Invun save; those can’t be improved upon without breaking some very important limitations. And because I think Greg covered the Relics section last time, I’m keen to dive deeper into this section.

Adeptus Custodes Vexilus Praetor
Adeptus Custodes Vexilus Praetor. Credit: Jack Hunter

In the Artificer Relic category, we have the aforementioned Aurulent Warding which lets you reroll a save roll once per turn. Far more awesome is the new and improved Emperor’s Light Strength 5 pocket knife, which will hit on 2+ on three Extra Attacks with -2AP. It lost the chance to dish out Mortal wounds, but that has been replaced with the much more interesting Devastating wounds. Very tasty.

The Antiquity Relic upgrades/replaces the Knight-Centura’s Executioner Greatblade with Veracity, the Sword of Oblivion which used to be a Strength 6 sword that wounded everything on a 2+. Now you’re still lugging around a Strength 5 lump of metal but it comes with the Lance and Sustained Hits 1 abilities. Pair those alongside with its existing Devastating Wounds and Anti-Psyker 5+ abilities and some poor Psyker is in for a very bad time.

In the Legendary Relics, while Lucent Aureole remains a timeless classic giving your character a fun 3+ Invun save, sadly the Apollonian Spear was left out in the elements and is now a pale, rusted shadow of itself. What used to be six Strength 10 -4AP 3 Damage attacks with a Guardian Spear that when on 4+ Wound rolls would ignore any Invun save is now long gone along with the special bullets that did roughly the same thing. Instead we are reduced to a relic that grants an ability to a Shield-Captain that once per battle you add +3 Strength and +3 Attacks to the bearer’s melee weapons. I was ready to completely write this one off before noticing it no longer replaces a Guardian Spear and it’s now an ability that affects all of the bearer’s melee weapons… slap that bad boy on the same Shield Captain carrying the Emperor’s Light (which is now 6 Extra Attacks at Strength 8) along with whatever other Axe or Spear they’ve packed to the gills with Weapon Mods and now the enemy unit is in for a really bad day.

The Vortex Grenade is obviously going on the Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike; it’s an Assault weapon too so have fun with that. Zoom zoom boom.

Artefacts of the Vaults

The Artefacts of the Vault is your one stop shop for one of seven cool gadgets that, for the low low price of one Requisition point, grants the bearer powerful abilities to help you complete the Custodes’s current Endeavour. And best of all, you get to keep it for however many games it takes you to complete that Endeavour as well which will be handy for those currently on an Endeavour that requires two battles.

Solar Watch Shield Host Legio Custodes Caladius Grav-Tank with Iliastus accelerator cannon by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

The Arae-shrike is a powerful counter-intel device that twists and distorts electromagnetic signals that will prevent Enemy units being set up as Reinforcements within 12” of the unit. Apparently the Ad Mech considers this device to be blasphemous? Could it have something possibly to do with the fact it’s just an Omni-scrambler with the Blood Raven chapter markings filed off?

Mortis Gyre isn’t the name of a British Detective, it is instead an orb of energy that when activated once per battle when the unit is selected to fight, grants the model Devastating Wounds on it’s weapons when targeting Infantry. Was briefly keen on this one but since it’s model and not unit, it’s a solid meh especially against Infantry.

The Custodes have pinched recovered a Veil of Darkness from the Necrons at some point and removed all of the safety features. The Twilight Pallium is a friendly pony grants the bearer’s unit the once per game ability where at the end of any of your phases, you may remove the bearer’s unit from the battlefield and set them up anywhere on the battlefield more than 3” away from any enemy unit. Just keep in mind you can’t charge that turn unless you choose somewhere more than 9” away from all enemy units Cool toy would use, especially at the end of my Charge phase if the bearer’s unit got tagged by a particularly nasty heroically intervening unit. Bye suckers!

Annoy a Grey Knight player and look stylish at the same time with this Anathematic Diadem. This pretty looking circlet gives the model carrying it a 12” aura that subtracts 1 from the Wound roll from any Psychic weapon carried by an enemy model.

Once again stealing and rebadging tech from the Necrons, the Pareldor’s Caducatrix is a once per battle deal where in your Command phase, you can regain up to D6 lost wounds.

Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch Auriferous Orb towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it. (Credit and blame for my sense of humour goes to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) My favourite artefact of the bunch, this grants the bearer an 8” ranged weapon, that while only Strength 1 0AP and 1 damage, has D3 attacks, hits on 2+ and comes with Anti-Infantry 4+, Blast, Blinding Light and Devastating Wounds. Blinding Light will subtract 1 from the Hit roll of the enemy unit stuck by it until the start of your next turn.

Rather than ending on the high note that was the Auriferous Orb, we instead leave you with an unremarkable book with its battered cover. This unappetising book is called the Epoch Auspice and within its greasy pages dripping with beef tallow and bread crumbs is the secret once per game ability, that when deployed at the start of a battle round, forces any attacks that target the bearer’s unit to subtract 1 from the Wound roll. Surprisingly good for your health in the end I suppose.

Late-9th edition and early-10th edition Comparison

  • Arae-shrike loses the Aura reduction ability
  • Mortis Gyre used to ignore Invun saves in melee once per battle. So similar but reduced effectiveness.
  • Twilight Pallium was a unicorn within 1” instead of 3”
  • Anathematic Diadem was rewritten due to the way Psychic now works in 10th.
  • Pareldor’s Caducatrix used to be a bucket.
  • Auriferous Orb is a massive improvement as it was a single use grenade. The D3 Mortal wounds were nice though.
  • The Epoch Auspice was a 3” bubble that could pass on the same effect to Infantry and Bikers.

Adeptus Custodes Name Generator

I am absolutely heartbroken to tell you all that they have in fact updated the Adeptus Custodes Name Generator and have removed any name beginning with I. You know what I say? To my imaginary foe at Games Workshop who persists with wasting book space trying to make Crusade Badges a thing? Screw you, that joke was gold then and is still awesome now. I’m going to reprint it here anyway!

Result 32 – Io and Result 35 Eratorius. I promise you all that every game my Dreadnought will do something cool and then get saddled again with these two results. To save time writing it out all the time, I’ll just use initials except for the last name… E I E I O and old McDonald will be my Warlord-o.

Final Thoughts

Beanith: This was a solid rules set which I did dabble in briefly when I was running the Torchbearers Crusade force, and I am actually glad to see it return. It’s just a bit harsh to see that there wasn’t room for anything new. I would have loved to have seen a couple more Crusade Relics especially around the Antiquity level where there is just the one. The ninth edition book did have plenty of Relics on offer in the Match play section such as the Excruciatus flamer or Obliteratum. The Requisitions are all priced to move, which is great given the one in three chance of losing all of your Requisition to Dishonor is a real possibility.

I know it’s forbidden but I would have loved to have seen a battle trait table for the vehicles which are mostly Forgeworld resin because it’s a given that most Custodes lists tend to run the cool resin tanks and dreadnoughts found there. I do think if they did include a new unit or at least pinch the Venatari moulds from Forgeworlds and release them in plastic then we had had at least a new table of Battle Traits to look forward too but this is bordering on Match Play Nonsense which I’ll leave in far more capable hands. Also boooo to seeing another page wasted on the colouring in section for Crusade Badges.

Norman: Much like the regular rules, the Custodes Crusade rules pale in comparison to the Orks they’re launching with. Unlike the regular rules, these are solid and good, just not particularly exciting. The Magisterium has good stuff in it, and changes the way you play your games, but it feels more mechanically driven than helping you tell a story. That all said, like I mentioned, these are good and serviceable rules that will help you flesh out your crusade experience.