This week’s Hammer of Math is a quick look at how nasty the Adeptus Custodes Blade Champion from Shadow Throne can be.
As the gene-bred protectors of the God-Emperor, the Adeptus Custodes are intended to be a collection of some of the most powerful and terrifying beings in the Imperium. If the reveals from Shadow Throne are any indication then the Custodes should definitely maintain this standard as they enter 9th Edition. A good example of this can be seen in the Blade Custodian, a new model clearly intended to serve as a 3m tall post-human blender. Stats wise this comes in the form of 6 WS 2+ attacks at S5 made from one of three Vaultswords.
In practice this means that (against the right targets) the player needs to decide against 6 AP-4 D2 attacks which will wound on a hit roll of 4+, 12 S5 AP-1 D1 attacks, or 6 S6 AP-4 D3 attacks which re-rolls wound rolls. We can look at the spectrum of results by charting the expected wounds against various Toughness and Save characteristics. Note that these numbers should be considered baselines, as they don’t include any of the possible Relics, Warlord Traits, Stratagems, Martial Ka’tahs, or Fighting Styles that will be coming out in the new Codex.
The results provide some actionable information:
- The only time that Hurricanis is useful is against single wound targets. It’s clearly intended to shred through horde units, as one would expect from 12 attacks.
- The combination of additional damage and the ability to re-roll wounds makes Victus the superior choice against all CHARACTER targets regardless of Toughness.
- Against VEHICLE or MONSTER targets which are not CHARACTERs, Victus is more effective against T5 or less while Behemor is better for T6 or higher.
- Against 2W targets Behemor is the preferential choice.
Since the goal of the Blade Champion is clearly to find the biggest, nastiest, most threatening hero on the other side and cast them down, what kind of damage can we expect this Custodes to do against various marquee threats like Bel’akor, Mortarion, or a Knight? Let’s take a look at some options:
- An Iron Hands Contemptor, which includes a 6+ Feel No Pain and reduces incoming damage by 1.
- Be’lakor, The Dark Master, not including Blessings of Be’lakor which means he’s even harder to kill.
- Mortarion, assuming he has a -1 to hit aura courtesy of Miasma of Pestilence.
- The Swarmlord, who conveniently gets a 3+ invulnerable save in melee.
- A Knight-class character at T8 and a 3+ save.
- Roboute Guilliman, because the idea of a Custodes picking a fight with the Primarch Returned just seems funny.
While the Blade Champion is certainly nasty against quite a few targets, he’s not likely to do much damage against the really big nasties out there. Whether it be from damage reduction or high invulnerable saves, these hard targets will give the baseline Blade Champion trouble, though in a a way 110 points does seem like a pretty fair bargain to have a 15% chance to kill all 380 points of Roboute before the Primarch can even act. It’s also important to remember that these values do not include any of the bonuses or Stratagems that Custodes are guaranteed to get in the new book.
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