Shadow Throne: The Crusade Content

There’s more to Shadow Throne than just the new datasheets – similar to Hexfire, tucked away in the booklet that comes with the boxed set are Crusade rules for running a miniature campaign between the Genestealer Cult and Adeptus Custodes forces in the box. After seeing that the Hexfire Crusade content wasn’t repeated in either Codex: Grey Knights or Codex: Thousand Sons, we thought it might be cool to go through these rule sand talk about how they’ll be used. We don’t know if they’ll show up in the Codexes proper at this point, but in case they don’t, you can read about them here.

Beanith: Now that everyone has finished gushing over whatever datasheets are about to terrorize the competitive scene, it’s time to get to the good stuff. 

Adeptus Custodes

Beanith: The big golden chaps have a Battle Traits table for the Blade Champion and another for the Allarus Custodians. They are amazing and I want every single one of them on my Crusade Roster in some form when I inevitably fold and create another Crusade army. The two relics would also definitely find their way into my Crusade Roster at some point too.

Rob: How many Crusade Rosters are you up to now? Half a dozen?

Beanith: Four-ish. My current Orks are slightly concerned by the Torchbearers Crusade rules we covered recently, plus the fact “New Year New Army” is fun to say… But I should probably finish painting them at least first. 

Rob: What’s interesting about these is that they’re unit-specific. I like that a lot because it lets them do very particular things based on what the units can do well, instead of having to take a broader approach. Makes me less terrified to roll on the table.

Adeptus Custodes Blade Champion painted by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

Blade Champion Traits

Starting with the Blade Champion, they have three possible Traits to gain. Martial Focus gives the Champ the ability to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1 when they are within 3” of an objective marker or the enemy Warlord. Inexorable Persecution lets you choose to ignore any and all modifiers to Move, Advance & Charge rolls, and then adds a little cherry on top by making any charge rolls a minimum of 7” even if you roll less. And lastly Champion Exemplar lets the Champion use, one per battle, an Adeptus Custodes Stratagem for 0CP.

Beanith: Champion Exemplar might not sound cool but it’s essentially letting you use the 2CP Even in Death… stratagem for free. Currently it will let you fight again even if you have fought this turn for now but I expect that to change in the new Codex to match everyone else. Until then, windmill slam that sucker into every conceivable fight possible and watch him go down swinging like a champ.

Rob: He’ll need that, given his 3+ save and the fact that he has limited output, even against characters (as we saw in Hammer of Math yesterday) but the idea of charging in, doing a dozen damage, then eating shit and fighting again on death to kill your target with a unit that only costs about 115 points is pretty great.

Allarus Custodes by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

Allarus Custodians Traits

Similar to the Blade Champion, the Terminator Custodes have their own trio of Battle Traits they can get. Bane of Champions is the tamest of the bunch, allowing to reroll wound rolls when targeting Characters. Aggressive Heroism adds an additional one to their Attack characteristic when they are in your opponent’s deployment zone. With a tiny footprint and being able to deepstrike this should be very easy to pull off consistently. Rounding out the table is Bellicose, a TLDR explanation for a 6” Heroic Intervention which when combined with their Slayer of Tyrants ability to pile in and consolidate into enemy Characters should make a lot of Characters very worried for their continued safety.

Beanith: I expect these great big golden chonks will be the MVP in every Custode Roster list IF the Unleash the Lions Stratagem remains unchanged in the new Codex. Having 3 to 6 of these chaps suddenly split up mid battle retaining all of their Battle Honors will be amazing, doubly so if they’re rampaging around in the enemy deployment zone.

Adeptus Custodes Relics

We’ve got two Relics on offer, an Artificer level cloak for that freshly leveled Custode character and an Antiquity level extra stabby dagger for those Heroic leveled Custodes biding their time until they qualify for the Legendary Vortex Grenade Relic.

The bearer of the Auspide Mantle cloak cannot be selected as the target of a ranged attack unless the attacker is with 12”  

Beanith: It might not sound like much because most Custode characters tend to be in a midst of battle anyway but it does give them a little bit of survivability if they get caught out in the open allowing them to ignore any long range fire from heavy weapons and snipers.

Misery’s Burden replaces a character’s Misericodia, which apparently isn’t an accordion that when played makes people miserable (see all accordions – Beanith) but is instead a dagger which reminds the bearer about Adeptus Custodes’ greatest failing and making them more than a little bit stroppy. Like the standard Misericodia, Misery’s Burden grants you one additional attack but the Burden will instead wound anything on a 2+ and inflict 2 mortal wounds.

Beanith: Extra stabby dagger that skips that boring armor save step? I’d buy that for a dollar.


Genestealer Cults

These are all totally normal upstanding citizens who are in no way up to any mischief at all. Any extra spiky limbs are simply just old servo implants or cosplay we swear. I will admit however it will be difficult to explain away the giant pile of explosives but maybe you won’t notice the giant genestealer about to “offer you a pamphlet on our summer retreat to help explain the Ethos of our community”

On offer are two Battle Trait tables, one for the Reductus Saboteur and the other isn’t a table at all but instead a single possible upgrade each for the Patriarch, the Magus and Primus Genestealer Cult characters.  Rounding out the section will be two more Crusade Relics.

Reductus Saboteur. Credit: Rockfish
Reductus Saboteur. Credit: Rockfish

Reductus Saboteur Traits

The all-new Reductus Saboteur gets their own bespoke Battle Traits table, something we’re pretty confident won’t show up again in the Codex unless they’re giving Genestealer Cults many more Crusade pages than usual. There are three traits here on offer: Resourceful Saboteur squeezes a few more bombs into your backpack allowing you to perform the Plant Explosives action a second time during the battle. The resulting boom isn’t earth shattering but can hand out Mortal Wounds like candy in the right situation and being able to do that twice seems nice.

Destructive Genius adds plus 1 to your wound rolls when making ranged attacks against Monsters, Vehicles or Bikers meaning you’ll be wounding all but the toughest of these on a 2+ when making it rain with Remote Explosives.

Detonate Mines is a once per battle ability that will let you use the Overwatch Stratagem for 0CP, changes your Remote Explosives attack to a Heavy 6 and will hit on unmodified hit rolls of 4+. Maybe don’t send in the Rhino or Character first to eat Overwatch in this case?

Beanith: I want to like the Resourceful Saboteur but since the action starts in the command phase and ends at the end of the movement phase you are hamstrung by where exactly you can Plant Explosives. I could see me having fun planting both bombs on the one objective in my deployment zone and seeing if anyone is silly enough to clear it. But my clear favorite is Destructive Genius. I can already see myself popping out from underground into some area terrain, passing out remote explosives like confetti terrorising poor defenseless Monsters and Vehicles forcing my opponent to storm a terrain piece littered with mines to deal with the threat.  

Rob: I really like Detonate Mines as a deterrent for charges. It’s flavorful and fun for everyone. Well, not your dead opponents, I guess.

Genestealer Cults Primus
Genestealer Cults Primus. Credit: That Gobbo

Genestealer Cult Character Traits

Here we run into the single upgrade each for the Patriarch, the Magus and Primus Genestealer Cult characters, and we suspect that GSC characters will just get a table to roll on in the Codex.

The Patriarch gets Forceful Hypnosis and holy shit I take it back, they don’t need any other Battle Traits as this one is a doozy. The Patriarch will always fight first AND any attack made against this will subtract 1 from the hit roll.

Magus the not red has Charismatic Savant which lets you reroll Psychic tests when manifesting a blessing psychic power. This is either amazing or rubbish, we can’t be sure as it’s not clear what a blessing psychic power is. It’s either something from the yet to be released codex, buffing your own units or ones that attack the enemy. It’s a free reroll at least?

Primus have the Fluid Tactician which makes them excellent at managing pipe networks in Satisfactory, or instead, in each of your opponent’s charge phase, you can select one friendly unit of GSC Core units within 12” of the Primus and grant them the ability to perform Heroic Interventions as if it were a character. Beanith: A month ago I would have hoped it was pipe management.

Beanith: Forceful Hypnosis is the runaway winner by a mile. Fluid Tactician gets a gold star for what could be very good or meh depending on what units get the Core keyword. Charismatic Savant gets a DNF for now.

Rob: I really like Fluid Tactician, but it’s going to heavily depend on whether Purestrain Genestealers and/or Aberrants are CORE. If either happens to be, that’s gonna be brutal fun.

Genestealer Cult Relics

Again we have two Relics available, an Artificer auto pistol and an Antiquity Bonesword which can be handed out to a Genestealer Cults character to replace their existing Bonesword or Autopistol when they reach the appropriate level.

Tyrant’s End is a humble little Autopistol… but through the powers of magic and friendship preached by the cult, it becomes a monstrous Str 3, AP -4, Dam 3 with an extended range of 18”. Strength 3 I hear you scoff? The monstrous part is if the target’s strength is higher than the bearer’s strength, the attack automatically wounds. You’ll be quite happy punching holes in tanks and deleting marines with every shot.

The Divine Ossein is a bonesword made from the sacred bones of a prior Patriarch whose love and influence will live on in this most divine of relics, a bone sword made from bones of your bone dad made to try and bone the enemy around the head… bone. The bearer will gain the Divine Ossein (Aura) where during the Command Phase can select a Core unit with 6” and grant them the Objective Secure ability until the start of your next Command Phase. Plus it’s a sword that hits like a truck at Str +2, AP-3, Dam 3. Your Primus will be a happy chappy.

Beanith: Medical Definition of ossein : the chief organic substance of bone tissue that remains as a residue after removal of the mineral matters from cleaned degreased bone by dilute acid and is used in making gelatin : the collagen of bones. Someone is having fun at Games Workshop and today I learnt something new, wins all round. I eagerly await the 40K Badcast review of this weapon.

Final Thoughts

Beanith: I’m hyped as always by more cool Crusade content and this is a very tasty preview of what to expect from the release of these two codex early next year. I can only hope that in the Custodes codex there are at least four pages dedicated to a single name generator for your Blade Champion. Otherwise that sucker is getting called Steeve the Magnificent.

Rob: The big question is how much of this will show up in the Codex and, if none of it does – as was the case with Hexfire – how do you handle these rules? I think stuff like this is always a welcome addition as it gives you more tailored options to work with and can be used to set the stage for your Crusade army if you’re just starting out – run through the campaign in the box with a friend, then keep building your army from there. Or, use these traits as extra options to tell a cool story about how your Cutsodes survived the Genestealer Cults uprising on Terra, or vice versa. It’s neat but none of it comes across as insane so as a GM I’m inclined to allow it.

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