Adeptus Custodes Secondaries Overview – Arks of Omen

As part of my learning a new faction, I like to go through all of the Secondary Objectives that a faction has access to and work through the use cases where I might want to play each.

Quick Disclaimer – I play mostly in player placed or GW Open style terrain tournaments, which is definitely coloring my impressions here. Let’s dive in.


Scores 3 points for each enemy character killed, +1 for the Warlord:

Custodes are very good at killing enemy models, with our attacks largely hitting on 2s and wounding most characters on 3s. We aren’t particularly great at scalpaling out enemy models though, and unless the enemy army has a bunch of characters that we know are coming to fight us (something like 6 or more usually) I find this to be a bit of a trap.

Bring It Down:
Scores 1 point for killing a 9 Wound or less Monster/Vehicle, 2 points for 10 – 14 wounds, 3 points for 15 – 19 Wounds, and 4 wounds for 20 wound or more.

This is a very particular secondary reserved largely for the Imperial and Chaos Knight matchups. Giving 1 VP for a Dreadnought or Carnifex feels bad against things like Iron Hands or many Tyranid lists, and the only factions that really bring enough Vehicles and Monsters to make it worth bringing this secondary are Knights and some really weird Daemon builds.

Worth noting – the extra CP gain off of Troops or Armigers killing things for Bring it Down and Assassination make including some Sagitarrum, regular Custodian Guard, or Helverins a much more attractive prospect.

Auric Mortalis – Custodes Faction Secondary

Pick a Supreme Commander or Primarch or the Most Expensive unit in the opposing army. Score 5 points for destroying that unit, 5 more or destroying it in melee with a Custode or Anethema Pyskana model, and 5 more if that model was not in your deployment zone.

This doesn’t feel like a great secondary against most good lists and good pilots. Against something like Knights, were it might actually be decent, Bring It Down is almost certainly better, and against Space Marine factions or many Xenos lists it’s probably reasonable for your opponent to just trade their model not doing anything for a large portion of the game for “my opponent loses 15 points”. I think it’s better than Assassinate in most matchups, and if you’re really pressed for a third secondary I could see taking it, but I wouldn’t be happy.


Grind Them Down:
Score 3 points if you killed more enemy units in the round than they killed of yours.

Custodes are great at this secondary. Most of our units are very difficult to kill in one go between native Toughness 5 or higher and a 4+ Invulnerable save, and it can often be that we lose a couple models from units here and there in a turn but ultimately lose zero to one unit in a round. Conversely, Custodes are really killy, murdering Space Marine units on accident with incidental shooting and often being able to take out big targets with Rendax assisted wounding on sixes.

No Prisoners:
Score 1 point for every 10 wounds of models destroyed, +1 for 50 – 99 wounds and +2 for 100+. Note – Characters, Vehicles, and Monsters don’t count.

It’s a trap! Probably. The lists you might play this against are the 35 Terminators builds where you can score somewhere around 10 points, but in general I would be avoiding this secondary. The average army is only playing around 40 – 50 wounds of models.

Might of Terra – Custodes Faction Secondary:

Score 4 victory points at the end of the round if you’ve killed a unit and your opponent has killed zero units of yours.

This is riskier Grind Them Down, and I think I’d rather play Grind in almost every matchup that I can think of.


Abhor The Witch:

Score 3 points for each Psyker Character destroyed and 2 points for each other Psyker Unit. Can only be selected if you have no Psykers.

This is great against Grey Knights and Thousand Sons, and then okay against some Tyranid Builds and a Warlock Heavy Aeldar build. Basically you get to score 15 points on it against the first two armies, and you should always take it then while avoiding it into most other matchups.

Warp Ritual:

Do a Psychic Action within 6 inches of the center, score 3, 7, or 12 points depending on successful casts.

Unless you’re bringing an Inquisitor (which is an interesting idea), this is a dead secondary for Custodes. That said, if you are bringing an Inquisitor for this secondary, that would be a meta call against your area and the expected number of Psychic heavy armies. If you expect a lot, it might be better to play Psyker free so you have access to Abhor the Witch.

Psychic Interrogation:

Perform a Psychic Action while within 24″ of and visible to an enemy character unit. Score 3 points for each successful Psychic Action.

See above.


Behind Enemy Lines:

Score 2 points if you have one unit from your army in the opponent’s deployment zone at the end of turn. Score 4 points if you have two units instead.

I think this is a ridiculously strong secondary for Custodes right now, as bringing two Allarus Terminators as singleton model units for 120 points can very easily turn into 15 unopposed points on this secondary, along with potential backline objective stealing shenanigans as they have objective secured once again.

Many armies will struggle to deny dropping in two 50 mm bases while also being safe and advancing their own secondary objectives, and as an objective that doesn’t rely on rolling dice at all, I’m a big fan.

Engage on All Fronts:

Score 2 points at the end of the turn if you have a unit in 3 table quarters more than 6″ from any other quarter, score 3 if you have a unit in all 4 instead. Units must have 3 or more models at starting strength or be a Monster or Vehicle.

I’m not a fan of this objective for the Custodes as we most often want to be brawling in the center and spending less time sending units – expensive units – into quarters to score only 3 points. Especially with how much better Behind Enemy Lines is for us right now, I wouldn’t expect to play this very much.

Stand Vigil – Custodes Faction Secondary:

Score 3 points if you control more objectives not in deployment zones than your opponent at the end of the turn.

This is competing with Behind Enemy Lines for a slot, and I think it will always lose that fight. That said, it’s kind of like the old Stranglehold secondary and Custodes are pretty decent at this kind of thing, so against a horde army and a small deployment zone, it might be a better pick.


Raise the Banners High:

Spend a turn performing an action to raise a banner on an objective you control. Lose the banner at the beginning of the next Command phase if your opponent controls the objective. Score 1 point during each Command Phase and at the end of the game for each Banner Raised.

This is an incredible secondary for Custodes with Conservai allowing models to advance and action or shoot and action at the same time. Emissaries Imperatus is the best at this since Conservai is their chosen Ka’tah, but all of the Shield Hosts can do similar versions of this. Even mid game, being able to walk onto an objective, start a Banner, and then shoot is very strong and can tilt the game more than expected due to scoring at the end of the game.

Retrieve Battlefield Data:

Infantry or Bikes can perform the action in the movement phase if within a table quarter that hasn’t already had the action performed. It completes at the end of the turn, and when it completes roll a d6 subtracting 1 for Troops. If it matches or is less than the number of models in the unit, the action is successful. Score 4 points for two actions, 8 for 3 and 12 for 4. The action cannot be attempted while within 6″ of another table quarter.

I think this is a pretty mediocre secondary for Custodes, as we don’t want to be spending our time doing actions in places that aren’t also the primary objectives. We’re not flush with cheap, fast units that can go and do actions in random spots, and especially compared to Raise the Banners High, this secondary falls flat.

WIP on my first Dawneagle Bike – just six more to go!

Most games, I expect to be playing some combination of Raise the Banners High, Behind Enemy Lines, Grind Them Down, and then mixing in some other secondary if I think it’s better. Against something like Grey Knights, I might drop Behind Enemy Lines for Abhor The Witch. Against Knights, I’d drop Grind Them Down for Bring It Down.

I would rarely if ever touch Retrieve Battlefield Data, Engage on All Fronts, or No Prisoners.

I would also likely avoid the Custodes specific ones, though Auric Mortalis might occasionally be really good.

It might be a little less exciting than some of the other faction specific secondaries out there, but I believe Custodes have an excellent suite of options when it comes to scoring well on non-primary objectives, and the combination of those options plus innately excellent datasheets and faction tools puts Custodes in a really good place competitively.

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4 thoughts on “Adeptus Custodes Secondaries Overview – Arks of Omen

  1. I think Might of terra might be better than grind them down in some cases, mostly if you are running some SoS squads that die easily. The secondary states that no ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit may die, so the SoS are good bait, even if explaining prebattle to avoid gotcha moments, you can set some witchseekers up to atract some units into threat zones.

  2. Thank you very much, the article was very helpful. an article about the ka’tah would be great

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