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Adeptus Custodes wiped out of competitive Warhammer 40k

A new report on Warhammer 40k tournament results by website Stat Check claims the Adeptus Custodes are being crushed on the top tables.

Warhammer 40k Adeptus Custodes - art from Games Workshop, a gold-armored warrior with a red cape, red horsehair plume, and double-handed spear

New data compiled by competitive Warhammer 40k website Stat Check claims that in games between the most highly skilled players, the Adeptus Custodes have an abysmal win rate of just 23%. The Stat Check Meta Data Dashboard, updated on May 14, compiles tournament data since the release of the Adeptus Custodes Codex, and it’s not a pretty picture.

The Adeptus Custodes have a strong win rate of 57% in games between beginner, intermediate, and skilled players, but when the top 25% of players face off, this collapses to a miserable 23%. Custodes achieved just 42% of the top four places that they should have, relative to the number of players fielding them in tournaments.

The recent Warhammer 40k Codex release for the Custodes was badly received by the community, and this data suggests that concerns are well-founded. As Stat Check’s Clifford Thomas puts it in a post on Reddit, “Custodes have likely disappeared as a competitive option altogether”.

Warhammer 40k Adeptus Custodes art - a forces of gold-armored warriors wielding axes and spears, backed up by a dreadnought war machine, with a female warrior with a bare scalp, red topknot, and mouth-covering gorget in the fore

We will note some of the limitations of Stat Check’s data. The findings are based on seven Warhammer 40k GTs and Opens, with a total of “over 3,000 games” according to Clifford’s post. 23 Custodes players played a total of 101 games, but only 13 were games between players with top 25% Elo rankings – not enough to test their performance into every other Warhammer 40k faction.

Still, the Custodes’ performance drop-off at the highest level of play is stark. Leagues of Votann and Tyranids both perform badly but better among the top 25% of players, with 30% and 32% win rates respectively, but this was closer to their performance lower down the table: the other three quarters of the player base win with Votann a middling 52% of the time, and Tyranids just 44%.

The ability to compare the performance of factions at different levels of competition is a handy new feature of the Stat Check dashboard. While the top level win rates it – and Games Workshop’s MetaWatch articles – reports show how each faction performs overall, these flatten out the differences in performance at different skill-levels.

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That disguises factions like the Dark Angels and Chaos Space Marines, with poor overall win rates of 34% and 40% respectively, but which hop up to a totally balanced 50% win rate in games between the top 25% of players.

It’s just over a month since the end-of-April Warhammer 40k points update, and it’s likely we’ll be waiting for the newly revealed Warhammer 40k mission cards to be released before we get another. Before that happens, the upcoming Codex Chaos Space Marines is poised to upset the meta further. The Emperor’s Guardians are just going to have to hang tight.

If you’ve suddenly lost your appetite for painting gold and would like to try a slightly different army of transhuman super-soldiers, why not check out our guide on how to paint Space Marines? Or if you want to feel good about Custodes again, check out this amazing CGI animation.