Double the Army, Double the Skulls

With a Throne of Skulls Doubles event fast approaching, James Karch and Jes Bickham take the plunge to paint an army each for it…

On the 10th and 11th of February, Warhammer World plays host to the latest Warhammer 40,000 Throne of Skulls Doubles tournament – an event where two friends can team up for a weekend of great gaming against like-minded opponents. James Karch, overseer of the awesome dioramas and displays at Warhammer World, and Jes Bickham, who manages all the excellent words that come out of our studio, are both going – with separate partners – and decided to both take exactly the same army for the event, with the intent of having a gentlemanly competition to see who will fare better.

Jes: A couple of times a year, my old chum Dean Garnham comes to visit so we can attend a gaming weekend or two at Warhammer World. It’s something of a tradition and a great treat for us, and Doubles events are perfect for gaming with a friend – both players select a 1000 point battle-forged army to ally together and play five games over two days. Dean has been excited for ages about using his Belisarius Cawl-fronted Adeptus Mechanicus army for this weekend’s event, which left me in a little quandary – the only Imperium army I have is composed of Imperial Knights, and I wasn’t sure these battlefield-shattering Lords of War were the best option for a doubles event. Which got me to wondering what I could do. Could I, in fact, paint a new army for the event?

I talked this over with James Karch, one of my regular gaming buddies here at Games Workshop HQ, as I knew he was going with his chum Craig Read, and he felt the same. So we suddenly both got very excited about the possibility of getting new forces together just for the event – there’s nothing like a deadline to motivate you to get paint on a miniature! With the Adeptus Custodes on the cusp of release, we thought it would be fun to paint something new together, and in fact, we decided to paint exactly the same army each! Here’s what we decided on:


Captain-General Trajann Valoris – 250 points

Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armour – 142 points
– Balistus grenade launcher
– Guardian spear
Relic: Gatekeeper


3x Custodian Guard – 156 points
– Guardian spears

3x Custodian Guard – 156 points
– Guardian spears

3x Custodian Guard – 156 points
– Guardian spears


Vexilus Praetor – 124 points
– Castellan Axe
– Vexilla Magnifica

Total: 984 points

6 command points 

We have both finished painting our armies now and are pretty pleased with the results. All that’s left is to see how we do at the weekend, and in the spirit of friendly competition, we’re going to track how many casualties we both inflict to see whose combined army is best!

James: As Jes has mentioned, there’s nothing like a deadline to get you motivated to finish an army, and what better deadline than a Doubles event at Warhammer World? Recently I’ve been playing with my Sons of Guilliman Primaris Space Marines force, but fancied taking something different to the event, as I know that Craig will be bringing his Blood Ravens Space Marines with him.

Fortunately, the Adeptus Custodes appeared just at the right time, and taking a small but deadly army of the Emperor’s personal guard all of a sudden became a reality, as well as a nice wee challenge for the event. So after a couple of conversations with Jes, we crazily decided to take the same list and the plan started to shape up.

One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is tracking the results in my Battle Journal and seeing how the different armies, Space Marines and Adeptus Mechanicus, interact with the Custodes on the tabletop. I know that Craig will be using a fair few Aggressors and Hellblasters, so hopefully, they’ll be able to provide a good amount of supporting fire (or at least a distraction) while the Custodes close in and deal with the enemy face-to-face. It’ll be fun to see how Jes gets on with the Adeptus Mechanicus supporting his army and seeing how differently each of our forces performs.

Roll on the weekend!

Be sure to check back after this weekend’s Throne of Skulls Doubles event to read James and Jes’ accounts of what happened and who was the better bodyguard for the Emperor! And if you want to start your own Adeptus Custodes shield company and see what you can do, check out the model range and see what you like the look of. 

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