XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit

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A huge, deadly and nigh-undetectable weapon of impressive killing capacity, the XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit is a formidable display of T'au war technology. Piloted by a single, hand-picked T'au warrior, a lone Ghostkeel is capable of appearing from seemingly nowhere, unleashing a storm of incredible firepower with its fusion collider and disappearing into the mayhem and confusion of battle. This battlesuit bristles with a vast array of advanced countermeasures, making it invisible to enemy sensors - weapons simply refuse to lock-on and the few that manage to loose off a shot are baffled by

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XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit

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XV95 Ghostkeel

An XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit leading XV25 Stealthsuits against their foe.

The XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit is the pinnacle of T'au stealth technology, a battlesuit created specifically for use behind enemy lines in the most gruelling conditions.

These mighty battlesuits loom several times the height of a Fire Warrior , and mount a full array of repulsor jets. They are equipped with an arsenal of heavy weaponry, and are supported by a wealth of high-technology hardware and counter-sensory warfare suites. XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits can tear apart entire armoured squadrons and massacre rank upon rank of enemy infantry in sudden ambushes. The firestorm of their onslaught is such that the foe often believes a whole army must be attacking them from an unexpected quarter.

  • 2.1 Known Formations
  • 3.1 Available X95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit Support Systems

History [ ]


A squad of XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits launches a strike against the Raven Guard on Prefectia .

Until recently, the deployment of the XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit was restricted to covert missions. In truth, development of these potent battlesuits was completed around the beginning of the Third Sphere Expansion , but it was decreed by the Ethereals that these new weapons should remain hidden until their unveiling held the greatest inspirational value.

Pilots were chosen from pre-vetted candidates who were extracted from Stealth Team operations and transported to a secret facility on J'ka'vo station, on the fringes of the abandoned sept of N'dras . From here, following orders from the Ethereal Supreme Aun'Va himself, the first generation of Ghostkeel Battlesuits performed a range of deep-cover operations, ranging from the Vadenfall Station sabotage to the assassination of Cardinal Bocsh.

With the current success of the XV104 Riptide Battlesuit , the time has been judged ripe to reveal the freshly named "Ghosts of N'dras." Suddenly, this insular band of warriors has been thrust into the light, their existence changing from a secret to a propaganda exercise virtually overnight. Recruitment of XV95 Ghostkeel pilots has now begun across the T'au Empire , as has production of the Battlesuits themselves; soon enough the armies of every Sept will possess XV95 Ghostkeel wings of their own.

Tactical Role [ ]


An XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit engaging the Raven Guard .

The tactical applications of the Ghostkeel are many and varied, ranging from unleashing devastating strikes behind enemy lines to ambush-hunting alongside Hunter Cadres . XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits can be seen as the epitome of the Tau Mont'ka "Killing Blow" stratagem -- striking precisely where they need to with unerring accuracy and overwhelming force. Used to sow confusion and destruction in the enemy ranks, the XV95 is a terror weapon designed to leave the enemy in a state of panic and disorder as they search in vain for their mysterious attacker. Enveloped by overlapping stealth fields projected by its attendant Drone , the XV95 Ghostkeel is virtually invisible even in open terrain. Targeting arrays and scopes simply slide off its holophoton projectors, while scanners and Auspexes are baffled by the Battlesuit's electrowarfare suite, pinging back false readings and contradictory data.

Each Ghostkeel is piloted by single, highly trained Shas'vre, a former XV25 Stealthsuit Team veteran. This focused warrior is supported by an integrated artificial intelligence (AI) that assists him in operating the Ghostkeel's many complex systems and monitors his physical and psychological well-being during extended operations. As Ghostkeel pilots spend long periods of time isolated in enemy territory, many form unusually strong bonds with their Battlesuit AI. Indeed, in some cases these eccentric warriors become so introverted that they prefer the company of their suit's AI to that of other Tau. XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits are typically deployed in squads of one to three Battlesuits. Pilots in squads consisting of multiple members are usually ritually bonded to one another according to the Tau custom of Ta'lissera , which is symbolised by a knife design painted onto the squad leader's armour.

Known Formations [ ]

  • Heavy Retribution Cadre - Heavy Retribution Cadres consist of a squad of XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits working in tandem with two units of KV128 Stormsurge Ballistic Suits , with the Ghostkeels acting as invisible forward spotters that feed targetting data back to the Stormsurges. Thus, when a Heavy Retribution Cadre opens fire, the blinding firestorm produced is truly terrifying. Even the most colossal enemies stand little chance when caught amid this sudden monsoon of destruction.

Armament [ ]


An XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit in combat with its pilot cockpit open.

The XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit stands more than three times the height of a Space Marine , even higher than an XV88 Broadside Battlesuit , its armoured body sharing a similar design to the experimental XV22 Stealthsuit worn by Commander Shadowsun . XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits incorporate many of the standard features shared by most Tau Battlesuits , including a powerful and sophisticated Tau Jetpack , which combines anti-gravitic and jet propulsion technology. The Jetpack allows the Battlesuit to maintain a stable platform from which to fire its weapons, even when on the move, and provides a great deal of mobility to the user. The Jetpack also allows for an XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit to be deployed from high altitudes by Tau transports such as Orcas and Mantas , where the Jetpack will be used to safely slow the Battlesuit's descent. In addition to the Jetpack, an XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit also incorporates advanced sensors common to all Tau Battlesuits which are built into the helmet. These sensors and systems allow for the user to gather more accurate battlefield data which can assist informed decision-making on where to best deploy themselves to maximise their tactical effectiveness. All XV95 Ghostkeels are also equipped with a Blacksun Filter , which is an advanced optical system that enhances and magnifies a warrior's low-light vision whilst simultaneously filtering bright flares of light that could blind him in battle, and a Multi-Tracker , which assists Battlesuit pilots in engaging enemy threats by using multiple armaments at once, making them formidable opponents in a wide variety of battle conditions. As with all Tau Battlesuits, XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits are constructed out of a lightweight yet strong nano-crystalline alloy called Fio'tak in the Tau Lexicon , which is light, malleable, impact resistant and corrosive-resistant, reducing the weight of the Battlesuit whilst also providing excellent protection. Even the armour's shape helps deflect solid projectiles, while a reflective liquid metal coating can reflect medium-grade laser fire. A full medical suite and nutrient reservoirs are also built into every XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit to help aid their pilots in the field.

Like its smaller cousin the XV25 Stealthsuit , an XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit also possesses the capability of camouflaging its wearer through the use of its stealth technologies. The suit's integrated holographic disruption field achieves its effects through a number of disruptor emitter nodes arrayed all over the Battlesuit's armour. This holographic disruption field can operate in two modes. The default, passive mode utilises a range of technologies to dampen the suit's electromagnetic signature so that enemy scanners are far less likely to detect it. This mode is called "passive" because its use cannot be detected, as rather than attempting to interfere with enemy sensor systems, it simply masks the suit itself. In active mode, however, the suit's stealth field generator comes online. The suit's matte finish ripples and blurs, resolving itself into a nigh-perfect representation of the terrain that lies behind it, making the suit and its wearer all but transparent -- even to visual identification. In this way, the Stealthsuit's form is blended into the background as if its wearer was a Terran chameleon. Layers of audio and sensory dampening technologies serve to further hide the Stealthsuit. In addition, when operating in active mode, the Stealthsuit's systems are actively interfering with and jamming enemy sensor devices. In so doing, the jamming itself may give away the fact that a Stealthsuit is present somewhere on the battlefield, but it will make the detection of its actual location nearly impossible; thus allowing the Stealthsuit-clad warriors to move untracked, blending in with their surrounding environment before they strike. Because it is hard to focus on their location, a Stealth Team can hide to at least some degree even when standing in open territory. In areas of cover, such as forests or the rubble of an embattled city, they effectively fade into the background, making themselves extremely difficult targets for enemies to mark out or lock on to effectively.

To aid in covering the XV95 Ghostkeel's large size, the Battlesuits are deployed accompanied by two MV5 Stealth Drones . These Drones project overlapping stealth fields which help support the XV95's own internal stealth field generators. While some Drones are seen as expendable assets, these two are invaluable to the Ghostkeel's Shas'vre, who often forms an unnaturally strong bond with them while on extended missions behind enemy lines.


XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits engaging Raven Guard Astartes in battle

XV95 Ghostkeels also feature an AI Electrowarfare Suite and Holophoton Countermeasures for use in active combat against the enemy. The Ghostkeel's Electrowarfare Suite, mounted on the Battlesuit's left arm, aggressively scans enemy targetting spectrums and invades the foe's sensor arrays, filling them with false information and scrap-data that makes it almost impossible to effectively fire upon the Battlesuit at range. The Holophoton Countermeasures, mounted between the Battlesuit's secondary weapon systems, are triggered by AI-assisted threat-warning protocols and take the form of a targetted barrage of holo-decoys, friendly target simulacra and stroboscopic blasts. This confounds enemy weapons, causing safety switches to engage and Machine Spirits to rebel while their operators are left bewildered and blinded by the overwhelming sensory overload. Together with the Battlesuit's stealth field generator, an XV95 Ghostkeel becomes a near impossible target for enemies to engage from range.

In terms of weapon systems, all XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits are armed with either a Cyclic Ion Raker or Fusion Collider . Where the Cyclic Ion Raker is designed for atomising large blocks of infantry with a stream of high-impact energy projectiles, the Fusion Collider employs sub-atomic agitation to superheat its targets, vaporising living creatures and turning armoured vehicles into molten slag; a silent weapon for a silent killer. The XV95 Ghostkeel also mounts a secondary weapon system on its shoulders, which can either be a set of twin-linked Burst Cannons , Flamers or Fusion Blasters , and is able to fit two Battlesuit Support Systems to boost its combat effectiveness.

Available X95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit Support Systems [ ]

Below is a list of the most common available Battlesuit support systems that an XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit can be armed with:

  • Advanced Targeting System – An Advanced Targeting System is a specialised target acquisition system that enables the Battlesuit pilot to automatically identify and pick out priority targets in the midst of combat.
  • Counterfire Defence System – A Counterfire Defence System is a valuable artificial intelligence (AI) sensor suite first designed to counter the threat of charging Ork hordes. It incorporates logic circuits to ensure that assaulting enemies are met with a withering curtain of unerringly accurate Battlesuit firepower.
  • Drone Controller - A Drone Controller acts as a hub for communications and interface between an operator and the AI battle programs of a number of Tau Drones . The Drone Controller device gives the user the ability to relay any additional targetting data they receive to their Drones, thus directing those automatons' fire more accurately at the target.
  • Early Warning Override – An Early Warning Override sensor suite is calibrated to detect the electronic signatures of teleport beams and orbital-entry jump systems, and jolt the Battlesuit's weapon systems to lock-on status before the target has a chance to react.
  • Positional Relay - A Positional Relay digitally records detailed battlefield data and relays it in a tight encrypted radio burst to assets in orbit and squads held in reserve. Information sent usually includes battlefield terrain and status reports to allow the incoming units to make a better decision on where to deploy onto the battlefield and coordinate their actions as part of the overall combat strategy.
  • Shield Generator - Battlesuit Shield Generators project cohesive energy fields around the Battlesuit that can deflect weapons fire and melee blows that would otherwise destroy the Battlesuit outright, whether such incoming fire be shots from heavy ordnance or anti-tank weapons.
  • Stimulant Injector - A Battlesuit with Stimulant Injectors is fitted with advanced life support systems that are able to flood the Battlesuit pilot's body with painkillers, analgesic drugs, and other life-sustaining stimulants should he become badly wounded in combat.
  • Target Lock - A Target Lock is a specialised target acquisition system that enables the user to engage different targets from the rest of the squad.
  • Velocity Tracker – The advanced motion detection and infra-red sensor systems built into a Velocity Tracker allows Battlesuit pilots to track the movements of airborne targets and effectively engage them with the Battlesuit's weapons.

Sources [ ]

  • Codex: Tau Empire (7th Edition), pp. 30, 49, 89, 106, 116-124
  • War Zone DamoclesL Kauyon , pp. 65-70, 73-74
  • Games Workshop - XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit
  • White Dwarf Weekly Magazine  #89 (10 Oct. 2015) " XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit", pp. 5-9

Gallery [ ]

An XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit

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The XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit category of Warhammer 40.000 ™ bits offers you accessories, bodies and weapons to customize your Tau army.

Among a wide choice of bitz, you will find various options/weapons: two burst cannons, two fusion blasters, two flamers, a fusion collider, a cyclic ion raker and two XV5 stealth drone field projectors.

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Games Workshop 99120113059" Tau Xv95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit Plastic Kit

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ghostkeel price

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ghostkeel price

The Ghostkeel in 9th

ghostkeel price

Last week I discussed a couple of options for T’au players who want to avoid Commanders now that the Fly keyword isn’t nearly as strong as it was in 8th. As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

I briefly talked about the Ghostkeel and the Tiger Shark, but this week I want to take a more detailed look at the Ghostkeel.

Everyone knows that T’au in 8th edition really only had one competitive list — Riptides, Commanders, and Drone spam — and while it’s too early in the edition to predict how a competitive T’au army is going to look, I want to make the best case for taking some of the lesser-seen models in the codex.

The Ghostkeel is in an interesting place at the moment. It doesn’t offer T’au players much in the way of offensive output, but it does offer some useful utility in other areas of the game. Whether this utility makes up for the lackluster shooting of the model is yet to be decided. As 9th edition goes on, we’re going to see lists evolve and change, so it’s certainly feasible that the Ghostkeel could make an appearance in some strong lists.

However, I’m a little skeptical that we’re going to see much of the Ghostkeel unless the 9th edition T’au codex updates its stat-line and abilities. This is certainly possible, and towards the end of this article I’m going to make a couple of suggestions that would bring the Ghostkeel into line with similarly-priced units in other codex books.

With this in mind, let’s begin with a comparison. For Space Marine players, the Invictor Tactical Warsuit plays a similar role to the Ghostkeel: it is a mid-sized unit that can deploy anywhere on the board that is not in the enemy deployment zone nor within 9″ of an enemy model. Moreover, it’s points cost is roughly comparable: 165 points for the Invictor and 171 points for the Ghostkeel.

For 165 points, the Invictor gets Marine players a fragstorm grenade launcher, a heavy bolter, two ironhail heavy stubbers, and a twin ironhail autocannon. For 176 points the Ghostkeel gets T’au players two burst cannons and a cyclic ion raker.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these shooting options. The Invictor has a total of 15 plus D6 shots. The two ironhail heavy stubbers offer six strength 4, AP-1, damage 1 shots at 36″; the heavy bolter offers three strength 5, AP-1, damage 1 shots at 36″; the twin ironhail autocannon offers six shots at strength 7, AP-1, damage 1 at 48″; and the fragstorm grenade launcher offers D6 blast shots at strength 4, AP0, damage 1 at 18″.

As shooting goes, this is respectable output for a model of this points cost. While it’s not going to bring down anything big, the Invictor will do some solid work against most infantry targets in the game, and it has the range to be a consistent threat regardless of positioning.

The Ghostkeel has 14 shots. The two burst cannons offer eight strength 5, AP-1, damage 1 shots at 18″ and the cyclic ion raker offers six strength 7, AP-2, damage 1 shots at 24″. The T’au player can overcharge the CIR for an extra point of strength and D3 damage at the cost of mortal wounds on 1s to hit. Note that I’m presuming that the T’au players takes the advanced targeting system for an extra point of armor piercing. Moreover, the points cost above presumes that the T’au player also takes a shield generator. It is this support system that makes the Ghostkeel an interesting option, but we’ll come to that in a moment.

In this loadout, the Ghostkeel will threaten some light to medium infantry, but will struggle to do much work against most other targets. While the CIR’s stat-line is respectable, the Ghostkeel will hit its target on average three times and will wound a further two against most targets. For the points cost, this is quite underwhelming.

There are a handful of other comparisons to similarly-priced options in a variety of other factions, but the Ghostkeel seldom comes out looking good.

And I accept that comparing two units in a vacuum has significant drawbacks. There is a lot more to both Space Marines and T’au that can improve these two units, but as a simple, broad-brush comparison I think there is at least some use in this comparison.

But it’s an unfortunate fact of this model: the Ghostkeel simply doesn’t offer much bang for its buck.

Before we get too negative, I mention above that T’au players can equip their stealthy lad with a shield generator. It’s here that things start to look up. With the native -1 to hit, and a 4++, the Ghostkeel starts to look more appealing as a defensive asset than an offensive one.

ghostkeel price

With toughness 6, a 3+ save, a 4+ invulnerable save, and a native -1 to hit, the Ghostkeel can be quite a pain for opponents to remove.

And what’s more, nearby Drones can use the savoir protocols ability to intercept incoming firepower.

Granted, consistent, high-quality firepower will certainly take it off the table, but at the very least this unit forces opponents to think twice when deciding what firepower to employ. A canny T’au player will use this to his advantage.

I think there’s some play here. As a part of a back-field castle, the Ghostkeel doesn’t offer T’au players enough firepower. But as a mobile, mid-board harassment unit, there’s something to be said for it. It’s quick, and with the correct support systems it’s tough enough to get stuck in with a variety of enemy units.

The Ghostkeel, then, will reward more aggressive play. In 9th edition, games are won and lost on the objectives, and the Ghostkeel can be useful tool in contesting and capturing mid-board objectives. It won’t, however, be able to do so on it’s own. Drone support will help to keep it alive for longer and a couple of units will help with overwatch. Indeed, now that Battlesuits can no longer fall back and shoot, T’au players need to leverage our powerful overwatch abilities in order to disincentivise the opponent’s combat units.

T’au players should also consider using the Ghostkeel in the charge and combat phases of the game. Of course, it has little to no combat ability to speak of, but that wouldn’t be the goal of charging the enemy.

We’ve already established that the Ghostkeel doesn’t offer much in terms of offensive output. This means that if we lose a turn or two of shooting, we haven’t lost too much.

With it’s respectable defensive capabilities, the Ghostkeel can take a punch or two and keep on going, so T’au players should leverage this in order to turn off an opposing unit’s shooting and charging. Our Battlesuit could, for example, charge a squad of Intercessors, and while the Marines could certainly do a couple or three wounds in combat, the Ghostkeel would almost certainly survive. We’ve now shut down that unit in the following turn.

Such an aggressive tactic shouldn’t be used in every case, of course, but it should be an option in the T’au player’s toolkit.

Finally, I want to mention a couple of improvements that would make the Ghostkeel a strong choice for the points. At the moment, it has some use, but it’s certainly not an auto-include. How could Games Workshop rewrite this unit in order to make it much more appealing?

I would keep things simple: increase the wounds from 10 to 12, increase the CIR’s profile from heavy 6 to heavy 8, and give it a 12″ no-reinforcements aura.

The first two are simple enough. Make the model more tough and more dangerous. This is pretty simple stuff. But it’s the third suggestion that I think could be really cool.

I suggest this rule specifically because The Greater Good introduced the very same ability — but in the form of a relic, the Advanced EM Scrambler.

It’s a great ability, but there are other very strong T’au relics, so it’s not at all surprising that we so seldom see it on the tabletop. Moreover, it would only apply to one Ghostkeel. Making the ability native to the model itself would give T’au players a strong incentive to take one or two Ghostkeels in their armies. The ability to block out areas of the board in which the opponent cannot place his reserve units is very strong.

Who knows what the next T’au codex will do for the Ghostkeel. I hope that GW does something interesting with it. It’s such a fantastic sculpt, and it would be great to see more variety on the tabletop.

Until that point, however, I think that the Ghostkeel still has some play.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart !


8 thoughts on “ The Ghostkeel in 9th ”

Counterpoints: 1. The Ghostkeel only gets a -1 to hit when the attacker is more than 12″ away. The drones that give it an additional -1 are a separate unit and can easily be trimmed away. For a unit that is meant to be operating close to the enemy, it’s a terrible arrangement. 2. Less survivable but as expensive (or more so) than a tank. The Shield Generator has a 50/50 chance of working so averages means you’ll get rid of this thing with less effort than the ‘Keel costs, particularly if it doesn’t have a mass of drones nearby, such as when it sets up aggressively.

The lack of native -1 to hit is dumb – give it the same benefit as a Stealth Suit otherwise it’s just costing more for an ability that cannot be used.

The idea behind its countermeasures ability is to force the opponent into a devil’s choice- either get in close where they are at the Ghostkeel’s ideal range, or stay far away but be unable to effectively hurt it.

Or at least that’s the theory, but the reality is most armies want to engage Tau at close range because of their complete lack of melee, so it actually ends up being less of a choice and more of a “oh okay whatever” kind of ability.

Between Savior Protocols, hit penalties, and the Shield Generator it’s significantly more survivable than almost any vehicle in the game, though.

I was thinking along these lines and have given Ghostkeels a try in 9th. Sadly I was not too impressed, they are reasonably durable for their points but their lack of threat means that an opponent can just ignore them. They also lack scoring threat as a single model lacking ObSec.

That does not mean that they have no use. If pre-emptive objective grabbing lists such as nurgling spam become popular then the Ghostkeel definitely has a role as a way to block out a couple of objectives from being camped before the game even starts, seriously compromising the plans of your opponent.

The problem with the Ghostkeel is that as a durable brick it tends to lose out to Riptides and as a positional utility piece it competes with the much cheaper Stealth teams. That leaves it in an awkward spot where it is 2nd best choice for a number of possible roles rather than 1st choice for any.

Problem with GK all along 8th edition was the rule set. To be honest, as many of other Tau units, he was designed with enough “love” I hope this to be adressed when codex come out as Tau will need these type of units to score

You forgot to mention big part of ghost keel, and that is that it just comboes well with stealth suits. Wall of mirrors lets you redeploy them and this doesn’t count as fallback. This makes ghostkeel-stealth suits combo strong since both of those units can start up board, grab objectives early, and hold the line. This is Huge, because Tau defends objectives very well, but has problems with taking them for themselves. Anything that helps in that department is huge buff.

Two, it’s a monster, and screens for our characters, mainly commanders. And thus i would suggest not actually investing in its offensive capabilities. 2 flamers, CIR, shield genrator and drone controller(for marker drones) and Stealth drones sum up to 155 pts, and that is good price for huge utility it gives. It will eventualy end up in combat, so you don’t want to invest in its puny combat capabilities in case you want to fall back.

Its not killy unit so don’t treat it like one. It doesn’t have to be, its not 8th ed anymore.

Really good point! GK needs Stealth suits to work fine. They have good synergies with Wall of Mirror and the drones that stealh suits can carry I dont think GK can work without support

Killing is not critical the way it was in 8E, but the issue is that Tau need ways to take objectives- and the Ghostkeel, being a single model with no ObSec, cannot do this particularly effectively. Yes, it will wipe out that squad of Primaris Marines with a round or two of shooting, but in the meantime they are holding the objective and earning victory points, driving the Tau player deeper onto the back foot.

What Tau struggle with is holding the midfield. The Ghostkeel, despite its survivability and infiltrating abilities, does not enable the army to do that any better. That’s why it is not particularly enticing as a choice.

(That said, Wall of Mirrors is a very nice trick, just not sufficient.)

That’s true. But their main objective is to create space and give rest of the army time to get into position. Even charging ghostkeel or stealths into enemy lines to body block can be god way of using it. Mobility is key in this edition, and since we cant generally leverage in any way to gain more, we need to think how to reduce it for our opponents.

Once rest of the army is onto objectives tau defends them actually quite well. Its just that once the lose it, they have little way to grab them back.

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