Tuesday, 6 October 2015

XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit Rules & First Impressions [Tau]

This is the one I was waiting for !  The rules for the XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit has been leaked from pages of next weeks White Dwarf magazine.

The pictures come courtesy of Lady Atia on the War of Sigmar blog.  Here the pages of White Dwarf:

[Click on the pictures and zoom in to read all the detail]

Toughness & Survivability

As rumoured the Ghostkeel is only T5, with 4 wounds with a 3+ armour save, however the Ghostkeel costs barely over a third of the cost of the Stormsurge, and comes complete with 2 Stealth drones, and it's with these drones that the magic starts.  The Ghostkeel comes with Stealth, and if the Ghostkeel is attacked from over 12" away the cover save benefit from Stealth and/or Shrounded is doubled (up to a 2+ cover save).  The drones then give the all models in the unit (including themselves) Stealth, and if a model has Stealth (ie. the Ghostkeel) they instead give the model Shrouded.

However lets look at the exact wording:

"All models ... receive the Stealth special rule.  Any models that already have Stealth receive the Shrouded special rule instead"

now I believe the sentence means that the Ghostkeel receives the Shrouded special rule instead of receiving the Stealth special rule, because the sentence is taking about what rule is being received.  However I can see some people arguing that the sentence means that the Ghostkeel receives the Shrouded special rule and loses the Stealth special rule.

My interpretation means that with the drones the Ghostkeel receives a 2+ cover save in the open (Stealth + Shrouded, both doubled), however let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Even if Stealth is lost the Ghostkeel will have a 3+ cover save in the open, or a 2+ cover save if behind or in any cover or if there are any intervening units.

It's important to note that while the Ghostkeel will have a 2+ cover save in the open (my interpretation) the drones themselves will only have a 6+ cover save, as they only have Stealth, and only the Ghostkeel has the wargear to grant the double cover save bonus.  Therefore careful positioning will be required to ensure the drones are sniped out from an odd angel you weren't expecting.

Update: I obviously forgot that only one model in a unit has to have the Stealth and/or Shrouded rule for the whole unit to benefit, so regardless of the interpretation the whole unit will get Stealth and Shrouded.  It also means that the drones will receive a 4+ cover save in the open, and any type of cover will bump that up to a 2+ cover save, making them much more survivable.

With the cover save bonus the Ghostkeel is quite survivable, once the enemy does not have ignore cover and the Ghostkeel stays more than 12" away from the enemy to get the double cover save bonus.  In that scenario the Ghostkeel is very good for it's 130 points.


The Ghostkeel comes as standard with a Fusion Collider, which is a blast fusion gun.  Nice but short ranged, and the Ghostkeel has to get very close (9") to get the melta effect.  The Fusion Collider can be swapped for a Cyclic Ion Raker which has a slightly longer range of 24" (and gets the full effect at maximum range unlike the Fusion Collider) and fires 6 Str7 AP4 shots, or can be overcharged (which makes it Gets Hot) to have a Str8 AP4 Large Blast.

Nothing spectacular, but I think the Ghostkeel is more of a harassing unit like Stealth suits.

The main gun is complimented by a twin-linked flamer, but personally I would immediately upgrade that to a twin-linked fusion blaster if keeping the Fusion Collider as the main gun, or upgrading to a twin-linked burst cannon if using the Cyclic Ion Raker.

So the firepower is short ranged, but it's nice you can make both the main gun and the secondary gun compliment each other, for a total of 10 anti infantry shots or a twin-linked and blast anti tank (or heavy infantry) shots.

The Last Laugh

The last piece of trickery (Holophoton Countermeasures) is that once a game, after a unit has chosen to target the Ghostkeel or it's unit, the Ghostkeel can choose to make that enemy unit fire only snapshots that turn.  That could be very nasty for Wraithguard with D-Scythes because suddenly they wouldn't be able to fire the D-Scythes, but against normal weapons it will still severely limit the damage the Ghostkeel takes.

Typically with GW it mixes up unit and model in the rules for this ability, so it will have to be seen whether when you have multiple Ghostkeels in a unit you can do this ability once for each Ghostkeel.  However either way this is a very nice ability that will probably allow the Ghostkeel to survive another turn at a critical point in the game.


The points cost is very reasonable (135 for the Cyclic Ion Raker & Burst Cannon variant, 140 for the Fusion Collider with Fusion gun variant).  The harasssment value with the cover saves ability is nice, but the firepower is nothing to write home about, but if it's hard to kill it should be around longer.

It's a stunning model, and while I think the unit isn't outstanding, it definitely isn't bad, it's just not an auto-take, well unless other units get nerfs, eg, Riptides & Crisis Suits, in the new codex.  It's Holophoton Countermeasures make this a good suit to try and get Fusion weaponry in close to the enemy and survive for a second round.  However we'll have to wait for the codex to see if there's longer ranged options to taking out heavy tanks from range.  We already have the Stormsurge, but that is expensive, hopefully Hammerheads or Broadsides will have better tank killing than before.

Interesting at 135 points (for the Fusion variant) the Ghostkeel is the same points as Shadowsun is now, and I think Shadowsun giving a large crisis suit unit with drones Stealth and Shrouded is a valid alternative.  Or maybe as they're both great models, you could use both and have 2-3 Ghostkeels (with accompanying 2 Stealth drones each) as one Stealthed up unit, and Shadowsun with a unit of Crisis suits as another.  You could even round out the elites with a unit of Stealth Suits.

So what's your opinion on the new rules for the Ghostkeel ?  I think the model will sell well, as it's a great model and it's much easier to put 130-140 points into an army without major rewrites.  Will you be buying one ?


PS. Only roughly a week to go before I guess codex page pictures will start leaking, can't wait :)


  1. nothing saying exchanging their stealth rule oO ... they get shrouded on top of their stealth

  2. I think the cover save thing is more complicated. As I read the rule, the drones give every model in the unit (including themselves) stealth. However, any model that already had stealth (i.e. wasn't given it by the drones rule), swaps if for shrouded. So the Ghostkeel has stealth native and gets shrouded "instead". However, because the drones didn't have stealth already, they don't swap and keep stealth. You then have a unit with both stealth (on the drones) and shrouded (on the ghost keel) which stack, giving +3 to the units cover save that is doubled to +6. So 2+ in the open.

    1. as it is worded, the drone only grants the second buff if they already got the first. The "instead" is there to indicate that there is change. It is hard to interpret it but the word clearly says "receive" rather than "exchange".

    2. in the end both ways work since you will still need at least one drone to get shrouded given both drone and xv95 already have the stealth.

    3. I agree it is rather bad wording, but I think aracersss is right in that it will make little difference because you only need to have one model in the unit to have stealth or shrouded to get the benefit, so both drones and Ghostkeel will have Stealth and Shrounded :)

  3. I'm of the opinion that the ghostkeel with the drones will receive shrouded from the drones, and already has stealth. There's nothing in the wording of that rule that convinces me you remove a rule the ghostkeel has because of the drones granting shrouded.

    I'll definitely be getting at least 1, hopefully 2, as I want my Tau to be focused on the stealth aspect (stealth suits are my favourite models in the range)

    Here's a thought though - the suit is a monstrous creature with 2 weapons. It has a multi-tracker. why? It can't fire more than two weapons since it only has two. Does this mean the multi tracker rules are changing??? Just my tuppence worth!

    1. Riptide has monstrous creature and multitracker if I recall correctly. There are other benefits to being an MC. Move Through Cover is handy as this helps with Jump-Shoot-Jump and staying in cover without penalty. Obviously doesn't help the drones though.

    2. I think they just give he multi-tracker to all suits by default, hence the example of the existing Riptide having a multi-tracker and not being able to use.

      It is possible that the multi-tracker has changed rules, but we'll have to wait for the codex, however I wouldn't put money on it changing

  4. Be interesting to see what they do with Stealth Suits don't own any at the moment because they're far too expensive but would be tempted if they were cheaper or got buffed.

    1. I've got some of the old XV15, and it would be nice if they hit the gaming table some time. They haven't been used in many many years, so I'm hoping they change for the better as well.

    2. The Stealth Suits haven't changed at all, but the buff buff from the Optimised Stealth Cadre makes Stealth Suits and Ghostkeels very attractive :)



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