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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leading the Charge! Ethereals

Ethereals are often among the the most hated units of the Tau Empire by the gaming community in general. Common wisdom would state that one should never take an Ethereal in any list expecting to win. Very much like how Necrons were always seen as an army you could phase out to beat, a Tau army with an Ethereal is portrayed to have a similar problem; kill the Ethereal and send half the army running.
This massive downside would probably sit fine with most Tau players if they got a tough model with the deal. The thing is, an Ethereal clocks in at just above a chunk of coal in terms of utility and slightly under wafer in terms of durability. The Ethereal lacks an armor save... or a save of any type. He has only two wounds, and a low Toughness. Not the epitome of toughness. The Ethereal also drops the ball by being the only Tau unit outside of Shield Drones and puppies to lack a gun.

The Ethereal has some definite perks, however; first and foremost being that he offers a re-roll to any leadership test taken by a Tau unit that can see him. He also makes any unit he joins fearless, increasing the durability against shooting of the unit he hides in by quite a bit. He adds a very small close combat punch, and can purchase Shield or Gun Drones. When an Ethereal's unit is whittled down, he can move into a vehicle;while not actively using his power at the time, it will save the problem of you running off the table.

The Ethereal can be fielded on the table one of two ways to be effective:
1. In sight, out of sight: An Ethereal will find a piece of cover ahead or to the side of your army, blocking enemy sight to him whilst allowing him to be visible to the rest of the army. A Devilfish that has landed can actually cover him completely whilst showing him to comrades to the sides; a useful thing to remember if you have, say, a Pathfinder Devilfish waiting to pick up reserved Fire Warriors. Do NOT do this if the enemy has barrage weapons.
2. In a unit: A team of Broadsides makes a great home for an Ethereal; strong, placed in the backfield, and now Fearless, the Broadsides will take quite a few hits for the Ethereal. Just beware being hit with massive amounts of hits and wounds getting to the Ethereal.Using Broadsides over, say, Kroot or Pathfinders, has the added bonus of having the Ethereal wounded as if T4.

That's all for the Ethereal.


Old Shatter Hands said...

I ran an ethereal at a recent tournament. I purchased a squad of ten fire warriors for him t hide in. This gave him 10 fearless wounds for protection. I then lined them up along a table edge. Barrage weapons were ineffective because they had a big chance of scattering off the board and really nobody shot at him the entire 4 games of the tourney. And the re-roll was awesome.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Nice. Did you get the Honour Guard for him or just the normal ones?

Old Shatter Hands said...

Just normal Fire Warriors. Worked like a charm.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Very nice.
Didn't you have problems with the smaller 'Side squad running off that game?
What about running him with them?

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