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Tactica Ethereals

Submitted By: Date: September 19, 2005, 03:49:36 PM Views: 2090
Summary: <p class="body">The Aun may be small and fragile in comparison to the larger Battlesuits that are literally bristling with guns, but they are just as important to the Greater Good in their own way. This guide aims to provide some advice about using them in your games - and keeping them alive!<br /></p>

<p class="subheader">Should I take one?<br /></p>
<p class="body">The short answer being, why shouldn't you? Especially as, the larger your army, the more units that you get a benefit for, and all for the same price! In addition, the Ethereal can even save you points as the need to Bond your teams, or even to buy a character upgrade for them becomes less necessary as you've already greatly increased their Leadership in a different way. Plus, you're getting a flavorful (and nice looking) model to add to your collection.<br />
However, the Ethereal does use up a valuable HQ slot, and to players that really want to take two Commanders, the poor Ethereal can see himself being bypassed in favor of characters with more guns. Don't get me wrong, an army without an Ethereal is still a completely competitive force, just be sure to throw in a few of the other related upgrades (a Shas'ui for your Fire Warrior team, perhaps a Bonding upgrade or two) to keep your Morale high.<br /></p>
<p class="subheader">How should I equip him?<br /></p>
<p class="body">Or her, perhaps (to avoid any cries of 'sexist' from the more politically correct of you out there). Although the Ethereal doesn't have the most Equipment and Wargear options out of the characters of the 41st Millennium, there are still a couple of choices to be made.<br />
The cheapest Equipment option for an Ethereal is simply the Symbols of Office - being free and as-standard after all. They add to his combat worth slightly, and especially as you probably don't mean for him to get into combat it's the best option to save points for elsewhere. The Honor Blade isn't that expensive, and does allow your Ethereal to wound those tougher beasties more easily - but should he really be fighting those tougher beasties anyway? Whilst it's all well and good for Aun'Shi, personally I don't find that the Honor Blade is the most useful choice. That said, it is nice as far as adding character goes (the Wargear entry itself adds a bit more to Tau fluff) and converting up a model is, it can be a fun selection.<br />
The next choice you have to make is what Wargear to buy. As an Ethereal can choose from the Hard-Wired options in the Armory, there are a total of four possible upgrades. However, three of these are absolutely useless (being centered on increasing the Shooting ability of the model, and as you know an Ethereal is slightly lacking in the long-ranged weapon department....).  Therefore the Drone Controller is the only worthwhile choice.<br />
Even so, you still have to decide whether or not to give the Ethereal some Gun or Shield Drones. The worth of either option really depends on where you're going to place your Ethereal - if he's in a Fire Warrior squad he won't really need the added protection of Shield Drones, and could quite happily take two Gun Drones to add to the unit's firepower. If he's alone, then the Shield Drones could come in handy for added survivability.<br />
Whichever choice you make, take the maximum of two Drones if you have the points available - to make the most out of the Drone Controller that you've already paid for, and to provide the maximum extra firepower/protection depending on whether or not you've selected Gun/Shield Drones respectively.<br /></p>
<p class="subheader">How can I get the most out of my Ethereal in-game?<br /></p>
<p class="body">Ethereals are perhaps the most fragile of all available HQ choices, to any race in the game - therefore it would be clever to ensure the safety of this useful model as long as you can. Some players opt to keep the Ethereal out of sight and reach, behind some terrain feature at the very back of their lines. If you do this, any unit assigned to protect him is virtually being wasted if it can't see the enemy in return, and if there is no unit for protection then the Ethereal becomes very at risk to Deep Striking enemies, fast assault units such as bikes (especially now they can move 24" a turn) and any long-ranged weapons that your opponent may have that do not require LOS.<br />
The alternative option is to keep the Ethereal in a Fire Warrior team. The team will gain a direct advantage from his presence, thus getting the most out of your points, and you've got added protection against enemy fire. In addition, Mechanized Tau forces will have a handy Devilfish to enable a quick escape if the situation gets dangerous.<br />
Of course pretty much all Tau players know that the main benefit of using an Ethereal comes with his ability to increase the chances of your Tau units (Fire Warriors, Battlesuits and the like) from fleeing the battle. However, remember that you can also use this ability in reverse - allowing units to be more likely to run away. This can often save a team from certain destruction if a particularly nasty threat appears to be set to wipe them out.<br />
In addition, many of your Tau units will be equipped for shooting - something that can still be done whilst running away. Just be wary if using this approach that you don't let teams that are overly close to the table edge run away if you can help it (bearing in mind the Fall Back distances of 2D6 for the basic troopers and a higher 3D6 for your Jetpack-equipped models), as it would be preferable in most cases to let the unit stand their ground than make their doom a surety by having them depart the game.<br /></p>

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