Tau Ethereal -worth taking? Probably not. But a Tau Ethereal is a fantastic finish for any Tau army. Normally I willl never field a Tau Ethereal in a game of Warhammer 40K, unless I'm playing a fun game or have a whacky new idea (more on this in a moment). But when I saw the 1st limited edition Tau Ethereal on eBay at Buy It Now for a tenner, I had to snap it up, then suffer the 5 pounds postage charge (owch), so he cost me 15 overall.
I'm amazed Games Workshop never put this Tau Ethereal on general release. He's a fantastic figure that's very static, but beautifully and quite plainly sculpted, making him a sheer pleasure to paint.
As you can see, I did a little something different with my typical Tau scheme for this chap, swapping the abundance of military green for darker, warmer colours. He is a Tau spiritual leader after all, not the Tau army commander.
Tau Ethereal TacticsDo Tau Ethereal tactics really exist? Well, no not really. a Tau Ethereal is in fact a massive liability, especially when your jet pack troops fall back 3D6" and are quite likely to flee straight off the board should he be killed and your Elite units fail their Leadership Test, which is horrifically common.
While he may make all units which can draw line of sight to him Fearless, he's simply far too easy to kill and makes for an especially invitiing target, even if you hide him in a unit of Tau Broadsides. Chances are that someone is going to score a hit on him and if you're daft enough to believe he will tip the balance for you in close combat with his Weapon Skill of 4 and 3 Attacks, you're sorely mistaken.
The best use I've found for an Ethereal is in an army with lots of Tau Battlesuits. Tau Battlesuits are the strongest Tau close combat units in your army, especially a Shas'O joined by some bodyguard.
Obviously, I played this for a laugh, because it's not competitive by any stretch of the imagination. In a 4-way game I took as many Tau Battlesuits as possible and put the Ethereal out in front. I also proxied Shadowsun to pass her Leadership of 10 to all nearby units.
The Tau Ethereal proceeded to run towards the nearest enemy screaming "Shoot meeee!!". While he was a tempting target, everyone knew that on his death my Tau Battlesuit army would flip out at the loss of their spiritual leader, probably pass all their Leadership Tests using Shadowsun's leadership and then get Preffered Enemy for the rest of the game, making them all close combat killing machines!
Eventually the Ethereal got into close combat, was horribly murdered and the Tau Battlesuit army charged into glorious close combat, killing lots, but taking horrendous casualties from Terminators armed with powerfists. Totally silly, but really good fun!
Don't take a Tau Ethereal, he's rubbish!