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Regarding when they show up. August appears to be the earliest it's possible from my observations. On my most recent playthrough, I had a few geoscape saves about a week before august. I played several missions in that last week, and then almost immediately on august 1 a large ethereal battleship came in for a retaliation mission. Out of curiosity I reloaded a few times, starting at the beginning of the week and within a few tries, a large muton battleship came after the same base, just on July 30th. I haven't seen any statistics on missions by race over time so this might be wrong, but that's my brief observation.

They can appear on June/July depending on the RNG. If you want to see the probabilities check Alien Appearance Ratios. Btw, if you want to sign your posts just put ~~~~ at the end of the post. Hobbes (talk) 13:05, 21 May 2014 (EDT)

Rarely seen? I see nothing but these after half to three quarters of a year.

Agreed, they don't seem rarer than any other race. We also should think about removing this statement:

"If X-COM ground forces encounter Ethereals on Earth, it will usually be at an Alien Base, or terror site."--Trotsky 00:33, 4 July 2006 (PDT)

Etherals are not common until later in the game. By the time you're seeing them on a regular basis, you should be ready to head off to Cydonia.

- Bomb Bloke

True. But there is no reason why they should appear more often in terror sites or bases than in crafts.--Trotsky 02:54, 4 July 2006 (PDT)

Ethereals "wake up"

So, I had just shot down a large scout, nothing special, all my guys in flying armor, heavy plasmas, and blaster launchers, etc. etc. However, I had yet to capture a Psionic Alien, let alone an Ethereal, but I forgot my stun bombs. So anyways, I saw an Ethereal, pumped it full of plasma, and watched it die. So, I turned my guys around (I split up my group to chase down this guy) and walked to the UFO. Suddenly, my rear guard, (Who I had left behind in case I missed any Ethereals) had not moved, so they would have TUs to react. Unfortunately, the Ethereal I had just killed got a really good look at them, so suddenly, one of them got MCed, and tried (but hardly failed) to kill the other guy in my rear guard. The other soldier in my rear guard was low on ammo after killing the weakling who dared had himself MCed, so I went to grab the dead Ethereal's ammo. The corpse was gone. I did not know what to do at all, I swear it was as dead as a doornail. So, I investigated a nearby building (a multi-story structure)and I walked right in, and pew pew pew, my guy was dead from several direct hits from a Plasma Pistol. I sent in three more guys (I now have six left to storm the UFO, I brought a plasma hovertank in a Skyranger) I walked one up right up the stairs, he died, and on the next turn, a grenade popped down, killed the gal who was covering, so all what was left was one guy in that building, for the rest were storming the UFO by now, and being way successful. Luckily, he was quick enough to kill it before it got him. All it had on it was a Plasma Pistol, missing three shots in it. This time, I made sure it was dead, with a mind probe. But hot damn, why did it get up? Did it fall unconscious and get back up without it weapons to wreak vengeance? What the hell happened?

Flying Ethereals

Ethereals fly half of everywhere on the later levels. It's NOT uncommon to have an Ethereal on L1(above the ground) floating in midair waiting to peg your troops with reaction fire. Arrow Quivershaft 11:40, 16 May 2008 (PDT)

Personally I've only ever seen them fly once, maybe even twice... And that was to hop straight onto a building that was next to them. You say they tend to do it more often as the game progresses?

- Bomb Bloke 18:24, 16 May 2008 (PDT)

I misspoke slightly. While I do see them set up midair sniping positions fairly often(Especially at night!), I meant to say I see them fly more often on higher difficulty levels. I should also note that I tend to wait around for significant periods before launching Cydonia, often a few years, so I see a lot of Ethereals. Arrow Quivershaft 18:43, 16 May 2008 (PDT)

I never found they fly when play with beginner difficulty though. L-Zwei 21:44, 16 May 2008 (PDT)

Happens to me. Dunno, really. Just saying in my experience they do actually fly an awful lot, or more generally hover to snipe(over cornfields is most annoying but a close second is using flight to leave through the hole that used to be the roof of the crashed UFO.) Arrow Quivershaft 21:47, 16 May 2008 (PDT)

I don't see ethereals very often, but on the rare occasions i do, they fly a lot. this is why fighting any number of etherals at night is a recipe for disaster. i once wiped hitting a small scout at night because it turned out the guy in the back with a heavy plasma was psi-weak, plus i didn't want to have to kill anyone off - (name here)

This sounds like a good excuse to try out the special debug flag Seb76 found.

- Bomb Bloke 20:44, 17 May 2008 (PDT)

I'd be willing to bet they fly as often, and for the same reasons, as Floaters.--Ethereal Cereal 11:55, 1 June 2008 (PDT)

Any plans for adding a tactics section on how to deal with them? As it stands, they are one of the most powerful encounters out there on account of their massive indirect combat abilities and sectopod support.

No harm in creating a section to assist in defeating them. It's the early meeting with them before you've screened your troops that often proves to be the hardest time for players. Some strategies on how to cope during this time would be welcome. However, since Ethereals merely have more than others rather than being truly unique (like the Chryssalids) it may be at the risk of duplicating information that is already elsewhere (like understanding psi mechanics and how to defend against it - and using more firepower to take down the Sectopod). But again, no harm in adding such a section. - NKF 22:54, 29 July 2008 (PDT)
P. S: You can sign your discussion posts by entering three or four tilde's ( ~~~~ ).


If ALL the ethereals are cleverly flying around level 9 of the map at night, you will DEFINITELY have to abort. (if you still can) Jasonred 01:49, 28 February 2009 (CST)

I suspect that this would not happen, as Alien placement is more or less pre-determined by the route and map files. But yes, it would be even harder than having one Ethereal spotter up in the sky outside human sighting range. Spike 06:36, 28 February 2009 (CST)

Weapon Rankings Vs. Ethereals

%TUs per kill (average; FA=50):

HvyPlas	 31
Blast Bmb	 33
PlasmaR	 49
HE Pack(XCU)	 51
HvyLas (XCU)	 55
Stun Rod	 72
LaserR	         90
PlasmaP	 96
HE Pack	113
HvyLas	        135
RocketLg	147
Alien Grd	154
LaserP	        185
HC - AP	229
RocketSm	239
Prox Grd	242
Stun Bmb	242
AC - AP	321
HC - HE	340
AC - HE	420
Grenade	529
Rifle	        704
Pistol        1188

Spike 21:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)


During my time of playing, I always had the impression that Ethereals were very resilient to explosives, incendiary and AP rounds and even plasma - however, they were practically one-shot-kills to lasers. I never really went into the math but I was surprised that laser/heat was not mentioned. Was this a false impression of mine? I'd still be confused because, foremost, a buddy and I used to play this day and night and we learned our lesson to have at least one laser rifle in the craft in late game.

Sparki 16:56, 21 November 2011 (EST)

Lasers beat plasma?

Well I don't think so but I could be wrong. My table above agrees with your memory, apart from lasers being better than plasma. That might be true vs the accompanying Sectopods, or if plasma ammo was short. Or if the stats I based my table on were wrong, perhaps. Spike 20:59, 21 November 2011 (EST)

Damage multipliers aren't an issue here as they both do 100% vs. Ethereals, so Plasma weapons have the edge numerically. Still, the randomness of the damage dealt and difficulty/rank of the Ethereal can influence the outcomes a bit. -NKF