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I Hate Ethereals...


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#1 Hayashi

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 07:19 PM

So here I am, Aug 1999, feeling like King of the Hill. So far I've been able to deal with anything & everything the aliens throw at me. I've raided bases, dealt with landed battleships, saved the day in at least 5 cities under terror attack, day & night. Money is good thanks to surplus captured equipment I've sold, and research is humming along nicely.

Then one of my new Hyperwave thingies picks up a contact: a Terror Ship, crewed by Ethereals (you vets pls stop laughing at my expense now). No problemo, a Firestorm from a nearby assault base easily shoots it down, the pilot returning to base in time for tea. I dispatch a Skyranger with my third, most recently formed assault squad whose base happened to be the closest.

I equip the squad with some lasers, but mostly plasma rifles & heavy plasmas. Hovertank is first out the ramp. It sees a Sectopod & manages two hits. Dismount my troopers, a hail of plasma hits the Sectopod. It still stands. WTF?? WTF I finally nail it with a blaster bomb.

Troops are deployed, no other aliens in sight. End turn, so far so good.

Start of turn 2. I expand my perimeter & see my first Ethereal. A plasma shot or two takes care of it. Hovertank sees another Sectopod which reaction fires but misses. Tank returns fire, hits one out of two. Although the rest of the squad can't see the Sectopod, an even more impressive hail of plasma fire hits the robot. No effect it seems. Neither does an alien 'nade which lands at its feet.

Oh well, I think. Next turn I'm sure to get it. It doesn't see any of my troops as I've moved the tank out of its line of sight. End tuen. That's where the fun starts... :(

As you vets will know, the Ethereals went into action, MC'ing not one, not two but THREE OMFG of my troops who promptly starts systematically shooting their squadmates in the back. I lose 2 squaddies straightaway, and another 2 die of wounds after that. Another squaddie goes berserk & in his/her wild shooting kills another of the team.

It all went very very rapidly downhill after that, I didn't even get a chance to approach the terror ship. I aborted the mission with what was left of my squad with my tail between my legs (so to speak) & a newfound respect for Ethereals & sectopods.

Talk about being pwned!! LOL

What's the best way to deal with Ethereals until I research & train up my guys' psi powers? I'm inclined to think that I should avoid them as far as possible. Should I just ignore the crash site, or dispatch a Skyranger & abort very quickly (say after killing one or two aliens to get a very modest score)?

And how does one deal with sectopods? I've read that it's vulnerable to lasers, but which one? Is it worth lugging along a heavy laser to deal with it, or would normal laser rifles suffice?

Any tips on how to deal with this alien combo would be appreciated, thanks.

#2 NKF

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:20 PM

For ethereals, until you know your psi levels (and built up some skill), the best way of dealing with ethereals is to either avoid them or to be really aggressive. When I say aggressive, I mean, blaster bomb the highest ranking units on Turn 1 and proceed to rain blaster bombs or even Large rockets on everything else in the next few turns. The best place to shell is the command room of any UFO, or the command centre in an alien base. In terror sites, they're scattered all over the place, so it's pot luck.

The ethereals automatically go after the weakest soldier first, then the next weakest, and so on. They'll first try to whittle down the soldier's morale, unless the soldier is a complete vegetable with an egg for psi strength. If you can locate these soldiers before they are taken over, get this soldier to drop all weapons and proceed to run to safety. As long as this psi-weak soldier is alive, there'll be an ethereal out there with some spent TUs.

You usually get a small grace period before mind control is used. This, from experience, gets very short depending on the level of your lowest psi strength. It's in your best interest to make the best of this period and damage as many ethereals as you can. If you are able to cripple their morale to the point that they start panicking, all the better.

Avoiding them is fine too. Just do not do it for terror sites. For them, do indeed visit the site, maybe kill one or two then dust off immediately before the panic or mind control begins. This nets you a lesser negative score than the one you get for ignoring the site outright. Attempt to make up the deficit with ordinary missions before the month's end.

Oh, and tanks. Keep your tanks alive. They're the only units on the field guaranteed to keep a level head as long as they don't run out of morale from weapon damage (and before you ask - it can indeed happen).

As for Sectopods: Ah, they vary depending on difficulty level. From the easiest to the medium level difficulty, a laser rifle is perfectly fine. In fact, because large terror units are counted as dead for the purpose of the battle the moment they are knocked unconcious, the small launcher is amazingly powerful. On beginner, I've had a single stun bomb wipe out three Sectopods. Three! One bomb. Amazing. The laser tank also does some major damage to the sectopod.

On Superhuman, the sectopod receives a massive armour upgrade, rendering almost everything useless - particularly the small launcher. Oh, you can still get instant kills with it, but only on one sectopod, and even then, only on occasion. The laser rifle is almost ineffective, but the heavy laser can deal some good damage if you manage to get a side or rear shot. The tank laser is still the best laser to use. The best general purpose weapon is the heavy plasma. It can punch through almost any armour facing, even with the Sectopod's 20% resistence to plasma. Blaster bombs work well to soften them up or even for the coup-de-grace as it is able to strike roughly 4 times as much as any other weapon, but you'd best save them for the sectopod's ethereal masters.

- NKF

Edited by NKF, 03 January 2006 - 11:25 PM.

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#3 Hayashi

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:32 PM

Thanks for the tips. I think I'll try again. This time:
* instead of just the hovertank/plasma, I'll also bring along a tank/laser that I've kept in base for base defense.
* small launcher - got that!
* for the remaining 6 slots, I'll bring along 6 of the best soldiers I've got, whom (afaik) are not psi weaklings.
* blaster bombs - got that!

I normally try to keep damage to the UFO as little as possible, as I want to salvage as much as I can to keep or sell. But with this terror ship, I'll try to take out the bridge asap, which means 2 blaster launchers! :evilgrin:

Note to self: 2 small launchers, 2 blaster launchers, plenty of ammo for them, the rest use heavy plasma. Plus hover & laser tanks.

Time to kick some alien butt!! <keeps fingers crossed>

#4 NKF

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:49 PM

Keep in mind that the small launcher may not always produce the results that you want on the first shot. Because the game rolls a number between 50% - 150% for area effect damage, you won't always get a number that'll be able to breach the sectopod's under armour. Just try a few more times. Just be patient with it, and make sure the shooter is well out of sight. When it works, it really works.

Also, with UFOs, you shouldn't feel worried about doing damage to them when necessary. Most of the sections only yield alien alloy pieces, and I'm sure you've got an endless supply of alloys! The only sections that you do not want to purposely do damage to are the power units. Everything else can be treated as fair game.

- NKF
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#5 Exo2000

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 10:26 AM

Keep in mind that the small launcher may not always produce the results that you want on the first shot. Because the game rolls a number between 50% - 150% for area effect damage, you won't always get a number that'll be able to breach the sectopod's under armour. Just try a few more times. Just be patient with it, and make sure the shooter is well out of sight. When it works, it really works.

Also, with UFOs, you shouldn't feel worried about doing damage to them when necessary. Most of the sections only yield alien alloy pieces, and I'm sure you've got an endless supply of alloys! The only sections that you do not want to purposely do damage to are the power units. Everything else can be treated as fair game.

- NKF

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I frequently end up with 700+ alloys. Then I sell 'em.

Easy cash. :D

And if the power units are already gone... well... sucks to be the aliens! :wink1:
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#6 Hayashi

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 02:24 AM

Thanks for all the tips, I creamed the aliens! =b

What I did was to bring my best 6 troopers plus a laser tank & hovertank plasma. I equipped 2 of the troops with blaster bombs and laser pistols; the remaining took heavy plasmas.

Round one - exit the tanks out of the Skyranger, used one blaster bomb to punch a hole in the front of the upper level of the terror ship. A second bomb followed, guiding into the breach created by the first bomb. What a satisfying series of secondary explosions - I counted at least 4 of them!

Then I dismounted my troops and found a Sectopod in one edge of the map. Using a scout, which I pulled back when the enemy was sighted, I started to pummel the Sectopod with laser & plasma fire. In the meantime my tanks entered the UFO & found another Sectopod on the ground level of the ship.

A bizarre fight followed which saw a scount moving forward, pulling back & then a hail of fire. In the UFO my tanks & the Sectopod traded fire. Eventually both fell.

Unfortunately one of the troopers got MC'd. But fortunately for the squad in a prior panic attack (he has Bravery 60, btw), he dropped his HP. He chucked the alien grenade he was carrying at one of my guys but thanks to the power suit he suffered only a scratch.

After 22 turns the battle was over. There was a Scetopod on the bridge; a 3rd blaster bomb took care of that. The hovertank took care of the last Ethereal on the bridge.

All in I faced 4 Sectopods and 7 Ethereals. I suffered 50% casualties, but 2 of them had light wounds and will be back in action after 4 days. The heavily wounded one however will be out of action for 39 days.

What I learned:
a. Laser tanks are needed for Sectopods. Luckily I haven't sold of them yet. Each Assault Base will henceforth be issued one for base defence, and to equip the squad in case a similar situation arises.
b. Research small launchers asap! I had neglected this as I was not ready to grab alien commanders/leaders yet.

The guy who was MC'd now has a bravery stat of 70 - an increase of 10 pts.

All in, I'm quite satisfied how this mission turned out.

Thanks again for all your tips, especially to NKF :master: :master: :master:

#7 Sharp

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 07:33 AM

Doesn't matter how brave you are, you will still succumb to MC if you lack Psi-Str, and the person with 70 bravery if (s)he is targeted for MC first then (s)he is the weakest in psi-stregnth.

Now I am not saying to sell that soldier, but instead put in a squad that doesnt fight etherials/sectoids. Bravery only delays psi-control as more bravery means less morale drop when you panic, and the less morale the easier for MC to occur (I think).

#8 Snakeman

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 01:31 PM

Yea, I think from what I've learned, bravery, psi strength and psi skill bolster one another to some extent.

#9 Oldblue153

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:06 AM

Just posted about this in another forum but one way to deal with MC is to select "leave enough time units to kneel"....then before each turn ends DISARM all your soldiers...end turn...pick up weapon-advance-repeat step one.

VERY tedious and no opportunity fire but you giggle at the buggers wasting all thier efforts to MC your weaponless soldiers again and again as you inch you way up to em n blast em to heck.

PS ALIENS CAN ACCESS YOUR BELT for a gernade..sigh so you dont get to have them either. fortunatly after 10-12 turns usually youve taken out a few and know who they are targeting and can pick up a couple off a dead alien body.

#10 Hayashi

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:15 AM

Interesting strategy...