The Ethereal alien species has a rather annoying habit of blocking and reflecting shots fired by my soldiers. I expected to gleam some insight as to how this ability works after performing an autopsy on one, but was rather surprised not to see anything related to this ability when examining an Ethereal in the unit analysis view (it had quite a few abilities though, so it's possible, though improbable, that I missed the description despite looking for it).

So how does this ability work? Is it related to the range at which the shot is taken (I've never seen them block a sniper's shot)? Is there simply some random percentage for a shot to be blocked? Is flanking a factor?

  • 7
    Pretty sure I've had a sniper shot blocked before.
    – Adam Lear
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 23:36
  • yeah, I've had sniper shots blocked, but never reflected towards the sniper. Which would indicate there is maximum range to that.
    – vartec
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


From my experience it seems to be a random chance to block all shots. But I am not able to tell you the exact % - I estimate it is around 20% from my own experience.

I have had the following shots blocked:

  • 100% chance to hit flanked shotgun at point blank range
  • Sniper 'headshot' from a long range and a normal sniper shot
  • Normal shots

I have also seen the reflection

  • On the first shot fired at him
  • On full health
  • On 1 health
  • On half health
  • On the 2nd,3rd and 4th shot fired at him (all in the same turn - i.e. he can do it more than once a turn)

What I have NEVER seen "reflected" is rocket and grenade damage. So if the Ethereal is on low HP - it might be better to kill him this way to guarantee yourself the kill. Likewise (if riskier), it can't block the Arc Thrower, and the upgraded one has a high chance of a stun on 6 health and below.

  • 1
    An arc thrower could also do the job on a low health Ethereal.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 0:17
  • Are you sure the 100% chance to hit shot was reflected? I've heard rumblings that they can only reflect missed shots. Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 1:43
  • It was a shotgun, at point blank range, as a flank. I'm certain it was 100% to hit - but I'll try and do a test to confirm
    – Laurence
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 2:12
  • 2
    @RavenDreamer - fyi - I can now confirm shots against Ethereals can "miss", "hit" and "reflect". So its not just 'missed' shots that reflect.
    – Laurence
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 6:46
  • IIRC (not sure) I got reflected headshot (from plasma sniper, ouch). And what I seen was block of reflections followed by not reflecting at all. So maybe its some ammount of damage it prevents?
    – user470365
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 18:40

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