The Ethereal Guard, also known as Tau Honour Guards are Tau warriors who serve as the bodyguards and protectors of Ethereals, the undisputed leaders of the Tau Empire. These warriors are dressed in ritual garb but wear Recon Armour and wield Honour Blades. Ethereal Guards are handpicked from the best of the best Fire Warriors and are given this honor of bodyguarding the space popes 24/7. However, unlike most race's bodyguards, being an Ethereal Guard seems to be more of a disadvantage than a advantage. Instead of being in control of some badass mechs or armed with some super experimental and overpowered infantry weapons, Ethereal Guards get an overglorified power axe and 'armor' (Armor being used loosely here) that seem more useless than a Imperial Guardsmen's Flak Armor and showing as much exposed skin as a Dark Eldar Wych's BDSM kink uniform. And seeing how shitty Tau are in close combat, those power axes might as well be a plastic toy lightsabres (Heck, they even look like a children's toy).
Suffice to say, they seem mostly style over substance. Whilst the Honour Guards of the Adeptus Astartes (Both Loyal and Heretical), Celestians of the Adeptus Ministorum, Hearthguards of the Squats and Aspect Warriors of the Eldar are suped-up in specialized wargear and equipment; in addition with the Militarum Veteran Squad, Stormtroopers and Sslyths being ferocious or skilled soldiers armed with equipment that provides a tactical and flexibility advantage for the Guard, Inquisition and Dark Eldar; as well as Nobz, Lychguards and Tyrant Guards being built as giant walking bullet sponges for the Orks, Necrons and Tyranids; only the Tau are stuck with bodyguards that are less effective than a Water Caste member in a diplomatic dispute with an Ork ambassador. No wonder no one remembers them, let alone pick them up in tabletop.
In 5th Edition, Ethereal Guards are bodyguards to Space Pope supreme himself, Aun'Va. Likewise, they were useless bodyguards for a useless HQ. Seriously, what can they do against an assaulting Terminator squad or Genestealer horde? Nothing. Might as well bodyguard the space pope with a couple of Kroots who seem much more effective than these useless nincompoops.
In 6th edition, the bodyguards are still likewise meh but they're better than they used to be. 5+ saves combined with the Paradox's harder-you-hit-it-harder-it-is invulnerable save gives the whole unit a variable amount of protection. I mean, they ain't Adeptus Custodes material and are basically overglorified meatshields, so you use what you get.
Due to how pointless they are in comparison to Blueberries in Battlesuits, their rules haven't been seen since 6th Edition. Likewise, one must wonder what the Tau were thinking when a couple of near-shirtless fishfaces that has a reputation for being as terribad as a Grot, would even count as acceptable bodyguards in contrast to fishfaces in a protective and well armed mini-mecha.
|Forces of the Tau|
|Command:||Cadre Fireblade - Ethereal - Ethereal Guard - Tau Commander|
|Troops:||Drone Squadron - Fire Warrior Team - Pathfinder Team - Stealthsuit Team|
|Auxiliaries:|| Great Knarloc - Gue'vesa - Kroot Carnivore Squad - Kroot Hound |
Krootox - Lesser Knarloc - Nicassar - Vespid Stingwing
|Battlesuits:|| Battlesuits (XV02 Pilot Battlesuit - XV15 Stealthsuit - XV22 Command Suit |
XV25 Stealthsuit - XV46 Vanguard Void Suit - XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit - XV9 Hazard Battlesuit - XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit - XV107 R'varna Battlesuit - XV109 Y'Vahra Battlesuit
KV128 Stormsurge Ballistic Suit - KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour)
|Vehicles:||Devilfish - Hammerhead - Piranha - Sky Ray - Tetra|
|Flyers:||Barracuda - Manta - Orca - Razorshark - Remora - Sun Shark - Tiger Shark|