Friday, June 27, 2014

Star Wars X Wing Miniatures: TIE Phantom First Build

A cloaked TIE Phantom right out of the box.
I picked up my first ship of Wave 4, opting for the most interesting (Cloaking mechanic) vs the coolest looking (Headhunter or TIE Defender). The E Wing is really nice, according to her girlfriends, and has a great personality. She's also sitting home alone on Friday nights, watching The Middle with her Mom and little brother. Well, in my mind anyway.

Let's just start off with how I'm probably running this ship my first few games. The Phantom comes with a Cloak Action and Decloak. Notice that Decloak is NOT an Action. When you use a Cloak Action it gives you a Cloak Token, which goes on the ship and is not removed at the end of the turn. It remains until you spend it to Decloak. Cloaked ships add 2 Defense dice, bringing the base Phantom up to 4 Defense while cloaked. You can't attack while cloaked but that is made up for with base 4 Attack dice. Like the other Small ships that can take Crew (HWK) it can take 1 Crew. Upon decloaking before you reveal your dial, you take a 2 Straight or 2 Barrel Roll (also not an Action). It's easy to imagine that this is the ship not reappearing exactly where the enemy expects. This sets up some interesting ambush or dogging tactics. The dial is workable, it feels like it is cruising at 2 and 3 and has a sprint of straight 4. You are shedding Stress with a complete set of 2 moves, all Green, which I like. She has a red 3 and 4 Kiogran which I was surprised by too.

It comes boxed with 2 Modifications specifically intended for the Phantom, though only one is named Phantom-only. These make sense on the Sigma and Shadow pilots below without other upgrades. But I left these alone for now... Stealh Device was calling my name.
Some neat ability and options are on these cards. Being the compulsive shopper I am, I opted for psychological warfare instead of hitting power and doubled-down on the Cloaking ability. To do that I needed an Elite Pilot Skill and so, Echo.

That's 36 points... a tad pricy but probably frustrating to fight. I hope.
 I took the named pilot, "Echo" along with Stealth Device to give him 3 Defense dice uncloaked and 5 Cloaked. Push the Limit allows for an Evade or Focus to pad out a Cloak ability or Evade and Focus while cloaked. Echo's ability to use the 2 Turn templates instead of a 2 Straight upon decloaking is ok but I really took Echo for PTL via Elite Pilot Skill. You are looking at 36 points for everything you see here. Interesting, no?

If I were rolling this ship build against a Rebel Transport or Tantive list I'd probably opt to add Recon Specialist to help with Focus, which makes defense more annoying or shooting better when decloaking. 39 points is A LOT for a Small ship but again, a few hundred points of a large game can soak the gimmick up easily.

Look, 5 Defense dice is nothing to sneeze at, inconsistent as that may be. Decloaking behind some Rebel ship and throwing 5 Attack dice at Range 1 on an Ambush is pretty damn fine as well. To follow an old paint-makers saying, "you can make it nice but can you make it twice?" I don't know yet. It may be that the build above doesn't do much after you unzip your fly and take a shot. I guess it comes down to how much of the game you want to spend cloaked to begin with. For now, I like the odds it has to close against Rebel turrets and not bleed-out en route to Range1 or going stealth as the lines cross, head-on.  PTL is awesome on almost everything but if I find it's possibly overkill for the role this ship trends towards then I'll gladly take Determination.

I gotta say, I think the Cloak action is pretty elegant as a mechanic and it will be interesting to see if anything else ends up with it. While not FFG-legal I will definitely be removing the ship from the base when Cloaked for the visual gag during friendly games. Becuase why not.

The above is not a deep analysis of what you can do with the Phantom, more like a first blush response. I've found that my dream builds of newly released ships usually equates to going to the gym and just working the vanity muscles. Looks good in a pic but living it may be very different than anticipated when there is heavy lifting to be done on the job.

Well, I'm off to my sister's this weekend where I will face my Rebel-Scum-in-Law Mike. I'll share out how the Phantom worked in a (ulp) 100 point list.


styx said...

May the Force be with you!

Anonymous said...

Impossible! No ship that small has a cloaking deice!

Yeti's Yell said...

LOL. Awesome you guys.

Anonymous said...

Phantoms are completely overpowered and I’m sure those are the only squads you’ll see in tournaments from now on.

Basically they walk around at an overpowered 4/4, making them nearly immune to all attacks and able to blow up other ships on demand.

And just in case an attack gets through, they have shields to ignore crits.

Yeah, a 4 point modification to give you what amounts to a permanent +2 agility, give me a break. What would a +1 agility elite upgrade cost (if it even existed!), at least 7? Or you could take a free evade token for only 3 points. Wow, beats every other option available to any other ship by a huge margin.

Add to that a free barrel roll each round and in “Echo”s case a free “super boost” (a 2 bank, something no other ship can even do let alone for free!), and you’ve created a completely ridiculous monster.

If you can’t win with phantoms, just quit. I know I’ll be playing with phantoms until they get hit with the nerf stick, the unfortunate part is everyone else will too.

Yeti's Yell said...

Yeah, Echo one-shotted an A and crippled another ship last game. The only error I made really was waiting too long to decloak and attack. By the time I did my ablative TIE screen was very thin. I did urge my opponent to engage it directly. Echo owned the board because he didn't bother to counter him at all. Once he started blocking and sending fire his way, I did have to adjust his seeming invincibility as he started getting tagged.

Thanks for the feedback.