|We've made all kinds of improvements, like changing the billiards ball to a soda can!|
|So why are they shooting at us if they're not supposed to know we're here?|
- Speed 4, the same as a regular TIE Fighter or TIE Bomber.
- 4 hull, which is a bit more generous than your usual TIE Fighter or TIE Interceptor, but still a bit on the fragile side - it's not going to live any longer than an A-Wing, and those aren't terribly difficult to destroy when faced with serious fighter opposition.
- 4 blue dice anti-squadron: equivalent to an Interceptor but without Swarm, or slightly better than a regular TIE Fighter utilizing the Swarm reroll. You'll do on average 2 damage against enemy squadrons and you've got a 68.4% chance of producing 1+ accuracy results, which is fairly effective against enemy aces.
- 2 red dice anti-ship (but not a Bomber). This is one of the most interesting elements of the TIE Phantom: it will on average do 1 damage when attacking a ship, but it's extremely swingy: 39% of the time, it won't do any damage at all when attacking; conversely, 28% of the time it will deal 2+ damage. You've even got a 1.6% chance of doing 4 damage, but don't count on it!
- The Cloak keyword, which has some interesting applications.
- 14 points. Here's where people typically lose interest. This is not a cheap squadron and is only 2 points shy of the more user-friendly TIE Defender.
First of all, let's discuss some of the fun times you can have with Cloak. The easiest demonstration of its use is the extension of threat ranges. Because the distance 1 portion of the distance ruler is the longest section, a speed 1 move followed by a speed 4 move later on is superior to a speed 5 move:
|Behold my amazing MS Paint skills!|
Cloak is useful for a lot more applications than simply extending your straight line movement. For example:
- If your Phantom attacks an enemy near an obstacle, they can use their Cloak move to hop into an obstacle for obstruction at the end of the Squadron Phase, which will grant them obstruction until it's time to pounce next round.
- Bonus points if you move onto the station with Cloak, which heals your TIE Phantom for 1 point of damage, as the Cloak move is a squadron move in every way.
- Provided there's room to back away the full distance 1, Cloak allows you to disengage from enemy squadrons, even those in base-to-base contact (just barely). This gives you a few options:
- A disengaged Phantom is able to pounce on a different more high-value enemy squadron next round. This is particularly helpful when trying to leapfrog over meat shield squadrons like X-Wings that want to stop you from punching out crucial support squadrons like Jan Ors.
- A disengaged Phantom can also make a break for it if they're near death rather than being stuck in a dogfight they'd rather leave. Again, bonus points for running to the station to heal up and then heal again with next round's Cloak move so they can get back into it afterwards.
- You can also use your Cloak move to push further in if you've blown through the tough fighter squadrons and want to engage and tie down the juicy weaker squadrons that were hiding behind them.
Speaking of hull-weakness, it's good to have a plan to address that. The most straightforward answer is to have an Escort squadron or two to tank attacks for your Phantoms to help carry them into the mid-to-late game where they do best: their surprising versatility of target selection can help mop up squadrons or go after ships, and with less squadrons around, using Cloak gets even easier. They also appreciate hanging out with other more dedicated fighter squadrons that can help mop up enemy fighters quickly before they cause too much trouble, and then the Phantoms can contribute anti-ship attacks later that those dedicated fighters typically struggle with.
Speaking of their anti-ship attack, it's a total crapshoot, as mentioned above in the bullet points. On average you're dealing 1 damage (the same as an unaided TIE Bomber) but it's extremely unpredictable how the attack will turn out. This is an obvious hindrance in that they don't produce a steady reliable stream of damage like TIE Bombers with a Bomber Command Center can, but the sneaky silver lining is your opponent is also in the dark as to what's going to happen. It can be difficult to prepare for, especially when multiple TIE Phantoms are attacking a ship. Suppose your flotilla is under attack from a TIE Phantom that rolled 2 damage. Is it worth scattering, knowing that a follow-up Phantom might roll 3 damage but also maybe 0 damage? It's a bit of a head game.
In short, I feel like TIE Phantoms have a place as part of a mixed squadron group. They're not the sort of squadron I would spam as the core of a squadron group, but a few mixed in can bring some interesting tech benefits with Cloak and build out your anti-ship (albeit a bit unreliably) without compromising much of your anti-squadron. Sloane in particular is keen on a few, as she helps even out their anti-ship attacks a bit and 4 blue against ace squadrons is likely to produce an accuracy for her ability.
|"...pull my finger"|
"Seriously, I can barely hear you because you whisper all the time and I'm not pulling your finger again!"
- This works against any attack, which includes enemy ships flakking her.
- You can spend defense tokens even if they don't meaningfully affect the attack. Your opponent flubbed his dice roll and did 0 damage? Spend a brace token (0 halved rounded up is still 0) and then bamf away.
Don't forget to also use her regular Cloak move at the end of the Squadron Phase. Sometimes I forget to Cloak move Whisper because I've already moved her several times earlier in the round and I figure I'm done. Nope!