As many of you likely know by now, FFG recently released a new FAQ. Many of these changes were what is usually expected of their FAQ’s. Some clarification of awkwardly worded cards, unclear interactions between cards cleared up, and a long awaited change allowing the use of debris fields. Most of these changes were seen by the community as a whole as being extremely good, but most of the community of talking about one specific change, the change to the Phantom. The FAQ made an errata to decloaking, changing it to the following:
Decloak Reference Card
This card should read:
At the start of the Activation phase, after players have resolved all other abilities that trigger at the start of the Activation phase, each ship may spend
a cloak token to decloak, starting with the ship with the lowest pilot skill (using initiative to break ties). When a ship decloaks, it must choose one of the following effects:
• Perform a barrel roll using the [ 2] maneuver template.
• Perform a boost using the [ 2] maneuver template.
Decloaking is not an action or a maneuver, and a ship can decloak while it has a stress token.
A ship cannot decloak if it would overlap another ship or an obstacle token, or if the maneuver template would overlap an obstacle token.
After all decloaking has been resolved, the Activation phase continues as normal.
People are divided as to what to think of this. Some believe that the change was needed, and that Phantoms are now balanced. Others, however, had a reaction that was closer to this:
Warning: Fake foul language and too funny to watch at work
Now, before we dive head first into the changes, let’s look over some facts. Firstly, in wave 4 when phantoms were first released, they held a stranglehold on the meta game. The first major shift afterwards was into ships that had a 360 turret to counter the Phantom’s manoeuvrability, and these had little counter to them. Its clear that in order to be viable, each list needed something that could destroy a phantom, since the ships had become quite the menace. We literally changed our play style to remove this Phantom Menace.
Wouldn’t it have been better to just make his version of it?
It was clear a change was needed to Phantoms, as they were being countered so much, that other ships that depended on manoeuvrability, such as the A-Wing and the Interceptor also saw very little time, and were effectively dead.
So FFG comes out with something that minimizes the Phantom from being so dominant that everyone needs something to stop it. I believe that a good player can build around this, with both their skill, and by bringing back a long dead upgrade: Intelligence agent. If not, they can anticipate an opponent’s movement pretty well (I’ve noticed players that can do this, tend to win much more often).
This actually may open up some opportunities for the Phantom. Firstly, they can now decloak while Ioned. Secondly, they can now be used as blockers. I’ve already proven that unorthodox combos can work, so this might be worth a shot as well.
Thirdly, it might make advanced cloaking device not an auto include. They can stygium particle accelerator plus PtL (decloak, gain evade, PtL for second action, green maneuver to get rid of stress, take action during action phase. They could also take PtL with engine upgrade, meaning they can both boost and barrel roll with 4 attack dice. Some possibilities there perhaps? With all these PtL options, could black squadron pilots with wingman become popular?
Seems like there’s becoming a lot more possible variations of Phantoms. Look like they aren’t all clones anymore.
One gripe that I do have, which is small is that the phantom’s power, if addressed, should have been done earlier, as it had been known over 1 wave ago that there was an imbalance. I do admit though that this is a minor gripe, and I do not object to the change as a whole.
May the force be with you, pilot.