The TIE Phantom was kind of a new one on me. I mean, if you'd have asked me prior to last Friday if I'd ever heard of one, I probably would have said that I had, but honestly there's so many TIE variants out there, it's tough to say whether or not I was telling the truth. Who knows though? A little Googling and I guess this ship turned up in Rebel Assault 2, which I have no recollection of playing, but then I've played a hell of a lot of video games in my time, so it's quite possible I have and it's just too fuzzy for me to recall. I had a Sega 32X back in the day and I used to play a Star Wars game on that (I think it was why I bought the damn thing to start with- there were only a handful of games for it as I recall). I think that was maybe Rebel Assault uno though.
In any case, the Phantom looks to be an interesting ship- squinting at the cards in the image above, it looks like the cheap version runs 25 points and allows you to take a Crew Member and an Advanced System? Ok, that's less of a question really as the text on the FFG article says you get to take those- I was just pretending like I figured that out to look cool. In any case, Crew Members always make things more interesting, right?
Unless my eyes deceive me, that does appear to be a 4 for the Primary Attack value. Scary. The rest of the stats start and end with 2s, which makes me wonder what kind of dial this thing is going to have and how exactly this cloaking device rig is gonna work. Speaking of which, is it just me or does it look like there's a cloaking icon in the Action bar, but then there's an upgrade card that's second from the right that appears to be an Advanced Cloaking Device? So maybe base Cloaking kind of isn't all that, but you can go Advanced for a price and at the cost of a Modification slot. In any case, it very much looks like to me that first line of text says, "TIE Phantom Only", so don't get your hopes up at cloaking other ships with that Mod.
Looks like she also comes with some kind of Stygian, er Stygium Particle Accelerator Mod whatever that is exactly. The only other Upgrade card that doesn't look familiar is the one with the Imperial Officer looking guy on it. Can't really make out what it's called- Tactical or Tactician or something. While we're on the topic of stuff I can't quite make out, what's that rules card in between Cloaking and Modifications? It kinda looks like the word "Decoy", but then folks in the comments were saying that was also the title of that Elite Pilot Skill card that comes with the Z, so it seems like maybe that's not the case after all. Anybody got any ideas on that one?
I'm curious to know more about the Phantom, because right now I don't really know what it's for. I mean yeah, the 4 Attack is awesome, but until we see it's maneuver dial and know what Cloaking does, it's kinda hard to say if it's like some kind of slow heavy hitter or a speedy glass cannon or just what exactly. Seems like you'd want to throw some Mods and Advanced Systems on it to make it more survivable, but then you're going to get expensive pretty quickly. Maybe it's got a super cheeky dial that keeps it out of trouble instead.
Wait- did somebody say expensive?
Helloooooo nurse. Here's perhaps the most anticipated and worried about fighter ship for X-Wing to date- the TIE Defender. Now, I don't know about you, but back in the day- New Year's Eve of 1996 (or would it be '97? I always get that mixed up- it was right after Christmas of '96, how about that?) instead of trolling the streets of Austin, TX wookin' po nub in aw da wong pwaces, I elected to stay home, drink Guinness alone, listen to Murder Ballads, and play TIE Fighter on the Pentium 1 75 MHz PC I'd just bought myself for Christmas. It wasn't long before I was seriously considering getting those secret order tattoos (opted not to- I already had my Alliance tattoo by that time and it seemed too glory hunter to have both) when I got to the mission where you got to fly the Defender.
Those of y'all who are old (school) like me know why everybody was tripping out about this thing ending up in X-Wing Miniatures. I'm both a little bummed, but also relieved to report that it seems to have been turned down just a bit for our little game. In the PC game, the damn thing had four primary lasers, two ion guns, could pack a bunch of warheads, and crazy as it may sound, I could swear this thing had a tractor beam emitter on it. It was also shielded and was just ludicrously fast and maneuverable. I mean to the point where I actually had to like use my ship throttle (I usually got by in X-Wing and TIE Fighter by diverting power to control my speed- not with the Defender though, had engines for days, yo).
I loved it, of course.
Now, when I say it got turned down for X-Wing Miniatures, don't get the wrong idea- it's still an absolute monster, it's just not Godzilla.
Threes up and down the statline and a base cost of 30 for the PS 1 version, at least this thing isn't going to be showing up in numbers in standard tournament play. As for the upgrade icons, it's got Missiles and Cannons available to it and while she's missing the usual TIE staple of Evade as a stock Action, the Defender may Focus, Target Lock, and Barrel Roll to her heart's content. What's kind of interesting though is the fact that there's an Evade token in the picture with the Defender stuff. Maybe that's a mistake, maybe that's significant- we just don't know right now.
Upgrade cards include that Outmaneuver (I think) Elite Pilot Skill card that also comes with the E-Wing, and another EPS that looks to be called Predator which is handy as the article says both of the unique pilots that come with the Defender have access to Elite Pilot Skills. Past that, it's some other stuff we've seen before- Ion Pulse Missiles, Ion Cannon, and Munitions Failsafe. The included Rules cards are also cards we've seen before- Modification and the Ion card. I can't make out the names of either of the unique pilots, and I'm sure it's just wishful thinking on my part, but does the PS8 pilot's name look like Maarek Steel to anybody but me? I know, I know, he came with an Advanced. Yeah, well, there's also X-Wing Luke and Crew Member Luke, Vader shows up in two forms, Chewie shows up in two forms... Look- I'm not saying it's definitely the case, but man it'd be cool, wouldn't it? Since you were Maarek in TIE Fighter for PC and all. Good Lord, can somebody explain to me why in the name of all that is holy and unholy I can't play TIE Fighter on PC anymore? Christ. Talk about leaving money on the table...
Anyway, can't wait for more info and also can't wait for ANY of this revealed stuff we've been talking about this year to actually show up, amirite? I mean we've got the Imperial Aces, the Transport, the Tantive IV, these four ships... let's go FFG! I'm ready to play with some new toys already!
(And no, I didn't forget those tiles, I just wasn't going to mention them. :) )