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WickedGrey

Phantoms just got nerfed, hardcore

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I must say I'm dissappointed with this for a few reasons.

1) If the Phantom was fundamentally unbalanced, then why are we not all flying phantoms?

2) If the Phantom was fundementally unbalanced, then why did last year's "World" go to a fat Han, which would have also had to beat a bunch of squadrons that did not include Phantoms. So will the next FAQ include a rule to neutralise the fat Han?

3) This rule change has come out after the community has already found a number of counters for Phantoms, such as fat Han and high Pilot Skill turretted ships, making the Phantom a priority target, Heavy Laser Cannons, Nera with Adv Prot Torp + Recon Spec + Deadeye, Ten Numb with Mangler, etc, all of which have worked for me in the past.

4) No corresponding reduction to the Phantom's cost for what is a pretty serious loss in capability.

5) but I think the biggest factor is that: if this was so fundamentally broken, as the need for this rule suggests it is, then why has it taken so long for something to be done about it? Instead, we have all had to learn and start playing it one way, and now we all have to learn a new way, which will only lead to confusion. It's like some drunk at the wheel that has let the car drift too far one way, and now they have tried to correct it, but instead, over-steared back the other way, with obvious consequences.

Whether the rule has changed for better or worse seems heavily dependant on the players perspective, that is, whether they fly phantoms or not. Personally there is more stuff introduced by Scum that is of concern to me than Phantoms ever were.

At least the owner of this rule change will get exactly what they want, there will be far less phantoms out there from now on. I hope they are happy with this. I'm not.

I'm in the camp they were never broken, but i disagree with every point you stated.

I like the new ruling.

I stopped playing the phantom because everyone was sick and tired of it, and if my friends didn't build a list to counter it I'd win.

Maybe it was a little over powered

I've single handedly beaten lists with only one phantom on the table. Dance around my opponent three ywing they couldn't touch echo.

Mistakes happen and after the fact ffg has decided to change a ruling to try put them in check.

What game so you design?

Can you do better under time constraints?

Projects have deadlines and the people who work on these things do have bosses to answer to.

So it's not always so easy to design something and catch every if any flaw in design

Personally i liked the original, and I think they did a good job on the small change

Simple fix for those who don't like it

Put Intel agent on it and now before you decloak you can see where your opponent will move.

Oh, wait, that's like no change happened at all

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I'd just like to point out the word 'overpowered' is the wrong word to use, as it's a fairly black and white statement in a complex game of greys.

 

Just because the phantom has *few* counters doesn't mean it's overpowered

Just because the phantom has counters doesn't mean it's balanced.

 

And that's really the key here. The problem with the phantom wasn't that it was overpowered, underpowered, perfectly balanced, had counters, or any of that.

 

The problem was the massive effect that it's very specific mechanics were having on the rest of the meta.

 

If you go back to the base game, a core principle that exists for every other ship is choosing your move with incomplete information. Some ships had a limited amount of repositioning via boost and barrel roll, but that took actions you would otherwise use to boost your attack or defense. The Phantom ignored this fundamental restriction.

 

That isn't a bad thing in itself, but as time went on, it showed that removing that restriction from the Phantom skewed the meta horribly, over-valuing high PS.

 

This change gives them that restriction back. They are back to a more or less even playing field with every other ship. The Phantom was never overpowered, but it was 'broken'. It didn't function correctly within the frame work of the game.

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Sure Phantoms were scary the first time I flew against them, but only for a while. And there have always been complaints about one type of ship or the other. Anyone remember the "What are we going to do about Tie Swarms?"

Yes, I do. TIE swarms were a problem because there really wasn't anything in the game as efficient as a TIE fighter. B-wings helped, as did Headhunters, but it was the Phantom's effect on pilot skill bids that finally knocked them out of their secure position near the top of the metagame.

And Phantoms were popular when they came out. But none of the competitions and other games I've been to this year (2015) had that many phantoms, certainly no where near enough to suggest there was any automatic win button painted on them.

The problem isn't that there's an automatic win button attached to Phantoms. It's that if you didn't design your list with Phantoms in mind, you were very likely to lose a match against a Phantom. (As I said above, I'd guess about a 30% chance, setting player skill aside.)

If there has been one predominate element this year it has been big ships with 360 fire. And no, this was not just to counter phantoms, if at all. The complaint I heard pretty well though all of January from lots of different squadrons was "What are we going to do about Big Ships?" (well that and When are the Scum coming?).

Large ships with turret primaries proliferated in the metagame with the release of Wave 4. What happened in Wave 4 that pushed turrets into the forefront when they weren't particularly prominent in Wave 3? You really have two candidates: the Headhunter or the Phantom. (You can't blame C-3PO, because that doesn't explain Dash or Chiraneau.)

But the particularly damning thing for the Phantom is that prior to its release, swarms were one of the elements keeping fat turrets in check. Not only are Large ships reliable counters for the Phantom (particularly PS9-11 Large ships), but Phantoms also drastically reduced the role of swarms in the metagame.

And this rule change, which in my opinion, tried to fix something that wasn't even broken, has changed them now to work just like the cheap phantoms.

Whisper + Veteran Instincts + Advanced Cloaking Device does not work just like Sigma Squadron Pilot + Stygium Particle Accelerator. I don't understand how that could even be up for debate.

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I think I understand FFG's decision with the rule change on cloaking.  It brings the ship's role in the activation phase back in line with all the other ships.  Honestly, I don't see it as a nerfing.  It has improved Eco and the generics.  Whisper is not the arc dodging monster she was, but is still a great arc dodger and a huge threat while on the board.

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Ok I've already posted my thoughts on the changes so far, but I'd like to add one thing.

FFG might have made this change not to "nerf" phantoms, since they were ok in the new meta. The new meta also encompasses lists such as BBBBZ, so it isn't all just about turrets. I think the change was meant to bring back the swarm. The genuine, 8-Tie swarm had very little chance of catching a Phantom. B's still roll 3-4 dice, with modifiers those stand a chance, Ties are at 2 dice. Sure, there are some that use Drunken Shark openings, but those are few. Even my Sigma Swarm struggled a lot against the Whisper + Echo + 2 AP, I just didn't have enough dice and the Sigma would die too fast with two opposing Phantoms.

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The swarm also suffers significantly because of the MoV system, which strongly encourages Fat Ship builds for tournament play. The TIE Fighter could be the best ship in the game and still not get used much because it is a liability in tournaments.

Also true, although easily fixed with a partial-points rule...

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The swarm also suffers significantly because of the MoV system, which strongly encourages Fat Ship builds for tournament play. The TIE Fighter could be the best ship in the game and still not get used much because it is a liability in tournaments.

Also true, although easily fixed with a partial-points rule...

 

 

Yes, with a significant amount of debate on the "easily" part!  :P

 

(Just go read a couple of the older NOVA podcast threads where it went on for several pages after I discussed it on-air...)

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Plus the phantoms unique nature was not touched

No ship could decloak during activation and now no ship can decloak before any ship has moved :P

 

This is exactly it!  The Phantom has GAINED a strength.  It moves first, no mater what now.  It can decloak, causing a lower PS ship to then pump the Phantom and loose its action, and then the phantom gets to move and KEEP his action.  This, if flown correctly, could be very powerful.

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This is exactly it!  The Phantom has GAINED a strength.  It moves first, no mater what now.  It can decloak, causing a lower PS ship to then pump the Phantom and loose its action, and then the phantom gets to move and KEEP his action.  This, if flown correctly, could be very powerful.

 

 

I don't think the intention of this rule was to make the Phantom stronger, and this is not the angle I would use to sell this rule. Since the Phantom now decloaks before any ship moves, every ship now has only worry about one direction it can move instead of 2 or 3. It should be easier for ships to barrell roll or boost into where they now expect the Phantom to move and so deny it any action, or more likely, avoid the situation where it will get a shot at a target that can't shoot back.

I think the best angle for selling this rule to phantom pilots is that an ionised phantom can now still decloak and so can still shoot. That is definately a bonus, but I don't think anyone can deny that it is at a net loss.

I can at least say that this rule has got me interested enough to dust off my phantoms to see just how much of net loss that is.

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The swarm also suffers significantly because of the MoV system, which strongly encourages Fat Ship builds for tournament play. The TIE Fighter could be the best ship in the game and still not get used much because it is a liability in tournaments.

Also true, although easily fixed with a partial-points rule...

 

 

This is my only disappointment with this FAQ. They clarified all these things, but they still haven't found a replacement for MoV...

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After playing against it, it really didnt lose much

 

******* whisper's green dice are as difficult to punch through as ever, even with FCS Blue Squadron B-wings eating at it at range 2 and 1

 

one good round of dice was all it took to bring it down to whisper and jakes, though fortunately she only had one health for Jakes to outmanuever through

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I'm just going to throw this in .. 

I don't like the term 'nerf'. Nerf blasters are the business. They are fun for all ages and .. the business. To associate something negative to nerf just seems wrong .. and anti-the business.

I propose a new term. "White Crayoned". Yes, a non-coloured crayon is now a verb. White crayons are useless .. they are filler. I apologise to all the hard core fans of the white crayon but it has no place in the 24 pack of Crayolas.

Let's start this new era by stating .. the Phantom just got White Crayoned.

 

the term stated that something overpowered was lowered in power to the effect of hitting something with a Nerf Bat as opposed to hitting like a truck like it used to

 

the term somehow came down to "nerfed" from there.  Though entertaining; i've also never been a fan of the term as it always felt like lazy english to me.

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I'm obviously living in a different galaxy to most of the people here.

Sure Phantoms were scary the first time I flew against them, but only for a while. And there have always been complaints about one type of ship or the other. Anyone remember the "What are we going to do about Tie Swarms?"

And Phantoms were popular when they came out. But none of the competitions and other games I've been to this year (2015) had that many phantoms, certainly no where near enough to suggest there was any automatic win button painted on them.

If there has been one predominate element this year it has been big ships with 360 fire. And no, this was not just to counter phantoms, if at all. The complaint I heard pretty well thougih all of January from lots of different squadrons was "What are we going to do about Big Ships?" (well that and When are the Scum coming?).

And I am convinced that we were going to see a radically different mix of craft in the upcoming competitions even if this rule hadn't been changed.

At the moment, for competitions, I fly 2 x YT2400s with possibly a third weaker ship depending on how I mix it up. I consider myself an average player at best but I am winning way more often with these than I loose with these guys. And I've heard people complain that they are too strong, but at the same time I'm not going to fly a squadron I think is weak if I want to have a chance at winning.

I certainly don't think Phantoms are the best because otherwise I would be flying them instead (again before this rule came in). I think Interceptors are more fun, and YT2400s are are tougher and just as deadly. But Whisper and Echo had a unique flying signature, completely different to that of the cheaper Phantoms. And this rule change, which in my opinion, tried to fix something that wasn't even broken, has changed them now to work just like the cheap phantoms. And in that respect the game has lost something, and again in my opinion, gained nothing.

I was going to respond to this and let you know how wrong I think you are and how happy this nerf has made me, but instead Vorpal Sword has already picked apart your arguments.

I just want to know for clarification though; how big is your gaming group that it has not affected you? Where are you located that makes the Phantom fix a bad thing? And finally, how often do you actually play in the competitive levels of X-wing?

I'm just curious because your experience with the Phantom meta has a different perspective than how I see it.

Edit: crazy double quote.

Edited by InstantAequitas

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And again, the problem isn't that the Phantom is over-represented in the metagame, although it is strongly represented--as you've said, its normalized tournament effectiveness hovers right around 1. The problem is that they underestimated the strength of the reaction, and that's a psychological factor.

 

The rise of PS9+ bids can be modeled mathematically as the system reaching its Nash Equilibrium.

 

Sure, but--and we might take this conversation offline before anyone without the same interests dies of boredom--determining the position of a Nash equilibrium requires a relatively detailed game-theoretic model. But the parameters for the model depend on a lot of factors, and while we could probably take a decent shot at deriving such a model for the Wave 5 metagame based on tournament data, it would be difficult to develop such a result in playtesting.

In particular, the lack of determinism in X-wing hurts the applicability of Nash equilibrium in playtesting. With enough testing, the law of large numbers will wash out noise from the dice, and in fact that seems to happen pretty quickly in the wild. But if your playtesters can only get in tens of games per week, rather than thousands, the error bars carry through worryingly to your model.

And then there's the problem of multiple Nash equilibria for a given game. If each Nash equilibrium is a different metagame, how do you determine a priori which will be adopted? If there are three stable equilibria, and one represents a "bad" metagame but the other two are desirable, what do you do?

And even if you are able to model the game with sufficient accuracy and specificity to determine the Nash equilibrium, and there's only one stable metagame to worry about, you've spent a lot of time and effort to get there--and even relatively small changes could have large downstream impacts. ("Hey, what if we just moved decloaking to the beginning of the combat phase, instead of when dials are revelead?") Do you start playtesting over, and over, and over, until it's right?

None of those challenges are necessarily insuperable, but real-world constraints loom pretty large when you're looking at processes like this.

 

 

Yeah; if they work like most companies in their field, FFG's pipeline probably works something like this (with my disdain for the process & macro-entities involved put up front):

 

Management puts together a design, manufacturing & deployment schedule for the game, and a budget is drafted. The absolute tiniest slice of the budget possible is set aside for design (in terms of art, writing, graphic design & mechanic design), because companies are happy to keep art & design wages as suppressed as possible, and they are told to get the preliminary content ready by [X] deadline so they can start taking bids from the various zero-labor-standard entity using child labor they intend to source their manufacturing through, because also screw paying people to make stuff for you. 

 

The design team does a mad dance to try and get everything ready & attractive within the constraints of an unreasonably small budget & time window, so dedicated 'playtesting' is right out - people play as they make, and that just has to be good enough because there's not just not enough schedule to work with otherwise. 

 

 

I have no doubt that the design team for X Wing would've loved to have their own mathematician on board and a spare afternoon to sit down make sure all of the machinery teeth fit together snugly; I also have no doubt that the kind of money & time required to make that a reality is rarely made available for a team working on a 'big budget' product on a corporate scale. 

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13 minutes ago, Thechinmaster said:

After the recent nerfing of dengue et al, does anyone see a place for phantoms in the current meta? Sorry for the necrophiliac reserection of a long dead post 

Same place they've always been. Just on or under top teir, but held down by turrets,ps kings and auto damge that doesn't give 2 hoots about that cloak.

Right now you could do what you like with them, bomb carriers that out ps them wont bat an eyelid

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Instead of "unnerfing" I would prefer something new.

like I dunno a crew that's reads "At start of combat; a friendly ship at range 1. May perform 1 primary attack. It then receives a jam token and can not shot again this round" 

imperial only clearly. Removes the PS war we are in and gives imps another decent support crew. Means some ships will use different EPTs and won't help alpha strikes.

Edited by the1hodgy

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10 hours ago, the1hodgy said:

Instead of "unnerfing" I would prefer something new.

like I dunno a crew that's reads "At start of combat; a friendly ship at range 1. May perform 1 primary attack. It then receives a jam token and can not shot again this round" 

imperial only clearly. Removes the PS war we are in and gives imps another decent support crew. Means some ships will use different EPTs and won't help alpha strikes.

Like a second edition?;)

I can understand why keeping the nerf. Without it it just becomes a faster barrel roll / boost. But Yeah the invisibility of not knowing where is it going to be coming from isn't there anymore as where it used to be.

Edited by Marinealver

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