The Drafting Table embarks on its first two-part series covering the Phantasm. This week is the regular-sized afterburner variant.
I’ve been in a bit of a rut with regards to cruiser sized ships after the Ashimmu. The Phantasm became an intriguing option because it offered a couple of things I had not toyed with. First, it was an opportunity to try out a shield tank, something I have not used on the cruiser scale for PvP. Second, I have both the relevant cruiser skills to five. Third, the role bonus provided for some interesting options regarding propulsion modules. After swallowing the initial revulsion from looking at the model, I committed to giving the ship a try.
The Phantasm is a cruiser belonging to the Sansha’s Nation pirate faction. Like other pirate ships, they draw bonuses from two racial skills as well as having a bonus built into the hull itself. From the hull bonus, the Phantasm receives a 150% bonus to Medium Energy Turret damage. The Amarr cruiser skill lends a 7.5% bonus to the tracking speed of Medium Energy Turrets, which helps them apply that bonused damage better. The interesting bonus comes from the Caldari Cruiser skill; 20% bonus to Afterburner velocity bonus per level. This means at Caldari Cruiser five, afterburners equipped on a Phantasm are twice as effective.
High Slots (4, Three Turret Hardpoints): Given the bonus to Medium Energy Turrets, I picked the trusty Heavy Pulse Laser II as my weapon system. Possessing an excellent combination of damage, application, and fitting requirements it’s hard to go wrong with this weapon. The fourth slot is used to add some cap warfare with a Medium Gremlin Compact Energy Neutralizer. While not possessing the full range of the guns, it has enough reach to make small ships that will try and apply webs have to deal with pressure on their capacitor.
Mid Slots (6): First up in the Mid Slots is the propulsion mod. Given the bonus from Caldari Cruiser, I chose to go with a Federation Navy 10mn Afterburner. It makes for a reasonably-priced upgrade in both speed and fitting requirements, both of which are important for this ship. Next is the tank, which is made up of only two slots. The first is a Domination Large Shield Booster. Like the Afterburner, this is a very reasonable upgrade over the standard T2 version. Second is an Adaptive Invulnerability Field II to increase the resist profile across the board. Next we have a Warp Disruptor II. I chose this rather than a scram to allow the ability to play with range a bit given the speed of the ship. This is followed by a Stasis Webifier II, which is intended to help apply damage to fast moving ships that close the distance. The last mid slot is taken up by a Medium Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I for providing additional capacitor on demand.
Low Slots (5): Right off the bat the Low Slots begin with the ubiquitous Damage Control II. As always the improvement to resists is most welcome. The next two slots are occupied by a pair of Heat Sink IIs, which improves the DPS of the turrets. Next is a Tracking Enhancer II, to improve both application and range of the guns. The last slot is occupied by a Overdrive Injector System II, which works to improve the raw speed the ship is capable of.
Rigs (3): Each rig slot serves its own purpose. First up is a Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II. This shores up the weakest resist after applying the Adaptive Invulnerability Field and the Damage Control. The second slot is used to equip Medium Auxiliary Thrusters II. This rig provides a boost to speed while sacrificing a small amount of armor. Lastly, the third slot is occupied by a Medium Energy Metastasis Adjuster I, which further improves the application of the guns.
Drones (15 m3, 15 Mbit Bandwidth): Given that energy turrets only deal Electromagnetic and Thermal damage, I chose to use the drones to add some diversity to the damage profile with a triplet of Warrior IIs.
Mandatory Implants: This is a very tight fit when it comes to powergrid. Without near perfect skills, this fit comes out at just under 2% over the grid capacity. Therefore an EG-601 or EG-602 implant may be required to make everything fit. Both of these are relatively inexpensive.
Bling: Something to keep in mind when applying bling to this fit is the powergrid. Unless you want to invest in a stronger EG-60X or other powergrid improving implants like Genolutions, there is a limit to what can be upgraded. First up is the Afterburner. The Corelum type Afterburners do not require any additional powergrid over the Federation Navy version, so replacement is plug and play. Next is the Web, some additional range for its intended use is a viable improvement. The Shield Booster can also be upgraded to any other Faction or Deadspace variant as they all use the same amount of powergrid.
Implants: Further optimisation of this fit via implants would most likely be implants that increased speed such as the Snake set, EM-70X line and Zor’s Custom Navigation Hyper-Link. Alternatively, implants could be used to supplement the tank, via the Crystal set.
My choice of the Phantasm was more due to its capabilities rather than a specific use. I like the idea of a ship that can maintain a high speed even while scrammed. The afterburner bonus of the Sansha ships lends itself nicely to this. My intent was to use this like a typical roaming cruiser.
I only needed one engagement to call out a major flaw in the fit. I had a running series of skirmishes with a Test Omen over the course of about 20 minutes. Each one ran along a similar script. After finally warping around and landing on the same grid, we would start about 30-50km apart and close to point range. Drones would go out and the guns opened up and the range dropped to about 15-20km. I was clearly out-damaging him, nibbling little chunks of hull away before his armor repairs caught up. Eventually the Test pilot would pull range using the superior speed from his MWD. He would warp off and the dance of getting onto the same grid would begin again. In the last of our engagements I was able to get close enough to web him down and apply my neut, but it was not enough to keep him in range or shut off his MWD and he pulled away. After that he decided he had enough of me and docked up. When a pair of Omen Navy Issues showed up on scan, I turned for home as well.
Changes After Testing
Given my failure to pin the Test Omen down, the first change I would make would be to replace the Warp Disruptor with a Warp Scrambler. Despite its lower range, the ability to shut off a MWD proved to be something of more importance for the Phantasm than I anticipated. Rather than try and draw the advantage from playing around outside of scram-web range, a 10mn equipped Phantasm should instead focus on using its AB bonus to keep a higher transversal velocity while scrammed and webbed by a hostile ship. Outside of being unable to pin the Omen down and kill him, the fit performed nicely in the running engagement.
I hope you enjoyed my adventures with the Phantasm. Despite her looks, the Phantasm is a capable hull that I am looking forward to flying again. Next time we will look at another possible fitting for this Sansha bruiser, with even more speed.