Its time for another Pilot Spotlight. This time we are going to have a look at the definitive Phantom Pilot Echo.
When people talk about the TIE Phantom it is normally in reference to Echo. Taking the Phantoms craziness and pushing it to a whole new level she is a very powerful choice for the Imperials.
Costing a very respectable 30 Points and sharing the same stats as a standard Phantom but with access to an Elite Pilot Talent and having a Pilot Skill of 6 Echo is a powerhouse as long as you can utilise her correctly.
The Phantoms 4 attack base is it biggest selling point for me, the pure amount of damage it can put out in a single attack is just silly. Even at range band 3 you should be coming off favourably against anything other than a Heavy Laser Cannon.
Coupling that with the modification that Echo makes to the Decloak action and you can see why people (myself included) love her.
I am sure we have all seen this kind of thing for Echo before but it is always worth going over again, just in case.
The thing to remember is that points A,B,E and F have even more variation due to the length of the base which is quite a lot of give once you get your head around it.
Having such a large range of movement and a very potent attack leads towards the glass cannon style of play with Echo and it is a role in which she is ideally suited. So lets stop covering old ground and look at some of the builds I have seen and used.
Out of the Box
OK, so I have never seen her played this way and I never plan on using her naked either. 30 Points in an Imperial list is quite an investment and although she would still offer a lot I think that she needs some toys to make her viable.
If you do want to use her this way I would recommend keeping her as safe as possible as if she makes it to end game even the base level Echo is going to do work.
Score 1/5 – Just not enough versatility out of the box in my opinion. Whilst she is not bad per-say I would never recommend this option. If you only have 30 points left and want a Phantom in the list take a generic and put toys on that…
Just paying the 4 point Modification Tax…
This is what I consider the base level of Echo. 34 points for Her with an Advanced Cloaking Device.
Just getting access to the free Cloak Action after firing adds so much maneuverability to her that it practically should be a compulsory choice.
It does however make her cost more than a Bounty Hunter and although she has an extra 3 Pilot Skill on the base level Firespray you have to consider that the Firespray would offer you 6 more Hit Points and what it lacks for in Maneuverability it adds in with its rear fire arch.
Score 3/5 – A good solid option but you really need to have a plan for her and potentially build the list around just her. I do think the Bounty Hunter competes quite well with her at this points level but it all comes down to your flying style and if you think you can be out of fire arch.
This is where the Fun Begins…
This for me is where Echo starts to come in to her own, you have slapped on the Advanced Cloaking Device and then as Pilot Skill 6 is relatively common Veteran Instincts is a must to make sure you fire before as much of your opponent’s list as possible.
After that taking advantage of the Crew Slot becomes a good option and Recon Specialist is a good place to start and even better it comes in the Phantom pack.
The idea here should be fairly obvious. Echos innate maneuverability will get her in to positions to fire, with Veteran Instincts pushing her shooting to (hopefully) the front of the queue and Recon Specialist give you a Focus token to use in both Attack and then still have one for Defense to use in combination with your 4 Evade Dice from the free Cloak Action.
Score 4.5/5 – This is a very solid build for Echo and would be where I recommend you start playing her but at 38 points she is a significant investment so expect to lose some games until you get used to her mechanics.
All In Stalker
We stick with the Advanced Cloaking Device and add in Outmaneuver, Fire Control System and Tactician. This is a build I have tried a few times and it is really good fun to fly but can just fail horribly against some squads.
Outmaneuver synergises well with Echo as you should be able to dance around fire arcs with ease the challenge to this build comes with trying to keep the target at range band 2 for Tactician to kick in and then let Fire Control give you a Target Lock as well. It makes it extremely difficult to shake her once she is on your tail but if you are against a good player with a couple of high pilot skill ships it can be hard to fly around all the fire arcs without telegraphing your positioning.
Score 3.5/5 – Fun to fly but not the most competitive build, if you are looking to improve your flying with her give it a try though as you really have to think hard about your positioning.
Starting to get Serious!
If you are looking for something a little more competitive than going back to Veteran Instincts, Advanced Cloaking Device as the core and then taking advantage of the free Target Lock from Fire Control System and then a Weapons Engineer to add some unpredictability to your next move is a very solid choice.
In my opinion this is the best build to take in an all comers list as you are maximising your damage potential by having the free Target Lock action (OK so first shot of the game aside…) but are keeping some level of sneakiness as you have two options for your target next turn and maintain the pilot skill 8 which helps a lot.
Score 5/5 – Still costs a lot but is a very solid choice even without building a list to synergise with her.
Thats it for the Echo pilot spotlight, thanks for reading and if you have any Echo anecdotes or builds feel free to share in the comments. If you would like to see more of the same than feel free to check out my blog at The Dice Hate Me – Cheers Kris
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