The TIE Phantom is the Imperial's Glass Cannon. It requires finesse to play right, but it can be a potent weapon - both psychological and in dice results.
With 4 Attack Dice, it packs the most firepower of any (non-Huge) ship. At range 1, it can unleash a devastating barrage, and thanks to it's maneuverability it can get into that range and stay there.
It possesses 2 Agility, 2 Hull, and 2 Shields. Given that it costs a little more than an X-Wing, this might seem weak, particularly in comparison to the much cheaper TIE Fighter or slightly cheaper TIE Advanced (which is considered an underperformed for it's cost). What is easy to overlook is that the Phantom gets +2 Agility when cloaked, for a total 4 Agility, which gives it the most Agility in the game.
Maneuverability dial is close to the TIE Fighter, but lacking a 5 Straight and the 3 K-turn.
Cloak is the key to the Phantom. It can frustrate your opponent to no end, by decloaking before it's movement for a free "Straight 2" barrel roll or boost. Because of this, even if your opponent uses Intelligence Agent to peek at your maneuver dial, you can still end up in 4 possible locations.
Tack on an Advanced Cloaking Device and you can re-cloak after shooting. While the available Pilot Skill range is limited (3, 5, 6, and 7), with Veteran Instincts on a named pilot you can reach an 8 or 9, which can get you moving last, shooting first, and cloaking before most other pilots shoot back.
Phantoms can take a single Crew. Navigator can increase maneuverability, and Rebel Captive discourages and punishes taking shots at it. Recon Specialist for extra Focus can be handy, while Gunner lets you shoot again on the occasion those 4 Attack dice fail to cause any damage. However, this does drive up the cost of an already expensive (for Imperial) unit.
The named pilot "Echo" gets to use the "Bank 2" template when uncloaking, and if played well can stay on the tail of even the super-maneuverable A-Wing or TIE Interceptor.
The strengths of the Phantom are:
1. 4 Attack Dice base is a strong attack, and 5 dice at Range 1 can be brutal. Your opponent will want to start taking Evade actions rather than Focus, which impacts their ability to hurt you.
2. Highly maneuverable, thanks to cloak
3. Rewards skillful play, and can be downright fun
The weakness of the Phantom are:
1. A fairly high points cost (for Imperials)
2. Require skill to play well; they benefit from facing lower Pilot Skills, but if you can out-think your opponent you can do well against higher Pilot Skills.
3. If caught out in the open with their pants down (no cloak) they can die quickly. Stress should only be accumulated if already cloaked.
4. Turrets are their worst enemy. Their biggest strength is staying out of enemy fire arcs. Turrets on high Pilot Skill are even worse, because to attack the Phantom must drop cloak and lose it's bonus 2 Agility dice.
5. Your opponent might get frustrated by the high maneuverability, and inability to get out of arc or line up a shot, which might result in a not-so-fun game for them.
Why might you take a Phantom instead of the 2 TIE Fighters the same points would buy you? While you can argue that those 2 TIE Fighters each can attack, that's still only 2-3 Attack dice per attack. Your opponent will get to roll Agility dice against both of those attacks. Versus a single 4-5 dice attack, those same Agility dice won't stop as much damage. 4 Attack dice vs 2 Agility dice provides about a 50% increase in average damage results vs two separate attacks of 2 Attack dice vs 2 Agility dice.
By adding a stygium crystal cloaking device to a modified V38 assault fighter that came equipped with both deflector shields and a hyperdrive, the developers of the TIE phantom created one of the most menacing starfighters in the galaxy! The TIE Phantom Expansion Pack brings this fearsome fighter to life in the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game with new rules for cloaking that allow it to slip off opponents' sensors in the middle of battle. Imperial players will be able to further customize their phantoms with system and crew upgrades, so the Rebellion will never know what to expect. The TIE Phantom Expansion Pack includes one TIE phantom miniature, four ship cards, five upgrades, one maneuver dial, reference cards for its new rules, and all the tokens you need to bring your TIE phantom to battle!