Head 2 Head: Mercury vs. Phantom

I like to have a ship to ship face off of sorts now and again. Really. who doesn’t like a good ‘ole’ fashioned showdown? It’s not novel territory, after all I have had a few before.

Today I am comparing two T6 escort ships with specialist leaning tendencies. The T6 Mercury Class Pilot Escort and the T6 Phantom Class Intel Escort. I was not real enamored with the Phantom when it first came out but the Mercury was a ship I fell in love with pretty quickly. That said, I did end up with a pretty bad-ass version of my Phantom Intel and so I decided it was time for a rumble.

There are so many ways to set up a ship and I decided that these two would go toe to toe with the gear equipped as I fly them both. It’s very subjective to test these ships this way, but equipping them exactly the same would likely fail to take advantage of the differences in the ships. Here are the two contenders as equipped for the bout.

pilotvintel (1 of 4)T6 Pilot Escort, Mercury Class

  • Fully mastered
  • Preserver Resonant Technologies Set Mk XII (dual cannon, torpedo, console)
  • Forward weapons: 3 – Mk XII Purple, Elachi Cannon, PRT Dual Disruptor Cannon, PRT Transphasic Torpedo Launcher Mk XII
  •  Aft weapons: Mk XII Purple Disruptor turret, Mk XII Adaptive Transphasic Torpedo Launcher
  • Positron Deflector Mk XII [em] [ins] [shds]
  • Combat Impulse Engines MK XII [aux] [spd] [turn]
  • Overcharged Warp Core Mk XII [e-cap] [eff] [sss] [w->a]
  • Regenerative Shield Array Mk XII [cap]x3

pilotvintel (3 of 4)T6 Intelligence Escort, Phantom Class, Fleet Grade

  • Fully mastered
  • Assimilated Space Set Mk XII (deflector, shield, engines)
  • Omega Assimilated Borg Set Mk XII (beam, torpedo, console)
  • Romulan Singularity Harness Set Mk XII (beam, torpedo, console)
  • Forward weapons: 3 – Fleet Advanced Plasma Cannons MK XII [acc]x2 [dmg]x2, Omega Torpedo Launcher Mk XII
  • Aft weapons: Kinetic Cutting Beam, Romulan Experimental Plasma Beam, Romulan Hyper Plasma Torpedo Launcher Mk XII
  • Elite Fleet Warp Core [e-cap] [eps] [sst] [w->s]

At first glance the fact that I am using the Fleet version of the Phantom, may seem unfair. Well, not really, the Mercury is a tough ship and there is no Fleet version of the Pilot ships yet anyway. Honestly if you are going to spend 3000 Zen buying the Intel Phantom, please spend an extra 500 and get the fleet version. Seriously, a 10% boost to hull and shields and an eleventh console is worth a measly 500 Zen. Psst… don’t tell Cryptic, but it’s probably worth 1000 zen 😉

Of course no head to head would be complete without one of my trademark charts, right?


These two ships work completely different. The Phantom is all about stealth and intel. It has a cloak. “But Rod”, you scream. “It’s a useless Feddie cloak”! I know, but still you can slink around undetected  before launching a stealth enhanced Alpha first strike. This Phantom is beefed up with the Fleet upgrade so it has a strong hull and solid shields. The shields are still not as strong as the base shields for the Mercury however. This Phantom ship features a very Defiant-like layout with a 4/3 weapons arrangement. 17 dps base turn rate but a heavier crew count of 150. One can certainly fly this ship much like they would fly the Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit. But the whole point is that it is equipped with two hybrid BOFF stations for intelligence officers. I really took that to heart as I began to like this ship. Mind you, when I first got it I was all, “WTF, the Defiant will crush this POS”. But then I started playing around with the Intel BOFFs and the associated abilities. By the time I got the ship to the current status the Pilot ships were on the way to the fleet yards. I will say that I have fully battle tested the Fleet Phantom with this setup in advanced queues against the Iconian Heralds, Borg PVEs and it just crushes the Romulan Patrol missions.

pilotvintel (4 of 4)The Phantom with this setup can really lay down some serious evil hate. Up front the ship has single plasma cannons (I have written about why I prefer singles over duals most of the time). That Omega torpedo launcher fires a round every 1 second and can be used with BOFF torpedo enhancing abilities like Spread and High Yield. The Romulan Hyper-Plasma torpedo launcher is a freaking beast. I have it mounted to the aft because you can blow yourself up with those triple heavies that thing pumps out in a continuous stream. The ship can unload an alpha strike and then deliver a finishing blow with 3-6 heavy plasma torpedoes and the experimental beam blast. The Hyper-Plasma torpedo launcher can also be used with spread and high yield. That is just wicked.

This ship gets a little help with shields from the Fleet Warp Core that gives it a nice resiliency under fire. Admiral Sager has a variety of DOFFs and Traits that help keep torpedoes and weapon firing consistently and with a dangerous level of damage output. This ship benefits greatly from these enhancements. I like to use multiple instances of Intelligence Team. Read about that ability my friends. With two instances and the trait and DOFF perks that shorten BOFF cooldowns, I am nearly continuously stealthed all the while laying down a fury of weapons destruction to all that piss me off. Furthermore the ship generates less threat while under the influence of Intelligence Team. Against PVE NPC enemies this means I am nearly ignored as I fly about creating wanton death and doom to all my enemies, Muhaha!

pilotvintel (1 of 1)The Mercury is an altogether different type of beast, but let it be said it is still a “beast”. Like the Andorian Kumari it is heavily weighted towards a frontal assault. With five weapons to the fore and just two in the aft section, this ship has a scary face and a weak six. The Pilot manuevers however add an interesting twist to the Kumari style attack. The Andorian ship delivers a mean frontal assault but then quickly over runs the target and with its weak 16 dps turn rate it takes awhile to get back on the offensive. The Mercury suffers no such affliction. This ship hits the corners like a formula one car with an angle crushing 20 dps. If that isn’t enough then just double-tap that down arrow (“s” key) and the ship executes a quick, near instant reverse manuever that gives the ship another several seconds of alpha frontal assault bliss. It gets even better; during any of the Pilot manuevers, the ship gains a brief immunity to damage. The Pilot manuevers also have a reasonable recharge rate. The ship can execute a side roll in either direction, the aforementioned reverse move or a forward burst. Each offer brief immunity. Furthermore the Phantom is very fast with a BOP like impulse modifier  0.22, the Mercury, like the name implies, is even faster! 0.24 that is flirting with fighter craft speed and trails only the Risian Corvette among all starships for speed. The Mercury is a very fun ship to fly. It does require a little more battle planning than the Phantom. I say that in light of the setups I have on my ships.

pilotvintel (1 of 3)The Phantom I fly has a very balanced fore/aft attack and defense setup. The ship has no worries just fly around and kill stuff. The Mercury requires some thought and tactical planning. The aft portion of the ship has just two weapons and when an enemy is on its six things can get dicey. The good news is that the ship out manuevers just about anything. With an upgrade to those fore cannons this ship will give my Kumari a run for the title of most devastating frontal attack. That ability to double tap reverse and keep the Alpha alive is not to be underestimated. Also the reverse move can be used to execute the classic brake effect when you have a challenging enemy behind you. Watch your enemy pass you by as you are now on their six. Admiral Sager runs the starship trait, ‘Pedal to the Metal’ and that means the throttle must remain down to get maximum dps. Not overrunning the enemy in a ship this fast is nigh impossible, but the reverse manuever gives the ship a great deal of damage opportunity without losing any speed. I really like both of these ships. The Phantom took the right setup for me to show it some love, the Mercury was tasty right out the box.  I guess that gives the edge to the Mercury in this head to head. I didn’t have to learn to love it 🙂

In case you are wondering, below are the specialist points taken thus far by Admiral Sager

pilotvintel (2 of 3)pilotvintel (3 of 3)


6 thoughts on “Head 2 Head: Mercury vs. Phantom

  1. Now this is something I’ve been hoping you would write about.

    My Fed Tac T’Leia has been flying a Phantom (which I found to be adequate, not exceptional), recently upgraded to Fleet version. I’ve been eyeing the Pilot ships mainly for the 5-2 weapon layout and the 20 turn rate, yet hesitant to pull the trigger because I wasn’t sure if the advantage is significant enough to drop 3000 zen… it’s no chump change! That said T’Leia flies the Phantom like a regular escort and not an Intel ship, so after reading this I’m leaning even more towards getting a pilot ship for her…

    On a separate note regarding the specializations: I’ve never been very clear on it, but I’m under the impression that while you gain the benefits of all four tiers of a “Primary” specialization, you only get Tiers I & II for a “Secondary” specialization. That means if I use your specializations as an example, assuming Intel is primary and Pilot is secondary, the dots you put in Tiers III and IV Pilot abilities are wasted (well not actually wasted, you can always switch primary and secondary on a whim). Or did I misunderstand that?

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