I haven’t done a Head-2-Head in quite some time. In fact the last one was back on Thanksgiving 2016 when I did the Vacuum vs. the Paradox. I reviewed the new Caitian escort a few weeks back. The focus of that ship centered around the new “heavy weapon”. This ship was the first to take advantage of the new mechanics for escorts and raiders. With the full launch of Season 13 all the qualifying ships now have access to a heavy weapon.
Today I’ll feature an escort Head 2 Head with the new Caitian Shikaris versus the Starfleet Phantom, so yes, it’s the Kitty Kat versus the Ghost.
Over and over my specification data based analysis points to the Phantom as one of the best Feddie escorts in the game. But in practical application it doesn’t really seem to fit in anywhere. The T6 Tactical Escort Retrofit and T5-U Patrol Escort Refit are better in a fight and there are a great many ships in the game with more intel and science abilities and with a near equal fighting stance. Is this one of those great on paper not so much in practice?
I have run the Phantom many times in Head 2 Head and other ship comparisons. It always does well but rarely wins out. Aw, the poor little misunderstood Phantom. Here are the two ships that went Head 2 Head.
Both of these ships have the classic 4/3 weapons layout for escorts and now with Season 13 both feature a heavy weapon. The graphic above shows the Shikaris as not fully mastered, but that is old and for this event the ship was fully mastered. The Caitian ship comes equipped with a kinetic weapon while the Phantom has no weapon equipped in the heavy slot. Players can get a free electrical energy heavy weapon for any escort they own or if the Shikaris has been purchased one can equip its kinetic heavy weapon on any escort with a heavy weapon slot. With the new heavy weapon slot the Intel ship is boosted on my power scale to 64.33 points and that edges out the Caitian machine as it earned a 63.40. But this isn’t the first time the Phantom has held the “spec” edge.
I didn’t feel like swapping out a bunch of gear or boosting the Mark XII items on the Phantom so I ran the ship as is with all that Mark XII purple gear but added the Ion Stream Heavy Weapon at Mk XIV and ran the patrol gauntlet. The ship did surprisingly well with an average time of 149.75 seconds. That was good enough to best all the ships I ever tested in the four patrols with mark XII gear. The Andorian Kumari however only has times for Japori and Carraya when equipped with Mark XII gear and it crushes this Phantom in those two. The Phantom was actually better in Japori with its mere Mk XII than the Shikaris was with all Mark XIV gear. That may have been luck, but it may have been some Phantom badassery also 😉
Although the overall rating for the Phantom is better than the Shikaris the Caitian ship has a higher rating for tactical and significantly so. The Phantom has better BOFF strength and flexibility as well as a huge advantage in stealth with the built-in cloaking device.
The ships are well matched and offer a similar experience actually aside from the cloaking aspect offer in the Phantom. The more I fly the Phantom the more I like it, and jeez I know I have said that before. In this Head 2 Head it is hard not to favor the Phantom. Take a look at the two ships on the comparison chart below I also added their fleet versions.
In this face off the edge has to go to the ghost. The Phantom scores very well against the Shikaris. I have a Head 2 Head chart below but note that the bottom two scores are highly subjective and also not directly comparable as the equipment was completely different on each ship. The winning margin for the Phantom is profound, but when the subjective values are removed it tightens a bit but still a clear winner for the Phantom.