SeerK here once again with “The Ships Of The Rense”. In this segment we talk about the stealthy killer ofthe Rense Navy. The Phoenix/Firebird is built around an impressive Plasma weapon and built to order in directorate ship yards. They make up the bulk of the system sentries in Federation space. They are also the lethal assassins that deal with problem vessels.
Being a Destroyer class vessel you are severely limited in the number of squadrons you can take in any list with the exception of Grand Fleet size lists. In the case of the Phoenix this is good for your opponent as the ship is rather lethal. Although it is not as robust as a Spook, it has a critical rating of 6 rather than 7, it does have a higher point defense and a much longer range with all of its weapons. It has the Stealth Systems MAR , Maneuverable MAR and the Ambush (2) MAR. You can add Torpedo Spook to your torpedoes and Precision Strike to the Beam weapon. Fully upgrading the squadron makes them rather expensive though. They start out at 80 points and at 90 when fully upgraded.
This generally is not a problem as you can deliver punishing fire from both weapon systems from 40 inches and closer. With the Precision Strike MAR this lets you really do a number on ships. You can attempt to disable point defense systems with the beam weapons to deliver a torpedo salvo that is the same size as one from a spook squadron. You can also hit 2 targets and rely on the Torpedo Spook MAR to give you some decent hits when targeting two different ships in a squadron. Hitting squadrons that number 4 in this way really allows you to soften them up for your Spook squadrons to finish them off.
The Phoenix is fast. With a movement of 10 inches it can outpace even some frigates. Its real strength lays in being completely still though. Having the Maneuverable MAR lets it cut engines and not move, but still turn. The squadron becomes a firebase in the rear of the fleet. The real key is placing the squadron in your deployment zone with a largely unobstructed line of sight to the rest of the board. This does two things. It gives you fire support everywhere and it could force your opponent to place essential squadrons in the areas that are obstructed. This means you can plan your placement and set up your other squadrons to deal with your opponents ships with overwhelming firepower. You can place heavier ships to cover the Phoenix. Placement in the corners usually gives you a good view of the battlefield and covers your port, starboard and aft from shunting squadrons in reserve.
Although this is a bit predictable in terms of set up tactics, there is not a lot your opponent can do to deal with the ships unless he or she is really crafty or they Honey Badger that stuff and just brave the fire and dive in.
I have not really used the Ambush feature. Given the ship can out range most ships I have not felt the need to use it. I honestly don't see where it would be useful, unless you wanted to place the squadron, but wanted to make your opponent guess as to where it actually is. This gains you some advantage in set up and further forces your opponent to place his squadrons in the places you want them. Using the false marker, the second marker thats not the actual squadron, as an actual decoy lures enemy ships into ideal fire positions if placed correctly. This requires some good command checks and theatrics on your part.
The Phoenix is a sniper and although it is still lethal in all its range bands, long range is its happy place. The ships can defend themselves pretty well but can be destroyed easier than your average Rense Medium Capital ship when your enemy is within 20 inches. I am not a fan of the Stealth Systems. I like the Cloaking Shields better. Making your Phoenixs harder to hit gives you more mileage with the Stealth Systems. Trying to set up the squadron within a gas cloud is ideal. Although you have to make disorder checks, you are at an advantage because of your Elite Crew MAR. If you manage to roll a gas cloud when setting up terrain make sure you place it where you can set up your Phoenixs in it or they can reach it in one turn. Hitting on 5's with active Stealth Systems can really frustrate your opponent and keep your ships alive.
Well there you have it. The Phoenix/Firebird. Next time we bridge the gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 as our next ship can occupy both slots depending on the fleet size. I am, of course, speaking about the deadly Cerberus Heavy Cruiser.
Until next time.....Crush The Alliance and