Making Phantom viable


(XSheepieX) #1

Okay so I’m partly doing this so that everyone doesn’t get mad at me for going on about Phantom in discord…

How Phantom is at the moment, he just isn’t quite there to be a viable choice. I’m not saying he isn’t good and I’m not saying he’s far off. He’s difficult to play atm, but I think it is good like that. The only problem is that the reward for playing him isn’t very- or maybe just not as high as it should be.

When I play DB I pretty much only play Phantom as it is what keeps me with this game.

So… Considering the obsidians and the updates and new mercs, isn’t it about time the Phantom stain got cleaned up? I would like to hear people’s opinions on what could make Phantom actually viable considering his current playstyle and why previous nerfs were made. As in… Phantom probably shouldn’t be much (if any) harder to detect than his is now. I’m a phantom main and I know I’d hate that and tbh it probably wouldn’t even change the fact that he isn’t that good atm. Phantom doesn’t need to be made easier to play, just the rewards for playing him well imo need to be higher.

Take Vasili for example. If you’re a bad Vasili you are of no use, but a good Vasili can really help. A good Phantom can help also, but not to the same degree.

Personally, I think Phantom could do with 3 throwing knives as an ability on a cool down similar to Fletcher’s which could be thrown while cloaked, only mildly disrupting the cloak (as if sprinting)(for counterplay). For me that works perfectly as it compliments Phantoms current harasser playstyle and also just allows Phantom to further exploit the fact that he can deal damage without being attacked back and save decloaking for the perfect moment. The only other thing I can think of that would actually make phantom viable would be some form of spotting ability, but I honestly don’t think it would fit into how he plays at the moment and sacrificing his currently playstyle imo wouldn’t be a good idea.

I’m happy to hear anyone’s suggestions regarding what could be done because I think its quite a difficult one, but I wouldn’t like to think that Phantom just can’t be made viable.


(TheStrangerous) #2

Snipers since nerf are only reserved for the most dedicated players. Even I, who used to play Vassilli a lot, gave up. I like sharpshooter type classes.

Phantom, well, his cloak is good for ambush tactic, since they did buffed it. It’s less visible and completely (I think so) invisible when stationary. Still feels gimmicky though.

Throwing knife wouldn’t be far fetched, since it’s a scrapped weapon, that could’ve been tested offline. But there’s so much potential in making these throwing knives a decoy devices.
Heartbeat sensor owns the ground, Snitch hangs on to walls and ceilings, RedEye owns the air by staring, but none of them clings to enemies, like parasites. The possibilities of spreading AIDS poisoning the enemy team with plague…


(GatoCommodore) #3

cloak was slient buffed last patch

its definetly more invisible than usual


(XSheepieX) #4

I’ve heard a few people say thing similar to that I think it’d be cool also. Though I’m honestly in conflict in my head as to whether I think a spotting ability would be good for phantom. I just don’t know how I would feel about it and if it would effect his playstyle. Though the more I think about it… Like a dehabititation throwing knife like the snitch… The more I start to warm to the idea. Though for me, simple knives would be just as good if it meant you could get more of them and it let you harrass undetected.

But yeah as you said you can test it in offline. One reason why I am so set on throwing knives is because I’ve played around and “roleplayed” it in offline mode so I have an idea of how it would work and how it’d feel. It also seems like a logical step for phantom.

Even though phantom isn’t invisible I still feel his cloak is in a good enough place for not only Phantom but for DB. Considering making him easier to sneak around with might encourage Phantom players try to run behind enemy lines when that isn’t how he should play imo. I wouldn’t want him to be like Sky from Paladins for example. It would frustrate too many people considering how DB plays and how comparatively tanky he is.

Additionally I think they’d need to buff the cloak to the point of it being unfun to play against for it to balance phantom enough.

I wasn’t aware of the silent buff…


(Wintergreen) #5

Phantom can already be viable when played like a ‘regular’ merc. BL54, CR54, and C64 are great combat loadouts. If you can’t be effective with a Crotz or Kek-10 with drilled then you’ve got other problems. Play him with a gun-first mentality and use his ability solely for evasive or ambush tactics. Disabling enemy equipment with the EMP should be your primary focus as well. Wiping out their equipment is extremely effective around a large cluster of enemies that are defending, say, a bomb plant on Underground.


(XSheepieX) #6

@Wintergreen As much as Phantom’s guns are good and i agree with what you are saying mostly, it doesn’t make Phantom viable. I mean Phantoms guns are still SMGs so they aren’t anything special. Nader uses SMGs, but she has grenades to account for that. If i had to chose abilities based on pure effectiveness, i’d take the nades over a cloak every single time. I know Phantom isn’t an assault and i don’t think he should be, but even if you compare him to Aimee for example, he just isn’t worth it and doesn’t have the same capabilities. Why have a merc that can assassinate one or two when you can have a merc that can lock down a whole area.

I’m not saying he’s useless, i think he can be very useful in certain situations, but he isn’t viable as he completely relies on his team to do anything effectively. For example, he cannot flank without his team due to him being quite easy to detect. If you compare him to any other merc, it is obvious that he isn’t as useful as any of them. Not by much imo. But he is still very apparently at the bottom by enough that it is noticeable. I’m not the only person who sees it this way.


(Wintergreen) #7

I mean, if we had to really narrow it down, I’d concede that Phantom is among one of lowest tier mercs. Overall though, this game is pretty balanced so that’s not sayin’ much. I think there’s a time and a place for every merc. If they tweaked Phantom’s ability, they should remove that noticeable sound when he’s invisible. Imo, that’s his only counter in hectic situations; they’ve already made him harder to see and the EMP is amazing. I really don’t see him as terrible as people make him sound.


(XSheepieX) #8

I agree with you partly. I don’t think he is terrible and not useless like many people would say he is. Though i still think he is underpowered enough that something needs to be done.

Additionally, I really don’t think that Phantom actually was made harder to see and I think how his abilities are at the moment is okay. I mean nobody wants a merc who can kill you without you even knowing it’s coming.

IMO Phantom doesn’t need changes to his existing ability. It’s just that he needs something else to allow him to be useful in more situations IMO. To me, Phantom is like Redeye without the smoke. He has a pretty useful ability but it could use something to compliment it.

I think the EMP was the best thing to happen to Phantom


(woodchip) #9

I strongly feel Phantom should get some sort of recon ability. List of reasons:

I thought about it. I no longer think phantom needs a new skill.


(XSheepieX) #10

I personally think the EMP works quite well with the sort of ghost-like feel for Phantom.

I think that Phantom needs more killing capability. I don’t think a spotting ability is integral to being a recon. Though I do think being effectively able to take out targets is. Phantom is a harasser at the moment and can lock down areas similar to (but not as effectively as) other recons.


(woodchip) #11

@XSheepieX said:
I personally think the EMP works quite well with the sort of ghost-like feel for Phantom.

I think that Phantom needs more killing capability. I don’t think a spotting ability is integral to being a recon. Though I do think being effectively able to take out targets is. Phantom is a harasser at the moment and can lock down areas similar to (but not as effectively as) other recons.

More killing capability would make him very dangerous to the game. Already, if he opens up on you out of stealth with better than potato aim he’s very favored to win the gunfight. Maybe 65/35 or 70/30. If you push that to 75/25 or 80/20 dying to phantom starts to get really frustrating. There’s no room to buff it.

It’s also hard to call him a ‘harasser’ when he is primarily played as an assassin. Phantom’s aren’t like tracers, who contribute light damage from the backline while being hard to kill. He’s an all in headhunter who pulls easy kills out of his opener. Phantom gets lots of solo kills. Unlike Tracer, tho, once he reveals himself he is very vulnerable and has no form of easy escape.

He’s an all in Assassin. And his assassination ability is already very strong. He wins tons of ‘free’ duels by lining up an SMG headshot in stealth or by simply flanking. The problem that very strong dueling isn’t strong enough to make up for his having an SMG and minimal utility. Getting 1 ‘free’ kill every 30 seconds is as good as it gets for phantom, and as good as it can get without breaking the game, but that isn’t worth giving up a firesupport or a fragger.

Recon utility is a solve. Another potentially more dangerous solution might be to buff his regen so he can pick up his free kills more often. Recon is a safer buff.


(TheStrangerous) #12

If any of next merc will either have throwing knives (or decoy knives whatever) or EMP grenade. Then Phantom will forever remain a joke :expressionless:


(XSheepieX) #13

@woodchip I get what you’re saying, but i think it’s about implementation. That’s why i think throwing knives are a good idea. Considering you use them while cloaked, and it would slightly disrupt the cloak, it would be very difficult to use. But people who can play Phantom well would not only be able to exploit the flanking that Phantom can do, but also the fact that he can soften up his targets before he strikes.

Phantom can only get one kill generally and at high level he struggles to do that. I really feel like throwing knives would give Phantom that slight edge he needs without making him unbearable in PUBs.

It’s about counter play. Phantom should remain as difficult to play as ever, but he shouldn’t be useless at high level. I think Phantom is close to being there but i just feel he needs a little something to compliment how he plays.

@TheStrangerous If another Merc got an EMP it would make Phantom actually useless and I honestly don’t think that throwing knives are a big enough of a deal to give to a new Merc. I don’t even think it would suit any Merc’s playstyle and there would be no reason to use them unless they were cheesiliy overpowered.

Phantom is the only logical character that i can imagine throwing knives being useful for (because why not just use your gun?) and at the same time, he is the only character who really needs something to help him be viable. To me it just makes sense.


(Gire) #14

Make the EMP and Cloak separate abilities, but also that you can activate both of them at the same time but consume more energy.
Cloak consumes less energy and be completetly invisible while standing or crouching still.
Increase his energy pool so it can handle the EMP consuming.
Decrease cloak sounds while only using cloak mode but maybe increase it just a hinch if you are using both.

Probably not neseccary but increase Phantoms hp by 10 to maintain his combat survivability because he is quite short ranged merc with a melee potential.

I too am Phantom main myself, i wouldnt probably played this game so much if it wouldnt have Phantom in it.
Phantom is so much fun against new players but he turn useless against higher skilled opponents, where they can see/hear you instantly even when standing completetly still. And his EMP gives him away too. Its just stupid that EMP goes on without your own will.


(XSheepieX) #15

As much as I think that’d help Phantom, I think it’d actually be a step back for the game.

If you consider why Phantom was nerfed, those changes would actually make Phantom’s situation worse. Firstly, I don’t think it’d make enough of a difference to make Phantom viable, and secondly, if it did allow for Phantom to go undetected better, it would frustrate many people.

Whether we like it or not, I seriously doubt that Phantom’s cloak and/or ability to go undetected will -or should be for that matter- be buffed. Or at least not enough to make him viable. It would be game-breaking. That’s why, something like what woodchip or I suggested would probably be best imho.

Though I don’t agree with woodchip on that Phantom is an assassin. I mean yes. You can play Phantom as an assassin. But if you play against equally skilled opponents, like you said you are better off going support or assault as you aren’t likely to get more than one or two kills. Phantom plays best as a harasser and an opportunist imo as he can make it so that you can constantly be putting pressure on the enemy team from unexpected angles.

If i think about it though, even if you gave Phantom a spotting ability why choose Phantom over any other Recon?


(TheStrangerous) #16

Enough with Spotting abilities, it’s been done to death.

Even if decoy knife, I mentioned before, had one, it would pale compared to other current spotting abilities.


(Gire) #17

Make his cloak more silent and less visible, and separate the EMP from the cloak


(XSheepieX) #18

Like i said before:

@XSheepieX said:
Whether we like it or not, I seriously doubt that Phantom’s cloak and/or ability to go undetected will -or should be for that matter- be buffed. Or at least not enough to make him viable. It would be game-breaking.

Changes like you have suggested are the most logical to probably most people though if you dig a little deeper, it is apparent that those changes would fly in the face of everything else SD have tried to achieve in their previous changes to Phantom.

We need to think outside the box like SD did when they gave the EMP to Phantom. We need to consider how Phantom is underpowered and what could make him useful to the team without making him unfun to play against. All of this needs to be done considering how Phantom plays currently and how any changes would effect how Phantom plays in the future. Counterplay is always key. It is counterplay that irritates so many people about Javelin though that’s off the point. :confused:


(LifeupOmega) #19

@TheStrangerous said:
Snipers since nerf are only reserved for the most dedicated players. Even I, who used to play Vassilli a lot, gave up. I like sharpshooter type classes.

Ah yes, the big nerf of “can’t two shot bodyshot Fragger, but can still two shot bodyshot any other merc you could previously.”


(XSheepieX) #20

Well… getting back to Phantom. I will put my suggestion on what i think would improve him and why.

Firstly, Phantom’s main ability is the ability to strike at opponents from unexpected angles and flank. The EMP compliments this in that it means that when he does strike, he often doesn’t need to worry about deployables. Phantom can help his team by using his EMP and has a slight edge on enemies in that he can get the first shot.

The one big issues I have is that many times I find myself in a situation where I would like to assist my team by softening up enemies that I can see moving into position as often I’m in a good position to. But at the same time, I know it isn’t worth wasting my cloak for it. This to me feels like a major flaw for Phantom and a huge gap in his potential usefulness.

Phantom is close to being good I think, but the main issue as I see it is that the only thing for Phantom to do while cloaked is try to be in the best position for when he uncloaks. And honestly, though it is nice that Phantom can get the first shot it doesn’t always mean that much against a good player with an assault rifle or burst rifle. Sure, if you can aim you’ll get the kill, but people don’t stay still and if you don’t get the kill straight away, you are suddenly very vulnerable and likely to die. This is why i think Phantom plays better as a harasser.

However if we go with Phantom playing as a harasser, constantly being a pain for the enemy,
but he currently isn’t able to put enough pressure on enemies imo on his own. He relies on his team to capitalise on his EMP and when his cloak is finished he no longer is a big deal. I don’t think the fix to this is to simply split the two aspects of the ability as I feel like it was deliberately done the way it has been done.

So… back to my suggestion… I think Phantom needs some way of dealing a conservative amount of damage while cloaked so that he can keep up the pressure at all times. I initially wished the pistol could be used while cloaked… I can understand some people may instantly hate that idea but let me explain fully…

My suggestion is that Phantom, like I mentioned before, gets 3 throwing knives on a 5 sec cooldown. They would do around roughly 20-30 damage standard and double on headshots (i think that’s how it works). This means that the if you aren’t cloaked there realistically is no reason to use the knives.

It might look something like this in practise:

When Phantom throws one of the knives, my suggestion would be that it makes Phantom as visible is if he was sprinting/walking for a fraction of a second and there should be a very slight noise and perhaps a small chunk of the armour’s charge taken away.

That way, throwing knives shouldn’t actually make Phantom suddenly very easy to play in Pubs and it would still require careful judgement and positioning to be effective. It adds another layer of skill to Phantom and allows him to actually be cloaked and stay cloaked while still assisting the team and doing damage, without him being any more annoying to play against than he already is.

To me this is the best way forwards for Phantom as it compliments his existing abilities and fixes some of the areas that Phantom is lacking in as well as allowing Phantom to be more useful to the team more often. This is also a change that wouldn’t be as difficult as creating a totally new mechanic for Phantom and I feel like it is the most suited to Phantom out of all of the ideas I’ve seen, searching through forums about suggestions for Phantom.

I’ve yet to see anyone else whose suggested a change to Phantom that would be really good for both Phantom and Dirty Bomb so I’d really like to hear it if someone has an idea about this.