Content of the article: "Talking Tasha Two: Like You Walked Over Your Own Grave"
So, welcome back to Talking Tasha and the final versions of the subclasses held within Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. To save time, I’ll try not to directly compare the final versions to their UA and judge them as best as I can upon their own merits. Thank you for reading.
“Whispers of the Dead 3rd-level Phantom feature Echoes of those who have died cling to you. Whenever you finish a short or long rest, you can choose one skill or tool proficiency that you lack and gain it, as a ghostly presence shares its knowledge with you. You lose this proficiency when you use this feature to choose a different proficiency that you lack.”
So, as always, it’s a great thing when a subclass gives you a free prof that would work best with the subclass, right? But being a sneaky little thing with ghosts chilling around you, you’ve got plenty of time to listen to their stories and learn from the best locksmiths or professional weightlifters that the afterlife has to offer. Pick whatever you think you’ll need and you’ll be just fine. Would’ve been great to get both tool and skill prof at once though.
“Wails from the Grave 3rd-level Phantom feature As you nudge someone closer to the grave, you can channel the power of death to harm someone else as well. Immediately after you deal your Sneak Attack damage to a creature on your turn, you can target a second creature that you can see within 30 feet of the first creature. Roll half the number of Sneak Attack dice for your level (round up), and the second creature takes necrotic damage equal to the roll’s total, as wails of the dead sound around them for a moment. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.”
Probably the outright best Sneak Attack buff that any rogue subclass has to offer. Sure, Swashbuckler can make it a bit more reliable but this allows you to whittle away at your enemies while you focus down on the main threat, leaving them weak for when you turn your bow or dagger to them. The “per prof” is a bit painful until you get to level 9 but by the time you do reach double digits, you’ll have four uses at minimum, potentially infinite at max!
“Tokens of the Departed 9th-level Phantom feature When a life ends in your presence, you’re able to snatch a token from the departing soul, a sliver of its life essence that takes physical form: as a reaction when a creature you can see dies within 30 feet of you, you can open your free hand and cause a Tiny trinket to appear there, a soul trinket. The DM determines the trinket’s form or has you roll on the Trinkets table in the Player’s Handbook to generate it. You can have a maximum number of soul trinkets equal to your proficiency bonus, and you can’t create one while at your maximum. You can use soul trinkets in the following ways: * While a soul trinket is on your person, you have advantage on death saving throws and Constitution saving throws, for your vitality is enhanced by the life essence within the object. * When you deal Sneak Attack damage on your turn, you can destroy one of your soul trinkets that’s on your person and then immediately use Wails from the Grave, without expending a use of that feature. * As an action, you can destroy one of your soul trinkets, no matter where it’s located. When you do so, you can ask the spirit associated with the trinket one question. The spirit appears to you and answers in a language it knew in life. It’s under no obligation to be truthful, and it answers as concisely as possible, eager to be free. The spirit knows only what it knew in life, as determined by the DM.”
So anyone familiar with this subclass will know how much of a buff the second bulletpoint is to the subclass overall. Let’s say you’ve been using your “per prof” uses of Wails to kill some enemies off and using the first part of the feature to turn them to trinkets with your reaction. As soon as you run out, you’ll hopefully have another four uses, just by using your reaction. And if you keep using your reaction, you’ll replace one trinket just as you use it!
Of course it is very reaction heavy and if you’re a rapier or dagger kinda Rogue, you’ll likely be using your reaction to save yourself from nasty hits, so the above example is very idealised and easier to pull off with an archer.
The advantage on death saves and con saves are as useful as ever and the ability to ask people you’ve killed or simply allowed to die peacefully in their sleep near you questions about what they knew in life as useful as your dm allows it to be, as ever.
“Ghost Walk 13th-level Phantom feature You can phase partially into the realm of the dead, becoming like a ghost. As a bonus action, you assume a spectral form. While in this form, you have a flying speed of 10 feet, you can hover, and attack rolls have disadvantage against you. You can also move through creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain, but you take 1d10 force damage if you end your turn inside a creature or an object. You stay in this form for 10 minutes or until you end it as a bonus action. To use this feature again, you must finish a long rest or destroy one of your soul trinkets as part of the bonus action you use to activate Ghost Walk.”
I am so glad that Tasha has given us so many great subclass features that are easily rechargeable with a resource. It’s very difficult to stress how amazing this feature is. A little taste of flight, constant disadvantage on any attack against you, and the ability to dip in and out of objects and people to add even more chaos to a situation. And since all it costs you is a kill to reuse it, there’s hardly any reason not to go ghost as often as you can.
“Death’s Friend 17th-level Phantom feature Your association with death has become so close that you gain the following benefits: * When you use your Wails from the Grave, you can deal the necrotic damage to both the first and the second creature. * At the end of a long rest, a soul trinket appears in your hand if you don’t have any soul trinkets, as the spirits of the dead are drawn to you.”
The way this is written, I’m not sure if you can activate Wails with only one target but if you can, this feature gives you just another reason to pop it off even against lonesome bosses. The free trinket to start the day with is a lovely boost and it might be best used to ask a question. Since the feature doesn’t specify where it comes from, the spirit hopefully won’t have any unfortunate bias against you…
Overall, the Phantom has had a long journey since it’s inception as The Revived but I definitely feel that it’s ended up as one of the solidly built and best Rogue subclasses… when it hits level 9, that is. The early levels won’t give you as many direct benefits that other subclasses but those who stick with it will find that they’ll be kings and queens of the shade.
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