Need to redo another one for an unlock achievement, this time the 600 scrap hoarder. The other option is the low-oxygen run, but I hate that one, way too risky to lose either some crew or the achievement itself to one moment of inattentiveness.
Sector 1: Very first fight, has nothing but beams -- so it's a trainer, not for evasion, but for WEAPON skill, and yes, I'll let it take the time to do so, it is the human crew on the weapons to go a bit faster. Also could and did kill by way of hacking on oxygen to suffocate; might have done that without hacking but much easier with; the procedure is hack it to start draining, then break it when the hacking runs out, the hacked doors will delay repairs, when they repair it then hack again and that's usually enough to drain the oxygen to 0, break it one more time if need be. First two fights were both double-payouts that added up to more than 50 scrap to go into shields layer 2. Map reveal although not a whole lot to work with - I will skip the store right in front of me, not enough to spend yet, and since there's no other store coming soon (going to the south quest and won't make the north store), put the scrap into engines now. Hey, Lanius blue event in sector one, didn't know that could happen, although not any particularly great payout (it's the event that lets you sell your "robot", but not doing that.) Took a pounding for five hull damage from a ship with a Leto missile and a super shield. Second half of sector was mostly dud beacons.
Sector 2 Civilian over Rock of course: Here's my evasion trainer, very slow in a plasma storm vs only one gun with only one engine for 15% evasion, but again I take the opportunity as always. Crew kill here again with hacked oxygen, got a fire from the charge laser to make it super easy, and also shot shields to distract the crew into going over there instead. Store sold Emergency Respirators to buy a Distraction Buoys, wouldn't usually do that so soon, but payback later towards the 600 scrap hoarder achievement is what we need. Ha, got the same Lanius blue event again, same small payout. And HA FUCK YOU SHIELDS VIRUS EVENT - actually don't even waste my own hacking on it, ship only has one gun so only need one shield anyway!
Sector 3: Mantis Homeworlds or Zoltan Controlled are both bad, but z-shields are worse, upgrade doors and should handle mantis okay. Also hacking to level 2 to deal with 2-shield ships. Another fun oxygen crew kill: I hacked weapons to buy time against a missile, but the hacked doors slowed them down getting to shields to repair it, and then I autofired the ion STUNNER to stun and slow the crew repairing shields! Rewarded with a human crew, great, really need a doors guy in mantis space. Store bought a Burst Laser 1 and upgraded weapons to use it, note gotta pass on the automated re-loader, can't overspend on marginal stuff in order to get the 600 scrap hoarder achievement. 44 ion damage to my weapons, haha; I let them run out of bombs then killed by oxygen hacking yet again. GOD FUCKING DAMN IT TO HELL; although they too would suffer suffocation after running out of bombs; although dammit I didn't realize to also use this ship for evasion training for my replacement engines crewman.
Sector 4 Rebel Controlled, ok let's find some income. Did get my replacement evasion training on this silly ship attacking with one ion and three beams. Store, the weapons are tempting, but none is cost effective enough while targeting the 600 scrap hoarder, considering we still have the ion to use at 5 weapons power also. Yikes okay this time we're not messing with oxygen hacking against that loadout!; in fact smartest hack is weapons in order to ungroup and desync them and also delay repairs. Sell 15 missiles for 45 scrap event, very helpful. Shields to layer 3.
Sector 5: Zoltan Controlled or Slug Nebula, again both bad, Zoltans are probably less bad, got no defensive systems against slug stuff. This is a case where you accept the bribe, against double BL2 and a missile and you have no defensive systems! Store had cloaking, could afford only by selling distraction buoys, decided I had to, that desperate for any sort of defense. Another hacked-oxygen kill gave a much needed Rock crew, you go to doors. Another hacked-oxygen kill (though I played badly and took too much hull damage) gave a possibly-useful weapon though can't afford the system upgrade just yet. Might be getting a little too addicted to these oxygen-hack kills, but gotta get scrap towards the hoarder achievement somehow.
Sector 6 Rebel: Not sure that helps either. Bad sector, lots of blank beacons. Also running low on hacking drone parts - got the quest to deliver 5 parts and decided I just had to keep them, never go to the quest. And ran out of fuel which is the next problem. Decided I had to upgrade weapons to use the 4-shot charge laser for a big enough burst to kill ships running away. This is not a good run, just getting nothing in the way of scrap value and weapons and upgrades, and like every ship has a missile that is hitting me between cloaks... going to have to forfeit the 600 scrap hoarder again! I've never had trouble getting that before, through something like four or five profile resets it happened on the first attempt every time.
Sector 7 ugh that sucks, well, Zoltan is less bad with no defense drone vs Rock missiles. Still few fights and income throughout the sector, can't get anywhere near 600 scrap, gave up and spent what I had. Also hit zero fuel and had to do some really fancy dancing with hacking and shooting engines to keep a fight from fleeing to get more fuel. Last store finally got defense drone control, although still no great weapons. STILL no good scrap although I'll take the crew, even comes with shield skill. Got one more oxygen hack kill just for old times.
Sector 8: finally got some halfway decent income, four fights plus a repair node for 300-some extra scrap, should be functional enough to win. Phase one, pre-cloaked 10 seconds, hacked shields, had enough lasers to break the missile weapon before it launched, won easily from there, got a fire in shields that killed one crew. Phase two: pre-cloaked 5 seconds, again hacked shields and broke missile weapon, hit big damage to two crew in the missile room and then killed them with my next volley just as they reached medbay!
AND SHOOTING MEDBAY WAS A FATAL FUCKING MISTAKE I DIED AND LOST THE GAME BECAUSE OF THAT.
The beam weapon hit and damaged my hacking right then, and that started a fatal cascade of gashes. That volley that was aimed at medbay wasn't aimed at shields and that fucking killed me. With low hacking, my next volley whiffed on getting through the shields and I failed to re-break the missile weapon, so that dealt more damage including to my shields. And then the fucking fatal tipping point was the second drone surge. That is the point where YOU CAN'T DO ANY GODDAMN FUCKING THING ABOUT IT SINCE YOUR CLOAKING DIDN'T RECYCLE YET. And I got unlucky that it was exactly the right mix of enough combat drones to punch the shields and beams to fuck me with damage. My weapons got hit too and then it was all fucking over since I could never get through the shields again. This is why the Halberd is so godly, it kills on the second stroke before that second drone/laser surge fucks you raw, nothing else beats that goddamn brick wall time bomb clock.
1670 scrap is only slightly low, and I had a full complement of systems and upgrades. The problem was not enough weapons, EIGHT fucking projectiles of burst lasers STILL isn't enough to deal enough damage to break enough flagship systems, you need 10 or more if you don't have a beam. Ultimately, going for the 600 scrap achievement did kill this run. If not for that, I would have bought the Flak 2 in sector 4, which would have swung everything. The other missing factor was a bad crew for repairs, no Engi and two rocks too slow to get anywhere, repairing weapons faster probably would have gotten out of that fatal death spiral.
Sector 1: First 50 scrap to shields and a slaver for a Zoltan crew, about time we have something good going. Zoltan gets engines because that's where his power doesn't shoot yourself in the foot, and the two Lanius get doors and piloting since those are the harder places to vent boarders. FUCK I forgot that event could lose a crew (how the hell did they eat a Lanius?) WHEW the clone bay saves it. Fucking hell, would be an evasion trainer but half useless with engines hacked, so forget it, but I will get an oxygen hack kill. Overall a mediocre sector, OK rewards but the exit was early, and every damn ship had a missile that jabbed me so couldn't do anything like evasion training or oxygen kills, and attritioned 10 hull total.
Sector 2 Pirate over Mantis: Man, a map that doesn't give a whole lot of ways to go through the sector; I'll get enough beacons but not much choice of which ones. Evasion trainer and also weapon skill, although stupid slow with one laser and 15% evade; then I even got a classic oxygen kill on this ship without even using hacking! - shoot the chain laser to break O2, then when it was repaired, shoot the chain laser again to break it again -- but also shoot the ion stunner right after the laser, with both of the following good outcomes: if the laser missed then the ion would pause oxygen for 5 seconds while the laser recharged, or if the laser hit then the ion stunner would stun the crew who just came in to repair it. Slaver gave a Rock crew. Pulsar fight, alertly dispatched hacking onto weapons when both shields got ioned and my weapons but not theirs -- then even got an oxygen kill - the hacked weapon doors prevented anyone from getting to oxygen, and my ion stunner kept hitting that mantis too, then when someone did get through the hacked doors to oxygen, I broke shields to pull him back that way. Yet more oxygen games: on this one, I kept stunning the rock in the shields room, and it seemed that if I quickly depowered and repowered hacking while he was stunned, it would reset the timer on the door, the rock never broke through! (all while the engi stupidly stayed on piloting.) Never a store to repair thanks to that stupid sector layout, and got very low on hull (7) just from attrition, in two asteroid fields and about five fights with missiles.
Sector 3 Pirate again: Never found a store in the previous sector thanks to the bad layout, attritioned tons of hull, this is stupid as hell, next missile knocked me down to 1 hull! Decided my prayer had to be L2 hacking on weapons, won one more fight that way. Then finally found a store for repairs in the nick of time, though it has nothing else I can afford (other page was crew and useless augments.) Another oxygen kill without even trying, the hacked weapons room blocked access to oxygen and got a fire that chased out all the crew! That fight yielded HOLY MIRACLE FUCK WE CAN ACTUALLY PLAY THE GAME FOR REAL NOW!@#$%, weapons to 5 immediately to use chain laser and Halberd.
Sector 4 Abandoned over Slug Home, neither is great but maybe we can have some blue Lanius crew events. Store got up enough for Cloaking. Ok there is a Lanius blue event, gave a defense drone that could help later? It did, since next store had drone control, then could sell the sys repair drone to buy a Flak! That's a full complement of everything we need, and should be able to save up 600 scrap from here. Got a third Lanius crew from a federation base quest.
Sector 5 Rebel Stronghold!, haven't had this one in quite a while, although wouldn't find the flagship construction event. Still woefully behind on upgrades, got engines 4 and shields to layer 3 only late in the sector. And vs layer-3 shields have to hack shields every time. But that worked and Halberd killed well and earned decent income. Late store, has a Burst 2 on sale... but no, really can't spend 80 on that as only a small upgrade from the chain laser we already have. Because the same store has a Scrap Recovery Arm and that we do need more, this should be the sweet spot of paying back more than its cost by the end. I think I can get Scrap Hoarder now: I have everything at the most cost-efficient sweet spot: 4 engines, layer 3 shields, weapons workable at 5 power thanks to the godly Flak + Halberd, L2 hacking and enough drone parts to hack shields every time. If I can get away without upgrading weapons any more, should get the 600 before the flagship.
Sector 6 have to pick Engi over Mantis, generally about the same rewards but I'm really not confident against boarders. Engi Virus event, that's helpful. Wasted three jumps when path forced me through stores that had absolutely nothing; all offered augments, but none were Long Ranged Scanners, how the hell have I gone through like thirty consecutive stores on three Lanius A runs without finding that?! Finally some nice big scrap payouts, plus the SRA bonus on top of that.
Sector 7 Engi Homeworlds or Rock Homeworlds like you need me to tell you which of those. Another lousy map - everything beyond that indicated chokepoint is a dead end. Yes, that kind of big scrap payout. "Malfunctioning mantis" event, really tough call, decided I did need the crewman more to make sure against phase-3 flagship boarders. And WHEW, there we go - gotta take the fuel offer because at zero! - yet more reasons why the Halberd is godly, the dps to kill fleeing ships - now FINALLY got that damn achievement. And next jump was a store where we could unload the Scrap Recovery Arm, so it definitely made a profit, also bought the backup battery as a useful pickup.
Sector 8: Store OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE YOU'RE HILARIOUS NOW. Thought about the ion bomb but nah 100 scrap for weapons to level 8 is too much and the halberd should make short enough work of the flagship anyway that we don't need it, would rather go for one more engine and max doors. Phase one: first volley went as usual to break the missile weapon, but then uh oh that's bad, flagship got a hack through on my weapons! There was an empty beacon next to base and the base destruction clock had time so I jumped out. Restarted and then it went textbook, zero damage and killed on second Halberd swipe. Phase two: pre-cloaked 5 seconds, broke missile weapon, took 2 damage when the triple laser punched my shields for the regular drones (despite my anti-drone), (the drone surge just started that instant, notice they're facing away from me) but cloaking recycled just as the first drone surge got going and I cleanly gashed the Halberd for the kill before the second surge.
Phase three: fuck a missile hit my weapons, and my doors guy got MCed making it hard to contain boarders, so definitely jump back to base to restart, but I smartly timed it to let two more crew pairs board me first; meanwhile cloaked past second missile launch and the laser surge together -- this is where you fucking need cloaking on the flagship, you can win without it if everything goes right but it's such an all-purpose insurance safety valve when anything starts to go wrong. Phase three restart: Pilot got MCed and damaged piloting (no auto evasion) by the time the missiles launched, so I decided to cloak the missiles... and holy unbelievable fuck BOTH MISSILES HIT ME ANYWAY CLOAKED, and EVEN ONE ON FUCKING WEAPONS. Blessedly MC wore off just before the laser surge and I took survivable hits and none to weapons. Finally got a stroke of luck when the next missile volley whiffed! And then at long last I got through the super shield, hacked shields, and won in the textbook two Halberd strokes from there.
1611 scrap is still on the low side, and 37 ships defeated is seriously low too, and I had little in the way of drops. Very little gas to go after Scrap Hoarder there... but I made it because oh my goodness the Halberd is just so glorious, it's the Arcbound Ravager fairy godmother of FTL. That Halberd got me all the way through sectors 6-7 on a super lean bare minimum cost effective loadout... and that was all enough.
This is the most overrated ship in the game. It's good, still top 6 to 8 or so, but it's nowhere near the best godliest ship as people like to claim. The Adv Flak doesn't do anything to support boarding. It's good but people go way too nuts over something that's only 1 power of extra efficiency just like a dual laser; and among special starting weapons, a Mini Beam still deals more and unmissable damage for 1 power.Boarding with Lanius just doesn't work like the armchair pilots think it does. I think most people advocating for Lanius B haven't actually played it in practice and seen the problems. It takes at least 10 seconds for the oxygen to drain from a room, more against higher level oxygen systems. Then the crew doesn't actually suffocate, they just run off. And by that time your Lanius are out of health anyway and you've got the same incoming missiles and lasers as always. Lanius boarding is just gloat-more in the same situations that you're already going to win; it doesn't solve anything in the bad cases like an anti-personnel drone or high level medbay or multiple missile launchers.
People make the same error with Lanius B as with stuff like fire and ions, to mistake the feeling of superiority for actual power level, to mistake the smug satisfaction in best-case situations for the success rate over all situations. As always, it's a better plan to just kill and win in the space that any cutesy schtick takes to get going.
Mind control isn't great support for boarding either. The MCed guy doesn't help you fight, he just runs off uselessly and starts plinking something dumb like doors or drones. MC is yet another example of smug gloating that doesn't do shit in the worst case situations, that autoscout with max cloaking and engines or that all-slug ship with five shields and a glaive beam. And of course MC locks out a hacking/cloaking/drones system slot from something that DOES help in those situations. But that said, I've been told how to use MC with boarding: you port into shields, MC the first enemy that arrives, then the enemy crew will prioritize shields and fight him while you go break what you really need in weapons or medbay. So we'll see how that goes.
Sector 1: Tried that tactic and yes it worked, though not fast enough to first-strike-break that missile. Nice drop for sell value at least. But huh, realized another disadvantage of Lanius boarders - they can't heal with clone bay, can't do airlock therapy! And then no, the shields tactic didn't work, now the MCed guy left shields and went to medbay which helps nothing. Now I figured it out - you have to leave a space in the shields room for the MCed guy to stay there, if not, he runs somewhere else and never reevaluates (he doesn't prioritize ATTACKING shields, only DEFENDING them, but it's not HIS shields room to defend.) Another event you can risk with a clone bay and another useless drop (we only get one pick out of hacking/cloaking/drones which means cloaking.) Held off on first 50 scrap to shields because there was a store in view - hoped for cloaking and there it is with enough scrap - except there's also a HALBERD BEAM on page two!, that's the greater priority, cloaking is easier to find later. Could also buy the pre-igniter by selling the other junk, but nah that's less important and way overbuying this early, we need scrap for shields and weapons system first, did upgrade shields now and also engines to 3. Exit was early, do we get greedy and dive for those two beacons?, nah, that's a greater chance for some disaster to lose the run than for anything to save it.
Sector 2 Pirate over Rock: Interesting chance here - I could use this autoscout to max combat skill on both Lanius: teleport and put one in each room to damage engines and shields but not break them, port back before that happens to let it repair. Cool, Mantis crew from a slaver, I'd rather have him on piloting (holds up better vs boarders) and Engi on engines. Ooh, just short of affording another flak, but even so, might not be the smartest move, I'm already set on weapons for a while, after next fight upgraded to use the Halberd. And now I realize how the port-to-shields-then-MC trick only works in some cases: it requires either a 4-size shields room or to have no more than 3 enemy crew total (2 besides the MCed guy.) If there are 4 crew total and a 2-size shields room, the trick doesn't help since there's still one more crew left after filling up the shields room to come fight you so you're not breaking medbay or weapons.
Sector 3 Engi over Zoltan Homeworlds: ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS THE ONLY POSSIBLE LINE OF JUMPS GOES DIRECTLY TO THE EXIT. And THAT doesn't even help. Then a map reveal for all the good it fucking doesn't do me, can't reach the highlighted beacon or anything else near it. Well let's amuse ourselves with an evasion trainer - just one laser, but the curveball is that they have an Ion Intruder drone - so my Lanius chased around and killed a bunch of those until they ran out of drone parts! Anyway, it obviously sucked hardcore to lose half a sector's worth of income.
Sector 4 Rebel Controlled: More weapons (also a Hull Beam), most useful just to sell. Nice, second Mantis crew... decided that at the next evasion trainer I would switch them into the boarding party and a Lanius to piloting. Well, Lanius boarding is pretty damn useful vs autoscouts, except still took six fucking damage before they could bring down both missiles! Then down to 2 hull so actually smartly navigated back through one used beacon to an area where I could find a store for repairs, no cloaking but picked up auto re-loader.
Sector 5 Civilian over nebula: Shields to layer 3, just in time for this trainer for all the skills I wanted to switch around the crew assignments: Lanius on piloting and engines, Engi on weapons (can skill up firing flak vs 3 shields), mantises to the boarding team. Yeah I really would rather just kill faster with the mantises, the Lanius oxygen drain is too slow to do anything significant, without defensive systems we don't have the time to wait for them to break down 5-8 levels of weapons to get to some missile. Map reveal, pretty good set of fights, partially make up for that half a lost sector. Picked up a Burst 1 at that first store. More crappy weapon drops.
Sector 6 uncharted nebula over Zoltan don't have a good z-shield offense. Weapons to 6 to use Adv Flak + Burst 2 + Halberd. More crappy weapon drops. Ran out of fuel but this bribe saved me. And an awkward store location but gotta go for fuel, though it had nothing else. Adequate but not great income overall, not enough fights.
Sector 7 ugh Slug Nebula or Abandoned are both bad, guess I can put up with slugs with counter-MC. Teleporter accident, couldn't get that mantis out in time but clone bay was hacked - no I can jump away right this instant to save the crew! Then I even jumped back to fight the same ship again, and that interestingly meant there was only the ship to fight now without the clone-bay-hack event. Store, and this is minimal but beautiful, buy both Cloaking and the second Burst Laser 1 and we should be all set. Another nebula teleport event gave a Slug crew, that's very helpful without sensors. One more store had an Anti-Bio Beam, that would be super cool to use on flagship phase one... NO NO NO PUT THAT DOWN AND STEP AWAY YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THAT WITHOUT HACKING, HELL EVEN WITH HACKING. Got enough scrap to take weapons to 8 and we should be good.
Sector 8: Arrived at flagship with a decent but unspectacular amount of upgrades. Phase one: goddamn it, hacked my teleporter! MCed the pilot to kill evasion, and wait he disappeared where did he go? -- holy cow the hacked teleporter PULLED HIM ONTO MY SHIP!!!!! Wow okay that's the weirdest way to kill flagship crew ever, although I didn't get any more that way, got one more kill on the flagship with my second round of MC, and also took out the beam weapons guy, but decided I couldn't risk stretching out the fight any longer, missile weapon was repaired and my cloaking had been spent when the ions and triple laser synched. Phase two: teleported in to break beam weapon, decided to MC right away in shields in hopes of getting that guy killed by counterattacks although enemy crew was slow to respond and MC wore off before he died. Cloaked past drone surge, broke missile weapon with Halberd as always, and was able to interrupt repairs with second round of MC, waited for teleporter cooldown to send my boarders in again to kill more crew AND HOLY FUCK THAT WAS ALMOST A FATAL MISTAKE THE SECOND DRONE SURGE ASSRAPED ME FOR TEN DAMAGE BEFORE MY CLOAKING RECYCLED holy fuck DO NOT FUCK AROUND WITH THAT SURGE, KILL BEFORE IT HAPPENS, that is why the Halberd is so godly, it kills before that every time. (I know the trick to intentionally interrupt your own cloaking as the surge ends to get it to recycle as soon as possible, but it never seems to work right in practice, my weapons aren't charged right then, and I don't want to wait and hold it charged when the missile launcher needs re-breaking.)
Phase three: okay I'll have to kill off boarding crew the old fashioned way with a big old brawl. Then all three missiles fucking hit at 45% evade but none on anything critical. But I killed off boarders quickly, then went in myself to the missile weapon, there were two enemy crew left but they came one at a time and ran off to medbay quickly so I could break it with the mantis and halberd. Didn't fuck around doing anything fancy, just textbook cloaked the first laser surge and gashed quickly with the Halberd to win.
1670 scrap is damnably low for boarding, because I lost half a sector (97 beacons is also like two sigma low, you should have like 105) and had poor luck finding fights without LRS later on. Still solid enough, a Halberd and cloaking make for just about any win.
The last ship I need to redo for an unlock achievement. The choices are "We're in position": have vision of every room on the enemy ship without functioning sensors, or "Home Sweet Home": jump to 30 nebula locations before sector 8. The first is easy with a teleporter, although I don't really prefer adding that to a ship most of the time, but at least we can decide easily as soon as we see the galaxy map at the end of sector 1 for whether there are two nebula sectors. (I completely forgot about that one on the first Slug A run; no idea if the nebula sectors had existed then.) Silly extra possibility: I think "We're in position" can happen without a teleporter, against a ship with 5 rooms if you can use five bombs/MC/hacking simultaneously which each show one room.
Sector 1: First 50 scrap didn't go to shields because two stores... first one had nothing, second one had BOTH a HALBERD BEAM AND LONG-RANGED SCANNERS. Selling Slug Repair Gel isn't enough to get both, decided it's also worth selling the breach bomb. Rarely do this in sector 1 but decided to get greedy for three extra beacons (quest, fight, fight) for the cost of one rebel dive; may not have been the greatest idea, put that scrap into engines level 4 to get out after just one ASB - oof got super lucky right there damage to piloting would have been a problem! The ASB breached here -- actually that's very useful to just leave like that for venting!
Sector 2 DAMMIT on the rocks, but at least plenty of nebula sectors beyond. Yeah that ASB dive definitely wasn't the greatest idea, took 8 hull damage in the next fight from a ship with two heavy lasers, that would have been nothing with layer 2 shields instead of those engines. WHAT THE FUCK BOTH DUAL LASER SHOTS MISSED, took another pounding in that fight, escaped with 2 hull. Oh fuck this is a problem, slugs didn't have enough health to repair the breach in broken medbay!, and OH MY FUCKING GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS, there is NO ROUTE TO PILOTING THAT HAS AIR, either slug will die getting to piloting!!! Well the way out is to upgrade oxygen to overcome the breach and fix that mess, though that was another 25 scrap I really couldn't afford. I already knew the next jump was a store for repairs (which is why I risked the asteroid field in the first place) so 2 hull wasn't immediately fatal but still not at all good. Anyway rebuilt from there with several manageable fights, finally did the 50 scrap for level 2 shields, but GODDAMN YOU IDIOT FUCKING DO SHIELDS FIRST. Two shields should allow an evasion trainer and then I got one with just one laser anyway hah. Exit was early again, can dive for two extra good beacons again NO YOU IDIOT GET AWAY FROM THERE.
Sector 3 Uncharted Nebula: Store for more repairs although that still meant scrap that wasn't upgrading systems. Oh and my other mistake was selling the breach bomb, should have kept that and hocked the anti-bio gimmick instead; against anything with 2 shields, dual laser or halberd can't deal damage, the ONLY way I can win it is anti-bio! Anyway I won one fight like that and that scrap went into weapons level 4 so now can fight perfectly well with dual laser + Halberd together. FUCK then an autoscout with an Artemis and hacked my weapons pounded me back down another 10 health again. HOLY FUCKING WHAT IS WITH THESE MISSILES, but at least the bigger one was slower than my Halberd (think it must have been a 22-second breach) and I got first strike to stop it. Still barely scraping along, barely winning fights, no chance at anti-bio kills. Engines at 4 are doing their job, a very noticeable amount of misses, but it's not helping me win fights. Definitely really needed THAT, engi crew to go onto weapons, fucking WHEW because this next fight would have been a disaster without him!
Sector 4 Uncharted Nebula: Ugh, more missile damage... finally got my first item drop not that it helps. Not a good situation here - at 5 hull desperately need a store, but got cut off from the top half of this sector map. At least THAT helps, thank you LRS for the blue event, LRS is the single most important item in the game. Next fight missiled me again down to 2 health, and I was reduced to the coward's approach, need to rely on LRS to AVOID fights. But there is the miracle store we need, got repairs and picked up Hacking and now whew that should turn the corner bigtime. Still seemed like Every. Damn. Ship. had a missile, but crucially even L1 hacking on weapons can get my halberd the first strike against any missile.
Sector 5 damn not much choice in these nebulas! Hacking to L2 since that's definitely the only possible way to beat 3-shield ships. Slightly more useful drop maybe?, nah there's really no way its sell value isn't just worth taking now instead of saving it for two hours later at the flagship. But now things are starting to look good, lots of fights and stores. And HOLY MIRACLE JESUS THERE IS OUR RUN SAVER, that may be the biggest swing I've ever seen, my loss probability just plummeted by like a factor of 20 from maybe 10% to 0.5%. And next store bought defense drone control which plugs a good portion of that remainder. Didn't sell the bio beam, because now weapons to 5 and can use the Halberd + Anti-Bio together with shields hacking, and did start to get quite a few crew kills that way. Then my own shields to layer 3 better late than never. Then weapons to 6 to use either Flak + Halberd or Dual Laser + Halberd + Anti-Bio together. Rock crew from a crew kill reward, he'll help on doors.
Sector 6 Abandoned over Rock, still not confident vs missiles without cloaking, and the other half of it is that the abandoned sector has a green one beyond for more shots at stores for cloaking. Man 20 scrap for a crew kill in sector 6 is ridiculously low, but can't complain about a free crew. Had to bypass an early store with nothing to spend, but fortunately late store had Cloaking and enough to afford it, and also smartly bought drone parts, that defense drone was getting quite a workout, couldn't even hack much thanks to that. Got quite a few anti-bio kills when possible, or else flak 2 + halberd would fatally cripple in one stroke against anything that was a real threat. I'll take a Lanius crew for cheap, can afford that much scrap, put him on doors (because that's the place you have to hold up against boarders rather than vent) and put the Rock somewhere near the middle of the ship where he can actually respond to threats.
Sector 7 Rock over Zoltan, yes, got best case vs Rocks (both defense drone and cloaking) and bad case vs Zoltans (super slow flak 2 vs super shield.) Bought a map reveal... not the greatest but good amount of fights, and definitely useful to know that the nearby store will be the last. And yeah FUCK YOU GIANT ALIEN SPIDERS! Had to remind myself that vs ships with cloaking, you must WAIT TO FIRE THE FLAK 2, if fired right away, it will whiff through the enemy's second round of cloaking, have to wait for that to finish first. Will take another laser, though not quite sure where to fit it into the loadout. Weapons to 8 to use Flak + Halberd + Anti-Bio all together as my main loadout, great way to both break med/clone bay and deal anti-bio damage at the same time. And more great payouts for anti-bio kills with more crew. Passed up buying sensors at that last store, but then wished I had, seeing enemy crew health would help for anti-bio kills.
Sector 8: Several more fights for a fortune of scrap. And a store just before the base, with some interesting stuff going on. First the presence of LRS on sale there reminded me to sell my own. Second is that BREACH BOMB on sale. That's a very interesting item, because of this: the combination of the Breach Bomb and Anti-Bio Beam deals 105 damage, enough to instakill crew! No running to medbay or trying to get them tied up or stuck somehow, just instant death.
So I made my loadout for flagship phase one Flak 2 + Dual Laser + Anti-Bio Beam + Breach Bomb. This is absolutely the first time in history that a Halberd Beam ever got left out of a weapons loadout, but I do believe I know what I'm doing. I pre-cloaked, hacked the flagship's MISSILES, waited on my flak for the flagship's second round of cloaking, and cloaked myself again. Fired my flak and dual laser targeting ENGINES (phase one has only 2 levels), so that I could guarantee my breach bomb hit to break the missile weapon, and plus the anti-bio beam would kill that crewman. Then did it again after the next cloaking cycle to kill both crewmen that had come in to repair it. The two shots of the bio beam also killed the crewman on the beam weapon, so I breached that permanently on the next volley. With two weapons permanently offline and my 4 shields to protect against the triple laser, now I could also breach cloaking to gain more time, and in this way scoured out ALL of the crew while taking zero damage! The flagship hacked my drones, but that wasn't a problem once I had the missiles breached and more than enough gas to keep them permanently offline. Then I finally breached shields to speed up the flak actually making the kill. This was brutally satisfying, one of the best fights I've ever had by any measure.
Now swap the Halberd back in for the loadout to be Flak 2 + Halberd + Breach Bomb. I sneaked away from base for TWO extra fights with that loadout, one was an autoscout, then amused myself by getting a crew kill here too entirely with breach bombs, helped by bombing two enemy boarders on my own ship! Phase two: back to the usual tactics: hack shields, hit piloting first with the Halberd, so that the breach bomb would hit the missile weapon (remember auto-AI can't repair breaches so I was permanently safe), cloak the drone surge, and as usual win with the Halberd on its second stroke just before the second drone surge. Phase three: got a bad MC target in engines, and my flak whiffed on taking down the super shield, so took advantage of my free jump back to base to restart. Second try: MC hit my doors guy which mattered nothing, and this time got the super shield in one volley. I decided to go for a zero-damage win and cloaked the missile weapon, risking the laser surge, which whiffed just enough! But my mistake was I forgot to dispatch hacking at the missile weapon, so it got its second launch off, which did hit me. Then the right thing to hack was evasion, to guarantee that everything hit to permanently breach the missile launcher, and then I did cloak the second laser surge and won on the second Halberd stroke from there.
2250 scrap is absolutely monstrous for a gunship, of course because I got so many crew kills in the second half of the game and also quite a few extra fights in sector 8. I was really worried in sectors 2-4 and then it turned into one of my most powerful runs ever by sector 7. And 28 wins in 31 games now puts my win rate back over 90%.
Everyone knows this gimmick: a boarding ship with no medbay so you have to rely on the Healing Burst weapon. The ship isn't that hard, can pretty much always make it long enough to buy a med/clone bay and start playing as normal.
Sector 1: This fight was super touchy: the d-drone stopped any Artemis attempts, so what I had to do was kite two slugs in and out of shields while my third broke weapons, and all my crew down to like 5 health but I perfectly timed the healing burst right there. First store did have medbay, so yeah just do that and keep it simple, lets me freely spend the bomb ammo on Artemises instead, just hope I won't regret putting off layer 2 shields; debated selling the healing burst to speed that up but decided it was useful as cheap insurance. One more fight got me to 49 scrap, how irritating, but the next one got the shields upgrade. HA HA GAME YOU'RE HILARIOUS. Yeah, you're trying to help but you're really not. I hate spending scrap on crew in sector 1, but this is the time to do it, a Rock will make the boarding team way more robust against a possible run-losing disaster.
Sector 2: Uncharted Nebula over Zoltan, definitely can't do z-shields. Rock could board this autoscout and survive, but too risky for the teleporter to get shot out by either the burst 2 or the bomb; healing burst could save that but I'd rather not take the chance. FUCK that's an ion bomb on shields, wow, glad I didn't gamble!, took damage there (the laser just fired) but then my Artemis hit weapons to win from there. Here's my evasion trainer, even though had to do it the sloooow way by first waiting for them to run out of bombs to be safe. OK, the plan is supposed to be hacking and cloaking in the system slots, but might end up with drones anyway? Store, could sell both drones to have just enough to buy Cloaking, but decided against that, problem is we have to buy fuel, it's down to just 4, that's a problem in nebula sectors, and really hardcore can't afford to run to zero since we don't have the offense to kill a fleeing ship. That's a humongous pain -- well zero threat to me, but it's not worth three or more Artemises to bang through the z-shield and also risk some disaster with mind control, so I just ran away. Teleporter-in-nebula event gave a human crew, good, you go to weapons. Vs autoscout had to really stupidly teleport the Rock back and forth dealing one hull damage at a time suuuuuper slooooooowly, to save on Artemis ammo.
Sector 3 Mantis Homeworlds over uncharted nebula, bring it on. I've got nothing but a teleporter and an Artemis for offense -- I turned Slug A into Rock A! And I swear I came up with that thought right before THIS happened!!! At a store I decided I did have to buy drone system (cloaking not available), to use the defense drone I already had, ultimately can live without hacking, plus it came with a sys repair drone that is actually quite useful with no Engi crew. Now my important upgrade was the teleporter, 2-man boarding requires 2 more to back them up or to recycle for healing ASAP. But even then, yikes, holy crap this is a worst case scenario, a pulsar fight PLUS four burst laser shots PLUS a shield overcharger (blocks teleporting!) PLUS it hacked my shields!!, took 9 hull damage before managing to run (piloting got shot and engines got ioned!) This fight I handled correctly: we want to kill the crew as fast as possible before solar flares, so let the one mantis board me so I can parallelize all three tasks I need to do: fight the mantis 2v1 on my ship, port into shields for my rock to fight the enemy engi 1v1, while my slug boarder goes to break clone bay.
Sector 4 Engi Homeworlds, good, really need an easy sector. Store with a Burst Laser 2, THAT's a run saver, although 3 lasers still isn't much vs 2 shields, but it can be when boarders draw the pilot out of piloting. Ehhh... that one is not a run saver - or is it, that could actually be fairly useful, the way to do it is punch shields with the burst laser to clear the way to ion weapons or medbay. Handled this fight correctly and it took everything I got: teleport in a pair of boarders, then second pair as fast as possible, put them all in drones room to fight 4v3 while I missile clone bay, although the Artemis didn't even break it (3 power) so then the right move is 2 boarders in shields to draw off the clone and 2 to finish breaking clone bay, even with all that still got whacked for 10 hull damage between the combat drone and flak. Ok, THAT beats the ion for sure. Next store realigned everything into weapons power 4 to use Burst 2 + Burst 1, sold off the ion and healing burst, kept the Artemis.
Sector 5 Civilian over Rock Homeworlds: A Small Bomb dropped, but can't afford ammo for both that and Artemis, sold it at the next store to buy Cloaking! Thought this event was supposed to yield a crew, just got scrap. Next store had LRS whew now we can finally start to catch up on income (still running just layer 2 shields and level 4 weapons.) Decided I was really glad I picked up drone control when I did, defense drone really got a workout in several fights, and the system repair drone was also critical in a few tough spots.
Sector 6 ugh Zoltan and Slug are both bad choices, decided Zoltan, z-shields probably aren't too bad with enough burst lasers and cloaking. Yeah, finally some good income, and the "former prey" repaired 5 hull for me, and finally got shields layer 3 with that, then weapons to 5 to use Burst 2 + Burst 1 + Artemis all together. Winning fights still took a LOT of work, micromanagement with crew and to shoot out weapons and med bays, I had a LOT (like dozens) of fights where I rode my crew right down to the edge of disaster on single digit health. Crew was still the hurting point, now I actually wanted to buy some but the stores didn't have any, then finally encountered the slaver I needed. Also got another human crew from the next fight, good, but still really want a mantis or rock for boarding.
Sector 7 Civilian or Civilian: Crap, lost my Slug boarder to a zoltan death bomb that I didn't see, had to replace him on the boarding team with that newest human crew. But got another replacement. A Heavy Laser dropped, that's a significant pickup for offense. And a hull laser too, where were these things four sectors ago?! And the last store OMG WHERE WERE YOU ALL MY LIFE. Yeah I bought both the Halberd and Flak, the cost differential between selling the Burst 1 and buying the Flak is worth the extra projectile, making the 8-power loadout Flak + Burst 2 + Heavy Laser + Halberd Beam, hell that might be the single best combo in general for 8 weapons power.
Sector 8: LOTS of fights before the boss, I think seven or eight, huge scrap payouts all. Dramatic nick of time rescue of my guy who was fighting in fire and I didn't notice until late! Lots of upgrades including 4th shield and max teleporter. Flagship phase one: smartly sent the two human boarders to the beam weapon, because then the Rock boarder could follow up solo into the ion weapon, knowing he's robust enough to beat the single crewman. But however I went no further with boarding than that. Didn't have any way to deal with medbay, and didn't have hacking to trap crew in the shields room for focused shots and fire. Just not necessary to cull crew this time, I can win just fine as a gunship, 7 projectiles plus Halberd is enough to break the missile weapon plenty fast and kill on the second Halberd stroke. Phase two same thing, teleported in to break the beam weapon, but other than that just stayed home and killed by Halberd. Phase three usual plan, let a total of 4 crew board me then jump back to base to kill them off. Phase three restart: textbook execution, first missile volley d-drone got two and one missed!, stripped super shield with my good weapons, cloaked past second missile launch and laser surge at the same time, broke missile weapon with Halberd + heavy laser shot, won on the next Halberd stroke just like a thousand times before.
Another solid boarding run, even if 2-man boarding without any mantises takes a lot of execution and micromanagement work. 2230 scrap is another big total, just took a while to get there. Then I realized why, it was buying the Burst 2 that set me back on upgrades so much, quite a bit more than I realized at the time, though it was indeed the best move.
This is the most overlooked ship in the game. It just doesn't get noticed compared to the narrow gimmicky Slug A and B, and the silly banana name and color don't help. But Slug C is a seriously strong mainstream gunship, might even make top-5 in terms of win rate. Starting with both Hacking and Mind Control gives versatile solutions to so many situations; even just hacking weapons can buy enough time to run away in most worst case scenarios. The downside is only one system slot free for only one of cloaking/drones, but then again that means you only need to spend on one system. And Slug C also comes with a workable laser weapon rather than some awkward gimmick, so it starts already pretty darn far up the power curve.
Sector 1: First fight ran away, second fight was a pretty big pain, I hacked drones to buy time, but even so the heavy laser still whacked my shields and the drone gave a pounding for 10 hull damage until I could take control, using MC to interrupt repairs on drones. Crew kill here: hacked weapons to buy time, then broke it, and between the hacked doors and interrupting repairs with MC could keep weapons offline permanently, until enemy crew hurt each other enough that I could kill the last one with laser shots. Oh man I WANT THAT FLAK, but I really can't say it's quite worth selling the chain laser for, and that also delays shields layer 2 that otherwise I can take right now. Same deal in this fight -- hack weapons and keep them offline permanently until enemy crew kills each other by MC (I even left that ion weapon running on purpose to grab evasion skill) -- I'm surprised that this worked, turns out that MC's cooldown was just faster than the time for that rock to repair one level, always thought repairs were more like 16 seconds. Then I shot oxygen to kill the last crew that way, but surprisingly then he did repair it faster than MC's cooldown -- is a hacked system slower to repair? Anyway next jump Federation base quest for a Mantis crew, not the greatest if I'm not boarding but still entirely welcome. And got my evasion trainer here, then saw I could get a crew kill via MC if I hacked med bay, so did; not sure if crew-kill rewards are worth spending a drone part but I think so on a run where the parts won't be used for actual drones since I almost certainly won't have the system (slot has to be cloaking instead.)
Sector 2 Rebel over Abandoned: Got another Mantis, kinda helpful? No I can't go for boarding myself - teleporter would lock out both cloaking and drones, hell no way, and also I can do crew kills half the time anyway. Man, where was all this crew during the Slug B game. Kept winning most fights by crew kills, easy without a medbay, usually possible vs one by hacking it, or often also by hacking weapons and the doors impeded movement enough for several rounds of MC to kill off most crew and leave the last one to be killed by laser shots.
Sector 3 Rebel: grr got to a store with 140 scrap but that's still not cloaking. Hacking to level 2, need that vs 2-shield ships, no other way to get through for damage. Here's another example of a crew kill, hacked weapons to keep that missile offline, then kept interrupting repairs with MC and laser hits until I could kill the last crew with one shot. That fight got me just enough for cloaking at the next store... but oh yeah baby that Burst Laser 2 is juicier -- and would love to also add the Pike Beam but that's way overextending on spending now, since we need two weapon levels already just to use the Burst 2, couldn't also add the pike for like two more sectors.
Sector 4 Mantis Homeworlds, bring it on. First item drop, not helpful, will sell. Then a second Chain Laser dropped, that's cool, I'd love to see two chain lasers going side by side. Not much else in the sector, lots of crew kills vs slow Mantis trying to repair systems. This game was doing weird things to my sense of time because each fight was taking so long for the crew kill - I thought this was sector 5 for quite a while. Exit beacon was an event that became a store, picked up an Automated Re-loader.
Sector 5 Rock Controlled over Rock Homeworlds because it had more options beyond. More mind control crew kills, MC and hacked doors together just create so much havoc, although remember the key to this is still the strong gunship being able to shoot out the weapons to let all this happen. Nice result, could really use an Engi for repairs. Riding a little ways ahead of the power curve, shields to layer 3 right on schedule. Here's a crew kill where I had to do it via oxygen, that last rock had too much health to shoot out without killing the ship. Vs Rock missiles, I had to hack weapons almost every fight, only way to avoid it, but a very effective way, L2 hacking buys 14 seconds to get first strike by way of MC on evasion and then 5 projectiles is enough. Weapons to 6 now using Burst 2 + Chain Laser + Chain Laser all together, very nice.
Sector 6 Engi over Zoltan, though I do have fast weapons vs z-shields, Engi is just better. And there we go that is game over in my favor. You don't need to see me wreck everything with a Halberd for the fiveteenth time, so let's just speed to the end.
MONTAGE MONTAGE MONTAGE Ooh Rebel Stronghold KILL KILL KILL HUGE PAYOUTS and cloaking clinches everything and WHEE HOO HAH!
Flagship phase one: Preignited Small Bomb on ENGINES (2 power, piloting is 3) to kill evasion, then stroke the Halberd as usual. Hacking on shields but mostly to lock the doors! Mind control in shields, got a fire to kill off crew... though I definitely waited too long trying to kill more, flagship hacked my own shields (no free beacon next to base to jump to restart) and I took some brutal hits mostly from the beam weapon. Phase two: this has happened before, somehow phase two can start without a pilot, so MC in shields immediately to start the brawl. I arrogantly hacked medbay to polish off more crew, although again I took too long and got exposed to that assraping second drone surge (completely my own damn fault, I'm playing like ass, it was late at night and I was actually bored with this crazy overkill run), but did manage to clear out every last crewman between more mind-control brawls and the hacked medbay.
Phase three: clearing out all the crew is so good because then there's no pilot/engines so minimal evasion for phase 3 while you fire at the super shield. Got that in the preignited volley plus one more small bomb, then hacked shields as usual, cloaked laser surge, and delivered the big gashes with the Halberd for a virtually guaranteed win.
1700 scrap is only average even with all those crew kills, but that's because sector 8 had only about two fights before the base, the run was strong the whole way through.
33 games 30 victories, still just over 90% as I had hoped and expected.