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Navigation of FTL Guide


This page of the Faster than Light game guide has a spread of information regarding the strengths, limits, and attributes of the Zoltan Cruiser and the Mantis Cruiser, along with multiple ways to unlock them. If you aren’t familiar yet with Faster than Light the game, please go to the main page, as this article is intended for players with some understanding of the game.

The other seven space cruisers that you can find are available in Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. Part 1 has the Kestrel Cruiser, the Engi Cruiser, and the Federation Cruiser. Part 3 has the Slug Cruiser. Part 4 has the Rock Cruiser and the Stealth Cruiser. Part 5 has the Lanius Cruiser, and the Crystal Cruiser.

Be forewarned that there will be a fair amount of spoilers pertaining to the game’s story, as each space cruiser contains a part of it.

Zoltan Cruiser

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  • “Learn from the Zoltan, sometimes diplomacy works.”

Despite the slogan-like description, the Zoltan Cruiser is not built for negotiations and peaceful resolutions, its built for unwavering protection as it holds up well under fire because of its special Zoltan developed shielding technology. The style of this space cruiser definitely looks alien in origin, more than any other so far in the hangar line up; that is just how Zoltan vessels look though, with sunny orange circular windows peering out of a sloping, vaguely bulbous ship, with flaring and pronged ends that shelter the engines from prying eyes. Its coating is a forest green, and from its odd jumbled shapes, it’s difficult to discern exactly where the pilots deck is from the exterior. Maybe that large window in the middle, suspiciously looking like an eye?

The Zoltan Cruiser is built for a direct battle with high tier, high damage weapons backed by the energy providing Zoltan crew members, all wrapped in a translucent shell of a super shield. You won’t start out with the best obviously, but that is what this cruiser is tuned towards. Without a clone bay, your Zoltan crew members are vulnerable to brawling and you will not welcome the sight of their energy eruptions at their demise. Chances are you will not be finding another Zoltan, and if you do, you will have to hand over an exorbitant 60 scrap to get him.

Layout A

“The Zoltan's advanced shields technology give this ship an edge during each battle.” Despite the curves shaping the exterior of the Zoltan Cruiser, the interior is concise and neat, with immediately evident distinctions as to what each section of the ship is for. There is a slow and angular but bending turn coursing through the interior of the vessel, making its way to its vital systems of the shielding, the weapons control, and the engines. Just one lone, narrow corridor leads to those crucial systems, lined on both walls by double pairs of hatch doors capable of accessing the exterior vacuum of space at a moment’s notice, giving swift rescue to fire hazards, at the cost of sacrificing the air supply of each consecutive system room until the engines.

For as resistant to physical boarding as the interior is made out to be, it is rendered somewhat pointless in this regard as when you are invaded by enemy crew, they can teleport wherever they wish. This does appear to be random, if but frequently targeting key systems either directly or by proximity. They will tend to take out the sensors, the oxygen, or the pilots deck first though, all at disparate locations.

Unfortunately you are not going to find the med bay near needed areas, as it is in between that bending turn from the pilots deck down into the shields. The door system is nearby, but the sensors are off by themselves from a right turning hall at the back of the ship.

  • Original Name: The Adjudicator. An intimidating title, worthy of the Zoltan race’s reputation and the might of this vessel.
  • Beginning Crew: Three Zoltan. This is one of the two sheer boons you get from helming a Zoltan designed vessel, as Zoltan crew members provide a slot of energy each for the system they are standing in proximity of. Upgrading your reactor is both expensive and limited, and any Zoltan crew member will circumvent both those hindrances and restrictions, at the cost of being more frail by having a smaller health point bar. Even if you could fill up your entire crew with just Zoltan, it is best to try to find a crew member with a race that has a high prowess in brawling like a mantis or a rockman.
  • Starting Weapons: The halberd beam and the leto missile launcher. The halberd beam is the second strongest beam weapon that inflicts direct damage, only overshadowed by the glaive beam, the hardest hitting beam weapon in the game that surpasses many weapons even in other categories. Even though the halberd beam isn’t the glaive beam, it is still a dramatically strong weapon that will cut to pieces enemy vessels. Each room that is touched by this beam will receive a direct damage of two if there are no shieldings, so the beam itself is capable of fully piercing through one barrier of shielding but is entirely negated by two barriers and will not take them down, as no beams are capable of wounding the barriers of the shields.

This beam can reach as far as four rooms in one swath, so be sure to angle its trajectory as well as you can and start the first touchdown point of the beam to the farthest edge of a room as you can, so that it can reach as far as it can. It will take this beam 17 seconds to charge up, and requires three energy slots to maintain, but you will be able to shoulder this power burden easier than you could otherwise because of your three Zoltan crew members.

Even though the halberd beam is not strictly the best, you are unlikely to find the superior glaive beam in a game instance, and will find yourself relying on this for your greatest source of damage, once the enemy shielding is partly or fully dealt with by other means. You can pair together a burst laser with this beam weapon to great effect, as the burst laser will work to strip down the shield barriers and the beam weapon will execute tremendous unmitigated damage to the HULL and blast the enemy ship apart.

A missile launcher would also work to substantial effect, more so than a burst laser without the need to time the firing intervals of multiple weapons as much, but at the cost of missile parts. Unfortunately the leto missile launcher is what this layout comes equipped with, the weakest missile launcher in the game that inflicts a scrape of one damage to the targeted system and HULL, offering little in the way of brute forcing the shields down. The leto missile launcher is not meant to last you long in the game, and if you end up stuck with it with no other weapons to turn to in order to supplement your halberd beam, you are not likely to make it much farther in your game instance.

  • Starting Drones: None, as this layout does not have the drone control system installed.
  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 12 missiles, and 2 drone parts. The missiles are more than enough to give you a head start, and if you are frugal in your missile use, you will have quite the stock when facing the prolonged fight against the rebel flagship. Early on you will not need to use the missile launcher much, so this will help.
  • Starting Augmentations: The Zoltan shield. This is the source of the special shielding the Zoltan cruiser comes equipped with, something you previously only saw when you encountered hostile Zoltan ships. The Zoltan shield has basically a non-regenerating health bar that blocks certain systems or affects from acting. Missiles cannot pierce this shielding, and neither can anything else until the Zoltan shield is depleted. Boarding drones, hacking drones, mind control, teleporting bombs, and crew teleportation are all blocked by the Zoltan shield while it is in effect. But as supreme as the Zoltan shield is for your space cruiser’s protection, it only can absorb five points of damage until it fails and your regular shields are the only wall left to protect your cruiser.

During an enemy encounter, there is no way for your Zoltan shield to recharge until you perform another faster than light drive jump. Upon arrival at the next beacon, your Zoltan shield will be restored, as the energy unleashed from each faster than light drive jump is what powers your Zoltan shield. Whether your Zoltan shield is knocked down to one point of protection left, or is entirely broken down, it will be restored to its full five point shielding capacity. The Zoltan shield will neither deprive your space cruiser of its natural shielding systems, but it neither works in tandem with them. For instance the Zoltan shield will not come into effect only when your normal shield barriers are down, when you would actually need it, or else the Zoltan shield would be of such extreme benefit it would cause the Zoltan cruiser to dramatically outclass any other cruiser you could choose in the hangar. It would be much more difficult for enemy ships to damage your Zoltan shield, and they would be reduced to slowly whittling away at it whenever they can manage to fully break down your shields. Of course missiles would circumvent your standard shields, but than that equates to a guaranteed two or so dodges of the missiles.

Regardless of that, ion weapons do inflict damage onto the Zoltan shield, despite that ion effects result in temporary disabling of a system. What is worse is that the ion weapons actually inflict double the damage rating they have, so two ion damage would result in four, nearly taking down your entire Zoltan shield. Beams will also inflict equivalent damage to the Zoltan shield as if they were striking the hull, so the fully extended swath of a glaive beam would inflict equivalent damage to the Zoltan shield’s capacity and take it down. It is not often that an enemy ship will have a glaive beam though.

  • Slot Limits: This layout reaches the total weapon limit of four, establishing its place as a high fire power vessel, while it only has two drone slots if you install the drone control system. Often you can more feasibly make use of the extra slots in a weapons control, rather a drone control system, unless you are almost exclusively focusing on the usage of drones for your game instance. Summoning even a couple drones per hostile encounter quickly depletes your drone parts reserve, while the majority of weapons that can be equipped don’t consume a limited resource, and weapons have a wider array of choices, allowing you to potentially pick some lower energy guzzling armaments, whereas drones usually require an upwards or equivalent of two energy slots. The system repair drone is the sole exception to that.

Armed to the teeth with four weapon slots, you can recklessly unleash damage without concern about holding back to conserve your supplies, and you can support greater weaponry with the additional energy slots your Zoltan crew members supply with no scrap cost to your game instance.

  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level one engines, level one oxygen, level three weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, and level two door system. Supporting the protective, section based internal layout, the door system is upgraded a notch to impede enemy troop movement between rooms. While it is true that a boarding party can teleport anywhere possible in the interior of your space cruiser, this will hamper their access to anywhere but where they first appear, so any kind of invasion is immediately more manageable; which is important when you have a crew consisting of a brawling inferior race. Otherwise there is nothing much special about the tiers of these systems, and there are no nonstandard systems added to give you an extra boost out of the hangar like a crew teleporter or a drone system. The weapons control is fairly high for the average though, but it needs to be in order to fuel enough for the halberd beam. Powering that halberd beam alone will prevent you from using the leto missile launcher at the same time, even though the leto missile launcher is just one energy slot. It would be important to upgrade the weapons control by one early on, so you do not have to switch the two weapons out should you encounter a type of enemy that can sufficiently resist the halberd beam to the degree that it cannot pierce their shields. Obviously the leto missile launcher isn’t the type of missile that can do significant damage on its own, fully taking out a system, and instead it only dents it to orange in most cases, which is easily repelled by a couple crew members mending and repairing the system in naturally quick order.

Everything in the interior is organized into sections, forming roughly three regions. The lower left region consists of the engines, the weapons, and the shields, all in square rooms, only accessible from the right, making the engines the farthest away, and the weapons control the second farthest. The sensors are a part of their own region, up at the upper left, separated by a few corridors, and then the last region is at the right of the ship where the door system, the med bay, the oxygen system, and the pilots deck are all clustered together. Despite the spread of system locations, because of how the layout is segmented with a single angular bend following through it, it does not take your crew long to traverse one side of the interior to the other, giving you the best of both worlds in terms of fire precaution and maintenance by crew.

  • Room for Additional Systems: Since the systems installed on the Zoltan cruiser’s first layout are the standard bar, you can potentially install an extra three systems, with that one spot still available for the backup battery. That spare, spacious square room is designated for the drone control system, if you bother to install it on this type of cruiser and layout, while the crew teleporter will be shoved beneath the sensors system, the region at the upper left, bringing it as far as it could be with the space allotted from the med bay. Considering what your crew members are, the Zoltan, and the large distance towards the med bay, upgrading the med bay to a clone bay would be a viable option with an insurance that you would not lose your precious power sources from your Zoltan crew, even if you just temporarily use them as a boarding party before you recruit more crew members. The cloaking system will end up being found at the midway point of the whole layout, right in that narrow corridor connecting the two parts of the vessel’s interior.
  • Ways to unlock: Being the first layout of the Zoltan cruiser, this layout is considered the Zoltan cruiser itself, and so you must unlock it by either finding a random event that is considered a quest for this vessel or else thwarting the rebel flagship with the federation cruiser. There is nothing to stop you from unlocking each of the space cruisers in a chain by helming each one to victory over the rebel flagship and their invasion, as later the Zoltan cruiser would be used to unlock the next one in the chain, but that really is just an alternative route so that you as the player do not have to rely on a purely random quest occur in your grasp. From the game’s perspective, you are literally acquiring the Zoltan cruiser from the quest, and so if you pursue that you will unveil more of the Faster than Light’s story.

To unlock the Zoltan cruiser canonically, you must find the Zoltan homeworlds sector. This’ll be distinguished by a green icon, and can only appear at sector three or beyond. You won’t be able to find it again either in the same game instance, so if you pass it by without finding this, and this space cruiser unlock is all you are concerned with for the time being, then you should restart from the menu to try your chances again. You’ll be looking for a beacon that does not have a distress signal, and if you have the long range scanners augmentation, there will not be a ship lingering at that beacon either. When you find the beacon, an unarmed Zoltan transport will approach you, which it could be any of those yellow beacons that match that criteria and you could easily pass it by from being goaded along by the encroaching rebel invasion line that sweeps across the star map. They will address your vessel, pledging that they are a peace envoy and rely on the mercy of others to communicate their message. They say they carry no weapons, and no shielding. You do have a few options to choose from here, most involving out rightly attacking the defenseless vessel who will not lift a hand against you. They will even try to surrender part way through, and you will receive another prompt whether to finally let them go or finish them off.

The option you need to choose here to continue on the quest to find the Zoltan cruiser is to “Hear them out.” They’ll explain their mission to you, and then provide you with a quest marker. Check your star map for the quest marker they gave, and follow the beacon jumps until you can reach it. Once there you will stumble upon a Rebel ship. You will be faced with two initial options, to either attack them and disregard the message the peace spreading zoltans sent you for, or attempt to hail them. Choosing the second option, attempt to hail them, you will open up some dialog with the rebel ship who are usually too aggressive to ever be reasoned with. Actually fully exploring this dialog tree will reveal to you much of what drives the rebels to do what they do, and what they are willing to trade to achieve their goals. Most of the options you will be faced with will end up in a violent battle, but by choosing to hail them, and then responding to their state with the second option of “True progress can only be achieved without bloodshed”, you will be met with a Zoltan fleet as the rebel ship fades away. It was a test, and you managed to convince them to support the Federation, a surprising feat as the Zoltan are notoriously neutral. In general by choosing that specific series of options, you will receive the highest rewards on top of unlocking the Zoltan cruiser. With the Advanced Edition content enabled for that game instance, instead of receiving a weapon with your high scrap reward, you will be given either a special Zoltan crew member named envoy with his skills at cap for everything (like the engi virus) or else you will be given the Zoltan shield augment. Of course the Zoltan cruiser itself has the Zoltan shield augmentation, but this is the only way you could otherwise find and use the Zoltan shield for another vessel.

Layout B

“This ship starts with a weakened Shield system and must rely on its super shield.”

The second layout of the Zoltan cruiser has a dramatic shift in its style and pattern. It is ordered more procedurally, with selected spots for each and every system and subsystem, with no trailing corridors or areas taking up excessive and unneeded space. It is simply efficient, with ample hatch doors accessing the vacuum exterior should it be needed. The right of the interior is like a broad square, fitted together with pieces to make the whole. The left of that giant square is a hall as long as two corridors placed end to end, with system and subsystem rooms extending off like prongs on either side. The unique layout is definitely pleasing to look at, and represents well the aesthetics of the Zoltan that we had yet to know.

The coating of the exterior has taken on muted greens, giving it a less glaring look than its predecessor layout A, while even the illuminated circular windows glow with a white light instead of an alienish orange.

  • Original Name: Noether.
  • Beginning Crew: Three Zoltan, an identical crew makeup in race and number as the previous layout. If you like your crew having a great number of Zoltan, clearly their cruisers are in your field.
  • Starting Weapons: Two Ion Blasts, and the Pike Beam. Layout B, the Noether is balanced less for raw power and distributed more for enfeebling the enemy and then striking them down. An ion blast alone is a good weapon to ship out with from the hangar, as ion weaponry is rare and exceptionally effective at weakening and disabling shields. It fires one glowing shot at a time for just one ion damage, but ion weapons generally share a damage rating of one to two, and will only go higher than that with Advanced Edition content. The time to takes for this weapon to charge up stops it from being more, as it takes a total of eight seconds, twice that of the ion blast mark II. Yet it only needs one energy slot, making it much more efficient than the ion blast mark II as that needs three. And your ship starts out with two of these. These will be blasting away before the pike beam will fully charge up, and will have all but knocked out early enemy shielding.

As a tradeoff for the ion blasts the vessel is equipped with, the beam weapon is weaker in damage than the halberd beam, as each room the pike beam inflicts one damage per room it touches. It needs less power though, requiring two energy slots, and has a charge up rate of sixteen seconds. This beam is more than just a less potent version of the halberd beam though. The distance the beam can travel in a line is longer, letting you reach a five room touchdown more feasibly and frequently that otherwise you can only get with fortunate enemy interior setups.

These three weapons together combine to make a tremendous fighting force that you can rely on for quite awhile, but you will want to supplement them with additional firepower if possible, even if it is just in the form of upgraded versions of their weapon types. You will have little need of missiles for awhile, but you will want a missile launcher for serious battle encounters, perhaps a teleporting bomb for the rebel flagship to knock out a system other than its shielding while your ion weapons work on the shielding itself.

  • Starting Drones: None, it has no drone system installed.
  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 0 missiles, 2 drone parts. Starting you off with just two drone parts in the beginning is not going to make much of a difference, but this small number will not work in your favor if you plan to use the hacking system or the drone control system.
  • Starting Augmentations: Zoltan Shield. No layout of the Zoltan cruiser is without this glowing ward that withstands five points of damage from any source of assault, thereby sheltering your space cruiser from offensive measures. This second layout comes to rely on it to a great degree in the early game, which can easily make or break your space cruiser. As strong and useful as the Zoltan shield is, its supreme defense is limited by the five points of damage it can withstand. Sometimes it is enough to last the whole battle and not go down, and other times it will fall relatively quickly, all depending on what kind of armaments your opponent has. Things like ion weapons and beams are inflict vicious amounts of damage to the Zoltan shield, as the shield acts like anything offensive touching it as direct damage to its durability.

Your situation is more tenuous out from the hangar with this second layout as you lack any shielding, and so when that Zoltan shield is down, you are completely vulnerable to any kind of damage. This does put an interesting and challenging spin on a standard game instance by introducing this handicap, but this Zoltan cruiser layout makes up for its deficient defense from the hangar with its potent armaments.

  • Slot Limits: This layout reaches the limit of weapon slots, being the maximum of four, while it is restricted to the least amount of slots you can have for drones if you do install a drone system.
  • Systems: Level one shield (no barrier at all), level two engines, level one oxygen, level four weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, and level one door system. The flair this layout holds is true to its Zoltan shield and its high capacity weapons control. Starting your space cruiser at level four weapons control from the hangar is a leaping boost, and the level two engines helps to shore up your evasion right away, even if that upgrade doesn’t cost much.

It is clear your vulnerability here is fights lasting more than an exchange or two of gunfire, as once your Zoltan shield is stripped away, you have no barriers to fall back on. It will be quite the hurdle to overcome to unlock just one barrier for this vessel, as it will drain you of a hefty amount of scrap – 100. That is nearly the price of installing the shields system itself, just shy of 20 scrap. It would be a miniscule difference, if not for the need of finding a shop beacon if you lacked the system whatsoever, but this layout does not take the lackluster base shielding that far. You will want to amass your scrap in just the first sector, hitting as many beacons as you can, to upgrade the shield level as quick as possible.

  • Room for Additional Systems: Just like the first layout, the Adjudicator, there is room for three more systems to be installed of your choice amongst the five possible with Advanced Edition content enabled. The interior is rather roomy, with a couple of spots for full sized rooms that the cloaking system and the drone control system are assigned to; alas, the crew teleporter is stuffed into a corridor between the weapons control room and where the cloaking system will be installed, right next to hatch doors accessing the exterior vacuum of space. The location looks like it is not intended for heavy human traffic, and yet that area is as likely as the med bay would be.

The upside is that the crew teleporter is not far from the med bay, just one room over, as your crew merely has to cross the full sized square room to the left of the crew teleporter to reach the med bay, so that in itself is better than the distance in the first layout. The mind control station will end up on the opposite side of where the crew teleporter will be, just above the shields system room situated at the center of that half of the vessel’s interior. Then the drone control station will be installed to the right of that, in a full sized room above the weapons control. The hacking station will appear in one of those prongs that come off the corridor leading to the array of systems and subsystems, and the backup battery will actually be in the corridor itself.

Overall the layout of the ship is well designed for quick repair of the multitude of systems and subsystems, and swift fire response by way of crew members’ extinguishers or by venting the air into space. Since this layout is so well suited to high potency weaponry, the cloaking system should be less than considered for your choice out of those three spots as without the special augmentation that prevents your own weapon fire from knocking down the cloak duration, this space cruiser will not mesh well with that system. The drone controls system will not function to full potential as it would in another cruiser, but you can still use it to great benefit of supplementary, if not just very specific nature. There are certain drones that can help your space cruiser out a lot no matter what type it is, like the hull repair drone that will and can actually mend the health of your HULL in the midst of combat – provided they do not get randomly smashed by a laser or missile by chance. Even with just two slots, it’s hard to not see the benefits there are to the drone control system, however two slots or four, your drone control system will always rely on what drone schematics you have to use.

The hacking station does not lose any ground pertaining to the specifications of this Zoltan cruiser except to a minor degree from the meager drone part resources given from the hangar. By the time you do acquire a hacking station, you should have accumulated at least a small heap of drone parts for your use, and from there on you will keep getting drone part for each encounter. Even so, you still have to use the hacking station more sparingly than you would in another space cruiser and layout. Your resources will just be strained worse if you combine the hacking station and the drone control system, as they both pull from the same limited resource and the game does not make much adjustment to accommodate this; worse is that the drone parts are fairly expensive and few in stock per shop beacon.

The crew teleporter doesn’t fair too differently from other space cruisers and layouts, except against those that have a full sized crew teleporter room and those that start out from the hangar with a clone bay. Despite the literal halving to your boarding party’s potential force size, equipping the Noether Zoltan cruiser with the crew teleporter remains up to the player’s preference, but it will complement the weaponry output of damage this cruiser offers if care is taken with the boarding party. The methods of attack from the crew teleporter and your space cruiser’s armaments are starkly different in that they do not defeat the enemy vessel in the same way, as you will ultimately have to choose between destroying the enemy vessel by blasting it apart with your weapons or overwhelming their crew in a brawl. Not aligning yourself to either method of victory past a discernible point and you will run the very real hazard of wiping out your boarding party yourself by blasting apart the vessel with your pike beam. Instead you could cripple their med or clone bay with your weapons, or you could damage their systems and tangle with their crew members and pull them out before your weapons will do enough damage to take out their space cruiser.

  • Ways to unlock: Being the second layout of the Zoltan cruiser, you will have to complete two out of the total three achievements specific to just this cruiser. All of these achievements must be accomplished while helming this cruiser, and none other, or else your game instance will only be applicable for that other space cruiser’s achievements, like the Kestrel Cruiser’s “Full Arsenal” achievement. And you will only be able to do that while using the first layout, the Adjudicator of the Zoltan cruiser, since that is all you will have to begin with. Later, you can complete the third achievement with any of the three possible layouts if you have yet to by the time you earn the third layout – C.

The first achievement for the Zoltan cruiser is named “Shields Holding”. This is surely the easiest out of the three, as you merely have to destroy an enemy ship before it can break through the ward of your Zoltan shielding. That is five points worth of damage, which might not seem that feasible, but it can be depending on how well armed the enemy cruiser you are facing off at is. Sometimes they just have a single missile, beam, or laser, and that is enough for you to be able to wipe them out before they can break through, especially if you damage their weapon control station in the first slice of the glaive beam. Doing this one in favor of choosing both of the latter ones will make your task easier in unlocking the Noether Zoltan cruiser.

The second achievement for the Zoltan cruiser is called “Givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!”. True as the phrase, you will need to push your reactor to the absolute limit to complete this achievement by having 29 energy slots at your disposal. This is an end game sort of goal, so by striving for this, you are essentially gunning to complete your vital mission. Even if you really aren’t, you might as well because by the time you get that many energy slots while balancing your scrap expenditure with necessary upgrades to defensive and offensive capabilities of your space cruiser, you will be nearly at the last stand sector, or nearly at it. The Adjudicator Zoltan cruiser starts out fresh from the hangar with the reactor at only level five, so a single column is filled. This is the game’s way of balancing early game with your Zoltan crew’s native energy bonus against other vessels, while granting you the true advantage as you progress as upgrading your reactor becomes increasingly expensive until you finally hit the cap and are faced with a finite source of power that your Zoltan blessedly supersede by themselves. That is a grand total of twenty energy slots you are going to have to purchase for your reactor to reach the cap. The price starts out at 20 scrap a bar, and then raises in cost by 5 scrap for every successive column, ending up running you 35 scrap a bar. You are also going to need to keep every single one of your Zoltan crew members alive for their precious energy, and you will also have to wrangle one additional Zoltan from all your random event opportunities and the shop beacons you visit. Do not expect to find a Zoltan in a shop beacon in the Zoltan homeworlds, or Zoltan controlled sectors, just because that territory belongs to them. You will often, even consistently be met with incongruous Rockmen and the like.

And with having a purely Zoltan crew, at least from the start, you will be particularly vulnerable to boarding party invasions, so much so that unless you are on your toes one of your Zoltan crew members is liable to disappear in an eruption of energy in mere moments just by a handful of hostile, laser flinging human crew. Conclusion is that this second achievement, the “Givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” looks straight forward and reasonably feasible, but takes quite the investment of time, effort, and some luck of the random generator dice. You might end up losing one of your Zoltan crew halfway through the game instance, and never find more than just one more to bump you up to four total Zoltan, as you need four Zoltan powering systems to bring you to twenty nine total energy slots with a fully upgraded reactor at twenty five energy slots. A Zoltan does have to be standing in the room of a system as well, and not a subsystem as those you cannot control the flux of energy to and so Zoltan do not provide any for them. Systems like the drone control, the weapons control, the shields, and similar are applicable for receiving their energy, and the Zoltan neither have to be manning the system to provide power for it. They just have to be standing in the same room, and not in the middle of transit between rooms.

The third achievement for the Zoltan cruiser is “Manpower”. This one is very much alike to the second achievement, “Givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!”. To fulfill this achievement you must faster than light drive jump into the fifth sector of your game instance without a single upgrade to your reactor. That equates to bumbling across the solar systems, funneling away the dull gleam of your hordes of metal scrap as you patch your crumbling hull, upgrading systems just in the hope that one day they will be of use, just one day when you can get enough power to turn them into something other than a husk and shell of what weapons and shields should be. Upgrade that reactor just once before you leap into the fifth sector and you lost your eligibility for the “Manpower” achievement in that game instance, and will be forced to start the game all over again to possibly be able to get it. But as half shoddy as your space cruiser’s endurance and hope for a victory down the star streaking lane is, you can realistically do this in one go without having to crawl the length of the whole eight or so sectors to get what you need – the second achievement out of the two that you need to unlock that layout B of the Zoltan cruiser. Just put the game difficulty on easy, and your cruiser won’t crash and burn a couple times because of a lack of decent shielding and weaponry. And hopefully you won’t succumb to any ion storms, as those will wreck devastating havoc.

Layout C

“The designer of this ship was not willing to spend the money for a decent reactor. Instead it relies on its Zoltan crew and Backup Battery.” This layout takes on a sleek coating design in resemblance of the Lanius space cruisers, and technology crafted in adaptation from their advancements, the resulting vessel is a mixture of some parts Zoltan and some parts Lanius. The interior is broken up into segments again, with identifiable areas for intended purposes, like the lower quadrant for auxiliary systems and subsystems and the upper quadrant for the meat and bones of the ship, the shielding, weapons, and engines. Stashed to the right in a smaller rendition of the first layout’s corridor is the pilots deck, shaped like an L lying on its back. Any access points to the exterior vacuum of space are separated from the occupied chambers, as the quadrant to the right has an adjacent corridor with two hatch doors against the vacuum access. And then the main square room connecting the entire interior of the layout has two hatch doors with vacuum access as well.

Sure as the official description, it does seem this rendition of the Zoltan cruiser was rolled out with haste, cobbling together some elements to form something familiar to the other two layouts but flavored with the advanced, emerging technology of clone bays and strange weaponry.

  • Original Name: Cerenkov.
  • Beginning Crew: Four Zoltan. As odd as the specifications of this layout may be, the fully fledged crew of four is to be prized, along with their Zoltan race capable of fueling bars of energy to power hungry systems. You will be forced to move one of those Zoltan in and out of the pilot’s seat to trigger the faster than light drive jump, or else enable any dodging whatsoever on your vessel until you either find yourself a non-Zoltan crew member to join you or upgrade the pilots deck with the less than stellar artificial intelligence. You would not normally be compelled for such a choice, as the auto pilot at the first upgrade tier dodges at half the rate your ship would with a real pilot – so that would be 7% instead of 15% (even though that should really be 7.5%, the game won’t display that.) but upgrading the auto pilot is not too costly for the benefit of bringing your energy fuming Zoltan to somewhere else that you can actually make use of that.

The high number of crew you get from the hangar with the Cerenkov Zoltan cruiser, and their exclusively Zoltan race, makes it a favorable choice for pumping out as much power as possible for a tall output of offense. This does come with a price, as it always does for such an advantage in power. As by the description, your power reactor is feebly upgraded to only provide your whole vessel with two energy slots by itself. That is absolutely as low as it can get for any choice of a space cruiser in your hangar, even if you have every single layout and space cruiser at your utter disposal. But at least the first few slots of power will be cheap in scrap.

  • Starting Weapons: Ion Charger. One of the new weapons added to the game with the Advanced Edition update, this is a different spin on ion attacks. This ion weapon will build up multiple charges until it hits its defined limit, which is a maximum of three. This is not the sort of weapon that you benefit from using automatic fire on, as it stunt the effective potential of this weapon and render it near equivalent to a regular ion weapon from before the update. It still has the same type of charge rate, taking six seconds – which is actually rather quick – for a single blast that will inflict one ion damage, but past that single charge, it will continue to accumulate energy until it builds up three charges, taking a total of eighteen seconds. You can choose whenever you want to fire the ion charger, so long as it has at least one charge from the initial six seconds, and any build up for the additional charges will be lost. If you do wait to pull the trigger on the ion charger when it has accumulated three charges, then three immediately consecutive ion blasts will fire off, striking for one ion damage each.

This is good for brute forcing your way through shields, and shutting down enemy systems with a lasting impact as it will have the duration of three ion damage wheels instead of just one. The detriment is that that is as far as the benefit comes. Its utility is only in being able to store up multiple blasts, with a short ceiling of a cap, to make a great and sudden offensive to overwhelm the resisting equilibrium the enemy vessel maintains, as their shield regeneration will always have a fixed rate, disregarding damage to their systems. You cannot target multiple rooms at once with the ion charger, as if you were aiming with three different weapons at once, or the same weapon, across the span of three separate firing intervals. It is just unleashed all on the same room.

It is not honestly as great as some other ion weapons can be, unless you really have a preference for this style of ship combat, but it suits the accompanying drone well.

  • Starting Drones: Anti-ship beam drone mark I. This sort of drone isn’t new from the advanced update, but the mark II version is, which is presumably what this layout intends for you to upgrade into. This beam drone darts around the enemy vessel, spitting out tiny slices of a beam at a more frequent interval than any beam weapon can actually do, but it cannot cut through any shields as each touch of its glowing hot beam inflicts only one damage. That could be seen as something to turn away from, but with the combination of the ion charger, this beam drone flourishes quite well.

As confining as the drone system can be on the Zoltan cruiser, this layout does use its drone as its offensive weapon in lieu of a standard beam weapon. This is of a different style than the other two layouts of the Zoltan cruiser, so you are not getting more of the same, but it really isn’t that great of an improvement. However combining the three simultaneous blasts of the ion charger with the darting and zipping beam drone will tear viciously into the enemy space cruiser’s HULL at a surprising rate. After all that’s always what held back that beam drone – the existence of a swiftly rebounding shield.

This beam drone doesn’t need much power either, needing two energy slots to activate and maintain, and the ion charger needs the same amount of allotted energy too, so despite using two drastically different systems the energy consumption is frugal. You’ll be tempted to follow the example this layout sets out, by taking on additional beam drones that come from the advanced edition update. And why shouldn’t you? This is the style the layout laid out. The likely reason why one of those other beam drones weren’t packaged in with this layout would be because of their high tier strength. There isn’t as much variance with directly offensive drones as there are for weapons, probably because drones are not exclusively weapons and serve a wide array of purposes, like shooting down missiles and boarding enemy vessels by bursting through the hull.

  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, two missiles, and a towering total of fifteen drones. As large as that stockpile of drones are, you are forced to use one for every hostile encounter until you scrounge up a different sort of damage, like one of those random weapons just happening to float through space. Fifteen gives you a buffer when you faster than light drive jump onto a beacon, and only find the blank, star dusted expanse of space around your space cruiser, offering you nothing in the way of resources and eating away your fuel reserves by one. It can happen sometimes, as your mileage will vary by the randomly generated node mapping of that sector.
  • Starting Augmentations: The Cerenkov layout has the Zoltan shield just like the other two layouts. You do have a basic, single barrier shield beneath the Zoltan shielding once it comes down, but this is to offset the unreliable and sometimes lower damage of the beam drone compared to the other beam weapons the Zoltan cruiser comes with in other layouts. Even though this is the advanced technology makeover of the Zoltan cruiser, the Zoltan shield didn’t receive any boosts and it’s the same old thing, but still just as useful.
  • Slot Limits: A limit of four weapon slots, and a restriction of two for the drone control system. Considering the tactical style of this layout, it would have been appropriate to add an extra slot to the drone control system to accommodate its purposes, but no changes were made between any of the layouts in this regard, and this third layout was no exception to it. It is not unheard of cruisers to shift their slot limitations around between the layouts, but the Zoltan cruiser just does not.
  • Systems: Level two shield (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level two weapons control, level three drone system, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, level two backup battery, and level one clone bay. Appreciatively the Cerenkov layout is preinstalled with a clone bay, apt for its advanced technology influence, and so you will not be losing any of your integral Zoltan crew members to most random events and haphazard, over hasty brawling. Assuming the clone bay doesn’t get damaged at least, or unpowered while they collapse, or else they will truly be lost to space just as if you had a regular old med bay. You don’t need a level three drone control system to power your beam drone, but it is given anyway. Coincidentally, three energy slots of power are required to power the mark II version of the beam drone, but you are not likely to find that early on, yet still it is accommodating for that possibility, like truly the maker of the ship didn’t spare enough funds to give it really what it should have. All the space cruisers from the hangar do seem patched together a little anyway, with a lack of funding, time, and choice.

The backup battery is what you will be spamming that hotkey for to be able to get by. It’s not usual that if a vessel does slide out of the hangar with a backup battery installed, that it will be at a level two. It has its reasoning though to be, as you severely lack a decent reactor to power everything you need, and you will be trailing behind on the reactor levels you should be at. The level two backup battery will give you four energy slots to use for thirty seconds, and then it will cooldown for the duration of four ion damage until you can use it again. It doesn’t deploy itself automatically, so you will be mashing that hotkey if you are relying on it to sustain your ship. It would be frequent enough to keep up your air supply levels for a while.

  • Room for Additional Systems: With the drone system installed, you will have only two slots available for more systems to install. With your drones being exhausted by the drone control system your vessel starts out with, the hacking station won’t be used to its full effect because of how parsimonious you will have to be with your overall stock of drone parts, no matter how much it fluctuates unless you bounce up into an excess of around twenties. You might just quickly dip back down though, or you would have to settle for using your hacking station on more challenging hostiles to convert one of their systems against them.

The mind control station tends to help with boarding parties, but works well to generally hassle as well, as this will greatly hamper the enemy crew’s ability to repair systems while one of their allies goes insane with rage and attacks anything and everything. And the crew teleporter would only be viable into the middle of a game instance, as your crew mostly consists of pure Zoltan that need to be on board the ship to provide necessary and ample energy, and are generally frail in combat regardless. There is an exception to be made to this if you come across a couple crew members willing to join your crew of their own volition, rather than buying their contracts to hire them, in the first couple sectors. Even though that would just be two, that is a decent boarding party force to make the crew teleporter serve you well.

  • Ways to unlock: Since this is the third layout of the Zoltan cruiser, you will have to first unlock the Noether, layout B, to be able to unlock this one. While helming the Noether Zoltan cruiser you must make it to the eighth sector in the game instance in one piece, and upon faster than light drive jumping into the sector, you will immediately unlock the third layout of the Zoltan cruiser. You can proceed on with your game there, or hastily exit out into the hangar to look over your prize, but at that point you will be pretty much at the last stand, which is at the end of the game.

Mantis Cruiser

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  • “The famous Mantis thief, KazaaakplethKilik, owns this ship. You'll have to “convince” him to help you.”

The aesthetics and style of mantis space cruisers have always tended to appear brutish and insectoid, like the curving wings of a soaring dinosaur with talons jutting out with the mantis scouts. The Mantis cruiser itself is shaped like the body of an actual mantis, with head, feet, and all but the forelegs or otherwise known as the arms. It does not go so far as to shade its coating like the green carapace of a mantis though, as its drilled in plating is painted over stark and violent scarlet red, just like hostile mantis cruisers you encounter in the game itself. At least the first layout is. Blade-like pieces extend off the sides of the vessel’s exterior, shaped like the protrusions on the mantis carapace. They adorn the jaw of the head section, and the thighs of the legs. Maybe the ship made in their image is a source of pride of their warrior race, if not just vanity.

The interiors are roomy and expansive as the size of the vessel is broad and large. It is not necessarily that there are a great number of rooms packed together, but that everything is spread out with little concern for making the most of what space there is and keeping systems close together for safety. The mantis species moves quickly, so this the distance they must travel through the whole of their vessel mattered little. They are after all a violent race, prone to that kind of physical exertion, so it stands to reason that they would feel out of place and tied down in the usual confining environment of a space cruiser.

Layout A

“This warship is designed to enhance its crew for close combat missions.”

  • Original Name: The Gila Monster.
  • Beginning Crew: Three Mantis, and one engi. This crew makeup is an excellent setup balanced for invading enemy ships with your fighters. You can delegate your lone engi to the pilots deck, and stash two mantis in the crew teleporter to jump in as soon as you engage with a hostile cruiser. Even if you do not follow such a course, having your crew mostly consist of mantis will severely reduce your ability to manage fires and system damage in a timely manner in the middle of combat, with lasers and missiles crossing back and forth. No matter how expertly you meter crew actions in calculated bursts with strategic pausing, you cannot force the mantis to repair any better than their fellow crew members of the other intergalactic races. Too much damage, and in too many places at once will overwhelm mantis engineers, and having a combined onslaught of spreading fire and broken systems is even worse.

So the inclusion of that engi works well, as the engi is on the opposite side of stats as they repair twice as fast, and mantis repair slower by half than the base average. This affects more than just mending a broken system too, as mantis will extinguish fires four times slower than your engi and will be at risk to succumbing to the heat of the flames.

Mantis really aren’t a race you want assigned to any mannable system if you have a choice, and optimally should be either temporarily manning the auxiliary subsystems and on call for brawling, or idling in the med bay and crew teleporter to be ready for deployment as soon as possible. They are absolutely the strongest at crew combat, but deal poorly with supporting the systems they are manning, and so any other race would be better in their place – again, if you have a choice. Early on you won’t, particularly the first few sectors, and still won’t have much choice if you have lackluster luck in finding crew willing to join your mission from random events and then the stock in general from shop beacons.

It is interesting to note that the relationship dynamics between the engi and mantis are portrayed by this setup, as mantis are known to capture engi and enslave them for their use. And as much as the two races really do enhance their strengths and diminish their weaknesses together, it is hardly likely the engi a part of this crew joined of its own free will.

  • Starting Weapons: Small bomb, basic laser. The first space cruiser to be equipped with a bomb type weapon, this weapon is grenade-like in design. It will teleport inside of the enemy’s space cruiser, damaging systems rather than the HULL. This jumping bomb disregards shields entirely, except for the Zoltan shielding that it cannot hop through, just like missiles with their shield piercing properties. Usually there are special attributes attached to bombs, and the small bomb has a small chance of fire, while inflicting a total damage of two to systems – enough to fully knock down many systems into the red, rendering them entirely inoperable. The small bomb as well harms personnel for thirty hit points. That is not such a high number as to do much on its own, but consecutive explosions of the small bomb on enemy personnel will significantly take down their health and their resistance to enduring outbreaks of fire. Obviously this isn’t as tremendous of an impact on higher health point races like the Rockmen, but fire is completely ineffectual against them anyways.

The small bomb has a relatively short charge up time of thirteen seconds, and so you can sling out a few per battle, but you will not want to as they do not serve the same purpose of missiles or standard, laser based weaponry despite the similarities with missiles. The small bomb, upon ever launch, does consume a missile part just like a missile launcher does. It is after all an explosive, if of a customized and specific purpose. One launch of that bomb will take out enemy shielding until the crew can repair it, which will let your feeble basic laser get some blasts in, as the laser is not strong enough on its own to take out any shielding as the basic laser shoots one blast, for one damage at a time, and takes ten seconds to charge up; excessive for its weak damage, but it is the lowest tier laser.

What is better than a missile about the small bomb is its near guaranteed ability to damage a system so much that it will either be left partially functional, or will cease operational entirely, enfeebling the enemy cruiser just enough for your weapons to slip damage in, or really wreck enough chaos to give your boarding party the upper edge to win the fight for their ship with little concern over a death of your combat crew member. Enemy space cruisers equipped with med bays and clone bays will not be able to rely on those with the small bomb, this being the greatest benefit to your boarding party from the small bomb. Setting the charge off from the small bomb just before your boarding party teleports in on their med bay, will send them scattering to repair it, but with your manpower you can block them from even trying, and now they won’t be able to continually regenerate, thereby creating a stalemate while their cruiser’s weapons pelt away at your ship’s HULL, making the fight an incrementally mounting loss.

Though the small bomb’s name does suggest that there is a direct superior version to it, like there is in the case of combat drones from mark I to mark II, the bombs that are considered higher in tier attack enemy cruiser’s slightly differently as they have altered attributes and properties. Like some bombs only deal ion damage, or some bombs only stun enemy crew.

The basic laser is only shoved into your hold so that you have something to tide you over until you can scrounge up something decent, as the vast majority of weapons you can acquire in the game are superior to the basic laser. The basic laser is so weak it cannot even match a single shield barrier’s regeneration rate at a stalemate, the shield will bubble back up well before the basic laser finishes its second charge.

  • Starting Drones: The Gila Monster has none, as there is no drone control system installed from the hangar.
  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, sixteen missiles, zero drone parts. That is a high number of missiles, but you really could use it with the teleporting small bomb. You can easily find yourself burning away at that stockpile, so even starting out with sixteen missile resources from the hangar, it benefits your game instance to be parsimonious with the usage of your small bombs, using them only as necessary and not just when convenient.
  • Starting Augmentations: Mantis Pheromones. Contrary to the name of this augmentation, its boosting affect applies to all races of your crew and not just your mantis. Regardless of where your crew are, from the interior of your vessel to inside the enemy cruiser, your crew members’ movement speed will be increased by 25%, stacking on top of their native movement speed bonuses in the case of your mantis crew members. You will be getting much more mileage out of your engi engineer as he does the job of two, even three crew members by extinguishing fires and bringing systems back up from smoldering remains.

Having this augmentation on the mantis cruiser complements well your mantis’ natural heightened speed, and helps to diminish the impact of their ineptitude with dealing with fires and repairs by quickly being on the scene. Mostly though this will have the cumulative effect of your crew enacting your orders in swift order, freeing up your workers to proceed onto the next task, react quicker, or altogether deal with a larger influx of hazards and damage than they could otherwise handle. Your space cruiser’s threshold bar for taking on system damage and hazards is raised in tight, balancing on the knife’s edge scenarios where you are fighting toe to toe with elite level enemies. You’ll have less risk of your shields coming down, exposing your HULL to further damage, and any boarding parties invading your cruiser can be met with your combat crew before they can sabotage your systems.

  • Slot Limits: The weapons control are situated at the middle ground for the slot limit, at a number of three, and the drone control system if you install it is down at the lowest possible of two. This space cruiser is suited for the use of boarding parties to defeat hostile encounters with a high tier weapons control backing it up, giving much room for improvement, while the space cruiser can still tackle unmanned drones that have no life support circulating their rooms without having to resort to damaging its systems to nick down its HULL health. Teleporting your crew into an automated drone would kill your boarding party if you did not recall them quick enough, which you need at least a level two crew teleporter for that to even be possible. Anything less, and you will be surely sending them to their deaths.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level one weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one door system, and a level one crew teleporter. As much potential as the weapons on the Gila Monster have, the weapons control system starts out debilitated and will squeeze extra scrap out of you to get it off the ground and running decently enough to sustain both the small bomb and the basic laser at the same time, let alone weapons more advanced than the basic one energy slot ones. Because of this in early gameplay you will have to promptly choose between the basic laser and the small bomb to help your boarding crew out to overthrow the hostile cruiser’s crew. Likely that will end up being the small bomb though, as the basic laser cannot do much on its own unless the shields are already down. This would be a dismal choice of a ship if it did not start out from the hangar with the crew teleporter installed and powered, precisely because of those weak weapons. And though your crew teleporter is wedged into a corridor for a ship essentially designed and focused on laser and mandible combat between crew, your boarding party will start out very strong because of their double damage trait in melee combat.

As integral as your boarding party is to this vessel, upgrades to the crew teleporter and med bay will be of high priority, while the weapons control will be treated with secondary attention, and the engines pretty much on the backburner.

  • Room for Additional Systems: With the addition of the crew teleporter to this mantis cruiser, there will be two spots available for extra systems for you to install. You also have room for two subsystems, as this layout lacks the basic sensors and you will have to purchase them from a shop beacon at a moderate cost of 40 scrap. That is still an unnecessary cost compared to other space cruisers, but most do not have a crew teleporter already installed in the hangar, which costs considerably more in scrap and is an uncommon find.

The drone control system will not run this mantis cruiser as much use as it would in another type of cruiser, but the system itself has merits that no matter the restricting slot limit would still impart benefits to a game instance helming this cruiser. Better that you choose between that drone control system and a hacking station though, as they both will burn up your limited resource of drone parts, of which you start out with absolutely none and so you will not have a stockpile built up to shoulder the rapid rate of expenditure from both the drone control system and hacking station without having to inefficiently alternate using each one.

The mind control station will greatly benefit your boarding party by hijacking one of the enemy crew to either distract them before your crew teleports in, or to turn them against his allies in the middle of the brawl, increasing the number of fighters you have on your side. This helps to diminish the downside of having a two person crew teleporter, as you will not easily get out numbered in full sized rooms as they can contain up to four crew members per side; meaning four enemy crew, and four friendly crew, no matter the affiliation of the cruiser itself. However the mind control station will not shore up this cruiser’s weaknesses against stronger automatic drones, and will actually worsen it.

Cloaking will increase the overall endurance of your space cruiser, as your boarding party can be fighting inside the enemy ship, while yours is covered in cloak, unable to be targeted, harmed for a time, or even able to receive any kind of a reprisal. This will especially help towards the end against the rebel flagship, as you will be able to trigger the cloak to protect your vessel against the rebel flagship’s super attacks. When going with a boarding party strategy for your game instance, defeating your enemies is not as timely as when dispatching them with weaponry, and this status is exacerbated in the protracted fight with the rebel flagship, when the stretch of time is not on your side.

As spacious as the gila monster mantis cruiser is, nearly each of the extra systems you will install into the vessel will be placed into full sized square rooms, making you wonder why the crew teleporter didn’t take one of those spots. It is not like they lack the technology or funding. It isn’t even right next to the med bay either, like the drone control system will be if you install it. Unfortunately it just seems that the layout A of the mantis cruiser is the most inferior out of the three, as while it does not purely rely on your boarding party’s strength in the beginning with the armaments, it deducts its potential past early game.

  • Ways to unlock: As with most unique cruisers, there are two methods to unlock the mantis cruiser. The first is completing a random event dedicated to this cruiser by choosing certain options, a couple of which require that you have certain upgraded systems. You can still complete the random event dedicated to the mantis cruiser without them, or even choose different options, but you will not get the reward of unlocking this cruiser – and receiving a special crew member with capped out skills like the engi virus. To be able to do this, you will need a mantis a part of your crew, a crew teleporter installed, and a med bay or clone bay upgraded to two or higher. You will need each consecutive one for different parts of the quest line.

To find this random event, you must reach the mantis homeworlds which is a red hostile sector, and only has a chance to appear in your game instance out of the possible sectors you have to choose from. You will more likely find this sector near mantis controlled regions. The random event itself can spawn on beacons that are not flagged with a distress call, and if you have the long range scanners augmentation on your vessel, then the beacon will be denoted having a ship in the vicinity.

Jumping in, you will confronted with a mantis ship belonging to the legendary thief mantis – kazaakplethKlilk. Over a hundred years this ship has turned out victorious in every encounter. Rightfully your crew looks afraid. Choose the only the blue text option here that uses your mantis crew member in parenthesis. Then fight the mantis ship as you normally would, and win by any means. The space cruiser KazaakplethKlilk helms is a mantis fighter class, and is equipped with a two spot crew teleporter while lacking a medical bay. So after his crew boards onto your ship and you fight them until they essentially run away when their health drops low, you can heal up your own crew in your med bay and then chase after them, finishing them off with little reprisal as you have taken advantage of their lack of any healing. His ship also lacks missiles, and instead is equipped with a beam weapon, so your HULL is not going to be whittled away if you take on this tactic. Of course you will lose HULL health if your space cruiser is only equipped with one barrier from the shielding, as the heavy laser will deplete your shielding enough that the beam will slip through and in all likelihood scatter some fires through your ship’s interior.

Once you have defeated KazaaakplethKilik’s mantis fighter, you will be faced with yet another number of choices. Each one will give you some kind of reward, of varying degrees from low scrap to high, and some with the chance of a weapon, but the only one that you need in order to unlock this space cruiser is the blue text option containing Advanced Medbay/Clonebay (it will change depending on what you have in your space cruiser) in parenthesis. Again to actually have this option appear your med bay or clone bay will need to be upgraded to level two or higher. With your teleporter, you transport KazaaakplethKilik into your med bay or clone bay and save him from his sure death, giving him the kind of mercy he has never shown. He will be moved by your actions, and will swear himself to your cause; a great surprise even to him. KazaaakplethKilik will actually join your crew under the name of Kazaaak since crew member names have a short character limit, and he will give you the coordinates for a custom vessel he was working on – the mantis cruiser. At this precise point, the mantis cruiser will be immediately unlocked, while you will still have another destination to visit to receive an additional reward of scrap and an augmentation for that game instance. There will be a quest marker present on your map of the sector, possible to be anywhere but in rebel covered and controlled territory. If you completed this quest later in the game instance, then the crew member Kazaak that joins you will actually have all his skills at the golden colored limit, so long as you have the Advanced Edition content enabled.

Yet as all quest paths are for unlocking unique space cruisers, there is a strong element of chance involved, as you must find both the needed and specific sector and the specific node, of which you have little way of telling what beacon it is on the map before you visit it. Still it is worth the effort to complete the quest yourself, as it reveals more of the story to Faster than Light, and is a different challenge against the standard gameplay format of surviving, customizing, and reaching the Last Stand sector.

If you are having poor luck in finding what you need for that quest, or would rather complete at your leisure, then the other option to unlocking the mantis cruiser is to choose the Zoltan cruiser from the hangar, proceed through the several sectors of a game instance, and defeat the rebel flagship at the last stand sector. This sounds simpler than it is, but it involves essentially beating the game. There’s an element of chance here too, since you can just be met with ill fortune by the roll of the dice with random events, such as whether you lose a crew member to the spider invasion, or you just generally find highly negative random events. Your journey will be more arduous and less likely to succeed the higher the difficulty is, so if you are not looking for too much of a risk and challenge, then it would be better to cruise through on the easy difficulty to unlock the mantis cruiser with the Zoltan cruiser. The Zoltan cruiser though is a highly durable and capable ship, so it is more than possible to accomplish.

Layout B

“This warship encourages sending massive boarding parties and keeping strong defense.”

The exterior morphs into a different kind of creature than just any kind of regular mantis with its drilled in plating coated with a dull purple that is outlined at the edges with sea foam green. There is stronger color symmetry with the exterior model of this space cruiser, as it is not just all one pervasive color. The spread of the interior does remind you though of retro games, where the graphics were just pixel by pixel and there were not any smoothed sides to the characters and models, just blocky edges – as that’s what the pixels were, tiny blocks. There is one long and broad corridor shot straight through the middle of the space cruiser, as thick as two full sized square rooms pushed together, with a line of two corridors connecting the major section at the front and the minor one at the back. Two wings connect off the back part, looking just like that retro graphics as if it is trying to make a curve, but doesn’t as it’s just a series of corridors making the vague shape of a wing.

  • Original Name: The Basilisk.
  • Beginning Crew: Just two mantis. For as outfitted as this vessel is for crew combat, you start out from the hangar with a meager amount of crew to spare. If you want to be able to use them to board the enemy cruisers, then each time you are going to have to take one of those mantis away from the pilots deck, bring him into the crew teleporter room, and then transport them off, only to repeat the process in reverse, and then perpetually do this until you either upgrade the pilots deck to have artificial intelligence to enable the faster than light drive jump when there isn’t a pilot manning the station – at the cost of half of your normal dodge rate, and the scrap to for the upgrade. Adding that cycle of running your mantis around to the teleporter and the pilots deck is the need to heal him after every crew combat encounter, which takes time in itself. It can get a little more than annoying when you are also stuck in a hazardous environment, like an asteroid belt, as even after you have defeated the hostile space cruiser there, the faster than light drive will still have to spin up and charge for the same lengthy duration as if you were in combat. If you get caught in the trap of watching the bar fill up, you’ll likely find it to be excessively slow, as if just might be more than is normal for the in combat charge.

Being stuck with just two mantis is a struggle to overcome, as while only having two crew members is not normally something to be too bothered by, the combined fact that they are of the mantis race and that this ship is designed for boarding can make it difficult for you. Furthermore your mantis crew are in perpetual risk of death every time they board the enemy ship, so upgrading your crew teleporter will facilitate in keeping a tighter rein on their combat environment. You typically only lose a crew member when they either were not healed to full to begin with when they teleported over to the enemy cruiser, or your crew teleporter is still on its ion based cooldown before you can use it again and you need to pull them out fast or else they’ll die. And since you can’t, they die, and then you’ve lost one of your only two mantis crew members, who on top of bringing your crew total dangerously low, cannot be easily replaced.

You cannot ask for any crew members to be better at crew combat than them though, just that you could use more of them. Quickly recruiting just a single engi will dramatically shift the dynamic and flow of each battle though, as you will have at least one crew member to be able to mend splintered systems and man the pilots deck with an exceptional proficiency at repairing, making the lone engi worth nearly two crew members when you need him for the role that he is doing.

  • Starting Weapons: There are actually no weapons at all that the Basilisk mantis cruiser starts out with from the hangar, and you will be met with some resistance when trying to equip the vessel with any weapons, as you have to fork over a gouged bulk of scrap to upgrade the weapons control into a decent, usable condition. The reason for this though is that the Basilisk mantis cruiser relies neither on its weapons, nor traditional drones.
  • Starting Drones: This cruiser just would not be worth its salt if it didn’t have any drones, as it lacks weapons of any sort, and otherwise you can only rely on its crew teleporter to fight any hostiles – of which you only have two crew members, making that more difficult than it would be on average if the vessel were to start with a crew teleporter.

From the hangar, the Basilisk mantis cruiser comes equipped with a Boarding Drone and a Defense Mark I drone. That boarding drone, for every launch and deployment, consumes one drone part to send a curled up, bulkily sized drone hurtling through space to smash through the hull of the enemy cruiser and begin to wage battle with a laser fixed on its arm and a black, squarish treadmill for legs. Little impedes the boarding drone, as there aren’t any stairs of any sort, and for whatever room it first launches into, a hull breach will appear, vacuuming away the air supply and damaging any enemy crew venturing inside from its damage over time effect. You have no actual control over the boarding drone other than activating it and deactivating it, as you cannot order it to attack a certain system, to move into another room, or even where the boarding drone will launch into. It is entirely random where the boarding drone will end up, sometimes it can be an empty and systemless room, and sometimes it will be the full sized square room for the shields.

The boarding drone is basically one of the two reasons why the Basilisk mantis cruiser only comes with two crew members, as the boarding drone stands in place of one combat ready crew member, with some altered attributes. It does have a total of one hundred and fifty hit points, making it comparable to a rockman in terms of endurance, but doesn’t have any boost to its damage so it is not as potent as a mantis. The boarding drone is immune to fire, vacuum, and even ion damage, so it can weather the hazards without succumbing to them. And even if that boarding drone gets defeated in battle, you can just redeploy it after a certain delay. When drones are destroyed, their schematic slot turns red for a period of time before it can be reinitiated. In the heat of battle, this can be inconvenient.

For as useful as the boarding drone is, it is somewhat infeasible to have two running at once. You can, but they will both take up six energy slots total, meaning each one takes three energy slots to power and maintain. It is best to activate your boarding drone first, and then send in your mantis crew a little while after it so that it can draw the attention of the enemy crew and do some damage. The enemy crew may scatter once your mantis arrive, leaving the vacuumed room, but not all of them. Usually one stays to fight the boarding drone unless the room is entirely vacuumed of oxygen, which leaves the boarding drone to its devices to attack whatever system it is after. The boarding drone ends up serving as a buffer to soak up some damage from the enemy crew, while also knocking down their health bars enough that even if your boarding party does not have any skill in brawling, your boarding party should be able to win a direct match. This does make the most difference when you lack a clone bay, which is the case with this layout – at least initially. Losing one crew member can be particularly devastating in early to mid gameplay, as you only have so many that can be spared from critical systems, and when you do spare them from integral systems like the pilots deck, your space cruiser is made exceptionally vulnerable in enemy fire – from missiles to beams and lasers.

  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, zero missiles, and fifteen drone parts. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the basilisk mantis cruiser departs from the hangar with not a single missile, as there aren’t even any weapons equipped, and the pace to arming the basilisk mantis cruiser will be sluggish in the beginning, even counterproductive towards the strengths of this type of vessel. While other space cruisers are known to have denser stock than fifteen drone parts, this is sufficient for your use with the boarding drone; though you should be inclined to make a judgment call for every deployment of your drones.

Deploying the defense drone is uncommonly necessary in early game with this cruiser, and even if the enemy space cruiser is armed with a missile launcher, your HULL can still take a couple blasts of damage from a missile for every fight. In comes to the point where you have to determine if taking on some minor damage to your HULL is worth sparing the single drone part it takes to deploy the defense drone. In terms of pure scrap cost, with no other variables weighing in, you would be better off deploying the defense drone if your HULL takes three or more points of damage, as that would run you nine scrap to repair from a shop beacon while a single drone part will run you eight scrap to purchase. It is not usually so cut and dry as that though, as for every shop beacon you visit there is a finite number of drone parts for you to purchase, and you will inevitably want to get your hands on as many as you can within frugal reason. At the same time, there is really only so much damage your HULL can take before each encounter with a hostile cruiser becomes riskier and riskier. Below half is when it becomes seriously threatening to the survival and success of your game instance. That in itself is also only a generalization, as it doesn’t take into consideration the level of difficulty applied to your game instance, or how far you are through the sectors as enemy encounters become progressively stronger the further you go.

As well at times you will neither need the boarding drone, as the strength of your boarding party al one may be enough to thwart the enemy crew, so making an individual decision for each enemy encounter can go a long way in extending the limited resource of your drone parts through your game instance.

  • Starting Augmentations: The Mantis Pheromones is present as well in the basilisk layout of the mantis cruiser, enabling the same benefits in that your crew members have their movement speed heightened by twenty five percent whether they are onboard your own vessel or are invading an enemy vessel. This really does make a difference for the basilisk mantis cruiser, as you are so heavily reliant on your boarding party, but it won’t matter much at all when you are faced with an unmanned drone. Those enemies are built with minimal space and no oxygen support, so scurrying between the system rooms inside an automatic drone won’t bear much weight on defeating it. Unfortunately this augmentation will not affect your boarding drone, as your boarding drone is just that – a machine. Naturally pheromones are not going to affect it, even though they do affect the engi, as the engi are a mixture between organic and synthetic in an inexplicable way.
  • Slot Limits: Three different weapons can be equipped simultaneously in the weapons control, and two different drone schematics can be loaded in the drone control system. Neither stats are exceptional, while the drone slot limit is actually the worst you can have. Nevertheless, drones will still hold their tremendous use, whether at the two slot limit or the three slot limit. You can offset the downside to having only two slots by finding or purchasing high tier drone schematics that require three to four energy slots to maintain each, as the drone control system has a hard limitation on how much energy it can hold through the upgrade system. That limit is eight, when you have fully upgraded it. Said hard limitation imposes a restriction on exactly what kinds of drone schematics you can use simultaneously on space cruiser layouts that have three to four slot limits, so while you are altogether limited as to how many your basilisk mantis cruiser can be equipped with at one time, you are not hit as hard as you would be by say having a weapons control system with only two slots.
  • Systems: Level four shields (two barriers), level one engines, level one oxygen support, level one weapons control, level three drone control system, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, and level one crew teleporter. The reactor comes with eleven slots of energy from the hangar.

The level four shielding system from the hangar is a strong point for this layout, as your vessel will act like a stronghold against early enemy encounters, their weapons just won’t be quick and powerful enough to break through your shielding, and if they do they won’t do much damage at all to your HULL while your boarding party is mopping the floor with their crew. The level three drone control system is at an upgraded enough tier that you can deploy and power either the boarding drone and the defense drone but not at the same time, but early on it is important to be parsimonious in your expenditure of your drone parts, while as the game instance progresses you will have to be more aggressive to dispatch your enemies without drawing the battle out too long, minimizing damages to your space cruiser.

Most of the other systems are nothing special, and are actually subpar compared to the average, in the case of the engines. Upgrading the engines is very cheap for a good boost in dodge rate, but they won’t do anything if you don’t have a crew member manning the pilots deck, which will likely be so early on in the game when you only have two mantis crew members to use while you are actively relying on your boarding party to be able to defeat your enemies. As tough as this might be, you will be consistently earning greater rewards in scrap and resources when you wipe out the enemy crew of a hostile vessel, as this is considered not standard and perhaps more difficult. It surely is when the enemy space cruiser is equipped with a med bay, as they will keep retreating to it. Leaving your space cruiser essentially unmanned so often will leave you wanting to upgrade the pilots deck, an unconventional desire as the auto pilot will initially only possess half the native dodge rate of your vessel, to then eighty percent at the maximum upgrade. There won’t be much use in this though if you can find yourself a spare crew member who will not be joining your boarding party.

You might be concerned about leaving your space cruiser abandoned of any crew, because what would happen if your crew teleporter was damaged in the fight and now your crew members have no way to get back from the enemy vessel since there is no one aboard your space cruiser to repair the crew teleporter. This actually is not the case though, as the game has balanced for such a scenario, or else it would be a major detraction for the basilisk mantis cruiser. A small event will pop up, allowing your crew members to return to your space cruiser from the enemy vessel, and from there you can manually repair the damaged crew teleporter.

As this layout relies almost exclusively on boarding, with the somewhat exclusion of the boarding drone as that originates from the drone control system even if the function is equivalent to a human brawler, the crew teleporter is for once located in a fully sized room, a broad square with four teleporter pads. Though you are stuck with just two mantis crew members when you choose this layout and cruiser from the hangar, when you acquire more crew members, the sheer size of this crew teleporter will greatly enhance your boarding party’s effectiveness and capabilities. The need to upgrade the crew teleporter to tier two will be pressing because of the degree that you rely on this system and none other for dealing with hostile ships. Once at tier two, you will be able to safely recall your boarding party from the enemy vessel when they are in need of rescue, as the cooldown will be up before a one on one brawl is completed, leaving either side the victor – and in cases when either your boarding crew does not start with full health, or they get ganged up on by more than one brawler at any point even if briefly, or just receives damage from some other source like fire, your crew member may be on the losing side. With the tier two upgrade, you should be able to recall them fast enough to give them restoring sanctuary in the med bay, except in circumstances that are greatly turned against you, like three brawlers against your one crew member, or a similar situation in which the enemy crew keep bouncing back and forth from their level two med bay. Sometimes you just cannot outpace the combination of the med bay and the enemy crew if you cannot temporarily disable the med bay in some way.

Upgrading your med bay will be on priority too, as even though the med bay is directly adjacent to the crew teleporter room, making this as simple as a couple steps to start to receive healing, the healing rate of the level one med bay is quite sluggish when you have to wait for your crew members to top off to full after every enemy encounter, when you are utterly relying on them for your battle prowess. Of course acquiring a clone bay is always a viable option, but you may be better off choosing the third layout of the mantis cruiser if you want that kind of gameplay style, if you have it unlocked. Switching to the clone bay from the med bay will cost you fifty scrap, if you can find it in a shop beacon.

Zoltan shielded enemies will be this cruiser’s bane as you cannot teleport through the Zoltan shielding, and a jettisoned boarding drone will explode on impact on the barrier. If you have no way of damaging that Zoltan shielding, then you are merely sitting there waiting to be blasted apart, as you cannot do anything whatsoever to that Zoltan enemy cruiser. Your recourse here is to wait for your faster than light drive to charge to full and jump away, whatever resources and scrap you could have acquired out of your grasp. You could entirely change the outcome of such an encounter by just equipping your space cruiser with any kind of weapon, be it pathetically weak like a basic laser, or something like a hefty but slow ion weapon. Though the ion weapon will not inflict direct damage to a ship’s HULL, it will deal damage to the Zoltan shielding.

An ion weapon won’t help you when encountering an unmanned drone cruiser though, aside from stasis locking one or two of its systems, preventing it from harming you while you sit there and wait for your faster than light drive to fully charge for you to jump away. Though you can unfeasibly dispatch an unmanned drone with a boarding party, or a boarding drone, it is a painfully slow process that comes with its fair share of risks due to how the unmanned drone cruisers are typically designed. It is rare, if ever, that their rooms are completely connected to one another. Usually only two rooms at a time will be joined, like the engines and shields, or the weapons control and drone control, with wall partitions between them, preventing anything onboard from accessing another system. This sort of layout makes no difference to the unmanned drone itself, as either it has no one to provide maintenance to its systems, or it has a passive augmentation that gradually and automatically repairs its systems at a slow rate. This kind of interior makeup makes it very difficult for a boarding party to defeat the unmanned drone, as on top of there being no crew for you to defeat and you must resort to indirectly damaging the unmanned drone cruiser’s HULL by damaging its systems, the system rooms are partitioned off from each other.

It does partly not matter though, as your crew cannot stay inside an unmanned drone too long because of the lack of oxygen support, unless you manage to find a Lanius – and at that point you likely have a weapon equipped that can inflict some damage to a ship’s HULL. If you do intend to dispatch an unmanned drone cruiser with your boarding party, then you need a level two crew teleporter to bring them back to your med bay before they suffocate aboard the drone cruiser.

Upgrading your sensors to level two will be of an exceptional benefit with your boarding party, as you will be able to observe what the enemy crew is doing, where they are, and anything that is going on in the interior of the enemy cruiser, like if there is a hull breach inside the med bay, or a fire is raging inside the already damaged shielding system. These kinds of variables occur more frequently when you have some other source of damage than just your boarding tactics, as you can see some of the interior of a vessel when your crew is onboard it, and you will more likely know any random occurrences like a fire because of the limited ways it can occur without your cruiser attacking it with weapons. Having level two sensors turns into more a quality of life upgrade without a source of attack from the weapons control or drone control, and it won’t even cost you any energy slots from your reactor to maintain as the sensors is just a subsystem.

  • Room for Additional Systems: Though the basilisk mantis cruiser appears to be sparsely furnished in the way of variable in your avenues of attack patterns, the layout is actually loaded heavily with systems and ends up with only a single spot for another system for you to install in your game instance. No vessel is ever without a weapons control system, so despite that the basilisk mantis cruiser actually lacks any kind of equipped weapon, the weapons control system is still installed, unlike what would be the case in a mirrored situation with a drone control system as usually lacking any drone schematics just means that your space cruiser lacks a drone control system at all. This does allude to the drone control system being a more advanced, and optional feature upon a vessel, which can be the case as drones do not always inflict direct damage to the enemy cruiser’s HULL and serve more of a Swiss army knife function. The crew teleporter is also seldom seen already installed on a vessel, and so that takes up another slot that you would regularly have the option to install something into. All of this just leaves you with one spot.

Not that having just one spot is a bad thing. You end up having to expend less scrap because you have so much already installed, even if the weapons control system starts out weakened. The basilisk mantis cruiser’s weapons control system starts out in a state similar to lacking a drone control system, in that the weapons control system is only at level one. This is peculiar since the weapons control system is almost never at just level one when you pick a space cruiser from the hangar. And so to get the weapons control system into a more usable state, you have to expend more than the typical amount of scrap. The game alerts you of this in reddish text, as the weapons really are underpowered.

What you have left to pick from though is the mind control station, the hacking station and the cloaking system. The mind control station will really be very complementary to your boarding party, but won’t hold as much use in end game when you are fighting the rebel flagship, as you can take out its entire crew and it will keep on lumbering, shredding you to bits slowly. This can be a problem if you take out the entire crew in the rebel flagship’s first form, as for the second and third form there will be no enemy crew to take mind control over, and therefor your mind control station will be effectively useless for the final fight – the hardest of the game. So while the mind control station can be very strong, it is far from necessary. It will prevent any kind of mind control affecting your muscly crew though, which could wreck some havoc because of how strong they are, either from their mantis race or their brawling skill.

You are left then with the hacking station and the cloaking system. The hacking station will snip away at your limited resource of drones, but you may just have enough piled up to be able to use both. It will certainly help in end game, like when you have little other recourse to be able to take down their med bay. The hacking drone will actually turn their med bay against them, and so any enemy crew that dash away from impeding defeat by the fists and laser guns of your boarding party will be poisoned to death by their hacked med bay. You can almost imagine a sinister laugh from an artificial intelligence when that purple cloud surrounds them.

The cloaking system can be useful, maybe even more useful when you do not rely on weapon charges to deal with your enemies, so the effect of cloak will not be prematurely brought down. It will help you survive large attacks, particularly the rebel flagship’s special abilities, so it can be a close decision between the two of them. Ultimately the hacking station will run you the most use though, because when you need a system taken down, you need it right then, and the hacking station can do that job perfectly without needing to force down the shields to get what you need.

  • Ways to unlock: There is just one way to unlock the second layout of the mantis cruiser, the basilisk, which is by completing two out of the total three achievements unique to the mantis cruiser. You can choose any two out of those three, so you at least have some options there. The feasibly, time investment, and difficulty of each achievement are not made equal though, so it is best to analyze each one and make a decision from there.

The first achievement is named, “Take no prisoners!” and requires that you eliminate the whole crew of twenty different ships before you reach the sixth sector. Obviously this achievement would be a lot easier and quicker to achieve if you could just use the basilisk layout for it, but unless you have already unlocked it by completing the other two achievements, you are going to have to do it with the first layout, the gila monster. The gila monster does come equipped with a crew teleporter to begin with though, and has double the size of crew than the basilisk, with a total of three mantis for you to select from to make up your boarding party. The crew teleporter only has two spaces though, so unless you have your crew teleporter fully upgraded – and quickly – and you are skilled and lucky at juggling around your teleport recalls and sends then you are probably going to be stuck with just a boarding party of two mantis with one spare in case something disastrous happens to one of them, or you need a mantis at full health quicker than the med bay can provide. Though dispatching twenty ships by defeating their whole crew may seem like a staggering number, you’d be surprised as to how many ships you actually encounter on your journey, and even before sector 6. You will want to try to jump to as many beacons as possible for every sector, and choose more aggressive sectors like rebel controlled sectors so that you have a greater chance at finding ships. If you do end up having some trouble though, you can try to pick up the long ranged scanners augmentation so that you can see if an upcoming beacon has a ship present and jump to it, giving you a nearly guaranteed encounter. All in all, this is an achievement you are going to want to complete, as it involves the direct purpose and style of the mantis cruiser, in that it fights its enemies by way of a boarding party. This will bring upon you a great deal of experience in crew combat in a short span of time as well.

The second achievement is named, “Avast, ye scurvy dogs!”. The phrase resembles a tropeish saying of pirates, of whom typically board their enemy vessels to take on their crew, instead of blasting their ship apart and losing all that wanted cargo. The requirement to complete this one is that you must defeat five crew members in a single hostile encounter without receiving any damage to your space cruiser’s HULL or losing any of your crew members, be it from being defeated in a brawl or succumbing to a raging fire aboard your vessel. This achievement isn’t so much as difficult but somewhat infeasible and unlikely. You are not going to find many vessels with five different crew members aboard, unless you are all the way into the last third of a game instance’s stretch. Of course if the enemy vessel has the clone bay equipped, instead of the med bay, then by defeating a crew member and waiting for him or her to be cloned, and defeating that clone, will count as defeating two crew members instead of just one despite being maybe-technically the same person (hint: they’re not, but they will be considered two separate enemies, so that serves your purposes). Still you will have to be careful to not wipe out the whole crew in such a scenario, as if you defeat them all before the clone bay can pop out another one, you will end the fight. This kind of achievement is more the type where if the scenario with the right composition presents itself to you, then you may as well try to do it. There isn’t much of a way to actively pursue this achievement otherwise, other than being prepared for it to happen, such as having an upgraded crew teleporter and an upgraded med bay/clone bay. You shouldn’t even bother to hope for this to be completed when you fight the rebel flagship, as that ship has so much firepower it may just be impossible for your space cruiser to not take any damage before you dispatch five of its crew.

Finally, the third achievement is named, “Battle Royale”. Yet again revolving around the boarding party style of the mantis cruiser, to complete this third achievement you must defeat the last enemy crew with your last remaining crew member aboard their ship. This does sound tricky to do, and it can be while still striving for a winning game instance. Chances are if you are forced onto one last leg standing with just a single crew member, then your game instance is not fairing too well. If winning that individual game instance is not your priority though, and all you care about is completing this achievement, and/or unlocking the second layout of the mantis cruiser, then you can contrive the scenario to occur. It is of course possible to occur naturally, but if such a desperate struggle happens when you are losing crew member after crew member, then you may not end up surviving at all. This makes this achievement similar to the Kestrel cruiser achievement where you need to be left standing with just one health point left in your HULL. It is possible, but dangerous and unlikely.

You will need to have a close eye on an enemy encounter, and preferably choose an enemy vessel that cannot break through your shielding, and does not have a med bay installed. Usually the first couple sectors in a game instance have enemy vessels with just two crew members each, of which rarely have med bays as obviously they are not well equipped or funded. It is not absolutely necessary that the enemy cruiser cannot break through your shielding enough to damage your HULL, but it minimizes the possibility of failure by way of the enemy cruiser’s gunfire. The fight probably won’t take that long, but having a large length of time in which you can enact the steps necessary to complete this achievement does greatly help, even if you need some patience until you find the right sort of enemy vessel.

Once you have found the enemy vessel that matches your preferences, you should teleport your boarding party over as normal, brawling with the enemy crew. This will bring down their health, and you might kill one of them, but it is unlikely you will defeat one without defeating the other, unless they are a race like the Rockmen. Early on the game, you probably won’t find an enemy cruiser with a rockman on it though. More likely you will find something like engi and human, but you are not going to defeat an engi any faster than a human, the engi just will not hurt your crew member as much as the human would. What you will need to do here is defeat one of the enemy crew, while not defeating the other. There are a number of ways to do this, such as pulling one of your crew members away from that fight the brawl is occurring, and leaving two of the enemy crew to fight just that lone one of yours. Hopefully he will be able to take one out before he is defeated himself, but that method is risky. The better alternative is to just teleport recall both of your crew members away, leaving the enemy crew at low health, but both alive. Then you bring a third crew member into the teleporter room. You do not actually need a third crew member, but it makes the process smoother. If you only have two at this point, then you need to heal one of them to full and then put him in the crew teleporter room while the crew teleporter recovers from its cooldown. It is important here that at least one crew member has full health points. This crew member is going to be your survivor, the one that wins you the achievement by besting the enemy crew. They have to be low health though that your one crew member is going to be strong enough and last long enough to be able to defeat them both.

The other crew members, that you initially used to brawl the enemy crew, should be put next to a hatch that accesses the exterior space. Turn off your oxygen system, by depowering it, and then open the hatch door, or as many as there are so that the room quickly turns into a vacuum. This is the exact situation you almost always avoid, unless you want to clone your crew member to immediately bring him to full health, which you may want to for a number of reasons; such as his low health will prevent him from defeating anybody he fights in the next teleport jump, and so that would be basically a waste of a crew teleporter charge. By vacuuming the room, those two crew members will perish and you will be left with the lone crew member in the crew teleporter room. If you do have any other crew, then you need to get rid of them with this same method. As by how the game operates, this is generally the only way you can get rid of your crew members in a controlled environment, as you cannot put them in the same room as an enemy crew and force them to not defend themselves, they will just automatically attack whether it’s an enemy crew or an enemy system. The same applies for each other, as friendly fire does not exist in brawling.

Wait until every single one of your crew member except the one in the crew teleporter room has succumbed to the vacuum. Don’t worry about the one in the crew teleporter room, as the oxygen will not deplete fast enough to bother him provided your hatch doors are set to the default and normal position of closed. Once that is done, teleport him aboard the enemy vessel, and them have him fight the enemy crew. If you have done everything right, and you didn’t get a bout of bad luck, then your last crew member will defeat the enemy cruiser’s last crew member and you will earn yourself this achievement.

Ideally you will want to complete the first achievement, “Take no prisoners!” and the third achievement “Battle Royale” if unlocking the layouts of the mantis cruiser are high on your goal list. If you do not want to essentially sacrifice a game instance, or make a game instance unnecessarily hard on you, then you can try for the second achievement, “Avast, ye scurvy dogs!” instead of the third achievement “Battle Royale”. It may take multiple game instances though for you to complete “Avast, ye scurvy dogs!”.

Layout C

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“With a large teleporter and weapons designed to impede enemy crew, this ship is deadly in the hands of a capable boarding party.”

The coating of the third layout of the mantis cruiser is redone with a dully shining emerald green with black accentuating fringes flaring out. The look of this layout blends more into the pitch black background of space, and gives it a more intimidating and even ominous air. As should be really, as this third layout is equipped with the advancing technology that emerged when the Lanius race started to spread across intergalactic civilization, and they are a species to be feared, if not just wary of. They are the kind of fighter that nobody wants to be pitted up against, as their bodies seem to be made out of the metal they eat, and their carapace sucks up the oxygen, suffocating everybody else. It is improbable, but the Lanius and mantis would make unlikely and terrible allies in boarding party warfare.

This layout takes great advantage of the new weapons and systems added from the Advanced Edition update, establishing a new corner in boarding party style gameplay. The layout is also quite spacious, even more so than the others of the mantis cruiser as its back leg wings are comprised almost entirely out of the fully sized rooms. Instead of two wings made out of corridors, they are made out of those large squares. Each one presses against a corner of hatch doors accessing the exterior space, but generally the back of the layout is empty except for when you install additional systems. Towards the head of the mantis design is where the majority of the vessel’s contents are located. They cluster around an inside out hexagon, where the center is hollow and open to the exterior. The pilots deck is placed at the back though, forced against a hatch doorless wall while being surrounded and encased by corridors, making that whole section like an enlarged rectangle. The engines system is placed on the top most wing, at the farthest room, isolated from the rest of the ship but with a couple of hatch doors in the corner of the adjacent room.

  • Original Name: The Theseus. The title originates from greek mythology, as Theseus was a hero who was in similar vein to Hercules and Jason, and was the son of Aethra, having both divine and mortal origins.
  • Beginning Crew: One engi, one mantis, and one Lanius. The crew setup for this layout is a concoction of the mantis cruiser’s style and the advanced technology of the Lanius, just in a smaller format. It takes a piece from each, and is just as strong in the boarding party format because of it, if not better since you have an engi to man your vessel even if he himself cannot help much in crew combat. You genuinely will not want to entangle your engi in any crew combat, except in desperate occasions when you need to distract or lure enemy crew that have invaded your vessel. The mantis and Lanius will make a great duo that will be devastating to your enemy. The pair are essentially your weapons, as they are what you use to defeat your enemies. At least from the hangar anyway, but even if you should recruit more crew members (which you should) both the mantis and the Lanius are exceptional races at crew combat. The mantis are strong in damage, while the Lanius have higher health and a unique property of draining oxygen, starving out enemy crew and enabling him to enfeeble the enemy ship’s systems without interference or blockade.
  • Starting Weapons: Unlike the second layout of the mantis cruiser, the basilisk, this third layout does indeed have armaments equipped from the hangar and these weapons supplement your boarding party’s efforts. These weapons are both bombs, which are like self teleporting missiles that target parts or crew of the ship rather than the ship’s HULL itself. You can also target your own, should you wish to, but the times in which that could occur are small in number. The first weapon is the lock bomb, and the second is the stun bomb. The lock bomb has an effect just like the crystalmen’s special ability. Targeting a ship room with this bomb will cover it in a material, if it doesn’t miss, preventing anyone from entering and exiting that room until they break it down. Using this in conjunction with one of your boarding crew will let you take out that system unimpeded, potentially disabling their med bay before they can get through, which would let you win a bout that you otherwise probably couldn’t since they would keep running to heal back to full. Chasing them down wouldn’t amount to much either, as you usually cannot inflict damage quicker than a med bay can heal back.

The stun bomb has a dual property special effect that was added to the game with the update. Launching this at a room will inflict stun on any crew inside, rendering them immobile and essentially unconscious upright for a short while, and it will also knock out any system it comes into contact with as if it were hit with an ion weapon. The effect is temporary, both of them, and can even affect your own crew, so this is the kind of weapon that needs to be used with a hard and careful reign. Generally you will want to interchange which bomb weapon you are using, you just do not need to enfeeble the enemy ship that severely in early to middle game. Later on you will want to bring down the full force of your ship, and so by then you should have a large stock of missiles laying around so long as you kept a good hold on how much you used. The two bombs do have analogous effects, both bolstering your boarding party’s strengths, and essentially paving the way for them.

The lockdown bomb takes one energy slot to activate and maintain, and needs fifteen seconds to fully charge up. The stun bomb needs only one energy slot as well, and takes seventeen seconds to charge up to full. The stun effect lasts for fifteen seconds, while the ion damage it inflicts is only one. Each of these weapons requires and consumes a missile to deploy, whether they hit their intended target or not.

  • Starting Drones: This layout does not come equipped with any drone schematics, as it lacks the drone control system onboard. This setup further relates it to the first layout of the mantis cruiser, the gila monster.
  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, twenty missiles, and zero drone parts. Lacking any drone schematics and a drone control system, and neither a hacking station too, there is not any reason why this space cruiser would be supplied with drone parts. Drones are generally useful though, so this will not help you later on in the game if you ever install a drone control system or a hacking station, but you will gradually accrue drone parts from enemies that you defeat so you will not be left with nothing, so long as you fight enough battles. Twenty missiles is high, but not as high as it could be when your weapons are depending on missiles. The mantis cruiser is not styled like other cruisers though that aim to defeat ships by blasting them apart, instead the mantis cruiser destroys them from within by getting rid of their crew. So while the bombs are incredibly useful, they are not necessary to win, but are nonetheless a large part of what makes this layout of the mantis cruiser unique. Twenty missiles will provide you with a thick buffer, and you will only continue to accumulate more. If you rely on them too heavily though, you may find yourself wanting to purchase missiles from shop beacons.
  • Starting Augmentations: This third layout is no different than the rest in terms of its augmentation rollout. Again the mantis cruiser is equipped with the mantis pheromones that accelerate the movement speed of all of your crew, no matter if they are onboard your vessel or invading another one, by twenty five percent. This is always useful for your boarding party, and will make addressing any damage to your ship’s systems and hazards all the more immediate.
  • Slot Limits: For the weapons control, there is a limit of three different weapons equipped at the same time while for the drone control system, should you install it on this layout, will have a hard limitation of two different drone schematics equipped. This is not any different from the other two layouts of the mantis cruiser, as it is suited for crew combat with a capable supplementation from the weapons control and occasional use of drones from the drone control system. Two slots for the drone control system does not make this cruiser weak, as it does not rely on them, and won’t even be prevented from making full use of the drone control system in terms of full power of eight energy slots.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen support, level two weapons control, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, level one crew teleporter, and level two clone bay. The engines are at a higher level and most particularly so is the clone bay, as it is uncommon for med bays or clone bays to be at a higher tier and is generally a somewhat costly upgrade too. With the clone bay at level two, your crew are going to be healed more after every jump, which ends up going a long way early on when you rely so much on them to fight hostiles. Since this is the mantis cruiser, the detrimental affect your Lanius crew member has on rooms is seen less as usually he is onboard the enemy vessel, attacking. Even so, the level one oxygen system does not provide enough air supply to counteract the draining affect the Lanius has on the air. Level two will match the affect to a stalemate, but will not replenish the air circulating in the room, while level three will outmatch the draining the Lanius will have. Upgrading itself isn’t ideal, as it requires substantial amounts of power that you really do not have much to spare of, but you have the ability to move energy slots in and out of the oxygen system so you can constantly control the rate of oxygen replenishment the system gives. It is not exactly wanted to have even more overhead, something you generally have to keep an eye on, but this is better than being forced out of certain rooms for non-Lanius crew members and potentially harming, even killing your own crew members because you do not have enough control over it.

This layout’s crew teleporter is placed in a full sized room, so it is equipped with four teleporter pads. This is very rare to happen in any space cruiser, whether they start from the hangar with a crew teleporter or not, as the crew teleporter always installs into a specific type of room – either corridor of full sized, and more often than not the crew teleporter will go into a corridor type of room, offering a mere two spots. The fact that this layout has four spots for a crew teleporter rises it above the rest of the space cruisers in terms of boarding party strength. The cooldown on the crew teleporter really does limit what you can do with your boarding party if you just have two spots.

  • Room for Additional Systems: Since there isn’t a drone control system already installed in the hangar, but the layout does come equipped with a crew teleporter, this space cruiser layout has two available spots for you to install more systems. Your selection would be between the mind control station, the hacking station, the cloaking system, and the drone control system. Though the drone control system is limited to just two slots, you can still make use of it depending on how you want to gear your ship for that game instance.

Generally helming a boarding party inclined space cruiser forces upon the player a riskier style of gameplay, which leads itself to a higher than normal difficulty. This is because ships designed for strong boarding parties usually lack effective means of fire power from their weapons control, or even lack any weapons whatsoever. This third layout of the mantis cruiser is no exception to this rule, but to an actual lesser degree than typical. Boarding parties fundamentally lack the ability to disable systems at a quick rate, and because of this the enemy ship is able to launch a drastic amount more of weapon fire, drone fire, and more sources of offense. This is effectively halving the ability of your space cruiser to properly defend itself, and so you receive much more damage than the usual. This isn’t always the case, such as when the enemy vessel is not equipped with a dreaded missile launcher, or your shields are so high that the lasers cannot pierce through it, but as you travel through the sectors this does become increasingly prevalent. The commonplace tactic of targeting the enemy ship’s weapons control to stop them from firing, or sending volleys of lasers at the drone control system, is simply gone when you do not have the means to fire at it without any equipped weapons. In the absence of that form of defense, your ship’s HULL can really take a beating.

Crew members can attack systems, but they can only do that when there isn’t a hostile crew member in the same room, and that is almost never the case as whenever your boarding party is invading, the enemy crew will rush to meet them. Your boarding party is even on higher priority to fires spreading through their vessel, and the same goes for any hull breaches and damaged systems, except when the oxygen system is damaged and the ship is draining dangerously low of oxygen. In that instance, the immediate threat to their lives is greater than the presence of your boarding party, despite that a fire will also probably kill them off if left unchecked. However the game is aware of this and provides encounter wins with a greater amount of scrap and resources, helping to offset the costs that happen when you cannot take out systems to stop them from hurting your ship.

When helming this style of ship that relies on the boarding party to deal with hostile encounters, it is best to choose systems and weapons that will complement that tactic or shore up weaknesses. Though you are restricted to just two slots for the drone control system, if you can find drone schematics that help your boarding party, or make up for the smaller amount of crew onboard your space cruiser, then that will serve your purposes well and strengthen the capabilities of your space cruiser as a whole. Drones like the boarding drone, the system repair drone, the ionizer drone, and the anti-personnel drone work well with a boarding party style space cruiser like this one. The mind control station will also work alongside your boarding party, so long as there are any crew members for you to fight, while it will come into limited use at the final fight of the game though. The hacking station can be really useful for this mantis cruiser layout, as it can disable the med bay or the weapons system, serving a dual purpose of both shoring up the weaknesses that a boarding party cruiser inherits by not being able to dismantle enemy systems and enhancing the strength of the boarding party itself by disabling the med bay.

  • Ways to unlock: The standard way to unlock the third layout of any vessel is by traveling to the eight sector with the second layout of the same cruiser type. So to unlock the Theseus mantis cruiser, layout C, you need to helm the basilisk layout B all the way to the eighth sector and survive. Since the mantis cruiser is more vulnerable to random strokes of luck, this can take multiple shots at game instances until you finally make it through. If you are having difficulty, and can stand to not care about your score and if you can defeat the rebel flagship, you can try to skirt on through, taking the farthest reaching jumps you can manage while always going to the right, deviating little from your intended course by going upwards and downwards. You can feasibly do it in just one game instance, but it can seriously hamper the enjoyment and make it feel more like a chore – and that is never a feeling you want to experience from a game. If you do that sort of thing too often, and don’t play the game just for the achievements, then you will probably ruin the game for yourself.

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