Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

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Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby featherwings » Tue May 07, 2013 7:48 am

EDIT: Everything below is obsolete with AE. I haven't sunk my teeth into it, but AE discussion starts with Captain Teddy's tier list here.

So, FTL's been out for a while and I figure we've all had enough time to let our opinions of the different ships settle, and I thought it'd be fun to rank them. Mostly because I'm a stickler for balance and I'm planning on patching some of the outliers (Rock A, Engi B, I'm looking at you.) I know player style is a big part of this, but there are definitely some ships that have higher odds - for a skilled player - of winning than others.

This is my list, compiled from my own opinions (about a hundred hours played) and from similar threads from around the internet. I'd love to update it based on all of your feedback! Rationale will follow.

Relative position within a tier doesn't matter - each ship in a tier is about even with others in its tier and better than any in tiers below it. Also, I'm ranking win-ability, not fun or personal preference. Even my favorite ship is low-tier.

Top Tier (Broken)
Crystal B - Carnelian

High Tier (Skilled players will win a majority of games with these ships, unless specifically screwed by the RNG)
Kestrel B - Red-Tail
Federation A - Osprey
Rock B - Shivan
Crystal A - Bravais

Mid Tier (Skilled players will win most games with these ships, given average luck)
Kestral A - Kestrel
Engi A - Torus
Federation B - Nisos
Mantis B - Basilisk
Zoltan B - Noether

Low Tier (Even skilled players require some luck to win with these ships)
Stealth A - Nesasio
Mantis A - Gila Monster
Slug A - Man of War
Rock A - Bulwark
Zoltan A - Adjudicator

Bottom Tier (Severely borked, even skilled players require extraordinary luck to win)
Stealth B - DA-SR 12
Engi B - Vortex
Slug B - Stormwalker

(If this bit's a tad long, just skip to the ships whose ratings you disagree with. Sorry!)

Top Tier
Crystal B: This ship is crazy, it's the bee's knees, it's red because it's got tiger blood. The Carnelian is so broken I'm convinced it was intentional, especially given how hard it is to get. It comes with so many features, you don't really miss weapons. Crystal borders are incredible, lockdown is nuts (it lets you ignore medbays, even on the flagship, and damage systems without interference) and you get the four-person teleporter. Plus cloak and shields to give it plenty of survivability. All you need is a single weapon to deal with zoltan (you can even disable autodrone weapon systems with crystal crew's suffocation resistance). Since it comes with an almost complete flagship killing kit, anyone decently knowledgeable should be able to win > 80% of the time.

High Tier
Kestrel B: The red-tail is crazy fun. Four basic lasers is surprisingly strong up through the first couple sectors and adapts alongside whatever weapons you pick up. The layout is nice and compact, and it comes with all the important bits like shields and a four person crew. Probably the most overall "best" ship in the game.

Federation A: Comes with a weapon that will destroy every ship in the game, eventually. The artillery beam does so much to ease RNG pain. Being able to simply focus on defense is a nice perk, and the artillery beam stays relevant across all sectors. Not being able to cloak makes the flagship slightly rockier, but the burst laser two lets you power through most early game threats and the starting crew is the best in the game for blue options.

Rock B: The Shivan is solid, and is actually my favorite boarding ship (even if it doesn't start with a teleporter) - but I am a bit of a pyro. 4 rockmen is powerful, and the heavy pierce clears through ships well enough until you can snag that teleporter.

Crystal A: The layout is terrible, but crystal boarding actions with lockdown are so OP they push this ship into the high tier. Everything else is average; its weapons are a bit slow, but negating a shield bubble lets you cruise through the early game plenty easy, and it comes with the standard system loadout.

Mid Tier
Kestrel A: The first ship everyone loved <3. The burst laser II + artemis combo is actually one of the best starting weapon loadouts, but starting with three humans is kinda mediocre. Not much else to say, since it's the standard to which other ships are judged. I'd probably place it on the high end of the Mid Tier, if i was going to rank the ships within the tiers.

Engi A: My mate swears this ship is the easiest ship in the game to win with (not the highest win percentage, but the easiest for new players.) The ion II will last you the entire game, but disabling weapons takes a bit longer than against other ships and drone consumption can be iffy. Oh, and the medi-bot dispersal is great for those of us who hate micromanaging our guys to the medbay after every combat but need everyone to be at full health.

Federation B: The Nisos is... meh. It has the artillery beam, which is still great, but everything else it does it does worse than its Osprey sibling. Dual lasers < burst laser II (for the early game), the leto is obsolete by sector two, and slug/zoltan doesn't have nearly as many opportunities as mantis/rockman/engi.

Mantis B: I have a feeling this will be the most divisive placing on this list. When the Basil is on, it's incredibly fantastic, but it also has the potential for a lot of really bad games. I'd like to place it in both the High and Low tiers, honestly, because it's so "swingy". Getting four mantis boarding at once is probably the strongest attack move in the game outside of crystal boarding, but starting with no weapons makes zoltan and auto drones difficult. If it didn't have such high defenses early on I'd probably leave it in the low tier.

Zoltan B: The Noether has a really tense early game, but its starting loadout smashes so much face it can usually get the 100 scrap to get shields pretty quickly. Boarders are really awful (especially "you don't know how they got past your Zoltan energy shield!" moments :/ ) but I'm fond of it because it's just so fun.

Low Tier
Stealth A: I'll be honest. This is actually my favorite ship in the game, probably because it requires so much finesse and it's always a riot to play. Still only low tier, because a bad moment with beam drones or unlucky opening volleys (or even being forced through an asteroid field) will end your game in a really quick fashion. I don't think it's borked badly though, it just needs a bit of understanding and tender loving care to get to its shields system.

Mantis A: I always felt this ship was kinda meh. Starting with a bomb and a laser gives it an early edge against its bigger sibling when dealing with medbays, but not being able to power both just feels spiteful and it doesn't have nearly as good of an end-game finish. I can see if some of you would like to bump it up to mid tier, however.

Slug A: The Anti-bio beam is nice for some early scrap, but using it often involves prolonging battles and the risk of hull damage. Starting with only two crew is harsh, and the slug A lacks the oomph that marks the ships of higher tiers.

Rock A: Hands down my least favorite ship in the game BY FAR. Other ships might be bad, but the Bulwark is BORING. It's so slow to play, and isn't even very good - it's really vulnerable to being screwed by the RNG and running out of steam and missiles in sector 3/4 (somehow even moreso than the ships that don't even get weaopns) and the optimum strategy involves a huge amount of waiting and a fair bit of getting hit in the face.

Zoltan A: Another does-the-same-things-as-its-sibling-but-worse ship. The Leto is obsolete by the time the Halberd beam stops being able to carry its own weight, and you tend to just sort of putter out by sector four or five. The layout doesn't help with terrible boarding response, and the zoltan shield isn't enough to save an otherwise mediocre ship. (If it had an Artemis i'd bump this up to Mid Tier)

Bottom Tier
Stealth B: More than any other ship, the Stealth B is totally luck dependent - so many things will totally wreck your strategy, from beam drones to even stray shots to the weapons system. The Glaive Beam is hilarious fun, but in the end it winds up being mostly impractical due to its long charge time letting enough enemy ships get the first shot off on you that one will knock it out and ruin your day.

Engi B: Such a cool idea, but in the end having no crew is a hinderance. like the Crystal B, I'm convinced it was intentional - this is a challenge ship. It's starting drones are an interesting idea, but wind up being worse than an equal number of crew (and take all three drone slots) and its weapons loadout is questionable. Plus, a single crew member means when you finally get a few extra hands, they'll be behind on experience.

Slug B: A boarding ship with no good boarders or a medbay. Suffers from the same issues as the Rock A - namely, running out of missiles and puttering out a third of the way into the game. Needs a non-missile weapon or a few extra crew incredibly badly, but you won't be able to buy them because you need the scrap for a medbay.

Anyway, lemme hear your thoughts - I'm sure you all have different playstyles, so please point out how I'm wrong! Let's make this a good discussion with only a limited amount of rustled jimmies.
Last edited by featherwings on Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby seacows » Tue May 07, 2013 9:56 am

Not consistently winnable (high luck needed)
Slug B, Stealth B

Consistently winnable (less than high luck needed)
Everything else

Engi B honestly isn't that bad of a ship. You get a ton of stuff to sell off in the beginning, and getting lvl 2 shields + a defense drone from the shop/random encounters sets you up nicely for the first few sectors. Boarders are usually not that bad if vent the ship and use the anti-personnel drone at the same time.
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby Metzelmax » Tue May 07, 2013 11:13 am

Mantis B is not mid tier. It's nearly as powerful as Crystal B.
Zoltan B & A are both really easy ships.

And putting up a Tierlist in a game like this is just stupid.
I mean every ship has strengths and weaknesses. And away the point is mainly to play a ship that is more challenging than the starter ship (at least that's how I play). So the Stealth ships and the engi B are actually the more fun to play :P
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby Teoes » Tue May 07, 2013 11:57 am

I think saying such a list is "stupid" is a bit harsh; at worst one should just pin it down to personal opinion and then posit our own opinions to compare and contrast; hence the request for discussion.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Nah, I can see why you did that. It IS a high-tier ship marred by the number of times I have to Restart a game until I don't get shafted trying to get up and running in Sector 1.

Personally I'd put Fed A in mid tier (and Fed B in low tier cuz it stinks).. it can be a stonker but the lack of cloak can mean that even when focussing on improving defences, you can get pretty roughed up. Especially if the RNG screws you out of a defence drone and gives every encounter a missile launcher. I'd certainly not rank Fed A above Engi A or Stealth A, although I can see why you went with your decision. At least I'd bump Stealth A up to mid tier; yes, you can get totally screwed in one unlucky encounter and you need to know how to work the cloak and weapons to even get the thing off the ground, but I wouldn't lump it in with the rest of the bottom rungs.

Sigh, Mantis A. You could be so wonderful but your Small Bomb is designed exclusively to miss in my experience and a Basic Laser (that can't at first even be armed at the same time!!) really doesn't make up for it. I have rotten luck with this ship.

I feel like I can't really comment on Engi B. The one serious game I played with it I was blessed with crew early, got sweet weapons and ended up being able to take on the Flagship either with weapons or as a boarding-centred ship, at my leisure.
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby featherwings » Tue May 07, 2013 9:01 pm

Metzelmax wrote:And putting up a Tierlist in a game like this is just stupid.

I'm curious why you feel that way, honestly. There are some ships that are better than others. The Fed B is worse than the Fed A, for instance, and it's a pretty solid unassailable fact that it's easier to win with the Crystal A than any other ship. Take a look at the "favorite ships" thread and count how many times you see the Mantis A, the Rock A, the Zoltan A, or the Fed B posted. As a modder yourself, you have to realize that you need to have a frank discussion of the relative merits of ships, even if it's just so when you make your own you understand the principles of balance that extend beyond your own playstyle.

The endgame of this tiers list is a mod to tweak a few of them - I've already been playing an engi B with a an extra drone slot and a vanilla boarding drone. 10 drone parts. It's a surprisingly small tweak, because of how limited you are, but it makes the ship so much more fun to play.

Engi B:
As it is, I don't think it's miles worse than any other ship - but name a ship it's better than. Two repair drones and an anti-personnel are worse than the two crew members most ships start with. It's weapons loadout is the worst among all of the "direct attack" ships, especially when you can't crew the ion. Having to sell its starting drones might be the optimum strategy, but any strategy that relies on having a store with the things you want in the first few sectors is way to swingy to be higher than low tier. But I might be missing something? Are any of these points wrong seacows?

Mantis B:
I think everyone feels so highly about it because although you restart often, it happens so early in the game you only waste a little bit of time. Once you get rolling it rolls EVERYTHING and is a lot more memorable than the ten aborted attempts!
Maybe I'm just bad at it. How often to you restart that sucker?

Fed A:
is my second favorite ship. I might be biased. I'll keep an eye on it, and if more people agree with you I'll bump it down. Fed B probably isn't as good as the rest of the mid-tier ships, yeah... Might trade it for the stealth A.
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby seacows » Tue May 07, 2013 9:12 pm

Its better than the Stealth B and Slug B and only because survivability and scrap potential is better with the Engi B than any of those ships in the early sectors.

The ion blast and heavy laser combo is nice in regards to the fact that the ionization decay time is slightly longer than the recharge rate on the heavy laser. You can hit a ship (with one shield) with the ion blast and the heavy laser mark at the same time, and then hit a ship with the heavy laser mark again right before their shields go up. So as long as you can get the initial 2-shot in first time, you essentially get another shot with the heavy laser mark, even if your weapons bay suffers a point of damage.

The Stealth B has really bad survivability in comparison to the Engi B, mostly because you have to get 150 scrap for shields and you will be taking lots of damage until then (unless you luck out and find a pre-ignitor). With the Slug B, you're going to have raise enough scrap to find a medbay, and find some way to offset only having one missile-based weapon. You're pretty much facing constant damage with the Slug B because you either run out of missiles to initially take out their weapons bay, or your slugs take way too long to kill off enemy crew.

As for acquiring weapons that will allow you to succeed mid-game and beyond, I think thats a problem all the ships face.

Oh here's a write-up I did regarding the Stealth B back when the game was released.

You're at the mercy of RNG for a large period of the game with the stealth ship b

In early game, you have to avoid boarders, zoltan ships, ships with multiple weapons that have different cooldown times but are all less than 15 seconds(until you get cloak level 3), environmental hazards, ships with cloak, and ships with drones. Not to mention, a lot of the time, 80% evade during cloak isn't enough to dodge everything, and sometimes the glaive beam can't one-shot all the ships you meet (the automated ships can avoid being one shot). If you lose a crew member due to random events or your weapons bay gets hit once during battle, you're pretty much done.

The mid-game struggle with the stealth b ship is a matter of getting enough scrap to power your ship. 150 scrap for shields is a lot (and I would say a necessity unless you find a pre-ignitor) and by the time you acquire shields, you're around sector 3, you have barely any scrap, and the enemies start to have 2 shields or more. You have to find (or spend scrap to acquire) a low-power weapon to bring shields down, and you have to spend a good chunk scrap to power your 4+ weapons power bay. Finding an ion bomb or a burst laser mark 1/2 is huge for the stealth ship b mid-game. If you can get through getting shields and finding weapons, you're pretty much good for the rest of the game.
That being said, I feel like a lot of the ships in the game are way too easy to beat the game with, so its always a fun challenge to succeed with the stealth ship b, even if it requires a fair amount of luck.
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby featherwings » Tue May 07, 2013 9:34 pm

seacows wrote:Its better than the Stealth B and Slug B and only because survivability and scrap potential is better with the Engi B than any of those ships in the early sectors.

You have me convinced - I just edited out where I said it was the worst ship. However, those two ships are nestled rather snugly alongside it in the borked tier. Do you think it's better enough to be bumped up to Low?

As for acquiring weapons that will allow you to succeed mid-game and beyond, I think thats a problem all the ships face.

Not the crystal cruisers! They just need a weapon to pop autodrones/zoltan shields. And not really the fed cruisers, either, which is why they're all ranked so high. (Although they need to find defense drones if they want to turtle viably)
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby Pyronic » Fri May 10, 2013 9:03 am

I personally consider Rock B to be absolutely top-notch, played as a boarding ship. The first two sectors run smooth with your Heavy Pierce Laser ignoring the enemies' one layer of shields, and that ought to give you enough scrap and time to acquire a teleporter and hopefully an extra crew member or two to man stations and have two of your Rocks freed up to make a boarding party. After that, your Fire Bomb and Rock boarders can pretty much be your main offense throughout because of how incredibly well they work together. Eventually a full crew gives you two ultra-tough boarding parties of Rocks, and any extra weaponry and augments you get are luxury. Picking up drone control and/or a cloak happens with time, and you can upgrade your defenses and systems to your heart's content with the profit earned from boarding victories. And you maintain an ability to destroy Zoltan shields and automated ships. The degree to which luck can ruin you is just lower than with many other ships, and pyroboarding is just generally awesome.

Then there are some ships that have a particular style of play and are indeed luck reliant, yes, but also fun - like Mantis B (for pure boarding) or Zoltan B (for pure destruction) or Stealth A (for the tension and active-defense oriented play).

Then there are the Kestrels which are also pretty fun, being ok at anything, with no exceptional luck reliance but no specialty. The lack of any kind of specialization means I don't play them much, but they're still good ships.

Then there are ships that are reliable for winning but in my opinion kinda less fun - like Fed A ("stall for artillery beam", meh), or Engi A.

And then there are ships that are sorta bad, either because they have better counterparts that do mostly the same thing, or because they're somehow limited and generally meh - like Zoltan A, Fed B, Mantis A, Rock A, Slug A.

And then there are the painful ships - Engi B, Slug B, Stealth B. That said, Engi B and Stealth B provide interesting challenges and kinda feel cool, even though they suck. Slug B just has no appeal to me whatsoever though.

And then there are the Crystal ships - yeah ok, great, if you get them. But I haven't. And they're the only ships I haven't got. So they're in the "uh, I dunno" tier for me, although they look great on paper. Crystals are cool and I can imagine having several of them chain Lockdown makes that ability tactically more useful, but I haven't had a lot of experience with the race and no experience with the ships, so I can't really rank them yet.
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby Ekimmak » Sat May 18, 2013 7:29 am

Funny thing is, first time I beat the game was on a stealth B ship. After that, I started finding some seriously OP ships, beating the final boss every time I got to him.

Still haven't found that crystal ship yet, but I think one of the most OP was my Engi A, with three ion weapons (Ion Blast, Ion Blast II, and Heavy Ion Blast), two defence I drones and an anti-ship drone II. Being able to shut down up to three enemy systems without even boarding is a huge advantage, and if they can't even damage you, you can simply hit their O2 systems and watch them choke to death or huddle up in the medbay... where you can ionize that as well.

Or say "what the hell", set fire to their ship, and then have your rock crewmate sit in the fire beating up anyone that tries to put it out.

Ships I've beaten the game with:

Stealth B
Mantis A
Engi A
Federation A
Rock A
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Re: Ship Tier List [SPOILERS]

Postby Pyronic » Thu May 30, 2013 8:28 am

Well, after beating the game with all 16 ships that aren't Crystal, and still never unlocking the Crystal ships, here's my tier list:

Elite Tier: These ships are ones I've felt to be powerful, and while they may have a few weaknesses and situations they're not cut out to handle, they're incredible once they're in their zone. They each have a distinctive feel, a degree of specialization, and a lasting uniqueness that makes them memorable and fun while also being strong ships for the win and for high scores. Rock B tops the class for ship that is easiest and most reliable to win with, but they're all excellent vessels in my opinion.
    Rock B - with its pyrotechnics and Rock commandos, still my favorite
    Mantis B - with its elite Mantis strike teams
    Engi A - with its ion-rain and drone mastery
    Zoltan B - with its ship-on-ship combat superiority
    Slug A - with its personnel-sniping propensities

Upper Tier: These ships are strong, and easily winnable, but they lack, in my opinion, the feel of the Elite Tier ships. They're usually looking for better weapons and rolling with whatever they find to keep up as the game progresses, but they don't quite have the "thing that this ship was built around" feel... well, except for the Osprey, which I tend to build around the artillery beam and shield-ignoring ordnance. The Osprey and a boarding-oriented Rock A would probably top the class in my opinion both in feel and utility, followed by the Kestrels and then Zoltan A, which are good ships but are too generalist for my subjective taste.
    Federation A
    Rock A
    Kestrel B
    Kestrel A
    Zoltan A

Lower Tier: These ships may have a unique start but feel indifferent later on, and have inferior end-game capabilities to the Upper Tier. Mantis A and Stealth A may have early focuses on boarding and cloaking respectively but later on they're just a Kestrel with a teleporter or a Kestrel with a cloak respectively, and nothing truly special that justifies them being limited to three weapons slots - no quad-teleporter, no extra drone slot, etc. Federation B is like an inferior Osprey with an awful paint scheme that is just generally unremarkable but not flat-out blatantly bad like the Derp Tier ships.
    Stealth A - although it is the greatest achievement-hunting vessel around, and it looks sweet
    Mantis A
    Federation B

Derp Tier: These ships are meh. They have glaring weaknesses that they have to scramble to fix before becoming... ok. They start off bad and they become alright, unlike other ships that start out decent and become good (Upper/Lower Tiers), or start out decent and become incredible (Elite Tier). They're still winnable with a pinch of luck though.
    Slug B
    Engi B

Borked Tier: This is just the Stealth B. This ship is terrible. It's just awful. Winning with it takes luck, it definitely takes luck, along with skill and attention. Yet I actually approve of its borked existence, because if I ever feel like I need to be reminded most harshly that I'm playing a roguelike, and have a terrifying experience, then this is my go-to. Winning with it has a certain feel of achievement that exceeds that of winning with other ships.
    Stealth B

Yep, my opinions have changed somewhat from last time. My opinion of the Engi A has certainly improved after using offensive drones more (with it and with other ships), and while I do like the Stealth A for its early-game feel and its speed-running/achievement-hunting abilities, it does seem objectively weaker on a whole than the par-for-the-course Kestrels. The Stealths have probably given me my most intense games ever - the A going on a speed-run that picked up all my remaining Going The Distance achievements on Normal (except for the no-shops achievement that was obtained by a Mantis B run), and the B on its many deaths and then its eventual victory. And if it weren't for Ancestry, the Nesasio would be my choice for hunting the Crystal sector. So they're good experiences, even if they're not great ships.

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