Ship Build Theory

This is a comprehensive guide on general AX build theory, for each of the build styles:

  • Bi-Weave Hybrids

  • Shieldless Cold Orbiters

  • Shield Tanks

General Themes

Engineering

All components of an Anti-Xeno ship should be fully engineered for maximum performance. Thargoids are incredibly advanced and deal far more damage than any human NPC in the game. Not only this, but they have a slew of special attacks that can devastate a ship that is not properly prepared. If you are unable to engineer everything due to constraints, the bare minimum is:

  • Thrusters

  • Power Distributor

  • Hull Reinforcements

  • Power Plant (only if needed to reach the power requirement of the build)

Once again, it is highly recommended that your ship be fully engineered before engaging Thargoids.

Resistances

Thargoid weapons ignore all resistances (besides caustic resistance) thus you should be aiming to have all armour and shields engineered for maximum raw hull/shield MJ.

Speed and Maneuverability

Thargoids are fast and agile, hence top speed and maneuverability heavily influences our ship recommendations. An AX ship should be able to boost over 450m/s minimum, with any extra speed being an added bonus, ideally you will want to be able to achieve over 500m/s to be able to handle Basilisk Variant Interceptors more easily.

Common Mistakes

Avoid making any of these common mistakes listed here.

Core Internals

Bulkheads

The Meta: Military Grade Alloys with Heavy Duty blueprint and Deep Plating experimental. In AX, resistances do not matter, so HD Military provides the highest possible health pool. Reinforced Alloys, when engineered, are directly inferior to Military and Lightweight Alloys, and Mirrored and Reactive Composite only raise the rebuy and do not provide any extra raw hull.

Alternatives:

  • Military Grade Alloys with Lightweight blueprint and Deep Plating - a balance of speed and raw hull

  • Lightweight Alloys with Heavy Duty blueprint and Deep Plating - sacrificing raw hull for a large speed boost.


Power Plant

The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Armored blueprint and Thermal Spread experimental. For most builds, armored provides the perfect tradeoff of extra power, additional integrity, and better thermals. A-rated power plants are the coolest of all ratings.

Alternatives:

  • Monstered Experimental - provides a little extra juice when needed, at the cost of slightly worse thermals.

  • Low Emissions blueprint with Monstered experimental - A high grade of LE can allow a ship to idle under 20% heat.

  • Overcharged blueprint - should only be used when absolutely necessary, and to the lowest grade possible.


Thrusters

The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Dirty Tuning blueprint and Drag Drives experimental. Although the thermal load increase may seem like a problem, in practice the performance of dirty drag drives far exceeds any alternative.

Alternatives: Drive Distributors experimental - only for use on small ships utilizing Enhanced Performance Thrusters (EPTs)


Frame Shift Drive

The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Increased Range blueprint and Mass Manager experimental. Thargoids are often found in "bubbles" of space, so being able to move around in a small range is required for AX combat.

Alternative: 2D FSD with grade one fast boot and Stripped Down experimental - provides a small speed boost at the cost of being unable to jump your ship any meaningful distance.


Life Support

The Meta: D-rated with Lightweight blueprint. D-rated has the lowest power draw and weight, and still has a long enough timer for repeated oxygen synths if your canopy blows.

Alternative: A-rated allowing for longer time between required synthing.


Power Distributor

The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Charge Enhanced blueprint and Super Conduits experimental. Gauss Cannons have extreme distributor draw, so having the maximum possible WEP capacitor regen is essential. The capacity loss of these modifications is also not a problem, since most ships can fire two of their gauss cannons at a time without spiking over 20% heat.

Alternative: Weapon Focused blueprint. Increased WEP capacitor size at the cost of boost frequency. Some ships require this modification to keep their heat below the threshold required for proper cold orbiting.


Sensors

The Meta: D-rated with Long Range experimental. Thargoids always emit a signal that can be detected at the maximum sensor range, meaning that A-rated sensors provide no benefits to D-rated, but weigh more and cost more power.

Alternatives: There are none.

optional Internals

The optional internal loadout is where the main differences lie between build styles, and can even vary from Commander to Commander. Below are the three general loadouts of the three build types. For more information on the uses of each optional internal, refer to the Modules page.

Cold Orbiters

  • Largest possible D-rated repair limpet controller and 16t or 64t cargo rack

  • One class four or five GMRP and two smaller MRPs

  • 2A AFMU

  • HRPs in the rest of the internal slots


Bi-Weave Hybrids

  • Largest possible Bi-Weave Shield with Reinforce blueprint and either Fast Charge or Lo-Draw experimental.

  • 1A AFMU

  • One or two GMRPs or MRPs

  • HRPs in the rest of the slots

  • GSRP as per personal preference


Shield Tanks

  • Largest possible Prismatic Shield with Reinforced blueprint and Hi-Capacity experimental

  • Large Shield Cell Banks with Specialized blueprint and Boss Cells experimental

  • One or two GMRPs or MRPs

  • Decontamination Limpet Controller if preferred

  • AFMU, size depending on preference

  • HRPs in the rest of the slots

Utility Slots

Heatsink Launchers

Essential for Cold Oribing vessels to dissipate the heat generation of gauss cannons. Most if not all utility slots will be filled with these on Cold Orbiter and Bi-weave hybrid builds. Engineering them with the Ammo Capacity blueprint gives one extra heatsink per launcher.


Shield Boosters

Obviously useless on Cold Orbiters, Bi-Weave hybrids usually run 1-2 while Large Shield Tanks run 6-7. Engineering them with Heavy Duty blueprint and Super Capacitors experimental provides the most raw MJ boost.


For information on Xeno Scanners and Shutdown Field Neutralizers, see the Modules page. These two utilities are not recommended except in specific situations, as the slot is better fit with a heatsink or shield booster.