Ship Tier List [SPOILERS] - Subset Games Forum (2024)

EDIT: Everything below is obsolete with AE.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.

Ship Tier List [SPOILERS] - Subset Games Forum (2024)


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