FTL: Tips and Tricks

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Well it only took me 23 hours but I finally beat FTL on easy.

Before I go on, there will be some minor spoilers about the final boss below, I’ll do my best to mark when I start.

Anyway, FTL is a spaceship management rouge-like and proved to be quite tricky to win, even on easy. Part of the problem comes from your luck with random events and what enemies you run into. But with some basic strategies, you should be able to reliably reach the final level and with enough firepower, beat the end boss.

My weapon of choice

My weapon of choice

In my winning run, I used the type A Engi ship. The major benefits stemming from its ion blast and drone controller. The ion blast can quickly disable both the shields and weapons of enemies without causing hull damage. This is important since I typically use boarding parties to take out the crew. Hence, the first thing I buy is 2 manti then a teleporter. Rocks are also good for boarding if you use fire weapons. Boarding is important because it substantially increases the amount of scrap gained from encounters over blowing it up. A couple of tips on getting people early: Attack slavers, if they give up its a free crew member, if you blow them up at least you still get scrap; Engi sectors have a random event where you can pick up a mantis in exchange to fight an Engi ship, a pretty solid deal.

Once you get a boarding party and a teleporter, its time to start picking your battles. Upgraded sensors are very useful for seeing into the opponents ship for the number of crew they have as well as the state of O2 and fires. You never want to board auto-scouts since there’s no air in any of the rooms. I avoid boarding ships with med-bays, I personally don’t find the loot worth the hassle of trying to disable the med while avoiding damage unless they have a small crew and no missiles or drones. In addition, you can’t board through over shields or cloaks and you also can’t “un-board” through cloaks so plan accordingly. On my winning run I was lucky enough to come across a boarding drone. This was a pretty big game changer as I could board risk free and cause automatic breaching damage all without waiting. Not much strategy involved with it,  if there’s an over shield it will blow up, so send it over afterwards and wreck havoc. If the other ship boards you, I try to kill them off while they are on my ship. To prevent getting caught with an early boarding, vent the entire ship outside essential rooms. When they board, power down O2 and close all doors ( you will need to upgrade doors for this to work). Generally they will die or jump ship before making too much damage.

Upgrading system priorities should be assault-based but do not upgrade before having the weapon and energy before hand. If you find yourself with excess scrap, it’s probably better to add redundancy to a system then to upgrade a defensive system and add power. I was able to make it to the last level with only two shields due to the defensive nature of the ion blast, just take out the weapons system if the enemy has a missile launcher. In terms of weapons and droids, energy efficiency is the name of the game. Having a giant laser is nice and all, but loses its value when it takes all of your weapon energy to fire. I only had the starting ion blast and a blast laser mk.2 along with 2 anti-ship 1 drones for a total of 9 energy bars. When you enter the final level you will want 3 shields, level 3 teleporter, enough weapons and drone bars to use them effectively plus a buffer, and enough engines to get around a 40% dodge chance. A level 1 cloak is nice but definitely not essential and if you’re not used to cloaking in battle, you probably won’t use it very effectively.

***************SPOILERS BELOW*********************

Level 8 is where you face off the flagship. The flagship will take two turns going from one node to another and you can tell which node it is jumping to via the red bar that denotes its path. If you jump while the ship is leaving a node you WILL NOT fight it. If the flagship gets too close to the base you will automatically lose. There are several repair nodes that will fix some of your hull as well as give you some resources for free. If you have a full hull it’s probably best to go straight to the flagship, if you run into an enemy just play defensively until you can jump away.

When you reach the flagship, the first thing it will do is cloak, so hang tight and get ready. My method of beating this ship was a combo of boarding and hull damage, so the first thing you want to do after uncloaking is send two guys into the missile room, on the top third from the left. Don’t bring them back until the weapon symbol is red. Repeat this for the ion and blast weapon on the far left and right but do not kill the guy in the laser room, you will see why later on. During this time your weapons should be focused on the shield, since its doubtful you will be able to get through the shields this early on. Once the three weapons are down, focus any non-ion weapon on the cloaking room. At this point your shields will survive a laser attack so feel free to power down engines for more weapons or drones. Eventually the flagship will reach zero hp and will jump away. Yup this will be a multi-stage boss fight. Keeping the laser guy alive prevents you from killing everyone and having the ship AI take over and start repairing things automatically. Targeting the cloak wasn’t just to stop the ship going invisible, all of the guys trying to fix it died when it broke off of the ship.

The second stage of the fight is probably the hardest. Again board the weapons starting with the missile and skipping the laser, ionize shields, and this time target the drone room to stop the drones from attacking as well as kill of any repairers after you breach the hull. In this stage the flagship will send a large barrage of drones every so often. This is where cloaking comes in handy, but if you don’t have it just power up the engines when the warning shows up. Other then that just hammer away until it once again jumps at zero health.

The third and final stage now has a rechargeable over-shield plus its “ultimate weapon” that’s powered by the teleporter. So first thing is a full on barrage against the over-shield so you can send the boarding team over. You will want to keep firing at the shields to stop the over-shields from coming back. By the time my guys took out the missiles, everyone on the ship was dead, so I just sent them back onto the main section of the ship to take out the teleporter to slow down the ultimate weapon. To be honest I wasn’t paying too much attention to the battle and my two guys died valiantly aboard the flagship RIP. My grieving quickly came to an end however when the flagship soon disintegrated and I (and hopefully you too) won the game!

***************END OF SPOILERS*********************

So now that you have won on easy you can the new ship and play on normal or even write a better FTL guide than this. But if your like me and want a new experience there’s good news, the FTL modding community has been pretty active. There is a ton of new ships, parts and gameplay options for you to choose from, so here is a quick how to and a list of some of my favorite mods:

First you should get Grognak’s mod manager to quickly add and remove the mods of your choice (it require python 2.7.3).

Second drop your selected mods into the mods folder (make sure they are .ftl some mods are distributed in .zip just rename the file to replace .zip to .ftl)

Finally open main.py (for some reason the exe didn’t work for me) and highlight the mod you want and press patch. If you want to uninstall any mods deselect it and press patch. That’s all there is to it! Here are some mods that I recommend:

  • Infinite Space – This takes out the rebel advance and end boss to allow for more exploration. Mini-bosses occur when the game deems your “ready”
  • Unlocked Augmentations – Makes ship specific augments available to purchase
  • Drones Plus – Adds more types of drones to purchase
  • Sonata – A complete overhaul of the game. Adds a new story, ships, weapons, sound, everything!

All these and more can be found in the FTLgame forum master mod list.


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