FTL: Faster Than Light is categorized as a Rogue-like game, because events within the game are randomly generated and you start each game from scratch. At the start of each game, you choose from one of many available ships. Each ship has a different layout, different equipment, and different starting resources. Stealth Cruisers introduce the challenge of fighting without shields. If this sounds difficult, that is because it is. It is easy to die quickly in these ships, especially if you run into an enemy that uses drones. Every variant starts with Long-Ranged Scanners augmentation, allowing you to avoid meteor storms and some enemy ships. Even with that augmentation, these ships are still very challenging to use. The following guide to the Stealth Cruiser ship class in FTL: Faster Than Light will help you obtain each variant of this ship and use them efficiently.
Variant A: Nesasio (16 Fuel) – The trick to using the Nesasio is stationing one of your crew members in the sensor room. This will let you see the enemy weapons powering up. Activate your cloak just before they are ready to fire, break the enemy shield with your Dual Lasers and then sweep your Mini Beam across the enemy weapon system and other nearby rooms. This strategy will work in sector 1 and maybe sector 2, but you desperately need to buy a shield and upgrade your weapons before long. The shield will cost 125 scrap and just about any weapon is better than the terrible Mini Beam. Your engines are level 4 to begin, which is very high, so you at least have good speed and evasion. The problem with this ship is that it is basically only good at fleeing. The only way to take advantage of it is to upgrade the cloaking system and get slow recharge weapons that you can charge while cloaked. To add insult to injury, the Nesasio has a terrible layout. This is a hard ship to use unless you are very lucky during early encounters in the game.
Unlock – The simple way to unlock this vessel is to defeat the enemy flagship with a Rock Cruiser ship. All three variants of that ship are very durable and reasonably easy ships to use, so this is the preferred method. The alternate method requires you to have an Engi crew member and then travel to the Engi Homeworlds sector. A few ships start with an Engi crew member, so the first requirement is easy. You need to find an encounter where a fleet of Engi ships are having a discussion and choose the blue Engi option. Two quest markers will appear. Both lead to fights with rebel ships. When the ships try to surrender, you can demand information. One will have the information, the other will not. When you face the one that has the information, a new quest marker will appear. At this quest marker you will fight a Mantis ship. Win the battle to unlock the Stealth Cruiser. It is roundabout, but generally not too hard.
Variant B: DA-SR 12 (16 Fuel) – This ship also has no shields, but it has a level 2 cloaking system and a Glaive Beam. A Glaive Beam will tear apart any enemy ship that has only one shield bubble and can damage an enemy ship with two shield bubbles, though it is better to take out the shields first and then obliterate it. You need to cloak first thing in any battle to let the beam charge. You basically can’t lose a fight in the first two sectors unless you make the mistake of entering a sector with a meteor storm or solar flares. Use this free scrap from battles to buy shields, upgrade your weapon control system, and buy a good burst laser weapon. The Glaive Beam is an end game weapon so you never want to sell it, even if you decide to temporarily use other weapons. Unlike the Nesasio, this ship does not have upgraded engines, so you have to win a fight rather than simply run away. And winning a battle means hitting first and hitting hard.
Unlock – The DA-SR 12 is unlocked by completing 2 of the 3 Stealth Cruiser Achievements.
Variant C: Simo-H (16 Fuel, 16 Drone Parts) – The Simo-H doesn’t have a cloaking system and doesn’t have a shield. Instead, it has a Shield Overcharger drone. You absolutely need to deploy this in every single battle if you want to even have a chance of surviving. Thankfully, you also have an Anti-Drone, because enemy drones would otherwise tear you apart. You should be mostly safe in early battles, though beam weapons will hurt your ship a lot and you have no reasonable defense. Your weapons are the terrible Mini Beam and the mediocre Laser Charger (S). You will be reliant on the Mini Beam for damage until you can manage to upgrade to something better. There is no easy path for this ship. You need to get lucky with encounters in sector 1. If you can afford to buy a shield for 125 scrap, you can give yourself a fighting chance. Even after that, you need to buy good weapons and just about every system needs to be upgraded. Also, since the designers apparently didn’t think this was hard enough, you don’t have a sensor system, instead relying on a Slug crew member for enemy ship reconnaissance. Your only real advantage is that you start with a level 2 drone control. But that advantage is more than negated by your lack of a starting shield. If you want to succeed with a Simo-H, you need to plumb sector 1 and sector 2 for scrap. If you don’t get a couple hundred without taking any hull damage, reset and try again.
Unlock – You need to reach sector 8 using a DA-SR 12 to unlock this. Since the DA-SR 12 is the easiest ship to use for getting past the first few sectors, this shouldn’t be too hard, but this will be really challenging if you haven’t found at least one burst laser by sector 4.
Stealth Cruiser Achievement: Bird of Prey – You need to destroy a ship that is at full health while cloaked to obtain this achievement. This is really easy for the DA-SR 12, but much harder for the Nesasio. For the Nesasio, find a ship in sector 1 with only 4 hull points and wait until your weapons are fully charged. Activate cloak, fire your laser and as soon as the shield is dropped, fire a Mini Beam shot that hits as many room as possible. With luck, you will just barely pull it off.
Stealth Cruiser Achievement: Phase Shift – You need to avoid 9 point of damage while cloaked. Ships normally can’t attack you while cloaked, so this requires activating your cloak just as a barrage of weapons is fired at your ship. You may have to wait until facing rebel flagship to pull this off. Make sure your engines are almost fully upgraded so you can increase your evasion rate to 100% while cloaked.
Stealth Cruiser Achievement: Tactical Approach – The Tactical Approach achievement is comparatively very easy to achieve. You need to reach sector 8 without ever jumping to a beacon with an environmental effect. Since you can see all environmental effects, this just means you need to go around them. Avoid nebula sectors completely and as long as can actually make it to sector 8, you should get this with ease.