I haven't played the C ships a ton yet, and I'll continue to refine my rankings. Give your own personal rankings for the ships if you want, or comment on these. Note: mine are based on a hard difficulty, the rankings might or might not shift slightly at lower difficulties with more plentiful scrap and easier battles. This is just comparing the C ships with each other, not ranking them against the Bs or As.
1 - Mantis C
Dedicated boarding ship (size 4 teleporter) with weapons which support it, 2 decent boarding crew to start. Not much holding you back, here.
2 - Engi C
Decent weapon systems, plus hacking to start. Your hacking drone also can't be stopped by enemy defense drones due to the scrambler augment, a weakness other ships (like Slug C) have. Not much to complain about with this ship.
3 - Zoltan C
This ship looks fantastic until you notice it only has a level 2 reactor, albeit +3 to start with Zoltan crew if one is piloting, and +4 for 30 seconds with backup battery. Clone bay has decent synergy with the 70 health, exploding Zoltans. Weapon systems of charge ion and Beam Drone are pretty weak, overall, but might get you by.
4 - Kestrel C
Nothing great going for this ship, but it is balanced and flexible, and should be able to easily shift into a boarding or weapons strategy.
5 - Rock C
The weapons on this ship are generally too slow and ineffective after the first two sectors. With the price increase in boarding systems, it is difficult to get one earlier at higher difficulties. Basically, if you go the weapons route this ship will be subpar. However with a crystal crew member if you can manage a boarding system, this ship should do well.
6 - Slug C
At first glance this ship seems pretty good, being equipped with both the new tools, mind control and hacking. However in the early game hacking is basically best used to penetrate enemy defenses, more or less like an ion weapon. The Chain Burst Laser is flat out inferior to vanilla 2 shot lasers in early game (charge up resets to 16 seconds if the weapon is disabled)
7 - Stealth C
The only one I haven't played at all yet, but it's not too promising. Starts with no shield and no stealth, the Shield+ drone isn't going to do it. Offensive capability isn't great.
8 - Federation C
This ship is pretty much defunct. The flak artillery is significantly weaker than the A's and B's beam artillery. The artillery is completely non-supplemental to the boarding strategy, the only other offensive tool on the ship. Since the boarding strat has no support, There really is nothing you can do against enemy ships with medbays, other than pray your artillery hits the medbay at 50 seconds. Or, you'll have to do lots of staggered double boardings, 4 crew members 2 at a time.
Thought... maybe if you board with the Zoltans you'll be able to catch the enemy AI off guard when they explode and kill them before they retreat to the medbay. Will have to try.
General discussion about the game.
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