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What benefits does it have to cover missing the shields?

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The point with the stealth cruiser is to basicly use well timed stealth activation as a shield.

Being is stealth almost guarantees that any shot fired at you will miss. Of course, no enemy will fire at you when you're already in stealth. (In fact, their weapons won't even charge during this time.)

The trick is to activate you stealth after they have already fired, but before the shots hit you. This can be easier if you pause the game after you hear the shots, so you know wether you want to attempt to stealth, or just risk taking these paticular shots and save the stealth for later.

Alternatively, use the stealth early to make sure you have your weapons charged first, so that you also shoot first. Then just disable their weapons. But you need to sure you can disable all of them. (Or only leave them something useless, like ion weapons.)

Of course, this alone will not be enough to keep you alive later in the game. You'll most likely need to buy at least some shileds sooner or later.

Overall, the stealth cruiser is a rather high risk ship. Played well and with a bit of luck, you can down most early opponents without taking a single hit. But once you start taking hits, you usualy take a lot of them.

  • 1
    Not sure I'd call ion weapons useless, per se. – FreeAsInBeer Oct 2 '15 at 12:40
  • @FreeAsInBeer AI ion weapons aren't as dangerous as your own. Especialy against shieldless stealth cruiser. Usualy your main concers is for your shield, that the ion weapon always hits. (If they are up.) But, at least in the early game, the stealth cruiser has no shields (and even later they aren't that important), so ion weapons will hit a random room. If you're unlucky, it's gonna be something vital. But most likely it's just something you don't care about, or even an empty room. – DJ Pirtu Oct 2 '15 at 12:51
  • Maybe you could elaborate on how one leaves only a certain weapon of the enemy active. As far as I remember one can only reduce the overall system level with damage. What weapons are operating is up to the AI. Does the AI prefer to keep ion weapons active? – KazaaakplethKilik Oct 2 '15 at 13:34
  • The last paragraph is indeed right. An enemy with a beam weapon and a beam drone that couldn't damage a ship with a single shield can be a serious obstacle if not the final one in the stealth cruiser. – KazaaakplethKilik Oct 2 '15 at 13:37
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    @KazaaakplethKilik As a system takes damage, it becomes less capable of sustaining a full weapon loadout, in which case the AI will switch around weapons to keep the most expensive (power-wise) weapon active - regardless of if it's any good or not. – Psychemaster Oct 2 '15 at 13:57
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Stealth is better than shields. In the early game, enemies don't have that many weapons and (even in late game) don't coordinate them. The idea with stealth is that for some time it is near inconceivable that an enemy gets a shot in, and you try to make that period right after they shoot. Stealth gives near immunity to missiles and bombs. In that way, stealth is better than shields, which can be defeated with missiles, bombs or overwhelming fire (think burst laser 3, flak 2, etc.). It is actually a safe ship early on as you can take down the enemy's weapons system in the "first strike".

Anyway, even if I'm wrong in the first paragraph, the stealth cruiser (layout A) has a good arsenal, as the twin laser and mini beam can take down most enemies up to sector 5, and even using the twin laser alone, you can take down many early enemies.

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