I'm using the Basilisk, which has a teleporter and boarding drone, but no weapons. How can I manage AI (crew-less) ships? So far I've been teleporting my crew there and back, slowly chipping away their hull by destroying newly-repaired systems, until they only have one hull point left, at which point I activate a boarding drone and hope that it doesn't hit an empty room. If it does, I just jump away. Is there a better strategy?
Sometimes the only winning move is not to play. Jump away if you find an AI ship and try to find a weapon ASAP.
You can destroy AI ships with only a crew teleporter. The key to that are the following facts:
- Whenever you completely destroy a ship system, the hull will suffer 1 damage
- AI ships have an augmentation that auto-repairs damaged systems.
- A level 2+ crew teleporter will recharge quickly enough that you can save 100 HP crew before they die from suffocation.
If you teleport crew into an AI ship, they will start suffocating immediately because there is no atmosphere. However, as mentioned, you can save them before they actually die, either from teleporting them back, or by using the "healing bomb" (it can miss, so have a level 2 teleporter ready just in case). Until you have to recall them, they can deal system damage. Heal your boarding crew and repeat until the system is destroyed and the enemy ship suffers damage. While you wait for the repair to happen, rotate through the other rooms. Always attack the most recently repaired system, because it takes the least time to destroy again. That way, you should be able to destroy an AI ship with only boarding crews.
For finishing off the last point of hull damage, you can either sacrifice 1 crew member, or use a boarding drone. Note however that a boarding drone cannot die to suffocation and thus cannot be re-deployed in an AI ship, so you must not use it before dealing that last point of damage.
Obviously, the AI ship can still damage you in return, and it will take a LONG time to destroy it that way, so it's most likely not worth bothering. But it is very much possible in principle.
In Advanced Edition, simply get a Clone Bay and deal the last point of damage with a skill-less suicide crew member. Even better - use that one suicidal crew member to ram into the systems even with L1 teleporters!
As a side note: not every AI has split-room design; some actually have connected rooms, in which case simply deploying a Boarding Drone and waiting for a while is sufficient to defeat the enemy. Also, bear in mind that if you encounter an AI at a beacon with a solar flare danger, you can usually just wait till the fire burns through his hull (even AI can suffer damage from fire - it's just that they will disappear shortly after appearing on them).