The first thing to think about when designing your ship is how you want to win. In Pixel Starships, you win by reducing the opponent’s hull HP to zero. If you place every room available to you on the ship and throw some armor in the seams, you won’t perform well in battle. Every top ship has a clear strategy for how they are going to win. Each room is carefully chosen for its power usage, damage, and utility.
Below are the main ship strategies in PSS. Many actual ships end up being a hybrid of two or more of these strategies. I’ll describe each one and list the rooms you want on your ship. Assume the SHL is on every ship.
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– This guide was created by Rigging in 2019, and maintained by Bril since May 2021.
Lasers and plasma and cannons oh my!
The gunship is the most straightforward ship to build. It wins by using sheer firepower to reduce the enemy ship to zero. If you use this strategy, you should typically pick one room for all your guns to shoot at (see focus fire AI). Also, scarlet missiles are very effective for making sure that the enemy repairers can’t repair the room that you’re focusing.
Crew requirements: Gunships are flexible and the least crew dependent strategy. You’ll want mostly crew with high Weapon stats, and enough defending crew to fight enemy boarders (critical attack, poison gas, or freeze).
Core rooms: MLZ*2, MSL, MG, PLA*2, LB, ION
For a tanky variant, add an AS or VM that produce service droids to repair your rooms.
For an aggressive variant, remove your shield battery (if you have one) and add BT*2. The BT is an easy target for your opponent to get hull damage on your ship since it only has one HP, but that doesn’t matter if you kill them quickly.
For an AP variant, try using a second MSL shooting javelin missiles or using the RG from the medium weapons platform. Both do AP damage, which ignores armor but doesn’t damage the hull. This can be helpful at ship levels 10+ as rooms become highly armored.
You know what’s better than ships in space? Tiny ships in space!
The hangar is a powerful room that can deploy up to five small craft to aid your ship. These ships act like lasers, and can only be shot down by AA rooms. The Defender craft dominates the current meta – if you’re using the carrier strategy, use defenders and keep your research in them maxed for your ship level.
The hangar alone cannot usually carry a battle. You will need some lasers as well, and a MSL. Like the gunship, you’ll want everything to focus on one room – but for the carrier strategy you should typically focus on the opponent’s AA since it can shoot your planes down. Also, it can be a good idea to use a shield busting weapon like the PP or PD, so that you can more quickly get to the AA and destroy them.
Crew requirements: The long launch time for craft means that rush crew has a big impact. The best carrier ships use five crew with 100% rush to get five planes out immediately, but you won’t have this when starting out. Any rushers will benefit the carrier strategy. See the Rush AI page for more detail.
Core rooms: HAN, PLA*2, MLZ, PP or PD, MSL
What’s the point of lasers when you can magically appear in the opponent’s ship and hit them over the head with a frying pan?
The teleporter is a loved and feared room. It allows you to port some of your crew members onto the opponent’s ship and battle it out hand-to-hand. This strategy is the most AI dependent (good AI can really set you apart) and the most crew dependent. Lastly, this strategy does no hull damage – even if you board and kill every crew and room, you’ll still end the game in a tie if you don’t do any hull damage. You’ll need at least one laser or pen missiles to close out the battle.
Crew requirements: You need crew with high HP (10+ is good) and high attack (3+ is good), along with poison gas or critical attack. If you are planning to board, keep any zombie or zombieee crew that you get – they make excellent boarders for only a 3 star crew.
Core rooms: TLP, some lasers
For a droid variant, include the AS or VM or both, and produce boarder droids. This “boarder droid spam” strategy is a good way to achieve total destruction of the opponent’s ship, since their crew will eventually be worn down by the constant stream of droids. Make sure to stay up on your boarder droid research if you use this strategy.
Wait, why battle someone when you can just poke them to death?
Penetrator spam destroys the opponent’s ship with penetrator missiles. This is generally a slow process since each missile does 1 damage at max research, lessened by armor. It is the most room dependent strategy, since buying the MML in the dove shop increases the number of missile launchers you can put on your ship from two to three. Because all missiles ignore shields, you don’t need to include any shield damaging weapons on your ship. Use that saved power to employ as many defensive rooms as possible, since this is the slowest strategy and you’ll need to extend the battle as much as possible.
Crew requirements: Crew with high Weapon stat are imperative to decrease the cooldown on the MSL and MML. Crew with high Science stat are also very useful for decreasing the cooldown on your SHL and SB, to decrease the amount of damage you take over the long battle. Lastly, defensive abilities like freeze, critical attack, and healing rain are good.
Core rooms: MSL*2, MML, SB, ENG
For more damage mitigation, try using the CG to cloak your ship. Your missiles can charge while the cloak is up, and they will all fire when it turns off.
Beep boop beep. I’m a robot.
Droids are a good supplement to the other strategies listed here. If you’re having trouble with boarders wiping your ship, research and use defense droids. Their critical attack ability means they get guaranteed damage on enemy boarders. If your ship is dying a little too fast and you don’t have enough good crew to repair, try supplementing with service droids. Their healing rain ability is great, and they get very good at max level.
Each droid room can support only two droids out at once, so getting the VM is important to support four droids total. The ZF can also be used as good repairers, especially in early game. The Zongzi droids don’t have research to level them up and make them stronger, so they are less strong in the late game.
Core rooms: AS, VM, ZF
Next: Aggressive vs. Defensive