Just give me the build already!

If you’re the “just want the build link already” type… here it is: https://edsy.org/s/vZY78rP

If you’d like to spend a few more minutes learning about it, this video may help:

Note that by jumping straight to the “build ship” step you are missing out on a lot of information on how to use it; if you want to learn more, keep reading!

A brief introduction to Titanspace

Maelstrom Schematic by iM2D

Maelstroms are the most unforgiving environment in the game.

We refer to the area inside of a Maelstrom’s caustic cloud as “Titanspace” for simplicity.

Even merely getting to Titanspace requires specialized equipment. Namely a Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer (“TPN”) and a Caustic Sink Launcher (“CSL”.)

Titanspace is uniquely challenging, being filled with asteroids, mines, hostiles, and the Titan itself.

It is very difficult to maneuver, let alone fight, in Titanspace.

“We refer to the area inside of a Maelstrom’s caustic cloud as “Titanspace” for simplicity.”

All Thargoid Maelstroms have a permanently active Anti-Guardian Field (“AGF”).

Guardian Modules and Weapons cannot be used in Titanspace, with the exception of Guardian Hull Reinforcement Packages and modules with Anti-Guardian Zone Resistance.

“Thargoid Maelstroms have a permanently active Anti-Guardian Field”

Maelstrom Combat Equipment

Since Guardian weapons are less effective with the engineering required to bring them into Titanspace, most Maelstrom Combat builds rely on human weapons with few exceptions.

Human Anti-Xeno weapons are comprised by various generations of Anti-Xeno Multicannons (“AXMCs”) and Anti-Xeno Missile Racks (“AXMRs”). As a general rule AXMCs are the better generalist weapons as they can both exert and destroy interceptor hearts. AXMRs are a more specialized weapon, as they are a lot more effective at exerting hearts, but their lack of breach damage means that they cannot destroy hearts.

Anti-Xeno Multicannon Variants
Anti-Xeno Missile Rack Variants
Utilities of note for Anti-Xeno Combat

Maelstrom Combat Build Theory

Maelstrom combat Ships need to meet the following requirements:

  • No Guardian Weapons or Modules without Anti-Guardian Zone Resistance (except GHRPs)
  • Naturally low (<20%) heat, and similarly low heat while firing
  • As much survivability as possible
  • As much sustained damage as possible, with enough ammunition to remain on-station for a reasonable amount of time

We already went over the guardian equipment. Let us explain the others.

Low heat

Titans get angry. And angry Titans have the bad habit at shooting at you with both repeater turrets and missile turrets. Even worse, angry Titans will summon patrolling interceptors and hunters – generally in bigger numbers than you can hope to handle.

In order to shoot you directly however, the Titan needs a target lock on you. If you stay below 20% heat, the Titan will generally not be able to get a target lock on you (unless enemies assist the Titan by providing it with a lock on), and thus its turrets will not fire at you. You still do need to worry about patrols and the Torus special attack.

Remaining cold at all times has the additional benefit of allowing you to avoid triggering seed mines (unless you get REALLY close), avoiding most interceptor direct cannon fire, and attracting less attention from patrols to begin with. Note that Thargon Swarms disregard heat and remain a primary threat even to cold ships, and that Hunter repeater guns do not require a heat lock to hit you. They can whittle away the hull of a distracted commander quickly.

All in all, a “hot” ship will get you killed quickly in Titanspace. Stay, quite literally, frosty – and your dives will last a lot longer.

Privilege survivability

Getting to Titanspace takes a while. Carriers cannot be stationed in a system with a Maelstrom. Hyperdictions jumping into a Maelstrom system have roughly a 50% chance to occur. Once there, interdictions (which you cannot successfully fight) are relentless. Even when you do manage to get to the Maelstrom cloud, you need to cross the caustic area and reach Titanspace proper.

If you log out while in Titanspace you will be placed outside of the Caustic Zone. If you die in Titanspace, you will have to trek all the way back. Consequently, you will want to make sure that you die as little as possible, as each death is a waste of your time and, worse, each death leaves your wingmates with one pilot down for an extended period of time.

We’ve already talked about the core element of survivability in Titanspace: running a cold ship.

Beyond that, there’s three other key elements that matter:

  1. Speed and Agility: You need to be able to keep moving, at pace, while weaving in and out of the asteroid field, around mines, around the Titan itself and, in general, “be where you are needed.” A still ship is a dead ship in Titanspace. You want mobility, and plenty of it. This paradigm will privilege medium ships over large ones. The T10, Anaconda, and Corvette are simply too slow. The Cutter is fast enough but has awful maneuverability.
  2. Hull and Module buffers: Try as you may, you will take damage in Titanspace and there is no friendly station nearby to repair if your canopy (or ship) blows. You need sufficient buffers on both hull and module protection for your ship to not fall apart when the first bullets start flying or you slam into a rock. This generally means at least 2k hull, and at least 3 module reinforcement packages – the largest of which should be a class 5 if at all possible.
  3. Repairs: You need to be able to repair yourself out there, as your wing depends on you and there is no way to repair otherwise. That means kitting the largest repair limpet controller and one or more AFMUs. You will also need a cargo rack to carry the limpets needed for repairs. It is recommended to have at least a few emergency synths of limpets available as your cargo hatch will inevitably be damaged and malfunction, leading to the ejection of all your limpets, likely in a spot you cannot easily retrieve them.

Do a good deal of damage

You are in a combat ship after all, aren’t you?

As discussed in the equipment section, gimballed enhanced anti-xeno Multicannons are the go-to weapon for Maelstrom combat presently.

The difference in damage between the large and medium variants is significant. We want a ship that can fit as many as those large ones as possible, while also meeting the other criteria’s listed above.

Keep in mind you will also need to power those weapons and cool them. The power distributor and heat factors come in prominently in designing a Maelstrom build.

The TitanKiller Krait Mk2

After hundreds of hours of experimentation and testing, we have converged on the Krait Mk2 as the platform of choice to best balance out the grueling requirements of Maelstrom Combat. We dubbed the resulting build “TitanKiller.”

Other medium ships, such as the FDL, the Chieftain, the FAS, the Mamba can work too (and the otherwise unpopular Clipper actually isn’t all that bad for a Maelstrom build) but will generally be far from optimal. The Python and Krait Phantom are the two ships that come the closest, but both are direct downgrades from the KMk2 (the Python for agility, the Phantom for firepower.)

We carefully designed the TitanKiller Krait Mk2 to use 3 Large and 1 Medium Gimballed Enhanced AXMC, coupled with a single medium Gimballed Long Range / Thermal Vent beam laser. In such a hard point configuration, the KMk2 flies and fights at a very agile and speedy 0-3-3 PIPs, with enough distro to indefinitely power its weapons and enough cooling to remain at 0% heat while firing at a hostile.

The TitanKiller is meant to be flown turning off FSD, Cargo Hatch, and AFMU upon arriving at Titanspace. With such a power configuration, it will stabilize at 18% heat under thrust. Be careful with your boosts – boosting without sinking beforehand can spike your heat and get you in trouble. Short of such uncovered boosts, this is a ninja build – you will be permanently unlockable by both enemies and wingmates unless you get too close.

The build privileges speed over hull buffer. 2,508hp is “light” by combat KMk2 standards. But the ship boosts to 543 m/s laden, enough to shake even a Basilisk if need be, and has agility to match. Module protection is conversely excellent (94% protection with 525hp first-buffer integrity) and not something that was compromised in any way.

Firegroups-wise, we recommend the following setup:

  1. A) All AXMCs; B) Beam Laser plus Xeno Scanner
  2. A) Repair Limpet Controller; B) Beam Laser plus Xeno Scanner (and optionally other non-combat scanners)
  3. A) Caustic Sink Launcher; B) Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer

Note that your heatsinks are intentionally unbound and will rely on a keybind to deploy. If using a keybind for heatsinks excessively irks you, replace 2B above with the heatsink trigger.

The TitanKiller can be flown in combat either FA On or FA Off. There is no substantial difference in practice. Both flight models can be made to excel with it.

The TitanKiller relies on its beam for cooling while firing. If your beam is off-target for an extended period of time, consider holding fire on the MCs, lest your heat spike.

Now, finally, armed with all this knowledge you can go and build the ship with an actual idea of what you’re supposed to be doing with it. Congratulations on making it this far!

The build is here: https://edsy.org/s/vZY78rP