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 and, namely, a Thargoid Pulse Neutralize (“TPN”) and a Caustic Sink Launcher (“CSL”.)

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

It is very challenging 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.)

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

Maelstrom Combat Equipment

Since guardian weapons (and modules) are not an option, all Maelstrom Combat builds (wing-focused or otherwise) need to rely on human weapons.

“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 Multicannons (“AXMCs”)

Variant”Go-To” HardpointNotes
”Original”Large, FixedObsolete
”Enhanced”Large, GimballedMost typical
”Azimuth”Large, GimballedSidegrade, costs materials
“Advanced”Small, FixedRequires materials for AX ammo synthesis; bypasses experimental weapons limit
Anti-Xeno Multicannon Variants
[Original] Anti-Xeno Multicannons

The “original” Anti-Xeno Multicannons were among the first weapons available to mankind in their fight against the Thargoids. They are still widely available for purchase, and the only version which can be stocked for purchase on carriers.

They have been effectively rendered obsolete by their enhanced brethren and have thus fallen in disuse. Their only purpose nowadays is to complete the throwback “snake eater” challenge of the Anti-Xeno Initiative.

“Original” Anti-Xeno Multicannons are only available in fixed and turreted variants, and only come in Large and Medium (no small) sizes. The turreted variant is further plagued by the inability to track beyond its falloff (not maximum) range.

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons have become the de-facto standard weapon of non-guardian AX builds and have superseded in all ways the original version. They are available for purchase for credits (no materials needed) at Rescue Megaships.

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons are available in fixed, gimballed, and turreted variants, and only come in Large and Medium (no small) sizes. The gimballed variant is by far the most popular.

Note that an (enhanced or regular) xeno scanner is required for the gimballed [and turreted] version to effectively destroy interceptor hearts (as heart subtargeting is only possible with a full scan of an interceptor.)

Pre-Engineered “Azimuth” Enhanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons

A special “pre-engineered” version of the Enhanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons is available for purchase at tech brokers on Rescue Megaships. They require a specific set of materials and are a per-module (NOT a one-time unlock) purchase, making them comparatively expensive.

These weapons are dubbed “Azimuth” AXMCs, or “Azis” in short, after the corporation that developed them and took them to market. They have increased damage and an autoloader feature, at the cost of increased distributor draw and higher heat generation.

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons are available solely in the gimballed version, in large and medium (no small) sizes.

Note that an (enhanced or regular) xeno scanner is required for this weapon to effectively destroy interceptor hearts (as heart subtargeting is only possible with a full scan of an interceptor.)

Azis can work well in solo combat, but their heat generation and distributor requirements make them a sidegrade at best in Maelstrom and wing combat. It is difficult to recommend these material-expensive and heat-sensitive weapons over the Enhanced AXMCs. As a result, these weapons are rarely seen on the battlefield.

For a more in-depth comparison of AZIs and Enchanced AXMCs, check out this video:

Advanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons

Advanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons are a special case. They are available for purchase for credits (no materials needed) at stations that either sell all modules (such as Jameson Memorial) or are controlled by the minor faction Zende Partners.

Advanced Anti-Xeno Multicannons are only available in fixed variant, and only come in Medium and Small (no large) sizes. As such, they are the ONLY multicannon capable of harmingThargoid interceptors which can fit in a small weapon hardpoint.

Advanced AXMCs do not normally do AX damage. Instead, they require special AX ammunition synthesis in order to convert them to AX-damaging weapons. Such AX ammo synthesis is required every single time you want to use AX ammo. Stations do not restock AX ammo!

In addition, Advanced Multicannons are the ONLY weapon of their kind NOT to be subject to the experimental-weapons limit on a ship. You can, for example, fit a Type 10 entirely with Advanced AXMCs, whereas you are limited to 4 (or 6, with a c5 experimental weapon stabilizer) Enhanced AXMCs.

The extreme material-intensity required in order to make these weapons AX-capable has resulted in them being broadly despised by the player community. The fact that they only come in a fixed mount further makes them of only limited use.

Recommendation: Avoid.

Anti-Xeno Missile Racks (“AXMRs”)

Anti-Xeno Missile Racks (“AXMRs”)

Variant”Go-To” HardpointNotes
”Original”Large, FixedObsolete
”Enhanced”Large, FixedMost typical
”Sirius”Large, FixedSidegrade, costs materials
“Advanced”Small, FixedRequires materials for AX ammo synthesis; bypasses experimental weapons limit; only variant which can damage interceptor hearts
Anti-Xeno Missile Rack Variants
[Original] Anti-Xeno Missile Racks

The “original” Anti-Xeno Missile Racks were among the first weapons available to mankind in their fight against the Thargoids. They are still widely available for purchase, and the only version which can be stocked for purchase on carriers.

They have been effectively rendered obsolete by their enhanced brethren and have thus fallen in disuse. Their only purpose nowadays is to complete the throwback “snake eater” challenge of the Anti-Xeno Initiative.

“Original” Anti-Xeno Missile Racks are only available in fixed and turreted variants, and only come in Large and Medium (no small) sizes. The turreted variant is further plagued by the inability to track beyond its falloff (not maximum) range.

Like all AX Missiles (save for the special case of Advanced Missile Racks), these weapons have practically no breach damage and, as such, are incapable of destroying interceptor hearts.

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Missile Racks

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Missile Racks have become a popular weapon of non-guardian AX builds and have superseded in all ways the original version. They are available for purchase for credits (no materials needed) at Rescue Megaships.

Enhanced Anti-Xeno Missile Racks are available in fixed and turreted variants, and only come in Large and Medium (no small) sizes. The fixed variant is by far the most popular.

These weapons rarely appear on solo combat builds (given their lack-of-breach-damage limitation), but are very popular as Thargoid Banshee destroyers and as Orthrus hunters.

Specialized wings can also effectively make use of these weapons, if appropriately mixing and matching “gunship (AXMC) boats” and “missile (AXMR) boats.”

Pre-Engineered “Sirius” Anti-Xeno Missile Racks

A special “pre-engineered” version of the “Original” Anti-Xeno Missile Racks is available for purchase at tech brokers on Sirius Megaships. They require a specific set of materials and are a per-module (NOT a one-time unlock) purchase, making them comparatively expensive.

These weapons are dubbed “Sirius” AXMRs after the corporation that developed them and took them to market. They have high capacity and rapid fire engineering, at the cost of -3% damage, +70% mass, +20% power draw, and a new 0.5-degree jitter.

“Sirius” Anti-Xeno Missile Racks are available solely in the fixed version, in large and medium (no small) sizes.

“Sirius” AXMRs are a sidegrade compared to Enhanced Missiles racks. They have higher sustained DPS and double the ammo, but their missiles travel speed is just above half that of their enhanced cousins, making hitting anything that is moving extremely challenging.

“Sirius” AXMRs are more typically employed against static or slow-moving targets (such as Banshees and Orthruses.) Against faster interceptors, Enhaned AXMRs are typically preferred.

Still, their marginal benefit and their expensive cost in terms of materials means that they are not commonly seen on the battlefield. Treat them as a luxury for niche/specialized purposes, which you don’t really need, and will rarely use.

Advanced Anti-Xeno Missile Racks

Advanced Anti-Xeno Missile Racks are a special case. They are available for purchase for credits (no materials needed) at stations that either sell all modules (such as Jameson Memorial) or are controlled by the minor faction Zende Partners.

Advanced Anti-Xeno Missile Racks are only available in fixed variant, and only come in Medium and Small (no large) sizes. As such, they are the ONLY AX missile rack capable of harming Thargoid interceptors which can fit in a small weapon hardpoint.

Advanced AXMRs do not normally do AX damage. Instead, they require special AX ammunition synthesis in order to convert them to AX-damaging weapons. Such AX ammo synthesis is required every single time you want to use AX ammo. Stations do not restock AX ammo!

In addition, Advanced AXMRs are the ONLY weapon of their kind NOT to be subject to the experimental-weapons limit on a ship. You can, for example, fit a Type 10 entirely with Advanced AXMRs, whereas you are limited to 4 (or 6, with a c5 experimental weapon stabilizer) Enhanced AXMRs.

A unique property of Advanced AXMRs is that their breach AX damage (when using their special AX-ammo synthesis) was NOT nerfed. Advanced AXMRs have a hefty splash-breach damage of 20, making them capable of destroying interceptor hearts (and not practically useless as the Advanced AXMC relatives.)

Still, the extreme material-intensity required in order to make these weapons AX-capable has resulted in them being broadly despised by the player community.

Recommendation: Only consider in the most dire situations when trying to build the most-powerful-possible AX missile boat, and only for the small hardpoints specifically, when you do not mind the painful material requirements of their AX ammo.

Note that Advanced Missiles have the shot speed of “original” and “Sirius” MRs. If you’re going to mix and match small Advanced MRs with anything – mix them with Sirius MRs. Mixing them with Enhanced MRs will make aim practically impossible (as the two aiming reticles will hardly ever overlap.)

Utilities (various classes and uses)

Utility ClassVariantsNotes
NeutralizersThargoid Pulse, Shutdown FieldCan equip multiple
Xeno Scanners“Standard”, Enhanced, Pulse WaveCan only equip one
Sink LaunchersCaustic, Heat, “Sirius” HeatCan be engineered
Missile DefenseECM, Point DefenseCan equip multiple of each
Everything elseVariousN/A
Utilities of note for Anti-Xeno Combat
Neutralizers

Neutralizers come in two types: the older Shutdown Filed Neutralizer (“SFN”) and the newer Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer (“TPN”).

They operate similarly in that both utilities are “press and hold” operated, with their operation quickly draining SYS capacitor (0.25 MW for the SFN, 0.33 MW for the TPN – the SFN “lasts longer” as a result.) Both can be (and should be) mapped to a hotkey, which they share. Alternatively, they can be mapped and fired within a firegroup.

The SFN, while being fired, will protect you and anyone else within up to 3km from you (range being dependant on charge level), from the effects of interceptors shutdown fields. The SFN will NOT however, protect you from the Maelstrom’s repulsion field or from Banshee’s shutdown surface-to-air missiles.

The TPN, while being fired, will protect you and you alone, from the effects of interceptor shutdown fields AND from both the Maelstrom’s repulsion field and Banshee’s shutdown surface-to-air missiles. Consequently, a TPN module is required to access TitanSpace.

A case could be made for wings heading to TitanSpace to equip BOTH an SFN and TPN, leaving the TPN on to cross the repulsion field, then turning it off and switching to the SFN – as the latter provides cross-protection across the wing while the former does not, and the SFN in general lasts longer (providing better protection.) The “cost” in terms the additional utility slot required is hard to justify however, especially considering shutdown fields in the Maesltrom are not common at all – as they are always the result of a pilot error (either getting too close / engaging an Orthrus, or not staying cold at the last heart of an engaged interceptor.)

Consequently, Maelstrom builds tend to equip a TPN.

Xeno Scanners

Xeno scanners come in three variants – the “standard” one with a range of just 500m, an “enhanced one” which comes with higher power requirements but extends the range to 2,000m, and a “pulse wave” version that has two modes of operation – the first one being a dedicated Titan Scanner and the latter being identical to the 500m regular xeno scanner.

Only one xeno scanner can be equipped per ship, so you face a “mutually-exclusive choice” as to which type to mount (if any.)

A pulse wave xeno scanner is only required by ships intent on sampling the Titan or rescuing Xeno Pods from it. Combat ships have no use for one.

As a 500m range is crippling in terms of being able to reliably get a detailed scan, and as combat ships using gimballed AXMCs (which most do) practically NEED a detailed scan in order to shoot interceptor hearts, the enhanced xeno scanner is far and wide the go-to for maelstrom combat operations.

if you’re interested in learning more about the pulse wave xeno scanner, the following video will give you additional information:

Sink Launchers

Two main types of sink launchers exist: “caustic” sink launchers and “heat” sink launchers. A third pre-engineered version of the “heat” sink variant, known as the “Sirius” sink, is available for purchase at a cost in materials.

Caustic Sink Launchers are a one-time materials-required unlock at rescue megaship tech brokers, and can be bought in bulk for credits thereafter. Heat Sink Launchers are available for purchase for credits more or less everywhere. “Sirius” pre-engineered heatsinks need to be individually purchased for materials at Sirius megaships.

Both sink launcher types can, and should, be engineered with the ammo capacity upgrade, which is a dirt cheap G1 upgrade and a “perfect pin” (no experimental available) for engineer Ram Tah (or Pedra Olmonova, if you can be bothered to go to Colonia.) The pre-engineered Sirius sinks cannot be further engineered.

Caustic Sink launchers absorb all forms of “environmental caustic” (from Thargoid “death clouds,” from the Orthrus’s “snail trail”, and from the Maelstrom’s outer area.) They further provide protection against caustic missiles. They do NOT protect against direct-damage “caustic damage type” (such as interceptor cannon fire.) Caustic sinks need to be manually ejected by “firing” the CSL bound to a firegroup. There is no CSL hotkey unfortunately. In practice, where more than one CSL is fitted, multiple caustic sink launchers tend to be grouped together on the same trigger and ejected together once they are all full.

While it is possible to reach TitanSpace without CSLs (using a large decontamination limpet controller and a ship with plenty hull) it is highly impractical to do so. Maelstrom Combat builds will universally sport at least one CSL – and more on ships with more than 4 utilities, not only to deal with crossing the caustic zone of the Maelstrom, but also to deal with the abundant caustic missiles and caustic death clouds within TitanSpace. Caustic Sink Launchers are also extremely popular at Thargoid Spire Sites (where death clouds abound in a relatively confined space) and at Anti Xeno Combat Zones (where berserk scouts will fire caustic missiles, as will interceptors and Glaives.)

Heat Sink launchers, the typically mainstay of interceptor combat, are relegated to much more of a supporting role in Maelstrom Combat. As you will see in the next section, our builds are design to run naturally cold, and to go straight to 0% heat (using TV beams) when engaged I combat. Heatsinks on such build serve solely two purposes: A) Avoiding the (limited to begin with) heat damage that an unshielded ship will take when crossing the Titan’s repulsion field (noting a quick AFMU repair will equally deal with this); and B) Provide a buffer for a ship to boost without spiking its heat even outside of combat.

As such, heatsinks are not strictly necessary in Maelstrom combat builds – but they can provide an “emergency buffer” in certain situations.

The “Sirius” pre-engineered version of heatsinks is the rare module that falls into the “absolutely and unquestionably worth it” category. They carry an additional sink, while weighting half as much as their regularly-engineered counterparts. If you can afford them in terms of materials, then by all means get them. If you can’t, don’t stress too much about it, as regular sinks work fine too and, as mentioned, these are not critical on Maelstrom Combat builds.

Missile Defense

Missile defense utilities in Elite:Dangerous include ECM and Point Defense.

Unfortunately almost none of the missiles fired in TitanSpace are vulnerable to either. Solely Glaive containment missiles and Scythe hatch breakers are. Glaive caustic missiles, interceptor caustic missiles, and Titan turret missiles are NOT vulnerable to either (the defense against those is caustic sinks.)

Search & Rescue ships, which tend to be slower, will often kit ECM but for a different purpose – escaping interdictions. Combat builds generally will equip neither ECM nor PD.

Everything Else

Other utilities are less commonly used on Maelstrom Combat builds. Specialized shielded builds (which are uncommon) can benefit from shield boosters. Besides that, there aren’t any specific utilities of further use.


Maelstrom Combat Build Theory

Maelstrom combat Ships need to meet the following requirements:

  • No Guardian Weapons or Modules (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 a reasonable amount of time

We already went over the guardian requirement. 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, and thus its turrets will never fire at you – which is one less thing to worry about (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 thread even to cold ships, and that Hunter repeater guns do not require a heat lock to hit you – and 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 Maesltrom 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, above/below/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. 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.

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,” acknowledging that it is a bit of a misnomer (as it can’t -yet- kill a Titan) but hey, rule-of-cool on this one, will ask you to give us a pass ;).

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 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 practically be permanently unlockable (good luck trying to see non-wingmate TitanKillers on your scanner!)

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.

Note that 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