See Also: Ships • Systems • Weapons • Drones • Augmentations • Events • Sectors • Resources
For the system see: Weapon Control.

Weapon types in FTLEdit


Missile launchers are powerful weapons that fire missiles which ignores shields and do damage directly to the target's hull, systems, and crew. Missile launchers require system power and consume 1 missile ammunition unit per weapon use. Most missile weapons fire one shot. However, those that fire more still only use one missile in a single use. The Zoltan shield can block missiles but receives the base damage for the missile; for example, the Hull Missile does 2 damage to a Zoltan shield regardless of where you aimed it. Missiles can also be shot down by Defense Drones. All missiles except for the Swarm launcher use room-based targeting, while the swarm uses room-centered area targeting similar to a flak weapon. All missiles have the chance to light fires, cause hull breaches, and stun crew.

See the available Missiles.


Lasers are energy based general purpose anti-ship weapons capable of overwhelming shields and dealing hull, crew, and system damage. Lasers do not cost anything to fire but, like all weapons, require system power. Each laser bolt that makes contact with a shield depletes one level of it, and as such many laser weapons fire multiple shots in succession to overwhelm shields and do hull damage before they can recharge. Many have small chances to start fires, and some may cause hull breaches. All lasers use room-based targeting, and can be shot down only by Mark II Defense Drones.

See the available Lasers.


Ion weapons, like lasers, fire energy projectiles. The primary difference is that ion weapons don't do hull, crew, or system damage, and instead do ion damage. When an ion projectile hits any system room, it deals an amount of ion damage based on the weapon (usually 1-4). Each point of ion damage knocks off one bar of power from the targeted system, and adds 5 seconds to the ion effect timer for that system. Ion damage can stack up to 5.5 (27.5 seconds). While under the ion effect, power cannot be added or removed from that system and it cannot be manned. Thus, a build-up of ion damage can severely weaken or disable a system. This is because if more ion damage is applied to an already ionised room, it merely refreshes the timer on the ion effect as well as the knocking out power, and preserves the effects of previous ion damage. Ion projectiles which hit shields effectively hit the shield system, and can thus be used to disable shields. Zoltans are not affected by ion weapons and continue to provide power as normal. This means that a shield station manned by at least two Zoltans cannot have its shields taken entirely offline by ion weapons. Subsystems can be affected by ion damage, lowering their upgrade level for the duration of the ion effect. Zoltan shields take double of the ion damage rating of any ion projectile which hits them. Ion projectiles use room-based targeting, and have the chance to stun crew in the affected room. A good strategy with ion weapons is to set them to auto fire and continually fire at the enemy shields. They fly slower than laser shots, and can be shot down by Mark II Defense Drones.

See the available Ion weapons.


Beams are, as the name suggests, highly focused beams of energy, designed to deal massive damage to the hull and systems of a ship, kill crew, or start fires. When targeting, a line will appear showing the direction of the beam's path, which can be angled to choose which rooms to hit. Beams hit instantly upon firing and track along their targeting path, dealing hull and system damage for every room hit. They are the only weapons that cannot miss, making cloaking or high evasion ineffective, and cannot be intercepted, since they do not use projectiles of any sort. However, beams can be easily stopped by Shields as they do not deal damage directly to the shields, instead trying to burn right through them. Beam damage is relative to its shield piercing; the higher the beam's damage, the more layers it can break through. The only exception to this is the Artillery Beam which ignores shields entirely, found on Type A and B of the Federation cruiser. Using beams in conjunction with other weapons that can tear down shields quickly will get you the most efficiency out of them.

See the available Beams.


Bombs make use of built-in teleporting technology to transport explosives or canisters containing nanobots directly into enemy or allied ships. By teleporting into the enemy ship, bombs bypass all shields and defense drones, but they can still miss an evading ship and teleport into empty space where they explode harmlessly. They cannot get through the Zoltan shield, but some bombs can deal damage to it. All bombs consume 1 missile ammunition unit per shot. Since bombs bypass the hull of the target ship, they do no direct hull damage, but most of them have some special effect (like igniting fires, causing hull breaches, stunning enemy crew, doing ion damage to disable systems, or encasing the room in crystals). A bomb can be destroyed before detonation by a laser blast or missile that hits the room it is in, so be careful with timing. Bombs can target your own ship, making repair and heal bombs useful, and can be used to damage, stun, or trap boarding parties.

See the available Bombs.


Flak weapons fire normally useless debris, not even fit to be called scrap, in a deadly salvo. They require no missiles, and fire multiple shots simultaneously that each deal standard damage to shields and hull, similar to laser bolts. They do not cause fires or hull breaches. All flak weapons are area of effect weapons. They are most effective at taking down shields to allow other weapons to get through, though are inaccurate when attempting to target a single room. Flak shots fly slower than lasers, making synchronization between flak and lasers somewhat tricky. Individual flak debris can be shot down by either type of defense drone. Flak weapons have a unique volley that allows them to take down shields quickly, as opposed to laser weapons (which fire one shot after the other). This does not give enemy shields adequate time to recharge making flak weapons very useful later in the game when enemy ships have several layers of shields. Flak weapons also fire small, harmless bits at the enemy with their normal shots. These are merely for visual effect and cause no damage of any kind. Flak weapons were introduced in Advanced Edition, and as of present there are only three in the game.

See the available Flak weapons.


Launching sharp, hard crystals with slight shield piercing properties, crystal weapons are a unique technology only used by the crystal people. Crystal weapons function similarly to laser weapons. However, all weapons of this type have one level of shield piercing, i.e. they ignore the lowermost level of any enemy's shield. If they cannot pierce a shield, they instead lower it by one level. They can only be obtained in the hidden crystal sector, or by playing as the Crystal Cruiser Type A or Rock Cruiser Type C. The crystal vengeance augmentation also fires a shot of this type.

See the available Crystal weapons.

General notesEdit

Lasers, ion bolts, flak debris, crystals, asteroids, drones, hacking drones, and missiles can collide in space, destroying each other. Beams do not affect drones or projectiles.

Flak, lasers, crystals, and ion blasts can shoot down attacking drones. This can happen either accidentally, when a drone flies into the line of fire (and perhaps disrupting a carefully timed volley), or by design, requiring careful aim and timing (and most likely using Pause). Taking out attacking drones can have a tactical advantage beyond the obvious defence of the ship: destroying a combat drone can lure the opposing ship into deploying its limited supply of drones outside the ship, which leaves no replacements for destroyed boarding, system repair, or anti-personnel drones.

Crew damage depends on the weapon type used; beam weapons only damage the crew if the beam hits the tile that the crewman is occupying, while all the other weapons do damage to everyone in the room they hit. Every 1 point of system damage from a weapon deals 15 damage to a crewman.

Rarity in the tables means harder to obtain the higher the number is. The exception is zero, which means a weapon can't be obtained in-game (can't be bought or randomly found).

Unobtainable Weapons Edit

These weapons were likely added for testing. They can still be acquired through hacking the game.

Volley ControlEdit

Volley Control refers to shooting your weapons in the most effective volley possible. Effectiveness depends on what weapons you have, how strong the enemy defenses are (shields, drones, dodge rates, rock plating, and cloak), and what damage you want to do. In general, you want your volleys to be as tight as possible with as little time possible between when the first shot hits to when the last shot hits (assuming no misses). This lowers the likelihood of a shield regenerating during your volley and cancelling one of your shots or a beam. When you fire 3 weapons or more, your more forward weapons will likely hit first. Ships like the Kestrel (either layout) or the Federation Cruiser (either layout) have a good distance between the forward weapons and the weapons in the wings. In order to have a tight volley, you will want to fire the wing weapons, pause-unpause-pause the game until your first shots are roughly parallel with your forward weapons, when that happens, you can fire your forward weapons.

There are times when you will be better off not having a tight volley. One example would be if you face a manned ship with a level 2 or 3 cockpit, little hull left (2 or 3 points) and the ship is about to jump (screen says 'imminent jump'). Also, the ship only has one shield (you may have partially destroyed the shield already) and you have the Red-Tail (Kestrel layout B) with its original weapons (4 x basic lasers). In this case, you are better off firing all your weapons once and targeting the cockpit. With a little luck, your first 2 shots hit. The moment the cockpit is damaged is the moment the enemy pilot begins repairing it. As soon as the repairs begin, the pilot is no longer manning the cockpit, which means the ship's dodge rate takes a nose dive. If the ship has a level 3 cockpit, the ship can still dodge even when reduced to a level 2 (a level 1 cockpit only helps if its being manned; not repaired, and a unmanned level 1 or destroyed cockpit means the ship can't dodge). Your next 2 shots have a much better chance, if not guaranteed, to hit the ship. If you had tried to hit the ship with a tight volley, there wouldn't be enough time between shots for the dodge rate to drop (the game declares a miss before it registers damage).

Weapon Speed

Another concerns for volley control is projectile speed. It's worth noting that Ion weapons have a noticeably slower projectile speed than standard weaponry - if you need a tight volley to get past a Defense Drone II, or if you need your ion bolts to arrive first, you will need to take the projectile speed difference in consideration.

Approximate speed order from quickest to slowest is:

Beam (Instant) > Heavy Laser > Laser > Missile/Bomb/Flak > Ion (slowest)

Firing OrderEdit

These are guidelines; not rules. It is assumed the enemy craft started with a shield. Suggested firing order of your weapons:

  1. Missiles/Bombs (Be careful of Defense Drones)  
  2. Ion blasts  (To disable shields)
  3. Flak  (To knock down shields)
  4. Standard Lasers
  5. Hull Lasers OR Crystal (Depends on your payload, target, and your enemy's shields)
  6. Heavy Lasers
  7. Beam Weapons (You can fire your beam as soon as shields are reduced to zero)

Both Missiles and Bombs bypass shields, allowing you to harm the ship's hull and systems directly. They are good weapons to open with because they can soften the enemies’ defenses. A successful hit on their shield can reduce their shields by one while a successful hit on their engines or cockpit will reduce their dodge ability. Even if you aren't targeting those systems with your missiles/bombs, the damage you do has a chance of peeling off enemy crew members from those manned systems, which removes the manned bonus. In that case, the enemy loses 5% in dodge or shields regenerate roughly 0.2 seconds slower.

There will always be wrinkles and exceptions to using missiles-bombs first. For missiles, there is the obvious exception involving defense drones. Defense drones have a slight chance of missing an incoming missile, especially in an asteroid field. Also, the Defense Drone Mark II tries to stop all incoming projectiles (missiles, lasers, and crystals). You may be able to trick the Mark 2 by shooting another weapon followed by the missile. If you have the Pegasus or multiple missile launchers, you can get a missile by a single drone.

As for bombs, Ion bombs won't weaken the enemy ship defenses' unless you target those 3 systems directly or the enemy has a Zoltan Shield. However, the enemy medbay or drone room (Anti-Personnel Drones are such a pain) might be more important. Healing bombs have no offensive use unless you have an away party. Lockdown bombs are tricky because they can be used in a lot of ways. You can protect your away team, or deny enemy crew a chance to heal. Also, you can lock the enemy crew out of a room (engines, shields, medbay).

Why use Ion lasers second and flak third?
If the enemy ship has shields active, ion lasers will always target them as they strike - not the system you were aiming the lasers at. If you want to use the ion damage to stun a system, then shoot your other weapons first to allow your ion laser to get past the shields. If the enemy has a Zoltan Shield, it is wise to use your ion weapons first as they deal double damage, but keep in mind that ion damage will affect the shield system if it destroys the Zoltan shield. When one layer of shields is ionized, the other layers regenerate without the manned bonus (0.2 seconds slower).

Flak is a new weapon type introduced in the Advanced Edition. It has some advantages since it delivers all its damage in a much tighter volley than laser/crystal/missiles weapons do but it can only be half aimed and it can miss with 0% evasion. The lack of aim and the tight volley make it the preferred weapon to hit shields behind ion weapons.

Why use hull lasers after regular lasers?
Regular lasers don't do any extra damage and only have a slight chance of causing a fire. Hull lasers can do double damage to systemless rooms. Even when targeting system rooms, it is worth using the hull lasers after regular lasers. Hull laser can still cause fire but also hull breaches. Because of the hull breaches, hull lasers can be particularly useful in fights with Automated Rebel ships, especially during long fights. The Auto-Rebels can't repair hull breaches and any system with a hull breach is permanently damaged.

Why use crystals after regular lasers?
Crystals are odd and useful weapons; they bypass one shield bubble and have a slight chance of causing a hull breach. Both defense drones and shields can stop their shots. This is a great weapon to take out the enemy shield generator. Use a weapon to lower the enemy's shields to a single bubble, then use your Crystal weaponry to strike their shields system, dealing damage to the hull and the system. If you have a couple of Crystal Burst (either Mark I or II), consider firing your crystal weapons at the shield room, then use your other laser weapons. If you have a beam weapon, remember it loses power if one shield is up.

However, if you plan to use beam weapons to take out a ship (or also if using the Anti-Bio Beam to kill the crew, or the Fire Beam to destroy enemy systems and crew), firing crystal weapons first is a better idea.  That way a regular laser can take down the shields to clear the way for beam weapons.

Why use heavy lasers after regular lasers?
Heavy lasers do 2 points of hull/system damage, but only do 1 point of regular shield damage. For this reason, you really want them to hit the hull and not the shield. They also can cause fire and hull breaches. When you have a Heavy Laser Mark I and face an enemy with Zoltan shields, use the Mark I to take down the Zoltan shield as they do 2 points of damage to the Zoltan shield and have a very short cooldown (9 seconds at most).

Why fire beams last?
Because shields block them. If during your volley, you knock the shield down to nothing, pause the game immediately and fire your beam to its full devastating potential. If the beam damage is more than 1, you can still fire through certain enemy shields without getting the full damage effect. (example: You have the Glaive Beam and the enemy has 2 shield points. If you fire while they have 2 shield points, it will deal 1 damage to each room hit. If you fire while they have 1 shield point, it will deal 2 damage to each room hit.)

Weapon Pairing and Damage EffectEdit

When possible, look carefully into Weapon Pairing. Granted, in a roguelike such as FTL, you can’t control what random weapons you will find. You want your weapons to work well together, which means taking into account weapon charge time and Damage Effect. You normally want to charge up all your weapons, and then fire one very powerful burst all together or over a couple of seconds. Sometimes however you get a couple of Ion Blast I (8 seconds) and a Halberd beam (17 seconds),  or Burst Lasers I/II (11/12 seconds) and a Glaive Beam (25 seconds). These examples have lesser weapons with charge time less than half of the more powerful weapon, which means you can do an intermediate burst between your big burst without delaying your big burst.

As for damage effect, you want all your different damage effects to work together. For example, weak beam weapons (bio, fire, hull, or pike) would work poorly with missiles, bombs, or crystals because the latter weapons don’t take down shields unless they target and destroy/neutralize the shield system. While it wouldn’t be horrible in the early sectors, the late sector enemies usually have three, four, or even occasionally five shield layers and would require multiple hits to the shield room for the weak beam to work. Lasers of any type work much more effectively, as their ability to bring down multiple levels of shields synergizes well with beam weapons.

In some cases, the enemy ship or crew will affect how your weapons perform sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better. For example, breach making weapons have less effect on slug ships because the Slug Repair Gel augment will automatically seal the breach. Meanwhile, weapons that can cause breaches have added effectiveness against AI rebel ships and an AI-controlled rebel flagship, as they are unable to autorepair any system with a breach. You sometimes need to be familiar with how the computer will react to damage. For example, enemy crew will leave any 2x2 room that has 4 fire squares, even if the crew are Rockmen and immune to fire damage.

Finally, consider how your weapons and their respective damage effects work with your drones and boarding parties. For example, fire beams or fire drones become stronger when you board the enemy ship with fire immune Rockmen. Along similiar lines, creating a breach (with a weapon like the breach bomb) and following up with a Lanius boarding party will quickly deplete the oxygen in the room.

Weapon ComparisonEdit

See Weapons/Tables.