Pilots Trade Network Elite: Dangerous

Combat Builds

Beginner builds: No Engineering

These sim­ple begin­ners’ builds will work with­out engi­neer­ing and can rea­son­ably take on lone NPCs up to Com­pe­tent lev­el. When a tar­get’s shields are down, sub­tar­get its pow­er plant: once a pow­er plant reach­es 0%, sub­se­quent hits have a chance to destroy the tar­get entire­ly no mat­ter its remain­ing hull points.



Unengineered Beginner’s Vulture

Overview: The Vul­ture is a tough, agile ship that packs a punch. It’s par­tic­u­lar­ly good for learn­ing how and when to use FA OFF manoeu­vres. The lack of engi­neer­ing unfor­tu­nate­ly lim­its the lev­el of tar­gets it can go up against, but with skil­ful fly­ing it can cope with most NPC ships up to Com­pe­tent lev­el. With good pilot­ing you may find Large ships the eas­i­est to fight against, as you can often out-manoeu­vre their guns.

Strat­e­gy: The Vul­ture is lim­it­ed by its pow­er plant so use mod­ule pri­or­i­ties as linked in the builds to man­age your pow­er when weapons are deployed. Pri­ori­tise ener­gy weapons (i.e. your pulse laser) vs shields and kinet­ics (i.e. your mul­ti-can­non) vs armour. When you have spare pow­er in your WEP capac­i­tor and spare ammo to burn, you can use both for more DPS. Use Chaff if you’re being tar­get­ed by tur­ret­ed or gim­balled weapons (i.e. any tar­get which is shoot­ing at you while not fac­ing direct­ly at you). Use Heatsinks to reduce your heat sig­na­ture and make it hard­er for ene­mies to tar­get you.

Python //


Unengineered Beginner’s Python

Overview: The Python will feel slug­gish com­pared to a Vul­ture, but with three large and two medi­um hard­points it’s capa­ble of doing a lot of dam­age to any tar­get it can hit. For its size, it also offers unmatched flex­i­bil­i­ty for option­al inter­nal com­po­nents. This build uses a Python as most pilots will already have one for haul­ing, but if you can afford it you can use almost the exact same build with a Krait Mk II. The Krait has one less option­al inter­nal slot but can car­ry a fight­er bay, which will improve your DPS if you use an NPC pilot (or a friend!).

Strat­e­gy: Use your supe­ri­or DPS and hit­points to vic­timise small­er, weak­er ships, but be aware they can out-turn and out­run you. Be wary of any­thing that match­es your weight class. Medi­um Fed­er­al ships are espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous to unengi­neered Pythons. Make sure to use your Shield Cell Banks (SCBs) with heatsinks when­ev­er your shields get below 50% or so. You can also prac­tice dou­ble-bank­ing: use an SCB, wait till your heat reach­es 100%, then use a heatsink and anoth­er SCB; in this case, you can swap out an HRP for anoth­er SCB.

Anaconda //


Unengineered Beginner’s Anaconda

Overview: For pilots who feel big­ger is bet­ter, the Ana­con­da is your best choice until you can obtain the rank-locked fac­tion ships (don’t both­er with the Type 10 unless you want to dance the Laser Dis­co). It’s slug­gish to fly and your biggest issue will be point­ing your guns at your tar­get, but against low-skill NPC oppo­nents you won’t have any trou­ble either with your dam­age out­put or your survivability.

Strat­e­gy: Use your supe­ri­or DPS and hit­points to vic­timise small­er, weak­er ships, but be aware they can out-turn and out­run you. Launch your fight­er before com­bat begins and remem­ber to assign it to attack your tar­get. Use SCBs with heatsinks before your shields are at risk of break­ing – you’ll need to dou­ble bank to get the most out of your 3 heatsink launch­ers. Try switch­ing places with your NPC fight­er pilot now and then to build up your pilot­ing skill and aim, and to give your­self a change of pace.

Fight­er: You can use any fight­er you like, but for max­i­mum DPS and sur­viv­abil­i­ty for Dan­ger­ous NPC pilots and above, an Impe­r­i­al Gelid‑F Gu-97 is rec­om­mend­ed. It is how­ev­er rec­om­mend­ed to hire NPC pilots at Harm­less lev­el and train them up your­self, in which case a Rogue‑G F63 or Taipan may offer bet­ter survivability.

Out­fit­ting: You can swap your bulk­heads from Light­weight Alloy to Mil­i­tary Grade Com­pos­ite if you need more sur­viv­abil­i­ty. You can try mix­ing in some tur­ret­ed weapons if you find it hard to hit your tar­gets with the includ­ed gim­balled weapons: tur­ret DPS is low­er, but hit­ting the tar­get is more DPS than not hitting!

Engineered Builds: RES/CZ

Designed for endurance, these builds will see you through any RES site or Con­flict Zone with ammo to spare. Bi-weave shields are weak­er to incom­ing dam­age but regen­er­ate much faster, giv­ing you bet­ter over­all defence for long dura­tions in theatre.


Krait Mk II

Beginner’s engineered Krait
Overview: An engi­neered Krait Mk II is an incred­i­ble ship to learn com­bat in because of its com­bi­na­tion of good DPS, high speed, amaz­ing boost uptime for enhanced manoeu­vra­bil­i­ty, and for­giv­ing pow­er distributor.

Strat­e­gy: Pri­ori­tise beams vs shields and kinet­ics vs armour. When you have spare pow­er in your WEP capac­i­tor and spare ammo to burn, you can use both for more DPS. Always deploy your fight­er before get­ting into a fight and set it to attack your tar­get. For dog­fight­ing, boost as often as pos­si­ble, as the Krait is slug­gish in a turn with­out boost­ing, but can more or less per­ma-boost with a ful­ly engi­neered pow­er dis­trib­u­tor and a cou­ple of pips in ENG. If your shields drop, run away and let your fight­er dis­tract the tar­get until your shields have regenerated.

Fight­er: You can use any fight­er you like but, for max­i­mum DPS and sur­viv­abil­i­ty for Dan­ger­ous NPC pilots and above, an Impe­r­i­al Gelid‑F Gu-97 is rec­om­mend­ed. You can swap the 5D bay for a 6D if you want the abil­i­ty to imme­di­ate­ly rede­ploy a destroyed fight­er, or want a friend to crew with you, but be aware you can’t field two NPC fight­ers at once.

Engi­neer­ing pri­or­i­ty: Thrusters and PD are the most impor­tant things to engi­neer as they will enable you to avoid most dam­age. Then engi­neer your weapons (more DPS = short­er fights), then your shields, and final­ly any­thing else.


Federal Corvette

Beginner’s engineered Corvette

Overview: There is no eas­i­er ship for PvE than a Fed­er­al Corvette. Against NPC oppo­nents you are more or less unbeatable.

Strat­e­gy: Pri­ori­tise beams vs shields and kinet­ics vs armour. When you have spare pow­er in your WEP capac­i­tor and spare ammo to burn, you can use both for more DPS. Always deploy your fight­er before get­ting into a fight and set it to attack your tar­get. The corvette is not fast and will not out-turn many ships, but its sur­viv­abil­i­ty and fire­pow­er make that large­ly moot. Start using SCBs with a heatsink or while fir­ing your Ther­mal Vent beams if your shields drop below 70%.

Fight­er: You can use any fight­er you like, but for max­i­mum DPS and sur­viv­abil­i­ty for Dan­ger­ous NPC pilots and above, an Impe­r­i­al Gelid‑F Gu-97 is recommended.

Notes: Turn off the two low­er class SCBs until the high­er class ones are deplet­ed, oth­er­wise you won’t have enough pow­er. Alter­na­tive­ly you can swap them out for a Guardian Frame Shift Boost­er and Fuel Scoop respec­tive­ly if oper­at­ing away from a Fleet Car­ri­er – in which case set their pow­er pri­or­i­ty to “5”. For weapons, this build pro­vides a nice bal­ance of kinet­ic vs ther­mal dam­age, but you can swap the class 4 beam for a mul­ti-can­non and the class 3 mul­ti-can­non for a beam if desired.

Engi­neer­ing pri­or­i­ty: Focus on your Pow­er Dis­trib­u­tor and weapons first, then shields and engines.


Federal Gunship

Wing Support Gunship

Overview: A fun build for sup­port­ing a wing of fel­low play­ers with pow­er­ful shield restora­tion, repairs and/or fuel top-ups.

Strat­e­gy: Assign all of your “heal beams” (i.e. the ones with regen­er­a­tion sequence and con­cor­dant sequence) to a sin­gle fire but­ton and use them on your team­mates when­ev­er their shields start to dip; you may find it help­ful to bind keys in the con­trol menu to tar­get each wing­mate direct­ly. When not “heal­ing”, turn your weapons on the ene­my instead – but don’t draw too much atten­tion, as you can’t heal yourself!

Fight­er: You can use any fight­er you like, but for max­i­mum DPS and sur­viv­abil­i­ty for Dan­ger­ous NPC pilots and above, an Impe­r­i­al Gelid‑F Gu-97 is recommended.

Out­fit­ting: The core of this build is heal­ing, but oth­er weapons can be any­thing you want. For exam­ple, an alter­na­tive would be to use two class 1 effi­cient pulse tur­rets with Scram­ble Spec­trum and Emis­sive Muni­tions, and make all the heal beams class 2. If you don’t have access to GSRPs, use SCBs or HRPs/MRPs as you prefer.

Limpets: A limpet con­troller is option­al, but you can equip whichev­er you pre­fer – repair, refu­el, or even Res­cue mul­ti-limpets. Just remem­ber to bring some limpets along in car­go if you plan to use them.

Engi­neer­ing pri­or­i­ty: This build requires the exper­i­men­tal effects on its beam weapons in order to ful­fil its basic func­tion. Assum­ing you’re using it in a Wing, every­thing else is optional.

Assassination Builds

These builds pri­ori­tise high burst dam­age and short-term sur­viv­abil­i­ty, mak­ing them suit­able for assassination/wing assas­si­na­tion mis­sions, high threat “Pirate Activ­i­ty Detect­ed” instances, or any sit­u­a­tion where run­ning out of ammo isn’t a con­cern. Note: with A‑class or Pris­mat­ic shields, if you can run away far enough, you can use the REBOOT/REPAIR option in the right hand pan­el to restore your shields to 50% if they drop com­plete­ly, so long as Flight Assist is on and you are not being hit by hos­tile fire. (This is not rec­om­mend­ed in any sit­u­a­tion where you are the only target.)


Alliance Chieftain


Overview: A fast, agile dog­fight­er with good burst dam­age, but high­ly depen­dent on its agili­ty for sur­vival. Not rec­om­mend­ed solo vs mul­ti­ple targets.

Strat­e­gy: Get in close and ham­mer the tar­get with your frag can­nons until it explodes. Your goal is sim­ple: kill it before it kills you. Your bi-weaves will serve you well if you’re able to use the Chief­tain’s manoeu­vra­bil­i­ty to min­imise incom­ing fire. Your Drag Muni­tions Frag Can­non and your Chaff Launch­er will help with this.

Out­fit­ting notes: Gim­bals or frags are up to you. Gim­bals offer more time on tar­get but are vul­ner­a­ble to chaff. Fixed offers high­er dam­age per hit, but require more pre­cise aim and bet­ter ori­en­ta­tion towards your tar­get. You can swap the exper­i­men­tals on the frags for Screen­ing Shell if you have high time on tar­get and want a faster reload speed.

Fer-De-Lance //



Overview: The FDL is the king of PvP, and this is essen­tial­ly a PvE adap­ta­tion of the meta PvP build. You need to be able to aim fixed weapons to use this effec­tive­ly, but if you can it’s a lot of fun and offers good dam­age and flexibility.

Strat­e­gy: The FDL takes some prac­tice to fly but is fast, agile, and a lot of fun. It also packs great dam­age and very high shield­ing. Make good use of FA OFF tech­niques to com­pen­sate for drift and stay close to your tar­get. Pri­ori­tise get­ting in close for your PAs, and be aware of con­ver­gence (i.e. notice that your shots from guns in dif­fer­ent hard­points end up in slight­ly dif­fer­ent places, and ori­ent your­self accord­ing­ly. You may find the Elite Dan­ger­ous Ship Anato­my site help­ful for con­ver­gence issues). Feel free to use your rails as you close but pri­ori­tise get­ting ori­ent­ed for your PA shots – oth­er­wise, use your rails to inter­rupt ene­my SCB use.

Out­fit­ting notes: You can swap the rail guns to short-range rails if you’re con­fi­dent of your abil­i­ty to stay close to a tar­get, but it does cost you flex­i­bil­i­ty and the abil­i­ty to deal dam­age at range. Alter­na­tive­ly, you can swap all exper­i­men­tals to Plas­ma Slug to make it suit­able for longer engage­ments – but remem­ber to pack a fuel tank! If you decide to go for a Pris­mat­ic shield you’ll need to over­charge the Pow­er Plant, in which case go with a full suite of Shield Boost­ers and ditch the SCB for a GSRP.




Overview: A fun ship to fly and capa­ble of incred­i­ble burst dam­age, but requires a fair bit of prac­tice to use well. Good for Wing Assas­si­na­tion mis­sions as its speed, high burst dam­age and high shields allow it to avoid most incom­ing fire while still apply­ing dam­age to the target.

Strat­e­gy: The Mam­ba is not a great turn fight­er and takes a lot of prac­tice to dog­fight with suc­cess­ful­ly. Instead it’s most at home as a joust­ing ship, focused on deal­ing lots of dam­age in a sin­gle pass, then using its 600m/s boost to get out of range to avoid incom­ing fire before turn­ing around and mak­ing anoth­er pass. This is true even against Large ships, though it can usu­al­ly afford to hang in a fight for longer before boost­ing away as it will take longer for Large ships to catch you in a turn. Judi­cious use of scoop-boost­ing and care­ful pip con­trol can make it a mon­ster dog­fight­er able to defeat even small ships in CQC.

Out­fit­ting notes: You can use a reg­u­lar A‑class shield instead of a Pris­mat­ic if nec­es­sary. Begin­ner pilots may pre­fer an extra Class 3 Frag Can­non in the Huge slot as it elim­i­nates the need to aim the PA. Gim­balled weapons are a must for this build owing to poor hard­point con­ver­gence. You can swap the Pow­er Plant engi­neer­ing for Armoured if you pre­fer, in which case drop one of the Heavy Duty shield gen­er­a­tors for Chaff or a Heatsink. If you go with Over­charged, there’s no need to engi­neer it past 35% of grade 3. Also, don’t fight with your shields down – instead, run away and per­form a reboot to restore 50% of your shields.



The Imperial Missile Battery

Overview: Designed in part­ner­ship with Sir­ius Cor­po­ra­tion, the Impe­r­i­al Mis­sile Bat­tery is a cus­tom-fit Cut­ter capa­ble of hunt­ing down and elim­i­nat­ing pirates and oth­er unde­sir­ables with min­i­mal fuss. State-of-the-art pack­hound ‘drunk mis­siles’ are launched sev­er­al dozen a sec­ond, elim­i­nat­ing all but the most well-equipped crim­i­nals in moments. It can get toasty in there pilots, so feel free to eject your active heatsink and enjoy a drink from the includ­ed bar.

Strat­e­gy: Find a small to medi­um ship, take aim, fire a vol­ley and move on to the next tar­get. A CMDR that aims appro­pri­ate­ly should be able to delete ~7 small or ~3 medi­um sized ships before going for a restock. When fight­ing pirate assas­i­na­tion mis­sion tar­gets, it is rec­om­mend­ed to ram the shields down first.

A cre­ation of CMDR Hellpyre.

PVP Builds

These builds are designed for encoun­ters with oth­er play­ers. Com­bat between play­er CMDRs fol­lows dif­fer­ent laws than one would encounter when fight­ing NPCs; while these builds may also be viable in PvE encoun­ters, they are built around a PvP use case.

Krait MK II

Krait MK II

Piracy Krait

Pur­chased from dis­creet black-mar­ket deal­ers in Archon Delaine space, this take on the pow­er­ful Krait Mk. 2 ship is capa­ble of engag­ing unpre­pared trans­port ves­sels and lib­er­at­ing goods before a sys­tem author­i­ty response ves­sel can be mobi­lized. The flechette launch­ers allow it to bypass many of the tra­di­tion­al defen­sive mea­sures used by trade ves­sels to buy time for their escape. The addi­tion of three plas­ma accel­er­a­tors means the ship can pro­vide a threat pro­file that is dif­fi­cult for ships opti­mised for min­ing or car­go trans­port to disregard.

A cre­ation of CMDR Hellpyre.