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The Vortex

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The Vortex
Cruiser Hull Engi B The Vortex.png
Cruiser Engi B The Vortex.png
Ship type Engi Cruiser
Layout Layout B
Weapons Heavy Ion, Heavy Laser I
Drones Drone Anti-Personnel small.png Anti-Personnel Drone, Drone System Repair small.png System Repair, Drone System Repair small.png System Repair
Missiles 0
Drone parts 6 Drone parts
Power 9
Augmentations Drone Reactor Booster
Achievements Robotic Warfare, I hardly lifted a finger, The guns... They've stopped
Door System
Weapon Control
Drone Control

Kestrel Cruiser
The Kestrel
Stealth Cruiser
The Nesasio
DA-SR 12
Mantis Cruiser
The Gila Monster
The Basilisk
Engi Cruiser
The Torus
The Vortex
Federation Cruiser
The Osprey
Slug Cruiser
Man of War
The Stormwalker
Rock Cruiser
Zoltan Cruiser
The Adjudicator
Crystal Cruiser


The Vortex is the second layout of the Engi Cruiser. It features a heavy reliance on internal drones and has the lowest starting crew in the game, a single Engi. It starts the game equipped with a Heavy Ion, a Heavy Laser, two System Repair Drones and an Anti-Personnel Drone.

How to Unlock the Vortex[edit]

To unlock this layout of The Torus, you must complete two of the three Engi Cruiser-specific achievements.


The Vortex relies heavily on drones.

Ship Strengths[edit]

  • Initial weapons provide a good mix of damage and shield removal.
  • The drone bay is initially well upgraded, providing good groundwork for future drone use.
  • The ship starts with a selection of useful internal drones.
  • Gets three slots for drones as opposed to the regular two.
  • Single starting crew member means you can safely vent the near-entirety of the ship to hinder boarders and fires.
  • Starting crew and equipment can grant access to many different blue options.

Ship Weaknesses[edit]

  • Initial weapons are unreliable with a long cooldown.
  • You only start with one crew member. To wit:
    • You will get an instant game over if this member is killed via an event or weapon damage.
    • You cannot accumulate skills for crew members you don't have, so early fights where you would safely level up shield repairs, engines, and piloting are less likely to occur.
    • You are in very bad shape if you get boarded and cannot clean up with your anti-personnel drone
  • Small med-bay.
  • No sensors (This is minor issue your drones are telepathic).
  • Only gets three slots for weaponry.

Leaving the Hangar[edit]

This ship seems more of an interesting challenge than an actual craft that can make it to the last sector, though it is still perfectly possible if you can get sufficient crew early on.

It has an unreliable weapon strategy, since it is impossible to do damage unless the Ion damage hits, meaning that your secondary weapon is useless until your Ion weapon recharges. Take note that the Ion weapon is on a significantly higher cooldown than your Laser.

Your starting priorities are to obtain more crew (you want at least two, obviously) and to find either a more reliable weapon set or a defense drone. If you can't find either, expect to have problems very quickly. Your weapon set takes not only a long time to charge for each round of fire (You can generally expect to get off about two Laser shots for each Ion charge) it also isn't really the most directly damaging setup, either. This makes anything with a missile launcher extremely troubling until you manage to disable it, and downright deadly in an extended fight.

While you wait to obtain more crew, upgrade your doors and vent the whole ship save for the cockpit. Should intruders pop up, your Anti-Personnel drone coupled with the lack of oxygen should make quick work of them, unless you are unfortunate to have them teleport into the cockpit.

It is also interesting to note that internal drones don't get removed after an FTL jump, meaning that you will have them until they are destroyed, even if you aren't powering them. Think of it as a crew member that trades versatility for a small startup cost and full automation (as long as you have the power bars to keep them working).

You MUST learn which events result in crew loss. Unlike any other ship, losing a crew member to plague-ridden space stations, Zoltan mystics, Mantis-filled escape pods, or even Slavers (on a misclick!) results in instant game loss, since you only have the one Engi.

Unfortunately, your ship needs upgrades badly as well, making saving for crew purchases very difficult. Bring your shields to level 2 and your Engines to at least level 2 as soon as possible. After that, you must save your scrap and hope for better weaponry or useful external drones. You luckily have multiple blue options from your Anti-Personnel drone, Ion Weapon, System Repair Drone and Engi crew which will hopefully let you save enough scrap for the important stuff. Your Drone Reactor Booster should be the first thing to go if you need those last few pieces of scrap for something good.

If you can, try Pirate-controlled sectors early on. You might get a Slaver Ship and thus probably free crew members; the more, the merrier. Engi, Zoltan and Civilian sectors are also good choices.

General Tips[edit]

  • You should initially consider moving your crew member to weapons at the start of each fight, which will drastically cut down on your weapon cooldowns at the cost of a ten percent dodge chance.
  • It is worth buying some redundant weapon power bars, even before you get a weapons upgrade. This will allow you to take the occasional missile hit to your weapon room without completely losing your damage output.
  • If you find an early Defense Drone I, sell one of your Sys. Repair Drones and add it to your arsenal. It will allow you to focus on stripping the enemy shields and weapons and will prove a useful ally in the long term.
  • Avoid areas with possible natural hazards at all costs. Asteroid fields are quite often lethal to this ship and Nebula Storms can cause you to have to make the difficult decision of turning off your oxygen, med-bay and engines, just to be able to fight off the opponent.
  • Encounters close to a Sun are less risky for you than other ships. Drones don't need air, so you're free to keep the ship mostly vented of oxygen, lowering the risk of fires.
  • Upgrade your reactor so you can have your shields and drones up at the same time.
  • Perhaps more so than any other ship, its crucial to find a fight in the first few sectors where the enemy ship cannot overcome your shields, allowing you to level up piloting / engines / shield repairs. If you're willing to wait, it might not be a bad idea in this case to max level piloting and shielding for your crew members, switching them from job to job, in case one of the crew members you later pick up has a skill from the get go.