Alliance Challenger vs. FDL: which is better for combat (incl. thargds) and why? - PvE only

Beams are quite juicy and lack many useful special effects compared to the high damage, high utility alternatives of frags, railguns, or a small corrosive multicannon, but you can make them work.
I actually run a beam with thermal vent on many of my ships. It's a very useful effect, helps a lot with heat management. While still doing damage. (Purely a PvE tool, though. While i am not a PvP player, i would not expect to be able to make best use of it in a PvP situation. )
 
Last edited:
I use both. FDL with huge thermal vent beam and 4 overcharged multicannon with 3x overcharged and 1x corrosive for normal PvE and a Challenger for Thargs. The challenger FDL doesn't have enough internals for everything I need to fight Thargoids (shield,hull,module reinforcement and repair/decontamination limpets).
 
Like others have said, you're not going to be doing much against Thargoids without engineering and ideally a few Guardian module unlocks.

For PVE, the FdL is still better than a challenger because shields that regen indefinitely and automatically are still better than hull tanking and module damage with active repair.

My suggestion would be to grab an FdL and run it with resistant bi-weaves. Weapon loadout for minimum restocking/downtime should probably be something like four fixed, efficient beams and one huge corrosive multicannon (gimballed).

The temptation with the FdL is to use the two size-4 slots for HRP/MRP but once your shield drops in an FdL there really isn't much point sticking around because even with armour in those slots it's never going to be a good hull tank or hybrid. My advice is to make a huge QoL investment with a 4H guardian FSD booster, a 4A fuel scoop, and use the smaller slots for a 2D and 1D heavy-duty, deep-plating HRP.

Other tips for a PVE FdL are to use a 6A armoured powerplant with thermal spread so that don't cook, and if you have power problems with your loadout, dropping the boosters from 0A to 0D with super capacitors is a massive saving on power use without a huge impact in your shield strength.
 
Challenger looks mean, looks the business.
Everybody and their dog has an FDL and it looks garbage.
Practicalities don't matter as long as you look good. (y)
This is rule #1.
Always gotta look cool.

My good friend ski instructor taught me that and it's definitely something I subscribe to.

Rule #1
 
I actually run a beam with thermal vent on many of my ships. It's a very useful effect, helps a lot with heat management. While still doing damage. (Purely a PvE tool, though. While i am not a PvP player, i would not expect to be able to make best use of it in a PvP situation. )
For sure if you run a hot ship, thermal vent is the only useful beam special. (y)
 
For sure if you run a hot ship, thermal vent is the only useful beam special. (y)
Aashenfox, if you don't mind me asking, what are your thoughts on the sisterships of the Challenger: Chieftain and Crusader? For general PvE use.
 
Last edited:
Aashenfox, if you don't mind me asking, what are your thoughts on the sisterships of the Challenger: Chieftain and Crusader? For general PE use.
Chieftain is arguably even better than the challenger for pve because of the overall larger hardpoints, and better agility. It doesn't have the same overall DPS as the challenger (well, that's subjective, due to its speed, it's arguable that it does, as it gets on target faster, I digress), but two large hardpoints is not be overlooked, they get a good piercing bonus and therefore are worth more damage against the ships with the higher hardness ratings. There are loadouts that suit each ship well because of these hardpoint layouts. For example, three rails on the bottom of the challenger is beautiful, but it's difficult to get a good PA configuiration with 3 mediums underneath and a large on the top. The Chieftain with its two large hardopints right on top of one another is a SICK PA platform, especially if you are good enough to also land the belly medium, too, it's a powerful burst volley. The armor is comparable to the challenger minus about 15%, which is still massive overkill for pve. It can be built to exactly the same principles as the build I posted earlier, it has quite a bit more speed and pitch (which actually sometimes doesn't help, depends which weapons you're using, I find it easier to fire rails from the challenger and the Krait than I do from the chieftain, its pitch and yaw are so aggressive) so you can get on target faster. It also makes an exceptional Pacifier platform in pve (it's a bit drifty for pacifiers in pvp unless you are an EXCEPTIONAL pilot and shot) for the same reasons. Which brings me to the final point. The Challenger has weirdly good space grip. The Chieftain is very drifty. Sometimes, in FA off if you get it right, you can pull some extraordinary, almost FDL-esque maneuvers in the Challenger, just without the outright speed. The Chieftain on the other hand, flown FA off, becomes quite predictable and doesn't change direction very aggressively (again, with teh exception of great pilots, the Chieftain is a very agile ship and can really dance, but again it's difficult to get the best out of it in this regard compared to say, the FDL, or even the challenger, due to that low 'grip' factor)

The Crusader I'm sorry to say, is just rubbish. Enough said about that. I can only assume that in giving it a fighter they felt that was justification to completely gimp the ship in other areas (bad module sizing, horrible hardpoints, slow, ew, just ew...). Good pitch is about the only positive thing you can say about it. ;) It;s so horrible on paper I haven't even tried to build one, so if someone disagrees, please, try to change my mind. :)
 
Last edited:
The Crusader I'm sorry to say, is just rubbish. Enough said about that.
I tend to agree - unlike the fairly unique Federal Gunship, which has the most hardpoints and bigger distributor than other "federal trio" ships, the Crusader is just underwhelming:
Lowest speed, lowest firepower, worst jump range, weak shield.

Fighter bay is an interesting addition but it doesn't make much sense on a ship that is so much worse than its siblings, especially since installing the bay means more weight + power draw and less space for other modules.

I don't doubt it can be a competent PvE ship with good loadout and pilot, but it's one of the least attractive ships in ED, on par with Asp Scout.
 
Chieftain is arguably even better than the challenger for pve because of the overall larger hardpoints, and better agility.

The Crusader I'm sorry to say, is just rubbish.
I agree on both points. The Chieftain and Challenger are very similar. In the end it boils down to the question, if you rather want the punch of two large hardpoints (my Chieftain has two APAs there), or if you prefer the bigger variety (and at least on paper slightly higher DPS) of the Challenger. For AX i would prefer the Challenger due to being able to bring more C2 guardian gauss. For the rest, very much matter of taste.

In the Crusader: yea. Too little, too late. Would it have come before the Krait MK II, it would for a while have been the one ship with SLF capability, acceptable agility and good firepower by itself. (See how many conditions i have to put there to to give it a point, though. ) With the Krait MK II around, there is not a single reason to ever touch the Crusader.
 
Chieftain is arguably even better than the challenger for pve because of the overall larger hardpoints, and better agility. It doesn't have the same overall DPS as the challenger (well, that's subjective, due to its speed, it's arguable that it does, as it gets on target faster, I digress), but two large hardpoints is not be overlooked, they get a good piercing bonus and therefore are worth more damage against the ships with the higher hardness ratings. There are loadouts that suit each ship well because of these hardpoint layouts. For example, three rails on the bottom of the challenger is beautiful, but it's difficult to get a good PA configuiration with 3 mediums underneath and a large on the top. The Chieftain with its two large hardopints right on top of one another is a SICK PA platform, especially if you are good enough to also land the belly medium, too, it's a powerful burst volley. The armor is comparable to the challenger minus about 15%, which is still massive overkill for pve. It can be built to exactly the same principles as the build I posted earlier, it has quite a bit more speed and pitch (which actually sometimes doesn't help, depends which weapons you're using, I find it easier to fire rails from the challenger and the Krait than I do from the chieftain, its pitch and yaw are so aggressive) so you can get on target faster. It also makes an exceptional Pacifier platform in pve (it's a bit drifty for pacifiers in pvp unless you are an EXCEPTIONAL pilot and shot) for the same reasons. Which brings me to the final point. The Challenger has weirdly good space grip. The Chieftain is very drifty. Sometimes, in FA off if you get it right, you can pull some extraordinary, almost FDL-esque maneuvers in the Challenger, just without the outright speed. The Chieftain on the other hand, flown FA off, becomes quite predictable and doesn't change direction very aggressively (again, with teh exception of great pilots, the Chieftain is a very agile ship and can really dance, but again it's difficult to get the best out of it in this regard compared to say, the FDL, or even the challenger, due to that low 'grip' factor)

The Crusader I'm sorry to say, is just rubbish. Enough said about that. I can only assume that in giving it a fighter they felt that was justification to completely gimp the ship in other areas (bad module sizing, horrible hardpoints, slow, ew, just ew...). Good pitch is about the only positive thing you can say about it. ;) It;s so horrible on paper I haven't even tried to build one, so if someone disagrees, please, try to change my mind. :)
I've actually flown the Crusader more than the other two in the Alliance family. I basically used it for what it does best though, which is as a tank mothership for my NPC crew to fly while I tool around in the fighter. I'm at least twice as effective in a fighter as an NPC pilot would be, they aren't nearly as good at hit and run as a fighter pilot NEEDS to be. For that it worked well; no unlocks required and it was a good precursor to my Krait MK2.

I like the other two ships better in terms of everything you mentioned though, and I'm thinking it's time to dust them off. I'm trying to use more fixed weapons, and these ships seem like they are built to accommodate them with their sweet handling. :)

Anyways, thanks for all your input, CMDRs, threads like these are a gold mine of information and I'm sure I'll be back to reread.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom