This is a comprehensive guide on general AX build theory, for each of the build styles:
All components of an Anti-Xeno ship should be fully engineered for maximum performance. Thargoids are incredibly advanced and deal far more damage than any human NPC in the game. Not only this, but they have a slew of special attacks that can devastate a ship that is not properly prepared.
If you are unable to engineer everything due to constraints, the bare minimum is:
Once again, it is highly recommended that your ship be fully engineered before engaging Thargoids.
Thargoid weapons ignore all resistances (besides caustic resistance) thus you should be aiming to have all armour and shields engineered for maximum raw hull/shield MJ.
Thargoids are fast and agile, hence top speed and maneuverability heavily influences our ship recommendations. An AX ship should be able to boost over 450m/s minimum, with any extra speed being an added bonus, ideally you will want to be able to achieve over 500m/s to be able to handle Basilisk Variant Interceptors more easily
Avoid making these common mistakes listed Here.
The Meta: Military Grade Alloys with Heavy Duty blueprint and Deep Plating experimental. In AX, resistances do not matter, so HD Military provides the highest possible health pool. Reinforced Alloys, when engineered, are directly inferior to Military and Lightweight Alloys, and Mirrored and Reactive Composite only raise the rebuy and do not provide any extra raw hull.
The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Armored blueprint and Thermal Spread experimental. For most builds, armored provides the perfect tradeoff of extra power, additional integrity, and better thermals. A-rated power plants are the coolest of all ratings.
The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Dirty Tuning blueprint and Drag Drives experimental. Although the thermal load increase may seem like a problem, in practice the performance of dirty drag drives far exceeds any alternative.
Alternative: Drive Distributors experimental - only for use on small ships utilizing Enhanced Performance Thrusters (EPTs)
The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Increased Range blueprint and Mass Manager experimental. Thargoids are often found in “bubbles” of space, so being able to move around in a small range is required for AX combat.
Alternative: 2D FSD with grade one fast boot and Stripped Down experimental - provides a small speed boost at the cost of being unable to jump your ship any meaningful distance.
The Meta: D-rated with Lightweight blueprint. D-rated has the lowest power draw and weight, and still has a long enough timer for repeated oxygen synths if your canopy blows.
Alternative: A-rated allowing for longer time between required synthing.
The Meta: A-rated in the largest size available with Charge Enhanced blueprint and Super Conduits experimental. Gauss Cannons have extreme distributor draw, so having the maximum possible WEP capacitor regen is essential. The capacity loss of these modifications is also not a problem, since most ships can fire two of their gauss cannons at a time without spiking over 20% heat.
Alternative: Weapon Focused blueprint. Increased WEP capacitor size at the cost of boost frequency. Some ships require this modification to keep their heat below the threshold required for proper cold orbiting.
The Meta: D-rated with Long Range experimental. Thargoids always emit a signal that can be detected at the maximum sensor range, meaning that A-rated sensors provide no benefits to D-rated, but weigh more and cost more power.
Alternatives: There are none.
The optional internal loadout is where the main differences lie between build styles, and can even vary from Commander to Commander. Below are the three general loadouts of the three build types. For more information on the uses of each optional internal, refer to the Core and Optional Internals page.
Essential for Cold Oribing vessels to dissipate the heat generation of their weapons. Most if not all utility slots will be filled with these on Cold Orbiter and Bi-weave hybrid builds.
Engineering them with the Ammo Capacity blueprint gives one extra heatsink per launcher. There is also a pre-engienered variant, called “Sirius sinks,” which come with two extra heatsinks per launcher.
These are highly recommended for AXCZs and Maelstroms, and not recommended for solo interceptor combat. This is because, using cold mechanics, caustic can be easily avoided in solo fights, and the loss of a heatsink is not worth the niche use.
Obviously useless on Cold Orbiters, Bi-Weave hybrids usually run 1-2 while Large Shield Tanks run 6-7. Engineering them with Heavy Duty blueprint and Super Capacitors experimental provides the most raw MJ boost.
Xeno Scanners currently come in three variants: the Xeno Scanner, Enhanced Xeno Scanner, and Pulse Wave Xeno Scanner.
The Enhanced version is recommended for use in most cases, as it is a direct successor to the regular variant. The Pulse Wave Xeno Scanner, also known as the thargoid pulse scanner or TPS, is specifically designed to scan Thargoid Titians, and is recommended only for use in Titan dives.
While not recommended for use alongside guardian weaponry, bringing a scanner is virtually required with the use of Enhanced AXMCs.
There are two variants of neutralizers: the Shutdown Field Neutralizer (SFN) and the Thargoid Pulse Neutralizer (TPN). The SFN protects you and any other ships within 3km from standard Interceptor shutdown pulses. The TPN protects only your ship from Interceptor pulses, but also allows passage through the much more intense Titan shutdown wave.
For more information on Xeno Scanners and Shutdown Field Neutralizers, see the Core and Optional Internals page.