Beginner's Guide to Ships

From SWGoH Help Wiki

(Official fork of the SWGOH Imperial Fleet Server Discord guide. This thing has it's own life now and will mutate on its own.)

What to know when trying to think about ship related goals cohesively

(For levels 1 ~ 60 ...ish)

The purpose of this guide is to get new players to think about their ships from the perspective of a veteran and avoid heartaches that will otherwise occur in hindsight. While this guide won’t cover the fleet arena meta, a few things will be said. Also, efficient farming won’t be talked about, but the majority of the choices presented will be influenced by this idea. In short, here are a bunch of things you should know sooner, rather than later.

Prepping for ZETA Material Farming

One of the major goals in this game is farming Zeta mats. Zeta’s are a material you need to take a character’s level-7 skill to level-8 and make them supremely powerful. This is a late game activity that all players work on constantly. To accomplish this, a specific set of ships is required and preparing for zeta farming literally can't start too early.

In order to farm zeta's mats, you need Grand Moff Tarkin’s capital ship, Executrix, at 5-stars; and to get a 5-star Executrix, you need 5 Darkside ships for the tri-weekly, Capital Ship Star Upgrade Event. Finally, to farm zeta's, you need to be level 78, use your 5-star Executrix, and have another five 5-star non-capital ships, (both Lightside and DS are acceptable). The following is the recommended ships and gear level for the Executrix 5-star event:

Ships Ship Stars Pilots Pilot Stats
1 Executrix 4 stars G M Tarkin 6-stars, g9
2 TIE Fighter 4-5 stars TIE Fighter Pilot 6-stars, g9+
3 TIE Silencer 4-5 stars Kylo (Unmasked) 6-stars, g9
4 SF's Geonosis 4-5 stars Sun Fac 6-stars, g9
5 TIE Advanced 4-5 stars Darth Vader 6-stars, g9+
6 Slave 1 4-5 stars Boba Fett 6-stars, g8
7 FO TIE Fighter 4-5 stars FOTP 6-stars, g9

Remember only five ships are needed. The listed pilot recommendations are not required, though anything below g8 will require much more RNG than battles at g8-10, particularly to 3-star the event. Ship ability levels should average 5, and pilots should have 5-dot mods at level 15 and an average ability level of 6.

This editor managed to 3-star the event with some pilots at 5-star g6 and ability levels as low as 3, though other ships had 7-star pilots at g8+ and abilities at 7+. This is not typical and required good RNG. Nevertheless, as soon as you unlock the option to try this tier of the event you should begin making attempts regardless of your ship and pilot stats, improving your fleet continually to improve your odds.

Tier-4 of the Ship Ability Materials event unlocks at level 85 and requires 6 6-star ships (either DS or LS) plus a 6-star Executrix. To achieve the 6-star Executrix, you will need 6 DS fighter ships at 5-stars.

Zeta mats can also be bought for 2000 Fleet Tokens (each) in the Fleet Store. Directly buying them means you will rob your fleet arena growth for other areas of the game. Competitive F2P fleet arena players will avoid this option until they are very well established.

Fleet Arena

Most F2P players won’t hit the top 100 (or even 200) in Squad Arena (read the footnote about this blasphemous assertion.) until very late in the game. However, it's far easier to get into the top 20 of Fleet Arena if you laser focus and develop as quickly as you can manage. If your under level 60ish, the ships I outlined above, are not only designed to meet zeta farming goals, but will also get you into the top 20 a very good fighting chance. To speak plainly, the lineup is:

Capital Ship:    Executrix

Starters:        Biggs, TFP, (Silencer/Fives/Sun Fac)

ReInforcements:    Vader as 1st reinforcement (RI), (Fives/Sun Fac/Silencer).

This is NOT a perfect line-up... but it’s pretty close to being one for Tarkin players. There are pros and cons to this fleet that requires an entire discussion that is beyond the scope of this guide, though some important ones will be touched on in the next section. I’ll just add that a strength of this fleet lies in its ability to achieve early goals and then becoming a solid, versatile backbone as you eventually farm more ships (like the Hound’s Tooth). In other words, all the ships listed above are worth having in the long term. Further information can be found in the SWGoH Imperial Fleet Server Discord.

Fleet Arena Rules of Thumb

  1. It is currently not efficient, desirable or even possible to begin your arena climb by immediately farming only an "end-game fleet." This is simply not realistic. Winning in fleet arena is about starting with the hand you're dealt and carefully increasing its strength and adding to it over time.
  2. 40% of whether you win or lose in fleet arena comes down to who is more committed to their fleet growth. At the least, keep pace with your enemies.
  3. Have at least one tank in your starting lineup. Biggs X-wing is the defining tank in the game until you can farm and deploy Hound's Tooth. Further, it is important to pair him with a ship that can inflict Target Lock (TL). Don't hesitate on his development just because you know he'll get replaced either.
  4. Your Capital Ship, starters and 1st RI are simply more important than the rest. While you can’t leave any part of your active fleet in the dust, those 5 should get a little more attention.
  5. If you decide to use fast ships in your starting lineup, then they should be faster than your enemies at all times. ITF and Silencer are the classic examples.
  6. The vast majority of starter squads have the following formulas:
    1. Tank, Glass Cannon, [Glass Cannon or Support]
    2. Tank, Tank, [Glass Cannon or Support]

6a. The double cannon is spectacularly viable in premature shards. Their ranking is more volatile but you'll have it a bit easier in climbing back up. Also, you need to make sure at least 1 of the ships goes first in battle, ideally both. This is easy to do in premature shards; pick fast ships and stay on top of the gear grind to keep their speed edge.

6b. The double tank is more stable and more resilient once your shard begins to mature. But, it means you won't have as much firepower up front, so compensating for that in some way becomes a priority as you are more likely to have to deal with longer battles.

  • Multi-pilot ships are like anchors that will absolutely slow your ability to climb to the top of your arena. Even if you are top 20 with them in your fleet, you will eventually be oppressed as your enemies surpass you in strength simply because they are developing fewer pilots for the same number of ships. Having said that, if your ship pilots also double as your Arena squad (such as using the Phoenix squad in Arena and their ships in Fleet Arena), it is possible to use multi-pilot ships, as your resources are not as stretched. However, any which way you slice it, your fleet arena climb will be slower as a result and will eventually taper off as your opponents develop extra ships while you are stuck sinking resources into the same multi-pilot ships.

I won’t talk any more about Ship Arena and other definitely viable teams here. I will just re-affirm that the above list of ships does create a cohesive ship arena team that has allowed at least this author, to maintain a continuous presence at rank #1 (as of 2018-09-06) since Ship 2.0 started in the spring.

Ship Stars and Levels, and Pilots

The default rule of thumb is to level your ship stars and ship levels evenly. This will maximize the amount of stars/levels you get for the least amount of time and in-game credits invested. The Ship Building Materials you earn to star and level up ships is extremely thin and F2P players do not have the luxury to spend it on whatever they feel like if they intend to be competitive in ship arena and if they want to farm zeta’s as soon as possible.

In other words, there is no real benefit to having one ship at 7 stars and level 65, while all your other ships are 4 stars and level 50. Almost without exception, one ship cannot carry the day for your whole fleet. However, this rule of thumb doesn’t apply to the pilots, as other parts of the game will demand that you farm a character straight to 7 stars as soon as you can.

Finally, in regards to zeta farming, it is recommended (but not crucial) that all your relevant ships get upgraded to 5 stars first, at the expense of getting your pilot's past 4/5 stars (to 6/7 stars) if such farming activities conflict, in order to not delay farming zeta mats at level 78.

Ship Stats & Mods

Ship stats (such as Health, Protection, Speed, etc.) are increased by increasing your pilot stars, ship stars, pilot level, ship level, pilot gear, pilot skills and mods. That’s it.

Regarding mods: A mod is something that you can give to a character starting when that toon reaches level 50. A character will receive a variety of stat boosts as listed in the mod itself, but those mod stats as well as the type of mod have absolutely no bearing on ship stats. The only thing that a ship cares about is whether the mod is a 5-dot mod, and whether it is a level 15 mod. Thus, as long as you give your pilot's max level 5-dot mods, the ship will gain the maximum benefits to its stats (from mods). Once your pilot reaches gear 12, a 5-dot mod can then be “sliced” to a superior 6-dot mod.

Because of this, you can actually use your pilots as a clearinghouse for your mod farming activities. Farm mods regularly, level them up and give them to all your pilots. If a mod with good stats reveals itself, you can then transfer it to a squad arena or raid focused character.

I want to reiterate how important mod farming is before moving on. Complete the Mod Battles to tier-8 to access all the Mod Challenges so you can farm 5-dot mods regularly, selling excess mods to help finance mod leveling up. Look for mod guides elsewhere for a better understanding of their significance.

Fleet Battles Holotable (PvE)

Initial research has shown that the best use of the PvE Table in general is to to farm gear. The drop rate (as reported thus far in our Discord channel) is roughly 30% per attempt for gear. The Reinforcement Mats appear to drop at a rate of about 10% and Ship Ability Material Omega Mats appear to drop at a rate of 4%. The drop rates for ship and character shards appears identical to the Lightside and Darkside PvE tables.

In terms of character shard or ship shard farming on hard nodes, for new players, it would be best to use the PvE Table to snowball your ship arena squad if the intention is to be competitive. In this regard, the most important farming activity is quite likely acquiring the Reinforcement Materials that can be farmed starting in level 3 normal and hard nodes. RI mats are used to upgrade the unique RI abilities for each ship that ships can utilize the one time when it enters the middle of your battle as a reinforcement. All ships have a level 1 RI ability and a few are useful at that level. Most others need to be maxed to level 3 for a ship to shine in an RI position however. So, do your best to make it to the level 3 PvE battles and farm from that level and up to maximize your farming efficiency.

Farming matters of note- Boba Fett, Vader, Sun Fac and Darth Maul:

Slave 1 and TIE Advanced are top rated ships that can be acquired in the Ship Arena Shop but don't drop very often. While the introduction of the Fleet PvE table has made these two ships farmable (hard nodes 2-B, 4-B), players are strongly recommended to always hold back 800 ship tokens to buy these shards whenever they show up in the store. Even so, the drop rate is slow enough to very likely delay your ability to farm zeta's until you're level 80 something (if you follow the DS ship recommendations above). Thus, it’s also recommended that a small amount of node farming be included to increase your chance of being ready by level 78.

Sun Fac and Darth Maul are also slower(ish) farms as the pilot shards are somewhat rare drops in Fleet Arena Store (and Guild Store for Maul). Their ships are also rare drops in the Fleet Arena Store (and Galactic War Store for Sun Fac’s ship), but can also be farmed in the ship PvE table (hard nodes 2-A, 3-D). Do not think to farm these characters and ships too casually if you plan to acquire them. Farming these toons+ships can put quite a bit of pressure on your Fleet Arena Credits since both pilots and ships are largely farmed out of that store. It is strongly recommended that early players only choose one to farm and leave the other for later.

Galactic War Store and Fleet Arena Store:

Galactic War Store: Too many good targets and not enough tokens is the theme in this store. Outside of what you decide to farm for the Scoundrel Credit-Heist events and Squad Arena, the only sure fire targets are your targeted ship shards and their pilots.

Fleet Arena Store: Too many targets and not enough tokens is again, the theme in this store. Because getting top 20 in Fleet Arena IS realistic for F2P players, you will want to spend your tokens here snowballing ONLY your fleet arena team.

Contraband Cargo Event:

---Under Construction---

The early tiers of this event can be completed with only two ships.

A few notes on Deadly Tier (final tier):

  • Completion of the Deadly Tier is possible with just 4 cargo ships semi-consistently.
  • Successful runs show cargo ships with g9-g12 pilots. (g11 is the average).
  • Successful use of Home One, Chimaera, Executrix leads have been reported.
  • Home One appears to have it a bit easier. Executrix appears to have it a bit harder.
  • Slave 1 off the bench with max RI appears to be popular.
  • Hound’s Tooth, as the only eligible tank, will make the event easier.

Next Steps: The Chimaera and Grand Arena

As you progress with Executrix to zeta mat farming, you will at times be able to spare some effort for a second lineup of ships. Developing these ships should not come at the expense of your primarily lineup, but you will want to prepare for level 85 and beyond.

Home One is the second capital ship you should develop, for several reasons:

  • Admiral Ackbar is used in raid teams, particularly for heroic AAT. By comparison, Mace Windu is not used much
  • Home One is required to unlock the Chimaera, Thrawn's capital ship
  • Home One is a powerful ship in its own right and works well in Grand Arena
  • Mace's ship, the Endurance, is extremely powerful on defense with certain ship combinations, but these ships are all late-game farms that don't even unlock until you are into level 80+

The Chimaera is arguably the best capital ship in the game. To unlock it, you'll need to use the Home One and Rebel ships. Therefore, any ship you are getting that isn't for your primary lineup should be a Rebel ship. Some recommendations:

  • You should have Biggs already. He will likely be in your primary lineup until you can replace him with Hound's Tooth, but once replaced he will always have a place in Grand Arena and is functionally required for the Chimaera event. Don't skimp on his development
  • The two Phoenix ships, Phantom II and Ghost, are required to unlock the Chimaera. They are also good ships, and you will need their pilots since the Phoenix squad is used to unlock Thrawn. Getting these two ships to 7-star will be a long trip; as resources allow, get their shards in the shops
  • Do not underestimate the Rebel Roundup event and its impact on ships. The pilot and ship shards you earn there can greatly boost your farming efforts, if you can scrape together a powerful enough squad to begin completing this event's tiers. Of note, the first tier grants Phoenix Squad pilot and ship shards. A Bounty Hunter squad put together for this event has many other uses throughout the game, making it a sound investment
  • To unlock the Chimaera, you need three Rebel ships (this used to require five, but Ships 2.0 changed it). With Phantom II, Ghost, and Biggs, you can complete the lower tiers of the event. However, to complete the last tier, you will almost certainly need one or two more Rebel ships- not because of entrance requirements, but because you do have to actually win. Your options are as follows:
    • Wedge's X-wing. This is highly recommended, as Wedge is a powerful character used in other areas of the game alongside Biggs, and his ship is up to the task at hand. It will also continue to be useful in Grand Arena, and Wedge's X-wing is far easier to obtain and power up than your other two options.
    • Cassian's U-wing. This ship is important in upper-level Fleet Arenas and is obtained in the Cantina Battle store. With three pilots it takes time to power up. All three pilots have uses elsewhere in the game. Cassian and K2SO are easy farms. Jyn, however, is one of the longest farms in the game, only available from one shop on a rotating schedule.
    • Bistan's U-wing. The ship is used in Fleet Arena, though not as important as Cassian's U-Wing. Of the pilots, Bistan is almost never used outside of his ship, while Scarif Rebel Pathfinder does have other uses. This ship is harder to farm than Cassian's, and the pilots are harder to obtain than Cassian and K2SO but significantly easier than Jyn.
    • Han's Millennium Falcon. At the time of this writing, this ship is the meta defining ship. It requires a fleet of Bounty Hunters to unlock in a legendary event, and also requires Han Solo from the Heroic Rancor Raid and Chewbacca from a legendary event that requires Bounty Hunters (at very high gear levels). This ship will make the event easier, but is probably as hard to obtain as the Chimaera itself.
  • If you can manage to get six or seven Rebel ships, the Chimaera event will be easier (as you'll have tons of reinforcements), but this is not necessary. Exactly how many Rebel ships you will need to win the last tier depends on how powered up your ships are, and which ships you go with. Expect to need 4-5, more if your ships or pilots are not well developed.

Grand Arena Holotable:

---Under Construction---

Ships are included in the Grand Arena. As with squads, the number of defensive fleets you can place scales with your total GP (not just your ship GP). When you first arrive at level 85 and unlock Grand Arena you will be limited to a single defensive fleet. Care should be taken in deciding whether to use your best fleet for attack or defense. Also remember not to include your most powerful ships as a slot 3 reinforcement- almost all battles at this stage are decided before you can call this ship in, and if using Home One or Executrix your ultimate capital ship move is available at the same time as reinforcement #3. The ship you would have placed there can instead be used in your second fleet.

If you have been following this guide, you will likely have Executrix as your most powerful capital ship, and primarily dark side ships to go with it. As you begin to expand with Home One and the Rebel ships, you will have greater flexibility in deciding your defensive and offensive fleets. In the much later game, Endurance can be used to make a formidable defensive fleet, allowing Executrix, Home One, and/or Chimaera to serve offensively.

Building more than two fleets for the Grand Arena is a very late game activity. Most fleets require a few key ships (such as Biggs and Hound's Tooth), making it difficult to build another useful squad without cannibalizing existing fleets. Focusing on Executrix and Home One should be your priority through the early game and well into the late game until your ship roster grows deeper.

If possible, use ships in your defensive fleet that can do AoE attacks. This can deprive your opponent of banners by getting more of their ships down on protection and health, even if the fleet itself is not powerful enough to defeat their fleet. AoE attacks also help get around heavy taunts and stealth, which the defending AI can struggle with under the best circumstances.

…and that’s it for this guide. Visit our discord and you can go much much deeper down the rabbit hole. Welcome to the world of ships!

Author: Kamu Teel            Editor and Contributor: Andrakisji

Additional Contributors: Acrofales, horsetronaut, Enka Vole, DBlade21, CoreyeroC, AlanSkywalker, Taliana, un2sm, bmg_dan, AltaïrKyle42, Rastigi, jraenar, Moj, Zungate

Imperial Fleet Server:

Updated on 2018-12-031.