Faster Than Light (FTL) Weapon Tier List Guide

Last Updated on September 12, 2022 by Samuel Franklin

Faster Than Light (FTL) Weapon Tier List Guide

Our FTL weapon tier list guide will help you understand the best weapons to purchase and equip during a FTL run to ensure the best chance of victory. With a diverse list of weapons Faster Than Light offensive decisions are always difficult and while it will depend somewhat on your current ship configuration and planned setup for the final boss battle there are some clear winners that will improve your chances of success in each game attempt. This can be because of the great flexibility, cost efficiency or other utility that the weapon provides over other options within or across weapon categories. Given the randomisation mechanics at the core of Faster Than Light players can not always rely on these best weapons alone though which is why this guide also provides an overview of every single weapon should you need to rely on them.

Whether you want to use beam weapons, lasers, missiles, bombs, flak or ions you’ll be able to learn the best in each class and how to use each them effectively in combat. With this FTL guide you’ll be able to progress through easy, normal and in time hard mode by making effective and efficient FTL weapon choices. Note that this list is based on the Advanced Edition update which changes some weapon mechanics and introduces new options from the standard base game.

FTL Best Weapons – What Makes Them Good

While you might have a playstyle preference for particular weapons FTL has some clear stronger weapon options that will make your game attempts significantly easier. What makes these FTL weapons the best in class though? The factors noted below have been considered when creating this tier list:

  • Raw Damage: Damage is an important factor to any weapon system as weapon based strategies of FTL are all about bringing your enemy hull to zero health or defeating every single crew member to salvage resources. While you might want other utility on weapons to help a teleportation focused strategy where you defeat the crew with your own crew this tier list assumes you’re following a weapon only focused strategy as teleportation generally only becomes available in the mid game or is layout reliant. It is also not a FTL drone tier list as the mechanics of the drone system are unique compared to your other weapon options. A drone strategy is a niche build decision given its weak in comparison to direct weapon choices and you’ll likely sacrifice significantly in other weapons to support the power cost of this strategy.
  • Speed: Weapon speed is an important consideration as firing the first shot can be a significant advantage in FTL as it prevents you from taking damage or potentially losing your own weapon systems in the first volley of enemy attacks. Speed also allows you to keep up a relentless assault on the enemy to keep them focused on repair rather than fighting back which will save you scrap money in the long run from repair costs.
  • Power and Slot Efficiency: Power and slot efficiency is an important consideration in FTL as your available weapon slots and power needed for these slots is limited and will also sometimes influenced by your choice of FTL best ship. With increasing costs of upgrading your reactor and maximum weapon system power overall you’ll want to utilise weapons that give you the best return on power and slots invested.
  • Flexibility: With randomisation a core part of games like FTL that have roguelike mechanics having weapons that are flexible against a range of opponents and situations are better options. Weapons that are deadly by themselves and don’t rely on the player having other specific weapons to be effective are particularly more powerful.
  • Availability and Cost: Each weapon in FTL has a rarity factor to it that also needs to be considered, if you wait around too long for the perfect rare weapon you’ll likely find yourself disappointed in most FTL attempts. There is also an element of cost to this factor as weapon prices vary and certain weapons are highly efficient for the scrap cost.

This FTL Weapon Tier List guide is split into S, A and B tiers with a brief description of what makes each weapon effective so you can mix and match to create the FTL best weapon combos for your playstyle. A summary table is included below for you to reference while in game, weapons not featured here are below B tier and while they might be useful when you have no other choice they shouldn’t be a priority for you to obtain. Note that this list is only for purchasable weapons and not starting weapons like the Dual Lasers and the Artemis missiles.

FTL Best Weapons Tier List Summary

Weapon Name Weapon Type Weapon Tier Notes
Burst Laser II Laser S Highly efficient power to shot ratio for taking out shields this is your best laser weapon
Flak I Flak S A common weapon that is relatively easy to obtain while being effective for shields and damage
Halberd Beam Beam S An uncommon weapon with high damage potential when enemy shields are down
Hull Laser II Laser A Average power efficiency but packs a punch for removing shields or direct damage
Charge Laser II Laser A Higher power requirement than other lasers but effective at full charge if you can’t find other laser options
Hull Beam Beam A Similar damage to Halberd but only for systemless rooms which lowers effectiveness against some enemy types
Pike Beam Beam A A staple beam weapon option with huge length to hit many rooms
Small Bomb Bomb A Your basic common and reliable bomb option that is effective against all enemy types
Breach Bomb II Bomb A Deadly system damage for the power required although rare to obtain
Heavy Crystal I Crystal A Hits hard for the power investment required with quick charge time
Heavy Laser II Laser B High damage although has low overall shots for power required so not great against high enemy shields
Chain Laser Laser B Good balance of power to shot ratio although only excels in long battles due to the chaining mechanic
Charge Laser I Laser B The weaker option of the charge laser weapon archetype but still provides good power requirement to shot ratio
Flak II Flak B Massive number of projectiles makes for a deadly weapon but long charge time makes it difficult to use effectively
Swarm Missiles Missile B The best of the missile weapons (excluding unique ship starting weapons) that can turn one missile into three
Charge Ion Ion B The best of the Ion weapons in FTL as you can fire multiple shots in quick succession to disable an enemy
Crystal Burst I Crystal B An effective weapon that can fill a laser type role if necessary but is lacking compared to other options

FTL Weapons Tier List (S Tier)

There are 3 purchasable weapons in Faster Than Light that sit far above the others and acquiring any single one of these is a big leap towards success in your run due to the power they offer. These weapons are all highly power efficient for the amount of shots or damage they are able to deal to enemy ships and aren’t too rare that you’ll never see at least one per run.

ftl-weapons-burst-laser-ii

Burst Laser II

The Burst Laser II is a formidable weapon although is the rarest of the S tier weapons overall so don’t expect to regularly find it in stores or as a quest reward. When you do manage to get it though it makes for the basis of many great FTL best weapon combo options that can carry you through the entire game. The strength of this option comes from the low power requirement of 2 which gives you a total of 3 shots that make it deadly for removing enemy shields early, mid and late game without a significant investment. This should be paired with another laser or flak weapon to ensure enemy shields are always on the back foot along with a weapon for dealing direct damage to an enemy.

ftl-weapons-flak-i

Flak I

A surprisingly common weapon for how powerful it is which means you can somewhat reliably expect to see it in your FTL runs despite the randomisation of each new run. Similar to the Burst Laser II above this weapon gives you 3 shots for 2 power and its short charge time of 10 means you can easily take out shields if necessary or regularly deal damage. The Flak weapon archetype was added in the Advanced Edition and gives players another core weapon type which like lasers is effective against shields and hull damage that make the weapon archetype broadly being a good choice for this flexibility.

ftl-weapons-halberd-beam

Halberd Beam

Learning how to use beam weapons effectively can be a great way to tackle the higher difficulties of FTL and the Halberd Beam will want to be a regular of your arsenal when you come across it in your adventures. Similar to the other FTL best weapons in S tier this is an efficient weapon requiring 3 power in total for 2 damage although this 2 damage can easily be multiplied with common layouts making it easy to target at least 3 rooms for a total of 6 damage. With planning, practice and some memorisation of the common layouts that you encounter this can even be more damage although the trade off is that you need to pair it with a weapon capable of disrupting enemy shields first.

FTL Weapons Tier List (A Tier)

The A tier category on this FTL best weapons tier list are likely to be your bread and butter in most Faster Than Light runs because they are more common than the S tier weapons above. While not as effective as the best weapon choices this tier has a wealth of solid options and their availability ensures you’ll usually find several throughout a game to piece together a solid offence.

ftl-weapons-hull-laser-ii

Hull Laser II

While not quite as power efficient as other options trading 3 power for 3 damage is not terrible and the charge time for attacks is quite reasonable to ensure you can attack early and keep the pressure on the enemy. This weapon is a viable weapon to take down shields, disable systems or cause massive hull damage to systemless rooms when appropriate although not all ships have systemless rooms.

ftl-weapons-charge-laser-ii

Charge Laser II

Offering a total of 4 shots at full charge for 3 power the Laser Charger II is effective although you’ll need to wait 20 seconds for all shots to be available which means you’ll be taking some hits from the enemy before you can charge up your attack. Regardless of this if you can obtain one or two and focus on your own shield upgrades you’ll find that shields and ship systems melt before you while your own systems stay protected.

ftl-weapons-hull-beam

Hull Beam

Can achieve similar damage to the Halberd beam although relies on systemless rooms instead of having the flexibility of any room. This makes it equally effective against some of the enemy ships you’ll encounter but will require additional thought about placement to maximise damage that makes use of the pause system vital. This weapon is also one of the faster beam weapons available to compensate somewhat for this limitation so you can easily follow up an attack from another weapon that has dropped an enemy shield.

ftl-weapons-pike-beam

Pike Beam

Offering a huge amount of length the 1 damage on this weapon can be misleading as on the larger ships you can hit nearly every single room for a respectable amount of damage. This low damage does require you to first deal with enemy shields though with another weapon and there are a number of smaller enemies that you will encounter that this weapon quickly drops in overall damage against.

ftl-weapons-small-bomb

Small Bomb

A basic bomb that is readily available across your adventures and only uses a single power that can make it an effective addition to your line up for its 2 system damage if you are struggling to find better options. This option is generally a better pick than missile options given the faster charge and the ability to bypass defence drones of your opponent.

ftl-weapons-breach-bomb-ii

Breach Bomb II

Another bomb option although slightly less power efficient than the small bomb it can still be extremely devastating to systems and allows you to follow up your other weapons with extra damage. The high charge time of 17 seconds does reduce the overall damage output and can make it hard to time with your other weapons for burst damage.

ftl-weapons-heavy-crystal-i

Heavy Crystal I

Having similarities to the laser weapon type crystal weapons are often directly competing for this role in your weapon slots. Combined with the rarity of this weapon archetype you’ll unlikely be using this often but if you do encounter the Heavy Crystal I it can be a reasonable acquisition given it deals 2 damage for only 1 power that make it power efficient although reliant on having other hard hitting weapons alongside it.

FTL Weapons Tier List (B Tier)

The B tier weapons are still capable of winning a battle but should never be your first or second choice if other options are available to you and should be replaced when possible. Generally they fall short in a key area but with the right mixture or combined with a single A or S tier weapon above you’ll likely still be able to achieve a hard-fought victory.

ftl-weapons-heavy-laser-ii

Heavy Laser II

Comes with a higher power requirement of 3 than the better laser options but is somewhat saved by the higher damage that means it can pack a punch once you are past enemy shields. With only 2 shots itself though it is unlikely to be a counter to enemy shields in its own right needs the right weapon to be paired with it for success.

ftl-weapons-chain-laser

Chain Laser

An effective 2 power for 2 shots laser but starts with a large charge time of 16 seconds that reduces its overall damage output and removes the potential to strike before most enemy weapons charge up. While this does eventually come down to 7 seconds over time in lengthy battles with enemies these are rarely in your best interest as it means more opportunities to take damage to your own ship.

ftl-weapons-charge-laser-i

Charge Laser I

Another 2 power for 2 shots laser that has good overall charge time at 12 seconds which make the weapon a viable option if you aren’t locating the other laser options while shopping. It’s only not featured higher because it is basic compared to the higher tier options and while a nice addition to your other weapons it isn’t powerful in its own right.

ftl-weapons-flak-ii

Flak II

While this weapon comes with an insanely devastating 7 projectiles in each shot that will take down even the most stubborn shield it is a slow weapon that is often overkill for the task at hand and potentially uses power that could be better invested on another weapon. If you have really strong defences you can limit the damage you take while this weapon is charging but there are better lower charge time options that are just as effective while allowing you to take the initiative in the battle instead.

ftl-weapons-swarm-missiles

Swarm Missiles

The best FTL missile weapon available given you can rapidly fire off up to 3 missiles for a single missile resource which counters one of the core issues of missile weapons. It’s also got a short cooldown in general for missile weapons that lets you fire an initial missile in 7 seconds to disable an enemy system. Missiles alone are not a fantastic long term strategy though as they are resource gated and can be countered by defensive drones with ease so you should never rely solely on a missile weapon.

ftl-weapons-charge-ion

Charge Ion

The FTL best ion weapon that you’ll occasionally see in your travels and offers a different pathway to disabling an enemy compared to conventional weapons featured so far. Capable of firing 3 shots when fully charged for 2 power this weapon has average charge time and can be used to disable systems although direct damage from other options is generally more effective if you have those options.

ftl-weapons-crystal-burst-i

Crystal Burst I

Another viable crystal weapon for those that encounter them this option is the most common of all this weapon class. Offering a familiar 2 power and 2 shots that many laser weapons have the average charge time of 15 seconds prevents this weapon from being in a higher tier although it is cheap to acquire when found and can be used until you find an upgrade.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam has long enjoyed Faster Than Light (FTL) and regularly returns to the game for its randomisation and challenging mechanics. He has beaten FTL with all ships and layouts but enjoys the starting Kestrel Cruiser over other options to defeat the Rebels.

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