Best Anti-Fighter build?

I’m just starting out with this game, but I need a little help.

The manual seems to suggest that frigates are the best to use against a fighters, but I’m having trouble making that work. What’s the best build for an anti-fighter specialized frigate, fighter or cruiser? Are frigates actually the best for that role? What weapons work best?

In my experience, frigates are the best against fighters. The simplest build would be a frigate with one shield so it can recover from some damage, and have all hardpoints loaded with and anti-fighter missile launchers. This can take out fighters fairly quickly but they tend to go down if a lot of the fighters have torpedoes.
Usually the enemies fighters tend to be focused on other fighters mainly, so having a few wings throughout the fleet with a decent amount of speed (over 2.00) can pull most if not all of the enemy’s fighters away from your frigates and cruisers.
Cruisers are not meant to focus on killing fighters but adding a tractor beam or target painter can help reduce the number of enemy fighters faster.

I’d say just put a tractor beam on each cruiser. The tractor beam brings the fighter to a standstill where the cruiser’s main guns can blast the fighter into oblivion.

Cruiser also can take a beating, and the tractor beam allows you to use the same weapons to take on fighters that you use to take on cruisers. Anti-fighter frigates are generally useless against cruisers.

I find frigates horrible for anti-fighter duty. No amount of shields will help them against rockets - and armour just makes them sitting ducks. If you look at some of the challenges posted they have pure anti-fighter cruisers. Angry Redhead had one fleet I could not crack with fighters alone. I simply ensure most cruisers have a tractor beam - then any weapon they have can knock out a fighter. Tie it in with the CL. The defense laser is pretty useless. Make sure you have enough armour to survive laser blasts from fighters, and if you expect continuous attacks throw in an armour repair unit.

If you know the enemy likes fighter-on fighter battles - give him some sacraficial lambs. I find a fighter going after another fighter pretty wastefull in the end. I use them to support my cruisers against other cruisers/frigates.


Shields are useless on anti fighter frigate, since rocket fighters destroys them in seconds. Unless the other person doesn’t have rocket fighters, armor above 12 is the only way to go.

Dollar for dollar, anti air frigate will win against dual rocket fighters. How to keep them from getting blast apart by a laser beam is a much tougher problem.

I’ve had some pretty good luck using antifighter frigates as escorts for my front line ships. I find when I place them behind a big cruiser that they tend to stay behind them during the fight when escorting. This tends to prevent them from being targeted by the opponents big guns. Almost always the battleship blows up before the frigate even starts to take damage.

I use no shields and make sure that they have 12 armor. Currently I have them equipped with tractor beam, 2 anti fighter missiles. The last hardpoint slot I either place another tractor beam or an emp weapon just to mix things up.

mixed with cheap rocket fighters along with dedicated painters I seem to have no trouble getting fighter superiority. Well, on the offline challenges anway :slight_smile:

Only been playing a week myself so I’m sure there is a better way but hope this helps.

Empire has the best frigate to deal with fighters, the Weapons Platform Frigate, it has 8 hardpoints, so you can put 7-8 anti-fighter missile launchers.
In this case against fighters the best defense is an aggressive offense.

So, to summarize:

  • Armour is much better against fighters than shields.
    -Tractor beams allow you to use slower weapons against fighters.

Is there any advantage in multiple tractor beams on one ship? What about multiple anti-fighter missile launchers?

My AA frigates only come with 1x micro crew/1x engine 3/1x AA missile/2x armor 3.

The thing is - my fighters are usually pinned to a cruiser to maximize damage to the enemy when his shields go down. That means any frigate that is in range to take the fighters is now in range of the cruiser. Although my main cruisers are prioritzed to take out other cruisers, the ones that follow are prioritized to take out frigates. This is not because I don’t like anti-fighter frigates, but to take our supporting frigates that have emps and disruptors and the odd swarming tactic.

My fighters - usually rocket, have equal prioritization to take out cruisers/frigates and ignore fighters. They are fast enough that other fighters miss - and those fighters that do try and dogfight are then targets for tractor beams.

All tractor beams run independantly. That means if a squad of fighters zips by a cruiser with 6 tractor beams - 6 different fighters will be targeted. Any ship that has weapons in range of the fighters will take pot shots if the weapon is not currently used on an enemy vessel that has priority.


That’s why I only build cheap lure AA frigates. I suspect most laser beam/fusion beam cruisers will set priority on frigates over cruisers anyway.

Frigates undoubtedly kill fighters faster than cruisers. However, cruisers outlast fighters, frigates must take a more active approach.

If the fighters are attacking frigates, one particularly unintuitive solution is to use more frigates. Cruisers are effectively deadweight in a battle like that; in RPG-terms they’re tanks that can’t hold aggro.

I’m surprised more people don’t combat fighters using other fighters. A squad of fighters that flies ahead of your fleet, with orders to engage enemy fighters will often tie up the enemy fighters long enough for frigates or cruisers to help take them down. Depending on the orders the enemy fighters have.
Fighters can be used for very different roles. a squad with stick together, attack frigates and torpedoes are a very different beast to a non-stick-together group of laser armed fighters with orders to engage everyone. What works against some fighters won’t work against them all.

Most people have there fighters on escourt and the other fighters are lured into the tractors and other anti-fighter weapons and killed before the do anygood.
Just one thin i have seen.

Agree with this. AA frigates are best in frigate spams.

A fighter dog-fighting with another fighter is a fighter not going up against a valuable target - like a cruiser. Let the dogfighting happen when all the cruisers are flaming hulks.

I use half squads of single rocket/engine fighters with orders to attack fighters at range 2000. What happens is that any enemy fighter attacking them just chases the generally faster fighter around the battle effectively removing them from the battle. 3 half-squads can typically tie up the enemy fighters until the battle is over.

Torpedos are pretty much worthless, fighters with torpedos are so slow that basic attrition from all weapons cuts them down. Not to mention them randomly firing off at other targets.

Except I can make a decent missile cruiser the same price as a decent anti-fighter frigate. And it is vulnerable only to crits from laser fighters, which get caught up in the tractors of all the other cruisers. I have pretty much givin up on frigates - except for frigate spam type battles. They get chewed up way to quickly by cruisers are fighters.


I’ve had good luck with this tactic actually. I use a few fighter squadrons defensively. One squad ordered to escort each of my frontline cruisers. The cruisers also have tractor beams.

Cruiser uses tractor beam to bring fighter to a halt, where it is promptly vaporized by a hail of lasers.