Dark Wing Class Battleship
The Dark Wing Class Battleship is the capital ship of the Birdmen. It is the 3rd most powerful Torpedo ship in the game and the only cloaking capital ship. The next most powerful cloaker in the game is the other bird ship, the Resolute Class Battlecruiser. Like the Resolute, the Dark Wing has an advanced cloaking device.
It has the best strength/cost/PBP ratio of all ships.
Use as a capturing ship
The Dark Wing is the best ship in the game for capturing smaller vessels with gamma bombs. It is excellent because of its cloaking device, 8 torp tubes and heavy mass. Other heavy torp ships can also capture in this way but none have a cloaking device, which makes an ambush easier on an unsuspecting target. With the Birdmen's Cloaked Intercept, the Gamma Dark Wing becomes even more fearsome in its ability to capture ships. With cloak-intercept, the Dark Wing can intercept a ship without setting PE, then tow it away for capture. This is especially useful if the target ship has escorts that would re-capture or destroy it. The cloak also keeps the Dark Wing safer, since it is very weak with only gamma bombs.
Beams to use for capturing
- The ideal load-out for a Dark Wing is to have only 8 disruptors (instead of the normal 10) and gamma bombs. Having only 8 disruptors makes the odds close to 100% for capturing most medium-sized ships (10 would destroy them). For example, with 10 disruptors, you have a 75% chance of capturing the Cobol, and a 100% chance with 8 disruptors. Against a d19b, with 8 disruptors you can capture 98% of the time, but only 4% with 9. To avoid accidentally killing a target, 8 disruptors is advisable. You can use fewer beams if you want, but if you do, you will have to spend more torpedoes to capture a ship, and gammas run out very quickly. Gammas are also a bit slower to capture (but they are necessary, because they do far less hull damage the disruptors). Having more disruptors is also very useful for minesweeping. Disruptors are also a decent last-ditch weapon that can save your ship from destruction.
- If you have a specific target you want to capture, load up the VCR with different numbers of disruptors, and use the "fast computer" feature to see which load-out gives you 100% capture odds.
- You can use X-rays to capture ships instead--they are better at capturing damaged ships. For example, if a cloaked ship has taken a mine hit, it will be damaged and your disruptors might destroy it. A ship with X-rays is more likely to capture such a damaged ship without destroying it.
- But X-rays are also weaker, take longer to kill crew, and can put the Dark Wing in danger of taking too much damage during a battle, thus lose cloaking. X-rays are also very weak against hull, so in situations where you simply need to survive, you may not be able to destroy the enemy before they destroy or cripple you.
There are some specialized situations where you will need X-rays to capture ships that are harder to capture (e.g. SSD). Capturing an SSD is very hard, since it comes very close to dying when captured.
To capture an SSD, you need 3-6 x-rays and gammas. Use 3 beams if the SSD has no fighters. Since an SSD in real life might have fighters on board, first attack it with a sacrificial Swifty to check how many fighters it has. If it has too many fighters, you will need to attack it first with a Resolute with x-rays and no torpedoes (use NTP) to kill the fighters. (If you use torps or beams greater than x-rays, you risk damaging the SSD, which will make it die during the capture attempt). As an example, if the SSD still has 20 fighters and has x-ray beams, your Dark Wing can defeat it with 6 x-rays (getting 95% capture odds). With only 3 beams, the Dark Wing would die against 20 fighters. So use VCR to experiment with different weapon configurations before attempting capture. Note: if the SSD has good beams, you will definitely be damaged after this battle. Have support ships ready to tow the damaged Dark Wing and prize SSD back to safety.
Gamma bombs are extremely expensive in minerals, since you will fire 30-60 against medium ships. To save on minerals, you can use a ship with Mk. 4 torpedoes to lay a minefield, then the Dark Wing with gammas scoops up the minefield. Laying 67 Mk. 4 torps will fill the Dark Wing's cargo with 150 gamma bombs, and save you 629 MC and 83 Du/Tri/Mo. If you use Mk. 7 torps, lay 30 Mk. 7 torps--you will save 430 MC and 120 Du/Tri/Mo.
Gamma bombs are surprisingly useful as mines. A Dark Wing full of gammas can lay a minefield of 2400 mines, which has a radius of 48 LY.
Combat against big carriers
You will need 2-4 Dark Wings to defeat large carriers. Different torpedoes can be used to save money. Mk.8 torpedoes don't help much against most carriers, since they do the same hull damage as Mk.7 (but do slightly more shield damage). Here are some optimality suggestions for weapons load-outs for fighting those ships. (Note: even though Mk.4 and Mk.7 sometimes do the same hull damage, Mk.7's fire slightly faster, which can make the difference between victory or defeat). These suggestions are not meant to be authoritative--do your own research with the VCR to see what works best for you.
- Instrumentality - 1 Dark Wing with Mk.7 torps can destroy it 88% of the time. 1 Dark Wing with Mk.8 torps wins 98% of the time. Have another ship to follow up in case first ship dies, or to tow it back to safety after combat.
- Avoid using Mk.4 torps, as your Dark Wings will usually die. Even 2 Dark Wings with Mk.4's can sometimes die.
- Automa - 2 Dark Wings with Mk.7 torps will usually kill an Automa. Follow up with a Resolute just in case you have bad luck.
- Don't use Mk.4 on either Dark Wing, as you will definitely lose.
- Virgo, Rush - 2 Dark Wings with Mk.7 torps will usually win. If the carrier has good beams, you will need a follow up ship (Resolute wins most of the time when the carrier is heavily damaged; a 3rd Dark Wing is best). Avoid Mk.4 torps, since you will lose 2 or 3 Dark Wings instead of 1 or 2.
- Golem, Biocide - Use 4 Dark Wings. You will lose 2-3 of them.
- Using Mk.4 torps is possible, but you will usually lose 3 Dark Wings. Use Mk.7 torps to give you a chance of only losing 2 ships instead of 3.
- 1x Mk.8 followed by 2x Mk. 4 can usually win. Follow up with Resolute to be certain of victory.
- 1x Mk.7, 1x Mk.4, then 1x Mk. 7 can often win, especially if the carrier has X-rays. Follow up with Resolute to be certain of victory.
- Gorbie, Annihilation - Use 4 Dark Wings. You will definitely need Mk.7 torps against these. You will lose 2 Dark Wings, possibly 3.
|Dark Wing Class Battleship||10||10||8/0||2||450||170||183||110||491||150||290||910||Adv. C||80|
- Advanced cloaking device doesn't fail inside nebulae, unlike normal cloaking devices.
- Advanced cloaking further protects the Dark Wing Battleship against radiation. About 33.3% of the normal crew/clans are lost while cloaked.