******************
Orion Strategy Guide
 ******************

by Rob "Roy_mace" 

For Starfleet Command 2: Orion Pirates (SFC2:OP)

v1.2  - more ships, more revisions
v1.12 - added a few ships, small revisions overall 
v1.1  - added section F2, added more to section F7, small revisions overall
v1.0  - release


----------
 Contents
----------

A. INTRO
B. ADVANTAGES OF ORION STARSHIPS
C. DISADVANTAGES OF ORION STARSHIPS
D. TACTICS
E. PICKING THE RIGHT WEAPONS
F. PICKING THE RIGHT SHIPS
 F1. 80-85 LATE, NO X
 F2. 80-85 LATE, X ALLOWED
 F3. 105-115 EARLY
 F4. 120 MIDDLE
 F5. 130 EARLY
 F6. 80 EARLY
G. FINAL NOTES AND LEGAL INFO



----------
 A. INTRO
----------

Thanks to Knightstorm for feedback and suggestions, as well as Voidwar and
Alsee with ship suggestions.

Orion pirate ships are gamblersí ships. Orion may be one of the more difficult
races to fly, but once you have gotten used to them, you will be a radically 
unpredictable opponent -- always with an ace or two up the sleeve. This 
doesnít mean that you need to be lucky in order to win, but that you should 
always use surprise and pirate tricks to your advantage. 

I am no expert on Orions and I will always be learning as a pilot. However, 
it is my hope that this article will help anyone to see how fun (and 
challenging!) piloting pirates can be. This article is written with standard
multiplayer BPV-balanced duels against human players in mind. I am 
writing this based on SFC2:OP 2.5.5.2 patch and Firesoulís OP+ 4.0 shiplist 
(http://klingon.pet.dhs.org/OP_plusrefit/), which are the standards for multi-
player games on Gamespy Arcade -- this is the easiest way to get a duel or a 
fleet game with human players, and is a lot of fun. 



----------------------------------
 B. ADVANTAGES OF ORION STARSHIPS
----------------------------------

1. Orion ships have the maneuverability of Klingons, and sometimes even 
   better. In the smaller ships, you will even be able to pull off two 
   guaranteed HETs in a row.


2. Engine doubling, when used at the right time, can allow your ship to hold 
   overloads, run at fast speed, and put up a wall of shield reinforcement -- 
   other racesí ships can only do two of those things well at any one time 
   (this idea is called the Triangle Rule, and was originally writted on 
   Gnaarlís Lyran SFB site, which is unfortunately a dead website). The 
   ability to do all of these things at the same allows the Orion ship to 
   inflict a lot of damage in an instant without taking much at all in return.

   A big plus of engine doubling in SFC is that your engines will 
   automatically recharge over time. As long as you don't double too often, 
   you will only take one or two points of engine damage (sometimes zero), and
   this will go away after a couple of turns -- try to time it so your engines 
   recharge while you are far away and recharging your weapons.


3. The shielding on most Orion ships is above average, except for the earlier 
   cruisers. As an example, the LR+ series has 20-point shields in every 
   direction, which is great for a frigate. Most of the newer Orion ships like
   the BR and AR also have above-average shields. 


4. Orion ships donít usually have as many weapons as the comparable ships of 
   other races, so they need less power to manage their weapons. 


5. Starfleet Battles had choosable weapon mounts for Orion pirates, and 
   although there arenít customizable option mounts in SFC, there are enough 
   different Orion cartels with variant ships to allow for almost any weapon 
   layout. As a pirate, you can pick exactly (well, to an extent) the weapons 
   that you want on your ship to suit your style. See 'Section E - Picking the
   Right Weapons' for more info.


6. The pirates have a lot of random things that add up to subtle advantages, 
   like scatterpacks (for drone-carrying ships) and numerous tractor beams. 
   The Orions in SFB had a permanent +2 ECM at no energy cost, but
   unfortunately that never made it into SFC:OP. 



-------------------------------------
 C. DISADVANTAGES OF ORION STARSHIPS
-------------------------------------

1. Orion ships have very few hull boxes, and not much internal Ďpadding.í Once
   the pirate ship takes internal damage, that damage quickly starts to add up 
   and strips the ships weapons and engines. The Orion canít make afford to 
   make dangerous mistakes and expect to live through it like a Hydran or Gorn
   could.

 
2. Engine doubling must be used sparingly. The more you use it, the more you 
   rely on it, and the faster it kills you -- A.K.A. the Cocaine Rule.


3. With the exception of engine doubling, Orion ships have below-average 
   engine power. On some ships, the engines are OK (the MR and BR line have 27
   power with a 0.67 movement cost, which isnít too bad compared to other 
   racesí war cruisers, especially with Advantage #4 above), but on others, 
   the engine power is really poor.


4. Orion ships donít have all that many weapons, so even though they can 
   overload and run in with doubled engines, the attack wonít be likely to 
   cripple the other ship -- the Orion must attack and escape without taking 
   much damage so that they can attack again. 


5. Orion ships donít have the exotic weapons arcs of many empire ships, for 
   example: Lyran FX disruptor arcs or Klingon FHL/FHR disruptor arcs. Most 
   Orion heavy weapons are either FA or side-mounted. Whereas Klingon ships 
   might be able to fire every phaser-1 from most directions, Orions can only 
   fire every offensive phaser from the FA arc, and sometimes none to the 
   rear. This means that Orion ships canít retreat while pounding the enemy 
   with phasers like Feds or Klingons (but they can use things like drones or 
   side-mounted plasma to discourage tailgaters). 


6. Because Orion ships have less engine power than most empire ships, they 
   canít constantly fly fast, keeping the range open, and fire at an enemy. 
   Engine doubling doesnít help because with a tactic like the Sabre Dance, 
   the Orion would need to constantly double its engines (see Disadvantage 
   #2 above). 



------------
 D. TACTICS
------------

The sad truth is that Orion pilots cannot expect a fair fight at any BPV. 
After all, they are designed to raid lightly-escorted empire convoys, not take
on war ships in a 1-on-1 fight. But thereís where the challenge lies. Orions
are most competitive when facing empire frigates, destroyers, and war 
cruisers. In early era, their heavy cruisers can also hold their own against 
early empire CAs; anything beyond that and the pirates are rapidly outclassed.

Orions rely on engine doubling (be sure to set it to a hotkey, I use the Ďní 
key). With it, they can run in at speed 31 with all weapons overloaded and 
lots of reinforcement for the facing shields. The Orion then attacks and peels
away at high speed (the Battle Run maneuver), with engines still doubled 
until it can escape to a safer range. 

Because Orions need to double their engines to fully utilize their ships, they
are more suited to 1-on-1 matches where they don't have to worry about timing
their engine-doubling to match with their wingmate's maneuvers. 

The Orion ship must get in, do as much damage to the opponentís ship, and 
escape without taking any internal damage -- Orion pilots in SFC need to 
be perfectionists. With a small fragile ship, you canít afford to get trade 
equal amounts of damage with your enemy or you will lose. Most "close and 
hose" races in SFC are tough, allowing them to take the first hit, and return
the favor with a crippling blow. Instead of being tough, Orions avoid taking 
damage by being nimble and cautious, and with hefty shield reinforcement at 
times (from engine doubling). 

D.E.A.R.s (Doubled-Engine Attack Runs) usually go like this:

1. Charge your weapons, and overload those that are possible to overload.

2. Hang around at longer ranges (30+) once you are fully charged and 
   accelerate to the highest possible speed while holding your weapons. This
   is so that all of your energy from engine doubling will have time to flow
   into the shields (it takes more than a few seconds).

3. Reinforce the front shield and set your ECM/ECCM. I usually reinforce the 
   rear shield too. You'll need it on the escape, and reinforcing only two 
   shields doesn't dilute the strength all that much. 

4. Double your engines and run in at speed 31. If they fire a plasma or other
   long range shot, eat it on the #2 or #6 shield and then turn your
   reinforced front to attack. Before you hit firing range, set your [weapons]
   priority under the Energy panel to "5" so you don't waste energy trying to
   overload your weapons during the escape.

5. The actual attack can go a number of ways -- an overrun at range zero, 
   a battlerun that turns away before range zero, etc. -- but it will always
   end with you high-tailing it away at speed 31. The good news is that you
   probably just took a large chunk of engine power out of them with your 
   attack, and they are empty from firing at you, so they won't chase you, 
   leaving you to recharge safely at long range.

6. Depending on how aggressive your opponent is, you can either turn off 
   engine doubling or keep it on (reinforcing the rear shield) until you are
   a safe distance away.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Useful Tactics, referenced later in "Section F - Picking the Right Ships":


DEAR -- Doubled Engine Attack Run, see above.

Sabre Dance -- Originally, this was a Klingon tactic that meant maintaining a 
   high speed, firing disruptors and phaser-1s at an oblique angle at range 
   15, and turning away to avoid being clobbered by an enemy with more crunch 
   power. When the Klingons (or any disruptor race) repeat this maneuver, it 
   is called the Sabre Dance. Nowadays in SFC, performing any high speed 
   attack and retreat from medium to longer ranges is called sabre dancing. 
   Just adjust the range for different weapons (proximity photons -- range 
   12.99 or 30, phaser-1 -- range 8 or 15, etc.).  

Phaser Boating -- Another term for sabre dancing, but limited to using phasers
   alone. 

Phaser Enema* -- As the opponent turns to evade plasma, fire your phaser-1s
   into their exposed rear shield. As this is repeated, they will lose their 
   rear shield and will no longer be able to evade plasma without taking 
   internal damage. The phaser enema is effective over time at range 15, but 
   is best done at range 8.

   *The Phaser Enema is from S'faret's Gorn website: 
    http://ghdar.tripod.com/gornca.htm

The Peel / Battle Run -- The peel is when you fly fast (24+), reach range 8 
   and fire normal or overloaded photon torpedoes off the edge of the FA arc,
   then peel away to avoid getting closer. The Battle Run is similar, but 
   applies to most weapons and usually happens at range 4-8.  


Also be sure to know some of the standard tactics, like the Overrun and the 
Plasma Ballet. You can also find these on S'faret's website. 



------------------------------
 E. PICKING THE RIGHT WEAPONS
------------------------------

Phaser-G -- The Gatling phaser is cheap to arm and is always a good choice for
   an Orion ship. It allows the Orion to always have a reliable close-range 
   weapon for whenever the enemy makes a mistake. Unlike a fusion beam or 
   photon torpedo, the ph-G can be charged and held for no cost -- sometimes 
   the window of opportunity for the Orionís strike may be too small to arm a 
   heavy weapon, and you don't usually have the free energy to hold a photon 
   torpedo or fusion beam. 

Phaser-1 -- The phaser-1 is a good weapon that is always a safe bet. Just like
   any other phaser, it has no holding cost, so it's something that you can 
   charge and then use your energy on EW, reinforcement, etc. The phaser-1 
   also has a good effective range when fired en masse. At range 8, a number 
   of ph-1s can take a chunk out a shield, and at range 15, repeated fire over
   several turns on a single shield will wear it down. The only drawback of 
   the ph-1 over heavy weapons is that it doesn't have the crunch factor of 
   a plasma or photon torpedo, so while Orion ships armed with only ph-1 are
   effective, you can't expect them to cripple an enemy ship in the same 
   amount of passes as you could if you were armed with those weapons.

Plasma-F -- The type-F plasma torpedo is one of the best pirate weapons. It is
   cheap to arm and costs zero energy to hold, so after you are charged, you 
   can devote more energy to the phasers, other heavy weapons, or systems like
   Electronic Warfare. It is also one of the Orionís only weapons against 
   aggressive enemies (see Disadvantage #5). Fortunately, many Orion ships 
   with pl-F have twin launchers, and they are in the useful side-backward 
   LP/RP arcs.

Disruptor -- Although Orion ships canít Sabre Dance as well as Klingons, 
   disruptors are useful for when the opponent isnít being aggressive, and 
   you can snipe with them from range 15-22 to weaken shields or fire 
   through down shields. Keep the disruptors off until this time, and think
   carefully about using overloads when you are running in for a power strike
   under doubled engines -- disruptors donít do much damage at close range and
   the power might be useful elsewhere. Only choose Orion ships with a maximum
   of two disruptors, because you wonít have the power to charge any more. 
   Remember that you can turn off one disruptor to let you run faster while 
   sniping, and turning them all off is useful when you donít need them. 

Drones -- Drones are good because they can be lobbed at aggressors from any 
   angle and cost no power. Donít expect the drones to hit often, especially 
   with standard multiplayer speed-16 drones; still, they are useful in 
   wasting enemy phaser and tractor power, as well as keeping the opponent 
   ship from chasing you directly (letting you gain distance). Because they 
   donít hit all that often, I recommend type-I drones, so you get twice as 
   many. Drones, however, become lethal with the use of scatterpacks, and 
   even just a single drone rack gives the smallest pirate a lot of potential
   crunch power. If you are going into a match with the intent on using your
   scatterpacks for anchoring instead of using your drones for distraction, 
   then type-IV drones work.

Hellbores -- I donít recommend them. The hellbore effect is nice, but they 
   eat up a lot of power that you canít spare, and doubling doesnít help (see
   Disadvantage #6). If you want to fly around at high speeds while loading 
   hellbores, just go with Hydrans. ;)

Fusion -- They're okay, but I would always recommend a ph-1, ph-G, or plasma-F
   over a fusion beam, and fortunately for the Orions, those weapons are 
   pretty common. 

PPD -- The PPD is pretty good with Orions because the pirates mount them on 
   smaller ships than the ISC, and the PPD is devastating between light 
   cruisers. A single PPD is very effective and only costs the power of two 
   disruptors or two photons, while the underload mode is very helpful when 
   speed is necessary. However, PPDs arenít good on their own because anyone 
   will try to run you over after you fire it, and unless you have some side-
   mounted plasma, they will chase you until you lose. 

Photons -- Photons are a good middle ground as far as weapons go. They are 
   much better than disruptors for close ranges and overloads, and still 
   decent at range 8 if you need to keep the range open. Like PPDs and most 
   weapons, they are best with rear and side-facing plasma so that you can 
   retreat and recharge the photons without an opponent biting away at your 
   tail. 

Cloak -- is not too useful. You donít have much power to start with, and the 
   Orion cloak always costs much more in energy than the Romulan cloak. In
   addition, the ships with a cloak cost more BPV, so it only really hurts 
   you; sometimes, the added cost of the cloak pushes the ship up to the range
   of the next size class! You should be flying fast, anyways -- cloak, and 
   your opponent can easily close the range and pummel your ship. 

   The cloak is not entirely useless, however, and some of the ships below 
   mount a cloaking device and are still within the BPV limits. The cloak is
   useful for: 
   a.) Cloaking momentarily to lose the lock-on of incoming drones
   b.) Cloaking on the approach and retreat of a doubled-engine attack run, 
       where speed 31 is possible. In the case of point B, this is one time 
       where you beat the Romulans at their own game, since their ships
       can almost never reach speed 31 while cloaked.



----------------------------
 F. PICKING THE RIGHT SHIPS
----------------------------

For multiplayer matches at a certain BPV and era. 

 -------------------------------------------
|CLASS (BPV) -- full name                   |
|            -- weapons                     |
|            -- power/movement cost         |
|                                           |
|  Comments ...                             |
 -------------------------------------------

=============================
F1. AT 80-85 LATE, NO X-SHIPS
=============================

This match works well with Orion DWs (War Destroyers). The refitted ships in 
section F2 also work for this type of match if you like the LR series. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-DW0 (80) -- WyldeFire War Destroyer
           -- 1 ph-1, 2 ph-2, and 4 ph-3; 2 pl-F and 1 photon
           -- 20 power / 0.50 MC

  The DW0 is a great choice for such a match: while it is a small War 
Destroyer, at 80 BPV it will mostly face frigates. The LP and RP plasmas cover
the entire ship and give opponents something to fear, meaning they wonít 
recklessly chase you. Unless you have them anchored, try to keep at least one 
plasma charged at all times for the energy savings -- you can use this to 
power the photon, which can easily be overloaded once the phasers and plasma 
are fully charged. 
  The photon can be fired at close range (0 to 2.99) when the Orion ship 
doubles engines and runs in to attack. It can also be fired off the edge of 
the arc at range 8, after which the Orion speeds up to recharge and avoid 
getting blasted in return, using the plasmas to fight off pursuers. Remember
that the photon is a secondary weapon and that you should turn it off if you
need to charge the plasmas and keep a high speed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-DW3 (79) -- WyldeFire War Destroyer
           -- 1 ph-1, 2 ph-2, and 4 ph-3; 3 pl-F
           -- 20 power / 0.50 MC  

  The plasmas on this ship all have the FH arc, so the DW3 can be an 
aggressive opponent. This armament will cripple most frigates if they take the
full brunt of the plasma at close range. Since most opponents wonít let you 
get to anchor range in this kind of ship, fully charge the plasma and then use
the phasers to whittle away at their rear shield. Engine doubling can be used 
to put up a solid brick of reinforcement in the front shield and to get some 
speed after charging a powerful tractor (level 3 is good) for an anchor. 
Although none of the plasma point towards the rear, this isnít a big problem, 
because you have a 150% HET chance and can smack anyone who is too aggressive;
in fact, youíd be lucky to have someone chase you!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

B-DW2 (77) -- Beastraiders War Destroyer
           -- 1 ph-1, 2 ph-2, and 4 ph-3; 2 disruptor-2 and 1 phaser-G
           -- 20 power / 0.50 MC 

  The DW2 flies a lot like a refitted Klingon F5, except that you get the fun
of a ph-G, engine doubling, and a cheaper price tag. The disruptors let you 
sabre dance at range 15-22 (pretty decently at a max speed of 26 while only 
charging disruptors), but remember to turn them off if you want to go fast 
while charging phasers. Be careful while dancing -- you donít have plasma, so 
your phasers are the main things to use to beat down the forward shield of an 
attacker. Itís probably best to shut off the dizzies if your opponent is 
flying fast and gets closer than range 15. The main thing is to kill their 
forward shield early on. If you can do that, they will have a hard time 
chasing you and you can snipe them to your heartís content. This is doable 
with engine doubling -- overload the disruptors and skim range 8 (4 would be 
better but more dangerous), firing disruptors and phasers, then hightail it 
out of there while reinforcing the rear shield. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

X-DW0 (79) -- Orion War Destroyer
           -- 1 ph-1, 2 ph-2, and 4 ph-3; 2 disruptor-2 and 1 drone-B
           -- 20 power / 0.50 MC 

  Just as above, but pick this if you like drones and scatterpacks (you can 
buy a second shuttle for a grand total of 80 BPV) over gatling phasers. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

T-DW0 (77) -- Tigerheart War Destroyer
           -- 1 ph-1, 2 ph-2, and 4 ph-3; 2 disruptor-2 and 1 plasma-F
           -- 20 power / 0.50 MC

  This is just like the previous two, but has the interesting combo of 
disruptors and plasma (which oddly isnít very common among pirates, but I 
think the T-DW0 is more balanced than the B-DW2 or the X-DW0). The plasma only
has an FH arc but with Orion maneuvering and HETs, that isnít too bad. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

B-LRg (72) -- Beastraiders Light Raider
           -- 3 ph-1, 3 ph-G
           -- 13 power / 0.33 MC 

  (Available in middle era) This little phaser boat has a lot of crunch power 
for very little energy cost. It has some problems with opponents who are too
smart to close, but you should be fine as long as you focus your ph-1 on their
rear shield as they run (phaser enema), making sure you don't expose your 
front shield too often. 
  I would also be careful about running straight toward someone with two 
plasma-Fs or equal crunch power. Even with doubled engines and reinforcement, 
you might take a lot of damage, and even if they're stunned or destroyed, 
their plasmas can fire at you, while your precious phasers might be stunned as
you run in. Against an opponent like this, I would try to kill their front 
shield by doing battle runs at range 4-8. Between high speeds, sparing use of
engine doubling, and your ph-G for point defense, you can avoid the damage 
from their plasma and phasers long enough to take down their front shield.
  You can tell if they've fired a real or fake plasma by reinforcing your rear
shield and slowing down just enough to purposefully allow an almost-fizzled-
out plasma torpedo to hit it. If you time it correctly, you will only take one
point of damage (five at the worst), enough for your reinforcement to negate.
More importantly, you can tell whether they've sacrificed some of their plasma
and decide if it's time for a DEAR. 

******************************************************************************


==================================
F2. AT 80-85 LATE, X SHIPS ALLOWED
==================================

This is a similar match to the one above, except that X1-ships are allowed.
The above ships from F1 work, but in this match, you can also choose to fly 
Orion X1 frigates, which are slightly smaller than the DW series but less
tight on power. Although I said before that Orions fly best in duels, these
Orion LX frigates fly pretty well in fleet matches because they have better
engines than most 

Note: in the out-of-box version of SFC2:OP, the only X-ships included were the
advanced era "X2" ships -- basically, anything with a name like XFF, XDD, XCA,
etc. is an X2 ship. With his shiplist, Firesoul added "X1" ships into the late
era. He made the X1 ships as close to their Starfleet Battles originals as 
possible, and for this reason, they are generally balanced against non-X ships
in BPV-matched battles.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

X-LX1 (81) -- Orion X-refitted Light Raider
           -- 3 ph-X; 2 plasma-F and 2 photons
           -- 18 power / 0.33 MC

  The Orion LX1 is a well-balanced ship that is similar to the WyldeFire DW0 
mentioned above. While I usually like plasmas that are side-mounted, the FH-
arc plasmas here are an exception because the LX1 can bring them to bear very 
easily with its AA turn mode and 183% HET chance (!!). Since the plasmas have
no holding cost, you can overload the photons pretty easily once the phasers
plasmas are armed. 
  The only thing to watch out with this ship is that you don't fire everything
unless it's during an overrun that (hopefully) cripples the other player's 
ship. While the LX series have better engines than other Orions (because they
are X-ships), they are still slightly overgunned and cannot fully charge 
everything at once without slowing to a crawl. If you do have troubles 
recharging in the middle of a match, the first thing you should take offline
are the photons -- use the plasmas and phasers to knock out their front shield
so that they can't chase you, making it possible to slow and arm again. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

T-LX1 (80) -- Tigerheart X-refitted Light Raider
           -- 3 ph-X; 2 disruptors, 2 drone-G, and 2 ADD-A
           -- 18 power / 0.33 MC

  The Tigerheart LX1 is a good "dancer" ship. See the disruptor tactics for
the B-DW2 mentioned above. 
  Phaser settings are especially important to this ship, which has to rely on
its phasers instead of plasmas to discourage chasing opponents. 90% of the
time, I set the phaser-X to overload for more damage, but if you are being 
chased for more than one turn, set the phasers to normal. A phaser-X costs two
points of energy to charge, and a normal shot will only take one point out of 
the phaser capacitor, whereas the overloaded shot will take two points. An 
overloaded phaser-X only does about 150% of the damage of a normal ph-X/ph-1,
so it is more energy efficient to fire normal shots in this chase situation
(where you know they will be facing you with the same shield for at least two
turns). 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-LX3 (83) -- WyldeFire X-refitted Light Raider
           -- 3 ph-X; 4 plasma-F
           -- 18 power / 0.33 MC

  The LX3 is all about getting close. If you can manage getting to range 2.49
with a tractor beam lock, the eighty-point plasma volley will win the game for
you. Against a human player, however, this is much more difficult than it 
usually sounds. The good news -- since plasma-Fs have no holding cost, you can
power your phasers to charge every turn and fire overloaded shots into your 
opponent's rear shield. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-LX1 (84) -- WyldeFire X-refitted Light Raider
           -- 3 ph-X; 2 plasma-G and 2 plasma-F
           -- 18 power / 0.33 MC

  The LX1 is similar to the W-LX3, but has the long-range advantage of the 
plasma-Gs. On the downside, the LX1 has to deal with the holding cost of the
plasma-Gs, so it is best to try both ships in a single player skirmish to see
which you prefer before flying either in multiplayer. 

******************************************************************************


====================
F3. AT 105-115 EARLY
====================
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

S-CR1 (95)  -- Syndicate Light Cruiser  
            -- 4 ph-1 and 2 ph-3; 2 plasma-F and 1 photon torpedo
            -- 25 power / 0.67 MC

  This is a decent ship for its size because itís at such an oddball size. It
canít quite take on the early-era empire CAs, but at a match under 115 BPV, it
will never fight them. There arenít many good empire ships between 95 and 115 
during the early era (they are either poor light cruisers or smaller 
destroyers), so the Orion will have an advantage here.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P-CR0 (103) -- Prime Light Cruiser   
            -- 6 ph-1; 1 pl-F; cloak
            -- 25 power / 0.67 MC

  Similar to above, but more of a phaser boat with a better power curve. 6 
phaser-1s in decent arcs beat out anything any comparable empire ship has. Use
the plasma-F to scare your opponent, but remember that the phasers are your 
main weapons and are very effective within range 8. If they turn to evade the 
plasma, do the Phaser Enema. This ship has a cloaking device and can easily 
make speed 31 while cloaked with power left over under doubled engines. Use 
the cloak offensively while approaching at high speed under doubled engines, 
decloak and fire, then cloak again while running (still with doubled engines).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-CR1 (97)  -- WyldeFire Light Cruiser  
            -- 4 ph-1 and 2 ph-3; 2 plasma-F and 1 plasma-G
            -- 25 power / 0.67 MC

  The W-CR1 is a good alternative to the S-CR1 above if you prefer the plasma-
G over a photon torpedo. 

******************************************************************************


=================
F4. AT 120 MIDDLE
=================

At this setting, the Orions have some good war cruisers while the empires are 
stuck with pre-refit war cruisers. This is by no means an easy win, as ships 
like the F-NCL and K-D5 are excellent, but it means that the pirates will be 
fighting on more-or-less even ground. The BR and MR are mostly equal, but the 
BR is slightly bigger (two more ph-3, more labs, hull, tractors, etc).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-BR2 (120) -- WyldeFire Battle Raider
            -- 4 ph-1 and 4 ph-3; 1 PPD and 3 plasma-F
            -- 27 power / 0.67 MC 

  The BR2 is almost like a miniature ISC command ship, with PPD and plasmas. 
But at 120 mid, the ISC wonít even have any PPDs in use, so you kind of beat 
them at their own game. Unless you get a good anchor opportunity with this 
ship, donít try to charge all three plasma at once -- you canít do it while 
maintaining a good speed. If possible, have all the plasmas fully charged 
before trying to recharge the PPD, and remember to use the underload function 
of the PPD if youíre short on power. If you are in danger, turn off the PPD 
altogether and use your plasmas for cover. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-MR3 (111) -- WyldeFire Medium Raider 
            -- 4 ph-1 and 2 ph-3; 4 plasma-F
            -- 27 power / 0.67 MC

  This ship has crunch power and a good power curve, unless you try to arm 
more than two plasmas at a time. Once all the plasma are armed, stay 
aggressive. Most opponents wonít fight you head on, so you are free to slow 
down a little and charge those phasers while you use the Phaser Enema tactic 
described above.  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

S-MR0 (114) -- Syndicate Medium Raider 
            -- 4 ph-1 and 2 ph-3; 2 plasma-F and 1 plasma-S
            -- 27 power / 0.67 MC

  The plasma arrangement on the MR0 is exactly like that of the Gorn HDD or 
the Romulan SPA+, and in the same arcs (FH plasma-S, side plasma-Fs). This 
ship can fly similar to the W-MR3, but is better at the Plasma Ballet with the
S-torp. On the other hand, it costs energy to hold the S, so this ship isnít 
as good at getting an anchor kill. I think this ship is a little better 
balanced because it doesnít need to get to close range to win.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P-BR3 (117) -- Prime Battle Raider
            -- 4 ph-1 and 4 ph-3; 1 plasma-S, 1 plasma-F, and 2 drone-A
            -- 27 power / 0.67 MC  

  Similar to the S-MR0 above. If you like having drones and scatterpacks in 
addition to plasma, then go for this. 

******************************************************************************


================
F5. AT 130 EARLY
================

This is the upper limit for an even fight with the Orion, who still has a 
chance when facing pre-refit empire Heavy Cruisers. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

X-CA3 (124) -- Orion Heavy Cruiser
            -- 4 ph-2 and 4 ph-3; 1 photon, 2 plasma-F, and 2 drone-A
            -- 34 power / 1.00 MC 

  The CA3 has a versatile weapons suite -- good at close range, and decent at 
medium range for the time period. Depending on the strengths of your 
opponentís ship, decide whether to get in close or dance at farther ranges. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Y-CA0 (125) -- Korgath Heavy Cruiser
            -- 2 ph-1, 4 ph-2, 4 ph-3, and 2 ph-G; 2 drone-A
            -- 34 power / 1.00 MC  

  I skipped over this ship before, but it really is nice for an early-era 
ship. It is a phaser boat, and that means it has a good power curve and can 
also do reliable damage every turn. Use engine doubling for all the 
reinforcement you can get, trying for range 0 if you have the opportunity (if 
they fired at long range and itís safe to close). On the turns without engine 
doubling, go for a range 8 shot with the phasers every turn and weaken their 
shields for later on. 

******************************************************************************


===============
F6. AT 80 EARLY
===============

Mostly against frigates. For some reason, some of these ships donít show up in
early in skirmish mode, but they are definitely there in early multiplayer. 
These ships also work well in middle era, where they receive the + refit, 
which gives them 20-shields all around (great for a frigate). Fortunately, the
game doesn't value shield strengths too much and these LR+ refits only cost 
one point more, sometimes nothing at all.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-LR0 (70) -- WyldeFire Light Raider (Frigate)
           -- 6 ph-1
           -- 13 power / 0.33 MC  

  Fly this like any other phaser boat -- six phaser-1s are dangerously 
effective against frigates with weak shields. At ranges 4-8, you should be 
able to take down any shield with one alpha strike. Unfortunately, the phasers
take six points of power to fully charge in one turn, which you canít afford 
unless you double engines, so cut down the phaser capacitor to recharge while 
moving quickly. With the capacitor at 1/3rd you can make speed 24, which is 
fast enough against most power-starved early frigates. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

X-LR0 (79) -- Orion Light Raider (Frigate)
           -- 5 ph-1 and 1 ph-G; cloak
           -- 13 power / 0.33 MC 

  Just like above, but I think itís better because of the ph-G (more crunch, 
great point defense) and cloak. Unless the match is below 79, take this 
instead. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W-LR3 (74) -- WyldeFire Light Raider (Frigate)
           -- 3 ph-1; 3 plasma-F
           -- 13 power / 0.33 MC  

  Besides phaser-1s and phaser-Gs, F-torpedoes are the best frigate weapons 
because of their crunch power and no holding cost. 60 points of damage will 
cripple any frigate, so they also have a threat factor that will keep 
opponents from being too aggressive with you. Manage your power well -- you 
can only fly fast while charging one torpedo; instead of thinking "I have 
three torpedoes to fire at any time", consider "I have one torpedo that can 
fire in any direction, once every three turns." If you really need to fire 
more than one, time it so that you have one loaded torpedo, one just-fired 
torpedo, and one almost-charged torpedo. For much of the battle, pseudo 
torpedoes will be very useful; for no energy, they strongly encourage the 
opponent to run off, giving you more time and energy to focus on rearming. 

******************************************************************************


=========================
F7. AT 130 MID/LATE NO X
=========================
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

S-BR2 (127) -- Syndicate Battle Raider 
            -- 4 ph-1 and 4 ph-3; 2 plasma-S and 2 drone-B
            -- 27 power / 0.67 MC  

  A match at 130 middle or 130 late is unique in that there are very few 
plasma ships available to the empire races -- the R-SPA+ is at 138, the G-CDD
is at 133, and the I-CLY is at 132. These races have their original CW hulls
available, but they are significantly weaker.
  The only empire ship at under 130 that mounts a plasma-S is the Gorn HDD, 
which is mediocre compared to most other war cruisers. This is where the S-BR2
is useful. The S-BR2 is a solid ship that carries two (!) plasma-S, which 
means it is very useful in 3v3 matches where long-range plasma are useful. 

******************************************************************************


============================
F8. Other Orion ship classes
============================

I picked the above classes and matches as optimal setups for a 1-on-1 match 
against another player with you flying as the Orion. Although the Orions are 
outmatched in larger and later-era matches by the empire ships (IMO), by all
means try them out for yourselves; you may have better luck. And in the single
player campaign, the Orions have a fair fight at any class. If you are playing
the single player campaign and having trouble with the missions themselves,
I recommend looking at DG Dobrev's guide on Gamefaqs, which has a section 
devoted to the specialty missions.

Doubleraider-class destroyer (DBR): The DBR series is a great ship for single
player campaigns, but not in multiplayer matches. This is because it always 
costs more than 100 BPV and it is not much better than the DWs, most of which 
85 or lower. At the cost, the empire war destroyers are much better. 
The WyldeFire DBR1, for example, has 5 plasma-F, but it doesnít have the 
power to rearm these, and anyone smart enough to stay out of range wonít get 
hit. In a fleet situation, the Gorn BDL is superior -- better phasers, a 
longer-range plasma-G, and lots of power to rearm while moving. 



-------------------------------
 G. FINAL NOTES AND LEGAL INFO
-------------------------------

I would love to hear suggestions on strategies that you've had luck with, 
and any comments/criticisms in general. You can email me at my address below.

I encourage any fans of SFC to go to Dynaverse.net and check out the
forums. There are some great general guides here on Gamefaqs for SFC2:OP/EAW, 
but Dynaverse has some other in-depth guides for specific races.


Copyright 2009-2010 Roy_mace

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