This guide is based on the Anti-Xeno Knowledgebase, click here to read more.
Thargoid interceptors come in four variants: Cyclops, Basilisk, Medusa, and Hydra, in ascending level of difficulty. Each next variant has more hearts and is tougher than the last, requiring far more damage and skill to destroy.
Each Thargoid interceptor has a number of hearts. These must be destroyed in order to damage the interceptor’s hull permanently. A Thargoid heart cannot be damaged immediately—you must first exert the heart. To exert a heart you must reduce the Thargoids remaining total health by 20%.
Thargoids rapidly regenerate health when they still have active hearts. Thus, it is ineffective to attempt to destroy them with pure firepower. Thargoid Interceptors have a 99% resistance to normal human weapons, reducing your options to AX or Guardian weapons.
Once exerted, the next heart will begin glowing and you can deal damage by hitting the glowing heart directly.
- Cyclops Variant: 4 hearts
- Basilisk Variant: 5 hearts
- Medusa Variant: 6 hearts
- Hydra Variant: 8 hearts
Thargoid interceptors use a collection of special abilities to retaliate when attacked.
Interceptors have a primary cannon that fires in bursts. They can fire this weapon indefinitely; however, they will have to reload every few volleys. This weapon deals caustic damage and ignores all kinetic, explosion and thermal resistances and deals absolute damage to shields. Their primary cannon is very heavy-hitting and can very quickly dish out large amounts of damage to an unprepared vessel.
When engaged, a Thargoid interceptor will deploy a Thargon swarm. This is an independent swarm of small Thargoid missile-like creatures. The Thargoid will deploy another swarm after each heart is destroyed, who will fly in formation and attack any enemy vessels with small caustic projectile weapons. Under certain circumstances, the Thargons in a swarm can become aggravated and kamikaze into enemy ships to cause heavy collision damage.
Should you take too long to destroy the heart of a Thargoid interceptor, it will become enraged. This will cause the interceptor to release swarms indefinitely until the heart is destroyed, resetting the timer.
Each interceptor variant has a different number of Thargons in its swarm when deployed.
- Cyclops: 32
- Basilisk: 64
- Medusa: 92
- Hydra: 128
After destroying a heart, the Thargoid will generate a shield. This is a very strong shield that scales with each Interceptor variant. This shield will gradually decay over time and once depleted, another will not generate until you destroy the next heart.
If you destroy a Thargoids’ shields after damaging a heart, but before it deploys its’ next swarm, it will instantly regenerate another shield.
Once the first heart has been destroyed, the interceptor will unlock its lightning ability. Should an enemy get within 700m of a Thargoid interceptor it will glow yellow and charge up a ‘force-lightning’ style attack. This will deal very heavy shield damage and temporarily prevent the ship from moving. This attack also has a chance to randomly disable a ship’s modules.
At certain points in the fight, the Thargoid interceptor may deploy caustic missiles; these are relatively slow-moving homing missiles that apply a caustic damage-over-time effect. This effect can be applied directly through shields and will gradually eat away at your ship’s hull.
After destroying the second-last heart of any interceptor, the Thargoid will charge and pulse a large EMP that will temporarily shut-down any vessels hit by it for 30 sec. The EMP will hit any ship within 10km of the Thargoid.
A Thargoid interceptor fight occurs in very predictable phases. Each phase follows the other and essentially repeats until the end of the fight.
The fight begins in this phase, the Thargoid has no shields, all hearts are nominal and it is actively using its main gun and pursuing the enemy. During this phase you can damage the Interceptor until a heart becomes exerted, moving it into the exerted phase.
During this phase, one of the interceptors’ hearts will be glowing. Hitting this exerted heart will cause damage to it until it breaks. You will only have a limited time to destroy the heart before the interceptor returns to the nominal phase. Should you successfully destroy a heart during this phase, the Thargoid will enter the sleep phase.
When the interceptor loses a heart it enters the sleep phase. At this time it will try using one of 3 special abilities (Lightning, Caustic or EMP) depending on the heart destroyed. If Thargoid cannot get a target lock (i.e., a cold target) over approx 20 seconds, it will give up and fail to use a special ability. After the interceptor fails or succeeds in using its special attack, it will finally deploy a new swarm and return to the nominal phase.
Once the final heart is destroyed, the interceptor will generate its final shield and deploy its last special ability. Once this shield is broken any damage caused to the Thargoid will damage the hull permanently as there are no more hearts to regenerate. This allows you to finally destroy the Thargoid.
Want to learn more? check out our advanced guide, the Anti-Xeno Knowledgebase.