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You get the Nuke Runner for going through the tutorial. Is it worth it?
The Nuke Runner has 2 Nuke Slots, 4 Weapon Slots and 15 other Slots. It's a small ship, and unlike the Tigerfish, it only has 3 Hybrid Slots, limiting how quickly you can upgrade to weapon slots and reducing point defence placement options. Not great.
The Starting Accuracy is 25%. (Great) The Deflection is 65%. (Great) The Evasion is 25%. (Great). The best basic combat statistics in the game, equaling or exceeding the statistics of all other ships.
The starting loadout of the Nuke Runner is three good weapons: a sniper cannon, a gatling gun and a military laser, all of which can and should be upgraded. It also has two good point defence cannons, a 6-person cryosleep unit (great!) and two power sources, one of which is pretty weak. It has a three-person bridge.
The crew consists of 1 very good security drone with an enormous gun, 1 officer, 4 marines and 1 pet.

The Starting Ship-Specific Perks:
Combat Laser Upgrade (3): Less important than the ballistic weapons, but still a nice upgrade.
Gatling Gun (3): Turns the already powerful 4 barrel gatling gun into a 5 barrel. Worth it in the early game.
Heavy Sentinel (10): A second very good security drone. Expensive but awesome in a combat.
Light Security Drone (5): Cheap, sort-of strong sentry drone. Not bad.
MK I Sensor Replacement (3): Nice to get but not vital.
Nuke Arsenal (5): A ludicrous extra 5 starting nukes with no additional costs. The only issue is space to store them.
The Oilcake Converter (1): Turns fuel into food. The Nuke Runner already gulps fuel. Get it to scrap only.
Reactor Replacement (3): You want this if you got the laser/shield upgrade.
Shield Generator Replacement (2): Upgrades to an Old Aegis shield. It's worth it early game.
Sniper Cannon Upgrade (3): Cheap upgrade which is really worth it, giving you a starting 3 barrel sniper cannon.
Tactical Security Drone (7): Better sentry drone, a little expensive.
The Top Cadet (5): An excellent starting pilot. Very good addition early game to increase evasion!

Some tips for the Nuke Runner:
-Even more than the Tigerfish, your space is at a premium making the science station/organics production strategy difficult. A low number of starting hybrid slots makes upgrading to a weapon platform take longer, but better combat statistics mean that once you do, it is an amazing fighter. The starting cockpit with three good pilots (get the Top Cadet!) makes you really hard to hit, so increasing evasion rapidly is an effective tactic.
-The Nuke Runner is more of a gamble because you need to get certain things early to be competitive- improved evasion, good pilots, ecm turrets/point defence. It's vulnerable to nukes and has trouble concentrating point defence early game, and you have to worry about running out of explosives (multiple ballistic weapons) and fuel (high performance engine). If you have a bad start, you'll end up spending crucial money you want for crew/weapons/ECM turrets for repairs and never be able to catch up.
-A good way to deal with these issues is to take the bonus 5 nukes and nuke enemies relentlessly in the first two sectors to reduce time spent in combat and potential damage you might take. Upgrade rapidly and keep advancing your best three pilots. Advance your marines in gun accuracy first, fighting second.
-Try for 3-4 point defence and expand the number of hybrid slots fast. Nukes and ballistics are an issue! This is best achieved by winning lots of fights early on while taking little damage. Good luck!
-Grab some firefighter drones at the start of the game for incendiary shots that get through your defence. On a small ship they work even better than usual, and the rest of your crew are not good at putting out fires.
-Once your evasion begins getting really high, you can start preparing for the later game by beefing up your crew's defence against boarders, the biggest threat left to you. The two chaingun sentries you can start with are excellent, and throwing weaker drones in front of them to buy time can help them chop up even large numbers of boarders. When hit with large numbers of boarders, slow the game speed and carefully manage the fight, drawing back damaged units to a medbay/repair facility if you have them while your heavy drones mow intruders down.
-The gatling gun is not that accurate and uses a fair amount of ammo, but the upgraded sniper cannon is low power, only uses 3 ammo and is accurate. It's particularly good with a gunner with 8+ gunnery skill. You can keep the sniper cannon the whole game, though keep in mind the last boss ships are just covered in point defence.

Any other good hints for how to use the Nuke Runner? Add them below.
Post edited September 19, 2019 by AegerHant
I'll add several tips I can think of:

-Start training backup personal, evasion is critical on this ship and if you lose a pilot without having a good replacement it will hurt a lot. Don't worry if you go into negative food income (-25 is fine for example). If you want to play safe you can make your cat an emergency pilot, the cat will stay on the bridge without moving for a long time once you level him up several times.

-Buy the 8 units Cryosleep module as soon as you see it, it doesn't produce food but it is quite cheap and it will allow you to run more people than gardens, also don't worry about getting gardens unless you get them for free. Is quite easy to get food from battles and exploration, instead of wasting money on gardens use it on drones. And unless you try to explore everything with a heavy negative food income, you will get enough food to have a spare amount to sell at stores.

-Once you finish the insect sector you can run with only 1 shield or none (as long as your evasion is high), I do recommend using shields against those guys because they have several weapons that inflict considerable damage to modules and or crew, if they don't kill you they will maim you for late game.

-3 container modules are all you need, the Nuke Runner starts with two of the best containers in the game the FEO and the ESM-2, I recommend having over 600 fuel but it depends on the player (and the engine). Just remember to keep some spare junk in the inventory and keep only around 15%-20% of metal and synthetics in your storage (unless you have 10+ exotics and want to upgrade a module). Having an ESM-# in your inventory is a good idea, but if you are selling like I said before this is not going to be big problem.

-If you are overflowing resources you can craft nukes or upgrade modules into core modules (or hybrids) for more HP which is better than straight convert into fuel or just dumping them. You can also upgrade a hybrid slot into a weapon slot without using a weapon there, the point is having an emergency resource stash, you can transform it back into a hybrid module and get half the resources.

-You are not going to have a lot power if you go for energy weapons, but you can use the sniper cannon 3 plus a gatling gun. For only 2 power you will fire 7+ bullets to keep enemy PD occupied, allowing you to use Nukes late game. With only energy weapons you need to destroy the enemy shields, blow up the enemy PD and then launch the nukes but this takes so much time it makes nukes irrelevant. The Ancient Minicannon (DIY) fires 3 shots for only 1 explosive, it has terrible accuracy but it will provide protection for the nukes and it is really cheap.