The Thraddash Torch is the pride and joy of Thraddash Culture Nineteen. It is very small, but its maneuverability and its powerful afterburners make it a serious contender even against AI-controlled large ships.
The Torch has decent maneuverability and acceleration, but low conventional top speed. Its alternate propulsion system allows the Torch to travel at blinding speed.
The Torch's main weapon is the medium-range Mark-VI blaster. Its four-megawatt energy discharge is pretty weak, killing only one crew per shot, but it does have some surprising characteristics, such as resistance to the Earthling Cruiser's point-defense lasers, and the Umgah Drone's anti-matter cone. In the right hands, it can be a quite effective weapon.
The secondary 'weapon' of the Torch isn't truly a weapon, but a secondary propulsion system known as the Reeunk Afterburner. The Reeunk afterburner accelerates the Torch to incredible speeds and leaves in its wake a fiery trail of ionized plasma that, while still hot, can cripple enemy ships in seconds should one be following too closely. Each of these fiery balls of plasma kills two crew members when struck, though the Torch is unaffected and will pass through the trail unharmed. It is so useful in an offensive capacity that most Thraddash pilots consider it to be the primary weapon on the Torch. However, human-controlled opponents will generally avoid the trail, thus transforming it into a simple evasion ability.
The Reeunk Afterburner is a relatively recent addition to the Torch. Earlier revisions of this ship were armed only with the Mark-VI Blaster and therefore deemed too ineffective for combat by the Ur-Quan. Once they became Battle Thralls, the Thraddash were ordered to "guard the rear" by staying in their home territory. Now that their ships have been improved, the Thraddash would love nothing more than to try them out against another race and thus prove their worth to the Ur-Quan.
The most popular tactic employed with this ship against the AI is to "cast a net" with the afterburners such that the enemy ship flies into it and takes damage. Against large capital ships, this is no problem, but against more maneuverable ships, luring them near a gravity well might be required first.
Skilled Torch pilots can easily goad AI Androsynth Guardians into blazer mode with blaster fire, forcing them to head straight into the exhaust trails while the Torch outruns them. The afterburner is also good at frying the ZapSats of any Avatar that makes the mistake of chasing after it or flying towards it. Against the Earthling Cruiser, the strategy is quite straightforward: close in quickly and pound incessantly it with the blaster. Point-defense laser is useless against it, and if you keep your distance you can dodge the return fire from the Cruiser quite easily; you can deal a decent amount of damage to the Cruiser before being blown to bits.
The Torch is most useful against the Slylandro Probes in single player. Wait for the Probe to get close, then activate the afterburner, the AI should cause it to follow resulting in it taking maximum damage and exploding. Using this technique, it's possible to get ally with the Thraddash early, and then by using their ships build up RU simply by hunting probes.
The AI allows the Ur-Quan Dreadnought to launch fighters against Torches, even though the afterburner destroys them as effectively as any point defense. Although the computer-controlled Orz Nemesis has the same weakness, the battle becomes more challenging after it has launched all the marines it can spare.
A Yehat Terminator can eliminate any number of Torches, if flown by a skilled player (usually by orbiting a gravity well — or "pillboxing" against the AI), but a Torch can also easily take out a Terminator. What matters here is how well the Terminator pilot uses its force shield.
An AI-controlled Avatar will attempt to close to laser range by using its tractor beam while flying towards the enemy ship. The Torch can exploit this; its afterburner is capable of easily breaking the tractor beam's grip, and the Avatar will continue flying towards the Torch if its range is reasonable, causing it to collide with the afterburner's trail. Doing this repeatedly allows the Torch to take out an Avatar with next to no damage.