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One of Elite: Dangerous’ mysterious aliens is dead, and Harry Potter is to blame

Elite’s most notorious player makes history again

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Players have finally destroyed an alien ship in Elite: Dangerous, and the pilot credited for the first kill is none other than notorious commander Josh “Harry Potter” Chamberlain and his clan, the Smiling Dog Crew (SDC).

In fact, SDC can lay claim to the first team-kill and the first solo-kill of an alien ship. Chamberlain tells Polygon they beat out the rest of the Elite playerbase by at least two hours.

The in-game avatar of Commander Harry Potter.
Frontier Developments

PvP battles in Elite are generally antiseptic affairs, but the Thargoid battle, embedded above, is a particularly brutal struggle that lasts more than 20 minutes. The alien vessel, called a cyclops, appears to be a single massive spacefaring creature. Chamberlain and his crew disassemble it in detail, knocking off its petals and exposing its heart.

In motion, it feels more like a pack of wolves chasing down a larger herbivore. You can actually hear the Thargoid crying out in pain.

Chamberlain was also the murderous villain in Elite’s largest ever player-versus-player battle royale, responsible for the death of a prominent in-fiction character named Salomé.

Other players have managed to kill the alien ships as well. Commander AllegoricPig streamed his engagement, which was fought in high orbit around a planet with an icy ring and lit by the purple glow of the Pleiades Nebula. The climax is a spectacular explosion at the 34-second mark. Unfortunately, the shockwave blew his ship — a heavily-armored Anaconda — to pieces.

The secret to defeating a cyclops it seems is to equip special anti-xeno (AX) missile systems, dumb-fire weapons that were released late yesterday following a special in-game event. Thargoids are particularly good at regenerating their hull, so SDC and other player groups initially tried to wear them down with traditional weapons before launching salvos of AX missiles. Chamberlain now says they were over-thinking it.

“I had attempted multiple attacks with normal weapons and nothing worked,” Chamberlain told Polygon. “Some forums mods or people in with Frontier claimed it could be damaged with normal weapons and that we were doing something wrong. It turned out that the new weapons are the only things that can damage them at all. Even with the hearts exposed, normal weapons do nothing. Nothing at all.”

The in-game news service, called GalNet, is painting the aliens as the aggressors in this situation, but players have begun to express doubt about humanity’s role in the conflict. Regardless of who started it, the developers at Frontier appear to be steering players toward particular star systems where Thargoid ships are plentiful.

If you’re interested in picking a fight, head over to HIP 17962, HR 1185, IH-V C2-5 and the Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55. AX missiles are reported to be available in and around the Maia system.

Update: More images are streaming in from players who are teaming up to take on the aliens. This one, captured by Club Jarminx, shows the wreckage — some are calling it a corpse — of a Thargoid cyclops.