Elite Dangerous Wiki

CQC Championship logo

The Close Quarter Combat Championship (aka CQC, CQC Championship) is an arena combat simulation by Utopixx Entertainment. This separate game mode in Elite Dangerous can be accessed from the launcher or directly in game under Start → Arena. The It is available to anyone who owns ED.

CQC consists of 3 game modes: Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag. Ships available to pilot are the F63 Condor, Sidewinder Mk I, Eagle,[1] and the Imperial Fighter,[2] with unlockable, customisable loadouts.[3]

CQC is separate from the shared galaxy (Open Play, Private Group, and Solo Play). However, the CQC ranks are officially tracked by the Pilots Federation.



Planet Ares, home of the Prestiged

According to the lore; CQC Championship is a combat simulation provided by Utopixx Entertainment, a company based in the Federation.[4]

The CQC Championship is headquartered in the independent system CD-43 11917. It is in the Core Systems within the Inner Orion Spur. Planet Ares is the home of Elite-ranked or Prestiged CQC pilots. The station Attilius Orbital offers 20-30% discounts on a number of weapons, modules, small and medium combat ships. CD-43 11917 ic only accessible to pilots with the CQC Home World Permit. This requires rank 50 in CQC and choose "Prestige" to reset their rank.


Players increase their CQC rank from 1 to 50 by participating in matches and earning experience.[5] This rank is separate from Pilots Federation CQC rank, which also increases alongside standard CQC rank.[3] CQC rank is only related to the Arena/CQC mode and its unlocks, while Pilots Federation CQC rank is displayed in the main mode of Elite Dangerous.

CQC rank

Below is a table of the experience earned for different events.

Event XP earned Notes
Winner 200 Won a match
MVP 100 Scored the most in a match
Survivor 100 Do not die in a match
Assistant 50 Contribute to a target's death without dealing the killing blow
Finisher 50 Be present when the match is over
Bouncing Back 25 ???
Good Effort 25 Scored the least and ranked last in a match
Payback 25 After being killed, kill the person that killed you
Multi-kill 25 Kill 2 or more people in a single life
Quick Kill 25 ???
Try Harder 10 ???

Below is a table of the experience required for each CQC rank increase.

Rank Exp. Rank Exp. Rank Exp.
1 600 18 2,052 35 7,015
2 645 19 2,205 36 7,541
3 693 20 2,371 37 8,107
4 745 21 2,549 38 8,715
5 801 22 2,740 39 9,369
6 861 23 2,945 40 10,071
7 926 24 3,166 41 10,827
8 995 25 3,404 42 11,639
9 1,070 26 3,659 43 12,511
10 1,150 27 3,933 44 13,450
11 1,237 28 4,228 45 14,459
12 1,329 29 4,546 46 15,543
13 1,429 30 4,886 47 16,709
14 1,536 31 5,253 48 17,962
15 1,651 32 5,647 49 19,309
16 1,775 33 6,070
17 1,908 34 6,526 Total 268,758

Below is a table of the icons for each CQC rank.

Icons Desc. Icons Desc. Icons Desc.
Rank 1~9
Rank 10~19
Rank 20~29
Rank 30~39
Rank 40~49
Rank 50
Prestige 1
Prestige 2
Prestige 3
Prestige 4
Prestige 5
Prestige 6
Prestige 7
Prestige 8 (Max)


Main article: CQC Championship/Loadouts

The Condor in CQC

As a player ranks up they unlock more ship loadouts and alternative modules (such as weapons and armour) to customise those loadouts with. There are a variety of modules, each of which have their own pros and cons. For example, at rank 44 an Overcharged Beam Laser for Eagle Loadouts is unlocked, which works like a Beam Laser but has higher damage at the cost of an increase in heat gain.

Ship Loadouts Loadout slots
F63 Condor F63 Condor Loadouts Loadout 1, Loadout 5, Loadout 9
Sidewinder Mk I Sidewinder Loadouts Loadout 2, Loadout 6, Loadout 10
Eagle Eagle Loadouts Loadout 3, Loadout 7, Loadout 11
Imperial Fighter Imperial Fighter Loadouts Loadout 4, Loadout 8, Loadout 12



Attilius Orbital

After reaching rank 50, a player is able to reset their ranks back to rank 1 and lose all unlocks in order to get one Prestige ranking. The player receives an icon next to their name in CQC Championship and a permit for CD-43 11917, which contains Attilius Orbital.[5] The starport offers 20-30% discounts on a number of weapons, modules, and small and medium combat ships. Players can prestige in CQC up to Prestige Level 8, but there are no benefits for each prestige after the first one aside from the higher Prestige Level.

Pilots Federation rank

CQC Elite icon

CQC Elite icon (Pilots Federation rank)

The following Pilots Federation CQC ranks are earned as the player progresses.

Rank Exp.
Helpless 0
Mostly Helpless 5,000
Amateur 10,000
Semi Professional 40,000
Professional 100,000
Champion 285,000
Hero 685,000
Legend 1,685,000
Elite 3,685,000
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey required to progress
Elite I 7,370,000
Elite II 11,055,000
Elite III 14,740,000
Elite IV 18,425,000
Elite V 22,110,000

Game Modes


Elite Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - CQC

Official CQC Tutorial by Frontier Developments.[nb 1]

Team Deathmatch

In Team Deathmatch, the first team to reach 25 kills, or the team with the most kills when the timer runs out, wins. Minimum players needed is 4.[6]


In Deathmatch, the first player to get 750 points, or the player with the most kills when the timer runs out, wins. Players earn 100 points for a kill, and 50 for a kill assist. Minimum players needed is 2.[6]

Capture the Flag

In Capture the Flag, the goal is to steal the opposing teams flag and return it to your flag base. You can only capture it while your flag is present, so defending your flag is key. The first team to 3 captures wins. Minimum players needed is 4.[6]

There are three distinct icons on the scanner:

  • Friendly-escort Teammate who has the enemy flag.
  • Enemy-flag Enemy pilot who has your flag.
  • Friendly-base Location of the friendly base for your flag.


CQC matchmaking can be queued while playing the main game. When a match is found, the player will be prompted to join.[7]

Press the button while playing the regular game. It will tell you when it finds a match. There are no NPCs to fill a match though. If at least 3 other people in the world que, you'll join a match. Some squadrons organize matches such as on Inara.


There are four arenas:

An inaccessible fifth map, Orbital Junction, was the first arena map unveiled for CQC.[10] It is believed that Orbital Junction was an early version of Elevate with different lighting.

Gameplay Mechanics


CQC Championship Hologram


There are four power-ups available in the arenas. All the power-ups are not necessarily in every arena. They can be seen on the scanner as a grey icon. Each power-up type is differentiated by its colour, hologram icon, and the name when targeting it.

To get a power-up, one must fly through the hologram surrounded by a ring, preferably without crashing into the ring. Once you have collected a power-up, its timer ring to the right of to the Power Distributor display will show how long it will last.

The power-ups are:

Red - Weapon Enhance
Weapon damage enhancer.
Blue - Stealth Mode
Become invisible to enemy radars, similar to Silent Running but without losing shields or gaining heat. Using weapons deactivates this power-up.
Yellow - Shield Boost
Instantly refills your shields and overcharges them by 30%.
Green - Speed Surge
Speed boost that briefly increases top speed.


Unlike in the other game modes, line of sight is needed in order to target ships or see them on the scanner. If the target is obscured by any environmental object (asteroid, station wall, etc.) the sensors will lose lock and the message "Target Missing" will be triggered. However, should line of sight be restored, the original target will automatically be locked onto again, triggering the "Target Acquired" message. Note: you do not have to face the target to reacquire lock.

Time limit

Deathmatches have a 7:30-minute time limit. Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag matches have a 15-minute time limit to complete your goals and at the 10, 5 and 1 minute, and 10, 5-1 second marks a notification on the top right UI panel will display with a narrator telling the player how long is left.

If the goal is completed before the counter reaches 0, the game also ends. Should the time limit be reached with no kills at all or an equal amount of kills, deaths and assists for two or more players, the game will result in a Draw.

Playable area

Warning, informing the player about the time left before the ship destruction

Out of Bounds Countdown Warning

If a player flies out of the arena bounds, the 20-second self-destruct countdown will start. It does not overheat the fighter (unlike the manual self-destruct procedure that can be activated in the right-hand panel) and can be aborted by flying back into the arena. There can be bugs, resulting in players being able to leave the arena bounds unpunished.

Shield recharging

Once a fighter's shields are down, they will start recharging, draining the energy from the SYS capacitor. Unlike ships, fighter shields immediately gain 90% strength when recharging is completed (as opposed to 50%).

Destructible structures

Inside certain tunnels, there are pillars which can be destroyed by shooting at them, after which they explode, allowing clear access through the tunnel.

The $100,000 CQC Tournament

On November 13, 2015, Frontier Developments announced the first official CQC tournament. Qualifying heats were planned for early 2016. There were separate tournaments for PC and Xbox One, with a prize pot of $15,000 USD split between them ($7,500 USD prize pot for each final). The "$100,000" mentioned in the tournament's name referred not to the top prize for the winner, but the total prize budget.[11]

The tournament was canceled on July 7, 2016 due to delays and changing plans for the Elite Dangerous: Horizons 2.1 update, which originally would have implemented specific features that were necessary to run the tournament as envisioned. Frontier Developments planned to replace the CQC tournament with a PvP Team-based tournament restricted to small and medium ships called the Icarus Cup, but this never took place.[12][13] On August 27, 2019, Community Manager Paige Harvey finally confirmed that the Icarus Cup was effectively canceled, but Frontier was still interested in holding other contests and competitions in the future.[14]

ED: Arena

A stand-alone version was releases as Elite Dangerous: Arena. However, it was withdrawn from sale on 10 February 2017. Please note that this does not mean Arena/CQC is not available. It is just no longer purchasable as a separate stand-alone game. According to Frontier, "Elite Dangerous: Arena continues to be available and supported as part of the wider Elite Dangerous game." [15]


  • The Elite Dangerous: Beyond Chapter Two update reduced the minimum required players for Deathmatch from 4 to 2, and Team Deathmatch / Capture the Flag from 6 to 4 players.[6]
  • During development, Frontier Developments stated that prestiged players would receive two additional rewards: additional credit earnings from CQC matches, and a special prestige icon next to their name in-game. Neither reward was implemented. It was also stated that the maximum Prestige Level would be 9, but instead it is 8.[16][17]
  • All Pilots Federation ranks above Elite (Elite I-V) were added in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey.
  1. The tutorial video is now slightly outdated. Team Conflict has become Team Deathmatch, and loadouts are now also customisable.