Stellaris - Ship Designer (Fleet Guide)
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Stellaris - Ship Designer (Fleet Guide)

By John Don McGee   /   Mar 28, 2018     Guides
Stellaris - Ship Designer (Fleet Guide)

Introduction



Welcome to the most complicated complicated part of the game. This is due to the amount of customizations available and the possible combinations available if one chooses to. Due to the nature of the beast it is important to know what every weapon does. At this point I am still learning but as techs and tactics change you will eventually have to be knowledgeable on what counters what. In terms of balance, I am not sure if the game is balanced up to this point however I do notice Corvette swarming becoming popular.

Defence



Here explains the type of defence available and how ships survive out in space.

Shields

The first line of defense if equipped, otherwise the ship will just have a hull. Shields regen at 1% per day. The feature of shields is that they are effective against energy weapons. However they are weak against kinetic weapons and consume power. Shields are good for hit and run tactics early game due to its shield regeneration and is favored because of it. Shields are more expensive than armor however a ships survival is more important than its cost in most cases.

Armor

Armor is the second layer of defense if equipped. It does not regenerate like shields unless equipped with Armor Regeneration. The feature of armor is that it is effective against Kinetic weapons and does not consumer power. However they are weak against energy weapons. Prior to the 2.0 patch armor used to be based on a damage reduction formula which was difficult to calculate for people and thus was changed to a HP style. Armor is cheaper than shields but required to be repaired when damage. Unless you have the Armor Regeneration, this type of defence will require frequent visits back to a shipyard for repairs, especially when retreating via FTL.

Hull

Hull is the ships HP, if it goes 0 it gets destroyed. Hull is based on the ship type, typically the smaller the ship the smaller the hull. Hull HP can be changed if Crystal Plating is equipped otherwise hull will be dependent on the type of ship. Hull does not generate unless you have Hull Regeneration so will require trips back to a shipyard for repairs throughout the game.

Auxiliary

Auxiliary are extra modules that go into the Auxiliary slots of a ship. They can significant add bonuses and benefits depending your ships purpose.

  • Advanced/Improved/Reactor Boosters +100 +50 +20 Add power respectively to your ship. This can be useful as excess power gives a small bonus, at most 10%, evasion, speed and weapon damage. 
  • Regenerative Hull Tissue +2 Armor regeneration +1 Hull Regeneration heals your ships each day, useful for making hit and run tactics even more effective. 
  • Shield Capacitors +10% Shields is good for increasing shields if your ships have a lot of shields or need that slight boost. 
  • Advanced/Afterburners +20% Speed +10% Evasion/+10% Speed +5% Evasion is useful for giving your ships that extra boost in Evasion or boosting their overall speed for faster close range combat or as aid to a fleet that requires to travel faster within the system. 
  • Auxiliary Fire-Control +5 Accuracy is useful for adding accuracy which will also slightly increase tracking. 
  • Enigmatic Encoder +20% Evasion is extremely handy for your Corvettes as they will be more likely to survive combat with an 80% base evasion rate with this equipped. 
  • Enigmatic Encoder +5% Accuracy +5 Tracking is an upgraded Auxiliary Fire-Control and is best for ships with Point Defence and autocannons.

Corvettes



Here I will explain the Corvette to the best of my ability.

Corvette Stats

  • 1 Section, 1 Command point, 60 Mineral Cost, 60 Build time, 300 Hull, 60% Evasion, 170 Speed 

Corvette Sections

  • Interceptor - 3 Small Weapons, 3 Small Utility, 1 Auxilary
  • Torpedo Boat - 1 Small Weapon, 1 Guided, 3 Small Utility, 1 Auxilary
  • Picket Ship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Point Defence, 3 Small Utility, 1 Auxilary

Corvettes are the first war ships you get and are the cheapest and fastest and all that. Main thing to note is that they have the highest evasion out of any ship so they have a higher chance of not getting hit by larger weapons as you will learn in the weapons guide, the bigger the weapons the harder it is to hit ships higher evasion. I read that a lot of players end up swarming their enemies with only Corvettes as saying it is the best cheese tactic available. I haven't achieved this yet but I can assume it works due to the exceptional evasion and the likelihood that the enemy is not prepared to handle swarms of Corvettes because they probably built a balanced fleet or a fleet of Battleships. The other benefits of Corvettes are that they are the cheapest ship, cost the least to replace and have the fastest speed for traveling. Otherwise they are generally cannon fodder in most situations.

The best tactic to use with Corvettes are to build an extreme number and set them to a Torpedo Boat Section in order to equip them with Plasma Weapons. However this is a later game tech so this won't be applicable at the beginning. The reason for Plasma Weapons is that they have 200% armor damage and 150% hull damage 25% shields, so you will only need to worry about is downing their shields. Since this not apply in the early game you should set them to Torpedo Boat and equip Missiles as most players will not have the Point Defence tech yet. Keep in mind you will need a weapon to destroy the armor as missiles have shield penetration they do not have any armor damage, so add laser weapons. Until you do see Point Defence systems with the enemy you should stop using missiles as it will be too ineffective and transfer over to close range weapons.

The obvious downside is you will probably lose a lot of Corvettes in the process but they are easily replenished due to how cheap they are. Also if your enemy is aware of what your doing they can change their build to smaller ships, likely Corvettes and Destroyers.

Generally most builds have Corvettes going full shields and depending if you want extra evasion adding in Advanced/Afterburners as you can get +20% Speed +10 Evasion/+10 Speed +5 Evasion. Before the changes to 2.0 there were players who played naked Corvettes which I believe was supposed to increase their Evasion even more to make them even more deadly.

The biggest counter besides the enemy going smaller hulls is getting weapons with the highest tracking which are basically the Autocannons at 75% Tracking and 85% Accuracy. It also helps to add the Auxilary Fire control, +5% Accuracy. Due to the nature of Plasma weapons you might as well skip the armor and add shields. As well as upgrading Sensors is a must. Otherwise you will have to downsize your ships to counter as having Battleships and Cruisers fully equiped with Autocannons can be bad and they are very expensive to lose. For the beginning of game your best bet is set your ships to armor as the enemy are most likely to be using missiles, if not set to full shields.

Destroyers



Destroyer Stats

  • 2 Section, 2 Command point, 120 Mineral Cost, 120 Build time, 800 Hull, 35% Evasion, 120 Speed 

Destroyer Sections

Bow

  • Artillery - 1 Large Weapon, 6 Small Utility
  • Gunship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Medium Weapon, 6 Small Utility
  • Picket Ship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Point Defence, 6 Small Utility

Stern

  • Artillery - 1 Medium, 1 Auxillary
  • Gunship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Auxillary
  • Picket Ship - 2 Point Defence, 1 Auxillary

Destroyers are the second war ship available. After watching a Youtube video about destroyers and found out they are supposed to be the worst ship type in the game, I am just going to go through the theory via the numbers I have presented to me. By definition Destroyers are known as the Corvette destroyers, probably due to it being stronger by being the next step up. It has 25% less evasion and 50 less speed but gains 500HP over its counterpart. Base cost is doubled so for every 2 Corvette equals to one Destroyer. With about double the amount of weaponry it is supposed to be a better deal than the Corvette however the one problem is that it doesn't allow for a guided slot. I believe it did in 1.9 or before but probably due to the balance changes it was removed. The interesting part of the Destroyer is that it has a Large slot however in the early game this wouldn't be necessary until you are fighting Cruisers. So the Destroyers can be devastating to larger ships as a prominent artillery ship.

Depending on who you are going against will depend on how you build your Destroyer. If just going against Missile Corvettes then a Picket ship with Autocannons and Point Defence. You would probably only need 1 Point Defence and make the rest Autocannons as they will get the point in not using missiles anymore. However if you are fighting other Destroyers then medium slots should be added, depending on how much shields and armor they are using you can adjust accordingly. The main feature of the Destroyer is its ability to carry 3 Point Defence, utterly making guided missiles useless and thats how some people see Destroyers as they do not appreciate them for anything else at the beginning in the game. Due to the fact that they are above the Corvette and below Cruiser, they are kind of in that shity spot of not being that useful other than a support ship as Corvettes are meant to be fodder while Cruisers are the heavy duty fighters. Oddly they have the same base speed as Cruiser so they can be relied on as a quick response force but due to Cruisers having the same base speed you may as well use them when you have the tech.

Destroying Destroyers shouldn't be a problem for Corvettes as they have a 35% evasion rate so they are susceptible to long range fire, especially if they have gone full autocannons as the autocannons have a range of 30. It is likely that the Destroyers will have Point Defence so Missles will ineffective at this point.

Cruisers



Alright so the best and my favorite type of ship, DA CRUZAH.

Cruiser Stats

  • 3 Sections, 4 Command point, 300 Mineral Cost, 240 Build time, 1400 Hull, 10% Evasion, 120 Speed 

Cruiser Sections

Bow

  • Artillery - 1 Large Weapon, 3 Medium Utility
  • Broadside - 2 Medium Weapon, 3 Medium Utility
  • Torpedo - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Guided, 3 Medium Utility

Core

  • Artillery - 1 Large, 1 Medium Weapon, 3 Medium Utility
  • Broadside - 3 Medium Weapon, 3 Medium Utility
  • Hangar - 2 Point Defence, 1 Hangar, 3 Medium Utility
  • Torpedo - 2 Small Weapon, 2 Guided, 3 Medium Utility

Stern

  • Broadside - 1 Medium Weapon, 1 Auxilary
  • Gunship - 2 Small Weapon, 1 Auxilary

The Cruiser is the third ship that is available and is usually known as the main fighting ship of fleets. It has 600 more HP than the Destroyer and 25% less evasion. Compared to the Corvette it is a whopping +1100 HP and 50% less evasion. The slight issue is the increased mineral cost which is 300, +180 to Destroyers and +240 to Corvettes. As well build time double of that of the Destroyer and four times that of the Corvette. The doubling of command points requirement means that you will have a smaller number Cruisers in a fleet. Nonetheless it is a formidable ship that is high versitility due to the amount of weapons and sections available which can cater to almost any situation.

Having three section slots makes the Crusiers survival that much better. You will notice that it now has Guided missile slots that allows it to become an serious Torpedo ship if you can make it work. It has a large slot in order to combat other Cruisers and Battlecruisers however the main fighting build for the Cruiser is having all medium slots with weapons of your choice, usually with Plasma as once their shields are down they provide 150% Hull Damage, 200% Armor damage and 25% Shield damage. Combined with a Cruiser fleet with Gauss Cannons you can easily destroy shields for the Plasma Cannons to finish the rest, 150% shield damage and 50% armor damage or one could use Energy Siphons which has 200% shield Damage and 25% Armor damage. However if you do notice that your enemy does not have any Point Defence then load up on Torpedoes as they will wreck any fleet without Point Defence, however that is usually not the typical case.

When facing bigger ships such as Battleships the requirement for Large weapons slots become more apparent as you can take advantage of their lower evasion which allows for more damage. If this is the case then your build can be a Large and all medium consisting of a Kinetic battery, +200 Shield damage +125% hull damage and 50% armor and the rest plasma as the Kinetic Battery will destroy the shields to make way for the plasma.

If your plan is to continue to use guided weapons despite the Point Defence, you may try to do a swarming tactic involving strike craft to fodder for Torpedoes as they have a 80% evasion rating. Each hanger will spawn 8 craft so depending on how many hangers you may be able to make it work. This will work bad against Flak Artillery as they have a tracking rate of 70%.

Countering Cruisers is based on what the the enemy build is. With its significantly lower evasion rate Large weapons will have a devastating impact and one can easily destroy Cruisers from afar. Due to its versatility there is no real way to describe how to counter as there could be any number of customization. Just keep in mind that there will be less Cruisers so they can be swarmed as well they are significantly more expensive. Other than that keep up the knowledge on weapons counters.

Battleships



Alright so the last ship in Vanilla is the Battleship. Eventually I hope to get the DLCs or have access to the Titan at some point but anyways.

Cruiser Stats

  • 3 Sections, 8 Command point, 450 Mineral Cost, 480 Build time, 3000 Hull, 5% Evasion, 100 Speed 

Battleship Sections

Bow

  • Artillery - 2 Large Weapon, 3 Large Utility
  • Broadside - 1 Large 2 Small 1 Medium Weapon, 3 Large Utility
  • Hangar - 1 Medium Weapon, 1 Point Defence, 1 Hangar, 3 Large Utility
  • Spinal Mount - 1 Extra Large, 3 Large Utility

Core

  • Artillery - 3 Large, 3 Large Utility
  • Broadside - 2 Large 2 Medium Weapon, 3 Large Utility
  • Carrier - 2 Small Weapons, 2 Point Defence, 2 Hangar, 3 Large Utility
  • Hangar - 4 Medium Weapons, 1 Hangar, 3 Large Utility

Stern

  • Artillery - 2 Large Weapon, 2 Auxiliary
  • Broadside - 2 Medium Weapon, 2 Auxiliary

The Battleship is the forth and last ship to be built in a Vanilla game. This is obviously the tank of the game with a whopping 3000 HP. The increased command points means that you will have a lot less Battleships in a fleet along with the 5% Evasion they are the easiest to target. They are pretty much not meant to be built under duress as they do take a significant amount of time and resources to build. As well they are the slowest ship so getting to the battle will take them that much longer. Beyond that they significantly more versatile with more weapons load outs and the ability to hold two hanger slots and of course the main feature of the Battleship is the Extra Large slot which allows it to out range any weapon, Arc Emitter/Tachyon Lance at 150 range, and out damage any weapon in terms of raw damage, Giga Cannon at 1750.

Generally in my opinion Battleships are mainly used for the end game crisis due to the sheer power of the end game crisis. Otherwise Battleships are useful within a balanced fleet or used as a "doom" fleet which was coined by having a vast amount of ships in one fleet and was allowed prior to 2.0. If you are just going all out Battleships just keep in mind the time and resources required to build and reinforce should they get destroyed. As well they barely have evasion so do expect them to get targeted easily. With its massive amount of health it will take time for them to get destroyed which will allow them to easily retreat. With the Extra Large slot they can easily do damage to Cruisers who have 10% evasion and probably would be deadly to Destroyers as well. As well the Extra Large slot they can easily be purposed into an artillery ship along with other Large slots to destroy other Battleships and Cruisers. Otherwise they can be setup to be a regular fighting ship with Medium and Large slots as well as hanger slots or set up as a carrier to be combined with Cruiser torpedo ships as Battleships cannot acquire guided slots. Overall number one priority is to tank the ♥♥out of the Battleship, whether it being full shields, armor or crystal hulls; depending on the enemies weapons setups. Regenitive Hull Tissue can be useful if doing hit and run tactics otherwise being a nuker you can add in Reactor boosters or adding in Afterburners to increase its speed to keep up with Cruisers during warp travel. In the end my personal preference for Battleships are for Artillery or support unless fighting the end game Crisis. Battleships definitely need to be supported by other ships due to the obvious counter via Corvettes which will be explained before. Whether you are playing a Destroyer and Battleship, Cruiser and Battleship or a balance of every ship combination, never keep them alone otherwise they will get wrecked by Corvettes if they have sheer numbers. Depending on the enemy setting up shields or armor is depending on the situation as usual.

Battleships are easily countered by other Battleships due to the Extra Large slots. However if you do not have that tech then there are other ways as well. The idea of Battleships has always been the lack of evasion and the best way to fight Battleships have always been the opposite of that which is the Corvette. So long as the the Battleship is alone they can easily be destroyed by a swarms of Corvettes however the obvious problem being getting it alone, otherwise it will be wrecking havoc in the meantime. Should the enemy player not know that Corvettes are coming then they might not be equipped to destroy swarms of Corvettes, especially the Battleships not having any Autocannons on them. This could be used to your advantage as most people use Battleships for its sheer power. In terms of the economics the Battleship should destroy 7.5 Corvettes to get even at base cost however you should be able to build 8 Corvettes to every Battleship they build in terms of time. If facing Battleships alone, the best way to fight them is high evasion so equipping Afterburners is a must. Depending if they have Point Defence or not your best bet is Plasma combined with either Energy Siphons or Autocannons.
Tags:   Stellaris, PC
Written by John Don McGee.