L.S.S. Pioneer

Lukari Dranuur Scout Ship

Build Overview and Focus

Last Updated February 2024

The goal was this ship was to push my Exotic build capabilities as far as I possibly could. Like most players, I started flying energy builds, then tried my hand at projectiles before trying out EPG and I had a lot of fun with it. That quickly led to me developing this character into EPG-centric play long before I was concerned with what career was 'optimal.' Out of the various styles of EPG build, this one is balanced between the Deteriorating Secondary Deflector, various anomaly powers (using Spore Infused Anomalies), and universal console actives. It has very little consideration to tactical powers or abilities. This ship is the STO BETTER exotic leader, my personal HSE leader, our first Exotic build to exceed 1 million DPS, and our first build to solo ISE.

Platform selection

In terms of ships capable of maximum exotic potential, on top of the standard entry-level requirements like a Commander Science seat and a secondary deflector, having Temporal seating is very important. Furthermore, having flexible bridge officer layouts that doesn't force Engineering or Tactical seating is highly preferable to maximize science and temporal abilities. Scout ships, with their highly-flexible seating, are thus excellent platforms. While the Dranuur isn't full-spec Temporal like its more touted rivals the Verne/Sui'Mor, the fact that it has some Temporal seating puts it above other scout ships. Lastly, the Dranuur is a small fraction of the price of the Verne/Sui'Mor and has some unique strengths of its own--in particular, a better mastery package and innate raider flanking that make it a very capable exotic platform of its own. 

Why an Engineer?

The short version is that I already had the build set up on an Engineer and the Iktomi and Ceaseless Momentum are expensive. Besides that, it’s a strong counterargument to the idea that engineers can’t do DPS/can’t do sci builds effectively. (Note that effective is not the same as optimal; Tac Rom Alien still wins that argument). At first it was kind of a happy accident, now it's here to prove a point: Engineers can still do silly-high DPS with Exotics. It's the same reason why I don't fly the Verne/Sui'Mor, which have a theoretically higher ceiling. 

The Engineer is the weakest for exotic builds by about 5-10% final DPS at this level of performance. Tactical captains using exotic builds benefit from Tactical Fleet, Fire On My Mark, and Attack Pattern Alpha, and Go Down Fighting. Science captains benefit from Scattering Field, Science Fleet, and Sensor Scan as well as the utility of Subnucleonic Beam. In contrast, the Engineer has only one useful offensive ability for an exotic build - EPS Power Transfer. Nadion Inversion and Intrusive Energy Redirection are largely wasted on an exotic build (although the latter procs Drain Infection).  The EPS Manifold Efficiency personal trait does provide some nice utility in allowing me to max Aux power without Emergency Power to Auxiliary. The Engineering captain’s other abilities are largely focused around durability. 

I have tried to make up for the lack of offensive captain powers by making it a glass cannon, with only two weak bridge officer heals, plus the captain powers and a personal trait for healing/survivability. Thus, all of the console slots are devoted to offensive purposes. Given the results on this ship are over 1M DPS, I don’t miss the Tac/Sci career powers. If someone wants to expand on this concept using a Tac, be my guest.

Flavor/Theme Choices


Pioneers are settlers seeking new horizons and new opportunities in new lands. My headcanon is also that Pioneer is a homograph in Lukari, meaning “active, energized, invigorated.”

Both meanings are well-suited for a Lukari Scout Ship, as the Lukari settle their new colony on Dranuur with their re-united Kentari brethren and as they learn from their Federation allies how to defend themselves with Science! The name also has special affinity with her captain, a Federation Temporal Agent who served on a Pioneer-class vessel at the start of her career.

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 729 USD to replicate. That is far more than what I spent on STO to make it. If the cost looks daunting, don't worry! Lower-budget alternatives are provided below.

Change History

Build Breakdown

There are small concessions to other build spaces, but this ship is dialed in tightly on Exotic DPS. The fact that it has a few energy weapons and torpedoes is ancillary to the exotic abilities that comprise the bulk of its damage output.


Skill Unlocks



Starship Weapons


This ship’s primary role is Exotic DPS using bridge officer powers, exotic torpedoes, and other non-weapon effects. The primary offensive statistics for this ship are the Exotic Particle Generators skill (EPG), Critical Chance (CrtH), Critical Severity (CrtD), and Auxiliary power (Aux), +Exotic, Damage Resistance Reduction (DRR), and +Bonus Exotic Damage. Secondary offensive statistics are Control Expertise (CtrlX) and +Projectile Damage as well as Weapon Amplification, since that skill boosts Exotic Critical Severity through use of the Imperial Rift 2-piece. 

The Dyson Proton Weapon is purely there for set bonuses and contributes very little meaningful damage. The Black Ops mines are selected because 1) they benefit from the 2-piece Dyson set, and 2) they stack Resonating Payload Modification at a very high rate, up to 12 stacks per set of mines for a substantial debuff. Aside from the Gravimetric and Particle Emission Plasma Torpedoes, weapons on a science ship are there to complete set bonuses, so why not have some fun with it? I have 3 torpedo launchers, a dual beam bank, a beam array (sort of), and a mine launcher. A little bit of everything!

Now to the serious answer. For set bonuses, the Protonic Arsenal 2-piece brings excellent crit, so that’s a no-brainer to slot the Proton Weapon. Same with the Dark Matter Torpedo combined with its dual beam bank. The Dual Beam Bank's "spooled up" passive applies to ALL damage, not just its own, so it effectively adds 20% Cat2 damage to the build.  Lastly, the mine launcher does decent damage, but more importantly will stack Resonating Payload Modification higher than 5 stacks and in this case even up to 12 per set of mines for these specific mines as mines count separately from your torpedoes for the purposes of stacking and the DOT from blade mines racks it up to 5 stacks per mine. They also trigger a number of DOT-based effects, so it does pretty well for an afterthought weapon.

TRINITY analysis indicates that [Dmg] is the optimal mod for this ship for all weapons but either [Dmg] or [CrtD] are very close in performance. 

Starship Equipment


Drive Train: The Imperial Rift 2-piece is best-in-slot for exotic builds. The 4-piece is competitive, but not quite as good IMO unless you can guarantee a good use of the active. If it's not available, use the Temporal 2-piece instead. I prefer using the Regenerative Crystal Shield to automatically distribute shields. If you're fond of the Prevailing (Competitive) Engines, drop the shield for the Imperial Rift/Temporal one. 

Starship Consoles

Set Bonuses


Exotic Subflavors: In my opinion, there are 4 main flavors in the Exotic space right now. All of them are pretty similar overall and all can be combined to a certain extent, but there are subtle differences:

Alternate exotic types: 

Please see my Damar for a TacSci-focused ship with Intel or my Equinox for a build that blends consoles and PBAOEs along with the DSD. Repeated testing has shown that the DSD/SIA focus is stronger but if you like Tac-Sci, both are very viable up to and above 500K DPS. Alternately, please see Tilor's Iktomi for an example of a very clicky-focused ship.

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Budget Tweaks:

Bridge Officers



Personal Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Budget Tweaks:

 If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom) 

Starship Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

To truly make a meta exotic build with unlimited budget, you'd need the following along with boff/console/trait tweaks above

Budget Tweaks:

 If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom) 

This build is planned around By the Book, but you could substitute it for Improved Gravity Well


Strike From Shadows is nice for the placate/universal damage. The Ruin of Our Enemies is an option but can be very fickle to stack up outside of specific maps and team compositions. "By the Book" tends to exist outside the main meta, but I've had lots of success with it as long as you can stack 7 anomalies. I lose a little Gravity Well uptime compared to Improved Gravity Well but everything else (Very Cold in Space, Tyken's Rift, Subspace Vortex, Chronometric Inversion Field, Timeline Collapse), all stay active for longer. Strictly speaking, Timeline Collapse doesn't benefit from the extension, but the others gain significant damage from having their duration extended. 

Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers


Aftershock Tyken's Rift: Repeated testing has shown that this is no worse than the aftershock Gravity Well AND it procs the deteriorating secondary deflector as well as Spore-Infused Anomalies. I've gotten 3K out of them on other runs which is more than aftershock Gravity Wells. With By the Book, my Gravity Well duration is decent anyway.

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Budget Tweaks:

 If low budget



This ship uses Improved Photonic Officer as its primary cooldown mechanism. Don't need Boimler Effect or anything else. If Improved Photonic Officer is too expensive, consider picking up Torpedo Astrometric Synergy and the Chrono Capacitor Array trait, dropping Omega Kinetic Shearing and Particle Generator Amplifier

Link to CDR sheet for this build

Ship Stats


With as many abilities and synergizing concepts as this ship employs, an efficient control scheme is essential. There are many ways to set up such a ship, so I don't pretend to assume that my way is superior. It works for me, especially with my background in RTS and MOBA games, where pushing many different keys quickly is essential:

I also bind "Fire all weapons" to right mouse.

Everything else is manually triggered. Note that I do not keybind my exotic anomalies, consoles, or DRB. By The Book can only proc every 2 seconds, so instead I am manually activating these about every 2 seconds apart using my top row (see below). I also put the Exotic Particle Floods and EPS Power Transfer on the same tray to combo those together. I do order the anomalies in a specific order, working generally from left to right to maximize uptime and By the Book activations. 



Pre-buff the spambar prior to countdown (in PUGs) or prior to launch call (premade). On ISA, hit the first group with your exotic boff abilities, leading with Chronometric Inversion Field and staggering your cooldowns on anomalies every 2 seconds. You'll also want to use Genesis Seed and Dragonsblood Flame Reactor here. On ISE, use EPS Power Transfer -> Genesis Seed, Plasma Storm, and big buffs here as well, then use your boff abilities. This allows Unconventional Systems to start cooling them down. On ISA you probably won't have time to use all your boff abilities here. Next, hit Evasive Maneuvers and fly to the left side, using any remaining big buffs. Target the generator with Tyken's Rift and whatever other exotic powers are available along with another torpedo spread and the rest of the consoles: Dark Matter Anomaly, Delphic Tear along with Relocate Mines. Save GW/SSV. As the generator is about to die, turn and engage the ball of Nanite Spheres with a second Grav Well on a longer run. On a shorter run, simply bypass the spheres and fly to the right side. Can use a Reinforcements cooldown here as well. In general, Delta > Nimbus.

Activate Evasive Maneuvers and Deuterium and fly to the right side, rinse and repeat with as with the left. Save big active heals for this part in iSA because PUG teams don't always fly over to right generator quickly. As it's dying, turn back on the gateway. Evasive Maneuvers might be available here as well to go even faster. Activate Quantum Singularity Manipulation and FIRE EVERYTHING! Close to 5 km and drop the Anti-time bubble and your third GW (second on a fast run) with the boost from Quantum Singularity Manipulation. Another Relocate Mines should be used here to pull in the mines. With any luck, the 400+ CtrlX Grav Well will also suck in the remaining spheres. All the universal console clickies should be available here as well. Finish off the tac cube and that should be it. On a slower run, I can often get a third round of big buffs and console actives on the gate or tac cube if I use them again on right transformer.


Don't prebuff too much. Drop your opening salvo with every long cooldown buff on one of the first Tac Cubes with the goal being to pull the spheres in as well. Use the 5 minute powers, all consoles, and abilities here. Stay close to your tank and be prepared to drop a Bio-Molecular Shield Generator to help them out if needed. Remember to stagger your anomalies every 2 seconds to maximize By the Book. Taking down the individual tac cubes farther back in the formation might take a little longer. Another trick to be careful of is to avoid triggering both DRB and Structural Analysis at the same time/target since the Deteriorating Secondary Deflector doesn't stack. The -DRR is good and does stack between them, but the DSD is so powerful that we want to spread that debuff out  further. Once the queen's guards are down move to the large dreadnoughts, focusing fire with your team. Console actives are likely coming back at this time so use as available. Chronometric Inversion Field is best saved in case one of the pickles activates Feedback Pulse; ditto with the queen though a premade team should have a science captain to cleanse it. Since your damage doesn't really fall off with distance, staying more than 6 km from the queen will prevent deaths to Aceton Field. Make sure you're using Relocate Mines on large, healthy targets as it's available as well as your fleet summons and batteries!

Parse Breakdown

Numbers from record ISE 

Team composition for the run was two supports and a support tank alongside this ship in a 4-man run. Of these items, Very Cold In Space, Timeline Collapse, DRB, the torpedoes, Vortex Probe, Delphic Tear, Dragonsblood Flame Reactor, the Phaser Lance and apparently Spore-Infused Anomalies can flank. Crits were very high, ranging from mid-50s for the torpedo-based effects to around 100% for exotics like the Secondary Deflector and Gravity Well. This run had other players with Concentrate Firepower III, which added appreciable damage to torpedoes and torpedo-based effects. 


Since this ship requires a T5 Colony to acquire, it can be difficult to buy despite technically being cheap/free with T6 reputations providing Fleet Ship Modules. My personal recommendation is either asking in the NoP Public Service channel or making a reddit post on /r/sto asking for a fleet invite, which is how I got mine. Note that you will need to be IN the fleet and not just on the map to buy the ship. 

With the high number of exotic science and temporal abilities on this ship, only a few other ships can easily replicate this setup. The first that comes to mind is the Verne and its cross-faction equivalents, widely-regarded as the strongest science vessel in the game but also expensive. Potentially cheaper would be the Vulcan T'Pau Scout Ship, though it would have to drop the two Temporal powers and Exotic Modulation for Ionic Turbulence+Delayed Overload Cascade, and another generic damage-boosting starship trait like Terran Goodbye or The Ruin of Our Enemies. Lastly, the Equinox Pilot Scout Ship would work for this as well, dropping the two Temporal powers and Exotic Modulation, along with Into the Breach. Instead, you'll want to run a Pilot Team I and a Tractor Beam I, boosting Subspace Vortex and Tyken's Rift instead, and fit the Fresh From R&R personal trait alongside the Equinox's Synthetic Good Fortune trait. Those choices take advantage of the Equinox's abilities. You could also then drop Strike From Shadows to fit Cold-Hearted as long as you had some energy weapons for a stronger offensive boost.