Fleet Nova Pilot Scout Ship
Build Overview and Focus
Last Updated March 2023
With the release of the T6 Nova, I wanted to make an exotic build that would capitalize on the extreme mobility of Pilot ships as well as leverage the Synthetic Good Fortune trait. Ultimately that led to a build focused on PBAOEs that I had previously shunned/ignored in favor of better concepts. The fact is, they work out pretty well when you leverage them properly, but that did also result in a build that intentionally gets close to enemies, drops its shields, and chucks destructible torpedoes, which can be a dangerous combination. That's what Continuity is for, right? This build is great if you like to live (and fly) dangerously while still putting out a ton of damage.
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 flexible bridge officer layouts that don't force Engineering or Tactical seating are highly preferable to maximize science abilities. Scout ships, with their highly-flexible seating, are thus excellent platforms. I thus then chose to leverage the Equinox in particular for the pilot seating specifically for a highly-maneuverable dangerous ship that would have to get in, drop PBAOEs, and get out, as well as the Synthetic Good Fortune trait. The Pilot abilities are not essential and could be easily substituted on other scouts for a less dangerous (and probably more effective) loadout.
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, as the highest-parsing build even though my other toons are Tacs/Scis, 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 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 couple of personal traits for healing/survivability. Thus, all of the console slots are devoted to offensive purposes. Given the results on this ship exceed any other build I've done, I don’t miss the Tac/Sci career powers. If someone wants to expand on this concept using a Tac, be my guest.
Hull Image Refractors console for survivability
Varied bridge crew
The perihelion is the point of a body's orbit where it is the closest to the sun, from "peri" (near) and "helios" (sun) in Greek. Flying close to the heat is how this ship is built, employing six different point-blank area of effect (PBAOE) bridge officer abilities, captain abilities, and a console active to deliver significant damage through the power of exotics. Given that and multiple potential abilities that can self-damage, mastering this ship can definitely lead to flying too close to the sun!
Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 668.90 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.
Elite Captain/T6X upgrade, all fleet unlocks
1 Legendary Starship (Legendary D'Deridex)
4 T6 C-store ships (Shran, Equinox, Somerville, Clarke, or cross-faction equivalents)
1 Fleet ship (Fleet Nova)
2 Lobi ships (Iktomi, Maquis Raider)
2 Event ships (Terran Somerville, Risian Weather Control Vessel)
3 Event items (Temporal Vortex Probe, Kobayashi Maru Transponder, Imperial Rift set)
3 Lockbox consoles, 9 lockbox traits, 4 non-standard doffs, 2 lockbox bridge officer abilities, 1 lockbox boff
Reputation + fleet gear; all Mk XV Epic
0 R&D Promotional or Lockbox ships
February 2023: Replaced Particle Focuser with Plasma Storm. Replaced Hierarchy boff with Watcher. Was 283K ISA/665K ISE/641K HSE
December 2022: Replaced Particle Focuser with Ionic Deflector. Replaced Webspinner with Micro Dark Matter Anomaly. Added more Superior Romulan Operatives. Replaced Entwined Tactical Matrices with Rapid Emitting Armaments. Replaced CSV/FAW with Subspace Vortex and Auxiliary to Structural, moved Very Cold in Space up in rank. Was at 305K ISA / 615K ISE / 392K HSE
April 2022: Uploaded build
This ship has more thematic/flavor in it due to its focus on Pilot and PBAOE abilities but still emphasizes Exotic damage while making some concessions to other build factors like survivability and agility.
Since this is an exotic build, using an ultimate is not really worth it. The Tactical ultimate only benefits weapon damage, which is a very low percentage on this build and the other 2 ults are garbage.
Two points in Hull Restoration/Hull Capacity are low opportunity cost for relatively high survivability gains.
I always take a single point in Hull Plating, but other resistance skills and Damage Control are not worth it. Likewise, 2 points in Impulse Expertise is an appreciable boost to maneuverability. Warp Core Potential and especially Warp Core Efficiency help boost power to subsystems. Efficiency is particularly good at adding power to subsystems I am not allocating much power to.
I take a single point in EPS Power Transfer to recover power levels faster after drains or Full Impulse, but it's low impact on this build.
Since I don't want to use Emergency Power to Auxiliary to reach a max of 130 Aux, I take extra points in Defensive, Aux Subsystem Performance and Warp Core Potential to cap out power. Need Neutronic Eddy Generator to make this work but that's a good choice anyway.
Single points in Shield Restoration/Shield Capacity are low opportunity cost for relatively high survivability gains. Since I need skill points elsewhere, only 1 here for those.
Since Control Expertise and Exotic Particle Generators are primary offensive stats for this build, I want those maxed out and take Control Amplification. Drain Infection and a single point in Drain Expertise add minor benefits
The rest of the science skills are of little value on this build and are completely skippable.
I do use multiple projectiles, so 3 points in Projectile Weapon Training is merited. Energy weapons are a very low contribution; a single point is fine here. I only take 2 points apiece in Hull Pen, Shield Pen, and Weapon Specialization as those only benefit weapons and thus aren't a major damage component. Maxing Weapon Amplification is essential to optimize gains from the Imperial Rift 2-piece set, which scales Exotic CrtD based on that stat.
I like taking 2 points in defense. Defense is a small contribution to avoiding incoming damage but also helps reduce enemy crits when you're not moving. I only take 1 point in accuracy; weapon damage and output is not a focus on this build.
Coordination Protocols, Defense Coordination and Offensive Coordination are good team boosts so I always take those. They also benefit hangar pets on builds that have those. Improved Tactical Readiness is essential for reducing tactical cooldowns along with the rest of the cooldown scheme.
There are two crucial unlocks: battery expertise (improves duration of consumable batteries) and threat control which either increases or decreases threat based on threatening stance.
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.
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, which saves me a console slot. CrtH from the Synthetic Good Fortune starship trait makes up for missing the console. The Advanced Inhibiting Weapon has a guaranteed -10 damage resistance rating effect on any target slower than you--basically all the important ones.
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.
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:
"Clicky" builds are going to lean more on universal consoles with powerful actives, the Cutting Tractor Beam console to boost damage of those, and the Unconventional Systems trait to reduce cooldowns. This also pretty much forces a lower-cooldown "Control" bridge officer power than only having Gravity Well, so you'll see Tractor Beam/Tractor Beam Repulsors as a mule. The downside is that acquiring all those clickies is expensive and some of them are quite finicky. This is the highest-end sci meta, but is very expensive and only works superbly on certain maps.
TacSci builds are going to emphasize torpedo spreads with the Entwined Tactical Matrices build. This'll require 1-2 extra boff powers devoted to Tactical powers, possibly with Kemocite or an attack pattern on top and works well on things like the Fleet Nautilus that have excess Tactical seating. This also leads to a synergistic choice of the Morphogenic 3-piece.
DSD builds emphasize the Deteriorating Secondary Deflector more. While most any high-end sci boat will be running Structural Analysis and DRB, this lean goes beyond that. This means you'll see powers like Tyken's Rift or Charged Particle Burst. Mathematically, this means an emphasis on Cat2 damage or -DRR, because the DSD is super-heavily-loaded with Cat1 already. This kinda works better with the clicky focus because Delphic Tear is a thing. This is the cheapest build to start building effective exotics with.
SIA builds emphasize Spore Infused Anomalies above almost all else. This has some hard decisions against a TacSci lean because that's 2-3 boff powers going to Tac that could be going to more anomalies or more triggers for Spore Infused Anomalies. It also has some conflict with the clicky focus because SIA doesn't scale off of +Exotic or +Bonus Exotic damage consoles like Delphic Tear or Causal Anchor or Temporal Vortex Probe. This build incorporates pieces of all flavors, but emphasizes the DSD, SIA, and Active consoles (clicky) most.
Alternate Exotic types:
Please see my Dranuur for an anomaly-focused ship with Temporal or my Damar for a build that leans harder on TacSci with Intel, losing some console capability. 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 700K DPS. Alternately, please see Tilor's Iktomi for an example of a very clicky-focused ship.
Pilot-Sci is not innately meta but these are pretty much the strongest options for most items
Could drop Hull Image Refractors for another universal console like Plasma Storm.
The first thing to drop would be Plasma Storm (T6X upgrade). Replacing the Genesis Seed with a Nukara Particle Converter is another viable idea.
If the event consoles (Neutronic Eddy Generator, Temporal Vortex Probe) aren't available, swap in the Chronometric Capacitor (Mission Reward; Time and Tide) and the Proton Particle Stabilizer (Dyson Reputation). Alternately, the 8472 Counter-Command Relay is another option (Mission Reward; Surface Tension). This probably means you're going to need Emergency Power to Auxiliary unless you have another source of Aux power to max it out.
Building a PBAOE-focused ship is not peak meta. Photonic Shockwave and Subspace Boom aren't exactly amazing and neither is Charged Particle Burst (though it's hard to quantify its considerable distribution of the Deteriorating Secondary Deflector). Arguably dropping Subspace Boom for a higher damage power like Delayed Overload Cascade or a low-cooldown Pilot Team would be ideal, but Photonic Shockwave at least has utility as a control power.
Fly Her Apart II is also an option, but since this build lacks meaningful hull regeneration I opted against it.
The meta would be to fly a Tactical captain, specifically a Romulan Alien. This would result in swapping Grace Under Fire for A Good Day to Die
Ablative Shell -> Intelligence Agent Attache if using a tactical captain. Engineering captain powers have little effect on exotic damage.
Give Your All -> Pseudo-Submission and hope the placate is enough/tank is good
Alien trait would go to Unconventional Systems to reduce the cooldown on universal consoles
If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom)
Drop Resonating Payload Modification (Elite Captain unlock)
Context Is For Kings -> Operative
Ablative Shell -> Techie
Enlightened -> Astrophysicist
Grace Under Fire -> Innocuous
Unconventional Systems -> Projectile Training
To truly make a meta exotic build with unlimited budget, you'd need the following along with boff/console/trait tweaks above
Ceaseless Momentum -> Universal Designs
This would be a fairly large departure from how this build is structured
If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom)
Drop Ceaseless Momentum (T6X upgrade)
Rapid Emitting Armaments -> Programmable Matter Enhancements
Strike From Shadows -> Onboard Dilithium Recrystallizer
Synthetic Good Fortune -> Improved Command Frequency
Improved Photonic Officer -> Unconventional Tactics
Spore-Infused Anomalies -> Electrified Anomalies or Improved Critical Systems if available, else Carrier Wave Shield Hacking should be cheap.
I considered fitting Cold-hearted on here, but it will be a little slow to stack with only 2 energy weapons that fire in the fore arc. Also, there were plenty of other traits I wanted to fit. I am explicitly using traits and abilities to build up Synthetic Good Fortune so it was essential for this build.
Charged Particle Burst doff: This doff typically hits for 1-2K. That's about what I see with Aftershock Gravity Wells, so it's kind of a toss-up. I chose to use this doff for flavor reasons, but an Aftershock Gravity Well doff is fine too.
These are about as good as it gets. My appreciation goes out to both individuals who gifted me Liberated Borg doffs that I would not have had otherwise.
If low budget
Drop the security officers and pick up a Matter Anti-Matter Specialist that gives CtrlX on use of EPtE. A green or blue should not be too expensive. Also add a Projectile Weapons Officer (reload) and a rare Projectile Weapons officer (CrtH) which shouldn't be too bad.
This ship uses Improved Photonic Officer as its primary cooldown mechanism. There's a few seconds of bleedover for a few powers, but that's hardly a large concern. 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
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:
[Spacebar] is my spambar. It includes Emergency Power to Engines, Structural Analysis, Exotic Particle Floods, Subsystem Targeting, Kobayashi Maru, Photonic Officer, Torpedo Spread, and Auxiliary to Structural
 is my alternate torpedo mode, activating Spread and Gravimetric Photon Torpedoes.
 is my big buff key. It includes EPS Power Transfer, Kobayashi Maru Transponder, Nadion Inversion Engineering Fleet, Intrusive Energy Redirection, and Exotic Particle Floods
 are my basic exotic combo: Gravity Well, Very Cold in Space, Destabilizing Resonance Beam, and Subspace Vortex.
I also bind "Fire all weapons" to right mouse.
Everything else is manually triggered.
Pre-buff the spambar prior to countdown (in PUGs) or prior to launch call (premade). Hit the first group with basic Exotic combo, leading with Chronometric Inversion Field and staggering your cooldowns on anomalies every 2 seconds. On ISE, use EPS Power Transfer -> Genesis Seed, Plasma Storm, and big buffs here as well. 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, Neutronic Eddy Generator, 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.
In particular, the PBAOEs and Tractor Beam need to be used carefully for the appropriate distances:
5 km: Ionic Deflector Inversion, Tractor Beam, Charged Particle Burst, Intrusive Energy Redirection max range
3 km: Subspace Boom, Photonic Shockwave max range
1.5 - 2.5 km <-- THIS IS YOUR SWEET SPOT, STAY HERE!
1 km: Will blow yourself up with destructible torpedoes
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 here. Stay close to your tank and be prepared to drop a Bio-Molecular Shield Generator to help them out if needed. 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!
Numbers from record ISE:
Deteriorating Secondary Deflector: 171.6K
Heavy Plasma Torpedoes: 71.2K (Yes, that's Rapid-Emitting Armaments)
Particle Emission Plasma Torpedo: 60K
Gravimetric Torpedo: 50.7K
Anti-Time Entanglement Singularity: 44.5K
Spore-Infused Anomalies: 37.4K
Gravity Well: 37.1K
Genesis Seed: 32.2K - this was a pretty bad shot this run. Generally hits much harder
Plasma Storm: 27.3K
Very Cold in Space: 23.8K
Concentrate Firepower: 21.2K
Destabilizing Resonance Beam: 20.2K
Temporal Vortex Probe: 15.5K
Dark Matter Torpedo: 13.4K
Omega Kinetic Shearing: 12.3K
Fek'Ihri Torment: 12.3K
Disruptor Dual Beam Bank: 11.6K
Dark Matter Anomaly: 11.5K
Subspace Vortex: 11.1K
Ionic Deflector Inversion: 10.2K
Entropic Rider: 9.8K
Neutronic Eddy Generator: 8.7K
Tractor Beam: 8.6K
Delphic Tear: 8.3K
Subspace Boom: 7K - you almost need to have enemies behind you to use it.
Polaron Turret: 6.1K
Drain Infection: 5.7K
Photonic Shockwave: 1.5K - I did not use this well this run, have seen up to 10K
Charged Particle Burst: 1K
Dyson Proton Weapon: 0.7K
Aftershock Photonic Shockwave doff: 0.7K
Refracting Tetryon Cascade: 0.2K
Nimbus Pirates: 1.6K
Of these items, Very Cold In Space, DRB, Photonic Shockwave, Tractor Beam, Subspace Boom, the torpedoes, Vortex Probe, Delphic Tear, and apparently Spore-Infused Anomalies can flank. This run had another player with Concentrate Firepower III, which added appreciable damage to torpedoes and torpedo-based effects with the tradeoff of potentially killing myself with destructible torpedoes.
There are plenty of ships that can run this setup - if you're willing to drop Subspace Boom. Since the whole theme of this build is to use Pilot+Science with Synthetic Good Fortune and a large number of PBAOE effects, though, that greatly reduces its portability. If you wanted to drop Subspace Boom, you'd need to pick up either another Pilot ability (likely Fly Her Apart) or another Control effect, of which there are few damaging options left in Science that don't conflict with Tractor Beam. The Mirror Crossfield could use Pilot Team or Fly Her Apart instead, but be aware that Temporal powers do not stack Synthetic Good Fortune. Keeping Subpace Boom, the best options are either the Risian Weather Control Vessel or the Vulcan Experimental Scout Ship. The former ship will require you to drop a Science power, likely Subspace Vortex, for a tactical power, which I suppose goes to Kemocite or Attack Pattern Beta. The better option is probably to drop Subspace Boom for Pilot Team or Fly Her Apart if possible and keep Vortex at a higher rank.