Gagarin (Fleet Shepard) Miracle Worker Battlecruiser
Build Overview and Focus
Last Updated May 2023
Before the arrival of the Lexington, the Gagarin was one of the top-recommended C-store ship purchases. It is an excellent energy DPS platform and comes with an incredibly versatile trait, so the reasoning was obvious. One lesser appreciated strength of the Gagarin is its ability to run the Exceed Rated Limits energy weapon ability. While most people would likely stick with beams or cannons on it, I've chosen a different route and harnessing ERL to its maximum potential.
In terms of selection, offensive energy weapon builds achieve maximum DPS when using fore-only weapons like Dual Heavy/Dual Cannons or Dual Beam Banks. Since I'm using a mix of cannons, dual beam banks, and beam arrays, having five fore weapons was important for the platform. Having the Miracle Worker specialization, which has two powerful abilities (Narrow Sensor Bands, Mixed Armaments Synergy) for energy builds was very helpful. Lastly, full-spec Miracle Worker ships get an additional console slot, which on energy builds goes to another tactical console. Not only that, but since I wanted to use Exceed Rated Limits, I really needed that Commander Miracle Worker to fully support the firing mode. The Gagarin meets all the above criteria, making it a natural choice for such a build.
This is an Exceed Rated Limits build, it's inherently not-meta
Varied bridge crew vs all Superior Romulan Operatives/Pirates
Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin was the second human to set foot on Earth’s moon. He was a noted pilot and out of the original Apollo 11 crew, had a combat record that included shooting down two enemy aircraft. In keeping with the naming conventions of the Gagarin-class and Fleet Shepard-class battlecruisers that follows Earth’s earliest space pioneers, the U.S.S. Aldrin honors his legacy as a vessel of both exploration, engineering, and defense.
ISA: 242K (PUG)
ISE: 666K (premade)
HSE: 526K (premade)
Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 597.20 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 Ship (Jem'Hadar Vanguard Pilot)
1 Lockbox Ship (Deimos)
5 T6 C-store ships (Arbiter, Shran, Endeavour, Ghemor, Bozeman, or cross-faction equivalents)
1 Fleet ship (Fleet Shepard)
1 Lobi console (Tachyokinetic Converter), 1 Lobi trait (The Boimler Effect)
1 Event ships (Bajoran Interceptor), 1 Event device (Kobayashi Maru Transponder)
1 Lockbox console, 7 lockbox traits, 2 non-standard doffs, 2 lockbox bridge officer abilities, 2 lockbox bridge officers
Reputation + fleet gear; all Mk XV Epic
0 Promotional R&D or Lobi ships
If the cost looks daunting, don't worry! Lower-budget alternatives are provided below.
May 2023: Replaced Wide Angle Heavy Dual Beam Bank with Phaser Quad Cannons. Replaced Quantum Phase Converter with Immolating Phaser Lance. Replaced Quantum Phase Torpedo with Dark Matter Quantum Torpedo. Was at 216K ISA, 504K ISE, 427K HSE
March 2023: Dropped a Technician for a Crit-boosting Projectile Weapons Officer. Added The Boimler Effect over Duelist's Fervor. Replaced two boffs with Watchers. Dropped a copy of A2B for Distributed Targeting. Replaced Assimilated Module with Tachyon Net Drones. Replaced Cold-Hearted with Improved Critical Systems. Replaced Red Matter Capacitor with Targeting Lock Batteries. Changed Controlled Countermeasures to Enhanced Shield Penetration. Was at 209K ISA/487K ISE/342K HSE
December 2022: Parse updates only. Was at 403K ISE/255K HSE
June 2022: Swapped Entwined Tactical Matrices for Vanguard Specialists. Replaced Dual Beam Banks with Prolonged Engagement cannons, Terran Cannons, and Discovery Wide Arc Dual Beam Bank. Replaced Dark Matter Torpedo with Quantum Phase Torpedo. Replaced Trilithium Turret with Gamma Turret. Replaced Enhanced Shield Penetration with Magnified Firepower
March 2022: Swapped 3 fore beam arrays for dual beam banks. Updated description of how [Over] works. Swapped Engineering Team for Deploy Construction Shuttle Wing
November 2021: Moved to Sites. Added Elite captain trait
This is pretty unsurprising for an energy build, but it has increased allocation in theme since Exceed Rated Limits is pretty far off of the meta. There are some supportive concepts here as well as survivability and a single torpedo, but it's mostly about the energy DPS.
All weapon-centric builds benefit from the tactical ultimate, as weapon haste and bonus weapon damage from the Focused Frenzy active are appreciable when used on big targets. Applying the bonus to your team is also appreciated. I do not find the cooldown boost from Frenzied Reactions to be needed on a build with a good cooldown scheme.
Taking two Hull Capacity helps survivability and boosts Tyler's Duality as well. A point in Hull Restoration is useful for helping heals
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.
Improved EPS Power Transfer is essential for recovering power while firing energy weapons.
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.
A single point in Shield Regeneration has surprisingly large impact on shield regeneration based on recent research by Jay
Since this character uses either Overwhelm Emitters, the Bajor Core, or Tetryon weapons on various builds, all of which scale off of Drain Expertise, I take both points in DrainX. Two points in Control Expertise powers the Fragment of AI Trait on builds that use it on this toon.
All energy builds should take maximum points in Long Range Targeting Sensors.
The rest of the science skills are of little value on this build and are completely skippable.
Energy Weapon Training, Hull Penetration, Shield Penetration, Weapon Specialization, and Weapon Amplification are all worthwhile skills to take 3 points in as they boost energy weapon damage directly. Since I do have a torpedo and it does decent damage, 2 points in Projectile Weapon Training is a good choice.
I like taking 2 points apiece in accuracy and defense. Defense is a small contribution to avoiding incoming damage but also helps reduce enemy crits when you're not moving and accuracy is just good all around, if not a stat that you'll need tons of.
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 is a classic energy + 1 torpedo set up. It has absolutely zero investment into exotic damage, so I am not skilled at all into those.
Intel/Strategist is the best-in-slot choice for non-tank Energy builds. Intel provides substantial damage through flanking and Intel Fleet. Strategist likewise adds damage through Logistical Support, Maneuver Warfare, and Show of Force, as well as some damage reduction through Layered Defenses.
This ship is result of a previous exploration that Tilor and I did into the Exceed Rated Limits ability (ERL). For those of you unfamiliar with this ability, it dramatically increases the firing speed of all energy weapons and removes their power drain, but in turn there is a power drain to all systems and some minor hull damage over the duration. Before the introduction of the Vanguard Specialists trait, there was no way to extend ERL's duration, so I cycled it with Fire at Will (FAW) via the Entwined Tactical Matrices trait (ETM). I also used to employ [Over] beams which had a chance of a 6-second version of Beam Overload I that could have filled gaps between ERL and FAW. With the advent (and my acquisition of) Vanguard Specialists, I've now fully moved this build over to a mixed cannon-and-beam loadout that uses just Exceed Rated Limits.
Some builds are just meant to be fun and if you can smash your enemies at the same time, all the better. This is one of those. My goal was to do something different, and that something was Exceed Rated Limits. With adding Vanguard Specialists, the DPS on this build has increased appreciably. Note that recent research has indicated that you should NOT use the Wide Angle Heavy Dual Beam Bank under Exceed Rated Limits or Reroute Reserves to Weapons since those hastes do not affect that weapon. Analysis in TRINITY indicates that it's not working keeping the dual heavy beam bank if it doesn't benefit from the haste, even for the 20% cat2 damage.
On the use of a Torpedo Launcher: Use of a torpedo launcher is attractive to me first and foremost from a flavor perspective. Most "hero" ships in Star Trek used both energy weapons and a torpedo. Previously I was using the Quantum Phase torpedo on this, but after learning that the dual beam bank from the Discovery Legends reputation does not benefit from ERL, I wanted to still keep the Lorca's Ambition 2-piece. Thus, I put the Dark Matter Torpedo back on to retain the two piece and also dropped the Quantum Phase Converter, though that's still a good budget option.
On the Cutting Beam versus a Cannon: I use a Cannon turret in the aft to proc Mixed Armaments Synergy reliably and allow me to pilot nose-at-target at all times. Using a torpedo for MAS requires particularly careful timing and is unreliable. I am not huge fan of the Kinetic Cutting Beam as it does not proc MAS nor does it benefit from firing modes. The cannon turret allows another 2-piece set bonus.
I'm not using the meta drive train (i.e. Competitive Engines, Discovery 2-piece, Colony Deflector). The Bajor Warp Core serves to offset the power drain to all systems caused by Exceed Rated Limits, while the Discovery 2-piece helps offset the hull loss. I round it out with the standard Colony Deflector; the Competitive Engines are not my favorite and are unneeded.
Alternate energy types: If you wanted to do this build with another energy flavor besides Phasers, replace the type-specific Tactical consoles and weapons as needed along with the Ordnance Accelerator console.
There are more expensive consoles out there like Dynamic Power Redistribution Module (especially with a Point Defense Bombardment Warhead for its 2-piece), but this is plenty of damage.
The easiest replacement for D.O.M.I.N.O. would be the M6 computer, available for a small chunk of Dilithium from the T3 Perseus
The Tachyokinetic Computer would be replaced by something cheaper like Approaching Agony
The Immolating Phaser Lance can be substituted for the Quantum Phase Converter
Tactical Team isn't great but given that the alternative was dropping Kemocite down to rank I and picking up something very marginal like Focused Assault I decided just to leave it.
These are pretty much as good as it gets for energy weapons, but if you wanted to go full glass cannon:
Ablative Shell -> Self-Modulating Fire
Give Your All -> Adaptive Offense
Repair Crews -> Pseudo-Submission (defensive) or possibly Into the Breach
If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom)
Drop Terran Targeting Systems (Elite Captain unlock)
Fragment of AI Tech -> Point-Blank Shot
Context Is For Kings -> Redirected Armor Plating
Repair Crews -> Techie
A Good Day to Die -> Operative
Intelligence Agent Attache -> Beam Barrage
This is going to be rough without The Boimler Effect and you'd probably have to return to 2x A2B with 3 Technicians
You'll be hard-pressed to find a better set of starship traits for energy weapons at this price point. A possible upgrade would be replacing Strike From Shadows with something expensive like Universal Designs.
If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom)
Drop Strike From Shadows (T6X upgrade)
Calm Before the Storm -> Unconventional Tactics (Strategist specialization)
Super Charged Weapons -> Improved Predictive Algorithms (Intelligence specialization)
If you don't have access to Vanguard Specialists, Entwined Tactical Matrices is a cheaper alternative.
This build basically won't work without Emergency Weapon Cycle
If you don't have Improved Critical Systems, there are alternatives. At that point, I would choose between Piercing Projectiles or Promise of Ferocity.
These are pretty darn good outsider of pricy Liberated Borg duty officers
If low budget
Energy Weapon Officer -> Exocomp (Phoenix Box) Maintenance Engineer for extra buffs on batteries
Energy Weapon Officer -> Warp Core Engineer (chance of power on Emergency Power ability)
Both are cheap/free but provide far less benefit
This ship uses a half Auxiliary to Battery cooldown scheme with The Boimler Effect. The chart shows that I won't hit minimum cooldown without A2B triggering more often; Boimler should help with that.
Keybinds are essential to how I fly this ship. Since my background is in RTS games and MOBAs, I'm very comfortable with using my left hand to both fly and activate keys but for simplicity's sake have reduced this to a single spambar. If I was more acclimated to a gaming mouse with lots of buttons, I could map activations to that as well.
Spacebar: Emergency Power to Weapons, Kemocite, Torpedo Spread, Vulnerability Assessment Sweep, Tactical Team, Narrow Sensor Bands, Deploy Construction Shuttle Wing, Mixed Armaments Synergy, Emergency Power to Engines, Exceed Rated Limits, Attack Pattern Alpha, DOMINO, Attack Pattern Beta, Energy Amplifier, Go Down Fighting, Phaser Lance, Tactical Initiative, Targeting Lock Batteries, Auxiliary to Battery
 (Heals): Deploy Construction Shuttle Wing, Brace for Impact, Hazard Emitters
I don't do much prebuffing on ISE aside from Kobayashi Maru. Use Strategic Maneuvering instead of Weapon System Efficiency on an Exceed Rated Limits ship. I hit [spacebar] as I fly in. Next, I hit Evasive Manevers and fly to the left side, keeping the firing mode cycling going. Target the transformer with Fire on My Mark and Focused Frenzy and take out the smaller structures as you fly in. As the generator is about to die, turn and engage the ball of Nanite Spheres, aiming to use Refracting Tetryon Cascade and Diversionary Tactics. I will often use a Reinforcements cooldown here as well if I could not activate Fleet Support earlier. Activate Evasive Maneuvers and fly to the right side, rinse and repeat with as with the left. I try to save my big active heals for this part. As it's dying, I turn back on the gateway and FIRE EVERYTHING! Then finish off the tac cube and that should be it. Since I am using intelligence, I want to look for flanking angles on the big targets. These are indicated by a little arrow on the targeted enemy's health graphic. When the arrow points DOWN, you're flanking.
Numbers from record ISE
Dark Matter Torpedo: 95K
Terran Cannons: 83.2K
Quad Cannons: 73.4K
Terran Beam: 67.6K
Prolonged Engagement Cannons: 65K
Kemocite-Laced Weaponry: 54.5K
Omni Beam: 44.4K
Advanced Inhibiting Beam: 43K
Immolating Phaser Lance: 40.5K
Heavy Inhibiting Turret: 35.3K
Distributed Targeting: 13.8K
Nimbus Pirates: 11.2K
Tachyon Net Drones: 11K
Concentrate Firepower: 10.8K (from another player)
Anti-Time Entanglement Singularity: 6.2K
Delta Summons: 4.6K
Refracting Tetryon Cascade: 3.3K
Exceed Rated Limits: 1.9K which is technically dealt to myself but the parser counts it
Weapon crits were close to 90%; flank rate was around 70-80% averaged across weapons. Team composition for the run was two supports and a support tank alongside this ship in a 4-man run.
Virtually any ship with Commander Miracle Worker and decent seating could pull it off. The C-store Da Vinci Miracle Worker Escort or the Operations variants of the Miracle Worker Cruisers/Warbirds are candidates, and of course the Terran Lexington would be a favorable platform, dropping Tactical Team to pick up Override Subsystem Safeties. The Ferengi Quark Marauder at the Lockbox tier is another option as is the California Miracle Worker Utility Cruiser, which otherwise has too much Miracle Worker seating, and out of the Legendary ships, the Sovereign are all choices though the latter would be better off sacrificing A2B for Photonic Officer.