U.S.S. Shepard

Fleet Shepard Miracle Worker Battlecruiser

Build Overview and Focus

Last Updated February 2024

Most players start with some kind of beam-based build when they first begin. The game and shows both lend themselves to that play style, so this post will serve to give a second-tier evolution of such a build to achieve Elite-capable outcomes without having to break the bank.

Whether  you're expanding from of a Starter build or maybe you entered the game willing to invest a bit more resources into your ship, we recognize that there is a wide gap between "unlimited" budget premium-tier builds and the very basic F2P builds. That's why we defined the concept of an Economy build. It's for players who've spent a little money in the game but aren't Scrooge McDucks with their gaming budget. The other goal behind this build is to illustrate that it's possible to do very well on Elite without spending exorbitantly. With this build and proper piloting, you'll have an Elite-capable ship to handle any map in the game. We're going to limit the budget as follows to keep it in that Economy tier:

If this seems a bit spendy, feel free to check out our Starter Beam Overload build for a much cheaper variant. Jay's Arbiter is also at the lower end of the Economy tier. 

Platform Selection

With Commander Engineering / Miracle Worker and a 5/3 weapons layout, the Gagarin is an excellent beam damage platform. I value the 5/3 layout for beams over the hangar and secondary Intel seating that the Lexington provides, and the Gagarin's trait is far more versatile at this price point than the Lexington, which basically only offers a ship. The Gagarin trait can be used for tank, Fire-at-Will, Exotic, and Torpedo builds, and you can even hybridize it with other firing modes like Beam Overload if you can't afford the extender trait. Due to the EC budget on this ship, we'll be doing that here. 

With a Beam Overload build and Mixed Armaments Synergy, we can take a turret and get some benefit, especially since Entwined Tactical Matrices will give us Scatter Volley half the time on it. However, taking two turrets is a double-whammy hit to DPS because #1 turrets have lower base damage than Omnis or even Beam Arrays and #2 we won't have firing modes for it. The Kinetic Cutting Beam is a pretty bad weapon and we're not slotting it. If you want to adapt this on the Lexington, be my guest, but for what I prioritize, the Gagarin has a higher ceiling for Beam Overload.  

Flavor/Theme Choices


Alan Shepard was an American who served in World War II. After the war, he became an aviator and a test pilot. Ultimately, Shepard became an astronaut and was the first American in space. He also landed on the moon, become one of a very select group to do in the early stages of Earth's space exploration. This ship pays homage to his pioneering ways in which he helped reach new frontiers with very limited assets at his disposal.

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 106 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 Focus

This build focus on energy DPS with some nods to survivability. There are some small contributions from projectiles and other supportive concepts as well, but those are tertiary.


Skill Unlocks


This ship is a classic beams + 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.


Starship Weapons


Torpedoes: One, I wanted a torpedo for immersion purposes. Two, the right torpedo, when used with Entwined Tactical Matrices and Supercharged Weapons, is NOT a DPS loss compared to beam arrays. I was already going to slot the Quantum Phase Converter console, so adding the torpedo for its two-piece is an excellent DPS boost. It outparses everything else. I could have slotted the Dark Matter torpedo, but I already had the Quantum Phase gilded and it doesn't quite do the same damage. Note that if you don't like the Disco DBB, but you are okay with the Dark Matter torpedo, I would use the DM torpedo in order to keep the 2-piece bonus. 

Mixing in DBBs: Despite "don't mix weapons" being conventional wisdom for good reason, I've chosen to mix in a couple of DBBs. For one, I wanted the Lorca's Ambition two-piece bonus without the torpedo. For two, specifically on a beam build with a torpedo and 2 Omnis+turret, all of my weapons are hitting my forward arc anyway. 

On Use of Epic Gear: It would be an obnoxious expense to take gear that I previously already had at Mk XV Epic and re-purchase and partially re-upgrade it to Mk XV VR/UR.  You don't need Epic to do well on Elite; Mk XV Very Rare or Ultra Rare is fine. Please don't let that be an impediment to your use of this build. 

Firing Order

Starship Equipment


Drive Train: In terms of healing, the Disco 2-piece regen and Shield Absorptive Frequency Generator go a long way for survivability. You could swap in Competitive Engines if desired or Romulan Engines for more offensive stats. The ship is designed to be self-sufficient but it's not a full tank for Elite runs. 

Starship Consoles

Set Bonuses


No Trilithium Set: The Gamma 2-piece set is slotted over the Trilithium 2-piece set. According to both the Energy Weapon Calculator and several ISA parses, the Gamma set ends up being superior once you adjust the haste for uptime. There are a few reasons for this. 1) The Trilithium-Omni cannot be re-engineered. It also doesn't have the 2% bonus damage from T6 reputations that the Inhibiting beam does. 2) The 10% weapon haste is great but especially on a FAW build, does not proc often enough, whereas the -10 DRR from the Gamma beam is easily proc'd against big targets as long as you're not sitting completely still. Seriously, the haste proc has 2% uptime on a FAW build. 3) Even as Cat1-saturated as I am, 36.25% Cat1 is still quite good against an uptime-adjusted 6% haste. 

Alternate energy types: Obviously all weapons would need to be replaced. Unless switching to Disruptor with the Wide Angle Heavy Dual Beam Bank, replace the Quantum Phase torpedo with Dark Matter Torpedo. If Disruptor, consider the Nausicaan Energy Torpedo. Quantum Phase Converter and Ordnance Accelerator (unless Polaron) are the two consoles to replace. Replace the fleet consoles with the appropriate flavor.

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

If going full DPS with unlimited budget, you’re not using beams. That said, for higher damage at higher cost:

Budget Tweaks:

 If lower budget:

Bridge Officers

Meta Notes


Personal Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

If you have more budget

If you're not a tactical captain, swap A Good Day to Die for EPS Manifold Efficiency (Engineer) and Context Is For Kings (Science). Note that EPS Manifold Efficiency is free while Context is an Exchange purchase. 

Budget Tweaks:

 If low budget, your options get significantly worse. Note that we don't slot Operative because your boffs provide a non-stacking copy of it already.

Starship Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

If you have more budget 

Budget Tweaks:

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

Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

If you have more budget

Budget Tweaks:

 If low budget



This ship manages cooldowns via Photonic Officer: (Photonic Officer II, and a little extra in readiness skills, plus a Krenim).

This allows me to maintain high Aux power (for heals, the Temporal Disentanglement Suite, and general defense) while freeing up duty officers to enhance damage. It's also easy to fly--the only things I need to do are constantly cycle my Tactical and Engineering chains, which I should be doing anyway. I could use Attrition Warfare for engineering abilities, but that's less forgiving unless Threatening Stance is on all the time. Despite having more survivability, this build is not a tank; plus Strategist has a number of damage abilities that would be lost if Threatening Stance was used constantly.

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's basically simplified down to a spambar and a torpedo key

Everything else is manually activated.


I start with basic combos for the first group. In an ISE run, I will use all of my longer cooldown buffs in the first fight, but not ISA. Trigger Evasive Maneuvers to fly over to the left transformer and fire off all major abilities while at 1/4 impulse or stopped within 2 km of the transformer. FAW should take care of most targets. Once 2-3 of the generators are down, target the transformer with Focused Frenzy and Fire On My Mark. I rotate to face inward toward the gate. When the transformer is low health, fly towards the ball of spheres and give them a torpedo spread and cycle or two of firing. Once they start thinning out, Evasive Maneuvers again (reset due to Emergency Power to Engines) and head to the right side. Rinse and repeat, then Evasive Maneuvers to fly between the Tactical Cube and Gateway. Some clever angling will keep the torpedo/DBB firing as well as the aft beams. Make sure to flank the Tactical Cube. Frenzy and Fire On My Mark should be available here again. Lastly, don't forget to summon your Delta Alliance Beacon/Nimbus Pirates/Beacon of Kahless, etc. In an average ISE run, I can get two off: one at left transformer and one at the end. 

The importance of Crit and Flanking cannot be oversold. I saw significant increases in DPS from boosting Crit in doffs and traits. On my record runs, my weapons were parsing between 60-65% with roughly 30% flank percentage. There are players with better gear and piloting skills than I who've achieved much, much higher percentages, but I will say broadly that when in doubt, add crit. Since flanking includes extra crit chance/severity with Intel, you can't go wrong with flanking either! Look for the downward pointing arrow on your target. 

Parse Breakdown

Numbers from record ISE:

Weapon crits were around 70% on average; flank rate around 30% during FAW and 50% on overload averaged across weapons. The team composition for this run was this ship, a secondary DPS using CSV, a tertiary DPS using torpedoes, a support tank, and a support. I ended up tanking the most out of anyone on the team so the ship's survivability is not in question. 


Virtually any ship with Commander Miracle Worker and decent seating could pull it off. That said, I don't like 4/4 weapons layout ships for Beam Overload, as you sacrifice too much DPS to pick up a turret. 1 Turret is fine for Mixed Armaments Synergy. 2 is a detriment; I prefer FAW on 4/4 ships or else don't slot a torpedo and broadside. If we narrow it down to 5/3 ships, it gets more expensive. The Legendary Avenger could run this build seamlessly, though I'd swap DRB for OSS II on that ship.