Terran Lexington Dreadnought Cruiser
Build Overview and Focus
Last Updated December 2022
This build started out as a joke. Among the players I regularly fly with, everyone either pretty much had a Lexington or was acquiring one. I had the ship courtesy of the 12th anniversary bundle and was growing tired of answering Lexington build questions since many people in the group had already been given the same advice. I looked at the ship's layout and gave it some consideration on how I would do something extremely different. Given its 4 aft weapon slots, Commander Miracle Worker, and Lieutenant Intel, I saw some potential to do some shenanigans with mines. Initially, I was going to spend the 100K dilithium for mines and consoles, have some fun, maybe kill a teammate with Kinetic Magnet, and otherwise just troll my friends with a silly build, admittedly with some thought put into it. To my surprise, the ship did 500K on ISE even with 7 weapons and consoles at Mk XII. Further refinements and upgrades with optimized team comps have led to it doing nearly 700K DPS without many of the usual torpedo boat bag-of-tricks and I was encouraged to post this to demonstrate how you can push the limits of off-meta shenanigans if you know how the game works and how its systems interact. How could I not when it outparses all of my energy builds? I have flown this ship on a variety of Advanced and Elite TFOs, including Storming the Spire, Gravity Kills, Azure Nebula, and Tzenkethi Front, and it does pretty well as long as the enemies aren't too fast. As with many projectile builds, it is somewhat less effective on Advanced due to enemies dying too fast when you have otherwise capable teammates, but it will certainly crush them if given the chance.
Thus, I give you my most thematic, off-meta build yet: a Lexington minelayer
Mine ships need lots of aft weapon slots. I chose to use this ship due to its Commander Miracle Worker seating (for Mixed Armaments Synergy III), secondary Intel seating (Kinetic Magnet). The 3/5 Vorgon ship was considered, but its Commander Engineering seating is basically useless for mines and I'd either have to choose between a LtCommander-ranked dispersal pattern and Recursive Shearing, so I went with the Lexington.
THIS IS A DEDICATED MINELAYER, abandon all thoughts of meta, ye who enter here
Intentional eschewing of torpedo boat staples to emphasize this is a minelayer:
No Subspatial Warheads
No Entwined Tactical Matrices
No Enhanced Bio-Molecular or Neutronic torpedoes
The Gamma Task Force Ordnances 3-piece set will be slotted
No Phased Space Membrane (which doesn't affect mines anyway)
No Command seating / Concentrate Firepower on this ship
Increased survivability for soloing missions on Elite
Varied bridge crew vs all Superior Romulan Operatives/Pirates
In the prime universe, Captain Taggart was a heroic Denobulan officer on a ship of recently-graduated cadets on a training cruise. He was assimilated by the Borg briefly before being rescued by his cadets. In the mirror universe, however, Captain Taggart was a swashbuckling pretender who tricked his friends and lied his way into command only to eventually finding redemption through defeating a renegade Xindi-Reptilian pirate with the clever and unorthodox usage of mines while on a quest across the galaxy . . . or something like that.
"And what you fail to realize is my ship is dragging MINES!"
Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 674.70 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
6 T6 C-store ships (Shran, Bozeman, Cabot, Appalachia, Thozyn, Eagle or cross-faction equivalents)
1 Lockbox ship (Mirror Engle)
1 Legendary ship (Legendary D'Deridex)
2 Lobi items (The Boimler Effect, Delphic Distortion Torpedo)
1 Event device (Kobayashi Maru Transponder), 1 Event weapon (Black Ops mines) 1 Event ship (Jarok Alliance Carrier)
1 Lockbox consoles, 7 lockbox traits including Ceaseless Momentum, 5 non-standard doffs, 1 lockbox bridge officer ability, 1 lockbox boff
Reputation + fleet gear; all Mk XV Epic
Lockbox or Promotional R&D ships
If the cost looks daunting, don't worry! Lower-budget alternatives are provided below.
May 2023: Added a 3rd Mine PWO, swapped Bio-Molecular Photon Mines for Black Ops Mines, swapped Deconstructive Resonance Emitter for Covert Warhead Module. Replaced Multi-Directional Artillery Barrage with External Massive Munitions Hardpoints. Replaced Superior Projectile Training with Pike Maneuver. Was at 263K ISA/693K ISE/489K HSE.
December 2022: Posted build
This ship emphasizes projectile damage through mines and destructible torpedoes, but has aspects of it that touch pretty much all of the others as well. This is very much a themed build, but it still does Elite-capable damage.
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.
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.
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 this character is using Gravity Well and Tractor Beam, having both points in ControlX boosts those as well as the Exotic Particle Generator skill adds value. DrainX helps amp Neutronic and/or Quantum Phase Torpedoes on builds which use them so I take both points on this character
The rest of the science skills are of little value on this build and are completely skippable.
Projectile 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 some energy weapons that deal decent damage, 2 points in Energy 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.
I chose Temporal primary for Atrophied Defenses and the Phasic Artillery passives, as well as the Continuity perk for if/when I blow myself up. Strategist has solid boosts to crit since I have a boff heal.
The Thoron-Infused Mine Launcher is a staple in the current kinetic meta while the Black Ops Mines have an unusual interaction with Resonating Payload Modification where you can get 12 stacks per set of mines launched. I don't take max [Radius] mods even on launchers that support them (Tricobalt) as testing has shown only 1 Radius mod applies. Full write-up on mine mechanics here. The Advanced Chroniton mines are something of a theme choice. You want to diversify mine types as there are limits to how many mines of each type (e.g. Photon) you can have deployed at once. The Lorca's Ambition 3-piece does okay damage but is hardly essential. The Romulan torpedo launcher only stacks Ceaseless Momentum up once per salvo of 3 torpedoes; however each torpedo has a chance to trigger the reload Projectile Weapons Officer duty officer and it will stack Resonating Payload Modification faster.
The argument for not going full torpedoes in the front is #1) I wanted the Lorca's Ambition 3-piece, #2) I wanted the Dual Beam Bank specifically since its 20% bonus damage spooled-up passive applies to your entire build, and #3) the Gamma Omni completes the 3-piece for thematic reasons. I intentionally avoided some of the more powerful meta-friendly torpedoes to prove a point and build around destructibles, so if you want to use Neutronic, or Enhanced Bio-Molecular, dropping the Omni is your best choice. Keep the DBB for the passive and triggering MAS; the DM torp could be dropped if you want all 3 of the other meta torps.
There are no DPS calculators that support mines so I am not making one for this build.
The Gamma set provides decent damage through its 3-piece whereas AMACO only benefits torpedoes. If the Competitive (Prevailing) engines are desired, then I would use the Tilly Shield (Discovery Legends reputation), possibly adding the warp core from that set as well for survivability. Do not skip the Colony deflector.
Mines are not meta. I've suggested some weapon tweaks above to incorporate more meta-friendly concepts but we're out in uncharted / thematic territory here
If the Elite Alliance Fighter Squadrons are unavailable, the Mirror Shuttles that came with the Lexington are really solid also
Tachyon Net Drones can be replaced by the old standby Assimilated Module. The Covert Warhead Module can be replaced by the Ferrofluid Hydraulic Assembly, preferably with the Dual Heavy Cannons over the Omni to provide the 2-piece.
Deconstructive Resonance Emitter or Tricobalt Tear Generator could be replaced by Temporal Disentanglement Suite
Everything else should be fairly accessible
Do you really expect a meta-centric analysis on a minelayer? Abandon such thoughts, there be no meta here.
Be forewarned that Kinetic Magnet makes your mines damage not only you but your allies as well if they are too close. Given how hard this ship amplifies mines, it's likely that such encounters will be fatal. I have applied 500K kinetic in one burst to an ally on Hive Elite. Suffice to say they did not survive. To that end, be careful using Kinetic Magnet near enemies that are close to allies you must protect, such as Deep Space Nine on Counterpoint to avoid fratricide.
If going full glass-cannon with unlimited budget
Ablative Shell -> Terran Targeting Systems
Try and keep the ones at the bottom, but the default traits are not very good for mines at all.
Drop Boimler Effect (Elite Captain)
Ablative Shell -> Redirected Armor Plating
Context Is For Kings -> Operative
Self-Modulating Fire -> Innocuous
Resonating Payload Modification -> Astrophysicist
A Good Day to Die -> Elusive
Intelligence Agent Attache -> Particle Manipulator (super strong on scitorp builds, pretty weak here)
Hot Pursuit -> Accurate
For full glass, drop Strike From Shadows for something expensive like Terran Goodbye
Try and keep the ones at the bottom.
Drop Rapid-Emitting Armaments (T6X)
Promise of Ferocity -> Sniper if available, Improved Command Frequency if not
Superior Area Denial -> Unconventional Tactics
Strike From Shadows -> Onboard Dilithium Recrystallizer
Ceaseless Momentum -> Improved Critical Systems would be okay; so would Programmable Matter Enhancements.
Superior Area Denial is an excellent trait for ships using Fire-at-Will or Scatter Volley that also have a hangar. While it is extremely expensive, captains wishing to use this trait on multiple characters would benefit from saving up and acquiring it via the 12th Anniversary Bundle, which is how I did it.
While the trait Harasser Mines exists and would be thematic, it is really, really bad. I have Heavy Tachyon Mine available but haven't tested it.
The Space Warfare Specialist is an incredibly powerful heal (seen it close to 500 HPS), but only on projectile boats since the individual hits from a projectile are much higher than on an energy or science build. This ship is very short of heals otherwise. You could swap in some offensive duty officers like the Liberated Borg doffs that boost CrtH or CrtD.
Mine cooldown PWOs are stupid expensive to get at Very Rare and there are not great ways to reload mines otherwise.
You can drop the Space Warfare Specialist and Warp Core Engineer for Fabrication Engineers from K-13 that give minor boosts on use of Ensign or Lieutenant skills. The mine cooldown doffs are pretty critical.
This ship uses Photonic Officer and Boimler Effect as its primary cooldown mechanism. As evidenced from the chart above, without Boimler Effect triggering, this build will not have most of its powers on global cooldown. Thankfully, with a high number of short rotation powers (13 over a 15-20 second rotation), there's an 92% chance or higher of at least 1 activation of the trait during a rotation.
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 Fire at Will, Vulnerability Assessment Sweep, Attack Pattern Alpha, Mixed Armaments Synergy, Photonic Officer, Kinetic Amplifiers, Attack Pattern Beta, Go Down Fighting, Dispersal Pattern Beta, and Emergency Power to Engines. The mine launchers are also on this keybind since I was getting misfires with just autofire.
Everything else is manually triggered. I pulled Kemocite off of the autofire so that I don't use it while using Kinetic Magnet; Kemocite was causing a significant number of mines to be destroyed while both were active.
The below image shows how I have my visible trays:
ISA Piloting Tips
I start off pre-buffing my spambar prior to countdown (in PUGs). I start dropping mines right away with the dispersal pattern; Relocate Mines will be used to move them onto the cube. The first group I hit with Grav Well (GW), and a full rotation of torpedoes + mines. I'll use Destabilize Warp Core and Tachyon Net Drones here as well. Next, I hit Evasive Maneuvers and fly to the left side, activating my big buffs. I shoot the nearest generator on the way in and try to line up so the 2 far-side generators are hit by Fire at Will and Multi-Directional Artillery Barrage/Tricobalt Tear Generator. I usually Kinetic Magnet the left transformer and use Tractor Beam as well. Stay 3 km away or you WILL KILL YOURSELF. Leave when the generator dips under 10% on Advanced, 5% on Elite, and use Evasive Maneuvers to fly to the other side. I basically ignore the cube at each transformer in favor of hitting the juicier unshielded targets. Then I turn onto the sphere/probe cloud. To make the most use of mines, you need to be close enough to enemies that they will lock on and pursue (4 km with Hot Pursuit) but not so close that your [Radius] mines or Heavy Plasma Torpedoes kill you. Fly nose-on to targets since you have a DBB and torpedoes; you'll mostly move the mines with Relocate Mines or Kinetic Magnet, trying to alternate which targets you use those on.
I try to save my big active heals for this part because PUG teams don't always fly over to right generator quickly. Use any other console actives like Drone Swarm or Deconstructive Resonance Emitter that weren't used earlier to fill this out. As it's dying, I turn back on the gateway. Activate Quantum Singularity Manipulation and FIRE EVERYTHING! A second Gravity Well should be available here. Of note, closing to 5 km and dropping the Anti-time bubble is quite good with the boost from Quantum Singularity Manipulation. With any luck, the 300 CtrlX Grav Well will also suck in the remaining spheres for tons of damage. Relocate Mines, potentially Kinetic Magnet, and Tractor Beam on the gateway helps bring it down quickly, then it's rinse and repeat on the cube. Ideally, my teammates would all move to flank position and help take down the shields on the flanking face, but if they don't, it's better for me to give up the flank shot and hit hull than it is to flank but hit shields. Tachyon Net Drones should be available for either gateway or Cube again. Tractor Beam, and Relocate Mines again on the Tac Cube when it's available. If another reinforcements calldown is available, use it here.
ISE Piloting Tips
Essentially the same as ISA, with a couple of modifications. All console actives should be used on the Tactical Cube as well as Tractor Beam and with most Tactical captain powers since the initial encounter can make or break the run. Do not fight spheres/probes in the middle when going from left to right. I might slow down to fight the first group of Nanite Spheres a little more, but in a premade with at least one science build, just fire one spread and cross over to the right transformer.
Numbers are from record ISE
Delphic Distortion Torpedo: 133.4K
Blackout Mines: 67.2K
Dark Matter Torpedo: 67K
Thoron-Infused Quantum Mines: 59.7K
Chroniton Mines: 46.9K
Heavy Plasma Torpedoes (Rapid-Emitting Armaments): 41.1K
Tricobalt Mines: 36.7K
Concentrate Firepower: 38.4K (from another player)
Omega Kinetic Shearing: 35.8K
Elite Alliance Fighter Squadron: 31.2K
Tachyon Net Drones: 25.6K
Phaser Wide Angle Dual Heavy Beam Bank: 18.3K
Advanced Inhibiting Omni: 15.3K
Entropic Rider: 11.5K
Digital Compilation Field: 9.9K (from another player)
Tricobalt Tear Generator: 8.3K
Gravity Well I: 7.3K
Multi-Directional Artillery Barrage: 6.4K
Destabilize Warp Core: 5.2K - have seen this much higher, up to 20K. Didn't time it well in this run.
Destruction of Enemy Area Defenses (Eagle console): 3.2K
Nimbus Pirates: 4.4K
Agony Lance: 2.8K
Swarmer Matrix: 2.2K
Distributed Targeting: 1.8K
Tractor Beam: 1.5K
Anti-Time Entanglement Singularity: 1.4K
Since the mines did around 240K and the torps did 200K depending on how you count things you could argue that this isn't really a minelayer, but a knock-off torp boat. To that, I'd respond that #1) its tactical consoles are filled with +Mine consoles, #2) the bridge officer abilities feature a mine pattern and no torpedo enhancements, #3) would you really put an Omni in the front on a 4/4 ship if you were torping? I think not. The torpedoes I have retained offer benefits in the forms of set bonuses and -DRR while also being good weapons. The fact that the Delphic is the highest parsing individual weapon no more makes this ship a "torp boat" than the Quantum Phase Torpedo being the highest-individually parsing weapon on my FAW Arbiter makes that ship a torp boat. The same is true for Enhanced Bio-Molecular on my Surgical Scimitar; it's the highest parsing weapon but that ship is still an energy build. Having allies that feed a ship with even modest torpedo investment a bunch of Concentrate Firepower procs is a substantial DPS increase as long as you have a good torpedo like Delphic, Quantum Phase, Neutronic, Gravimetric, Particle Emission Plasma, or Enhanced Bio-Molecular.
This build is fairly exclusive to the Terran Lexington. For those of you aghast at the idea of minelayers propagating and becoming more popular, this may be welcome news. There is only 1 other ship with at least Lt Miracle Worker seating, 4 aft weapons, and at least Lt Intel seating (for Mixed Armaments Synergy and Kinetic Magnet): the new Excelsior II. The seating is fairly different. To port this build, you'd have to swap Kinetic Magnet to rank III, downgrade MAS to rank II. Also, Destabilize Warp Core would be downgraded to rank II. Lastly, you'll have to drop either Kemocite or Attack Pattern Beta (if the latter, move Kemocite to II) and slot Let It Go III in place.