Styx Terran Dreadnought Cruiser
Build Overview and Focus
Last Updated December 2022
One of the players that I've had the pleasure of playing with has a truly excellent tank which has lofted many of our builds to new heights. This particular tank has tremendous durability and intentionally lowered damage, trading those for additional supportive capabilities. This build is . . . not that tank. That said, it is built along many of those principles, where the tank has just enough damage to hold threat and be Elite-capable at 200K DPS, enough survivability to handle Hive Onslaught Elite, but every other area of build space is given over to team-assisting boosts and enemy debuffs to help allies reach new heights. This is a support tank in every sense of the term. To truly help up others up to those heights, it is also one of my most expensive ships because of all the various supportive aspects but it's been gratifying to see many reach new records (including a 1M DPS torpedo run on ISE) with the aid of this tank.
Full Command-spec cruisers are the most popular type of vessel for tanking at present for three reasons. First, they have Suppression Barrage III, which solves most survivability problems for the tank and thus the team as well. Second, Inspiration abilities provide additional team support capability. Lastly, the tank can also likely provide another instance of Concentrate Firepower to help amplify teammates' projectiles. The Styx meets all of those criteria and has a few more things going for it. It has a hangar with exclusive pets that have Attack Pattern Beta III, which is great as long as you're not concerned about too many entities being on the map or the pets taking Concentrate Firepower procs. Also, it has a unique console that reduces enemy resists and Intel secondary seating, which can provide more resistance debuffing through Ionic Turbulence.
Engineering career is less supportive but has more innate durability
Varied bridge crew vs all Superior Romulan Operatives/Pirates
The Phlegethon is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld. It is characterized as being a river of fire. This ship, with its dark Terran lineage and Ba'ul Antiproton weapons that spread entropic effects, kemocite radiation, and Fek'Ihri fire around the mouth, evokes similar imagery as it winds its way through space, leaving a dazzling trail of fire and fury in its wake.
ISA: 176K / 77% atks in
ISE: 219K / 90% atks in
HSE: 201K / 90% atks in
Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 713.8 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
2 Lockbox ships (Styx, Mirror Engle)
2 Lobi items (Linked Sentry console and Omni), 1 Lobi trait (Boimler Effect)
6 T6 C-store ships (Arbiter, Narendra, Bozeman, Ghemor, Gagarin, Ra'nodaire or cross-faction equivalents)
1 Event ship (Breen Plesh Tral)
2 Lockbox consoles, 4 lockbox traits, 3 lockbox doffs
Reputation + fleet gear; all Mk XV Epic
0 R&D Promotional, Legendary, or Lobi ships
December 2022: Posted build
This ship balances survivability, damage output, and supportive concepts as a supportive tank. It's a little themed in that engineers aren't meta and has a few investments into hangars, agility, and projectiles.
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.
Since I use this skill tree for both tanks and DPS build, taking two points in Hull Capacity helps survivability. Increased Hull Capacity boosts Tyler's Duality as well. I could have taken a second point in Hull Restoration but chose to take a point in Shield Restoration instead for the second science unlock.
I always take a single point in Hull Plating, but other resistance skills and Damage Control are not worth it.
2 points in Impulse Expertise are 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 point in Shield Restoration is low opportunity cost for relatively high survivability gains. Since I need skill points elsewhere, only 1 here
A single point in Shield Regeneration has surprisingly large impact on shield regeneration based on recent research by Jay
Since this character has Nadion Inversion, which scales off of Drain Expertise, I take both points in DrainX. Two points in Control Expertise powers the Fragment of AI Trait.
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 use torpedoes 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 energy weapons + 1 torpedo set up. It has absolutely zero investment into exotic damage, so I am not skilled at all into those.
Miracle Worker is the premiere tanking spec and I highly recommend it for every tank. If you don't feel you need the added defensive stats and healing boosts (or the taunt) from Strategist, then consider running Temporal secondary. Entropic Rider is extremely potent for Ba'ul weapons due to the increased number of weapon rolls due to the bounces, and Atrophied Defenses helps your team as well. True, the EPG is basically wasted but that's not a major concern.
While Engineering captains can't output the raw DPS of a Tactical Captain, their abilities lend themselves quite well to energy DPS and survivability, especially with doubled Miraculous Repairs. Since I'm tanking on this toon, it makes it rather easy mode. Tacticals have more DPS, Engineers survive longer and thus free up other space in the build for supportive items. You can also cast EPS Power Transfer on your allies, which makes the energy players on your team very happy.
Ba'ul Beams: These are the premiere tanking weapons due to how they can hit multiple targets and thus expand your threat and the number of targets you spread debuffs to. If I was really spendy, I'd have picked up a lockbox Ba'ul Omni as well. For a cheaper build, regular APs will still work with the Linked Sentry 2-piece.
Resonant Torp: Okay, this one will raise some eyebrows. This torp is garbage. It does mediocre damage BUT it does come with a chance to debuff enemy resistance and if I don't want to spring for the Delphic torpedo, is one of the better debuff-oriented torps. The fact that it does mediocre damage is a feature rather than a bug on a supportive tank. You want to help your allies deal damage rather than do it yourself.
Everything here is basically optimal for tanking. The Discovery 3-piece adds substantial regen as well as Mycelial Lightning, which is a valuable damage source.
Gamma Deflector: The point of this is the -15 kinetic DRR to targets struck by my projectiles. Pretty good, but does force the slotting of a torpedo to be useful.
On Fighters: The Elite Terran Empire Frigates that come with the Styx bring another Suppression Barrage and Attack Pattern Beta III, which with FAW gets spread around. I actually keep a separate loadout with the only change being swapping to Alliance Fighter Squadrons because they don't have torpedoes and buff the team through casting Focused Assault (albeit infrequently). The effect of the Beta III is stronger, but those fighters have torpedoes, which means they can take Concentrate Firepower procs from allies. If you can't get Elite Alliance Fighter Squadrons, Elite Class C Shuttles unlocked via C-store ships like the Earhart or Buran work just fine, as do the Mirror Shuttles from the Lexington.
Shout-out to Prototype Ablative Jevonite hardpoints which, while kind of difficult to get, give +100 Hull Capacity for 15 minutes and can be used from inventory, meaning that they don't take up a device slot. Definitely useful on maps like Hive!
If you're so inclined, you could swap out the Styx's console for something a little more potent like a Hyper-Focusing Trinary Arrays or Cascading Subatomic Disruptions.
Alternate Energy types: Ba'ul AP beams are the king of tanking, would not recommend swapping away from it. It's possible and my Presidio and Chronos use other flavors (Disruptor and Plasma), but Ba'ul is the best for good reason. If you're using another flavor, swap your weapons, colony consoles, and the Linked Sentry out. If you had the budget for Pulse Phasers, that would be an intriguing idea as well, trading reduced number of targets hit for a proc that debuffs enemies.
Other than swapping out some consoles, this is pretty well meta-friendly. If your DPSers are obsessed with being the only torpedo users on the map, I have to say I can't sympathize because they can't even use all the Concentrate Firepower procs out there and it's being wasteful at that point. I say that as someone who enjoys torping and has done very well with it: get over it, folks, you don't have to be the only torpedo user on the map.
If low budget, the following changes will help reduce cost
High Energy Communications Network -> Interphasic Instability (Phoenix Box)
Ba'ul Beams for regular AP beams
You do really need Linked Sentry 2-piece to maximize tanking potential with antiproton beams, and I can't say that looking at a Styx build for low-budget options is a great starting point.
These are pretty well optimal. I can't see the argument for replacing anything here, and I don't think the ship lends itself well to Unconventional Systems setups in its intended role. You could swap out Hazard Emitters for Tractor Beam if you wanted to try.
These traits are pretty close to meta. Feel the Weight of our Presence was chosen for its higher reliability over Into the Breach, which has a shorter duration and requires YOU to land the killing blow. Fluidic Cocoon would probably be better than Duelist's Fervor but only by a small amount. Repair Crews will give more survivability than Redirected Armor Plating but honestly I haven't missed it. You could fit Resonating Payload Modification over Fragment of AI Tech if you really wanted to shell out.
If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom)
Drop Fragment of AI Tech (Elite Captain unlock)
Context Is For Kings -> Operative
Fragment of AI Tech -> Superior Beam Training
Feel the Weight of Our Presence -> Techie
Intelligence Agent Attache -> Beam Barrage
Downgrading all the survivability tools will limit your ability to run Elite maps
Redirecting Arrays leaves a far bigger gap in uptime for FAW if timed properly, so I prefer not to use it.
With current tanking tools like colony consoles, Miracle Worker, and History Will Remember, Honored Dead is no longer necessary, even for Hive.
Dropping Calm Before the Storm for something more supportive like Unified Engineering is possible, but it's a pretty small benefit. Cold-hearted and SAD are the two big ones
If low budget, (try and keep the ones at the bottom)
Drop Superior Area Denial (T6X upgrade)
Calm Before the Storm -> Unconventional Tactics (Strategist specialization)
Cold-Hearted > Improved Going the Extra Mile (Miracle Worker specialization)
This build basically won't work without Emergency Weapon Cycle, Entwined Tactical Matrices, and History Will Remember. The whole point of this build is to help debuff enemies while tanking, so Cold-Hearted is pretty crucial.
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.
The buff-stripping doff seems pretty marginal.
These doffs are fairly well optimal for an A2B build but if your budget was truly unlimited
Replacing the EWO with Agent Nerul, who heals on use of Attack Pattern Beta, would be a substantial boost to survivability
If low budget
Drop the EWO for another Technician
8 of 47 isn't super expensive usually but you could fill it in with a K-13 doff that boosts stats on use of ensign powers.
This ship uses Auxiliary to Battery with 2 Technicians 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 10-15 second rotation), there's an 91% 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:
Tactical chain: (Spacebar) Fire at Will, Kemocite, Attack Pattern Beta, Emergency Power to Engines, Kobayashi Maru, Energy Amplifiers, Suppression Barrage, Rapid Fire, and Emergency Power to Weapons. Activate this roughly every 10 seconds or whenever Fire At Will is available.
Torpedo combo: (1 key) Torpedo Spread I; Fire Torpedo, Launch Frigates, Red Matter Capacitor. Manual keybind to activate torpedoes. I generally leave the torpedo auto-firing, but sometimes STO is slow to fire the torpedo even when it's off cooldown and the spread is armed. I fire this every 10 seconds after FAW is triggered to get my FAW from Entwined Tactical Matrices.
Long cooldown buff combo: (2 key) Nadion Inversion, Intrusive Energy Redirection, EPS Power Transfer, and Engineering Fleet. Activate these abilities together to generate massive spike damage. In a standard left-to-right Infected: Conduit Advanced (ISA) run, I will activate these at the left generator, and then most of them are up again by the right Gateway fight. In ISE, I start with pretty much all of them straight away.
Heals: (4 key) Rotate Shield Frequencies, Brace for Impact, Subspace Field Modulator, Hazard Emitters I, Improved Going the Extra Mile. I don't map ALL of my heals here, preferring to activate Reiterative Structural Capacitor, Bio-Molecular Shield Generator, Sensor Interference Platform and Miraculous Repairs manually.
Tanking is generally a selfless job unless you really glory in seeing how much damage you can absorb. Your job as a tank is to 1) pull threat and 2) survive. If you can also debuff enemies and amplify your team's damage, that's nice to have. In order to do #1, you need to do three things:
You must deal at least 1/3rd of the highest DPS player's DPS. This a general guideline, not a rule, and is much-lessened if using History Will Remember and Ba'ul beams. All the +threat items in the game don't matter if you don't maintain sufficient damage to hold aggro. I've personally started to see breakdowns for 500K players where they start taking some aggro when I'm around 150K so that's my rule of thumb.
You must deal that damage in an AOE all the time. Simply put, Beam Overload or other single-target abilities are not going to cut it. You need to damage as many enemies as possible at once. AOE attacks like Fire at Will, Torpedo Spread, and various AOE boff powers are your friend and you need to have them up a lot. Personally, I think Entwined Tactical Matrices is a far superior method of extending Fire at Will than Redirecting Arrays.
You must have at least some method of +Threat on your ship. The Attract Fire cruiser command is nice to have if for no other reason than for resists. Much more important is using Threatening Stance and the Threat Control skill unlock. You don't need +Threat doffs, and you don't need the Threat-Enhancing Plasma consoles from the Embassy. Just Threatening Stance and Threat Control is enough.
You must be close to your enemies. Hug the biggest, baddest guy and try not to completely eat his warp core breach--you might need your heals for other damage. Threat tends to be pulled to the closest target so be prepared to scrape paint.
In order to do #2 (survive), you need the following:
Continuous heals for sustained damage. These could be any number of things: colony tactical consoles, common boff abilities (Hazard Emitters, Brace for Impact), or traits (Energy Refrequencer). I use boff abilities, colony tacs console, and some personal traits along with the Stamets-Tilly 3-piece. Suppression Barrage falls in this category as well as a continuous debuff.
Burst heals to handle times when there's lots of incoming fire. This includes long-cooldown effects like Reiterative Structural Capacitor, as well as the Bio-Molecular Shield Generator. Other tools that I use include the Protomatter Field Projector, but Engineering Captains can also use Miraculous Repairs. You'll know when to use these--it'll be when the incoming fire starts to overwhelm you. On ISE, that's typically when you're fighting Tactical Cubes, Gateways, and/or 5+ spheres.
You're aiming to pull 75-90% of the incoming attacks for the entire team, so be prepared. On a fast ISE run, that could mean less than 3 million damage absorbed. On a slower run, you're looking at closer to 7-8M. This is by no means the most optimized tank build in the game, but it certainly does the job for DPS channel or fleet runs, especially in ISE. I’m very well pleased with this build and feel it fits nicely in the build space of premium supportive tank that splits well between damage, survivability, and supportive effects. I've used it to tank while boosting several other players to new records thanks to Inspiration abilities and extra debuffs.
ISE Piloting Tips
Before the map starts, I will launch Frigates, set Threatening Stance, and set the Attract Fire cruiser command. Use Full Impulse when the map starts to hug the center cube. I prebuff Emergency Power to Weapons at 20 seconds prior to countdown and Engines at 5 to avoid misfires with resetting Evasive Maneuvers.
I start with flying very close to the first 3 cubes. I will use all of my longer cooldown buffs in the first fight as well as the Styx console and Tachyon Net Drones. 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. I use the High Energy Communication Network here. 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) along with Deuterium and head to the right side. Rinse and repeat, then Evasive Maneuvers to fly between the Tactical Cube and Gateway. This is also the single hardest part to stay alive at, so save big heals like Reiterative Structural Capacitor or the Bio-Molecular Shield Generator for here. Try to avoid using big heals at the right transformer if at all possible. Seriously, this part can be rough depending on how fast your team wipes the Nanite Spheres. Focused Frenzy and Fire On My Mark should be available here again. Lastly, don't forget to summon your Delta Alliance Beacon/Nimbus Pirates, etc. unless you're supporting a very high DPS team/player (750+ K, in which case leave the DPS on the table for them). In a more average ISE run, I can get two off: one at left transformer and one at the end.
HSE (Hive Space Elite)
I’ve successfully flown HSE on this build without dying and while you can't always save your teammates dying from Warp Core Breaches or Feedback Pulse, it's hard to knock this build for it. I'm not the best HSE pilot but the build is fine. This ship is less survivable than the Stormbreaker so if you're looking to dive right into the middle, it might be kinda rough. The hardest part is the first fight. Preload Ablative Hazard Shielding as you fly in. I stagger my big heals in 15-20 second intervals to give the team time to clean up. Once Ablative Hazard Shielding expires, I use Brace for Impact, Reiterative Structural Capacitor, Give Her All She’s Got, and Subspace Field Modulator. As those are winding down, use the Bio-Molecular Shield Generator. If the health bar is still going down after that, that's what Miraculous Repairs is for. Use the Sensor Interference Platform as a last resort. Hopefully by that point, the spheres and first few tactical cubes are cleared out after the first full minute of combat. Push into the formation gradually at first and then as only a few targets are left, attack more aggressively. Suppression Barrage is very helpful on this map.
When fighting the queen, I find it better to stay farther away from her as Aceton Field is no joke and neither are her confuses. Hopefully your teammates will use Subnucleonic Beam to clear out the queen’s Feedback Pulse, but that’s not really a problem as long as your big heals are back off of cooldown.
I’ve found that if you can solo HSA without dying and 100K DPS, you’re probably in good shape for HSE. It’s a good way to practice getting a feel for the map, placement/positioning, and knowing when you can ride your regen/HP and when you need to pop a big heal to keep from dying.
Numbers from record ISE
Ba'ul Beams FAW: 69K
Entropic Rider: 27.7K
Mycelial Lightning: 16.6K
Elite Terran Empire Frigates: 15.9K
Ba'ul Beams (regular): 14.3K
Antiproton Omni FAW: 14.3K
Ba'ul Refraction: 12K
Radiation Detonation: 10.6K
Resonant Transphasic Torpedo: 7.9K
Fek'Ihri Torment: 6.9K
Tachyon Net Drones: 6.5K
Antiproton Omni: 3.4K
Approaching Agony: 2.9K
Nimbus Pirates: 2.1K
Destabilizing Resonance Beam: 1.9K
Anti-Time Entanglement Singularity: 1.1K
Concentrate Firepower: 0.8K
Tethered Non-Baryonic Asteroid: 0.4K
The transphasic torpedo is pretty bad, but that's okay for our purposes. It's here to debuff things and trigger debuffs, not deal DPS.
The easiest ship to port this build over to from the C-store would be the Presidio or its cross-faction equivalent. That said, the Styx has ship-locked pets, so the best alternative would be Elite Alliance Fighter Squadrons. Another consideration is that the Presidio does not have Intel seating, so you'll want to swap Let It Go into the extra engineering seat since Ionic Turbulence will not be available. The same swap will need to be made on the Ross, as it loses a tactical ability (likely Rapid Fire) for Let It Go in engineering. There are other ships like the Clarke, Buran, or Verity which drop a Tactical power in favor of science, which is not a trade I'm eager to make. Dropping the Cannon: Rapid Fire for Gravity Well is a choice you can make but it will cost you survivability.