I.S.S. Phlegethon

Styx Terran Dreadnought Cruiser

Build Overview and Focus

Last Updated December 2023

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.

Platform selection

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. Also, it has a unique console that reduces enemy resists and Intel secondary seating, which can provide more resistance debuffing through Ionic Turbulence. 

Flavor/Theme Choices


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. 

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 662 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 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. 


Skill Unlocks


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.


Starship Weapons


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. 

Starship Equipment


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! 

Starship Consoles

Set Bonuses


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. 

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Budget Tweaks:

If low budget, the following changes will help reduce cost

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. 

Bridge Officers

Meta Notes


Personal Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Budget Tweaks:

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

Downgrading all the survivability tools will limit your ability to run Elite maps

Starship Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Budget Tweaks:

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

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. 


Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers


The buff-stripping doff seems pretty marginal. 

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

These doffs are fairly well optimal for an A2B build but if your budget was truly unlimited

Budget Tweaks:

 If low budget



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.


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 works for me, especially with my background in RTS and MOBA games, where pushing many different keys quickly is essential:


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:

In order to do #2 (survive), you need the following:

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. The hardest part is the first fight. I stagger my big heals in 15-20 second intervals to give the team time to clean up. 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 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.

Parse Breakdown

Numbers from record ISE

Heal breakdown (Heals-per-second)

Clearly I didn't need all of the healing tools I have at my disposal but it's good to have them for harder maps.

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. I had very high selfish DPS this time and it's attributable to our team composition. We were a 4 man run with a CSV primary DPS, myself tanking, and two supports, one of which was a very well-equipped Jorogumo, which for reasons Tilor describes on his post is the premiere energy DPS support run. We still boosted our primary DPS to over 1M, setting a new record, so I'm not displeased with the result, but the DPS is higher than I'd like. Since most of the damage was brought by energy weapons, the best move if you're concerned about taking DPS away from your primary would be to dump some weapons power, cutting it from 100 down to about 60 or so, and not use the Nimbus Pirates. 


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 either another A2B or RSP 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). 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.