Legendary Kelvin Timeline Intel Battlecruiser
Updated: 2023 - 02
Build Overview and Focus
Early 2022 we were given a revamp to the first major specialization available to players; Intelligence. With it came a host of ability changes, notable among them was the improvement of the once notoriously terrible Surgical Strikes; a power which before hand was in most cases worse than regular firing!
Obviously since this change Surgical Strikes has taken over as one of the contenders for best single target energy weapon enhancement, which has its own set of caveats and pros and cons compared to Beam Overload and Cannon Rapid Fire.
Build Purpose and Scope
With many hours of work, I with the aid of EPH evaluated all of the firing modes available to us post the Intelligence ability rework. We found that Surgical Strikes is now the new top-contender for highest possible single target damage. Soon after we saw the release of Vanguard Specialist, which allowed players to increase the duration of non-standard firing modes, including Surgical Strikes; which has really made this power a true contender.
Intel seating now offers some very interesting things, on top of the new version of Surgical Strikes.
Ionic Turbulence and Electromagnetic Pulse Probe both act as Unconventional Systems triggers, with Ionic being my preferred to use due to its lingering debuff it applies to targets. Intelligence Team is also a useful power for many builds (acting as a spore infused anomaly triggers on exotics), also providing a threat generation reduction and a stealth bonus. Finally an all time favorite Override Subsystem Safeties increases the total maximum and current power levels for all subsystems; improving durability, damage, and mobility while its active.
With all specializations we've gotten a form of weapon enhancement. Command and Temporal defy that title but with one trait (Vanguard Specialist) we can increase the duration of all of these specialized firing modes to their full 15s. What sets Surgical out from these is the raw stat buffs the power grants:
Rank 1 (Lt.C): 2.3x Modifier, +30 accuracy, +30% Critical Chance and +40% Critical Severity
Rank 2 (Cmdr): 2.8x Modifier, +30 accuracy, +30% Critical Chance and +60% Critical Severity
Rank 3 (Cmdr): 3.3x Modifier, +30 accuracy, +30% Critical Chance and +80% Critical Severity
These are huge buffs to weapons, and unlike the tactical innate single modes like Cannon Rapid Fire and Beam Overload, Surgical (and its partners like Exceed Rated limits) are able able to utilize both cannons and beams, allow one to take advantage of the best weapons of each class with a single firing mode and extension trait.
In order to take advantage of Surgical Strikes at rank 3, you need to have a ship with a commander Intelligence seat. Since it is the oldest specialization there are no shortage of ships with this; however if we allow ourselves to a little more particular, the best ships for the roll would be ones with 5 forward weapons. To even further limit ourselves I prefer to have a ship that carries both a Lt.C Intel capable seat for Override Subsystem Safeties 3 while also having a Lt.C Engineering and Tactical, to gain access to Emergency Power to Weapons and three tactical powers I like to have for all single target energy weapon builds: Attack Pattern Beta, Kemocite Laced Weaponry, and Torpedo Spread.
This does cut the list down a bit, but does leave choices. While I do have a Vengeance Dreadnought Cruiser, I personally find it to be a bit of a boat and difficult to get around (it also has some weird banking issues going on, maybe I'll have another look at it one day). Additionally, the seating can be a bit strange in this current meta. If we want to take OSS3 and EPtW3 on the Vengeance we have to slot the Lt.C Universal as an engineering seat. While not a game breaker by any means, it does limit the number of useful unconventional systems procs we can take.
This is a similar story for most ships on this list. Ultimately I ended up settling on the Legendary Kelvin Intel Battlecruiser, which has everything I wanted when I set out to make the surgical build. You might question by stating "But the Legendary Scimitar Exists with a Cmdr Intel Tactical seat!" Yes, I don't own it. It does technically meet all of my specified parameters. You know who does own it however? EPH does, and also happens to have a Surgical Strikes build on that ship which is radically different in approach to this. Go check it out.
SCM - DMG Out: 110,318,110 DPS: 855,179.15 (51.7% of Team)
SCM - DMG Out: 87,496,824 DPS: 713,677.19 (48.2% of Team)
Elite Captain/T6X upgrade, all fleet unlocks
T6 C-store ships
Event consoles and Traits
Denorios-class Bajoran Interceptor - Console
As the goal of the build is to explore Surgical Strikes, the build is fully invested into energy damage. This leaves a very unsurprising distribution. I've invested into agility (as I do most builds) since getting places quicker is all the better for utilizing the single target nature of this ship, and as an extension the single target build classes.
Jayiie's Skill tree has been optimized to be used on as many build types as possible. As such there are some questions that naturally arise when talking about it. I will try to capture these discussions as succinctly as possible here.
Tactical ultimate and Exotic Builds
The Tactical Ultimate is still taken. Because of the skill investment for energy weapons in the skill tree, this only takes a small amount of investment. Even with the intent of going full min-max, if everyone takes the coordination protocols this is comparable to getting a Mk12 damage console which effects everything, as well as a hull plating node. These are worthwhile investements, and given how flexible Jayiies skill tree is designed to be very good at covering multiple roles such as support, tanks, and energy kinetic and exotic dps builds.
Hull Restoration vs Hull Capacity
This is very simple, while also not. Given the choice between a Improved Hull Capacity (+25.5%) and Hull restoration (+25%) against Advanced Hull capacity (+30%), I personally prefer to take the former, splitting the point difference. Since my character is an engineer, this 25% Hull restoration actually has some very useful applications through Miraculous repairs.
As well by taking some extra points into engineering, this has allowed me to take the 10th Engineering Unlock skill which adds +10 Hull Capacity, which is comparable to the +15 taken from the last point of Hull restoration. Due to how the skill works this is a +3.3% Max Hull vs 4.95% Max Hull buff respectively.
EPG vs Control Amplification, DrainX and CtrlX
This time around I've opted to put more points into CtrlX and EPG while taking Control Amplification, and instead dropping points from DrainX. If this wasn't on an engineering captain I wouldn't consider this a loss. However both Nadion Inversion and Intrusive Energy Redirection both scale with DrainX and are innate captain abilities, thus wanting for the skill.
Optimizing to hit 130 Aux power has been challenging. To do this I required Defensive Subsystem turning for the +4.8 Power to Aux. Combining this with the passive on most science ships as well as the Neutronic Eddies has allowed 130 to be hit passively. This has then allowed me to drop EPS Manifold Efficiency freeing up a 10th starship trait. On other builds this has the effect of allowing more aux power for more damage / better scaling on various powers.
This is still a tank first skill tree. Shield regeneration is statically anomaly and adds a huge amount to shield regen in just the first point (more Information on shields can be found here). As such, I have taken the single point. with the most recent tree revision I've opted to spec out of DrainX and Drain Infection for that last point in EPG. Should you want to not take shield regeneration I would suggest the next DrainX point.
No fancy lockbox weapons here, though the crafted omni has only a mildly useful proc and something like a pulsed phaser omni would be better here, it wouldn't necessarily be worth the cost of such an item. Legacy Phaser omnis with pen do exist, I just don't have one. I have also seen people run the Altamid Lobi set on SS builds; however I think this a net draw or a reduction from not having a similarly typed aft weapon and the usually slotted aft weapon (Altamid Torp) not firing.
I originally had the photonic officer on the Lt.C intel seat; however after some experimentation I realized that I could improve performance by swapping to an intelligence power unconventional systems trigger here. Ionic Turbulance also leads to more -DRR to targets along the flight path.
For those looking for a budget approach that doesn't use Unconventional systems I would suggest:
Commander Engineering (Intel): Emergency Power to Engines 1 / Auxiliary Power to Structural 1 / Emergency Power to Weapons 3 / Surgical Strikes 3
Lt.C Tactical: Kemocite Laced Weaponry 1 / Attack Pattern Beta 1 / Torpedo Spread 3
Ens Universal (Tactical): Distributed Targeting 1
Lt.C Universal Intel: Intelligence Team / Ionic Turbulence 1 / Override Subsystem Safeties 3
Lt. Science: Hazard Emitters 1 / Photonic Officer 1
There isn't much to change here in terms of utility. If playing on a captain trait always try to slot A Good Day to Die (not confusing at all there's a starship trait, mission, and personal trait with the same name).
With the 2022 Meta Event campaign I picked up Universal Designs. Pairing this trait with the Immolating Phaser Lance should maintain the full 5 stacks on UD, granting +10% CrtH and +50% CrtD. This is a really well working combo. However if you have to pick only one, if any at all, take the Immolating Phaser Lance. Because you can now pick the console up with the Mudds Pilot bundle, I suspect more people are going to have access to the Lance than UD.
As an player who's been doing this for some time, I have very few keybinds as I use most of my powers manually. As such I have only 1 "spam" button, which consists of the offensive rotation.
Emergency Power to Weapons - Initial power buff and triggers Emergency Weapons Cycle
Attack Pattern Beta - prebuff before firing
Surgical Strikes - upgrades weapons, prebuff before firing
Torpedo Spread - upgrades torpedo, prebuff before firing
Override Subsystem Safeties - Since this starts ticking down as soon as possible you as much maximum power increase for as long as possible.
Kemocite Laced Weapons - prebuff before firing
Photonic Officer - begins CDR rotation. Since this is not an exotic build using Improved photonic officer, this is fine at the end
Emergency power to Engines - This is here so that every other rotation it can be activated
ISE Record Damage Breakdown
124k DPS - Terran Task Force Phaser Beam Array - Surgical Strikes III
117.4k DPS - Terran Task Force Phaser Dual Heavy Cannons - Surgical Strikes III
95.3k DPS - Quad Phaser Cannons - Surgical Strikes III
87.8k DPS - Phaser Wide Angle Dual Heavy Beam Bank - Surgical Strikes III
85.1k DPS - Phaser Beam Array - Surgical Strikes III
79.2k DPS - Inhibiting Phaser Beam Array - Surgical Strikes III
59.3k DPS - Heavy Inhibiting Phaser Turret - Surgical Strikes III
44.4k DPS - Immolating Phaser Lance
35.2k DPS - Pets
34.5k DPS - Dark Matter Laced Quantum Torpedo - Spread III
27.8k DPS - Dark Matter Laced Quantum Torpedo - Salvo I
16k DPS - Kemocite-Laced Weaponry I
10.9k DPS - Dark Matter Dissolution
9.9k DPS - Concentrate Firepower III
6.8k DPS - Distributed Targeting I - Phaser
5.5k DPS - Dark Matter Laced Quantum Torpedo
5.4k DPS - Tachyon Net Drones - Vulnerability Exploited
2.2k DPS - Distributed Targeting I - Kinetic
1.8k DPS - Tachyon Net Drones - Vulnerability Exploited - Aftershock Gravity Well
1.4k DPS - Terran Task Force Phaser Array
1.2k DPS - Tractor Beam I
1.2k DPS - Weaponized Helical Torsion
1k DPS - Heavy Inhibiting Phaser Turret
0.9k DPS - Anti-Time Entanglement Singularity (Rank 2)
0.4k DPS - Counter-Offensive
0.2k DPS - Beam Array
0.1k DPS - Inhibiting Phaser Array
0.1k DPS - Withering Radiation
As mentioned, there's many ships that can fill this build role very well. Two big ones that have already been discussed:
Kelvin Timeline Vengeance Intel Dreadnought Cruiser - This is probably peoples go-to SS build platform. As I said, I'm not personally a fan but I'm willing to give it another go. I like very much more how the Legendary Kelvin Intel BC flys comparatively.
Legendary D7 Intel Battlecruiser - This was released and flew under my radar, this is probably the best surgical platform we have because of its access to miracle worker seating. It does mean you have to take two of Narrow Sensor Bands 3, Emergency power to Weapons 3, and Override Subsystem Safeties 3 but that might be a bit too ambitious (NSB2 + EPtW3 is often what I use anyway, with most meta people taking EPtW2 + NSB3)
Opening up my strict requirements a bit more we get several more ships:
Terran Adamant Heavy Raider - lacking 2 weapons but gaining universal seating, more maneuverability, and an experimental weapon this is probably the more accessible platform most people will have access too.
Bozeman Intel Heavy Frigate - I've been rather surprised with this little ship. Its got a great console (see over here on my support) and since its a frigate it has mostly universal seating.
Cardassian Ghemor Intel Flight Deck Carrier - 2 hanger bays can be a really good DPS jump. The seating is a little restrictive if you're after unconventional systems triggers but if not go wild!
Emerald Chain Intel Juggernaut - This is an interesting ship...you too can have an SS build on it and fit many unconventional systems triggers. It is only 4 fore 4 aft so it will drag behind some other choices.
Eclipse Intel Cruiser - ignoring some...minor changes (like temporal seating) this is basically an older 4/4 weapon layout Vengeance, yes it has a forced Lt.C engineering but that's how I'd probably end up running the Vengeance anyway to get OSS3 and EPtW3. This was also once upon a time the SS build platform of choice. I believe it deserves a spot on this list, even if it is a bit engineering heavy. Its counterpart the Qib is very similar in capability.
Phantom Intel Escort - unique console for phaser buffs and a phaser lance this can make a really mean SS build. Lots of intel space for uncon and just the right amount of engineering seating.
Jovian Intel Heavy Raider - Miracle Worker, Intel, universal seating and plenty of tactical consoles, super great platform if you have it.
Finally, I would be remised if I didn't bring up the the Legendary Ambassador Intel Support Cruiser for having its Lt.C Temporal seat for Recursive shearing which excels under single target builds and would get double duty from Vanguard Specialist. Unfortunately for the Ambassador it cannot slot dual heavy cannons, but that's not enough for me to keep it from this section. Some funny SS things can also be done with science ships and SS but that starts to evolve more into a weird niche space than most people would care to do for a raw energy weapon SS build.