U.S.S. Carmarthen

Inquiry Battlecruiser

Updated: 2023 - 02

Made possible by reader donation; thank you Montaire!

Build Overview and Focus

Released in mid to late 2020, the Inquiry has been one of, if not the best general purpose elite cannon platform since it came out. Eclipsed by potentially only the Vaadwaur Miracle Worker Juggernaut for pure energy weapon damage, the Inquiry offers higher maneuverability and potentially more flexibility compared to the higher damage of the Vaadwaur Juggernaut.

It has become a source of endless discussion; there are many other platforms that fight for the name best, but often these require much more team development to make work on top of the ship. So far as flying the Inquiry it has excelled without the need for any special team composition or fancy interactions.

Build Purpose and Scope

This ship was donated by a reader, and for that I am very thankful. This came with no strings attached and no specific goal in mind they had for the ship. However, I want to take the time here to talk about and expand on the differences in flying this ship compared to the Terran Lexington, of which I have an almost carbon copy build on both.

While I've opted to run cannons on mine, you can do other weapons just fine. Even filling other roles while you're at it. For a more durability focused build which fills the off-tank role, check out EPHs own rendition of the Inquiry.

A note on Unconventional Systems before continuing

Yes, this build runs Unconventional Systems. Like everything it is a tool. Just as you pick the cooldown solution for a build, so too should Unconventional Systems be used as a tool. Not every platform makes sense running it.

The argument could be made that both the Lexington and Inquiry are platforms that are not worth running US on. They have little forced specialist or science seating on which to apply good and useful powers that also act as console cooldown methods. As well you really need to start having lots of good consoles to start making this work. You'll notice this trait features in both this build and the Lexington; This was more a choice made very long ago to attempt to compare the potential of each platform against each other, and I think for that purpose it was a reasonable choice to assume that most people would be curious on how they perform under a very meta analysis (which at this time includes running uncon).

There is also the underlying but rarely stated fact that in order for uncon to be very good and worthwhile, you must first have consoles that are worth reducing at the cost of pillaging the boff layout for controls. Universal Designs also leads credence to using universal consoles and wanting to have them reduced and has its own set of requirements before even beginning to use to make worth while to use; this most notably being a fast repeatable console that you can use to trigger it and keep stacks up. This normally comes in the form of the Immolating Phaser lance. All of this needs to be considered when building around Unconventional Systems, and it leads to having a very expensive build.

Ok I think that's enough preamble on Uncon and its place on this ship.

Inquiry vs Lexington

For most people I'm going to say right now that the Lexington is going to be the preferred platform. Its easier to acquire, account wide access, has an integrated lance and a hanger. This does in my very convoluted opinion mean the Lexington is the better ship; better here being not just an aspect of how much damage can it do but how much does it cost compared to the potential of the platform; and I think from that aspect the Lexington is the better ship.

However, the greater community as a whole doesn't think this way, and would call "better" simply the ship with the highest ceiling and I think its easy to give that to the Inquiry. Just to review lets compare some of the aspects of each:

Inquiry Battlecruiser

Terran Lexington Dreadnought Cruiser

I think that helps illustrate the point here I'm trying to make. The inquiry is clearly great and having both 5 fore weapons with a Lt.C intel and miracle worker primary powers is a winning combination. The Lexington is huge value for money, and while it lacks some amazing aspects to set it apart, at the end of the day it is a C-store and will get C-store limitation features. The Lexington also gets access to the flagship consoles which can increase the overall viability, utility, and flexibility of the platform even lending itself to a tank.

Namesake

Carmarthen is a city in Wales, and one of the supposed birthplaces of the composite character Merlin in Arthurian legend.

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

Change History

Build Breakdown

Like the Lexington this is a high energy weapon build. No hanger, not much support, a decent amount of durability just in the fact that this is a battlecruiser, and an attempt to make this lumbering boat get where I want it too when I want it too gives this break down.

Skills

Skill Unlocks

Notes

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

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.

Aux Power

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.

Shield Regeneration

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.

Build

Starship Weapons

Notes

Discovery Linked weapons trade the traditional Phaser subsystem offline proc for a passive stat increase, in the case of Sensor Linked this is specifically +5 Starship Defensive Maneuvering and +5 Starship Weapon Amplification. Damage wise this equates to 2% Critical Severity for Weapons. This is not the stunning improvement its often made out to be, and is simply better than relying on a random proc to affect one of 4 subsystems (shields in most cases is what we desire but not always the effect).

Budget wise, generic Antiproton's +20% CrtD passive will be equivalent to a whole ship made of sensor linked weapons. This does come at the cost of swapping to a different flavor and thus losing bonuses in the universal consoles but it presents as a very solid budget option.

This does make them the best of the linked weapons but there's a myriad of other choices. Note that these all proc based and will rely on that proc to see benefits.

Prolonged Phaser

Theoretically, the prolonged phaser is break even at around 60s. However at that it's only a very very small amount and is easily thrown out due to naturalized run variation. it stays under the +/-5% damage variation up to 100s in combat, where it then starts to ramp up to an 8% increase at 120s. This does mean that for combat times up to and around 120s the prolonged phaser is better, which is why I've been retrofitting my builds with it. 

Clearly however it hasn't suffered for not having it, as averaged each weapon has around 95k contribution.

Discovery Reputation Weapons

After some experimenting with TRINITY, some parsing, and some general build philosophy consulting, I've decided to remove the discovery set from this build. While the 2pc is good, this ship is approaching the point where being shackled by a torpedo is doing less than another energy weapon, and the higher damage of a cannon and another fleet console outweighs any advantage the Wide Arc Dual Beam bank provides with the Locator.

A note for Replication: I am doing this on an engineering captain! This is important to make note of. On a tactical captain the calculus isnt the same. As someone who parses in teh regime of under or within the 300-500k regime this calculus changes. Most players will benifit from running the Dark Matter Quantum. The torp provides better Kemocite damage, and being an engineering captain my ability to directly improve these effects via captain powers is limited. I highly suggest running this with a torpedo. It just so happens than my parses tend to provide me with better results without the torpedo. Running a torpedo also allows you to use Super Charge Weapons, or Entwined Tactical Matrices.

Starship Equipment

Starship Consoles

Set Bonuses

Budget Tweaks:

Tactical Consoles

With the last update to the Energy Weapon Calculator (now included in TRINITY), there is a segment I added which estimates the ratio of CrtD to Dmg and Locators vs Exploiters. I haven't yet run this build through the calculator but the effects of the mastery and some other consoles, I can pretty much estimate now that this ship is a 4 Locator 2 Exploiter ship. Between endeavors and build progression level, this will change from person to person.

Universal Consoles

This build doesn't make any claim to be cheap. Between the DPRM, D.O.M.I.N.O., Altamid Swarm and BIC, and Immolating Phaser Lance, this build gets expensive fast. However, that's what makes the unconventional systems type work well. The raw stats of the BIC and Altamid fill roles that other consoles can, but not as easily. The raw power of the 3/4 active consoles provides incredible damage potential that is unmatched, hence its use in the current Meta. 

I did some napkin math and a few runs using the M6 in place of one of the two lobi consoles, but the lack of a passive really dragged it down when its not on cooldown. As such the M6 would most likely be a direct replacement for the D.O.M.I.N.O., and should the lobi consoles be out of reach with these other options available too you (which seems possible but unlikely, though that could change with the year long meta events) it would be a viable alternative to those. On a note, the Gamma Reputation Ordinance accelerator is as good as if not slightly better than the Altamid Swarm console

Bridge Officers

Traits

Personal Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Being as I've built this on an engineering captain, the most obvious build focused tweak would be to do this on a tactical captain for access to teh various captain powers. Doing such a replacement would warrant the use of A Good Day to Die

Budget Tweaks:

For budget players who want to save some EC, there's a few standard traits that could be used:


After this there isn't much available that super noteworthy so make substations based on what you need.

Starship Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

As of the day of writing I get my Event Campaign 4 box. I plan on getting the completion to many of my builds here which have been in the work for many months with the aforementioned Universal Designs. Lots more testing to come from that to see how this mixes things up on everything; that said it is by no means absolutely necessary.

Budget Tweaks:

Offensive Traits:

Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Since this is a ship that has both intel and miracle worker powers, the two meta driven choices to put on this ship would be the two Strength Through Unity liberated Borg duty officers 24 of 47 and 27 of 47. However, these are ridiculously expansive at upwards of 1 billion EC. This is in my opinion too much for a small improvement. CrtH / CrtD energy weapon officers are good enough for me.

Budget Tweaks:

Miscellaneous

Ship Stats

Keybinds 

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 Engines - This is absent from the 'spam' bar here. Because I am running the Romulan engines having evasive maneuvers for movement is essential, so I'm taking care to time its activation more carefully so it doesn't get used while evasive is up.

Parse Breakdown

ISE Record Damage Breakdown

Portability

Since this is a Miracle Worker and intel hybrid ship, in order to port fully a ship must meet both. As such only a few are capable of that

Dropping to just MW capable ships