U.S.S. Caliburn

Terran Hydra Intel Destroyer

Updated: 2023 - 12

Build Overview and Focus

If you came here expecting something different than basically all my other energy weapon builds I've posted, this won't be it. I've invested into phaser, and so phaser it stays. No deep philosophical prospects, no fancy build tricks or whacky interactions here, this is all raw damage here.

Releasing the Hydra

The Hydra is an interesting platform. With the 13th anniversary bundle, we saw breaking of barriers; that is, the specialization seat barrier that has always separated C-store ships from recent premium ships. Up until now, premium ships were the only ones with Cmdr + Lt.C specialization seating, like that of the Inquiry compared against the Lexington. The Hydra, and the rest of the 13th anniversary bundle ships, are C-store accessible and have this Cmdr + Lt.C setup. As well, we have them in new combinations we've not gotten before.

The Hydra is special here. Part of me wants to chalk this particular ships combination as a blend of basic build competence and Luck but I think our new lead systems developer warrants some more faith. Regardless of what decisions were made to allow this ship to exist, this ship has statistically more-value orientated characteristics than it aught to for being a C-store ship for the purposes of doing damage, and more specifically energy weapon damage:

As well, the ship has some inherent traits that make it stand out that are not always focused on. A hull mod of 1.2 puts it into the top of the line up, being only mildly outclassed by a few 1.275 and 1.3 mod warships. A 14 turn rate with 0.18 impulse gives it the same maneuverability as the well loved but now outdated Krenim Imperium Warship,  for those who might remember how well this ship did in its time. Having its power bonus distributed at +10 Weapons and +10 Engines means that the two subsystems you'd want to optimize for energy weapons are focused on.

Basically I think these factors combine to form what is possibly the best energy weapon damage ship we have access to, let alone limited to the C-store. Spencer's own video on the ship goes into more comparisons on the ship class to drive this point home that this ship has far better value aspects too it then we would normally expect to see. As well, this video has some example builds that vary from my own should another perspective on the ship be warrented.

Build Purpose and Scope

This is, basically, the same build as on the Rhongomiant, and uses the same equipment as seen on things like the Phaser Equinox, the aforementioned Inquiry and Lexington, the Von Neumann, and even the Scryer, Crossfield Refit, and the Fleet Theseus. Phaser is very good and has lots to support. If you want to see examples of a non-phaser SS build to merge with the example I have here, have a look at EPHs surgical build which uses plasma. There is no real reason why I use phaser specifically outside of the fact that I've invested into it and it synergizes well with what I have access too, and lots of good tools are also phaser based. This is what we mean by build synergy. I feel there's not much more to say on the scope and build here that I haven't said a dozen times elsewhere by now.

A note on the Agony Redistributor

When the Agony Redistributor first appeared on the meta damage scene, it was largely a buggy mess which interested weirdly with other powers and to some extent it still does (I'm not running anything on this to cause it to break). In it's current iteration, the console excels when dealing single target damage which momentarily causes all damage done to a target to be spread, much like the effects of Distributed targeting, However, this is because it only stores the damage done to a single target. Multi-target builds will see some lacklustre results.


A varient of the name for King Arthurs sword, often a latinization of the word Excalibur.

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

Change History

I have temporal listed here as I did queue into and set the DPS record with this. However, I really should have had strategist rather than temporal secondary.

Build Breakdown

Energy build with torps, not much to say here. Beeg damage.


Skill Unlocks


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 does basically nothing for the majority of the damage on this build. However this is a skill tree that is still designed to run things like the Inquiry and Verity, so I do still have this. A more optimized tree would look something s. The core skill selections are still there. There is an overlap on looking at torp skills when getting to the 25 Tac ult unlocks.

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.


Starship Weapons


The Wide Arc Phase cannons are great but easily replaceable with generic Dual heavy cannons or wide angle cannons. Dealers choice. Nothing else here is exceptionally hard to get being mostly reputation weapons. The agony cannons are basically just the normal quad cannons but instead of a system offline, it applies a very minor dot with a disable.

Starship Equipment

As stated, the Iconian Core can be beneficial in reducing weapon offline effects from Override Subsystem Safeties. However, since this ship doesn't have any innate weapon power cost reduction I've gone for the Fleet spire warp core for the -10% Weapon power cost and +66% EPS to help counter weapon drain on average rather than suppress one power downside which is easily cleared with some engineering captain powers.

Starship Consoles

Set Bonuses

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

Console wise there's not much improvement here. 

Budget Tweaks:

As always, there's a large portion of replacement consoles available. Only one of the non-tactical consoles I've listed are relatively expensive, but theres always slide grades depending on what you're after. Take a look here for the energy basics guide.

Bridge Officers


I've seen some variations here changing the EPtW2 down to 1, ditching the hazard emitters to pick up Reinforcements Squadron 1 . However I didn't see much luck and having Hazard Emitters will grant you the full bonuses from Strategist


Personal Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

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).

Budget Tweaks:

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

Starship Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

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.

In mid-2023, the Legendary Avenger was released, and I only picked this up in Dec of 2023. This added Ship of the Line to the list of traits, making itself meta basically instantly. This means that only one real meta trait remains up for grabs on this in the form of Ruin of Our Enemies, which with the current carrier rage means I might be getting this....eventually...maybe....

Budget Tweaks:

Offensive Traits:

Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers

Budget Tweaks:


Ship Stats


Energy builds don't have much in the way of keybinds or layouts, push buttons, get benefits.

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