BCF Bismarck

Legendary Excelsior

Build Overview and Focus

I have always enjoyed the Excelsior class. When the 11th anniversary pack came out with a Legendary Excelsior, I was equally excited and disappointed - it was an underwhelming and overpriced version of the Excelsior. Nonetheless, I tried many times to grind enough dilithium to pick up the pack. I finally managed to hit my stride, and over the course of 4 months and 9 characters, I did it. What did it cost me? Everything. About 8.5M Refined Dil and a bit of Lifetime Stipend Zen. Is the Legendary Excelsior worth grinding for? No, please don't grind for it. However, you can probably put just about the same build on the other two Excelsiors; Fleet Excelsior and Excelsior II. I also have a Kinetic Fleet Excelsior which is quite effective.

Disclaimer: This is an extremely expensive build. If you want DEW on a better budget, check out my Hydra build or my Cyclone build.


This is a bit of an odd one, BCF-Bismarck.

One of my first tactical Star Trek games, and probably a great inspiration for the STO we have today, is Starfleet Command. You pilot ships of different factions through combat missions at a significantly slower pace than STO. One of my favorite ships was the BCF (Battlecruiser F). This was an Excelsior hull and the only Federation ship with a Plasma Torpedo, which at the time was extremely cool. This was also known as the Bismarck Class. Check it out here

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

T6 C-Store Ships

Legendary Ships

Event Items/Ships

Lockbox Gear & Duty Officers

Lockbox Ships

Lobi Gear

Lobi Ships

R&D Promo Ships - None


Change History

Build Breakdown

An energy focused build with a lone torp, and no holds barred on budget, I forced the build onto this platform. 


Skill Unlocks


This skill tree is used for many different builds as this is my main character on my account. This means that it could be optimized for just one or two builds, but servicing all main archetypes requires a few concessions in the "Advanced" skills in order to pick up some basic skills elsewhere. I'll go through each node and why I chose the amount I did, though sometimes it's simply "I ran out of points".

For Hull/Shield Restoration/Capacity, I like to pick up one point of each, however shields have really fallen out of favor. 50 points in each skill is quite a lot, and heals are needed on every build. With the current state of the game, shields are pretty meaningless. I do pick up the Regen later on, but of the base skills I don't feel they are necessary. If you really want some extra shields, pick up the Valdore and use it's console for some really large shield heals. 

For energy/projectile weapon training, there's no real reason to skimp on these points. All of my builds use torpedoes and/or mines, and several use many energy weapons as well. Having all 6 points is like having the Cat1 from another 1 2/3 Advanced Consoles for every weapon type.

EPS is another quintessential energy weapon damage skill. This combined with emergency power to weapons helps mitigate losses from firing energy weapons. Since several builds sport many energy weapons, this really helps those. This also helps recover from Full Impulse and Auxiliary to Battery much faster. This makes it a very useful utility skill for every build. Both points means I get 5 power every 0.5s rather than 5 power every 1s, essentially double the effect.

Full Impulse Shunt is a waste of a point in my opinion. While this keeps more power in systems while at full impulse, strategic flying can remove the need for this. Short bursts of full impulse doesn't allow for much power to be drained, and in cases where long distances need to be traveled, coming out of Full Impulse a second or two early can mitigate these issues (especially on such large ships as I fly, they power slide regardless!) If you run Miracle Worker Primary as many tanks do, this instantly restores power after coming out of Full Impulse making this point absolutely unneeded. 

Impulse Expertise is just about essential. None of my ships turn well and don't have a lot of power left for engines after putting it in Aux or Weapons. This helps me keep up with everyone who uses those Competitive engines, or actually turn around before the queue finishes. I could argue for an extra point to take all 3 here, but ended up needing the point elsewhere. The last point is only 4% anyways, so I am not missing much. 

Control Expertise (CtrlX) and Drain Expertise (DrainX) are skill points many leave off. I always spend one in each, not only for their offensive utility, but also the defensive benefits against controls and drains. In the case of my Tholian fleet, all three use the Web Cannon and Webspinner, which hold for a specific duration. That duration is increased by CtrlX, so I can't really get enough. Also, being hit by Gravity well or Tractor Beam reduces some damage resistance is fantastic for all 3 builds. Drain Infection is an odd choice, but as a DoT, it really serves as a trigger for other abilities when it hits.

Targeting Expertise is an iffy one for me. Parses show I never miss, but they don't show how much extra gets turned into criticals. I feel like the first two points can be justified, but the last point is a pretty small contribution. I may even drop the third point in the future, but we'll see how the resulting accuracy shakes out. Defensive Maneuvering is also tough because of how much actually moving factors into the equation. For now, I feel like I can justify two points, especially since this is harder to come by than Damage Resistance Rating.

Hull Plating is what I would spend the extra Defensive Maneuvering point in, but this isn't all damage resistance, but pretty close. Some of the more exotic sources such as Fire and Radiation aren't present. Also, all this is only 15 actual damage resistance. All 3 skill points in the Hull Plating is equivalent to the damage resistance of Repair Crews.

Damage Control is awful, it's 1/5 as effective in combat. That means one point is 10% regen, whereas 2 1/2 points in the Hull Regeneration endeavor is that amount.

Shield Regeneration is special for some special reason and is extra effective. I always put in at least one point here.

Shield Hardness is something that mitigates damage while your shields are up. However, I tend to go for more Hull than Shield defenses. My tank (totally different character) often will have absolutely no shields in deep combat and relies on Regeneration and large capacity. Reverse Shield Polarity is still really strong, but Shield Hardness doesn't really boost that.

Weapon Amplification and Specialization are must-haves on just about every build anymore. Anything using Torpedoes or Energy weapons will benefit from these skill points. Since I was around for the Imperial Rift Set event, I also run that on my exotic builds which converts my Weapon Amplification into Criticals for my exotic powers. Now, in reality the Weapon Specialization is pretty weak (0.6% CrtH for the last point). I may drop this point someday.

Subsystem tuning (and power in general) is a tricky subject. As an Engineer, I get access to EPS Power Transfer, which adds 30 max and current power to each subsystem. Each ship also comes with power bonuses, and I am using Emergency Power abilities as well. I ended up choosing Warp Core Potential to add a flat 3 to each subsystem for a total of 12 (largest single +power per skill point). I also chose offensive because of the 4.8 power for engines trying to speed my ships up, and the 4.8 helps for my energy builds as well. This is a total of 9.6 power for the point. Improved Warp Core potential adds a total of 8 (2 per system), and adding to a specific system only adds 3.2 power, so significantly diminishing returns. I also like a lot of Auxiliary power for my exotic powers and the Web Cannon & Webspinner which scale strongly with Aux.

Exotic Particle Generator is fantastic because of Particle Manipulator. That means each point here contributes to all my exotic powers in flat damage and criticals. Since almost all builds have at least some exotic powers, these points are well spent. Even Advanced only giving 15 EPG means an extra 7.5% Cat1, 3% CrtH, and 1.5% CrtD, which is as strong as some Starship Traits (namely the CrtH). Exotic Particle Amplifiers also scale off of EPG, and slotting up to four of these on a build makes hitting 500 EPG all the more important.

Long Range Targeting Sensors is always maxed out on energy builds for me because it is the only source that reduces damage falloff with distance. There's no other way to get this, which makes it pretty hard to pass up.

Hull/Shield Pen for weapons is a tough one, especially since some of my biggest damage dealers ignore shields, and these skills translate to such a low amount of actual value, and they are only for weapons. Even if I was extremely focused on weapon damage, these would be near the end of the list for pickups because the value is so low. A single point is 1/2 a [Pen] mod, and all 3 is a single [Pen] mod. On the builds that need it, they have a huge amount of debuff already (5-10x per power), so these points are pretty weak.

Readiness is absolutely wasted because of the methods I use to hit global cooldown. On my exotic builds, I get there with Improved Photonic Officer, which buffs exotics and has 100% Photonic Officer uptime for cooldowns. On my Jorogumo and Tarantula, I use Aux to Batt plus some technicians for cooldowns. I benefit from Cold Hearted as a result. In both cases, I have fantastic cooldowns tied to other primary benefits. Where I don't use either of those methods, Boimler's exists and fills in all the gaps routinely.

Shield Mastery is always terrible. Ignoring a random hit once every 20 seconds is terrible, and none of the other downstream points help either.

Coordination is really solid for me solo, but also as part of a team. 2 of my builds use hangar pets, and all have summon clickies (Delta Reinforcements, etc.). As part of a team, I can't expect anyone to send the buff my way if I don't send it to them (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Matthew 7:12).

As far as unlocks go, there's usually either a pretty minor choice or only one relevant option. I don't push skill points anywhere just to hit unlocks. Battery Expertise can't be replaced.

Build Goals

My goal with this build is a solid, hard-hitting Energy build. Since the Excelsior line can't support cannons, we automatically choose beams. With a 4/4 layout, you can choose to broadside, but that makes a Torpedo difficult to use. We could also choose Fire at Will, but I'm saving FAW for tank builds such as my Lexington. 

Side note; I could set up the Legendary Excelsior as a tank, but it's extremely similar to a Lexington in layout so I'm not in a hurry to try it.

With Miracle Worker and Pilot seating, I could also use some specialist firing modes. Exceed Rated Limits 3, on paper, does significantly less damage than Beam Overload + Cannon Scatter Volley. Reroute Reserves to Weapons 1 is even less effective, and it's only a Lieutenant Commander Pilot seat, so that's as high of a rank we can use here. Biggest drawback is that I couldn't afford Legendary Vanguard for the suite of power extenders: Vanguard Specialists.

So with all of those firing modes off the table, we look at Beam Overload as our primary firing mode. I'll go into more interactions and details below, but this is the main build goal.

Starship Weapons


There are several flavors of weapons, but the classic Phasers ended up winning out. I wanted to use Plasma, but it lacks a set omni and stronger beams. Phasers have a lot of support for exceptionally strong weapons that are easy to obtain. I won't belabor the options, at the end of the day the flavor doesn't matter.

However, a few choices we make are better enhanced by choosing Phasers. The Excelsior II's console is Experimental Power Redirection, which does Phaser damage. The DPRM+PDBW 2pc enhances Phaser, Disruptor, and Plasma so we benefit extra from choosing one of those. If you choose a different flavor, then simply choose other consoles as an option.

Advanced Phasers are great, but out of budget. In Lieu of Advanced Phasers, there's a great selection of Reputation and mission reward phasers. Since I wanted to have a forward firing arc, I have to use a mix of Omni Beams and Turrets in the rear.

Of the forward facing weapons that are not DHCs, Wide Angle Dual Heavy Beam Bank is the top of the list. If I was using ERL or RRTW, it would not be a good choice as it does not benefit from the haste. Combined with the 2pc set from the console, this is probably my best weapon.

The next slot is the Teran Phaser Beam, which hits, on average, as hard as a DBB due to its scaling as the target hull drops. Doesn't afford us any set bonuses of note, but is a strong weapon on its own.

The Prolonged Engagement Phaser beam is often the next beam of choice, however when you dig into it, I have the firing arc to go to a Dual Beam Bank. There's nothing special you can slot for a Phaser DBB that we don't already have, so I went with an Agony DBB I had lying around. It's a small chance for some extra damage, versus the normal phaser's miniscule chance to disable a subsystem.

There's one other weapon we could use here, and that's the Wide Arc Phase Cannons which don't have a ship restriction. However, since we are using a Beam enhancement mode, these cost us some damage overall and cost a steep 200 lobi, not to mention we won't be picking up the 3pc set.

Leaving the torp for later, we have 4 rear energy weapons to fill out. Omni beams are the best since they get the best enhancement, so we start with those. "Set" and "Non Set" Omnis each limit you to one choice. Note: It's not that simple anymore. 

The best "Set" omni is either the Trilithium omni or Gamma Reputation omni. I chose the Gamma rep since the Trilithium wouldn't be getting a 2pc for the constant 5% haste (an Isomag beats the socks off of a Reinforced Armaments). The Gamma weapons' gimmick is that it applies a -DRR to targets slower than you, which last I checked is everything but a few Hurq ships. It's not a chance roll either.

When we get to non-Set Omnis, we have R&D's vanilla Phaser Omni or outrageously expensive lockbox flavor omni options. Since the only difference between these is the 1 in 40 cycles proc, I went with the R&D flavor. There's a new kid on the block with the Protostar omni which is just ever so slightly better than the base version, but again it's just a different proc. Oh, the Protostar is part of a set? But it shares a slot with the non-Set? Oh you have to be moving… On paper, Protostar wins out, but in reality, I've got bigger decisions to make on the build. I'm sticking with what I have upgraded.

Sadly, no Breen Omni (it got patched) or Kinetic Cutting Beam (it doesn't use firing modes), we are stuck with Turrets. When it comes to Phaser turrets, we have a few similar options to Omni beams, such as Trilithium and Gamma Rep. Same justification as the omni, I picked up the Gamma Rep turret; yes you can slot both turret and omni.

For our last turret, I also want to loop in the desire for a torpedo up front. Aiming for a "Plasma" torpedo to hail back to Starfleet Command's Bismark class, I originally went full Plasma damage on this ship which got a Plasma Altamid torp. However, a good friend pointed out that a Bio-molecular torpedo looks rather green and plasma torp-like under High Yield. This torp happens to also have a strong 2pc set with a Heavy Phaser Turret. As such, the Enhanced Bio-molecular Photon Torpedo looks great and does well up front, and the Heavy Bio-molecular Phaser Turret does well in the back.

Also as a bonus, all of these reputation weapons that I use come at Ultra Rare Mk XIII and have 2% bonus damage which often edges them out over any lockbox flavors. Set bonuses help many to be even stronger as well.


Starship Equipment


I won't spend much time here - this build is as meta as it comes, we aren't after any special interactions with the gear choices and each piece is standalone. 

Deflector is used on just about every damage-dealing build, with maybe the exception of a tank. Since our team composition will more than likely have a tank, we won't take a ton of damage to cut into the CrtH/CrtD bonuses from ColCrit. 

The Impulse Engines can be one of several, but I chose the extra damage type. Romulan engines have a built-in Weapon Amplification bonus, which ends up giving about 12.76% CrtD with weapons. If I needed more survivability, I could choose the Discovery Reputation engines to go with the shield or core for extra Hull Regen. If I needed more maneuverability, I could use the Competitive Reputation engines to get a burst of speed, but with an Emergency Conn Officer, I simply don't need it. A ship this heavy (aka inertia) would also tend to powerslide out of the Competitive engines anyways. 

The Shields have a few options, but tend to go for the Tilly's (Discovery Reputation) shields as they increase shield bleedthrough. 

Warp core tends to fill set bonuses, but in my case, I wanted the weapon power cost reduction and Power Transfer Rate of a Spire core. 

Targeting Lock and Energy Amplifier batteries are fine, but Advanced versions are strictly better and since we run a lot of elites, we get a lot of Loops needed for crafting. 

Deuterium Surplus is also a cheap slot, and serves as a backup evasive maneuvers if needed. 

Kobyashi Maru is some free buffs, but please don't get this from Mudd's market, its too low-impact. 

We could slot our Delta Reinforcements or Nimbus Distress Call here, but these work from your inventory so no need to take up a device slot. With 5 device slots, what is left that I can slot? Satellite Turrets are awful damage, but there is no opportunity cost here. More batteries would go unused as 2 batteries cycle perfectly for maximum uptime. Red Matter Capacitor just gives a little power every 5 minutes. Satellite Turrets are also very cheap and easy to obtain, so until there's a better 5th Device, I'll use these for the extra 1k DPS they provide.

Starship Consoles

Set Bonuses


I won't go into the details on why Isomags are better than Locators or Exploiters. This ship is also a Miracle Worker primary ship, so it has two Universal Console slots at T6X plus 5 Engineering slots. Due to math that has already been done, we have more Isomag slots than Locator slots, so Isomags win out. We fill out all 7 available slots with them, use [Phaser] mods for the weapons we have, and fill the rest with basic consoles. 

I used TRINITY heavily for deciding what consoles to bring along. I started by slotting 7 Isomags, and filled the remaining 4 Tactical slots with beam Bellums. This gave me a baseline to work off of. I started filling the Science seats with two consoles I assumed would be best-in-slot regardless: DOMINO and DPRM. Both of these have passive +Phaser or +Energy. Both have lots of additional damage for clickies. Both of them I had obtained a long time ago. If you don't have either of these, they are extremely expensive now. DOMINO requires an Epic Phoenix token per character, while I have the event unlock from 2018. DPRM requires a Lockbox ship (since I am a Federation character) usually selling for around 1.5 billion Energy Credits on the exchange. I picked mine up in a different era when grinding EC was easier and the Atlas was only 600 million EC. 

This fills up our console slots. But why isn't my build using any Bellums? Remember, I had all of this added into TRINITY, and as such, I saved a baseline with 7 Isomags, DPRM, DOMINO, and 4 Bellums. Then, I went through several prime candidates for consoles that might out-parse a Bellum. Bellums also only apply to 5 of 7 of my weapons, as one is a torp and two are turrets. This makes +Phaser stronger even at the same or smaller amount of value since it applies to 7 of 8 weapons, as well as any other abilities that generate Phaser damage. 

Lorca's console was an easy slot, as I already had it for other builds and had the Phaser DBB in the front for the additional 2pc. The console gives Shield Pen, and CrtH, while the 2pc also gives CrtD. This blows away any amount of Cat1 from a Bellum, and applies both CrtH and CrtD to every ability I have. The Shield Pen also benefits all 8 weapons. Every time I replace a Bellum, I save a new "baseline" to see if additional changes are better or worse. 

Ordnance Accelerator would also be a good option since we have one piece of the set already equipped on the ship. While this has no CrtD or CrtH, it does have 25% Cat1 Phaser, +10% Cat1 Phaser for the 2pc, and 25% Projectile damage. This means that it applies to all 8 of our weapons, and a few extra peripherals. 

Approaching Agony would seem to be another good choice, with passive CrtH and +Phaser. However, the magnitude of both of these is lower than a Bellum by a lot. We could take the clicky into account, however it is tough to justify on this build, especially as a lot of Supports pick up this console for the -DRR. This one did not make the cut. 

Point Defense Bombardment Warhead may not seem like a great option, but there's several things in play. First of all, the ship it comes from can be obtained for Energy Credits. Mine happened to be graciously given by a friend of mine. You can also spend Lobi or get it off of the Legendary NX. Regardless of how you obtain it, it also comes with Preferential Targeting (Starship Trait) which is a solid trait for a Beam Overload build. The console boosts our torp with 25% Cat1, and all of our damage with 1% CrtH. This alone doesn't beat out a Bellum, but the 2pc adds 33% Phaser damage. This alone beats out a Bellum. We do get some damage from the clicky as well, I got 18k from it on my record run. All of these things work together to make this replace a Bellum console. 

We have one slot left, and at this point, I wanted to find something to replace the Bellum on the merit of having no Bellums at all. The Tactical Maneuvering Matrix comes with the Legendary Excelsior, as well as the Resolute. It's mostly a weaker DPRM, and doesn't have great passives for our setup. While the active is really strong, the lack of beneficial passives means we can find something else. It ends up being just a little weaker than a Bellum. 

This seems rather excessive, but I wanted to pick up the Excelsior II anyways because reasons. As such, my event campaign reward was already earmarked for an Excelsior II. The console that comes with it has great passives with +Energy and Weapon Amplification. The clicky is harder to evaluate, but does damage on its own as well as a weird mix of FAW and BO for your energy weapons. I did the best I could to evaluate how much this would benefit my build, and it narrowly edged out a Bellum on paper. On my record parse, it contributed about 40k on its own damage! This doesn't even count the passives. I was pleasantly surprised, not to mention it is a fun to use console and comes from an Excelsior. 

Bridge Officers


I am sure I could spring for a pile of Superior Romulan Operatives, but that gets expensive. I went with what I had handy. 

Commander Engineering/Miracle Worker

Since we have two dedicated Engineering seats, and each shares seats with the specialists, we can go with higher-rank specialist powers and slightly lower rank engineering powers to fill out the seats. Obviously, engineering powers are interchangeable between the two seats. Energy builds and Miracle Worker are known for picking up Mixed Armaments Synergy and Narrow Sensor Bands. With this being an Engineering seat, Directed Energy Modulation is the best option at Commander, and MAS3 easily beats that. Emergency Power to Weapons 3 is the best option at LtC, and we can downgrade that to rank 2 to pick up NSB3. Since our cooldowns are handled, I like to have the quick cycling heal and resist of Aux to SIF at the LtC seat. Finally, the last slot is filler and I went with Endothermic Inhibitor, although Let It Go is also a good option, though does much better at rank 3 than rank 1. 

Lt. Commander Engineering/Pilot

Even before the Pilot Rework, Fly Her Apart was a solid damage bonus. Coupled with Boimler, we can have nearly 100% uptime if you fly right. I take this at the highest rank, which once again displaces EPTW, but we only lose a tiny bit of power and Cat2 energy in exchange for a lot more Cat2 All. The last two seats are filled out with EPTW2 and EPTE1 for the merit they have to energy builds. 

Lt. Commander Tactical & Ensign Universal (Tactical)

Beam Overload is our firing mode of choice, so we simply start with this at the highest rank we can: Rank 3. Cannon Scatter Volley buffs a couple turrets, as well as triggers Preferential targeting and requires at least a Lt. seat. The ensign tactical power is Torpedo Spread as it is higher damage on a non-torper. Kemocite Laced Weaponry 1 is often used for its -DRR, damage, and ensign filler. 

Lieutenant Science

Photonic Officer 1 is our reliable cooldowns when Boimler just has a bad day, and Hazard Emitters is a reliable Heal over Time to counteract Fly Her Apart, as well as cleanse any hazard debuffs. 


Personal Traits

Starship Traits

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

I think we have all the meta personal traits. There might be a few lockbox ships with traits that could replace Improved Critical Systems, but you'd be hard-pressed to replace the other 6.

Budget Tweaks:

The last trait I would replace would be Boimler without significant build changes to compensate for the cooldowns it provides. The rest of the lockbox traits can be replaced with free traits, but it all depends on the budget. You won't even have this ship on a budget. The NX Refit is probably the most Extra trait on this build, but the others are just about required. CBTS, SCW, EWC are used on any energy build, ICS is a good generalist trait, and Superweapon Ingenuity is the extender for BO.

Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers

Meta-Focused Tweaks:

This is a great place to put in the Tac/Intel "of 47" Duty Officer, but it is hundreds of millions of EC. 


Ship Stats


This ship is set up to be forward firing, with 360 degree firing arcs in the rear. Being a cruiser, it handles like a cruiser. However, the Excelsior line is pretty nimble and it handles a bit better than you might expect. I've been flying cruisers for years, so it's not unusual for me to fly this one. 

Parse Breakdown

My record ISE is 760k. No surprise on an energy build, 392k comes from energy weapons with Beam Overload 3. 529k comes from all of the energy weapons, enhanced and not enhanced - with the exception of Fire at Will 3. You'll note that FAW is not present on this build. FAW, in this case, comes from Experimental Power Redirection's active. If we sum up all the FAW 3 and other benefits of EPR, the console nets us 46k. Symbiotic Ice is 24k. The torpedo is 91k, but some of that comes from my team's Concentrate Firepower. If we look at team effects, 94k comes from Concentrate Firepower and Digital Compilation, neither of which are on my build but come entirely from the team.


There is a copy-paste hull that is way cheaper than the Legendary Excelsior, and that would be the Lexington. Nearly identical seating, console layout, and stats, the Lexington is far cheaper and includes a hangar bay and access to the Flagship console set and dual cannons. The only thing you miss out on is the Pilot powers, but instead you get Intel powers so it pretty much comes out in the wash. 

You can also put the core of this build on either of the other 2 Excelsiors. The Fleet Excelsior will bring its own CFP3 to the table, at the cost of the Pilot and MW powers. You'll pick up Directed Energy Modulation and anything attached to that. The Excelsior II has a bit different seating, but you can pick up Intel powers instead of the Pilot powers, and the MW options aren't as strong. None of these have a hangar or dual cannons, so there won't be a lot of variety. 


Legendary Excelsior