R.R.W. Maelstrom

Fleet Advanced Heavy Cruiser

Build Overview and Focus

When we started the "Starter" tier of builds, a projectile build wasn't even on the map. As I was looking through the available T5 ships, the T'Varo and its console came up as an option. The 2pc set reduces torpedo cooldowns by 25%, which for a free build is really solid. After playing with the T'Varo, I found it to be a very capable hull. I put together a build on it and got some very surprised reactions when I suggested we do a Starter Projectile build. 

This is a starter build, with no C-store items, no upgrades, and 10M EC limit. There are no Lobi, lockbox ship or promotional ship items, and no gear on this ship has been upgraded or re-engineered. See the build costs page for more detail.


A maelstrom sounded cool, open to new ship name suggestions

Meta Analysis

Budget Analysis

Since this is a starter build, the budget is 0! However, there is one item of note that needs to be picked up. The T'varo Light Warbird comes with an essential console, but only costs at most 15,000 dilithium

Change History

Build Breakdown

The T'Varo, being a T5, is extremely glassy but still has a high damage potential. This is all about projectiles! Since this ship is fast, we do have a lot of maneuverability as well, being able to Enhanced Battle Cloak and zip around where needed. Finally, budget drives the rest of the choices. 


Skill Unlocks


Korvan's focus is damage, through and through. His builds are all Kinetic builds for maximum damage. As such, his skill tree is more "Meta".

However, I do make sure to pick up a point in Hull/Shield Capacity/Restoration. I do have to stay alive, and one point in each adds a hefty amount to each of those skills when they come up.

Advanced Projectile Weapon Training is obvious since my main damage source is, well, projectiles. I did choose Advanced Energy Weapon Training too because I needed the points for the Tac Ultimate as well as I usually have some energy weapon on my ships for various reasons.

I don't use enough energy weapons for EPS to make a difference, so I skip that entirely. I do, however, move around quite a bit, so I feel that Impulse Expertise is needed. I could drop something for Advanced, but using the Competitive engines is plenty of speed usually.

As usual, I pick up Control Expertise and Drain Expertise for their resistances more than anything. Control amp just improves and exotic damage sources I have or that my teammates have. The Improved CtrlX is mostly for my token Gravity Well.

Accuracy is chosen to make sure I hit every time, and extra accuracy over what's needed just turns into more critical damage. Defensive maneuvering is the only "Improved" in the tactical tree simply because of point spend, and it doesn't contribute to damage output.

I picked up Hull Plating, but honestly could see using that point elsewhere in the future due to its low overall contribution to damage. Damage Control is even worse and not worth slotting ever.

Shield Regeneration is special in some way, but you should read Jayiie's work for details on that. I always pick up a point here because its so special.

Criticals are always a crowd pleaser. Since most of my damage output here is based on weapons, I took all 3 points in both skills. I would say if a point is to be skipped, 0.4% CrtH is not much return for a skill point. If I didn't need the spend for the Tactical ultimate, I'd evaluate if the point in Hull Capacity would be worth more (via Tyler's Duality) than the point here. I may drop Hull Plating at some point for that reason.

As far as Power goes, I'll cover all 9 unlocks at once. Subsystem tuning (and power in general) is a tricky subject. Each ship comes with power bonuses, and I am using Emergency Power to Engines 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 don't end up needing a lot of extra power because I don't do most of my damage using abilities that rely on power.

I pick up Advanced Exotic Particle Generator (EPG) because it is damage. Anything that scales with EPG will do more damage, and damage is the goal.

Shield/Hull Pen are both max because it means more damage from my torpedoes gets through.

I use Boimler's now as a "primary" cooldown mechanic, and so don't need any readiness. However, the Tactical Readiness does help fill in the gaps in Boimler's (and fill out the Tac tree).

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

Coordination is really solid for me solo, but also as part of a team. My build has 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 theirs (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Matthew 7:12).


Starship Weapons

Starship Equipment


When we look at a really tight budget build such as is required for a Starter build, we are limited to Mission and Reputation gear. However, some careful investigation found a diamond in the rough as far as T5 torpedo builds is concerned. Since this is capable to be your first "endgame" build, I'm going to cover some general topics before getting into the nitty gritty details. 

T5 ships in general are much squishier than their T6 counterparts. This ship is no exception. Early testing with a really damage-centric build led to a lot of one-shot deaths. No tank is perfect, and one-shot deaths was not ideal. That's why you'll find a ton of less-often-used powers to really ramp up the damage resistance in increase survivability. This ship doesn't struggle in the damage department, pushing 200k in a strong team, it wouldn't take much upgrading of the gear shown here to be useful on any Elite team. 

Also of note, the Plasma Destabilizer is very ship-locked, and important to this build. The simplest upgrade would be the T6 Malem, but it really isn't that much better of a platform for torping than the T5 T'Varo. However, a Fleet T6 T'Varo is certainly better than a T5. Long-term, where this build would really shine is the Legendary T'Liss, but that is very far off. Some of the techniques discussed here will be used on High-End torpedo builds, and some of the gear and techniques here will be limited to only the T'Varo/T'Liss line, sadly. 

There's quite a bit of this gear and even some of the Torpedoes that are used even on the highest-parsing builds. This makes this build, to me, a really great starter build. Some of the gear is a stepping stone that will fill a bank slot someday, but there is much of the gear that you will get use out of for quite some time, even as you work your way up to a fully premium torpedo build. 


The first 3 torpedoes we use are used on many of the high-end torpedo builds. The Dark Matter Quantum torpedo is a strong damage torpedo, as well as part of a very strong 2pc set with the console. Upgrading Tactical Team in the future to Kemocite Laced Weaponry would also be a huge boon as the Dark Matter Torpedo triggers KLW with each tick of the DoT. 

The Enhanced Bio-Molecular Photon torpedo fires quickly, but also has a special property under High Yield. It makes a giant AoE splashing balls of doom that do easily 6-figures of damage as a one-shot. This is by far the best High-Yield torpedo, especially since it can fire so quickly. 

The Neutronic Torpedo is also really strong, since it has an AoE component that does quite well under spread. You could also go for the Quantum Phase torpedo as it also does great under spread, but since we already get the 2pc to increase our Neutronic torpedo, it ends up the better option. 

Finally, we pick up the Terran Task Force torpedo, which does more damage as the target's health decreases. While often outclassed at higher build costs, it works really well here since it also gets us some extra torpedo damage with the console. 

In the rear, the focus is on the Morphogenic set. While these weapons don't do amazing damage on their own, when working with a lot of tactical seats and a lower cost budget, you can get a lot of extra damage output from the 3pc set, as well as some cooldown help from the 2pc set. We could use a couple of 360° firing arc weapons, but the benefit to the rest of the weapons from the Morpho 3pc far outweighs some low-powered weapons. We slot both pieces here. 

Finally, the Gamma reputation's Advanced Inhibiting turret puts out a -10 DRR to targets slower than you, which is most targets. 


The Deflector/Engines/Core/Shields of the ship is the Drivetrain. There are many that are available, but we picked a solid set of starter gear for any projectile build. If we start by trying to pick up an old classic, the Adapted MACO, this narrows down our options just a little. AMACO is so old, it doesn't have a warp/singularity core. This means we pick 2 pieces of AMACO and one piece of something else. You could get the Tilly Shield for some extra shield pen, but you could also get the Gamma Deflector, which adds a -15 Kinetic DRR to anything you hit with torpedoes, which will be really strong on your build. In that case, then the Engines and Shield make up the remaining 2pc. With those out of the way, we can get really any core we want. If you had the Tilly shield, the Mycelial core would make sense for the Regen. However, with the hull being so low, the Regen isn't super high impact. I ended up choosing the Terran core for two reasons. First, it gives you some extra power as combat carries on. Second, it has the [OLoad] mod built-in, which doesn't seem relevant. However, if you are able to use the Singularity Overcharge power when you need some extra damage, this gives you 20% CrtD to your weapons while its running, even though we aren't doing much with energy weapons, it helps the torpedoes. 

Starship Consoles


The Ferrofluid Hydraulic Assembly is essential for torpedoes, as it reduces the shared cooldown between firing torpedoes. We also get a 2pc with the Terran Torpedo. This is often found on high end builds, though can be replaced someday by the Eagle's console, but not a ton of difference between the two. No upgrading needed, it's the same benefit at any Mark. I only get 1% hull from upgrading it, nothing else scales with upgrading. 

The Bio-Neural Gel Pack is part of our Cooldown setup, and should only be replaced if something additional is added for cooldown management. On this build, it ends up as one of the cheapest ways to get our cooldowns lower across the board. We also get a better Neutronic torpedo because of the 2pc set this has. Makes slotting this console really worth it unless you end up replacing the Neutronic torpedo (which you shouldn't). 

The Ordnance Accelerator is probably the weakest console choice on the build. Really any +Projectile console could go here, but we do get a solid 20%+ out of it. 

The Plasma Destabilizer and the Singularity Stabilizer go together. The Plasma Destabilizer is a torpedo you can fire every minute that moves really slowly, but does a ton of AoE damage as well as applying a damage resistance debuff. Do be careful, the torpedo can damage yourself if you are within the AoE range. The best thing is to stay somewhere between 3-5km away from your targets so that your torpedoes don't damage yourself. 

The Singularity Stabilizer is mostly there for the 2pc, although the Singularity Charging that it can do is really beneficial to take advantage of the singularity powers for some flexible offense or defense ability. The 2pc makes all of your torpedoes fire faster, including the Plasma Destabilizer! You also get a little Cat1 damage out of it. This really is a great find for a T5 ship, and the 2pc set is really what makes this a viable build without the expensive Concentrate Firepower (T6 ships only) or Ceaseless Momentum (Lockbox ship only) to manage torpedo cooldowns. Combine this with the Projectile Weapons Officers, and you should have really good uptime on firing torpedoes. 

Hull-Image Refractors is one of two things we get off the exchange, and our only exchange purchased console. This is a solid add to any build as it provides survivability as well as damage. You can't fire weapons while using the ability, but it does allow you to essentially "store" healing as temporary hit points. On a ship this small, every little hit point counts. Use the ability 20 seconds before the end of any mission briefing to effectively double your hull!

If you are in a pinch on tactical consoles, Bellum Warhead Yield Chambers would work in all 3 slots. However, we are locked to Tactical slots only for the Lorca console and Morphogenic console. These are both there for the set bonuses they complete. The Lorca console also adds shield penetration (a solid skill for torpedoes!) and CrtH. This leaves us with only one console slot, and Bellum consoles inherenly have just a little more Cat1 damage than their generic counterparts, not to mention the extra CrtH. 

Set Bonuses

Bridge Officers


Rather than go through each station, we'll take this in two pieces. Damage Abilities and Surviv-abilities. 

Torpedoes only take up to a Lt. Commander seat for their enhancement powers. This does lock us into using the Lt. Commander seat on the Commander Tactical as our Torpedo enhancement. We will get more out of Torpedo Spread at this level of play than Torpedo High Yield. Since we don't have any downstream triggers either way, this makes the most sense. When you introduce Entwined Tactical Matrices, using torpedo spread can actually be a hinderance since it will lock out FAW/CSV and prevent you from getting those Torpedo Spreads. We also have no powers that are triggering off of High Yield, such as Subspatial Warheads. As such, Torpedo Spread is stronger due to it hitting multiple targets. 

We use Cannon Scatter Volley and Beam Overload as triggers for the Morphogenic set 3pc, they really don't contribute much damage of themselves since we don't have much for energy weapons. Tactical Team is pretty low on the priority list, but with a locked tactical seat, there's not much else we can put there. 

When it comes to the Universal seat, we can use the seat as a Tactical seat, but we've basically already run out of powers. Using this as a Science seat makes the most sense, especially since we can get Photonic Officer 2 at Lt. Commander to manage just about all of our cooldowns (when combined with Bio-neural Gel Pack and skill tree unlocks). We could use Gravity Well here, but without EPG or CtrlX, it ends up a pretty wasted slot. We then can pick up Destabilizing Resonance Beam as a nice free debuff that enhances our Torpedo's effectiveness. 

From there, everything else is dedicated to staying alive. We have Polarize Hull, Hazard Emitters, and Aux to SIF that are all damage resist, and two of them are solid heals as well. Attack Pattern Omega is also Jam Sensors is almost filler, but allows us to turn off a single target that might have us in their sights. Let me emphasize, with a base hull of 27,000, the damage resists are essential. This is almost half the hull of an average T6 ship! As such, we need to spend our time looking at Resists. 

I found the T5 builds need more in the area of resists than damage output. Resting, we get All Damage Resistance from 4 of our powers, with most of them around 50% uptime. 

Now, granted, these don't have 100% uptime, but all total are 168.9 All DRR. Assuming 50% uptime, 84.45 All Damage Resist. Let me tell you from flying some 2-man content, that many resists makes a world of difference, but its the difference between being 1-shot and 2-3 shot. You can't slack off on Elite content with this build. 

Emergency Power to Engines is ubiquitous for Maneuverability (both a survival tool and damage tool) as it allows us to immediately cool down Evasive Maneuvers. This allows us to get from place to place and use our weapons effectively, as well as using it to escape danger should it arise. 


Personal Traits

Starship Traits

Reputation Traits

Active Reputation

Duty Officers


The Projectile Weapons Officers are essential to this build, and thankfully pretty cheap. At least one of them is easily obtained from one of the Nimbus missions. You can get others from the exchange, doing Colonization chains, and even ranking up your Omega Reputation and Duty Officer Commendations. The Emergency Conn Hologram is used on just about all of our builds and takes a relatively common Phoenix token to acquire (not an Epic one!). The Explosives Expert is really a splurge on the build and should be the last thing you buy. It can help cut down on your threat for firing torpedoes. 

I wish I could show you how much work went into this build. Unfortunately, you have to take my word for it. There was quite a while spent designing the build, researching what combos would work, etc. Even after my initial build, I had to go back to the drawing board and redo quite a bit of the build. 

I had to fly it different. I had to practice a lot. I had to use my abilities at specific times a lot more often. I had other pilots watch me screenshare while we did missions, they would tell me "push this" "why didn't you push that" "fly closer to the station" It's not just spacebar spam with enough hull to take incidental fire. I have to watch my positioning, pay attention to when I am taking aggro, etc. Why does this matter? This is by far the glassiest of the T5 Starter builds we put together, but still shows the potential that Torpedo builds have in the grand scheme of STO. 

Ship Stats