Ground Support Basics

Last Modified: 15 July 2023

Ground Support 


Support builds in STO are not generally healers but rather buff/debuff loadouts designed to help teammates reach new DPS thresholds. Support builds by their very nature are not intended to be DPS machines in their own right and are typically geared for Elite content only; their only real purpose is to boost people to higher numbers on specific DPS benchmark maps like Bug Hunt Elite (BHE). It’s not a great idea to use a dedicated support for anything other than those maps alongside primary DPS players; they’re potentially usable on Normal maps but will struggle to complete harder difficulties on their own.

There is not a clear number or metric to measure to evaluate a support’s performance in amplifying their team. SCM (STO Combat Meter) contains a debuff % statistic that compares the base damage of an ability against its actual applied damage to determine how much a target is debuffed, but debuff is not the ONLY way in which supports can assist their allies, as it will not account for direct damage amplification like Motivation. You can also use Number of Personal Bests Assisted, which represents how many record runs for a teammate the support has assisted in. Of course, this stat can be a little sketchy too because it could just mean you play a lot of support! It's also kind of hard to track unless you track who you've helped.

Support contributions fall broadly into 2 categories:


As a species, Bajoran (gets Creative by default) or Alien would probably be the best. This is not something that matters much. I’ve found there are good reasons to run both a Science and a Tactical captain as support. Science Captains bring Nanoprobe Infestation (a hefty -energy DRR ability) and the low cooldown Tricorder Scan (-65 all DRR), while Tactical Captains contribute Strike Team, (all damage, CrtH, CrtD), Fire On my Mark (-DRR), and Target Optics, which can expose and be doff’d to reduce DRR of affected enemies. This, combined with the use of certain kit modules, is why we’ve been using a “blue” (science) and “red” (tactical) support in our runs. 


Maximum points in Kit Performance (KPerf) and Kit Efficiency (KCD) are basically essential on the ground. Besides that, the rest of it does not matter much, as the support will not (should not) be doing much weapon damage. Bottom line, you don’t need a specialized skill tree. 

Temporal and Commando are still best-in-slot even for support builds. Temporal brings 50 Kperf, some KCD and a -DRR effect for anything with a DOT effect. Commando likewise gives KCD and reduces the cooldown on secondary weapon attacks. You could make an argument for Intel/Temporal, sacrificing some recharge haste that you probably won’t need with Mudd’s Time Device, for the Precision Offensive active. 


The Omega 3-piece provides Team Ambush Field, which is a 2.5% CrtH and CrtD boost to allies, along with a little dodge. We typically have 1 support running this and it's possible to run with more than 1 since it stacks.

The Gamma Concerted Armaments 2-piece provides 10% all weapon damage and a minor kinetic/physical resist buff. We don’t consider the 3-piece worthwhile. This leaves space for another 2-piece like Duelist Regalia, Kuumaarke Visionary, or Furtive Perseverance that gives additional KCD or KPerf. We typically run only 1 of these since its benefit is lesser than Omega 3-piece, even though it stacks.

Another option would be the Iconian Resistance Elite 3-piece, which has an active that gives 33% all damage at 25% uptime to the team. 

As far as weapons go, we haven’t landed on any that are highly impactful or reliably leave a DOT for Decayed Defenses. I’m fond of Krieger Wave weapons, as they have a chance to increase your KPerf by 25, but it’s a 5% chance to trigger and something not to rely on. Assault Phasers, Romulan Plasma weapons, Altamid Plasma, Polarized Disruptors, and regular/Fleet Disruptors have a chance to reduce DRR. Obviously if you’re using Omega Force then that weapon will be slotted. I don't believe this is an area that truly matters much.

For devices, the Pahvan Healing Crystal is a teamwide heal and Rainbow Tribbles are a teamwide CrtH boost. Large Kit Overboosters are helpful both from a cooldown and KPerf perspective, though both types of supports will need to use Mudd’s Time Device per the Ground Cooldown Calculator. This brings us to …

Kit Frame and Modules

I prefer having at least 1 Radiant kit frame from the colony. This active gives a hefty bonus to ranged damage for the team at 10/30 seconds uptime and scales off KPerf. Again, since these setups are new to us, I haven’t tested to see if they stack. Will update this post once that’s done.

Otherwise, kits with high KPerf are good. I’d steer clear of Risian on a blue support to avoid triggering a highly-damaging kit ability. I am also unconvinced by the [+MA] versatile kit frames to avoid slotting Motion Accelerator as it is significantly less powerful than the standard tactical one. Also, if you're running more than 2 supports, the red one's kits mostly stack except for Motion Accelerator, and the blue generally do not.

Here is our current kit configuration for the blue and red supports:

Editor's Note: Some items do not have current wiki links!


Worth noting that 4 of the 6 modules are Tactical. 


One-of-each has been an effective strategy thus far but again, if you wanted to stack them, the red one is the way to go.

Honorable Mention


Generic Kit Performance and Kit Cooldown traits should be prioritized. There are a few other supportive traits in the list as well. The rating is for overall impact to supporting allies generally; some traits might be situationally more powerful (like Hive Mind or Pack Leader) depending on the teammates’ builds and setup. Having a few of these is helpful. Shadow of the Black Mountain is very expensive, but it does apply to both you and the team as long as you haven't died. 

Duty Officers

Almost done! There aren’t many teamwide or support-enhancing doffs we’ve found. Here’s a few that I’ve tried so far:

Run Strategy and damage required