Monday, 1 April 2013

Ultimate Alpha Strike

Our long time fleet member Deltafox has a problem.  Now, he didn’t always have this problem.  He has a powerful ship, good equipment, is a decent player, and most importantly, could kick his brother’s ass.  After all, that’s the whole point of family.  But then his brother did something to make Deltafox sad.  Deltafox’s brother came to me to build him a better starship, which I did here:  And now poor Deltafox is getting his ass kicked left and right, to the point of being curbstomped by Richard 15-0.  This state of affairs cannot be allowed to stand.

Deltafox is a tactical officer and he flies the Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit.  Not only that but he has a cloaking device to boot.  This gives him the opportunity to do something very few other builds can do.  This gives him the opportunity for the ultimate alpha strike.

The Concept:

As a tactical captain flying an escort, you only have one role: to do as much damage as possible to destroy ships.  However, in PvP you have a problem, in that there are so many heals and immunities available that a typical PvE style DPS oriented build just won’t get the job done.  What you need is a way to deliver an amount of burst damage so large that your target will not be able to cope and will not have the time to activate the abilities that will save them.  To that end, we will be using equipment and abilities that are usually overlooked in most ships.

 Here is my proposed setup:

2x fleet disruptor DHC [acc]x2 [dmg]x2
1x disruptor DBB [acc]x3
1x quantum torpedo launcher mk xii [acc]x3

2x fleet disruptor turret [acc]x2 [dmg]x2
1x Borg kinetic cutting beam

Why disruptors?  Disruptors for two reasons: 1) he already is using disruptors, and 2) the disruptor DBB [acc]x3 is far cheaper than the phaser version.  Also, if you’re lucky enough to have the disruptors proc, it will make that quantum torpedo hit all that much harder.

Why not phasers?  If they proc the target’s shields may go down and that’s far better than just a small damage resistance debuff, which isn’t even all that good if the target’s shields are still hanging on.  With this build flown properly, your opponents’ shields will not be an issue.

What? You’re joking.  How?  We’re getting to that.  Hold your horses.

Why those modifiers?  Everything has as much [acc] as possible because a missed shot does no damage and misses are frequent in PvP.  If you have a slow moving target, [acc] rolls into critical hit and damage, so it’s always a good thing.

Adapted MACO Deflector, Engine, and Shields
Tactical Consoles: 5x disruptor induction coil
Engineering Consoles: 2x neutronium armor, assimilated module
Science Consoles: field generator, cloaking device

Devices: engine battery, subspace field modulator

Why? Adapted MACO features a very nice high-capacity covariant shield.  It also boasts a rather large bonus to projectile weapon damage, which is perfect for that quantum torpedo, considering this build will be running with all disruptor consoles.  Its special set ability is mask energy field, which may occasionally help to get you out of combat so you can cloak properly.  It does have a lot of science bonuses that will be unused in this build, and suffers from a slow engine, but none of the other sets provide the bonus to hitting power.

Why no quantum chamber? I suppose you could use a quantum chamber.  Both the DBB and the torpedo are important parts of your alpha strike, but since this ship does not have a battle cloak you will be forced to fight in a traditional battle for far more than if you were in a bird of prey, so you will come to rely on your DHCs and turrets for a greater extent.

So we’re using the two piece Omega adapted Borg technology set?  The assimilated module provides a nice little weapon power boost, plus crit boost and some toughness, while the two piece set bonus with the cutting beam provides a 2.5% chance proc (so half a proc per minute per weapon) to boost weapon power and provide power drain resistance, which is somewhat useful with the tactical BOFF abilities you will be using.

Engine battery?  Yes.  You could also go with shields battery since it will be difficult to keep your shields up in a tactical escort, but it’s probably more useful to have the ability to run away when your opponents don’t want you to run away. A stationary tactical escort is a dead tactical escort.  Dual system consumables could be a better option if you’re willing to pay for them.

Boff setup:
Tactical Commander1: TT1, APD1, THY3, APO3
Tactical Lt. Cdr.: TT1, CRF1, BO3
Tactical Ensign: TS1
Engineering Lieutenant: EPtW1, RSP1
Science Lieutenant: Tractor Beam 1, HE2

Why? Maximum burst damage.

Beam overload?  Beam overload sucks! Beam overload is terrible on an array and terrible in PvE.  However, in PvP a BO3 with a top end DBB and suitable buffs can completely remove a shield facing in one hit and do significant damage to the hull.

THY3? This is actually okay in PvE as well, but here it provides a nice big boom – even nicer when your target’s shields are down.

What’s with the TS1? Well, you have to have something in the third tactical ensign slot, and you really have nothing else applicable there.  It will help knock down fighter, heavy torpedo, and mine spam, which when the need arizes is much more valuable than the slightly larger single target damage of THY1.

Where are the heals?  Why don’t I have any heals?  Okay, so this might be a bit of a problem.  You won’t be able to heal yourself.  The HE2 is a nice little hull heal and damage resistance and has the beneficial side effect of cleansing plasma and theta radiation, but you have no way to heal shields.  You will have to rely on your teammates to heal you.  That’s a problem but not that much of a problem.  If your team is competent, their transferable heals will be much more potent than your own tiny heals could ever be.  If your team is not competent, you’re screwed anyway.

What about EPtW1?  Why is that there?  I could turn that into a heal.  Sure you could, but the point of this build is the ultimate alpha strike.  That BO3 is going to really sap your weapon power level, such that for the next couple of seconds your energy weapons will be accomplishing nothing.  And with good timing you could be going into the fight with another BO3 waiting to go in the next cycle, which would be pretty counterproductive if you don’t have the weapons power to do anything with it.  Also, there is a small buff to damage with the ability.

Why a tractor beam?  You really don’t want that BO3 to miss.  On a moving target it’s going to miss a frustrating amount of the time, even with [acc]x3.

To be the best at space combat, your BOFFs need to have space traits.  You could go with all humans for extra hull healing, or with efficient Saurians for the small boost to your lower power settings, or the new Romulan BOFFs from the embassy actually have some traits that work with cloaking devices or critical hits, which could be very valuable to this build.  Deltafox already has 4 humans and a Borg engineer, so this is already covered.

2x Conn Officer – the kind that reduces cooldown attack patterns.  With these, you will be able to activate either APO3 or APD1 every 15 seconds.  That is a huge benefit.
2x Shield Distribution Officer – for buffs when brace for impact is used.  Your job is to survive long enough for your team to heal you.  These will help with that.
Projectile Weapons Officer – to increase quantum torpedo rate of fire.  This could be replaced with another shield distribution, or a hazard systems, or a tractor beam officer or something.

Here is the skill setup you’ll be wanting for this ship.
Starship attack patterns: max
Starship weapons training: max
Starship energy weapons: max
Starship projectile weapons: max
Starship maneuvers: max
Starship targeting systems: max
Starship stealth: while you are a stealth ship, you do not have battlecloak so you will not be relying on your cloaking device for survival.  None.
Starship threat control: actually a pretty efficient source of damage resistance.  If you don’t mind drawing a lot of aggro in PvE, somewhere between 3 and 6 is good.
Starship energy weapon specialization: max
Starship projectile weapons: max
Driver coil: I like 3 for use in sector space, and for flying at high speed into combat it’s nice to have some, but most of the time it won’t come into play
Starship hull repair: max
Structural integrity: max
Starship warp core efficiency: somewhere between 3 and 6
Starship electroplasma systems: This boosts your EPtW1 somewhat and also helps you transfer power to engines to run away or shields to heal, however it is not so useful in this ship as in many others.  3 is probably enough, unless you have a cruiser that you also enjoy playing.
Starship impulse thrusters: max
Starship warp core potential: somewhere between 3 and 6
Starship engine performance: somewhere between 3 and 6
Starship hull plating: somewhere between 3 and 6
Starship shield performance: somewhere between 3 and 6
Starship armor reinforcements: no more than 3
Starship auxiliary performance: no more than 3.  You have very little auxiliary related abilities here, so it is relatively unimportant for you.
Starship weapons performance: around 3, maybe a little more or a little less depending on what else you are using to get to 125+ weapon power
Starship flow capacitors: none for this build
Starship shield emitters: you actually have absolutely zero abilities that use this skill.  You could ditch this entirely, though maybe you might want to keep it if you plan on playing with a PvE build that uses EPtS and TSS.
Starship power insulators: some, especially if you fight a lot of Klingons with plasmonic leech.  6 is probably good.  I know Richard uses a lot of weapons that this will help to counter.
Starship shield systems: max
Starship graviton generator: this might help you keep things stuck with a tractor beam, but I probably wouldn’t put much or any skills here.
Starship inertial dampeners: some, especially if you fight a lot of science ships with viral matrix and knock abilities.  6 is probably good if you have enough skill points for it.

Of course, try the rest of the build first without respeccing to get a feel for what you need and what you don’t.  There are tools that can be found online to help calculate your power levels, too.

Power settings:
1: 100 weapons, 25 shields, 50 engines, 25 aux
2: 100 weapons, 50 shields, 25 engines, 25 aux
3: 25 weapons, 25 shields, 100 engines, 50 aux
4 25 weapons, 100 shields, 25 engines, 50 aux

How do I use these most effectively?  For maximum attack and decent survival, run in setting 1.  You’ll be using this setting most of the time.  In the odd situation where you have a target you want to shoot at for a while, but it’s going slowly and no one is really attacking you hard yet, go with setting 2.  Setting 3 is for running away, while setting 4 is for healing while out of danger or tanking, however limited your tanking ability will be.

Combat Style:

This is where things get a little tricky.  This is one of the more complicated styles of ship to fly well.  The first few times you try it you will probably perform worse than in a conventional PvE style dps escort.  However, once you master it the rewards are far greater. 

For this build, you’re going to want to get as close as possible to your target.  The DBB reaches its maximum effect at a miniscule 1km, so that is where you have to go to deliver your biggest hit.  As you can imagine, this takes practice to get right, and patience is hard to learn.  If you start firing from too far away, that BO3 will be largely wasted.  Not only that but while your quantum torpedoes are flying in your target will have time to redistribute their shields and absorb most of the projectile damage.  So you must wait until extreme close range to fire these weapons. 

However, the main selling feature of this ship is the decloak alpha strike.  Decloaking boosts your damage by a considerable degree, plus your victim will often not know you’re there (if they’re listening they may here you activating abilities since, unlike in real life, sound travels through space in STO).  You can get right up close to an unsuspecting ship, decloak and hammer them, if fully buffed this will often outright destroy a ship that isn’t running defensive buffs at the time.  This is actually a very good way to take out those pesky science ships that have lots of shields and various activatable heals, as their shields will still be stripped clean on a facing with the BO3, they don’t usually have tactical team redistribute available, and their weak hull is easily smashed with the quantum THY3.

The tractor beam, of course, is best saved until your target comes off a tractor beam breaking ability (like escorts just coming off of APO or PH), then you latch on and hit them with everything.

This ship has a very particular role.  You should not be standing to fight.  Actually, if your team is not currently making headway attacking their target, you are probably best served not joining in in the fighting.  Retreat to a distance where you can get the lay of the battlefield.  Pick a ripe target, wait for your buffs to come available again, then sneak in behind them without shooting to keep them unalerted to your presence.


This build needs keybinds more than pretty much any other build.  There’s just too much going on to manage with mouse clicking.  I’ve attached the file here (download to your Cryptic Studios\Star Trek Online\Live directory and then enter /bind_load_file deltafox.txt in the chat window to upload to the game) but you’ll have to set up your trays exactly as I lay out below.

Row 1: 1 Attack Pattern Alpha, 2 Brace for Impact, 3 Evasive Maneuvers, 4 Fire on My Mark, 5 Go Down Fighting, 6 Tactical Initiative, 7 Tactical Fleet, 8 Call Trade Freighter, 9 Full Impulse, 10 Quantum Slipstream
Row 2: 1 Abandon Ship, 2 Fleet Support, 3 Ramming Speed, 4 Quantum Singularity Manipulation, 5 Mask Energy Field (Space Set Power), 5 Blank, 6 Blank, 7 Blank, 8 Cloaking Device (Specialty Console), 9 Engine Battery, 10 Subspace Field Modulator
Row 3 (Cdr Tac): TT1, APD1, THY3, APO3
Row 4 (Lt Cdr Tac): TT1, CRF1, BO3
Row 5 (Ensign Tac): TS1
Row 6 (Lt Eng): EPtW1, RSP1
Row 7 (Lt Sci): TrB1, HE2

And here’s how you use it:
Switch configuration
Not a combat command, but by pressing “o” you can quickly and easily reload your bind file.  This is handy for making small adjustments.
o Playersay Deltafox Defiant $$ bind_load_file deltafox.txt

Power Presets
Use these to quickly change between your power settings.  Not so important in this ship since you’ll be running with full weapons and engines most of the time.
F9 "StatsPreset_Load Preset_1"
F10 "StatsPreset_Load Preset_2"
F11 "StatsPreset_Load Preset_3"
F12 "StatsPreset_Load Preset_4"

Chain TT and Distribute Shields
Pressing spacebar will fire all your weapons, redistribute your shields, and activate both copies of TT1.  This will give you a good tactical team rate to clear debuffs and grant a small buff your weapons every so often, while keeping your shields balanced.  You don’t have to be constantly hammering away at spacebar, just when one of the chained powers is becoming available or when you would like to distribute your shields.
space "GenSendMessage HUD_Root FireAll $$ +power_exec Distribute_Shields $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0"

Alpha Strike
Pressing “1” on the numpad will activate APA, APO3, APD1, CRF1, Tactical Initiative, and both copies of tactical team.  APO3 is placed at both ends of the line to ensure that it is activated first.
numpad1 "+TrayExecByTray 2 3 $$ +TrayExecByTray 0 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 0 5 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 3"

Tractor Beam
Pressing “2” on the numpad will make people stuck.  Save it for when you have a fast moving target in front of you who doesn’t have a tractor beam breaking ability active and you are ready to hit with your alpha strike.
numpad2 "+TrayExecByTray 6 0"

Fire On My Mark
Press “3” on the numpad will apply fire on my mark to your target, vastly reducing its damage resistance and stealth.
numpad3 "+TrayExecByTray 0 3"

Press “4” on the numpad when torpedoes are incoming or a ship is about to explode right next to you, or to hopefully activate your shield distribution officer doff.
numpad4 "+TrayExecByTray 0 1"

Press “0” and “4” on the numpad for subspace field remodulator.
numpad0+numpad4 "+TrayExecByTray 1 9"

Hull Repair
Press “5” on the numpad to activate Hazard Emitters.
numpad5 "+TrayExecByTray 6 1"

Press  “6” on the numpad to Reverse Shield Polarity, for when you really, really need it.
numpad6 "+TrayExecByTray 5 1"

High Yield and Beam Overload
Press “7” on the numpad to ready Beam Overload and Torpedo High Yield.
numpad7 "+TrayExecByTray 2 2 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 2"

Press “8” on the numpad to ready Torpedo Spread.  Good for multiple small targets, incoming heavy torpedoes, and getting a little more dps out of your quantum torpedo.
numpad8 "+TrayExecByTray 4 0"

Press “9” to run away really fast while rerouting shields aft.  This is an absolute lifesaver when things get disasterous.
numpad9 "+TrayExecByTray 0 2 $$ GenSendMessage Throttle_FullImpulse_Button FullThrottle $$ StatsPreset_Load Preset_3 $$ +power_exec reroute_shields_rear $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 3"

Press “0” and “1” on the numpad to decloak and unleash hell.  This is your decloak alpha strike.  The idea is that you have already activated all the tactical buffs available to you while cloaked, and this will decloak you, latch on to your target with tractor beam, hit them with fire on my mark, activate EPtW to counter your BO3 energy drain, and fire everything.  FOMM is duplicated at both ends because I find that it is the least consistent activation and you really, really want it to activate quickly and reliably.
numpad0+numpad1 "GenSendMessage HUD_Root FireAll $$ +TrayExecByTray 0 3 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 6 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 5 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 0 3 $$ +TrayExecByTray 1 7"

Press “Page Up” to activate your cloaking device.
PageUp "+TrayExecByTray 1 7"

Low Health
Pressing the “.” on the numpad will activate Fleet Support and Ramming Speed, and most importantly, Go Down Fighting. 
decimal "+TrayExecByTray 1 2 $$ +TrayExecByTray 1 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 0 4"

Pressing either “/” or “*” will use your battery.
multiply "+TrayExecByTray 1 8"
divide "+TrayExecByTray 1 8"

Press “Page Down” for when you want to go fast without switching power levels.
PageDown "+TrayExecByTray 0 2"

Tactical Fleet
Pressing “End” will activate tactical fleet (I put this one out of alphabetical order in the tray for consistency’s sake across the different professions).  If you want your biggest boom you should activate this right as you are decloaking, however I’ve left it off the standard buff pattern because its long cooldown means you might not want to use it all the time.
End "+TrayExecByTray 0 6"

Spaceset Power (Mask Energy Field)
Press “Home” to mask your energy signiture.  Useful for escaping detection, mostly for running away.  Again, long cooldown, so it’s put out of the way.
Home "+TrayExecByTray 1 4"

Abandon Ship
You need this ability rarely but when you do you need it easy to hit in a hurry.  “Left alt” is the easiest button I can think of for this, as it is right next to the fire key.  One word of caution is that you have to clear any existing keybinds that use the alt key or else you may accidentally do something else entirely.
Lalt "Trayexecbytraywithbackup 1 1 0 1 0"

Quantum Singularity Manipulation
Press “0” and “9” on the numpad to activate quantum singularity manipulation.  Useful for  running away.
numpad0+numpad9 "+TrayExecByTray 1 3"

Cycle while not shooting
Pressing “+” on the numpad will activate all the various abilities that are supposed to be chained, but without shooting.  Here is something new I wanted to add.  Especially with the conn officer doffs that allow you to chain your attack patterns but only if you are actually using them, in this build you will want to hold your fire in many situations while you wait for your buffs to come available and to achieve a better firing position.  But during this time you want your shields redistributed and your attack pattern delta especially to activate, and so you can’t use spacebar for everything.
Add "+power_exec Distribute_Shields $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 3 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1"

Target Fore
Pressing the “Up” arrow will target the closest enemy in your front 45 degree firing arc while redistributing your shields in that direction.
Up "+power_exec reroute_shields_forward $$ Target_Enemy_Near_ForArc 45"

Team Heal
Pressing “`”, that’s the squiggly thing to the left of the number 1, will send all your transferable heals to your current target (if friendly).  The numbers “1” thru “4” will do the same to that numbered teammate.  You don’t have a lot of healing, and most of these are actually tactical team and APD, but they can help a teammate survive if you are currently not under attack.
` "+TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 6 1"
1 "Target_Teammate 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 6 1"
2 "Target_Teammate 2 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 6 1"
3 "Target_Teammate 3 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 6 1"
4 "Target_Teammate 4 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 3 0 $$ +TrayExecByTray 2 1 $$ +TrayExecByTray 6 1"

Team Focus
Pressing “F1” thru “F4” will make your teammate’s target your own; useful if you have a team that isn’t really good at communicating and you want to ensure that you are firing on a target that someone else has also targeted.  “F5” will make your target’s target your target, but you shouldn’t have much use for that except to confuse yourself.
F1 "Target_Teammate 1 $$ Assist"
F2 "Target_Teammate 2 $$ Assist"
F3 "Target_Teammate 3 $$ Assist"
F4 "Target_Teammate 4 $$ Assist"
F5 "Assist"

Chat Command target my target
Pressing “g” will instruct your teammates to attack your target. They won’t automatically be given the target, but it does help them know upon whom to focus their firepower.  Very useful for missions such as Fleet Starbase Defense where there are certain ships that need to be destroyed first if you want to succeed (if your teammates are watching their chat window, that is).
g Team Focus fire on $target.

This is based off of my Bird of Prey build.  In comparison, you should alpha strike harder because of the 2 extra tactical consoles, plus you can take more damage.  However, you will not be able to recloak again, so you will have to work hard to extricate yourself from combat or stand and fight, taking care to position yourself to use your abilities effectively.  Klingon raptors can also use this build exactly, but they miss out on one tactical console but do not have to waste a console slot on their cloaking device, so they can make up for this with increased toughness or a specialty console.

1 comment:

  1. I'm using something similar for my Dervish for pvp. I'm using Maco set with the heavy graviton beam included in my alpha strike as well. If you want to be really crazy like me, drop one of the sci or eng consoles and add an isometric charge console from the reward packs on the exchange!

    You have a much better ship for this build than I do, as the cloak will help with the element of surprise and you have the 5 tac consoles.

    Anyway, I'm finding the learning curve for this build to be very steep. You need to be able to get right up on them without them getting their defenses up, and blow them away before they have a chance to do anything. But when it works, you can one hit weaker ships.

    Please drop in and let us know how it's going.