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Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: A Comprehensive Guide to Artificers in 5e

After posting a guide for Sorcerer here last week, I got a couple of requests for more. Since I already put in all the work formatting and finding every last race/feat, I figured why not. So, both because Artificer is new and has the least support and because it happens to be alphabetically first, here it is:
As last time, this is the scale I will be using when rating features:
Terrible Subpar Average Good Amazing Campaign-Dependent DM-Dependent
★☆☆☆☆ ★★☆☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ CD DM
Campaign-Dependent: Probably not very useful in a typical game, but in one that has different foundations (ex. stealth, intrigue, social abilities taking precedence over combat), could be very powerful.
DM-Dependent: The game rules are vague about something critical to this ability. Your DM's interpretation of the rules changes how useful the ability is.
Final note: These ratings are based around how well they would work for the kind of artificer that would be considering them in the first place. For example, an ability that requires the user to be in melee might get knocked, unless it is part of a specialization that gives the artificer the tools to be good in melee. Cases where the feature is good for specific builds but not others, or contrasts with the "expected" build taking it are noted.

Artificer

Lvl Option Rating Notes
1 Hitpoints ★★★☆☆ It's not a d6, and CON is at worst your #2 stat.
1 Armor ★★★★☆ Great armor options, only missing heavy armor by default.
1 Weapons ★★★☆☆ All simple weapons are open.
1 Tools ★★★★★ Three tool proficiencies to start, and more to come.
1 Saves ★★★★☆ Like Sorcerer, you're good at concentrating. Int is the rarest save, though, so that one is a bit of a waste.
1 Skills ★★☆☆☆ You drink and know things.
1 Equipment ★★★☆☆ Passable options. For some reason you don't start with the only toolkit you actually need, though.
1 Cantrips ★★★☆☆ A small handful of cantrips, but almost all the best options are there.
1 Spells Known ★★★☆☆ You're a prepared caster, with ritual casting. Unfortunately you're also a half-caster.
1 Spell List ★★☆☆☆ It's a pretty broad list, but... you're still a half-caster.
1 Magical Tinkering ★★☆☆☆ Prestidigitation can do most of these things.
2 Infuse Item ★★★★★ Did you know that 5e is balanced on the assumption the setting is low magic? Hope your DM is good at re-balancing encounters.
3 Specialist ★★★★★ Which way do you want to be good at what you do?
3 The Right Tool for the Job ★★☆☆☆ You can create tools. This would save you a lot of money if you didn't need the most expensive set in the game to do it.
6 Tool Expertise ★★★★☆ Good for out-lockpicking the thief, as well as the handful of times your craftsmanship will have mechanical consequences.
7 Flash of Genius ★★★★★ Don't you hate when the party fails saves? Now you can do something about it!
10 Magic Item Adept ★★★☆☆ You get more attunements, and the rest of the party's eternal disrespect for your free time.
11 Spell-Storing Item ★★★★★ Cleverly written so you can't use this as a nigh at-will Shield. Still over quadruples your 2nd level spell slots.
14 Magic Item Savant ★★★☆☆ Unfortunately, most items this would give you access to are Rare or rarer, so not something you can hammer out in a weekend.
18 Magic Item Master ★★★☆☆ You probably look like a walking rummage sale at this point. I mean, it's good, but the full casters are razing cities by now. "Good" isn't keeping up.
20 Soul of Artifice ★★★★☆ Wow, a +6 on all of your saves? That stacks with everything? Great capstone.
Overview ★★★★☆
Artificer is a bit like a half-wizard, in the same way that paladin and ranger are a half-cleric and a half-druid, respectively. However, unlike those two, what the other half is differs depending on the specialization. By default, there's a little bit of Druid of all things in there, with lots of buff, healing, battlefield control spells, and more extra health bars than are probably sane. What the rest fills in with depends on build choices. An artificer that chooses to take a supporting role in their party can make everyone better in ways a wizard or cleric can only be jealous of, while one that chooses to buff themselves can get close to challenging a fighter's consistent martial dominance.
However, like Fighter, it's best abilities are passive, and are strongest during long adventuring days when the party has to be careful with its resources. An artificer is never going to be able to utterly delete an encounter the way a focused sorcerer, wizard, warlock, or paladin can.

Specialists

Alchemist
Lvl Feature Rating Notes
3 Tool Proficiency ★★☆☆☆ A free tool proficiency. Mostly flavor, unless your PC actually does have a day job.
3 Alchemist Spells ★★☆☆☆ Healing Word partially redeems nine other spells that you get five levels after they're good.
3 Experimental Elixir (cont.) This didn't need the randomness nerf. It bothers me enough I'm going to go into detail here:
3 Healing ★★★☆☆ This is a slightly more effective version of a Cure Wounds spell, at the cost of taking more time to use (Create + Administer = 2 turns.)
3 Swiftness ★☆☆☆☆ How often does Longstrider make it into a daily prep list?
3 Resilience ★★☆☆☆ A half-strength, concentrationless Shield of Faith as an action. Passable if you know you're going into a fight at least.
3 Boldness ★★★☆☆ Bless, but concentrationless and single target. Same as above.
3 Flight ★★★★☆ Flight, but too slow to be combat-useful unless you're fighting landbound melee enemies in a large open space. Great for that and good for getting past puzzles.
3 Transformation ★★★★★ Turn a first level spell into a better version of a second-level spell. Put a magic weapon bonus on the Monk's fists, let the bard impersonate people, let the rogue get in through the drain. How did this option get past balance passes?
3 Experimental Elixir ★★☆☆☆ Back in 3.5/Pathfinder, there was what was known as DBZ Syndrome: where certain characters were gods in combat... but only after they spent the first few rounds powering up and screaming, so the fight was usually over before they got to participate. Asking your barbarian to chug a potion of Boldness instead of running towards the enemy axe first is DBZ syndrome at its finest. Like its fellows in the DBZS support group, it's pretty good in an ambush or solving problems out of combat.
5 Alchemical Savant ★★★★☆ You're a good healer, and a less incompetent blaster.
9 Restorative Reagents ★★★★☆ Your Healing elixirs are now significantly better than Cure Wounds, to the point where it might be worth it to burn first-level slots to have extra ones in a fight.
15 Chemical Mastery ★★★☆☆ Two strong spells... that you could have had four levels ago if you had just played a cleric.
G Overview ★☆☆☆☆ The Alchemist makes the Artificer half wizard, half cleric, and probably does that worse than an actual half wizard/half cleric, which is already a terrible idea. A wizard/cleric would know more spells, have better options, be better at them, have more spell slots, and, most importantly, never require an ally to use their own damn action to activate a minor buff.
Armorer
Lvl Feature Rating Notes
3 Tools of the Trade ★★☆☆☆ A free tool proficiency. Mostly flavor, unless your PC actually does have a day job.
3 Armorer Spells ★★★★☆ Much better. A focus on buffs and control scales better with the half-speed casting than the direct damage and healing effects of Alchemist.
3 Power Armor ★★★★★ Paging Mr. Stark. Has two types, and you can swap during a rest:
3 Guardian ★★★★★ You are now a tank, literally and metaphorically. You can coerce people into pounding away at your absurd AC and bottomless pit of temp HP.
3 Infiltrator ★★★☆☆ The Lightning Launcher is... passable. Better than a cantrip, but an actual martial class will badly beat it in damage. Letting you get into a party with full plate under your tux is hilarious, though.
5 Extra Attack ★★★★☆ The gold standard in good 5th level abilities.
9 Armor Modifications ★★★★★ This ups the power of one of your core abilities by 66%, of course this is amazing.
15 Perfected Armor ★★★☆☆ Good abilities, but 1. things you try tanking at 15th level don't usually fail strength saves, and 2. 3d6+10 is not a good use of a turn at this level. Changing that to 5d6+10 and advantage on two attacks is better, but mostly from the "advantage" part.
G Overview ★★★★☆ This fills in the other half with either some Barbarian flavor or some ranger flavor, making you into either an absurd tank or a competent ranged sneak that's still far tougher than a sneaky ranged character has any right to be. And probably better at that than an actual ranger.
Artillerist
Lvl Feature Rating Notes
3 Tool Proficiency ★☆☆☆☆ You are a woodcarver, apparently. Unless your PC has a day job, this is never going to be relevant.
3 Eldritch Cannon ★★★★★ You can have a shoulder parrot. That's also a cannon/flamethrowebetter healer than the cleric. Amazing.
3 Artillerist Spells ★★★★☆ Damage spells don't hold up as well when you get them as a half-caster, but you get all of the best ones, alongside some control spells that scale much better.
5 Arcane Firearm ★★★★★ Basically Elemental Affinity, but on everything you cast. Also, you cast spells by shooting them out of a gun.
9 Explosive Cannon ★★★★☆ Half of this ability is good. Improving your cannon's damage is good for keeping up with the party. But if you're going to blow up the gun, don't half-ass it and use your shiny new Fireball spell.
15 Fortified Position ★★★★★ Your shoulder parrot-gun now has a twin and warps space-time to make your whole party harder to hit. Awesome.
G Overview ★★★★★ Takes the Wizard with a pinch of druid aspect and double down on it with even more temp hp, summoning, and a side of explosions. 6d8 damage might make the cannons the most potent at-will bonus action in the game, and it comes in multiple flavors. Being a passable blaster caster and controller on top of that and you get a very strong package.
Battle Smith
Lvl Feature Rating Notes
3 Tools of the Trade ★★☆☆☆ A free tool proficiency. Unlike the others, this might actually come up in play due to all the armor and weapons you're going to find.
3 Battle Smith Spells ★★★★☆ Good buff spells and some healing.
3 Battle Ready ★★★★★ When you, maker of magic weapons, attack with one, you use your casting stat instead of STDEX, with no other restrictions, and you get martial weapon proficiencies too. This is only less pushed than Hexblade because INT is less exploitable than CHA.
3 Steel Defender ★★★★☆ Unlike the cannon, you don't have to spend your first turn in the fight building him, and he starts with the defensive ability. Besides those two things, the cannon is better. Slightly worse than the cannon is high praise, though.
5 Extra Attack ★★★★☆ The gold standard in good 5th level abilities.
9 Arcane Jolt ★★★☆☆ This is a baby smite ability. In two levels, Paladin gets a slightly worse baby smite as a passive. Essentially-free-action ranged healing saves this.
15 Improved Defender ★★☆☆☆ Arcane Jolt gets better. The Steel Defender gets a boost to its AC that still leaves it below what the cannons get, and an ability that does ~7 damage. At level 15.
G Overview ★★★★☆ Take a side of Fighter to go along with your wizard buffs. Fantastic at maintaining effectiveness over a long adventuring day, and with the right buffs (meaning Haste) can go shot for shot with a fighter in a damage race surprisingly well. This is, of course, riskier than just being a fighter due to the action cost of casting as well as the perils of losing concentration on Haste, but you're also a lot more flexible than a fighter as well.

Infusions

An artificer always has twice as many infusions known as they can have infused at once. Annoyingly, you can only affect one item with each infusion at a time, so no handing out +2 weapons to every martial in your party. That said, this is still a strong ability. As a note, you can't double down by infusing an already magical item, if you find one, consider whether it would be better to let someone else have it.
Lvl Option Rating Notes
2 Armor of Tools ★★★☆☆ The INT bonus is useful if you want to show up the thief that much harder.
2 Enhanced Arcane Focus ★★★★★ Fantastic for an Artillerist, or if there's a Warlock in your party. The lack of a save DC bonus is a minor nerf over similar actual magic items like Rod of the Pactkeeper, though.
2 Enhanced Defense ★★★★★ +1 Magic Armor is a rare quality item you're getting at level 2. You annoyingly can't have both a magic shield and armor with this, but that's what you're a blacksmith for...
2 Enhanced Weapon ★★★★★ Again, 5e is balanced on the assumption these are rare. One of these in the hands of the party's strongest damage dealer is huge for making damage reliable.
2 Mind Sharpener ★★★★★ You've got a good CON save, this should take you from rarely failing Concentration saves to never failing.
2 Repeating Shot ★★★★★ Remove the Loading property and a heavy crossbow only loses to a longbow if you're regularly shooting >100/400 feet. After level 10, switch back to an Enhanced Longbow.
2 Replicate Magic Item ★★★☆☆ A couple of decent utility picks.
2 Returning Weapon ★★★☆☆ Throwing weapons are only the best option if you're a STR-based ranged character or you desperately need to use only one hand for attacking. You don't.
6 Boots of the Winding Path ★★★☆☆ Teleportation is great, but Artificer is already crammed full of Bonus Actions and this has too many restrictions.
6 Homunculus ★★★☆☆ A familiar that can't talk, telepathically or otherwise, can't share its vision, but can attack (badly) while using you bonus action you almost certainly have better things to do with. Tougher and still has the spell channeling, though, so that's good.
6 Radiant Weapon ★★★★★ Still a magic weapon, and Blindness is a great condition. Also, this can get around the "one item per infusion" requirement on Enhanced Weapon so you can hand a magic sword to another PC that has less to do with their bonus action.
6 Replicate Magic Item ★★★★☆ Some of these are really good problem solvers if you know what you're going to be dealing with for the next level.
6 Repulsion Shield ★★★★★ This can turn an entire multiattack flurry into just one hit, no save. Also, this can pair with Enhanced Armor to have both a magic shield and magic armor.
6 Resistant Armor ★★★☆☆ Unless you know you're about to fight something that does most of its damage as one of the available types (ex. dragons, undead, angels, fiends) Enhanced Armor is better.
6 Spell-Refueling Ring ★★★★☆ Good for making up for the smaller number of spells/day you get.
10 Armor of Magical Strength ★★★☆☆ I should point out this means you can't use Enhanced Armor. If you have a actually magical suit of armor, then this is much better.
10 Helm of Awareness ★★★★☆ Is anything better than being able to ambush an enemy by walking into their own ambush? Yes, but this is still good.
10 Replicate Magic Item ★★★★★ Some of these can snap an encounter or puzzle in two, or fix glaring character flaws in you or the party.
14 Replicate Magic Item ★★★★★ Same as the above, but more so.

Multiclassing

While Artificer is fairly merciful in that it doesn't have many things that scale directly with its level the way Sorcerer, Monk, or Cleric do, the fact that it's a half-caster hurts badly. Many of your spells are on their way to obsolescence by the time you get them already, and every delay puts you further behind. On the plus side, a multiclass into a full caster fills out spells slot progression faster than your actual class does.
Barbarian ★★★★☆
Actually not a bad idea. Barbarian doesn't play nicely with spells, but Artificer isn't short on ways to use their spell slots without technically casting them. The fact that so many infusions make you better at melee and most archetypes of Barbarian have nothing to do with their bonus action make this actually respectable.
  • Rage doesn't provide resistance when using heavy armor, so taking Armorer's massive temp hp ability doesn't combo. Hilariously, Bear Totem doesn't have this clause, so you can pair two of the best tanking abilities in the game with an ability that discourages enemies from attacking anyone else. Oh, and Fire Shield, so you enemies can break their fists upon your face.
  • If you don't take Bear Totem, you can still use the temp hp + resistance combo by being an Artillerist and making the Protector tower. This is actually stronger than the above at lower levels, but eventually gets outpaced.
  • This is one of the few cases where Alchemist's lack of concentration on its knockoff Bless/Shield of Faith/Alter Self/Fly is respectable. Still don't take it, and just use your action to hit things with an axe.
Bard ★★☆☆☆
The ability scores don't synergize well, and you already have plenty to do with your bonus action. Decent for grabbing extra skills and expertises, but rogue is more convenient for that. The fact that it's a full caster makes this attractive for grabbing extra slots, but you get high-level spells slow enough as it is without multiclassing.
Cleric ★★★☆☆
If you want to be a healer, do this instead of being an Alchemist. Grab some domains while you're here.
Useful Domains:
  • Forge: Remember how I said you couldn't get both magic armor and a magic shield? Now you can. Also, heavy armor and extra tools.
  • Life: The level 1 ability is already as strong as the Alchemist's 5th level ability as a healer. And you get heavy armor.
  • Knowledge: Expertise in two intelligence-based skills, become proficient in any skill for ten minutes.
  • Order: Voice of Authority keys off any spell cast on an ally, not just cleric spells. Also, heavy armor and another face skill.
  • Tempest: Martial Weapons, heavy armor, and the Channel Divinity lets you max the damage of lightning or thunder spells. Artificer doesn't have a huge number, but it's still useful.
  • Zeal: Same as Tempest, but Fire/Thunder instead.
Druid ★★★☆☆
Artificer doesn't primarily rely on spells for damage, so you might think Moon Druid is useful. It can be, since the Cannons don't require you to speak commands to fire, but none of your infusions will work as a bear. Still this is a lot of free hitpoints at low levels. This is not a long-term solution. By mid-level, monsters can tear through a grizzly's HP in less than a round.
Fighter ★★★☆☆
Action Surge is strong, but honestly Artificer doesn't have the tools to really abuse it the way full casters or other nova classes can. The passive bonuses like Fighting Style are very helpful, though, since Artificer is already excellent at stacking passive modifiers and generally will spend rounds either dealing or taking attacks.
  • With the Defense Fighting Style, an Artificer can get to a permanent AC 26.
  • Between Archery Fighting Style and Enhanced Weapon, an artificer can get +4 on attacks beyond their proficiency+stat, nearly enough to cancel Sharpshooter's penalty.
Monk ★☆☆☆☆
You make magic armor and magic weapons, why would you try being good at using neither?
Paladin ★★★☆☆
You shouldn't have the charisma to make this work well. If you do for some strange reason, then the degree both classes can stack buffs is incredible.
  • Good cut-off points: 2 (fighting style, Divine Smite), 3 (Channel Divinity), 5 (extra attack), 6 (aura of protection), 7 (Oath Aura)
  • Between Enhanced Weapon and Sacred Weapon, you really should be hitting damn near every attack.
  • Also, the way both classes can pile on save bonuses (Cloak/Ring of Protection + Flash of Genius + Aura of Protection) should make it really hard to fail.
  • As paladin is a half-caster, you will unlock slots that you don't know spells for. These can be filled by upcasting, or burned for smites.
Ranger ★★☆☆☆
You get a skill proficiency, natural explorer, a fighting style, and half spell progression like Paladin. You should probably be taking rogue if you want skills, but if you want both a skill and Archery/Defense Fighting Style, here's your two-stop shop with perks.
Rogue ★★★★☆
You get Expertise and a skill at level 1. Unless this is a very heavily RP campaign, cunning action isn't very useful since you aren't subtle in a fight and you have good bonus action abilities already.
  • If it is a heavy-RP campaign, Expertise + Cloak/Boots of Elvenkind makes you a stealth God.
Sorcerer ★☆☆☆☆
Metamagic or possibly bloodline abilities are what you're here for. You don't get enough sorc points to spam metamagic abilities, and you get few enough spells already. For that matter, most bloodlines do things artificer already has.
  • Draconic, Aberrant and Stone bloodlines give you armor you should already be wearing.
  • Pyromancer, Storm, Giant, and Wild Magic all key off of spells you cast. You don't have the spell slots to spam them like Sorcerer does.
  • Phoenix, Clockwork, and Divine actually are useful, but their uses will be limited by their nature or your low charisma. Also, you already have abilities that do most of this, but using an ability that's easier to max.
Wizard ★★★★★
Behold, the only other INT-based class! You're here for the schools.
  • Evocation lets an Artillerist not blow up their party. Still need to be careful with the flamethrowers, though.
  • Divination is as useful as ever.
  • War is hilariously good at buffing your already absurd AC and saves, and the drawback doesn't effect the turrets, the defender, or your ability to punch people with your iron fists.
  • Theurgy can grab the Channel Divinity of a cleric domain.
  • Bladesong can make your AC ridiculous, while opening your shield hand up.
Warlock ★★☆☆☆
You're here for a patron, some invocations, and maybe a pact boon. Stop there, the rest doesn't help.
  • Few patrons actually help all that much. Fey, Hexblade, and Great Old One are the only ones that don't scale by warlock level.
  • Invocations that grab at-will spells are handy. Agonizing Blast is a minor improvement over an Artillerist or Alchemist's cantrips, but a meaningful one. Most everything else just saves an infusion, which is much cheaper buildwise than a couple levels.
  • Pact of the Blade will not beat the weapons you make. Pact of the Tome scales with Warlock, not character level. Pact of the Chain is far better than the Homunculus, though.

Feats

Any racial feats worth mentioning with be brought up in discussing races, next section.
All feats here presume that the character is planning on doing something relevant. If you aren't a social character, Actor isn't four stars. If you aren't touching melee with a ten foot pole, War Caster isn't five stars.
Feat Rating Notes
Actor ★☆☆☆☆ You are not the face. You drink and know things.
Alert ★★☆☆☆ You can't delete an encounter, and you have infusions for this.
Athlete ★☆☆☆☆ You have infusions for this.
Charger ★☆☆☆☆ You have better uses for your bonus action than this.
Crossbow Expert ★★★☆☆ Repeating Shot is technically better, since it reloads itself. The close-quarters bonus is good, though.
Defensive Duelist ★★☆☆☆ You should have spells for this.
Dual Wielder ★☆☆☆☆ No.
Dungeon Delver ★★★★☆ With your tools bonuses, AC, and save bonuses, you actually make a decent point man.
Durable ★★☆☆☆ Same healing bonus with a useful stat boost.
Elemental Adept ★☆☆☆☆ You're not an elemental specialist.
Grappler ★☆☆☆☆ Just hit them.
Great Weapon Master ★★★★☆ This means you aren't holding a shield, but your magic weapons make this more accurate than it's balanced to be.
Healer ★☆☆☆☆ You have spells for this.
Heavily Armored ★☆☆☆☆ Just multiclass, that's cheaper.
Heavy Armor Master ★★★★★ Armorer + this is horrifying.
Inspiring Leader ★★☆☆☆ You have other ways of stacking temp hp.
Keen Mind ★★★☆☆ A casting stat boost, and a way to force the DM to take notes for you.
Lightly Armored ★☆☆☆☆ This does literally nothing for you.
Linguist ★★★☆☆ If you have to talk to a lot of foreigners, sure. Int bonus too.
Lucky ★★★★★ As good for you as anybody.
Mage Slayer ★★☆☆☆ This doesn't stop a spell. This is situational, and you can't nova melee damage.
Magic Initiate ★☆☆☆☆ Just multiclass if Eldritch Blast is that important.
Martial Adept ★☆☆☆☆ Just multiclass Fighter.
Medium Armor Master ★☆☆☆☆ No.
Mobile ★★★★☆ Hit & Run isn't your thing, but it can be.
Moderately Armored ★☆☆☆☆ You have this.
Mounted Combatant ★★★★★ Small race + Steel Defender + this can get horrifying.
Observant ★★★☆☆ If you only need the one point of INT, sure. Perception can always be higher.
Polearm Master ★★☆☆☆ Again, you don't have a shield, and your bonus action is important.
Resilient ★★★☆☆ You've got a lot of save boosters, there's never enough.
Ritual Caster ★★★★★ You've got the same casting stat as the class with the most rituals.
Savage Attacker ★☆☆☆☆ Multiclassed or not, this is not worth it.
Sentinel ★★★★☆ You don't have the huge damage to make this punishing, but you're in the right place for it.
Sharpshooter ★★★★★ This + Hand Crossbow + Reloading Weapon + Archery Fighting Style is horrifying.
Shield Master ★★★★★ Your Dex is probably terrible. This fixes that.
Skilled ★★★★☆ Why wouldn't want to be proficient in everything?
Skulker ★★☆☆☆ Sneaking isn't your thing.
Spell Sniper ★★★★☆ For how much you can get out of Fire Bolt, this is good.
Tavern Brawler ★☆☆☆☆ Don't encourage yourself to not use your magic weapons.
Tough ★★★☆☆ Actual CON is more important. If you still want HP after that's maxed, sure.
War Caster ★★★★★ Almost mandatory if you're going to use weapons and spells.
Weapon Master ★☆☆☆☆ This does nothing.

Races

Tiefling (Winged) DM Aarakocra DM
First off, the 800lb giant eagle in the room. Go back and look at Alchemist. The flight elixir is one of the only genuinely good options, and it's probably the most nerfed true flight I've seen in 5e. This is the same thing, at first level, with no nerfs at all. Edition 3.5 infamously had pants-on-head-idiotic balancing and even those people knew that flight at level 1 was over the line. Yes, I know that you fall out of the sky and blow a death save if you go unconscious. Yes, I know there's no cover. It doesn't matter.
Flight doesn't just let you flap about in midair, it lets you move into cover where no one else can reach, like roofs, or treetops. It lets you utterly ignore difficult terrain, like the many different variations you have the spells to make. It lets you keep enemies away. It lets you avoid enemies blocking your way. It's key, useful powers granted from a half-dozen different sources, far more than any other race gives you, and I don't care what class you're playing, if these are on the table anything else is a weakness. They are way too strong and I recommend banning them, or at the very least nerfing them so true flight is only possible at higher level, like 3.5's Raptorans. Rant over again.
That said, if these are on the table for some reason, take Tiefling over Aarakocra, the Int bonus and resistance is much more useful than the talons and extra speed.
Now on with out regularly scheduled discussion:
Players Handbook:
Race Rating Notes
Dragonborn ★☆☆☆☆ Strength is only helpful if you're not an armorer and still got heavy armor somehow.
Dwarf ★★★☆☆ Lots of durability perks, even more tools, and finally even more hp or some extra strength to help you carry your armor.
High Elf ★★★☆☆ Dex isn't your highest priority, and the other bonuses besides INT are minor. Perception is still good.
Drow ★☆☆☆☆ You make too many attack rolls to be taking Sunlight Sensitivity.
Elf (Other) ★★☆☆☆ Dex isn't a bad thing. That all that can be said.
Half-Elf ★★★☆☆ One of the only races with a total +4 bonus, although +2 of that doesn't do much. Charm resistance and your choice of two skills round out the good news. Alternatively, steal a trick from your deadbeat elven dad. Elven Accuracy and Prodigy as racial feats round this out.
Halfling ★★☆☆☆ Dex isn't a priority stat for you. Being able to ride your Steel Defender like a horse is.
Half-Orc ★☆☆☆☆ See "Dragonborn"
Human ★★★☆☆ Good if you're multiclassing and need four different stats >13. For some reason.
Variant Human ★★★★★ Bonus to two ability scores, a skill, and a feat. Good for a head start on the feats you need to multiclass well.
Gnome ★★★★★ If you pick anything else, have a reason to. Bonuses to your key stats, advantage on a bunch of saves, and you can ride a steel defender.
Tiefling ★★★☆☆ Resistance, spells, and an INT bonus. Not a big one, but good.
Volo's Guide to Monsters
Race Rating Notes
Aasimar ★★☆☆☆ The abilities save a chassis that does nothing for you.
Bugbear ★★★☆☆ The reach bonus and extra damage makes this actually decent for a melee fighter.
Firbolg ★☆☆☆☆ An escape trick and two utility spells. Other races do it better.
Goblin ★★☆☆☆ You probably aren't sneaky, and your bonus action is occupied.
Hobgoblin ★★★★☆ Tough, a possible get out of failure free card, and an Int bonus. Good stuff.
Kenku ★★☆☆☆ Good skills and a dex bonus. Good if you're a spy, great if you're a spy's handler.
Kobold CD In an underdark-heavy campaign, Pack Tactics badly outweighs Sunlight Sensitivity. Otherwise, it doesn't even come close.
Lizardfolk ★★☆☆☆ A Con bonus is good, skills are good, the rest you will never use.
Orc ★☆☆☆☆ See "Dragonborn"
Tabaxi ★★☆☆☆ +2 Dex bonus, skills, and speed. Amazing at getting into the fight.
Triton ★★☆☆☆ Possibly the best underwater race for you, for all that says.
Yuan-Ti Pureblood ★★★★★ An Int bonus, advantage on saves vs. all magic, and straight-up immunity to a damage type.
Elemental Evil Player's Companion
Race Rating Notes
Fire Genasi ★★★★☆ A bonus to two key abilities, spells, and resistance to the most common damage.
Genasi (Other) ★★☆☆☆ Durable, with spells and resistances.
Goliath ★☆☆☆☆ See "Dragonborn"
Eberron
Race Rating Notes
Changeling ★★★☆☆ A stat boost to your casting stat. Shapeshifting and two face skills and languages make this an easy pick for socialites.
Kalashtar ★☆☆☆☆ This helps two fewer saves than Gnome.
Mark of Detection ★★★☆☆ Utility abilities attached to a small casting boost.
Mark of Finding ★☆☆☆☆ This doesn't help you.
Mark of Handling ★★★☆☆ Utility abilities attached to a small casting boost.
Mark of Healing ★★☆☆☆ You get more healing spells.
Mark of Hospitality ★★☆☆☆ Halfling is the draw here.
Mark of Making ★★★★★ More tools, better tools, great stat bonuses, and spells. Of course it's good, it's right there in the name.
Mark of Passage ★★★★☆ Good utility spells, good stats, and you're more mobile.
Mark of Scribing ★★★★★ Still all of Gnome's good stuff, with extra utility spells.
Mark of Sentinel ★★☆☆☆ You're tough and perceptive. Also, this is the only way to get Counterspell on your list.
Mark of Shadow ★★☆☆☆ Elf comes with more spell options now.
Mark of Storm ★★☆☆☆ Resistance, elf perks, skill perks, and spells.
Mark of Warding ★★★★☆ Dwarf with a casting stat and thieve's tools bonus. Cheats Armor of Agathys onto your spell list, in case you weren't tanky enough already.
Beasthide Shifter ★★☆☆☆ You're tough, can get tougher, and you get a skill.
Shifter (Other) ★☆☆☆☆ This doesn't help you.
Warforged ★★★★★ Good stats, resistances, proficiencies, and an AC boost. Almost like you were made for it.
Ravnica
Race Rating Notes
Centaur ★☆☆☆☆ See "Half-Orc"
Loxodon ★★☆☆☆ You're stoic and tough.
Minotaur ★☆☆☆☆ See "Half-Orc"
Simic Hybrid ★★★★☆ Good stats, and by Pelor, a "flying" ability that isn't broken. I knew WotC could do it. You could instead climb or swim, and you can later get armor or star in a hentai.
Vedalken ★★★★★ Like gnome, but with better skills and waterbreathing instead of saves.
Other
Source Race Rating Notes
Tortle Package Tortle ★☆☆☆☆ See "Dragonborn"
Tome of Foes Gith ★★★☆☆ An intelligence bonus and some spells.
PS:Zendikar Ula Merfolk ★★★★★ Great stats, a tool, a skill, a cantrip, and you can breathe underwater.
PS:Zendikar Cosi Merfolk ★★★☆☆ A casting stat boost, skills, a cantrip, and underwater breathing.
PS:Zendikar Emeria Merfolk ★☆☆☆☆ No.
PS:Zendikar Kor ★★☆☆☆ You're a really tall halfling gymnast. I'm not joking.
PS:Zendikar Vampire ★★★☆☆ You're smart, and can heal by drinking blood.

Builds

The Juggernaut
Abilities: INT > CON > Everything else
Races: Gnome, Vedalken, Warforged, Simic Hybrid
Specialization: Armorer
Plate Armor + Shield + Enhanced Armor + Repulsion Shield + Cloak & Ring of Protection = AC 25. With Warforged/Simic, AC 26.
Dip a level of fighter to get AC 27 from Defense Fighting Style.
Now take Heavy Armor Mastery, so the first 3 points of damage per hit don't count.
Then take Bear Totem Barbarian. Cut the damage you're still taking in half.
Now consider that being an Armorer means you've got an endlessly regenerative wellspring of temp HP. And you can cast Fire Shield. You can defeat some enemies by headbutting their fist until it breaks. That's not hyperbole, it's what the math says.
Oh, and an Armorer gets the ability to impose disadvantage on their attempts to attack people who are not the tank.
You might consider adding FighteBarbarian to be overkill, and it is, but this is still really tanky as a pure Artificer.
The Engineer
Abilities: INT > CON > Everything else
Races: Gnome, Vedalken
Specialization: Artillerist
Infuse the Enhanced Arcane Focus, then build a tiny Eldritch Cannon (with legs) first thing in the fight. As the second thing you do in the fight, order it to climb on a PC's shoulder like the Predator's cannon, and open fire. For a flamethrower, put it on one of the party's martials to keep the enemies in range without hitting said PC. Same for a Defender, since they're the ones most likely to need the hp. A ballista can go anywhere.
If there is a decent number of enemies that fit under one of your blasting spells, blast away. If not, then either throw out some buffs on the party or fire away with cantrips.
The Dungeonpunk Cowboy
Abilities: INT > CON > Everything else
Races: Gnome
Specialization: Battle Smith
You ride a steel horse, shoot people with your custom-built semiautomatic light crossbow, and use the Mounted Combatant feat to make your Defender a lot more durable than he should be. Alternatives to the crossbow:
  • You use a semiauto hand crossbow to keep your other hand free for a shield or spellcasting.
  • You gave up the shield and +1 crossbow for a +2 shortbow
  • You gave up on ranged combat and use a lance. Funnily enough, small races have no problems wielding a lance, unlike other reach weapons. You also use Enlarge/Reduce to make your steel horse bigger to get advantage from Mounted Combatant.
If you're fighting from range, take Sharpshooter. You can afford the to-hit penalty more than most classes, especially with a fighter dip. Also, consider using your first action to throw out some buffs like Haste on yourself or other members of the party.
submitted by LittleKingsguard to DnD

6

LSS Pioneer [430K+] Exotic Torp Dranuur Scout Ship

Pioneers are settlers seeking new horizons and new opportunities in new lands. Pioneer is also a homograph in Lukari, meaning “active, energized, invigorated.”
Both meanings are well-suited for a Lukari scout ship, as the Lukari settle their new colony on Dranuur with their re-united Kentari brethren and as they learn from their Federation allies how to defend themselves with Science! The name also has special affinity with her captain, a Federation Temporal Agent who served on a Pioneer-class vessel.
Meta Analysis
Some people like the bottom line upfront.
  • 244K ISA
  • 433K ISE with a tank
Budget: All gear is Mk XV gilded, 1 Lobi ship, five T6 C-store ships, a T6X token, about 100M EC in traits, boff powers, consoles, and doffs. It also requires access to a T5 colony holding (see more at the end). This is not a cheap ship, but neither is it as mind-bogglingly expensive as the highest-end exotic builds, which would at least require another Lockbox ship (Auxiliary Ejection Assembly) and another Lobi ship (Plasma Storm).
Why the Dranuur Scout Ship?
The current sci meta has several different leans and I think emphasizing the Deteriorating Secondary Deflector and Spore-Infused Anomalies is stronger than chasing extra torpedo spreads with the Entwined Tactical Matrices trait and Morphogenic 3-piece set. To that end, I wanted a ship that could strongly emphasize science powers, to the point where I am only using 1 tactical power, 2 engineering powers, and a temporal power. The rest are science. The Dranuur is the best ship at this price point that can support that setup.
I do NOT slot Emitter Synergy nor Checkmate. Emitter Synergy requires Tactical or Intel powers to stack, which this build is extremely short on. Slotting Checkmate would lead down a different offshoot of exotic builds, namely the “clicky” one. Checkmate really benefits from having a Control other than Gravity Well to proc it for more uptime, as does the Unconventional Systems personal trait. If I was going more heavy on Controls or really trying to milk console actives, then slotting Checkmate and Unconventional Systems would bring a large benefit, but at the cost of either a Temporal power or a Secondary Deflector proc.
Other contenders for “best science ship” are all supremely expensive, but I’ll discuss them as well:
  • The Verne is regarded as the best science ship, boasting full temporal spec and highly-flexible seating that can stack heavy sci. Its console is also highly-touted. If I was building a Verne, I’d drop Aux to Structural/Emergency Power to Engines and pick up Tactical Team/Engineering Team. This would let me swap out of the Regenerative Crystal Matrix Shield for the Competitive Engines. Engineering Team would be necessary as a low cooldown heal to power Logistical Support. That said, the Verne is an expensive ship and while it has the benefits of full Temporal Spec, its mastery package is inferior to the scout ship (additional 15% CrtD) and it doesn’t have raider flanking. Good time to recall that some Exotics can flank and some don't. For how I like to run my ships, I’d rather have a Dranuur.
  • The Mirror Crossfield, Glenn, and Edoulg are too tac-heavy for my liking. If you’re using those ships, you’re likely better off pursuing the ETM route with more torpedo spreads and the Morphogenic 3-piece that STO-league.com recommends. The 4 forward weapons on those ships are better-suited for that loadout anyway. The Mirror Crossfield is a Lockbox ship, the Edoulg is a Lobi ship, and the Glenn is a Legendary ship--all expensive.
Other alternative ships that aren’t as highly touted but are much cheaper:
  • At the C-store level, the Eternal use a similar setup, but it has to drop a science power and pick up an eng. The Fleet Nautilus is better suited to the tac-heavy setup.
  • The Vulcan T’Pau Scout Ship is slightly inferior to the Dranuur due to lack of temporal seating/worse power bonuses but is very similar. It’s also free assuming you were around during the event. All you have to do is swap CIF for Ionic Turbulence I and Exotic Modulation for Unconventional Tactics on the cheap end or maybe Emitter Synergy.
At the end of the day, the Dranuur is the best ship for this type of (tac-light science) build at this price point and I’d say is at least a dark horse contender for best science ship.
Why an Engineer?
The short version is that I didn’t want to spring for another Iktomi on a brand-new toon. Expensive! It’s also satisfying about taking something not as touted and beating the vast majority of those blindly following the meta. The Engineer is the weakest for exotic builds by about 5% final DPS at this level of performance. Tactical captains using exotic builds benefit from Tactical Fleet, Fire On My Mark, and Attack Pattern Alpha (but NOT Go Down Fighting). Science captains benefit from Scattering Field, Science Fleet, and Sensor Scan as well as the utility of Subnucleonic Beam. In contrast, the Engineer has only one useful offensive ability for an exotic build - EPS Power Transfer. Nadion Inversion and Intrusive Energy Redirection are largely wasted on an exotic build (although the latter procs Drain Infection). The Engineering captain’s other abilities are largely focused around durability. The Engineer’s career does add one other niche benefit: the EPS Manifold Efficiency trait. This personal trait allows me to max aux without investing heavily into skills/gear that have Aux power and skipping Emergency Power to Aux. Without the trait, I’m around 127 Aux but that starts forcing me to spec either into skills or specific consoles to keep power levels maxed. Extra +10 power in all other subsystems doesn’t hurt either. The boost does stack if you activate a battery (like the Exotic Particle Flood) as well, but that’s not up all the time like the boost from Emergency Power to Engines is.
I have tried to make up for the lack of offensive captain powers by making it a glass cannon, with only two weak bridge officer heals, plus the captain powers and a couple of personal traits for healing/survivability. Thus, all of the console slots are devoted to offensive purposes (though to be honest, budget serves as a limit here as well, as Plasma Storm or Auxiliary Ejection Assembly are optimal but outside the budget.) Given the results on this ship exceed any other build I've done, I don’t miss the Tac/Sci career powers. If someone wants to expand on this concept using a Tac, be my guest.

Player Information

Player Info --------------
Captain Name Laura Jardinero
Captain Faction Federation
Captain Race Human
Captain Profession Engineering
Primary Specialization Temporal
Secondary Specialization Strategist
Intended Role Exotic DPS

Skill Tree

    Engineering   Science   Tactical  
Lieutenant   Improved Hull Restoration Improved Hull Capacity Shield Restoration Shield Capacity Energy Weapon Training Advanced Projectile Weapon Training
               
Lieutenant Commander   EPS Flow Improved Impulse Expertise Improved Control Expertise Improved Drain Expertise Targeting Expertise Improved Defensive Manuvering
5 Points       Control Amplification Drain Infection      
               
Commander   Hull Plating   Shield Regeneration   Advanced Weapon Amplification Improved Weapon specialization'
15 Points              
               
               
Captain       Advanced Exotic Particle Generator Advanced Long-Range Targeting Improved Hull Penetration Improved Shield Penetration
25 Points            
             
               
Admiral   Warp Core Potential Engineering Readiness     Coordination Protocols Improved Tactical Readiness
35 Points          
    Warp Core Efficency       Offensive Coordination  
               
Total of 46 of 46 Points   Engineering Points: 11 Science Points: 15 Tactical Points: 20

Skill Tree Unlocks

Points to unlock Engineering Unlocks Science Unlocks Tactical Unlocks
Unlocks After 2 Training Manual: Emergency Power to Shields III Training Manual: Engineering Team III Training Manual: Directed Energy Modulation III
Unlocks After 5 Battery Expertise Transwarp Cooldown Reductions Threat Control
Unlocks After 7 Training Manual: Emergency Power to Engines III Training Manual: Auxiliary Power to the Emergency Batter III Training Manual: Eject Warp Plasma III
Unlocks After 10 Subsystem Repair Maximum Shield Capacity Projectile Critical Chance
Unlocks After 12      
Unlocks After 15   Control Resistance Energy Critical Chance
Unlocks After 17     Training Manual: Aceton Beam III
Unlocks After 20     Defense
-------------- -------------- -------------- --------------

Skill Tree Information

A balanced skill build was chosen to allow maximum selection of relevant science skills while still taking useful weapon skills. Coordination Protocols are an excellent team boost, while Impulse Expertise helps keep the ship in the right spot. Max Weapon Amplification to gain the most benefit from the Imperial Rift 2-piece set.

Build Description

This ship’s primary role is Exotic DPS using bridge officer powers, exotic torpedoes, and other non-weapon effects. The primary offensive statistics for this ship are the Exotic Particle Generators skill (EPG), Critical Chance (CrtH), Critical Severity (CrtD), and Auxiliary power (Aux), +Exotic, Damage Resistance Reduction (DRR), and +Bonus Exotic Damage. Secondary offensive statistics are Control Expertise (CtrlX) and +Projectile Damage as well as Weapon Amplification, since that skill boosts Exotic Critical Severity through use of the Imperial Rift 2-piece.
Research into exotic mechanics has clarified the need and means to balance Aux, Cat1 exotic boosts (including EPG and personal endeavors), Cat2 exotic boosts (including +Bonus Exotic as well as CrtH/CrtD), and DRR effects. When accounting for CrtH/CrtD, this build is within 30% of its Cat1 versus Cat2 exotic boosts including avg Cat1 Preload. The Exotic Calculator for this build is here
This ship used Improved Photonic Officer as its primary cooldown mechanism. Cooldown Reduction Sheet for this build is here
Basic Information Data
Ship Name LSS Pioneer
Ship Class Lukari Dranuur Scout Ship
Starship Beauty shot  
Basic Information Component Notes
Fore Weapons: 3 Particle Emission Plasma Torpedo Launcher Mk XV Essential; scales off EPG
  Gravimetric Torpedo Launcher Mk XV Re-engineer the Epic mod to include [Dmg]. Duration scales off of CtrlX; damage scales off EPG
  Dark Matter Quantum Torpedo Launcher Mk XV Mostly for the 2-piece.
     
     
-------------- -------------- --------------
Aft Weapons: 3 Dyson Proton Weapon Mk XV Protonic Arsenal 1/3
  Advanced Inhibiting Polaron Turret MK XV Task Force Ordnances 1/2
  Advanced Inhibiting Chroniton Rapid Mine Launcher Task Force Ordnances 2/2.
     
     
-------------- -------------- --------------
Deflector Elite Fleet Intervention Protomatter Deflector Array Mk XV From colony. [ColCrit][EPG][CtrlX][Hullcap][CtrlX/EPG]. Can only have 1 non-Epic EPG mod, but the Crit makes up for it
Secondary Deflector Deteriorating Secondary Deflector Mk XV [CtrlX/EPG][CtrlX][EPG][ProjDmg][SA +Dmg] Often the highest source of damage
Impulse Engines Revolutionary Combat Impulse Engines Mk XV Imperial Rift 1/2
Warp Core Revolutionary Warp Core MK XV Imperial Rift 2/2. This 2-piece is extremely strong and beats the Temporal 2-piece. The 3-piece is a gimmick I didn’t feel like investing in and the colony deflector is stronger anyway. The warp core currently doesn’t gain any mods beyond VR but the loss of [AMP] is more than compensated by the 53% CrtD to all exotics.
Shields Regenerative Crystal Shield Matrix Essential due to not slotting Tactical Team - automatically redistributes shields
Devices Exotic Particle Flood Essential
  Kobayashi Maru Transponder Handy little calldown
  Deuterium Surplus Extra speed boost in a pinch
-------------- -------------- --------------
Engineering Consoles: 3 Temporal Vortex Probe From this year’s anniversary probe. Clicky is good for about 5K.
  Hull Image Refractors +20% damage and a bunch of temporary hull is quite good for a universal console. Exchange purchase.
  Neutronic Eddy Generator Very high damage, has to be used at the right time or else you will toss enemies everywhere and tick off your teammates
-------------- -------------- --------------
Science Consoles: 5 Restorative Particle Focuser Mk XV [EPG][CtrlX]  
  Restorative Particle Focuser Mk XV [EPG][CtrlX]  
  Exotic Particle Focuser Mk XV [EPG][CtrlX]  
  Exotic Particle Focuser Mk XV [EPG][CtrlX]  
  Exotic Particle Focuser Mk XV [EPG][CtrlX]  
-------------- -------------- --------------
Tactical Consoles: 3 Lorca’s Custom Fire Controls Lorca’s Ambition 2/2, essential
  Constriction Anchor Exchange purchase; great passive, weak active
  Delphic Tear Generator Exchange purchase; great passive, decent active
-------------- -------------- --------------
Universal Consoles: 1 Temporal Disentanglement Suite One of the better crit consoles at this price point. I could have added another focuser, but more crit is helpful.
-------------- -------------- --------------
     

Officers and Crew

Bridge Officer Information Power Notes
Officer 1: Lt. Commander (Universal - Science) Subspace Vortex III Exchange purchase, but really worth it
Trait: Restorative Protomatter Specialist, Leadership, & Efficient Photonic Officer I Cooldown mechanic, triggers Improved Photonic Officer
  Hazard Emitters I Cleanse/Heal
Officer 2: Lieutenant (Universal - Engineering ) Auxiliary to Structural I  
Trait: -- Emergency Power to Engines I Essential. This does a couple of things--one, allows me to reset Evasive Maneuvers with a doff. Two, triggers EPS power transfer to max out Aux.
Officer 3: Lt. Commander (Universal - Science/Temporal) Tyken’s Rift II AoE Secondary Def proc. Off-cycle from Gravity Well
Trait: Leadership/Space Warfare Specialist Chronometric Inversion Field I Procs Exotic Modulation, also a source for Spore-Infused Anomalies. Helps reduce incoming damage.
  Very Cold In Space I Winter Event Store
Officer 4: Commander ( Sci ) Gravity Well III
Trait: Efficient & Pirate Destabilizing Resonance Beam II Excellent SecDef proc
  Delayed Overload Cascade II Giant damage potential, works great on clumped enemies but will scatter them so must be timed well
  Structural Analysis I Excellent AOE Officer
Officer 5: Ensign ( Tactical ) Torpedo Spread I I Preferably the Gravimetric torp
Trait: Superior Romulan Operative    
Duty Officer Information Power Notes
1 Conn Officer Recharge Evasive Maneuvers after Emergency Power to Engines
2 Security Officer 26 of 47; % to boost DoT on use of Tac powers; % to boost Crit on use of Temporal powers
3 Security Officer 32 of 47; CrtD from Science abilities, Exotic damage boost from Intel (can't use the latter)
4 Projectile Weapons Officer Chance to boost CrtD on firing projectiles; Rare
5 Matter-Anti-Matter Specialist Chance for Gravity Well to knock Engines offline
6 Gravimetric Scientist Change to create aftershock Gravity Well

Traits

Personal Space Traits Description Notes
Context is for Kings Each second while in combat, if you did not take damage in the past second, you gain a damage bonus. Otherwise, you gain a boost to your Damage Resistence Rating. Each second while in combat: If you did take damage in the past second: +3 All Damage Resistance Rating for 10 sec If you did not take damage in the past second: +1% Bonus All Damage for 10 sec Exchange purchase; replace with Innocuous if budget limits
Fleet Coordinator +2% All Damage per Team member (Self included), up to 10%  
Enlightened +15% Hull Regen and 15% Exotic Damage Exchange purchase
Give Your All Activating any Engineering Bridge Officer Ability will grant you additional damage reduction for a short time. This will register as a portion of the damage being Dodged. On activation of Engineering Bridge Officer ability: Reduce incoming damage by 20% for 3 sec This ship cycles engineering powers frequently; Engineering R&D
Grace Under Fire If you take more than 20% of your hitpoints in damage within a 5 second period, the cooldown on Miraculous Repairs is reset. This trait will only trigger when Miraculous Repairs is already on cooldown, and can only trigger once every 90 seconds. Eng career
Ablative Shell After receiving a total of 10,000 Damage (pre-resist), trigger Ablative Shell: +X Hit Points every 0.5 sec for 3 sec, +33 All Damage Resistance Rating for 3 sec, May only trigger once per 30 sec Excellent defensive trait
Particle Manipulator Gain .2% Critical Chance and .1% Critical Severity for Exotic Damage abilities, per point you have in the Starship Exotic Particle Generator skill. The Critical Chance bonus gained from this Trait is capped at +50% (attained by having 250 Particle Generators skill), but there is no cap on the Critical Severity bonus ESSENTIAL; Science R&D
EPS Manifold Efficiency Boosts all power levels on use of Emergency Power to Engines and batteries. Eng career
Resonating payload Modification Torpedo weapons apply -5 Kinetic and Physical Damage Resistance Rating for 10s (max 10 stacks) Exchange purchase
Space Reputation Traits Description Obtained from
Auxiliary Power Configuration - Offense +6.25 Bonus All Damage, +6.25 Accuracy T4 Nukara
Particle Generator Amplifier 5% Bonus Exotic Damage T2 Iconian
Advanced Targeting Systems +16% Critical Severity T2 Dyson
Precision +4% Critical Hit Chance T2 Romulan
Chrono-Capacitor Array 9.4% Bridge Officer Recharge Haste T2 Temporal
Starship Traits Description Notes
Improved Photonic Officer Extends Photonic Officer duration by 10 seconds. When activating Photonic Officer, +25% bonus shield healing, exotic damage, and hull healing for 30 seconds Essential, but pricy. From Tholian Iktomi (Lobi ship)
Improved Gravity Well Duration of Gravity Well increased from 20 sec to 40 sec Recharge time of Gravity Well reduced by 20 sec Primary Target of Gravity Well suffers -20 All Damage Resistance Rating for 40 sec Longer Grav Wells amplify all the other AOEs. Great trait.
Strike From Shadows When damaging a foe that doesn't have you targeted, for 30 seconds: decrease threat generation, +5% CrtH and +5% bonus All Damage. Also placate the target Damage and threat reduction
Ceaseless Momentum Whe firing torpedoes, +5% bonus kinetic damage for 45 seconds, +5 bonus kinetic damage resistance rating for 45 seconds, -1 sec to recharge time of torpedoes This is the one cheap trait on this toon (for Feds)
Exotic Modulation While this trait is slotted, using Directed Energy Modulation or any Temporal Operative ability will provide a large boost to Exotic Damage for a short time. Procced by CIF
Spore-Infused Anomalies While this trait is slotted, using any science or intel ability causes anomalies to do extra damage. Second-or-third-highest damage source; Somerville Intel Science Ship

Other Information

Subsystem Power Settings Value (Target/Display) Notes
Weapons 30 / 79  
Shields 35 / 56    
Engines 35 / 66 Could set this higher to gain an AMP stack if the Warp Core gets [AMP] added to it.
Auxiliary 100 / 130
Set Name Set parts: # of # Effects Notes
House Mo’Kai science Imperial Rift 2/2 Boosts Exotic CrtD by 55.9% (scaling off Starship Weapon Amplification skill, which is at 105 on this toon) Essential
War Discretion Lorca’s Ambition 2/3 Stacking CrtD bonus  
Arsenal Synergy Protonic Arsenal 2/3 3% CrtH and 23% Photon Torpedo Weapon damage Essential
Task Force Tunings Task Force Ordnances 2/3 Boosts Chroniton and Polaron damage, adds turn rate Weak but low opportunity cost. See below.
Ship Stats Value Notes
Hull 61785  
Shields 17432  
Global Critical Chance 30.4% Resting; Particle Manipulator adds 50%
Global Critical Severity 150% Resting; Particle Manipulator adds 39.5%
EPG 395 Resting; spikes at 520
CtrlX 300 Resting
Turn Rate 55.6 deg/sec Resting + EPtE
Flight Speed 83.30 Resting + EPtE

Further Commentary

Controls and keybinds
With as many abilities and synergizing concepts as this ship employs, an efficient control scheme is essential. There are many ways to set up such a ship, so I don't pretend to assume that my way is superior. It works for me, especially with my background in RTS and MOBA games, where pushing many different keys quickly is essential:
  • [Spacebar] is my spambar. It includes Auxiliary to Structural, Torpedo Spread, Photonic Officer, Sensor Analysis, and Emergency Power to Engines, Structural Analysis. I tossed Constriction Anchor here as well and Subsystem Targeting - Shields here as well mostly so I wouldn’t forget to use them.
  • [2] is my big buff key. It includes EPS Power Transfer, Diversionary Tactics, Nadion Inversion, Intrusive Energy Redirection, Exotic Particle Floods, Engineering Fleet, Kobayashi Maru Transponder
  • [3] is my bread-and-butter Exotic combo: Gravity Well, Subspace Vortex, DRB, and Tyken's Rift, Very Cold in Space, Chronometric Inversion Field. I have to not spam this too hard for fear of reactivating Subspace Vortex
  • [4] are my basic heals: Hazard Emitters, Brace for Impact, Rotate Shield Frequency, and also Auxiliary to Structural.
I also bind "Fire all weapons" to right mouse.
Everything else is manually triggered. Notably, Delayed Overload Cascade should only be triggered in specific situations (see below).
ISA/ISE Piloting Tips
Pre-buff the spambar prior to countdown (in PUGs) or prior to launch call (premade). Hit the first group with basic Exotic combo, leading with GW. On ISE, use Temporal Vortex Probe and Delphic Tear and big buffs here as well. Next, hit Evasive Maneuvers and fly to the left side, using any remaining big buffs. Target the generator with Tyken's Rift and whatever other exotic powers are available along with another torpedo spread. Save GW/SSV. As the generator is about to die, turn and engage the ball of Nanite Spheres with a second Grav Well, SSV, and any remaining console actives (NOT Neutronic Eddy) + torpedoes. Can use a Reinforcements cooldown here as well.
Activate Evasive Maneuvers and fly to the right side, rinse and repeat with as with the left. Save big active heals for this part because PUG teams don't always fly over to right generator quickly. As it's dying, turn back on the gateway. Activate Quantum Singularity Manipulation and FIRE EVERYTHING! Close to 5 km and drop the Anti-time bubble and GW with the boost from Quantum Singularity Manipulation. Since this ship can flank, flanking angles on cubes, transformers, and generators are important. With any luck, the 425 CtrlX Grav Well will also suck in the remaining spheres. THIS is where you use Neutronic Eddy Generator to avoid flinging spheres all over the map. Finish off the tac cube (Delphic and Temporal Vortex Probe should be up again) and that should be it. On a slower run, I can often get a second round of big buffs and console actives on the gate or tac cube.
Piloting videos
I recommend this video because e30rnest is an excellent pilot and teacher.
Personally, here’s video of my record run (on ISE). If there’s interest, I might make a video with commentary.
When to fire things that toss enemies
You can easily anger your allies on most TFOs by hurling enemies vast distances with effects like Delayed Overload Cascade or Neutronic Eddy Generator instead of killing them. I have found that the best time to use these is on large, stationary targets with large numbers of small enemies clustered around them that are almost dead. Basically, GW the thing you want to kill, wait until the small targets are pulled in close and are low, and THEN trigger your Neutronic Eddy and/or DOC.
Budget considerations
I do not see how the core of this build can be easily cheapened without seriously degrading performance. The Starship traits on this build come from a Lobi ship and 4 C-store ships, plus a T6X token. It took a combination of grinding and some monetary investment to make this build happen, plus buying on sale. Improved Photonic Officer is good enough that I was willing to grind the Exchange for 4 months to pick up the ship/trait, BUT if that's too much to ask, I completely understand. You can still make this build work by dropping the Chrono Capacitor Array reputation trait and using Torpedo Astrometric Synergy instead; but there will be other cooldown issues (chiefly in Eng and Tac). If I was trying to save money, I would drop Exotic Modulation and Strike From Shadows first and replace with Improved Critical Systems or Unconventional Systems.
However, if budget was truly limiting, here's what you need to set up a properly successful EPG build in this particular subflavor:
  • Gravity Well III
  • The three SecDef procs: Tyken's Rift, Destabilizing Resonance Beam, and Structural Analysis
  • Gravimetric and Particle Emission Plasma Torpedo Launchers with Projectile Weapons Officers to reduce reloads
  • Constriction Anchor and Delphic Tear consoles (these will require some EC farming)
  • Lorca’s Ambition console + torpedo (Discovery rep)
  • Emergency Power to Engines I with Emergency Conn Hologram doff (VR reward from Phoenix Box)
  • Subspace Vortex III, Very Cold in Space, and Delayed Overload Cascade if you’re running a ship that can do it. This requires some EC farming If I had to drop a sci power, I’d drop DOC first.
  • Deteriorating Secondary Deflector Mk XV (the most important piece)
  • Temporal Defensive Initiative Starship Technologies 2-piece set if Imperial Rift 2-piece is not available
  • Temporal Operative specialization
  • Particle Manipulator (Science R&D, possibly the second most important piece)
  • Fleet Coordinator (always slot this)
  • As many Particle Focusers with [EPG][CtrlX] as you can slot from the research lab
  • Exotic Particle Flood devices and Quantum Singularity Manipulation active.
The above core build will still cost around 30M give or take and several pieces of reputation gear, but is much more attainable. Mark does not matter much for most items, but definitely get the Deteriorating Secondary Deflector to Mk XV.
Acquiring the Dranuur
Since this ship requires a T5 Colony to acquire, it can be difficult to buy despite technically being cheap/free with T6 reputations. My personal recommendation is either asking in the NoP Public Service channel or making a reddit post on /sto asking for a fleet invite, which is how I got mine. Note that you will need to be IN the fleet and not just on the map to buy the ship.
What is that Weapons Layout? I mean, MINES?!
The cheesy answer is that, aside from the Gravimetric and Particle Emission Plasma Torpedoes, weapons on a science ship are there to complete set bonuses, so why not have some fun with it? I have 3 torpedo launchers, a cannon turret, a beam array (sort of), and a mine launcher. A little bit of everything!
Now to the serious answer. For set bonuses, the Protonic Arsenal 2-piece brings excellent crit, so that’s a no-brainer to slot the Proton Weapon. Same with the Dark Matter Torpedo combined with its console. The Advanced Inhibiting Weapon has a guaranteed -10 damage resistance rating effect on any target slower than you--basically all the important ones. Lastly, the mine launcher provides a fairly weak set bonus, but the weapon does fire, it launches mines ahead of the ship rather than behind like most mines, and it is amplified by Ceaseless Momentum, so it does pretty well for an afterthought weapon.
Concluding Remarks
I've pushed this build farther than I'd ever thought I would personally achieve and it is not quite my most expensive but certainly up there. While there is certainly room for me to grow as a pilot, I am not pursuing major gear upgrades. This is the end result of the ongoing exploration that tilorfire27 and I have been doing into exotics and I am darn well-pleased with it.
submitted by Eph289 to stobuilds