Tactical Captains and Battle Cruisers

I have written about Tactical Captains in Cruisers (Click here). But what about battle cruisers? STO began with battle cruisers being the exclusive for the KDF. After all, Klingons are warriors and they aren’t flying around the galaxy looking for quantum anomalies. The closest thing that Starfleet had to a battle cruiser prior to the Legacy of Romulus update was the Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit (Excelsior). This ship had a nice 8 degree turn rate and stout cruiser tanking. It still was not the match for a KDF battle cruiser in terms of offensive power. The battle cruiser class gives up some tanking in exchange for firepower and damage output.

The Breen Chel Grett (I wrote about this here) was the best battle cruiser a feddie could fly until the launch of the Avenger last fall. This brought the first true battle cruiser to Starfleet. Tactical captains are generally well suited to escort ships. Battle cruisers however seem to be a great fit as well. My top toon is Admiral Sager and he is a tactical officer with just about every perk available in the game. I really enjoy flying battle cruisers with him. My top KDF toon is Roddicka and she flies raiders, raptors and battle cruisers with equal tenacity.

Lately, Admiral Sager has been completing the daily Crystalline Entity missions in his Fleet Avenger battle cruiser. I feel like he could take that shard slinging SOB down by himself in that ship! Well, without the swarming hordes of Tholians of course 😉 Even the absorpsion blasts don’t phase the Admiral in his Fleet Avenger. He can go toe to toe until that beast is crystalline dust. I think I have a pretty good build on that one.


The Admiral’s Fleet Avenger is generally setup like shown above. It has all anti-proton weapons. It is one of my hybrid cannon/beam setups. Two beam arrays in the back including the omnidirectional obelisk unit which is outstanding. This Avenger has 65k hull and 16,300 per shield facing. It can really take a beating. I do wish these Avengers could turn at 10 or 11 instead of 9 degrees, but I really do feel this ship is great under the command of a tactical captain. This ship is equipped with mostly fleet grade weapons and consoles so it is well stacked.


This ship is so tough that I am able to utilize the universal Lieutenant station with a tactical officer and still tank like NORAD’s underground bunker. This toon has over twenty BOFFs including eight tactical officers. I can really customize the BOFF setup on this Avenger for any mission set.


Static power levels for combat without any temporary boosts are impressive due to a combination of passive bonuses from Accolades, DOFFs, Equipment and the Admiral’s abilities.

I have given a fair amount of thought to the notion of an ideal one character one ship setup and a tactical captain in a battle cruiser is a solid contender for best all round one-off. Many people who play Star Trek Online spend unholy hordes of real world cash buying ships and special packages. I am included among these borderline psychotic players 😉 But many people want to enjoy the F2P aspect and I have a few characters myself that I have built with minimal Zen.

People looking to get the fullest experience with as little out-of-pocket expenses and maybe even minimal grinding should strongly consider playing a tactical captain and ending up in a battle cruiser. If you want to play KDF this is easy since Chancellor J’mpok will offer ships up to level 40 at no charge. Included at each tier is a very respectable battle cruiser. The KDF is the ideal faction for building a battle cruiser captain. The Romulans have a strange ship selection, however Romulans can choose to align with the KDF and then have access to all those KDF battle cruisers. That said, if I am playing a Romulan I really want to fly those Rommy ships 😀

For the feds, things are bit dicey playing a tactical captain in a battle cruiser. At tier two Admiral Quinn’s token buys you a limited selection. For tac captains it is really either the Cruiser or Escort. Tier two cruisers don’t offer much in tactical seating, just a single Ensign chair. Eeck! Maybe taking the escort here is wise since it is actually a kick ass little ship that turns on a dime and struts around like a rooster in a hen-house with those three weapons bays up front. At tier 3 the heavy cruiser turns decent at 8 degrees/sec and upgrades the tactical seat to a LT. You could also choose to drop some Zen and get the Advanced Heavy Cruiser. You can make like Sulu in the Excelsior! So far decent setups and all are free, compliments of Starfleet. Tier 4 becomes a problem as the cruiser at this level is big and slow on the corner. The Tactical Escort might be a good choice here but if you have built your captain for battle cruisers this tier will suck. It is only ten levels, it will go fast 😉 Just do a bunch of patrol missions and get to Rear Admiral pronto.

It is here at level forty that a Federation Tactical Captain can really start playing the battle cruiser role. The Breen Chel Grett has been available the last two years during Q’s Winter Event. This is a fabulous battle cruiser type ship with near escort turning ability (13 degrees/sec) and decent tanking. The Risian Luxury Cruiser became available this past summer as a FREE event prize and it is a true battle cruiser. Stronger hull than the Chel Grett for excellent tanking but a Lt. Commander Tactical and 10 degree turn rate make it the KDF Battle Cruiser for the Feds! There is also the Assault Cruiser that can be acquired with Admiral Quinn’s final token. The Mirror Universe Heavy Cruiser Retrofit is also easily attainable for very little coin on the exchange. These two ships are not really battle cruisers but they are pretty decent turning and tend to have stronger hulls.

Any person planning on playing STO as a one character only player will spend far more time at the end game than getting to level 50 (or soon 60). So building your character to perform well at level 50 and beyond is the best bet. Based on my experience with my nine STO toons, I think the following (In no particular order) are the best all round “one toon for all” end game setups for tactical captains in a battle cruiser.


OK, time to get back out there and finish the Crystalline Castastrophe Special Event 🙂


13 thoughts on “Tactical Captains and Battle Cruisers

  1. Is it worth it to try going through all the sets for gear, or is it better to just get all fleet gear? AP seems to be the best damage-oriented energy type, and the best set bonuses are for plasma, disruptor, or torpedoes. Also, whether or not all fleet gear is the min/max way to go, in which order should fleet gear be purchased as I earn my fleet credits and dilithium?

    1. Fleet gear is not always the very best but it is consistently top notch as most fleet items have “Ultra Rare” status. The items available in the reputation store for dilithium are pretty good and some of those reputation space sets are fantastic. AP seems to be a PVP favorite, but different enemies seem to have weaknesses to different damage types. There is no order other than based on your needs. I have some ships equipped with great reputation set gear so the fleet items might be a warp core and some engineering consoles. I do ten to buy fleet grade weapons especially turrets if you are using them. I like the enhanced neutronium consoles with the hull boost and I usually get the mark XI since they are have the price of the XIIs. I like the fleet warp cores allot.

      1. Could you point me to any good sets? After doing some research on the gamepedia wiki, it seems like the sets with items that individually don’t lose much to fleet gear and have a worthwhile set bonus are Silent Enemy, Counter-Command Ordnance, and Romulan Singularity Harness, with the possible addition of Klingon Honor Guard, but those would fit in more with a disruptor or plasma build than AP, which I’ve heard is best due to being able to up the proc chance through CrtH for a versatile dps build(I don’t want to be switching stuff out all the time just one build for all opponents). That, plus after already grinding so much, I’m not sure how much I can commit to grinding out more rep and especially dilithium. Yeah, I’m thinking warp core, engine, and shield first as they’ll give the biggest bonus vs dropped gear, right? Then the tac and eng consoles, then everything else. By the way, I’m mostly into straight-up fighting build with stuff like positron deflectors rather than a science-heavy arsenal.

      2. For Feds the MACO set is awesome, great shield fabulous engines. The deflector is good for engineering/sci captains but I don’t use it much. The third set perk is a strong mask energy signature which I don’t care for so I use the two pieces and a Fleet positron deflector on my Avenger and that by the way is all antiproton weaps. The Borg set is nice but better for escorts than cruisers. The Counter command set is good as well. I have every single set available in all reputation. My favs are the Reman space set with the singularity harness set on my Odyssey cruiser and also on my Romulan Falchion. The MACO/KDF Honor Guard on most ships but usualy cruisers, The Assimlated set on agile shields with sturdy hulls (Breen Chel grett) and the Omega weapons set. My Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit is all fleet gear and it is pretty good.

  2. Actually, with the mask energy signature, wouldn’t that be adapted MACO? What do you mean by agile shields? Thank you for taking the time to help me figure all this out.

    1. Yes Adapted MACO, Agile ships sorry, the assimilated set on agile ships! The assimilated shields are the fastest regenerating shields in the game but like most regenerative arrays they have low capacity, agile ships are able to turn quickly to keep concentrated fire off one shield facing.

      1. So do the aMACO engines have a good turn rate, or for a somewhat slower BC would I need to complement that with an RCS accelerator and Neutronium[+turn], at least moreso than I would need to with fleet engines? I actually don’t have any stats on fleet shields’ capacity but I’m assuming the aMACO shield has higher capacity than fleet to make up for not having [resb][adapt], correct? And with the Omega weapons set, would you use a 2pc with KCB and the console, or is the torpedo launcher any good? The stats on the wiki are terribly confusing, I can’t tell if there’s an error or if it actually does have insanely high dps.

    1. Oh ok, I always assumed it would be some sort of photon torp launcher that would have the best dps. . .did the aMaco engines get nerfed? There are some posts from 2012 that say they have as much turn as engines with 3 turn mods, not sure if they were talking about fleet though, because according to the wiki fleet engines have +9 turn before mods, and aMaco have about +6. Also, are fleet science consoles worth getting? I only just realized there were any, and while I’d have to get shield emitters instead of field generators, with an almost 10% extra plasma dmg each, would that make them on par with a CrtH-heavy build using AP?

      1. I actually like the field generators. I bought a bunch of them when they were available on the dilith store MK XI Rares with a 17.5% boost to shield capacity. The emmitters are great for science caps in sci ships since they already get a 30-40% shield cap boost and they have lots of shield boosting sci abilities that benefit from the emitters. I have some of the fleet sci consoles but the jury is still out on their cost/benefit. I really like the MACO shield/engines. I have swapped the MACO shield out for a Fleet shield and all else being equal the MACO was stronger. Turn rate on the MACO engines seems fine, I have not checked to see if my turn rate deteriorates when compared to fleet engines. Not sure what your asking on the +10% plasma dmg?

  3. Well I always use 2 EptS, and with the change to teams I’ll prolly be using a pair of science teams as well, would that be considered a small amount of shield heals compared to sci ships? Ok cool, I like to use DHCs on my Klingon BC, so it needs enough turn rate at least for pve(prolly won’t pvp at all). I’ve heard AP is the best for a dps-oriented ship due to the fact that you can boost CrtH with universal consoles like tachyokinetic converter, assimilated module, and zero-point energy conduit, as well as skills put into energy weapons specialization, to boost its proc that directly increases your damage, but a couple fleet science consoles would give an almost 20% extra dps to plasma, and while you can boost anythings dmg with sets, this seems like a freebie that no other energy type can match, so is there something similar for other energy types or does this give plasma an edge in maximizing dps?

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