It’s Zahl versus Astika! I have to open this post with a heavy disclaimer; I do not own either of these starships! I do however find them both intriguing.
The Lobi Crystal Consortium is always willing to part with tech in exchange for the otherwise worthless Lobi crystals. Those of you new to STO can find the Lobi Crystal Consortium merchant on Drozana Station near the KDF-Federation Neutral Zone.
I have been squirreling away some Lobi crystals and thinking about buying a ship from these shifty little Ferengi weasels. I wonder what they do with the crystals nobody else seems to want?
Today we look at two Tier 6 cruisers available for the healthy price of 900 Lobi crystals. Spanning both ends of the Alphabet, I’ll start with the “older” of the two ships the Vaadwaur Astika Heavy Battle Cruiser.
This is the ship that frustrated many people when the Vaadwaur first appeared in the game. As has often been the case in STO, the Lobi crystal consortium seems more than happy to offer up a cold dish of revenge by giving players a chance to fly the pesky ships that torment them in the game.
The Astika is a strange ship. The weapons layout is an aggressive 5/3 but the turn rate and inertia capabilities seem to render the 5/3 inert. The ship turns at a big cruiser-like rate of 6.5 and the inertia rating of 38 means this ship flat-out refuses to turn when the speed is dialed up. Seems odd that the ship is capable of equipping dual cannons, good luck keeping them on target. This ship will probably need to be a beam boat. In case you don’t want to spend the Lobi, the cheapest Astika on the exchange this morning was 127,000,000 EC.
You may remember the NPC versions of this ship would suddenly burst away from danger at ridiculous speed during the game. Just as I was prepping the killing blow, whoosh it took off a runnin’. The console that makes that possible is on board this ship. The Universal Assault Mode Relay console quickly moves large power to either the weapons or engines. The transfer is near instant. This ship does have a beefy hull, in fact one of the strongest in the game base of 60k at level 60. The shield modifier is a very respectable 1.16 which is much better than the typical 1.0 for a cruiser. You’ll have 600 crew at your disposal and a nice BOFF setup. The Commander chair is an engineer and the Lt. Commander is a tactical. You get three Lieutenant seats, a science, universal, and hybrid engineer/command. The ship gets 20 points of bonus power spread out +10 weapons, +5 each to engines and shields. The console layout balances a strong tactical and engineering stance at the expense of science. 4 tac, 5 eng, and 2 sci. This ship will give you a total of 13 BOFF abilities which is generous. You’ll have a mix of possibilities due to the universal and hybrid chairs on the ships. The max possible abilities by career depending of BOFF selection are as follows: 8 engineering, 5 tactical, 4 science, 2 command. Obviously some of these are mutually exclusive. If you use the two Lieutenant chairs with engineers you could tank this beast pretty well.
Battle cruisers are supposed to offer the toughness of a cruiser with some of the mobility of an escort. This one seems to hybridize the wrong elements. 5/3 weapons array should be complimented with a better turn rate and inertia say 8-9 dps base turn and .55 inertia. This is a still a lumbering hulk of a ship like a Galaxy Class, Bortas or D’Deridex. If a raider gets on this ship’s six, it is lights out!
The Astika has the standard Battle Cruiser mastery levels and of course a 5th level trait. It’s called Supremacy. It is an active trait and it gives a +1 bonus to all power settings for every target hit while scatter volley or beam fire at will is active.
To the aft of the alphabet we travel to visit the Zahl. This ship seems more like a battle cruiser with its keen agility and 500 crew count, yet it is officially a Cruiser. It’s mastery levels are cruiser with a very cool 5th level trait: Invincible. I love traits that are called “Invinible” 🙂 This passive ability can activate once every two minutes. When the ship gets dangerously low on hull points the ship briefly becomes invulnerable to damage and gets a huge boost to incoming heals. That is a good ship trait! The cheapest Zahl on the exchange this morning was 104,000,000 EC.
This ship is called a Heavy Cruiser but it seems to borrow heavily (pun, pa-pun pun) from the Federation’s Advanced Heavy Cruiser with that generous 8.5 dps turn rate. This ship gets a very sciencey 1.3 shield modifier but offers less hull protection than the Astika with 55,200 base at level 60. Here we have a more traditional 4/4 weapons layout on a ship that actually could utilize the 5/3 of the Astika. That’s OK a 4/4 is very effective on KDF battle cruisers, and this is technically a standard cruiser anyway. The Zahl gets +20 power bonus spread out +5 to weapons and engines, and +10 to shields. It has the same console layout of 4 tac, 5 eng, and 2 science. On the BOFF seating this ship is nicely appointed. As expected a Commander chair for an engineer is present. You will also enjoy a tactical advantage like the Vaadwaur ship with a Lt. Commander seat for a tactical officer. There is a second Lt. Commander chair and it is a universal/command hybrid chair. A science/intel chair at Lieutenant and an Ensign engineer. This ship also has a 13 BOFF abilities. The max possible abilities by career depending of BOFF selection are as follows: 8 engineering, 6 tactical, 5 science, 3 command, 2 Intel. Again some of these are mutually exclusive. This is a very versatile ship!
To add to the confusing nature of both these ships, this one has 3 device slots instead of 4 and the Astika has 4 instead of 3. This Zahl cruiser also benefits from a special console. The Universal Temporal Shielding Matrix. This console has a nice passive buff to chroniton and other temporal damage as well as a boost to shield capacity and regeneration rate. There is also an active ability that provides immunity from movement debuffs, additional damage resistance and causes crazy havoc with the enemies cooldown timers. The Borg do that to me and it makes me so angry, with this console and can dish it out too!
Personally, I am liking the Zahl. This ship has all the attitude of kid with a chip on his shoulder from living in a world of sorting by alphabetical order. If any of you readers have either of these ships I would love to hear your comments about them. I might get me a Zahl, but I still wouldn’t mind having a few of the other Lobi ships too.
Say what you will about Cryptic, they do offer a lot of great ships that can be acquired in game with out spending real-world cash. These two 900 Lobi ships compare favorably to the two T6 Zen-busters shown on my obligatory chart below. I do not own the Arbiter but I have the Avenger T5-U Fleet and I also have the Presidio which I love.