Sins Of A Solar Empire Capital Ship Guide: TEC Capital Ships
Does slabs and slabs of armor sound appealing? Do you like the idea of massive cannon batteries firing through empty space? Would you rather rely on old-fashioned steel than fancy-pants shields? Then good news - TEC's capital ships are exactly what you've dreamed of.
Intergalactic Body-Slam? You Betcha!
The TEC, being the most technologically inept race in Sins Of A Solar Empire, don't get as many fancy tricks as the Vasari and the Advent. Shields are barely-there, providing no more protection than a set of lacy underwear, and the weapons are the sci-fi equivalent of a blunderbuss. With Frigates and Cruisers, the TEC make up for this advantage with numbers and with their economy. But capital ships are, well, capital ships - it usually isn't a good idea to build them to a budget.
You'd expect then, that TEC capital ships would be a little weak. In fact, they're not. Although they remain no more advanced than a ham sandwich, they make up for it with massive slabs of good-old-fashioned armor and big, nasty broadside batteries ready to unleash a torrent of lead into anything that goes near. Generally, this means you need to be careful not to over-extend TEC capital ships, as though their hitpoints will rebuild itself, you'll generally not want to get too far away from a repair cruiser. On the other hand, TEC's capital ships are great at toe-to-toe slugfests. If you want to field a "ship of the line" then you need look no further.
The Kol Battleship is the de-facto general of the TEC fleet, bristling with a variety of weapons in a variety of arcs and protected with slab upon slab of thick armor. The Kol is a good choice for a first capital ship, as it excels at clearing pirates out of planets so that they can be peacefully settled, and it is also good at tacking on large fleets of enemy vessels in close-range combat. It is a battleship, after all - if you don't have Kol in the thick of the fight, then you're doing something wrong.
The Kol's special abilities veer towards directly damaging enemy vessels. It comes equipped with a Rail Gun ability which will do a base of 300 damage at first level and up to 800 damage at third level, which is a fairly serious amount. This ability also has a mere six second cool-down, so it can be chain-fired. On the downside, the rail gun does not penetrate shields in any way. It is best used to finish off enemies which have already lost shields. The Kol's other combat ability is Flak Burst, which covers a radius around the cool with flak, doing serious damage to enemy strike-craft. This is incredibly useful, particularly against the Advent, which will probably be fielding fighter squadrons before you field flak frigates.
Besides those abilities, the Kol gets an Adaptive Forcefield which reduces damage done to the ship and reduces the chance that Vasari phase missiles will penetrate the shield. Fully upgraded, this force-field can be used for as long as you have the anti-matter, as its cooldown will be shorter than the shield's duration. Finally, the Kol's ultimate ability is Finest Hour - an insane combat buff. Finest Hour increases the hull and shield regeneration rates of the ship, decreases cooldown on all weapons, and adds a splash damage effect to the Kol's autocannons. This is very useful in the middle of a large battle that appears to be going against you.
The TEC is not known for its great fighters, and so the Sova tends to be less effective in many situations then other capital ships. Still, the Sova Carrier can be useful in certain situations, particularly if your enemy has gone heavy on missile frigates (which is common) but has not done a very good job of guarding them with their own strike craft or flak frigates.
The Sova only has one direct-damage ability, called Missile Batteries. This drops what is effectively a hardened Javelis frigate in the middle of the battle. This can do decent damage, but it is not nearly as useful as say, the Kol's rail gun, particularly because the missile battery is stationary and therefore can be avoided.
More useful are the Sova's buffs and debuffs. The most famous of these is Embargo. When activated, this non-combat ability steals resources from whatever planet the Sova is near. When fully upgraded, the Embargo can steal 100% of a planet's resources. Some players will build the Sova as their first capital in order to use a "Embargo Rush" where they will place the Sova near enemy planets and then run when their opponent arrives to destroy the carrier.
The Sova also has the Heavy Fighters and Rapid Manufacturing abilities. Heavy Fighters is a moderate buff for fighters, increasing firepower and hull strength by a small amount, and costing no anti-matter. The Rapid Manufacturing ability increases the build time of friendly structures and carriers by up to 30%. This is not very useful however, because it requires your Sova be away from the front lines and the effect does not last very long. Note that Rapid Manufacturing is considered an ultimate ability, and is probably one of the weakest ultimate abilities in the game.
The Akkan Battlecruiser is a support ship aimed at helping friendly ships rather than destroying enemy vessels. It is still respectable in combat, but it certainly pales compared to the Kol Battleship when it comes to quickly and painlessly clearing out enemy fleets in the early game. That said, the Akkan is the TEC capital ship which carries the colonize ability. This means that once the Akkan does clear out a planet of opposition, it can instantly colonize it. For this reason, some players build the Akkan as their first capital ship and then employ it alongside colonization frigates to rapidly expand. This works particularly well on large maps.
Besides Colonization, the Akkan has two support abilities. One is the Targeting Uplink, which increases weapon range and hit chance. This sounds good, except that the weapon range increase is minor and most ships have a base 100% chance to hit, so the hit chance is effectively wasted. The Targeting Uplink is a a perament upgrade however, so it doesn't cost any anti-matter. The other support ability is Armistice, which stops all ships in range from firing and renders the Akkan invulnerable. This is basically a get-out-of-jail free card, as it gives your fleet a chance to retreat if losing. This makes the Akkan a good capital ship for supporting hit-and-run operations.
The Akkan's sole offensive ability is Ion Bolt, which completely disables a hostile ship for a short time. This is a very short-duration effective, maxing out a seven seconds at the highest level. Still, it is great against enemy capital ships, and it is absolutely stellar for stopping hostile capital ships that are nearly destroyed and attempting to jump out of the system.
A support ship to its core, the Dunov is often a better choice than either the Sova or the Akkan when you are looking to build a second-line support capital ship. Its base combat abilities are respectable enough that the Dunov can stand toe-to-toe with everything except Battleship class capital ships, although generally you'll not want the Dunov taking the brunt of the battle. The Dunov isn't a great choice for a first capital ship, but it is a candidate for your second.
The Dunov's defensive ability is Shield Restore, which directly re-charges the shields of a friendly vessel. This restoration is up to 750 points, which means that fully upgraded it is only really useful when applied to other capital ships. It is in effect, a straight-up heal, and works incredibly well when applied to a Kol Battleship with an upgraded Adaptive Forcefield.
There are two offensive support abilities available, EMP Charge and Magnetize. EMP Charge is the opposite of Shield Restore, and it destroys the shielding and anti-matter of enemy vessels. This is most useful against end-game Advent fleets, which depend heavily on shielding and the support abilities of their cruisers and capital ships. Magnetize is less appealing. It disables the abilities of the target for a short duration and attracts nearby enemy strikecraft to it, causing them to collide and be destroyed. This can be very useful against a player that is using gobs and gobs of strike vessels, but otherwise it tends to play second-fiddle to EMP Charge.
Finally, the Dunov's ultimate ability is Flux Field. This outstanding ultimate ability reduces the anti-matter cost of abilities for all friendly ships by 25%. It has a high anti-matter cost to use, but it is long-lasting and very effective if you're fielding a late-game fleet with multiple abilities, support cruisers, and capital ships.
Although the Marza looks, at first glance, like an orbital-bombardment support ship, it is in fact the TEC's other serious Battleship. It is heavily armored and absolutely bristling with weapons, although the arcs of those weapons are less varied than the Kol Battleship. The Marza's many damaging abilities make up for this however, and a high-level Mazra can do frightful amounts of damage to groups of enemy vessels.
The Marza has three abilities that directly damage enemy vessels. The two which are available at level one are the Radiation Bomb and the Incendiary Shells. Radiation Bomb is a medium-duration damage-over-time which affixes itself to an enemy vessel. The initial shot downs low damage, but every two and a half seconds the vessel - which has been "irradiated" - does area-of-effect damage to all ships nearby. This is not a crippling amount of damage at first, but over time it will take a decent chunk of hitpoints away from enemy vessels. This makes the Radiation Bomb great for use against enemy Battleships, which tend to lead the charge. Incendiary Shells is not as interesting, as it also is a damage-over-time ability. It is permanent ability, costing no anti-matter, but it does not have an area-of-effect component and it does not stack.
The third direct damage ability is Missile Barrage, one of the most damaging ultimate abilities in the game. This is a channeling ability, which means that if you allow the Marza to do anything while it is launching the Missile Barrage, it will stop the barrage completely. You don't want that, because a full Missile Barrage will do 3000 points of pre-mitigation damage. Yeah, you read that right. And yes, this damage is done to EVERY target in the area of effect. This will completely obliterate anything except capital ships, so be sure that you keep your Marza protected and that you keep it from engaging in any other actions.
Lastly, the Marza has the Raze Planet ability. This launches highly damaging shots that kill a planet's population. It is good for clearing out enemy planets quickly. Generally, I'd recommend taking this over Incendiary shells, although if you for some reason plan to simply kill planets using regular siege frigates, you can forget about it.