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Join The Cult
The Advent, being the most mystical and the most dependent on special abilities, have a varied and wide array of capital ships. Combined with their strong support cruisers, an well outfitted Advent fleet - complete with high-level capital ships - can keep an enemy fleet off balance for the duration of the battle, making sure the initiative is never lost.
Despite their dependence on support abilities however, the Advent's support battlecruisers are actually not the only interesting capital ships in the Advent fleet. The Advent's Carrier and Battleship are also very strong. But no matter which one you pick, remember to watch your shielding and be wary of Phase Missiles and abilities that discharge shields, as all of your capital ships rely more heavily on shielding than armor.
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Despite the Advent's reputation as being less adept at slug-fests than the other races, the Radiance is a good battleship. It performs well in slug-fests with enemy ships, and like any battleship-class capital, it is very good at clearing pirates out of planets in the early game. In fact, it may even be more efficient than the TEC's great Kol in this regard, because the shielding regenerates better than the Kol's hull, allowing the Radiance to repeatedly take on pirates without having its actual hull damaged.
Offensively, the Radiance has two solid abilities. One is called Detonate Antimatter, and it does what it says. This is a channeling ability, which means that you must have the Radiance focus on it and not use other abilities during its duration. Fully upgraded, it can do up to 600 points of damage (bypassing shields) and drain up to 180 points of anti-matter. This is great against capital ships. The Radiance also has an outstanding Ultimate Ability called Cleansing Brilliance, which is another channeling ability that does damage to all ships caught in the beam. Any ship caught in the beam for the duration of the ability will receive 2000 points of pre-mitigation damage. This is one of the better direct-damage ultimate abilities in the game.
Defensively, the Radiance has Energy Absorptive armor, which converts damage taken into anti-matter and increasing the ship's armor. This is good largely because it is a permanent ability, so it costs no anti-matter and is always in effect. Finally, the Radiance has Animosity. It works just like a taunt in an MMORPG. All enemy vessels in range will immediately turn their attention to the Radiance. This is a very situational ability that isn't great if the Radiance is your only capital, but becomes much better if you're using the Radiance along with other capitals.
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The Advent are known for their fighters, so it isn't a big surprise that the Halycon is one of the better carriers in the game. Like all carriers, it fails in straight toe-to-toe fights, but it excels as a support ship. Advent strike-craft are very strong as well, giving the ship good striking distance from afar. Still, the Halycon's special abilities are a tad bit lackluster, so most players will not want to build this as their first capital.
The Halycon is somewhat unique in that half of its abilities are passive, permanent buffs. This first of these is Adept Drone Anima, which increases the number of strike craft the Halycon can field by adding one strikecraft to each squadron of fighters. The second buff is Ampilfy Energy Aura, which decreases the cool-down of all friendly energy weapons in its area of effect, and since all Advent weapons are energy weapons, this reduces the cool-down of all ships in the Advent fleet. The area of effect is fairly large, as well. Both of these passive abilities are nice to have, but they are not as strong as the active abilities on some other Advent ships.
Offensively, the Halycon gets Telekenetic Push and Anima Tempest. Telekenetic Push slows down and damages enemy strike-craft. This ability can be very nasty against enemy strikecraft, but since you'll probably already dominate in that area, it does seem redundant. The other ability, Anima Tempest, is an Ultimate Ability. This adds 30 strikecraft by adding more strikecraft to your existing squads. It can be insanely damaging against enemy fleets that are poorly guarded against strikecraft, but it's otherwise lackluster for an Ultimate Ability.
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The Progenitor Mothership is the Advent's colonizing capital ship, and unlike the colonizing capital ships of other races, it is also one of the best capital ships the Advent can field. This makes the Advent very, very good at early-game colony rushes, as the Progenitor serves equally well in battles against enemy fleets, battles against pirates, and colonization operations. This strength mainly comes from the Mothership's very good abilities, as its actual weaponry is certainly inferior to what you'll find on a battleship. Almost all Advent players build the Mothership as their first capital.
Not all Colonization abilities are equal; the Mothership's Colonization makes your little cultists more efficient. As a result, a planet colonized by the Mothership will have a reduction in planetary development costs, which can lead to a serious early-game economic edge.
The Mothership also has two good support abilities, which are useful even in the early game. The first is Malice, a area of effect ability that cause 30% of friendly damage done to be propagated to nearby enemy vessels. The number of enemy vessels that can be effected is capped, but this is still a good combat buff which causes the total damage put out by your fleet to increase. Malice is also great because it has a decent duration, low cool-down, and low anti-matter cost, which means you can use it repeatedly. The second ability is Shield Regeneration, which increases the rate at which shields on friendly ships regenerate. During the course of its duration, this ability will "heal" 500 points of shield damage to all friendly ships in its area of effect. Since the Advent rely on shields, this is an amazing ability.
Finally, the Mothership's ultimate ability is Resurrect, which transfers the level of a recently destroyed capital ship to a new capital ship. This is good if you've lost a high-level capital ship, but useless otherwise.
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A straight-up support Battlecruiser, the Rapture is a good support ship, and not a bad choice for a second capital. It's combat abilities are certainly of support capital class, and because it lacks the high-power offensive and defensive abilities of the Mothership, the Rapture is not as good as a lead capital. A micro-managed Rapture however, can turn the tide of a skirmish.
The Rapture has two buffs, both of which are good. The first is Vengeance, which causes a targeted friendly ship to deal damage back to a ship that attacks it. Fully upgraded, this ability actually deals back twice as much damage as is received. By itself, this is a good ability to use on any friendly capital ship. It can be used in combination with the Radiance's Animosity (which causes forces all nearby enemies to attack the Radiance) for a combo that can wipe out unsuspecting fleets. The Rapture also has Concentration Aura, which gives friendly carriers a buff to strikecraft damage. As you'd exepct, this is very useful if you have a lot of strikecraft, and not useful at all if you don't.
The Rapture also has one debuff, known as Vertigo, which usually is not given much respect. This is for good reason. Vertigo decrease the accuracy of enemy vessels, which in effect decreases the damage they do. It is a good area of effect debuff, but should usually be passed on because Vengeance and Concentration Aura are so much better.
Finally, there is Domination, a Ultimate Ability which lets you take over an enemy non-capital ship. Since individual non-capital ships are typically not very fearsome in terms of damage, this is best used on support cruisers, as you will rob the enemy of any ability that support cruiser was using and add that ability to your own arsenal. Remember to use the ability quickly however, as the duration of Domination is short.
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The sister to the Rapture, the Revelation is also a support capital, and has all the combat characteristics you'd expect. Overall, the Revelation is the middle child, largely ignored by players. The Mothership can colonize and has better support abilities, and the offensive potential of the Rapture is also better than anything the Revelation can offer.
In fact, the only thing the Revelation has worth noting is its Ultimate Ability, known as Provoke Hysteria. This is used against planets, and it decreases planet health by 40% and population by 30% over its duration, no questions asked. This can be used to hit-and-run poorly defended secondary colonies, or it can be used in support of siege frigates, making their job much easier.
The Revelation's other three abilities are a grab bag. Offensively, it has Reverie, which disables a target ship for a long duration. This is great for stunning an enemy capital ship or support cruiser, as it lasts long enough to actually put the target out of the fight. Reverie will be broken however, if enough damage is focused on the target, so this is not good for disabling vessels you are actively trying to destroy.
The other two support abilities are Guidance and Clairvoyance, both of which are forgettable. Guidance is a buff that can be targeted on any friendly ship with an anti-matter pool. It reduces ability cooldown by 40%. This is substantial, but the downside is that since abilities cost anti-matter, using this will quickly drain a vessel's anti-matter pool. Clairvoyance is an ability that grants you vision of a planetary system for a long duration, allowing you to see what is happening in real time. It is a good scouting tool, but since scout ships are so cheap, it is far from a must-have.