I’ve finally dipped my toe into the online challenges and have been tearing through them like a hot knife through butter using my ECM Spam Frigate fleet.
It’s a Puma hull with an ECM Missile for disabling the enemy, an ion cannon for bringing down shields, a Frigate Beam Laser for cutting ships up once the shields are down, and a pulse laser for dealing with fighters and missiles. I deploy as many as I can in a square formation at one side of the play field.
I don’t care how much anti-ECM your ship has, a cloud of ECM missiles from this fleet approaching on your flank will leave your precious cruiser of death permanently offline until they peck its shields off. You can fire back with heavy firepower and barely affect the damage output of the fleet (one measly ship out of fifty down) while the huge thicket of beam weapons that lance out once the enemy shields are down will bring down a cruiser in seconds.
The only challenge I haven’t been able to beat is the four tanks of the apocalypse.
My balance suggestion: only have a single ECM missile knock down a single weapon system. I know, I know, battle of Hoth, but that was supposed to be an overpowered planet-based weapon.