My Counter to Cruiser Laser Spam w/o Using Cruiser Lasers

I’ll be perfectly frank. My fleet in general sucks at countering cruiser laser spam. When I face significant numbers of cruiser lasers, I am always forced to deploy cruiser laser cruisers of my own.

This is the cruiser laser cruiser of my own:

Now this fairs fairly well against cruiser laser spam, but it’s pretty damn useless against anything other than extremely close range. Another bad thing is that unless I make my anti-cruiser laser fleet exclusively out of these cruisers, they lose. Seriously, I sometimes try to only get by with, say, only %70 or %80 of my fleet from these cruisers, but it doesn’t work. I also hesitate to counter cruiser laser spam with cruiser laser spam as it just seems cheap. So I’ve decided to develop a counter to cruiser laser spam fleets without using cruiser lasers at all. The fleet I developed uses the following 4 ships:

(I will refer to cruiser lasers as cl’s from here on)

Pewbane Cruiser mk2:

This is the only newly designed ship out of the four, and the most important. It is designed to bring down cl cruisers’ strong shields with rockets then do damage with megaton missiles. Rockets were chosen due to their impresive shield penetration. Megatons were chosen due to impressive DPS at short range. Now megatons have the disadvantage of slow speed, which is less of an issue at the short ranges at cl combat occurs. The initial prototype (mk1) suffered from pretty abysmal accuracy, but this was remedied by the addition of a target painter. The addition of the target painter eliminated another flaw from both rockets and megaton missiles, the tendency for their projectiles to miss and prevent the launcher from firing while looping around. It was initially designed to be deployed in few numbers just to break shields for the frontline cruisers to finish the kill, but the tendancy of frontline cruisers to be quick butchered by cl fire made them the main hitters of anti cl fleet. An EMP cannon was planned but scrapped due to power constraints. These form the vast majority of my anti cl fleet.


1xTarget painter
5xCruiser rocket launcher
2xMegaton missile launcher
2xUltraheavy armor
2xFast recharge shields
1xPowerplant III
1xReinforced Crew module
1xCruiser engine III

Blinder Frigate: Cl cruisers are capable of filling space with a crapload of fire. To increase survivability, one can cut down the amount of fire with EMP. Due to the scrapping of the emp cannon from the Pewbane, I decided to shift this assignment to my blinder frigates, which I have used in many challenges, including SAC. They are armored relatively well to withstand fighter attack

2xEMP missile launcher II
1xFrigate plasma launcher
1xFrigate beam laser
2xFrigate power armor
1xShield generator II
1xFrigate engine I
1xFrigate crew module II
1xPower plant III

Slugger mk9 Cruiser: My standard frontline cruiser. My first cruiser design, I’ve been refining it since I got the game. I put a few of these on the front line.

2xHeavy Plasma
2xCruiser plasma
2xFusion beam
1xCruiser beam laser
3xUltraheavy armor
2xFast recharge shields
2xPowerplant III
1xCrew module III
1xSupercharged engine

Beamspam mk2 Cruiser: My anti-frigate and anti armor cruiser. Not as important as the previous ones for countering cl fleets, but one can stick a few of these behind the main battle line to help kill de-sheilded cruisers.

1xCruiser plasma
3xFusion beam
2xCruiser beam laser
1xProton beam
3xUltraheavy armor
2xFast recharge shields
2xPowerplant III
1xCrew module III
1xSupercharged engine

All cruiser are set to cooperative and vulture, blinder frigates set on cooperative and rescuer.

In any case I will be testing this fleet against this cl cruiser design I found on this forum.

I uploaded a fleet of them in my “cruiser laser spam” challenge

Using my anti-cl fleet, I managed to beat it.

I also managed to beat dogthinker’s aggresive rebel fleet with it.

So, any comments/suggestions? What counters do you use for anti cruiser laser duty? Do you have any methods that to not involve cruiser lasers?

I uploaded my anti cl fleet to my “A counter to cruiser laser spam” challenge, if anyone wants to try it.

I generally use at least three fast recharge shields on every cruiser I deploy, for longevity’s sake. Why do you use two - lower costs, more room for other modules, no need for three … ?

Great work. I’ll have a shot at your challenge (using CL spam, natch) tomorrow.

One thing leaps out on first reading: how does your fleet cope with my personal bugbear: the CL spam + fighter spam combo? With not much in the way of repairs or tractors I can only think that those rocket ships would go down pretty quickly against a few squads of Icarus’s. (Icarii?)


Just a heads-up. You say that you’re using an Engine II on the Blinder frigate, but that’ll take your power consumption over what you’re producing. Looking at the picture, that’s actually an Engine I module.

Going to try it out now.



Just wanted to say, what a great post. I wish more people would take the time to post stuff like this as it’ll help greatly and give ideas as often I get stuck in a creative rut designing purely specialist ships based around tactics (firepower type/speed)

I noticed that all your crusers have 1 engine on, does everyone else do this? obviously for the rebs it makes sense to have a fast fleet and if you can get frigates above 50 then plasma becomes meaningless against them.

Beats dogthinkers challenge (which is a fairly potent fighter spam + cl spam fleet). But that’s just because it kills the cruisers before the fighters can do any real damage, the fighters themselves were relatively untouched. To kill the fighters, I suppose I would deploy a few of my AA cruisers and frigates. I got your challenge by the way, but It says it has content I don’t have so I can’t try it =(… Do you have tribe/order weapons in your fleet or something?

You’re right, corrected.

Well if I put three I would also have to put another powerplant. That would mean I had to eliminate two other modules. I dont know if it would be worth it.

Hey buddy,

I have the Tribe, but the challenge sent was with a Rebel fleet. Odd.

Incidentally, that armour is more of a fighter detterent than I’d initially thought.

0.06 is a tad slow for my tastes. You probably don’t have to go to that extreme.

The counters to CL spam are as varied as the archetype itself. Identifying other factors is just as important:

Painted fast missiles can beat up cruisers without scramblers.
Plasma/beam counters very slow ones.
Ion cannon (which is sort of like a CL with key differences) frigates can usually beat it for cost.
Armor offers virtual immunity if they use nothing else.

Tribe offers a unique problem in that they tend to oversaturate some above solutions with their hitpoints. Luckily many tribe setups get lazy with the air defense… I keep a double-pulse rebel bomber design around for that reason. Enough of those can drop a cruiser in a single pass.

Positioning longer range units is important as well. Having all your ranged units together is good for condensed firepower but it also shortens the drive for CL cruisers if they can reach your entire fleet in one place. Additionally, cruiser explosions have a tendency to knock out armor.

I get this error =(

I’d appreciate it if those who beat this could send me counter-challenges of their own, to help me improve.

Incidentally, is there a way to spoilerfy images on this forum?

In its current form, the CL-spam fleet is quite handily defeated by a swarm of laser fighters. Of course, most shielded/unarmored things are, and a swarm of fighters is relatively easily countered by adding a couple of tractor cruisers/frigates to the mix.

I’ve got something less cheesy in mind, too, using Imperial ships, and I’m off to see if it works or not.

My non-cheesy idea didn’t work.

Ion cannon frigate spam did, credit for credit. It was a narrow victory, though–~15% remaining over a couple of tries with a nice simple line deployment facing the CL cruisers. It’d probably be better if the frigates were deployed offset, or maybe in two groups, and also if I tuned the frigate design a bit better.

I think it illuminates a larger problem with balance in general. It seems like, for most spam deployments, there’s another spam deployment that decisively defeats it, and it also seems like that isn’t the case for fast CL cruiser spam–the best I could do was a narrow victory. Granted, that was: 1. with the Empire, which is highly unsuited for countering CL spam and 2. me, being not particularly good at this, but still, the fact that a simple line of fast CL cruisers can beat so many things so easily seems a little off to me.

I posted a challenge on 2/11/10 called “beats mrblitz back to basics” which was a response to a challenge by mrblitz using a tribe fleet heavy in shortrange weapons.
It’s one approach to crushing CL spam.

The SAC challenges include several CL fleets. You can see that there are non-CL SAC challenges that defeat them.

I’ll have a look at some of them.

I posted a new challenge “beats Dogthinker’s Aggressive Rebel Fleet” see if you can beat it with a CL spam fleet.
The way to defeat a turtle like this, by the way, is with multi warhead missile spam.

I defeated it with CL spam… xD

Bluebreaker, Please post your fleet as a challenge.

Oksbad, I have absolutely no idea why you can’t play my challenge. The Tribe is the only extra content I have, and my game is totally legit. I get that message myself sometimes where I don’t think I should - a bug maybe?

Have re-posted the fleet as a general challenge entitled Rebel CL spam, but to be totally honest you aren’t missing out if you can’t play it. :slight_smile:

Agressive Rebel Fleet - (Update 2) - blabla

I found my spam deployment that beats cruiser lasers–Tribe, lots of repair systems, and howitzers.

So, looking at the stats a bit more closely, I’m curious as to what precisely the reasoning is behind the cruiser laser being in its current state.

Looking at it, it has:

  1. Far and away the best DPS of any cruiser weapon in the game (20 damage / .43 refire ~= 46.5 DPS). For comparison: Cruiser Beam Laser (57 damage / 2.7 refire = 21.11… DPS), Multiple Warhead Missile (11 * 4 / 1.95 = 22.56 DPS; theoretical only, the missiles aren’t actually fast enough to do that), Megaton Missile (23.07 DPS), Tribe howitzer (6 damage * salvo of 6 / 60 refire delay * 6 + 1200 salvo delay == 36 / 1.56 == 23.07 DPS)

  2. The lowest minimum range of any heavy cruiser-mounted weapon (90, tied with limpet launchers and rad guns; cruiser defense lasers and Tribe autocannon have a minimum range of 30).

  3. Relatively high power requirements, but less than: Cruiser Beam Lasers (including the Alliance and Imperial flavors), Fusion Beams of both flavors, Proton Beams, and EMP Cannons.

  4. High weight, less than Megaton Missiles but nothing else weapons-wise.

  5. Tied for second in shield penetration.

  6. Limited armor penetration, but slapping on a single CBL is usually enough (as the spam challenge demonstrates).

  7. Low to moderate cost. Less-expensive weapons: proton beams, howitzers, quantum blasters, rocket launchers (including Firefly rocket launchers), fusion beams, and light and heavy plasma launchers.

  8. Passable tracking.

There is no reason at all, ever, to use the quantum blaster, unless you’re aiming for slightly more utility against fighters (in which case you’d probably be served just as well by a CL and a CDL in place of 2 quantum blasters), and there’s a very limited case to be made for pretty much every other weapon in the game, too–you simply can’t do enough damage to a swarm of fast CL cruisers before they close, unless you resort to cheap tricks like stacking a cruisers on top of each other, or you bring your own slow CL or tank/howitzer cruisers.

#1 seems particularly out of whack to me, to the point where I think it could have been an error in data entry–a weapon that does twice the DPS of everything else? I can’t quite believe that. Refire of 800 (for a DPS of 25) or a salvo of 6/salvo delay of ~1.3 (also a DPS of ~25) seems more than fair to me, given that it’d keep cruiser lasers as the premier short-range weapon, particularly given their capability to get inside the minimum ranges of so many things.

Even if CL is nerfed, the howitzer (in pairs) will basically take it’s place.

As long as the CL remains a heavy, short range weapon (Even the ion cannon outranges the CL!), I think the problem is one of location than of stats.

A faster ship with long range weaponry should never routinely or willingly be within 490m of multiple enemy cruisers - that’s just tactically unsound. Further AI options to create distance are sorely needed.