What is the best hull for each race and race strengths?

I am relatively new and have been reading posts on here and learning a lot!

I would benefit and think others might as well from a chart that shows what each race is best at. I understand there are a lot of factors at work, but basically it would be standard archetype builds for each race plus various notes.

For example, (totally made up info as an example of what I’d like to see)

Rebels - Generally have the best fighters. Best fighter hull is X, with 2 rockets, and 2 engines. Best frigate hull is Y. Most use Z hull for cruiser design. Tend to make use of their unique Fusion Beam for longer than normal beam range.

Tribe - All ships have 100% hull bonus but 1/2 shields and armor. Thus armor/shields have much less emphasis, with more value placed on high-health components like Reiforced Power Plants, etc. Serenity fighter hull is unique for its 4 power allowing 2 engine 2’s with 2 torpedos. The Utopia cruiser is particularly small and hard to hit, while packing 8 hardpoints.

Empire - fairly poor fighters, though the Phalynx hull is cheap and fast and a clear favorite for this race. Has a unique frigate hull, Weapons Platform, which has 8 hardpoints, making it a good longrange support vessel typically loaded with plasma launchers. This allows more effective firepower relative to cruiser hulls for cheaper. Their cruisers tend to have less hardpoints, be very large, and have a high quantity of normal slots for equipment.

Anyways, I’d certainly appreciate an advanced player giving me some ideas on how I should play each race. Thanks!

Read 123’s Comprehensive GSB Guide pinned at the top of this forum. There’s a lot of good info there that should give you ideas on different ship designs and tactics.

Fighters: Speed = Life. Fighters with a speed under 2.00 won’t live long. Popular flavors include 1xLaser, 1xRocket, 2xRocket, Painter/Laser+Rocket.

Frigates: High speed 3xIon Cannon builds, EMP Missile builds, Anti-Frigate Beam builds, AA with Anti-Fighter Missiles+Pulse, and Plasma long range support are all common.

Cruisers: Fast Cruiser Lasers, mass Multiple-Warhead Missiles (MWM), mass Cruiser Plasma (not Heavy Plasma though, you’ll never hit anything), Fast Missiles with Painters, AA with 1-2 tractor beams, 3+ pulses, & 1-2 Cruiser Defense Lasers for killing fighters, 73+ Armor Tanks w/nano repair, Long Range 55+ Armor Tanks, etc. There’s a lot of cruiser designs and then variations on those base designs to work with.

Original 4 Race Breakdown
Rebels (Speed Race)
Fighters: Icarus hull has the best speed bonus at 14% with 2 hardpoints so you can make Dual Rocket, Painter+Rocket, etc. They have the fastest Laser Fighter in game at 2.65 speed.
Frigates: Asgard has 2nd highest hardpoints at 6, but a mere 4 modules means you’ll have a hard time equipping 6 weapons. I use the Odin hull for my fast 3xIon build (uses all 11 slots).
Cruisers: I use the Valkyrie hull with 7 hardpoints for most of my long range builds. My fast CL build is on the Minotaur hull with .40 speed.
Other: Rebel Fusion Beam loses a little dps & accuracy for more range & armor pen. Personal choice.

Federation (Hull Race)
Fighters: Leopard hull wins with 12% speed and has 2 hardpoints for Dual Rocket, Painter+Rockets, etc. making for good fighters builds all around.
Frigates: No hulls with a speed bonus so fast builds aren’t so hot. Fox hull has a huge 17% Shield bonus (more than any Empire frigate shield bonus).
Cruisers: Panther hull is one of the best in the game with 8 hardpoints + small size. When more module slots than hardpoints are needed, the Eagle hull has worked well. Tiger hull for armor tanks.
Other: Federation Fusion Beam loses range & armor pen for more shield pen (can beat all shields except Reflective) and tracking.

Alliance (Armor Race)
Fighters: No 2 hardpoint fighters = Ouch. Slowest Laser Fighter in the game.
Frigates: Cobra hull makes for an incredibly fast 3xIon build. Good frigate options.
Cruisers: Python has the most hardpoints in game with 9 (Guidance Scrambler +8 MWMs? Sure. Expensive? Sure). Alligator looks like a good 73+ armor tank (12% armor), but 8 starting power makes it worse than Shark hull in that role (again, see 123’s guide).
Other: Three Alliance only weapons. The beam laser takes a noticable dps & range hit for more tracking. I’d use regular cruiser beam instead. Lightning Beam has super short range, but not even a third of the dps of the awesome short ranged Cruiser Laser = Pass. Fusion Torp Launcher has medium range, but lower dps like a long range weapon. You’re better off with Fast Missiles or MWMs.

Empire (Shield Race)
Fighters: Another race without 2 hardpoint fighters. All of their fighters are underpowered which makes them slow, but the Phalanx is the best option they have.
Frigates: Imperial designers decided that bigger frigates are better and moved the dial to eleven. One of their frigate designs (Hasta) is so massive (180 size) that it’s bigger than several Cruisers. If you want a lot of slots to work with though, the Empire has them in spades including the Hasta with 11 modules +4 hardpoints and the “Weapons Platform” with 8 hardpoints, but only 4 modules.
Cruisers: High module counts and bonuses to shields make them lean towards going for more shield stacking. Imperator hull has the most hardpoints for them at 7.
Other: The Empire Laser Beam jumps up to 860 range and has the highest accuracy for a 770+ range weapon, making it an excellent long range frigate killer.

I hope this is what you’re looking for. If you like it, I’ll do the expansion races later.

I thought that the Nomads were the best for speed race, oh well, at least works for me ^^

Spooky, that is exactly what I was looking for. Yes I have read 123’s guide several times now and it does specifically point out builds for each race’s tank. From the post, I can glean certain things such as apparently Nomads armored frigates are good. But it is extremely helpful to see it all broken down by race for me like you have it. Thanks!
I’d love to see expansion races done also.

You see, the thing with this game is that the “good” is all in the niches. This game runs largely on breakpoints.

Choice of hulls (aside from some specific niche needs)

Fighter - Fastest
Frigate - Smallest
Cruiser - Smallest


Empire has the shield bonus, they are horrible at using shields due to their huge size. Overall, they are the race to avoid. Anything that can be done with Empire can probably be done better with another race

Alliance has one niche fleet, because armor requires breakpoints to work.

Fed is standard, decent fighter, decent hull, Fusion Beam, but lacks a good universal tank

Rebel has the smallest cruiser with speed and beefy fighters for a rush race, so they actually works as intended.

Tribe is OP and dominates in pretty much everything. 2xHP means you don’t have to pay for defense besides 1 shield for some immunity, which also means more guns and more speed than any other race. Their fighters also dominate most defensive air fights, since with a few tractors around the 2xHP and more firepower makes far more difference than speed. They were banned in competitive play when it was still around.

Order has tank and rad gun. That’s kinna it. It was the armor/MWM until nomad came out, then it got outclassed by nomad missiles.

Swarm has 2 things going for them, frigate spam, and smart bomb tanks. Primary drawback are the huge 215m hull and lack of universal tank.

Nomad has 2 things, nomad missiles with tanks and fast armor frigate.

Best armor tank/long range? Nomad.
Best anti missile? Swarm
Best at pretty much everything else? Tribe

Note Shield is not a strategy because they cannot be stacked effectively. So no matter what race you use, you are stuck with 1 or 2 shields regardless.

So, what are breakpoints exactly? Are you talking about how for example you really really want to get to 12+ armor to be less vulnerable to rocket fighters and such? That doesnt really fit into the context of your discussion though. Please explain.

I really wanted to like the Empire due to Weapons Platforms being a way to cram 7 Plasma launchers on a frigate with sufficient supporting stuff. However, while frigate weapons are half the cost, they are about 1/3rd the effectiveness relative to cruiser plasma because they deal 1/2 the damage, slightly slower cooldown and less armor penetration.
In fact, I am struggling with frigates in general… sure I can make 2.5 for the price of 1 cruiser but they are more prone to Defeat in Detail, and their weaker shields/armor mean they reflect much less damage for free.

Alliance lightning gun is the suck, as are most special weapons. Why are special weapons so damned bad?
Can you explain your statement? I dont understand Alliance’s niche fleet, nor the armor needing breakpoints.
Are you referrring to the Alliance 100% Tanks with Plasmas fleet using alligator?

How does Fed lack a tank? Doesnt the Fed Tiger Cruiser work? How come panther doesn’t work being much smaller?

Im seeing the strength of Tribe. I actually thought Howitzer/Autocannon were good until I noticed in combat that they only shoot 4 times at the advertised rate…then they reload for 1000ms. What garbage!
So with Tribe, you don’t take any armor? I thought you’d want a bit of armor as padding for your tribe repair doodads?

How does frigate spam work for Swarm and what makes it better? I see they have the crew nest, but what else?

For nomads, what is the build for nomad armored frigates? I made some but they didnt seem to do all that great. I used the nomad engines.

Anyways, thanks for the response!

Well when I said breakpoints, I was referring to armor resist, shield resist, and speed.

armor resist > armor penetration = 97% resistance
shield resist > shield penetration = 100% immunity
speed > tracking = 98% dodge

The armor and shield resist should be obvious. You either resist or you don’t.

As speed get closer to tracking, the % damage reduce grows linearly, which means effective HP grows exponentially. From 0 - 1% reduction 1% remaining damage, while a 90 - 91% reduction will be 10% of the remaining damage.

In this sense, you will need to know the armor pen/shield pen/tracking of the better weapons. Focus around those breakpoints will give you a niche fleet, which works in most situations, but will be extremely easy to counter if recognized. A high speed frigate fleet is countered with pulse laser. A high armor fleet is countered with beams. Then again, every 1 fleet is always easy to counter so I don’t really think much of the downside.

Tiger barely works. They will melt faster than other tanks against beams because they cannot get too much above 73.

Frigate has no HP, so slow frigate is more or less unusable. Frigate plasma isn’t that good as you already found out.

If you want to know about armor resistance, or the one alliance fleet that sorta works, you can find that in my guide.

I gotcha. Breakpoints meaning that there is an enormous difference between 70 armor and 80 armor for example on a tank, and that the 24 shield reflection is TONS better than a 20 shield when up against beam cruisers. I didnt realize that speed and tracking were in a similar boat. Maybe that is why my fast frigate didn’t work… it had like a .66 speed instead of .8 which meant that it just wasnt fast enough to evade the heavy weapons.

Ive read your guide 3 times over now and found it to be incredibly good. As a newbie that lacks enough experience to intrinsically get some of what you were saying, I appreciate the responses. Thanks man, and have a great weekend. Thanks to Praetors too.

Hit mechanics as quoted by cliffski:

And range difference affecting damage:

Examples of cruiser size affecting your chance to be hit. Assuming a ship at zero speed, here’s the chance any weapon can hit it:
Ship Size - Hit Chance
140.00 - 0.77 > Rebel Fenrir
160.00 - 0.81 > Fed Panther, Tribe Utopia
175.00 - 0.84 > Nomad Hajaya, Rebel Valkyrie
210.00 - 0.91 > Fed Tiger, Alliance Shark
215.00 - 0.92 > Swarm Sekhmet
230.00 - 0.95 > Alliance Python
240.00 - 0.97 > Order Temple
256.00 - 1.00 > Nomad Hareeb

A stationary Hareeb tank isn’t going to dodge any fire, since all weapons have a 100% chance to hit it. A parked Fenrir on the other hand has a 23% chance to dodge incoming fire. Once the ship moves, then tracking comes into play.

Thanks! The information about “To hit” chances is extremely helpful. I am really surprised that no one has written more of an in depth tactica for this game. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t. However, I am still struggling with certain basic questions like: ’ How fast does my rush need to be to have a chance against a missile fleet?’ and ‘is point defense actually worth it?’

Any tips greatly appreciated.


Honestly I thought my guide is too big and technical already. I never expected people to read even a quarter of it.

As for missile fleet. Not every missile fleet can be rushed by cruisers. If the missile fleet is a ‘counter rush’, meaning it has a CL or 2 of it’s own, a few target painters sprinkled around, and especially with lures, they can easily crush a rush. That’s something you need to understand.

The only missile fleet that can be rushed are those so focused on killing another long range they give up all rush defense.

That said, a cruiser rush is usually around 0.3 speed.

Yep, one of my preffered tactics since reading this awesome guide ^^

It’s a great guide (and yes, I have read it all, twice now). I do wish it contained a bit more in the way of examples of ship construction (the example tanks are very useful.) The info on speed was also very useful as it’s very hard to know when you are new whether a “rush” cruiser should be aimed at going .25 or .40 or what.

I guess I wish rush fleets were a bit more effective as IMHO they are more exciting to watch than two fleets that just move up missile/plasma range and stop dead and shoot one another.

I HAD thought I had designed some good ships until I played some of the challenges listed in the guide and got wiped. It makes me a bit sad that a fleet that a built to be flexible is usually bad compared to a “one trick pony”.

I was trying to build a cruiser that could take on the Nomad frigate rush and I was unable to come up with any design that could do it with less than 50+ armor. The swarm rush was even worse with all the EMP.


Slight derailment, but you can beat the Nomad missile spam using Swarm. The swarm have a really nice cruiser though I forgot the name. Its their smallest ones length-wise, and I load it up with a Smart Bomb (anti-missile doodad), 3 Swarm-only disruptors for long range anti-shield, 3 beam lasers for damage and anti-armor, a tractor beam and a pulse laser. It has a typical reflector shield, about 15ish armor and is pretty slow.

When stacked right next to each other, the smart bombs are extremely good for covering each other and taking out all missiles and rockets. It is a pretty good general purpose design that Ive used for the campaign. It is reasonably cheap too. I typically have a squad of laser fighters that escort it at close range for more anti-fighter goodness. Im sure you could replace the beams with Plasma if desired. The disruptor is similar except it is significantly more accurate.

In any case, I agree that I’d like to see some specific designs. I never was able to make a very good Nomad Armored Frigate for example.

Interesting. I wonder if the WWII analogy was a conscious choice?

Are the challenges really that much more hardcore than the standard battles when it comes to DPS on each target? I’ll try the missions with armor tanks rather than my shield tanks now, but a reflective and three multispectrals will stand up to a lot of Rebel missile spam when it’s supported by its and its neighbor’s point defense (yes, I know, but power) and guidance scrambler beams. Like, as in, I’m regenerating twice as quickly as if I’d only used two shields, and I can pretty much guarantee you I’d lose the mission if I dropped even one multispectral, let alone two.

While we’re on the subject of shield effectiveness, and while I’m running off to try an armor tank, are shield regeneration rates affected by the stacking penalty, or just the shield’s shield points?

You can judge that yourself. Go to online challenges and sort by difficulties. Fight some of the fleets with 4 - 5 yellow stars and see how they are different from the mission you played.

That sorts out the wheat from the chaff in a big hurry. Leaves more time for the pew-pew-pew action, as well as greater chances of learning new tactical dynamics along the way.

Well, I’ve done my homework and can tell my teachers what I’ve learned: armor tanks can stand up to a lot more burst fire than shield tanks, but take so many more slots that against missile spam their ability to protect the back ranks suffers because they don’t have enough guidance scrambler beams.

The teachers have, however, proceeded to further intimidate me about the challenges, and haven’t answered my question about shield regeneration and the stacking penalty.

Sorry! So: Only shield points themselves suffer stack penalties; recharge rate of speed is unaffected.