A guide about how to build a Imperial Navy fleet including analysis and possible uses of every Ship, Upgrade, Ship Skill, Crew Skill and Favour. Also features examples of specialized fleets for various point levels.
Maneuvering Thrusters are useful when fighting escorts but normally you can keep up with every ship by using special maneuvers. The exception to this are Battleships which are very slow without this upgrade.
The Mezoa Pattern Drive is useful to give your fleet a uniform speed so all of your ships engage the enemy together.
Efficient Plasma Thrusters can be used to further increase the mobility of your ships or to help with more complicated maneuvers like turning to an enemy to shoot torpedoes or turning 180° multiple times to use booth batteries of a ship against a single enemy.
Because of their flat increase in mobility Maneuvering Thrusters and Mezoa Pattern Drive are better for bigger ships while Efficient Plasma Thrusters are better for smaller ships.
Emissions Dissipator (ships are not revealed by special maneuvers)
This Upgrade can be used to easily dodge enemy abilities without being revealed. Also, this can be used as an alternative to Mezoa Pattern Drive by using special maneuvers to increase your speed at the start of the battle without being revealed. This upgrade is best for keeping your ships outside the enemies spotting range which is useful for ships that you want to use as scouts.
Navigational Shields (No damage from asteroid fields)
Normally you should micro your ships to avoid flying through asteroids but sometimes you cant keep up because you have too many ships which can happen if you are using a lot of escorts. They have few HP so flying through an asteroid field hurts them much more than bigger ships. Additionally this upgrade increases the surface area from which you can attack. Your Cruisers could attack the enemy directly while your escorts do a flanking maneuver through an asteroid field. Another way to use Navigational Shields is to hide inside an asteroid field so the enemy cant engage you without suffering some damage.
Additional Shield Generator (+ 100 Shields), Auxiliary Shield Generators (+50% shield regeneration), Voss Pattern Void Shield (25% damage against shields ignored)
The shield upgrades can be very useful because they are the only upgrades that actually give your ship more hitpoints. They stack with each other so its a good idea to buy as many as you can fit onto your ship. For example against 10 DPS of macro batteries a cruiser with one shield upgrade takes 7% more time to be killed, with 2 upgrades its 18% and with 3 its 29%. If you do the math you will find that Voss Pattern Shields increase the amount of shield HP by 33% and that Auxiliary Shield Generators are equivalent to an increase of 50% shield HP. With this in mind you should pick the order of the shield upgrades accordingly for each ship class.
Improved Augur Array (+2500 detection range)
Most ships have 5000 detection range so they get 7500 with Improved Augur Array. Despite this Ships with long range weaponry dont profit from this upgrade as much because they want to fire from even farther than 7500 away. This upgrade is best used on ships you want to use as scouts for the rest of your fleet.
Imperial Assassin (chance to cause mutiny with lightning strike), Additional Teleportarium (+1 attack for lightning strike)
Generally each boarding action has a chance to cause a hull breach for direct damage or a critical hit. A mutiny can cause multiple critical hits and a big debuff to the enemy ship. Each ship has a default amount of 1 attack per lightning strike so the +1 attack of the Additional Teleportarium effectively doubles the damage. These upgrades are best used together. Adding the Space Marine favour makes it even stronger by increasing your chance of success.
Enhanced Battle Bridge (special orders can be used with destroyed deck), Belt Armour (first critical damage to a system is ignored), Fire Protection System (-50% fire duration)
These upgrades can offer an alternative to the shield upgrades to increase the resilience of your ship. Unlike the shield upgrades they dont synergize much with each other which means that they are already effective if you just take one.
It is very rare that your deck gets permanently destroyed but when it does the effectiveness of your ship is greatly reduced. This is especially true when you are relying on your orders and are using Advanced Cogitator Linkages.
Fires can cause a lot of damage but by clever use of emergency repairs the damage can be minimized. If your ship is on fire you probably have a lot of critical damage too and want to use emergency repairs anyways. Small ships dont profit as much from Fire Protection System because they are likely to be completely destroyed if they are already burning but big ships can slightly reduce the damage received by using this upgrade.
Belt armour allows you to keep fighting at full efficiency for longer. It triggers on booth permanent and temporary critical hits. Temporary critical hits can be repaired by emergency repairs so its impact is rather limited. Its better on small ships because you get one ignored critical hit per ship regardless of size.
Advanced Cogitator Linkages (+50% special order duration)
This upgrade can be very strong and versatile because you can always choose your order according to the situation you are in. If you rely on a lot of abilities this upgrade is especially strong because by using the Reload order this the only upgrade that can be used to reduce the cooldown of abilities. Orders are reduced by the servitor crew skill. By using booth the total time your orders are active is increased by 70%.
Power Ram (+50% ramming damage)
If your ships are using a lot of close range weaponry this upgrade can be used to increase your damage. This synergizes very well with the mobility upgrades which can allow your ships to ram more frequently. Small ships can use this upgrade to kill escorts with a single blow while big ships benefit from the increase to their large base damage.
Turbo Weaponry (+3000 Range for macro weapons), Targeting Matrix (Accuracy at 9000 is 50% instead of 40%, at 12000 40% instead of 20%)
Your ships generally are slower than the enemies so it is very hard to stay outside their firing range. The main advantage of Turbo Weaponry is that while fighting you have more enemies in range so its easier to focus fire on one enemy or support other ships from farther away. You are going to fight at close range most of the time so normally this upgrade only gives you a few seconds of extra shooting.
Targeting Matrix is a very important upgrade for ships with long range weaponry to increase their damage.
The synergy of these two upgrades isnt very high because you either have enough range so you dont have to increase it or you increase your range from 6000 to 9000 where just the 10% accuracy increase isnt worth an upgrade slot.
Amour Pircing Ammunition (-25% armour when at less than 3000)
Most ships have at least 50 armour so this upgrade normally increases your damage by 33% if you are able to get close enough. This upgrade benefits from mobility upgrades but normally you should be able to get inside a range of 3000 without additional upgrades.
Automated Refueling Systems (-20% Hangar Bay Cooldown)
The strongest upgrade for each ship that has a hangar bay. This works out to be a 25% increase in damage output from your flyers.
Disruption Overcharge (lance weapons do +50% damage against shields)
Most lances have a forward facing firing arc so your first few lance shots before engaging the enemy will soften up the enemy shields a bit more. The problem with this upgrade is that only a part of your weapons are lances and only a small part of the enemies HP are shields so the damage increase is far less noticeable than you would expect. Escorts have a higher amount of shield HP compared their hull HP so this upgrade can be useful against them.
Short Burn Torpedoes (+50% torpedo speed)
This upgrade is not completely necessary when you are always at short range but if you want to hit the enemy from farther away this upgrade is very helpful. With Advanced Cogitator Linkages and Servitors its possible fire 30% more torpedoes so the improvement of this upgrade could come into play very often.
Refined Lenses (+3000 Range for lances)
Compared to Turbo Weaponry this upgrade is much stronger because Lances always have 100% accuracy so you dont lose any damage when firing from father away. With this upgrade its very easy to focus all your fire on one enemy.
Without any shield upgrades Supercharged Void Shield is better most of the time depending on how many enemies shoot at your ship. Emergency Capacitor effectively gives you 15s shorter charge time. If you have all three shield upgrades Emergency Capacitor can a be a big increase of HP. With all three shield upgrades on a Cruiser this is equivalent to an extra 180 HP everytime you use it.
Disruption Bomb (empties enemy shields), Plasma Bomb (100 damage, destroys bombs)
Most ships have 200 shield hitpoints so the Disruption Bomb can do up to 200 damage. The problem with this is that your ships immediately start shooting at the enemy so the damage often is reduced. The bigger problem is that you have to wait until an enemy has regenerated its shields to use the Disruption Bomb again which further reduces its damage per second. A Plasma Bomb can be used as soon as the cooldown is over. Also, the Plasma Bomb is much more versatile by being able to do double damage against escorts, ignoring armour and by being able to counter Stasis Bombs.
Augur Disruptor (reduce enemy detection range to 1000)
A single ship is able to affect all enemy ships at once allowing you to close the distance without being shot at. You have to use this skill before your ships are spotted by the enemy otherwise your ships will stay visible.
Stasis Bomb (slows enemies by 86%)
This skill can be used to separate ships from the enemy fleet so you can fight against each ship individually. It is also useful to block certain areas to delay the enemy from reaching the mission goal or to force him to engage you from a certain direction.
Rally (cancel insubordination)
Having a ship with this ability in your fleet can ensure you that your fleet doesnt get affected by mutiny. Your ship should have the commissar crew skill or you should have a second ship with this ability to avoid the ship having this skill suffering mutiny itself.
Void Shield Transfer (transfer 100 shield from one ship to another)
This skill can be used to spread the damage done to one ship across your fleet so the enemy cant focus on just one ship. Void Shield Transfer is best on a ship with long range weapons because by staying out of combat it has the chance to regenerate its shields without being shot at.
Recon Beacon (place beacon with 2500 detection range inside 10000 range), Augur Probe (launch probe that moves and reveals enemies)
Reacon Beacon can be used to detect an enemy from up to 12500 away. Placing the Reacon Beacon on an enemy ship can be used to make sure that the enemy ship always stays detected so this ability retains some value after engaging the enemy.
The Augur Probe has to be aimed and can be dodged but has the potential to detect more ships at once.
With any of these upgrades you dont necessarily have to use a ship to scout the enemy. The Reacon Beacon is better most of the time because it is more reliable.
Mini Warp Jump (jump anywhere within detection range), Enhanced Induction Cells (instantly refill special maneuver fuel)
You can use Mini Warp Jump to prepare ramming the enemy, to get into firing range, to escape a Plasma Bomb or Stasis Bomb or to warp out of the enemies shooting range to regenerate your shields. Improved Augur Array offers very good synergy with this skill by being able to jump much further.
Enhanced Induction Cells is less useful for moving to a specific place but it can be used to do a series of special maneuvers. Efficient Plasma Thrusters increases the amount of special maneuver fuel that is restored.
Mini Warp Jump is better for bigger ships while Enhanced Induction Cells is better for smaller ships that are able to easily cover the distance they could have skipped with Mini Warp Jump.
If your ship ships gets the Insubordinate Captain effect you will either have to let it warp out of the battle or you have to suffer the mutiny penalty for your ship which causes multiple critical hits and increased cooldown times for all abilities. Insubordination greatly reduces the efficiency of your ship but only having a 30% chance to happen means that reducing its chance doesnt have a big impact. If you invest 3 crew skill pints into this skill you will never get the Insubordinate Captain effect.
Navigator (-15% chance for lost in warp, -2,5s to warp out of battle)
This crew skill doesnt have any effect during a battle. With three points used for this skill you will never suffer negative consequences for warping out of a battle. You should take other crew skills to increase the efficiency of your ships during the battle so you dont have to warp out of it in the first place.
Tech-Priest (+0.3 HP per second during emergency repairs)
Depending on the level of this skill the increased HP per second gives your ships 103.5/117/130,5 HP instead of 90 HP each time they use emergency repairs. Normally you are going to wait to use Emergency Repairs until your ships suffers a critical hit so this crew skill wont affect your ship very often. The additional HP can be very useful for smaller ships that dont have as many hit points.
Master Gunner (+25% critical hit chance for macro and lance weapons)
Increasing the efficiency of your ships main source of damage makes this one of the strongest crew skills.
Ratings (+3 troop value)
All your ships have a troop value of 60 so this crew skill effectively reduces the chance of enemy boarding attacks by 7.5%. A Cruiser with 12 turrets and 3 crew points invested into this skill reduces the chance of enemy boarding actions by 32.1% and the chance of lightning strikes by 22.5%. Boarding actions do only a very limited amount of damage so this crew skill isnt very important.
Servitors (-4% ability cooldown)
The cooldown reduction applies to every ability of the ship including orders, boarding actions, torpedoes or a Nova Cannon which makes this crew skill essential to all ships that rely on any of them. With three points of this crew skill you can use all your abilities 13.6% more frequently.
Squadron Sargent (10% chance to ignore destruction for torpedoes, fighters and bombers)
Fighters dont profit much from this crew skill but bombers and attack boats gain a 42.9% increase in damage with three skill points used for this crew skill. Together with the Automated Refueling Systems upgrade your bombers can do 79% more damage in the same amount of time. This crew skill should be used for all ships with a hanger bay.
The improvements of the Inquisition favour are spread very far but together they considerably improve the efficiency of your ship in all situations. The biggest problem of this favour is that there arent enough useful crew skills so the effects of this favour are very limited if the level of your ship is high enough to buy all important crew skills. Ships with a hanger bay have access to one additional crew member which means that they gain one additional crew skill point and have a way to effectively spend more crew skill points. Big ships with long range weaponry benefit from this favour by being able to scout for themselves.
The added upgrade slot of the Mechanicus favour is very strong for ships that need many upgrade slots to fight effectively especially helping big ships with complex armaments. The additional ability slot is a big improvement for small ships while only having a minor impact on big ships that already have many upgrade slots without this favour.
The Adeptus Mechanicus favour generally is more useful for ships that dont have a hanger bay. You could mimic the detection ability of the Inquisition favour by taking the Reacon Beacon ability while gaining an additional upgrade that has a bigger effect than a higher crew level.
Imperial Navy (no insubordination, deploy Cobra during battle)
This favour is very dependent on the mission type because you will need enough time to wait for the cooldown to expire to deploy the Cobra. Never suffering mutiny is equivalent to a Commissar with 3 crew skill points. This favour is best used on small ships to summon as many additional Cobras as possible.
Adeptus Astartes (+1 boarding attacks, +5 troop value, -10 enemy troop value during lightning strike)
You can either use this favour together with both lightning strike upgrades or you can just focus on the increase in normal boarding attacks without any additional upgrades. The increased troop value helps to reduce the damage of enemy boarding actions that will occur while you try to board them yourself. With the many critical hits caused by boarding attacks you can effectively neutralize an enemy ship without actually destroying it. The flat increase in boarding attacks and the fact that every ship only has one attack per lightning strike makes this favour much better for small ships.
Widowmaker (39 points; 2 torpedo launcher, 10000 detection range)
This ship is ideal for scouting. Its high speed allows it to easily stay outside the enemies detection range.
Cobra (37 points; 2 torpedo launcher, macro turret 0.35 DPS)
This ship can be used as a cheaper alternative to the widowmaker. The torpedo launcher combined with the macro turret gives this ship comparable firepower to the bigger escort ships but the Cobra requires far more micromanagement than them.
Firestorm (41 points; macro turret 0.7 DPS, prow lance 0.75 DPS, 6000 range), Sword (42 points; macro turret 1.4 DPS, 6000 range)
The lance of the Firestorm always hitting makes it well suited for long range fighting which synergizes well with the accuracy penalty escorts inflict.
The Sword can use weapon upgrades more effectively than the Firestorm and can do more complicated maneuvers by being able to fire all its weaponry sideways.
The Firestorm can fight at long range while the Sword gets more effective the closer it is to the enemy.
Dauntless (105 points; macro battery 1.4 DPS, macro turrets 1.4 DPS, prow lance 2.25 DPS, 6000 range), Dauntless Mk2 (109 points; 4 torpedo launcher, macro battery 1.4 DPS, macro turrets 1.4 DPS, 6000 range)
The Lance of the Dauntless has more DPS than its light macro battery so its best to turn this ship to front facing. This way it can make use of the strong 75 front amour and allow you to easily chase enemies. The 100% precision of the lance makes this ship very strong against escorts who cant benefit from the accuracy penalty they would normally inflict.
Without any upgrades the torpedo launcher of the Dauntless Mk2 is worse than the lance but the damage output of the Torpedo launcher can easily be increased by reducing the cooldown between salvos. The Dauntless Mk 2 generally has less survivability than the Dauntless because it has to use up more upgrades to improve its weapons and because of having to face the enemy sideways while fighting.
Tyrant (152 points; 6 torpedo launcher, macro battery 2.1 DPS 6000 range, macro battery 1.75 DPS 12000 range), Dominator (155 points; Nova Cannon, macro battery 4.2 DPS, 6000 range)
The 12000 range of the Tyrant can be helpful when supporting other ships from a distance but overall it doesnt have a huge impact.
By not having torpedoes the Dominator loses some effectiveness against bigger ships but it becomes very good at finishing of damaged ships and fighting against escorts thanks to the double damage the Nova Cannon does against them. These two ships are your best option for fighting at close range. The Dominator has more firepower and is better against smaller ships while the Tyrant is better against larger ships thanks to its torpedo launcher.
Gothic (142 points; 6 torpedo launcher, lance battery 3 DPS, 6000 range), Lunar (145 points; 6 torpedo launcher, macro battery 2.1 DPS, lance battery 1.5 DPS, 6000 range)
Booth of these ships are very cheap so having one of these allows you more flexibility in fleet building. In a normal fight the Gothic has less firepower than most other ships but the lance battery isnt affected by armour or accuracy so the Gothic is very good against escorts and ships with high armour. The range of the lance battery can easily be increased with Refined Lenses which makes the Gothic an option for a cheap ship with long range.
The Lunar has more firepower at close range but cant effectively utilize weapon upgrades due to its mixed armament.
You should pick either one of these ships depending on your intended fighting range.
Overlord (172 points; 6 torpedo launcher, macro battery 3.5 DPS, lance turret 1.5 DPS, 12000 range), Retribution (246 points; 8 torpedo launcher, macro battery 5.25 DPS, lance turret 2.25 DPS, 12000 range)
Both of these ships are very well suited to fight at long range. Generally its still best to move towards your enemy to increase the damage output of your macro weapons and torpedoes but with these ships you can start shooting at your enemy while closing in. The Retribution is almost exacly like a Overlord with 50% more weapons and hit points so you should choose one of these ships depending on the size of your fleet.
Dictator (157 points; 6 torpedo launcher, 2 hanger bay, macro battery 2.1 DPS, 6000 range), Mars (180 points; nova cannon, 2 hanger bay, macro battery 2.1 DPS, lance turret 1.5 DPS, 9000 range)
The fighters of a hanger bay can offer protection for your whole fleet against torpedoes and enemy bombers. The efficiency of your bombers and attack boats is very dependent on the amount of enemy turrets. Because of this its most effective to attack small ships or already damaged ships that have lost most of their turrets.
The Dictator is best at close range where it can use its torpedo launcher and macro battery with full efficiency.
The Mars can fight at a much longer range thanks to the lance turrets, nova cannon. On top of this it makes the Mars very strong against escorts.
If you can choose between these two ships you should consider the engagement range of the rest of your ships so you are able protect them with fighters.
Emperor (252 points; 4 hanger bay, macro battery 2.1 DPS, macro turrets 3.15 DPS, 12000 range, 10000 spotting range)
The Emperor can improve the efficiency of your whole fleet by being able to fill multiple support roles at once. It has the ability to scout the enemy, to provide long range support and to greatly increase your protection against torpedoes. The Emperor is very slow so you should plan on having to use multiple upgrade slots to increase its mobility.
1 Dauntless (105), 1 Lunar (145) : Firepower
1 Retribution (246) : Long range
1 Lunar (145), 1 Dominator (155) : Firepower
2 Dauntless Mk2 (109), 2 Firestorm (41) : Speed
1 Dauntless (105), 1 Gothic (142), 1 Tyrant (152) : Firepower
1 Dauntless Mk2 (109), 2 Lunar (145) : Torpedoes
1 Tyrant (152), 1 Retribution (246) : Long range
3 Dauntless (105), 2 Sword (42) : Speed
1 Lunar (145), 2 Tyrant (152) : Firepower
2 Lunar (145), 1 Dictator (157) : Hanger bays
1 Dauntless (105), 1 Dominator (155), 1 Mars (180) : Nova Cannons
3 Dauntless Mk2 (109), 3 Firestorm (41) : Speed
2 Dauntless (105), 2 Lunar (145) : Firepower
3 Dauntless (105), 1 Mars (180) : Speed
3 Tyrant (152), 1 Firestorm (41) : Close range
2 Dictator (157), 1 Mars (180) : Hanger bays
2 Dominator (155), 1 Mars (180) : Nova Cannons
4 Dauntless Mk 2 (109), 1 Dictator (157) : Speed and torpedoes
4 Dauntless (105), 1 Mars (180) : Speed and lances
3 Dauntless (105), 2 Gothic (142) : Lances
2 Dauntless (105), 1 Gothic (142), 1 Retribution (246) : Lances and long range
1 Dauntless (105), 2 Dominator (155), 1 Mars (180) : Nova Cannons
1 Dauntless Mk2 (109), 1 Lunar (145), 2 Overlord (172) : Torpedoes and long range
1 Dauntless Mk2 (109), 2 Dictator (157), 1 Overlord (172) : Torpedoes and hanger bays
1 Dictatator (157), 1 Mars (180), 1 Empreror (252) : Hanger bays
2 Overlord (172), 1 Emperor (252) : Long range
4 Dauntless (105), 1 Dominator (155), 3 Firestorm (41) : Speed and lances
4 Dauntless Mk2 (109), Tyrant (152), 3 Cobra (37) : Speed and torpedoes
2 Dauntless Mk2 (109) 1 Lunar (145), 2 Overlord (172) : Torpedoes and long range
2 Dauntless Mk2 (109), 3 Dictator (157) : Torpedoes and hanger bays
3 Dictator (157), 1 Overlord (180), Widowmaker (39) : Hanger bays
3 Dominator (155), 1 Mars (180), 1 Sword (42) : Nova Cannons
1 Dauntless (105), 2 Overlord (172), 1 Retribution (246) : Long range