Congrats on building the DS! I built one on Ceti for the hell of it, too. It took me six months to research and build up the bases once I’d decided to build it. It never got out of its native region. There was a player who had a woefully underdefended base. I marched the DS over there and crunched it. I then went to a Heiho base (Heiho being the baddest guild at the time) that had pring-4 and hit it. I then quit the game. I was later told I set off the server war. Even if I didn’t it was still fun.
I chose to put this on my wiki rather than a specific message. This shoudl discuss my understanding of the issues surrounding a Death Star.
Killing a Death Star
Technically, any unit can kill a DS. You know that a unit that can’t pass through the shields still transfers 1 percent of its power. So, a Fighter transfers .04 power; 100 FTs pass through 4 power. So, multiply your DS’ Armour by four (or five for a high-laser tech), and that’s how many FTs you’ll need. FTs, in ahigh enough number, are always the most efficient killer. Any unit with power less than your shield should be treated the same. Cruisers and HCs are shield raped units to your DS, my Cruiser will still deliver 5 points of damage per CR; an HC would deliver 10.
Battleships are preferable because of their high efficiency and low numbers, along with Ion Frigates in higher numbers. Think anything with Ion. The Ion Bombers and Ion Frigates have 1/2 of their power pass through. Battleships do not, but they are still ion-based. Look at your IB and IF, divided their power by two. Divide your DS armour by that value. That’s how many IBs or IFs are required to kill. IFs tend to be more efficient, so I bet their numbers will be better.
Using a Death Star
What to use the DS for? It’s been called a credit piggy bank; or a piata. My new fighter rule analysis shows the armour cost efficiency. DS has a .11 efficiency; which means only two ships are worse in armour cost efficiency. That is units with a higher value are more efficient when the derbs are harvested. So, the utility is limited.
Treat a DS like a Leviathan short-stack: good for crunching fleets with units less than BB in size; or with an insufficient number of BBs. If we could catch a fleet in a retreat trap, then you could crunch it. As long as the fleet does not have the numbers to kill the DS, you’ can crunch it down.
You’ll want to keep credits on hand to pay for repairing the DS, which is half its construction cost. You never know when your DS will be holding on with only 1 percent left and need to be repaired.
Try not to use Death Stars in the attack against a pring-defended base, especially multiple prings. The Death Star’s real strength is its shielding.
Protecting a Death Star
How to protect the DS? There are two ways: defense-in-depth and strength-in-numbers.
Defense in Depth
Consider modern naval warfare. The Carrier is the queen of the fleet. How do navies protect them? Cruisers, Submarines, Destroyers and Fighters; defense-in-depth. You will likewise want a support fleet capable of defending your DS. What does this mean?
Build a support fleet that is efficient against BBs. You already know what units are efficient against your Death Star. Build a support fleet efficient against that threat.
First, build enough Cruisers to kill all the BBs required to kill the DS. Cruisers are efficient against BBs, so use this to your advantage. This requires you know how many BBs are required, then make sure you have enough. Battleship efficiency assumes not all BBs are killed; having enough Cruisers to kill them tips the scale back toward the Death Star
Second, remember that the Cruisers now need to be defended, and defend the accordingly. Remember that Cruisers are vulnerable to Destroyers, Corvettes, Frigates, Heavy Bombers and Fighers. These are all meat (unshielded), which means they are all vulnerable to Fighters. So, you’ll want enough fighters to kill what an attacker might bring to kill your Cruisers. Calculate which of these units is most efficient against your Cruisers, and then calculate the Fighters necessary. The Death Star is at least nice enough to carry many of the FTs you’ll need.
So, your Death Star Support Fleet would include: Cruisers and Fighters; the quintessence of the Small Fleet Doctrine. Think of this as either defense-in-depth or Small Fleet defense.
While the Death Star conveys a bonus to your fleet, it might be safer to not consider that bonus when calculating your defense fleet.
Capital Strength in Numbers
The second approach is to create a Stack, which provides strength in numbers. Simply put, create a stack of a capital unit: Titans, Levis, Dreads or Death Stars. Yes, these are vulnerable to Battleships (or Heavy Cruisers) as appropriate. But, their large numbers make it more difficult to bring enough of an attacking fleet to bear.
Harvest the Derbs
Finally, have enough Recyclers nearby to harvest all the derbs. Keep the Recyclers away from your fleet as they provide no value in defense but benefit your attacker. Assume your DS and its support fleet is destroyed. You will want at least one Recycler for every twenty credits of your fleet’s value. This will allow harvesting all of your fleet in one tick. Ideally, you’d want one RC per ten credits, which allows you to harvest both your fleet and the attackers. This reduces the vulnerability of your RC fleet by not requiring that they loiter over the derbs.
As a point of reference, you need around 23,000 RCs to harvest your Death Star’s derbs alone. So, you’d want around 45,000 RCs to harvest your DS and the attacker’s derbs.