Using a Cruiser Stack
Abstract: This guide aims to provide an indepth view and analysis of the construction, maintenance and use of a cruiser stack in AstroEmpires.
Q: What the fuck is a cruiser Stack?
A: Probably the most common and easiest to use fleet in the game. A cruiser stack's main component is fighters/corvettes/destroyers/cruisers/carriers.
Q: What the fuck is a cruiser?
A: Overview of the cruiser:
atk/def/shd: 24 (plasma)/24/2 (base); 28.8/36/2.2 (minimum tech)
requirements: 10 shipyards, Plasma 4 + Warp Drive 2 + Armour 10 + Shielding 2. Minuscule for any player basically.
Estimated time to produce: 20-40 minutes per cruiser, depending on the prod of the base, anything more than 40 minutes and you are either new or failing.
Q: Whats the point of a cruiser stack?
A: A cruiser stack is the jack of astro. Not the best in what they can do but they can do alot of things.
Advantages of a Cruiser Stack:
- Can do alot of things including base hitting, fleet hitting, fighter drop to an extent, recycler hunting.. you name the job and a cruiser stack can probably do it to some degree.
- Little to no tech requirements, easy to build up and increase in size.
- Good recycler support.
- Decent defense, won't be taken down in most cases for a great ratio. (You will probably see 1:2 most of the time, but none of the ridiculous 1:4's that some fleets can get taken down for)
- Fastest cookie cutter fleet in the game (a giant corvette or frigate stack is not cookie cutter, sorry.)
Disadvantages of a Cruiser Stack:
- very easy derbs against the right enemy fleet
- needs size to function
- not the best in basically anything they do. Cruiser stacks can do everything, but there's usually another fleet that can better it in specific aspects. (For example, frigate fleets in fleet hitting are generally better than cruiser stacks)
How to construct a cruiser stack quickly:
12 shipyards on all bases for cruisers and carriers, and get to work. Cruiser fleets are easy to build. This is one of their main strengths and one of the reasons why they are so commonly built
Maintaining a Cruiser Stack:
Ironically, the thing you will lose the fastest in your stack is not cruisers, but corvettes/destroyers (and fighters if you elect to do alot of drops). Therefore, maintaining a large cruiser stack requires you to build more corvettes/destroyers (sometimes fighters) than you'll do cruisers.
Other Key Components of a Cruiser Stack:
Fighters: meat shield, offensive weapon.
Corvetes: secondary meatshield for cruisers, recycler hunting. You'll want 2-5x the amount of cruisers in corvettes in your fleet.
Destroyers: secondary meatshield for cruisers, kills small fleets. You'll want half the amount of corvettes in destroyers in your fleet.
Bombers (optional): secondary meatshield, can also be used to drop cruisers
Heavy Bombers: (optional): hit cruisers/heavy cruisers on a high CC base. (Only ever use HBs when CCs are present, just a rule of thumb.)
Recycler: no explanation needed. Get about 5k recs per 1mil of combat fleet I'd say.
Carriers*: Ferrying extra fighters that you'll need
*FC or Carriers is a choice that will be covered later on.
As a general rule of thumb, the minimum amount of fighters you'll want in your stack is 10*your cruisers. However, that amount of fighters is quite inadequate for you to do anything other than hitting fleets with, thus nullifying the main advantage of a cruiser stack - versatility. Therefore, I recommend more towards the tune of 25*your # of cruisers in fighters in your stack so a sample cruiser fleet would look something like:
Current Cruiser Stack mandate:
CA: 1500 (Or FC 250 is possible)
Optionals: 10k Corvette and 5k Destroyers (pick one, having both is kinda a waste cause it doesnt improve ratios by that much and you can get more cruisers that way)
(Don't forget your 3k min recyclers per 1m fleet and optional HBs if you want)
(Don't forget its a ratio, not a goal. So for every 140k fighters you build 12500 cruisers and 1500 carriers, etc.)
Ok, I've got a sizable stack now, what can I do with it?
Mincing as few words as possible, cruiser stacks can do the following but are not limited to:
- kill fighter fleets with shitty tech
- kill other (smaller) cruiser stacks
- kill anything from cruisers-dreadnoughts at a decent ratio
- hit bases with anything from disruptors-prings.
- give decent fighter/hb drops.
Ok, got that, so what can't I do with a cruiser stack?
Basically, the only things you can't do are:
- hit leviathan stacks / death stars
- hit cruiser stacks that are bigger (without help)
- get optimal ratio on anything other than base hits. (You'll get a good ratio, but it won't ever be the best. )
Ok, that's fine. What will my stack get souped by?
- Levi stacks
- Cruiser stacks that are bigger than yours
- Giant fighter stacks
Keep your cruiser stack out of reach of those fleets if at all possible and you should have a good time.
Fighters are always used in conjunction with cruisers except in very extreme circumstances that will be covered.
Corvettes and Destroyers (and bombers) are optional secondary meatshields that are used to strengthen your ratio somewhat when dealing with a fleet with very little/no fighters. When the need arises, corvettes / destroyers (and bombers if you have them) are always used in unison with cruisers. This will be covered in greater detail, read on. Remember to only build either one of corvettes/destroyers, not both because having both doesn't improve your ratios enough to justify lowering the amount of cruisers you have.
Generally, expect for every cruiser you lose that you also lose about 3 destroyers, 6 corvettes, and 12 fighters in a mixed attack. This is why you'll spend more time building fig/de/cv compared to building cruisers. Live with it.
Always have a battle calc with you when using a cruiser stack. Make it a habit to scout out your enemy's techs and fleet makeup before hand and fiddle with the battle calc to determine the best course of action. Nowadays battle calcs are usually about 99% accurate so get in the habit of abusing it to nazi your ratios as much as possible.
How to attack:
a) Fighter/Destroyer/Corvette/Cruiser (ft/cv/de/cr)
This is used to finish fleets off. It should not be used on fleets with anything more than minimal amounts of fighters remaining. Optimally, you'll be hitting hcs and up on 0 CCs, that's 1:3 easy. However, sometimes you'll be hitting bs and up on 15-20 CCs or cruisers and up on 0 CCs. That's fine, you'll still get 1:1.5 to 1:2.5 or so, but don't ever hit cruisers or HC with ft/cv/de/cr on bases with 15-20 CCs, you're asking to get 1:1'd. Let HBs do the job of hitting cruisers/hc on high CC'd bases for you instead of a gung-ho cruiser smash into good defenses. A rule of thumb is that you can finish anything the size of your ft/cv/de/cr combined total in one hit. (So if you have 5mil in ft/cv/de/cr, you can finish 5mil max in HC+ fleet in one hit).
Don't ever use ft/cv/de/cr when there are still fighters left in the fleet you're hitting. Straight-out hitting Corvettes/Destroyers with ft/cv/de/cr are not advised either, but can be done if you're short on fighters.
This is also your standard setup for hitting most bases. Make sure no fighters are left when you ft/cv/de/cr though or it'll hurt. 2k cruisers are needed per level of psheilds, and 400 per level of rings to one shot as a rule of thumb.
If you have bombers, throw them out there as well in a ft/cv/de/cr.
b) Fighter/Cruiser (ft/cr)
As said by Infinity, "Cruiser/fighter fleets get positive ratios on naked fighters because of the partial shield absorbs, so they work well on fleets that you can't profitably fighter drop all the fighters on."
As a rule of thumb, Do not ever use ft/cr against fleets bigger than you unless said fleet is something dumb like 50% recycler/carriers.
Finally, ft/cr can be used against 0 CC bases with not enough fighters to warrant HC rape, but enough fighters to make you otherwise feel compelled to fighter drop. Instead of fighter dropping, you go straight through the fighters for a positive ratio with ft/cr, which can sometimes make ft/cr the best possible ratio you can get against a base like that. Again, this is because of the partial shield absorbs
So in a nutshell, use ft/cr when you are tackling a fleet that you cannot or do not want to drop all the fighters on, but can drop all the other unshielded units.
c) Cruiser rape
In otherwords, slamming all your cruisers, naked, into the other fleet or base. This is rarely if ever used. Only when your opponent is sitting on alot of fighters that only do <= 0.1 damage to your cruisers should you even consider doing something as otherwise dumb as a cruiser rape. However, when such a rare scenario occurs the cruiser rape is even better than a hc rape and should therefore be kept in your bag of tricks.
d)Fighter drop (ft drop)
Generally, you fighter drop to aim for one of four possible results:
1) Complete destruction of your enemy's recyclers only. 2) Complete destruction of your enemy's unshielded units, except fighters. 3) Complete destruction of all of your enemy's unshielded units, including fighters. 4) Complete destruction of everything below heavy cruisers of your enemy and more.
Whereas 4) requires you slamming all your fighters into your enemy and is best done to an off-base enemy fleet, 1), 2), 3) can be used in any situation and involve you suiciding a pre-calculated (using the battle calc) amount of fighters into your enemy's fleet to achieve what you want.
1) is used only in war to deny recycling capabilities or as part of a profit ninjaing hit and run operation.
2) is used to clear the enemy fleet for a ft/cr hit (cv/de/fr do not give as good a ratio when ft/cr'd compared to when ft dropped).
3) is used to clear the enemy fleet for a ft/cv/de/cr attempt (off base) or for a hb drop (on high CC base)
In general, with the limited amount of fighters in your fleet compared to fig - dedicated fleets, you'll be limited to mostly 1,2,3. 1 is rarely used so in general, learn to fiddle with 2 and 3 and figure out which is better for a particular situation using your trusty battle calc.
e) Heavy bombers drop (HB drop)
HB drop is only used for one purpose, clearing out cruisers, carriers, and heavy cruisers on a high CC base, opening you up for a ft/cv/de/cr hit. A HB drop will generally only give a slight to moderate profit even in the best circumstances (25-50%) but a HB drop is always better than slamming your cruisers into CCed HC/CR for 1:1.
Do not ever use HBs on off-base fleet.
How many cruisers should I aim for:
15k should be enough to do anything that's required of you, but you might need to scale even greater heights in order to tackle other people that do the same. So 15k minimum as your eventual goal, with no real maximums.
Fleet Carriers or Carriers comparison:
1 Fleet Carrier
75 base (missile)
64 base (ion)
Defense 150 base
Best used when
Nothing bigger than cruisers
Nothing bigger than battleships
As seen above, carriers for the same price of a FC have far greater attack, speed, and defense which when coupled with smaller shipyard/tech requirements makes it seem on the surface far superior to a fleet carrier. However, in practice fleet carriers are superior due to their better hangar (thus cost effeciency), and shields, which allows for some protection when sending FCs in that Carriers don't get. (If you are attacking a base with fighters for example, and the guy was on, you would be screwed if you were sending carriers but mostly unscathed with FCs). Secondly, the fact that while carriers do have lesser requirements, the requirements of FCs are also quite small and thus the difference is neglible. This means that carriers only have one real advantage - speed - making them more suited with your standard cruiser stack with no hc/bs. However, FC is the superior option when using 3 other speed ships. In any case, some carriers are useful even if you elect to use FCs as a fast fighter shipment.
Composition: For every 140k fighters, build 12500 cruisers and 1500 carriers. 3k recyclers for every 1mil fleet. And finally optional bombers/corvettes/destroyers/heavy bombers
Ways of attack: Fighter dropping , HB dropping, ft/cr, cr rape, ft/cv/de/cr
Good against: Fighter fleets with shitty tech, smaller fleets, cr-dn over 0 CCs, bs-dn over 15-20CCs, most bases
Bad against: levi/titans, bigger fleets.
Gets raped by: levi/titans, bigger cruiser fleets, giant fighter stacks
Can: Do mostly everything
Cannot: Be the best at anything that they do