Starbases are the last line of defense for your systems. If these fall, your enemy takes control of your system and edges closer to your defeat. So, of course, it makes sense to give your starbases the best chance to defeat invaders.
Your fleets cannot be everywhere at once, and the enemy won’t make things easy for you either.
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So, if your fleets can’t defend your starbases, you are going to need to use defense platforms. This leads to the question: what is the best defense platform builds in Stellaris?
This guide will explain how defense platforms work in the game, go through some great builds for you to try, and give some general tips and tricks for your defense platforms.
The best defense platform builds in Stellaris are the aniti-corvette build, the anti-missile build, the missile build, and the all-rounder build.
Table of Contents
- How Defense Platforms Work
- The Best Defense Platform Builds in Stellaris
How Defense Platforms Work
Defense platforms are a contentious topic within the Stellaris community. Some people think they are great, while others say they are a total waste of alloys. Whatever your opinion is, there are a few things you should know about defense platforms first.
Platforms are exactly what they sound like – a construction that orbits a starbase equipped with weaponry to fight enemy ships.
You can customize them in the ship designer menu like any regular ship, and for all intents and purposes, they are a static ship in the game.
The number of platforms that you can build on a starbase depends on the base level plus any modifiers acquired through gameplay.
In terms of designing a platform, the game allows a lot of flexibility. Each platform has two sections, and you can equip them with either light, medium, heavy, point-defense, missiles, or hanger sections.
This allows you to tailor your defense systems to counter your enemies if you wish or spam your favorite weapon systems as you see fit.
There will be more on-ship design soon, but first, you should know about the strengths and weaknesses of defense platforms.
The Strengths of Defense Platforms
Some players love defense platforms and believe them to be a vital component of an effective empire.
The reasons for that love are as follows:
- An amazing deterrent in the early game. Defense platforms are an easy way to boost your military score. Having this score high can deter the AI from declaring war on you. Genocidal empires and advanced start-up empires will be more powerful than you at the start of the game. If you don’t want them breaking into your borders and stealing your lunch money, defense platforms are a great tool for that.
- Corvettes are Starbase’s worst nightmare. Due to their size differences, corvettes can easily avoid the basic weaponry equipped on starbases. This means a small fleet of corvettes can take on a starbase with a much higher power level. If you outfit your starbase defense platforms with anti-corvette weaponry, you can make this problem disappear. You can make your enemies regret a hit-and-run-style corvette spam attack.
- They buy you time. If you have an enemy within your borders and your fleets are on the other side of the galaxy, you have big problems. Starbases with the maximum number of defense platforms are never going to be a match for most mid-game fleets. What you need now is time, and if you use some of the stronger defense platform builds, they can give you just that.
- Splitting enemy focus. A platform is at its strongest when supported by your fleets. Running a joint defense in this way will split the enemy fire between your valuable ships and your expendable platforms. The shots that don’t hit your ships will allow them to close width and engage the enemy on their terms.
The Weaknesses of Defense Platforms
No mechanic is perfect in Stellaris, and defense platforms are no different.
The people who don’t like defense platforms will often make the following arguments:
- Starbases are no match for most fleets. There is no build, configuration, or modifier you can apply to starbases that will ever make them a match for late-game fleets. That is a cold, hard fact, too; most starbases last seconds against late-game fleets. This begs the question: why waste time and resources on defense platforms for them to get wiped out in seconds?
- Destroyed platforms contribute to the war score. This point ties in with the previous one: every defense platform you lose counts towards your enemy’s war score, just like destroyed ships do. This means that if your enemy walks into your system and wipes your starbases off the map before they could even fire a payload, you are handing the enemy free points toward winning the war.
- They can be expensive. Depending on the modules and weapons you equip on these platforms, their cost can get quite high. Don’t forget, like everything else you build in Stellaris, it also has an energy upkeep cost you must manage. If you spent the same amount of resources on ships, you would gain much more value from those alloys that way.
- If your borders expand, they lose their value. Creating defense systems at choke points is the hallmark of a great defensive strategy. Entry systems often have upgraded defense starbases to deter would-be invaders. If you expand past these defensive systems, you are now paying huge costs for nothing. Sure, you can deconstruct them, but with everything else you have to manage, are you going to remember to do that?
The Best Defense Platform Builds in Stellaris
Now that you know the strengths and weaknesses of the platforms, you can make your own decision on whether they are right for your empire or not.
If you do decide they are for you, this next section has all the builds you should need.
Like all problems in Stellaris, there is no definitive one-size-fits-all solution. Which is a good thing, because otherwise the game would be boring.
You will need to specialize your defense platforms so that they can complete a specific job.
The builds here will be an anti-corvette build, a missile build, an anti-missile build, and an all-rounder build.
Anti-Corvette Defense Platform Build
Corvettes are famous for their speed and evasion potential. This makes them the bane of starbases everywhere. If you want any hope of your starbase taking on a fleet of corvettes, you will need defense platforms.
This build will feature weaponry with high tracking to counter the corvettes speed. For that, the two modules we should install are one small section and one hangar section.
The small section should have all four slots filled with the highest-level version of the autocannon you have access to. These weapons have some of the best tracking in the game and will give your starbase a fighting chance.
Now, a viable option could be to add a second light section with more autocannons. But a much better option is adding a strike craft section.
Strike crafts have a 100% tracking score and can tear corvettes to shreds in large numbers.
As for defenses, prioritize armor over shields and use the fire control module for your auxiliary slot. The extra chance to hit will go a long way with corvettes.
It is great for anti-piracy attacks on your outpost stations that are not covered by your piracy suppression network. They are best in large numbers and are relatively cheap for defense platforms, at least.
Missile Defense Platform Build
If you have enough of these, and they have enough time to fire one or two salvos at the enemy, it can be a devastating blow to your opponent.
They are easy to design, and they are the ones I would recommend if you are defending a choke point with a support fleet in orbit, too.
The build, of course, features two missile sections and nothing else.
For every weapon slot, fill it with neutron launchers or proton if you haven’t unlocked neutron yet. These mid- to long-range missiles are very accurate and hit like a truck.
It is up to your supporting fleets to keep your enemies’ long-range weaponry away from the platforms so they have time to fire their barrages.
This can decimate enemy battleships, allowing your other platforms and ships to clean up the stragglers that remain.
For defense, only use armor and no shields to keep costs down. For auxiliary components, you want to use the fire control module again. The benefits won’t be amazing, but no other module is very useful to this build.
Using platforms this way is a very high-risk but high-reward strategy. Without a supporting fleet, this build is all but useless against stronger opponents.
If they fail to get their bursts off, these expensive platforms are a big waste of resources.
Anti-missile Defense Platform Build
On its own, this build looks very weak. It does very little damage to enemy ships, and if your enemy isn’t running missiles, they are more than useless.
On the other end, if you are facing an enemy that uses missiles a lot, the value of this build opens up. Their true power comes from working in conjunction with the anti-corvette build discussed earlier in the guide.
The AI and human players alike love to use missiles on corvettes. Corvettes swoop into fringe systems, mince up the defenses, and leave before any defensive forces have a chance to muster a counterattack.
Picture this, if you will: your starbase is beset by a fleet of corvettes. Your anti-corvette auto cannons begin to deplete their numbers, but their speed allows them to close width and fire the missiles at your defense platforms.
Then the anti-missile batteries open up, destroying the missiles before they can cause any harm. This neuters your opponent’s alpha strike, allowing you to focus elsewhere for defense.
Install two-point defense modules on these platforms. Add three-point defense weapons to each and one flak battery in the extra slot. Armor is only for defense and, of course, fire control modules.
All-Rounder Defense Platform Build
Sometimes, you are desperate and don’t know what you are up against, or you just need a quick, cheap, and effective solution to your defense problems. This is where the all-rounder build comes into play.
This will never win any awards for damage or anything like that, but it will do a solid job of defending against average threats in the earlier stages of the game.
Let’s get defenses out of the way first. You want a perfect mix of shields and armor for this build; three of each will do nicely. An auxiliary fire control module will go a long way in this build, too.
There are two versions of this build, and they achieve the same results. When building platforms of this type, you want an even split of both builds. One is called the kinetic variant, and the other is the laser variant.
Both feature a large module and a medium module. For the kinetic version, add a mass driver weapon to the large slot and your best lasers to the medium slots.
In the laser variant, you add a laser to the large slot and mass drivers to the medium slots. If you build ten all-rounders, you should have five of each type.
Splitting it this way allows for a healthy mix of shield and armor damage to your enemies. If you notice that your enemy prefers a certain type of defense, you can focus on one variant over the other.
Lasers for armor and mass drivers for shields.
This is everything you need to know about what the best defense platform builds are in Stellaris.
If you have any suggestions or questions about this guide, please let us know in the comments section below. As always, have fun defending your starbases in Stellaris.