Stellaris – What Is the Best Shroud Covenant?

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In Stellaris, you can obtain the opportunity to venture into another dimension. This dimension, called The Shroud, contains some strange and powerful entities.

These mysterious and god-like beings will take an interest in your empire. There are five of them, and they each have their own agenda to serve.

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Your empire can sign a covenant with these entities, leading to some nice rewards. Remember, nothing is for free, and The Shroud always collects its toll. This leaves the question, which of the Shroud covenants is best?

The best to worst shroud covenants in Stellaris are as follows: Instrument of Desire, Whisperers in the Void, Composer of Strands, Eater of Worlds, and End of Cycle. You should never make a deal with the End of Cycle.

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The Best Shroud Covenants in Stellaris

Before explaining which of the Shroud Covenants is best, I should explain more about what these deals are and how you can get them.

As the name suggests, a shroud covenant is an agreement your empire enters into with an entity from The Shroud. Every one of these deals provides some powerful empire-wide buffs, but they also come with a heavy cost.

To form this pact, your empire will need access to psionics and The Shroud itself. After venturing into The Shroud, your empire may come across one of these beings, and they may offer you a deal.

If you sign the pact, you begin gaining favor with the shroudling and receive your starting bonuses. The longer you and your patron stay together, the more favor you gain, thus gaining more bonuses.

The more your empire’s values align with your shroud patron, the faster you will gain favor with them.

Bonuses range from resource production, military strength, and even gaining a chosen one ruler. The Shroud always demands a price.

Every 15 years, the shroud will inflict a negative effect on your empire from benign to catastrophic.

Each of the patrons has a preference for the type of empire it wants to deal with. The war-obsessed Eater of Worlds will favor militarist empires.

Whilst the Whisperers will prefer covenants with empires that prioritize science and subterfuge.

With all that known, you will understand what you are getting into when it comes to these covenants.

This guide will cover the benefits of every entity, the costs incurred by each entity, and which kind of empires they prefer. The following sections are in order from best shroud covenant to worst.

Instrument of Desire

Without a doubt, the greatest shroud covenant is the Instrument of Desire. The upsides to this deal are very high, and the cost for them is a lot more forgiving than others.

This deal will provide empire-wide bonuses to resources from jobs, and telepaths will produce more amenities. Bear in mind that all pop upkeep will increase by a small amount.

As you gain favor with Desire, these benefits become even stronger, but so do the costs. The benefits from resource production far outweigh any pop upkeep costs.

Every 15 years, the shroud will inflict a major penalty. It will make every psionic pop require an owned advanced or strategic resource for upkeep.

This penalty will last two years, after which the pop will revert to standard upkeep costs.

Desire will prefer authoritarian empires and will dislike egalitarians. Having civics that support authoritarian government will also please it, for example: Feudal Society, Pleasure Seekers, Slaver Guilds, and Feudal society.

What I like most about this deal is that the resource bonuses make the penalties pay for themselves and then some.

As such, any empire can benefit from dealing with Desire. Even Egalitarians, if they are willing to wait a long time to gain good favor with them.

Whisperers in the Void

Another good choice is the Whispers in the Void covenant. Unlike Desire, the rewards do not offset the cost, so you will need to think before deciding to pull the trigger here.

What you do get is some nice rewards for code breaking, cloaking, and influence. These all improve as favor improves with the Whisperers, but those buffs aren’t why you pick it.

The bonuses to research speed are the only reason to consider this pact.

Research is king in Stellaris. The Whisperers covenant not only increases your research speed, but your telepath jobs will now produce research as well.

Costs for this include a very minor stability reduction and a reduction in Unity production.

Now, because as you are meddling in the shroud, there is a good chance you are a spiritualist empire, meaning this unity penalty will not hurt that much.

The 15-year costs are a bit more severe. Leaders can receive negative traits, and psychic ones may die. If it doesn’t affect your leaders, it will affect one of your planets. Reducing your governing ethics and unity for 10 years.

The Whisperer will prefer empires that prioritize science and spying. They prefer materialists to spiritualist empires. Fanatic spiritualist empires need not apply.

Civics such as: Cutthroat Politics, Criminal heritage, Scavengers, Technocracy, and Mutagenic Spas will please the Whisperers.

This pact lost a lot of value with the addition of the Paragons patch. Now high-level leaders are such a boon, taking the chance on them dying became a much higher cost.

There is still a good case for the research speed being worth the risk.

Composer of Strands

The Composer is a strange covenant to enter into. Composer implies music and anything else related to music or art in Stellaris has something to do with producing unity. This is not the case here and is about changing pops.

This shroud deal will provide buffs in leader lifespan and for pop growth speed. Your telepath jobs also produce an extra 2 percent pop growth, which, if optimized right, can be a very lucrative buff indeed.

I do not like the costs of this agreement. That doesn’t make it a bad choice. It is a cost I do not like having to pay. Your species will lose trait picks the further you build rapport with the Composer shroud entity.

The 15-year cycle costs are expensive too. Your pops have a chance to lose or gain random traits. Pops can become pre-sentient, and a low chance of leader outright dying again.

The composer is on the lookout for xenophile empires and will shun xenophobes. Empires that have no gene clinics or Cyto-Revitilization centers will also please the Composer.

Environmental-based civics will help you build favor with them, such as: Idyllic Bloom, Environmentalist, Catalytic Processing, and Mutagenic Spas.

Despite me not liking the price of this deal, I can see its value nonetheless. The pop growth modifiers are not small, and pops are the key to economic supremacy.

Empires that want to inhabit as many worlds as possible can find a great amount of worth from this trait.

Eater of Worlds

The Eater of Worlds is the first of the covenants that isn’t very good. Unless I was role-playing a spiritualistic militant empire, I don’t think I would ever pick it.

This is a shame because its benefits are great. The Eater of Worlds claims too much in return.

This pact is all about boosting your military. Your ground armies will do more damage, and your ships will fire faster. Telepaths will also produce naval capacity, allowing you to field vast fleets with ease.

The costs are where I draw the line. To begin, your military upkeep costs double if not at war. As you improve relations with the shroud being, this cost triples from base value.

If that wasn’t high enough, the 15-year cycle costs are worse.

Happiness debuffs of 20 or 40 percent on entire planets, Your highest level leader may perish, uninhabited worlds lose their resource deposits, and getting the shrouded crater on your inhabited worlds.

It goes without saying, but the Eater of Worlds hates pacifists and loves militarist empires. Even being at war will make them more likely to approach you for a covenant and improve relations at a steady rate if you do sign in with them.

Military civics will make them happy as well, such as: Citizen Service, Fanatic Purifiers, Barbaric Despoilers, and Distinguished Admiralty.

I don’t like this covenant, and I would advise you to steer clear of it. That is unless you want to take it because you feel like it is the right path for your empire’s story. There is one more that is worse, and you should never ever take.

End of Cycle

If you have not heard of the End of Cycle, count yourself lucky, and pray you do not meet this shroud entity.

Whenever you receive an offer for a shroud covenant, there is a two percent chance that the End of Cycle will appear and offer you a new deal. It offers you wealth and power beyond your wildest dreams.

To the Cycle’s credit, it will provide you with those things. If you accept the deal, every one of the planets you control will receive a new modifier called Shroud-Marked.

The Cycle provides your empire with the following benefits:

  • 100 percent increase in resources from orbital stations
  • 100 percent resources from jobs
  • 5 extra monthly influence
  • 10 extra Starbase capacity
  • 100 percent increased naval capacity

These are cheat code-level buffs to your empire. With bonuses like these, your empire will steamroll its competition. Remember, the shroud always collects its toll, and this toll is about as steep as it can get.

These boons will only last for 50 years. After that, the End of Cycle will come and collect.

For starters, you lose every single planet, ship, army, and starbase you own. Your species goes into exile on a random planet with almost no resources at all.

This new planet changes name to Exile, and all your old ones are now destroyed shrouded worlds. Out of the shroud worlds spawn huge entities that will set out into the galaxy and find new life to consume.

The rest of the galaxy has noticed what you have wrought upon them, and every empire will receive a -1000 opinion penalty towards your empire.

The end of cycle will now spread and destroy everything in its path, leaving you for last. This foe is difficult and, because of your weakened state, is almost impossible to defeat. Do not fly too close to the sun. Never take its deal.

That is everything you need to know about what is the best Shroud covenant in Stellaris.

If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please let us know in the comments section below. As always, have fun forging dark pacts in Stellaris.

Simon Neve

Simon lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and two children. When not caring for his family, Simon enjoys video games, board games, and tabletop roleplaying games. When playing isn't an option he writes about them instead.

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