Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

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Getting Started with Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
By GoaFan77
A guide for players new to Rebellion, explaining what Rebellion is, what features it has, how to learn the game, and lots of other tips.
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Welcome to Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is a space based "4X Real Time Strategy Game" by Ironclad games and Stardock entertainment. Its central premise is to try and fuse the real time combat and empire management of an RTS like Starcraft with the scale of a 4X turn based game like Civilization. This game has a lot of depth, and can be a bit overwhelming at first, but for those willing to master the learning curve Sins offers a lot of fun and replay value for anyone who loves space combat, real time strategy games, or empire management.

This guide will introduce you to the basic features of Sins, give you some detailed advice of how to play, and introduce you to the worlds of modding and multiplayer.
What features does Sins have?
Sins of a Solar Empire has but is not limited to the following features.

  • Single player with several victory modes and hundreds of maps.
  • Mutliplayer with up to 10 humans and/or AIs.
  • LAN multiplayer.
  • Modding Support.
  • Mapmaking Support.
  • 3 unique races, each with two subfactions with their own style of play.

Sins does not have the following features

  • A campaign. There is a story told by the various introduction videos, and the factions are well explained in game with text, but there is no guided story told through scripted missions.
  • Matchmaking support. While you can see each players number of games, wins and loses, in multiplayer you will face a wide range of skill levels.

In general, most players of Sins tend to fall in to three categories, all of which will be explained in greater detail in this guide.

  • Those who mostly play Single player or occasionally LAN/Online with friends.
  • Those who mostly play Single player or occasionally LAN/Online with friends, but use lots of user generated content like mods or custom maps to greatly increase replay value.
  • Those who primarily play online against other human opponents in competitive team based PVP games.
Getting Started
To start playing Sins, click the single player button on the main menu. If you feel so inclined you can customize your in game player name, color, symbol and faction pictures, but otherwise start with the tutorials. Sadly they're a bit basic for a game as complex as Sins, but they will teach you the fundementals of looking around, building factories and defenses, and colonizing other planets and developing your empire and diplomacy.

After finishing the tutorials, you probably still won't know exactly what you're doing, so you have a choice. The first is to jump right in and play an easy AI. While the small random map is usually pretty bad for games, it's very big for a two player map and hard to rush on, so you'll have time to learn some things. Otherwise, you could try premade map like Systems of War or Ancient Gifts, and just disable all but one easy AI. These maps start you in your own solar system, so you'll have plenty of time to develop, though you probably shouldn't plan on finishing these games. Alternatively, you could play a bigger map and give yourself say a hard AI ally on locked teams; you can continue playing after your AI wins the game for you as you get comfortable with Sins. Whatever you pick, I'd use all fast or faster speed settings, turn off Pirates, and have locked teams and allied victory on. I would not have any of the other victory options enabled for your first game.

The other option would be to download a custom map I made here[www.wincustomize.com], that has been set up so the AI can never reach you. You will thus never come under attack unless you have the pirates enabled (which might be a good idea here so you can practice defending a bit, but for most games most players have them off). While some of the planets are heavily defended by minor factions in order to give you some challenging battles if you want them, this map gives you a nice, controlled environment to practice developing your Empire and experimenting with units at your own pace.
Selecting a Faction - Races
Choosing which faction to play can be an important decision, and one that's made before the game even starts. This section is will explain the main differences between the factions and what kind of strategies they are best suited for.

Before getting into the factions, it's worth keeping in mind before Rebellion, Sins had three "Races". Rebellion split these races into six factions, but much of their basic tech tree and units are shared by both the "Rebel" and "Loyalist" factions. As the subfactions inherit the strengths and weaknesses of the main "Race", its worth knowing that these traits are.



TEC - The TEC are the most straightforward race, but that does not mean they are only for beginners. Their units are very economical for what you get, which makes them very competitive in the early game, and thus well suited for rushes (especially with the Sova Carrier). They also have excellent repair capacities with their upgradeable repair bays and Hoshiko Robotics cruiser. However, their straightforwardness means they lack some of the more complicated technologies and synergies of the other races, and as the other race's gain their late game technologies and abilities, the TEC will quickly be at a disadvantage. That said, if you made the most of the TEC's strong start, you should be in a superior position by late game, and with the TEC's late game bonuses to income and production, combined with their superweapon, the Novalith cannon, should ensure you don't have to win an even fight because you'll win the war of attrition. The TEC are thus best suited for people learning the game, who prefer management to tactics, or need the strong early game to survive in multiplayer.

Advent - In many ways the opposite of the TEC, the Advent rely on quality rather than quantity. Much of the Advent faction is based on "Synergy", the use of the special abilities of each ship to work in combination with each other to be stronger than either alone. This means they are possibly the most complex faction to play as, and the one where good tactical management will pay off the most as they'll need to get the most out of their support cruiser, capitalship and titan abilities. The Advent are weakest early game before they can get a large variety of units online, but late game their strong military technology and powerful abilities can lead to them destroying vastly larger fleets with ease (especially TEC ones). However, the Advent suffer from the weakest economy in the game, making it hard to develop the said military force, and Vasari phase missiles can snipe the shield focused Advent ships. The Advent are best used by military and tactical minded players, players who like forging complicated fleet synergies, or anyone who likes the idea of commanding an all female faction. :p

Vasari- The Vasari are the hardest to characterize. On the surface they have the weakest frigates, as these always take more fleet supply than the other races but with only modestly better stats. However, the Vasari make up for this with truly unique special abilities and research that gives them powerful mobility and damage potential. In particular, Phase Stabilizers allow them to basically build phase lanes anywhere, so you can quickly move around your Empire or attack distant enemy planets with a Kostura cannon. Phase missiles on the other hand are the most powerful weapons in the game when upgraded, as they can bypass shields and deal far more damage when they do so. They used to have a weak early game, but their strong capitalships help make for their lackluster frigates until they get their "special toys" online. The Vasari are probably best for players who like Research, mobility, or just unfair advantages at the expense of good base units.
Selecting a Faction - Subfactions
Now that you know each race's abstract general philosophy, its time to select a specific subfaction.

TEC Rebels - The faction I'd recommend for beginners, the TEC Rebels have only two things going for them, but this simplicity makes them best for learning the game. One is that they have a great titan, the Ragnarov, which is basically a giant shotgun in space and plays like it. It is the only titan with two damaging AoE abilities so it has great fleet destruction power. The other is Truce Amongst Rogues, which makes the pirates your allies. This makes you immune to pirate raids, but you probably shouldn't have them on at first or when playing online. The other techs are useful but not fantastic, like more weapon damage, or good but situational, like earning credits while bombing planets.

TEC Loyalists - Several patches after launch, the TEC Loyalists have become a much more respectable faction. That said, with their heavy focus on defense and with so many of their awesome techs late in the tech tree, I recommend them for more advanced players only, as most new players tend to turtle too much already and I would recommend they try to break out of that habit as soon as possible. It is extremely difficult to win against an opponent with more planets than you, so even TEC Loyalist players must rush to expand as quickly as possible. Since the Loyalists need a lot of research labs to get their cool toys out having lots of planets is even more important. Once the early game expansion period is over though, the TEC Loyalists can setup in a way no other faction can. Their early access to cheaper Novalith cannons provide them with a super weapon to strike their opponents economy from afar, while thanks to cheaper starbase upgrades the TEC Loyalists have the best economy in the game as they can find it worth it to invest in Starbase trade modules. As they can get two starbases per planet late game, this combined with all the amazing default TEC techs means they should easily have the highest credit income rate in the game. Their Ankylon titan still is not particularly fearsome, but it does pretty well against enemy titans, being able to disable their abilities and cut down their rate of fire while being extremely hard to kill.

Advent Rebels - Disclaimer, my favorite faction, so you might want to assume some level of bias. :p The Advent Rebels have an interesting theme of having the power over life and death. They can research the ability to resurrect destroyed ships back at your homeworld or to temporarily revive enemy ships to fight on your side on the spot, helping to minimize loses and provide emergency reinforcements respectively. They also have good healing potential with extra shield regeneration in culture and shield restoration from antimatter rechargers. They have an amazing titan, the Eradica. Chastic burst is a great, easy to use fleet destruction ability, and the Eradica can heal itself by destroying a friendly frigate, and then gain a damage bonus for every friendly frigate destroyed. Its ultimate ability, unyielding will, lets it become more powerful as it is damaged, and when its finally destroyed, it gives you a few minutes of invulnerability time to take down as many enemy ships as possible with it. The other key AR tech is Wail of the Sacrificed, which lets you destroy one of your own planets to deal damage to everything (including your ships) in every adjacent planet based on population. In other words, sacrifice a fully upgraded terran planet, and you'll kill everything smaller than a capitalship instantly on every planet that borders the planet (but not at the terran itself). If you have the Forbidden Worlds DLC this can even kill low level capitalships with max social specialization, but setting such a planet up is expensive and time consuming.

Advent Loyalists - The Advent Loyalists are built around mind control and culture. Unfortunately culture doesn't win you games most of the time, so only a handful of their culture techs are worth it. The main one is Global unity, as it lets all your planets spread culture without a culture center while giving an awesome max allegiance bonus to improve your economy. If you can invest in them the general culture techs that lead to the Deliverence Engine can be worthwhile as the shield mitigation and phase missile block bonuses can greatly help your fleet's defenses. Coward's submission is a great tech that gives you a chance to capture enemy ships when they are jumping FROM one of your planets, causing attrition to invaders and possibly giving you free units. And Fury of the Unity and Devine Retribution are great stat buff techs. Their titan, the Coronata, plays very differently from other titans as it doesn't have a fleet destruction ability, but what it does do it does well. It can toggle the ability to have a chance to capture enemy frigates when they are hit by its weapons, and its passive ability is amazing at reducing enemy damage and slowing their movement speed, making a well formed Advent Loyalist fleet (with Progenitor motherships and Rapture Battlecruisers) extremely hard to kill. Unity Mass, its signature ability, does high base damage to a single target, giving the Coronata a leg up versus titans one on one. Its ultimate can also instantly capture planets, so don't focus on bombardment ships.

Vasari Rebels - At launch the Vasari Rebels were incredibly overpowered, to the point many multiplayer gamers banned them, but several nerfs have brought them back into line. The Vasari Rebels mostly follow conventional Vasari strategy, but they have even better mobility (with a focus on hit and run attacks), diplomacy (they have the best diplomatic modifiers, especially with the TEC Loyalists and Advent Rebels), and phase missiles (not that they needed it). However, most discussion about this faction has been hijacked by "Starbase Mobilization", or the tech that lets every starbase phase jump. Basically it is a castle on wheels and is as powerful as it sounds, though it was nerfed to only allow it to only jump to planets with phase nodes, forcing VR players to really invest in their phase gate network and to rely on Kostura cannons to send their starbases to attack. The VR titan is unique as its abilities only effect frigates, but one in particular, nano leach, is amusing because it lets the titan repair more off of every frigate it hits. So against this titan it maybe best to not bring a large fleet but try to just beat it with your titan and capitalships (or carriers on the other side of the gravity well), as it is helpless against everything but firgates.

Vasari Loyalists - The Vasari Loyalists are interesting because once they get all their research online, they are the only faction that does not need planets. Now you probably should never go totally without planets (at least one asteroid for a factory is nice), but capitalships that generate income and count as research labs, the ability to spawn in fleets from phase stabalizers, and the ability to "Strip" planets into asteroids and then to fully destroy them, while giving you large amounts of resources, certainly have their uses. The Vorastra is considered the best titan in multiplayer, it is hard to kill with Micro phase jump, while Desperation is a weak AoE attack but is passive, preventing it from being disabled. When it hits level six it gains "The Maw", which lets it instantly kill frigates while generating resources for you. With research, you also can't lose from not owning any planets as long as your titan is alive. The main tactics as VL tend to be either rushing stripped to the core to consume as many planets as possible to let you build a fleet of doom and crush your enemies (but this is harder after a nerf), or drawing out the game with "Scorched Earth" tactics by destroying every enemy planet you take, eventually leaving their economy unable to compete with yours.
Basic Gameplay
Most games of Sins start the same way. You choose your faction, and begin on a developed Terran or occasionally desert homeworld. If you play with quickstart on (and you probably should), you'll also have a frigate factory, a capitalship factory, and resource extractors. It is your task to become the primary power in this solar system, usually by taking your opponents planets until they have none or surrender, but there are additional paths to victory if you enabled them: destroying the enemy's flagship, research, diplomacy etc. For this section though we'll assume no extra victory options are enabled.

Until you get familiar enough with Rebellion to experiment with other strategies, the first thing you should do is build your faction's colony capitalship. Your first capitalship is free in Sins, and the colony capitalships for all three races (Akkan Battlecruiser for TEC, Progenitor Mothership for Advent, and Jarrasul Evacuator for Vasari) are very useful ships at all stages of the game. They greatly help with developing your empire as they are powerful enough to clear most planets, can colonize them themselves, and their other abilities provide a useful mixture of fleet support or debuffs. As soon as the capitalship is build, select the "Colonize" ability from the ability menu to be able to use it.

While your capitalship is being built, build a research lab or two (you'll want to get two both military and civic research labs fairly early no matter what race you are), order your scouts to explore the nearby planets, and build two or three light frigates. Each colonizeable planet in Sins is guarded by "militia", small groups of units that guard each planet. These never attack or grow in strength, they are just speed bumps to prevent empires from expanding too fast. The first planets you should send your colonizers to are asteroids and dwarf planets: these are lightly defended, cheap to develop, and provide critical resource income. Always destroy the siege frigates around neutral planets first, these can destroy your newly established colony, while the other vessels are only a threat to your ships.

Whenever you colonize a new planet, you need to immediately develop the planet, or you'll suffer negative income from under development. You do this by clicking on the planet, hitting the green planet development button, and press the "Population development" button. Population upgrades remove the tax income penalty from underdevelopment, and increase the planet's population, giving you more tax income. Other upgrades can increase planet slots, explore the planet for unique bonuses or even powerful ancient artifacts, or allow you to build more civic (logistical) buildings or defensive (tactical) structures. Asteroids, dead asteroids, pirate bases and dwarf planets only need 1 population upgrade to provide positive tax revenue, every other planet needs two upgrades. You should also build any resource extractors the planet can construct for the mineral income ASAP.

The next tier of planets are Ice and Volcanic planets. These are a bit more heavily guarded, but your colony capitalship can usually defeat all of the defenders by itself if needed. However, they require special research in order to colonize. These "Volcanic" and "Ice Colonization" research require two civic research labs to research, and are found in the Civic tree. If your scouts find a few of these planets near your position, you should probably build civic labs on your asteroids or dwarf planets until you have two to research these techs.

The third tier of planets are additional Terran and Desert planets. They have the most population of any planet, and require no research to colonize, but are much more heavily defended, including by tough heavy cruisers. Your colony capitalship will probably need support to take these out, and you should probably have maxed out your starting fleet supply before attempting to take these planets, if not more.

Eventually your Empire will grow large enough to be able to support a larger fleet. To do this, go to the "Fleet Logistics" tab of the research menu. Here, you can research additional fleet supply and command points for capitalships and titans. Be careful though, when you research larger fleet sizes, your "fleet upkeep" will also increase. This is a permanent reduction in the efficiency of your economy, so you must be careful about when you research these, as the reduction applies even if you have no ships! In general you want to have the smallest fleet possible that can defend your Empire from your enemies, but if your fleet is too small you run the risk of your enemy's managing to defeat you. Still, the first upgrade or two's upkeep is relatively minor, so as you hit the fleet supply limit don't be afraid to get these upgrades.

After you have several planets, the best way to make money is with trade. This is unlocked with two civic labs for the TEC, three for the Advent, and four for the Vasari. You gain a bonus to trade income based on how long your "trade chain[forums.sinsofasolarempire.com]" is. You'll want to start developing trade after you have a handful of planets (and aren't under an existential attack), say a half hour into the game. After you've got most of the research labs you need, most of your planet's logistics slots should go to trade.

The other main civic mechanic is culture. Culture works by building a "Culture Center", and then starts to spread to other planets. Friendly culture raises your planet's "Allegiance", planets with higher allegiance provide more credits and resources. Enemy culture will lower allegiance, reducing your planet's income and, if allegiance reaches zero, you will lose control of the planet, and prevent you from colonizing the planet. Culture can be repelled by your capitalships, and with research culture can provide combat bonuses to friendly ships in it's area of effect. However, because one culture center can affect multiple planets, and because there is a limit to its economic bonuses, you really will only build one of these every few planets or so, as trade ports have no diminishing returns.

Eventually you'll come under attack by your enemy players or the pirates if you have them on(the pirates launch raids on the player with the highest bounty every 15 minutes or so). The most powerful defenses available to you is the starbase, a large, upgradeable space station that is deployed from a "Constructor Frigate" (colony frigate for Vasari). These are expensive however, and you should only build these on keep choke points, and at the end of the day are no substitute for a fleet. Repair bays, researchable in the first two military tiers, are actually the most important minor structure, as these can heal any of your defending ships in combat or in a pair heal each other to delay the enemy until reinforcements arrive. A well set up defense will consist of a starbase, with 3-5 repair bays and perhaps a hangar for fighter support and abilities clustered together. You'll probably want your research labs and other civic structures nearby as well so the starbase can cover them. Starbases can be bypassed, but they'll damage any enemy ship that tries, leaving them weakened, and the AI generally doesn't do this.
Planet Management
Planets are to Sins what cities are to Civilization; the very core of your Empire. It is thus quite important to learn how to manage them.

There are two basic types of planet, colonizeable ones which you can capture and develop, and uncolonizeable ones which you cannot. Uncolonizeable planets include things like Gas Giants and small asteroid fields, and are generally not as important as other planets. That said, many times uncolonizeable gravity wells will contain neutral resource extractors you can claim with a colony frigates or a scout if you're Vasari. Some also have different tactical conditions, like asteroid fields lowering all ship's accuracy and magnetic clouds disabling all special abilities. You cannot build standard structures in uncolonizeable gravity wells, but you can still deploy Starbases with their consturctor ships, which can allow your trade lanes to pass through these gravity wells.

Colonizeable planets are much more important. Each colonizeable planet has a few common attributes.

  • Population - Provides credit income for your Empire via Taxes.
  • Allegiance - How loyal the planet is to your Empire. Planets with low allegiance will have lower income rates and are more vulnerable to enemy culture. If allegiance hits zero the planet will revolt from your control.
  • Resource Asteroids - Planets may have metal and/or crystal asteroids in orbit that you can establish mining operations on.
  • Health - If the planet runs out of health it will revert to neutral status, losing any planet infrastructure you've built and allowing enemies to colonize it.
  • Tactical Slots - The number of fortifications you can build around the planet.
  • Logistical Slots - The number of civic structures you can build around each planet.
  • Exploration - How well explored the planet is. Exploring planets can lead to finding powerful resources or ancient artifacts that give unique bonuses.

All of these attributes but Allegiance can be increased by planet upgrades up to a point.. Allegiance is determined by the distance of the planet from your Homeworld as well as culture.

On first colonizing a planet, it will suffer from underdevelopment. That is it will provide negative income. This can be fixed by researching some population upgrades, and you should purchase enough of these to stop underdevelopment as soon as possible. One upgrade is enough for Asteroid and Dwarf planets, all other will require two.

Once you have positive credit income from taxation as well as your mining operations built, you'll have a moderately profitable colony, but eventually you'll want to build more advanced infrustructure like research labs, frigate factories and trade ports. These will use logistics slots, and each planet can only support a certain number of such structures.
Getting Started with Multiplayer
First of all, there is two ways you can play multiplayer in Sins. One is over LAN/Direct connect, and is probably the best if you're playing with a set group of friends, either on one LAN network or even across the internet if the host gives you his public IP, in which case you ca do a "Direct Connection" (the only disadvantage to this is if the host quits for any reason, the whole game can end, but you can restart from autosaves if needed). The other is Multiplayer over Ironclad Online, which is what the rest of this section will discuss.

ICO is a pretty simple multiplayer service, just a list of games, a few lobbies, and a friends list that is integrated with your steam friends.


The main competitive games on ICO have a very specific format, which will help you find them and gives you some idea of how to practice for them.

  • Unlike most RTS games like Starcraft, the ideal setup is of two teams of 5 players each (5v5)n not 1v1s. You might occasionally see 4v4s or 3v3s if there's not a lot of players. The games are usually called 5s, 4s, 3s etc.
  • The map is always a single star random map of the appropriate game size. It should also be the competitive version but occasionally the host will forget.
  • Teams are always locked, all settings are set to faster, and pirates are disabled. Other victory conditions are sadly pretty rare.

While you can find other games besides these, the players playing these tend not to be multiplayer regulars, which can be a good thing if you want to easy into the main multiplayer scene. Comp Stomps are the main other category of games, in which a team of human players take on a team of AIs, but as your enemy is the AI it's not that different from playing single player, so I will not discuss them here. When I have played in 1v1 and 2v2s, you typically get newer or "non-pro" players, as the "pro" players tend to exclusively play the large "5v5" style games.

Do keep in mind some games might have the word "Skilled" in them. You're free to join them, but this means if you are a new player and a more experienced player wants to join, you may be kicked from the game, especially if there is an odd number of inexperienced players, as that makes balancing the teams difficult. This can be frustrating but just having a few games under you belt will probably make this less likely.

After the game is full, teams will be decided by various mean, usually top versus bottom (TvB), 1212 (alternating teams down the player list), or if there is no easy way to decide fair teams, pug/captains. In the later case, two players (ideally the two best ones) will be made captains, and take turns picking players for their teams. The process on doing these things is pretty standardized, though it can take a while, so just go on which ever team you're told and you'll be fine.

Other general purpose useful multiplayer info
  • You can send a message to other players in game by pressing enter. Start your message with /a to only send it to your allies.
  • Press F5 to see the current network status of all players (so you can see who has disconnected, lagging etc).
  • You can actually pause the game in Multiplayer, but each player only has 10 pauses to use, and any player can resume the game. The only real acceptable time to pause the game is if there is a lag spike, or if you negotiate it with the other players first.
  • If you quit a game, keep in mind pressing "Quit" and "Surrender" are two very different things. Quiting will not give you a game lose, and will immediately take you to the end game screen. An AI player will take over for you in game. "Surrender" will instantly defeat your faction, you will take a lose on your record, and there will be no AI player to fill in for you. The vast majority of the time (unless it is a free for all), you want to "Quit" so that the AI can still help your team.
  • In serious game, it is generally expected that your team will "Quit" a game after it is clear you have no chance of winning. While it is always debatable when this point is, you should not force the other team to fight you to the last planet, or continue playing if all your teammates have already left. This is considered rude, and just wastes people's time that really just want to play another game of Sins.
Competitive Multiplayer
So, you're going to play a competitive multiplayer match? Good. While an exhaustive list of multiplayer tips and strategies would require its own guide, here's a section with as much general purpose advice I could come up with for a new online player. Again, I'll assume you are playing in the most common game, a 5v5 likes mentioned above.

First thing to do once you're in game is to zoom out. The very nature of 5v5 games creates different "roles" or "positions" you'll be assigned by nature of where the random map generator places each player. What role you have will force you to use very different strategies. As there are two teams, and all players are placed in a ring around the map at roughly the same distance from the star, this means you have two "Neighbors" who are closest to you. That means there are three different roles based on if your Neighbors are friendly or hostile. You can generally tell which role you are as you can see where your allies homeworld's are, and large spaces between two allies homeworlds usually means there are some enemy players between them, though it may take some scouting to know for sure.

  • Economy (Eco) role: Good news, both of your neighbors are friendly! This means you will be relatively safe from attack for the first part of the game if not all of it. Without any military challenge, you must pursue a policy of rapid expansion and development, to turn yourself into the economic engine that will power your entire team to victory. Early on you just have to expand ASAP, using at least double colonization. Just get enough military labs for Corvettes and move to capture as many planets as possible, then go for civic labs to get the colonization techs and eventually trade ports. As trade is by far the most profitable economic activity, after you've got a hand full of planets you'll want to start developing large trade networks. It is not uncommon for good eco players to have incomes over 100 credits/second.

    The harder part of the eco role is its main job however, giving resources to your allies (or feeding). As you won't need a large fleet to defeat the militia, you both enjoy the time to develop a large economy without having large fleet upkeep costs. It is thus advantageous to send your vast amounts of surplus resources to your allies on the front lines doing the fighting. Knowing when, how much and who start sending these resources is a very hard decision, and one you should consult your allies about while you're new. Ideally you want to give enough to ensure your allies have the advantage to win while having enough to keep investing in your own economy, but even a little feed at the right time can change the course of the game. As the game progresses, you may need to build up your fleet a little bit, especially to build a titan to support your allies fleets, or you may invest in super weapons to support from a distance, but most of the time you should be sending your resources to allies.

  • Frontline Role: Okay, so you have 1 enemy and 1 ally next to you. That puts you on the front line, the main arena for combat. Expect the battles to start quickly (you're usually not that far apart), and to be quite brutal while you're new. Human players will not be stalled by tactics that work well on the AI like starbases, they will bypass your defenses if you see you're weak and try to seige your homeworld, so early on you'll need to take a careful balance between expansion and developing your fleet. Do not invest too much in static defenses except repair bays, having a few of them is always crucial, especially early on. If the two sides are evenly matched, you may occasionally see a lull after say a half hour, as both sides build up to take out the other, but more often one side gets and advantage and attempts to eliminate the other player. If your homeworld is under siege and there seems little chance at repulsing it, see the next role for tactics.

    Really there's not much else to say here, you've got to do whatever it takes to beat your nearby opponent before they do the same to you. May the best player win.

  • Suicide Position: Ouch, you're totally surrounded by enemy players. That means only one thing, the rush is coming. Unless one of your allies on the frontline can attack one of your adjacent enemies so hard and early that he's forced to retreat to defend his homeworld, you will be getting double teamed. In this spot always take a colony capitalship: your goal is not to beat the enemy but to last as long as possible and inflict as much damage as you can. You may not have time to get starbases out so invest in what fleet you can. As you're on the defensive your supply lines are very short, so you'll want at least two factories to try and outproduce the attacking enemy for as long as you can. If you can try to slip a colony frigate away to start expanding towards the center of the map.

    Eventually however your homeworld will probably fall. However, as most competitive MP matches do not have capital victory enabled, this means you don't actually lose until your entire team no longer has any planets. This means if you have a colony ship (caps are best because they don't need any support to do this and they're hard to kill) of any kind left, you can flee your destroyed starting area and run towards the center of the map, hopefully towards your allies, and try to start again. Hopefully your allies are having better luck in their battles, and while you might not be able to be a major player again, even a smallish fleet in the hands of a player is worth far more than what an AI player will do. Successfully staging a comeback can give your team the edge in close games, and if your eco players are doing particularly good they might even be able to feed you so you can get a titan and a decent sized fleet again. In short, even as an suicide player, don't give up (at least until your team does), and always try to comeback until your last planet and colony ships are destroyed.
Mods
Sins of a Solar Empire has always had an active mod scene, and Rebellion is no exception. For those who have never heard of these before, a mod is short for modification, and are user generated content that changes the game somehow. Mods can range from just a reskin of a ship or changing the damage of the Kol battleship, to huge total conversions where all the content is entirely new, and everything in between. Mods are a great way to increase the replay value of Rebellion, and are especially useful for singe players wanting to customize their Sins experience or groups of friends wanting to have crazy battles they could not have with the normal game.

First step of using a mod is of course to download one. The only thing to keep in mind is that in Sins, mods are often specific to a specific patch, so you'll want to make sure any mods you download are for the current version of Rebellion. This should usually be found on the page you would download the mod from. As for finding mods, here are several pages I would use.
  • Moddb - A sort of social media site for Mods, the nice thing about Moddb is that it has its own section for Rebellion (so mods from previous expansions won't be in the list). However, some of the mods listed are not playable yet, and not all mods create a page on moddb.
  • Ricksgalaxy[ricksgalaxy.homestead.com] - This Sins fans site contains a nice list of most of the mods ever created for Sins, with a short description in one place. However, it is not exclusively for Rebellion, so many of the mods here may not work on Rebellion.
  • Sins Forums[forums.sinsofasolarempire.com] - The official forums are the center for all things mod related, and mods have their own section. I have linked a useful thread by ZombiesRus that also has a short description of listed mods, plus a useful icon system so you can quickly see which mods are for Rebellion and what kind of mods they are (mods that add factions, planets etc.).

Alright, now that you've downloaded a mod, you need to find your mod folder. For most users, this will be in your "My Documents" -> "My Games" -> "Ironclad Games" -> "Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion" folder. At the time this guide was written, the mod folder is called "Mods-Rebellion v1.1", but when the game gets patched this location will change. If you cannot find the mod folder, you can also go in game, to the options from the main menu, and go to "Mods" tab. There is a button called "Show Mod Path", and it will display your mod folder directory, and create the mod folder if it did not exist.

Now, you downloaded the mod as an archive file like .zip, .rar or .7z. What you need to do is place this archive in the mod folder you found, and extract it (7zip[www.7-zip.org] is a nice open source program that does all three) so it appears as a normal folder. That's it, you have installed a mod! Do note that a few mods may have more complicated installation instructions, such as needing to be used with another mod, so always read the readme or instructions for each mod.

Now, to use your mod, start up Sins and go to the options from the main menu. The very last tab is the mods tab. Once there, select the mod (or mods) you wish to use on the left, hit the "Enable Mods" button, then hit "Apply Changes". Congrats, if all has gone smoothly (and the mod works in the first place), your mod should now be running!


More than likely you will notice your checksum change from zero to some number. The checksum is used to determine that two players are using the same mod so you can play multiplayer. While some mods like texture and sound replacements won't change the checksum, most will. If your mod adds content of any kind and the checksum stays zero, go back to your mod folder and go inside it. In the mod folder, you should see files and folders like "Entity.manifest", "GameInfo", "Textures" etc. If all you see is another folder with the name of the mod, your extractor created an extra folder that is preventing the game from reading the mod. Just copy this second folder and place it into your main mod folder, and you should fix the issue.
DLC
Since the release of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, a number of Downloadable Content (DLC) packages have been created. Most of these DLCs focus on the Exploration and Economic aspects of the game, rather than the core combat mechanics which were already quite sounds. As such these DLCs are a great way to add more variety and spice things up, but I would not say they are essential to enjoying the game.

A wonderful feature of Rebellion DLC is that you can play with your friends regardless of what DLCs they own. The DLCs of the host player will be active for everyone in a multiplayer game, regardless if other players have purchased the DLC or not. This make multiplayer a good potential way to experience DLC features before you buy. In general most mods do not require specific DLCs, but some features they add may require relevant DLCs (for example, a mod that adds new random events still requires the Stellar Phenomenon DLC).

As of the year 2020, four gameplay DLCs exist. I will cover them in greater detail in their own sections, but in a nutshell they are.

  • Forbidden Worlds - This DLC focuses on adding four new colonizeable planets, a whole set of new planet bonuses for all planet types, and a new "Planet Specialization" feature that lets you focus your planets towards social or industrial use.
  • Stellar Phenomenon - Adds an array of new exotic Stars and Uncolonizeable planet types, as well as a new Random Event mechanic.
  • Outlaw Sectors - The most interesting feature of this DLC is the "Rampant Militia". These are AI controlled ships that will periodically reinforce colonizeable planets in the game, and fight for the planet's owner. This means that the militia of neutral planets will gradually grow if you leave them alone long enough, while your planets will gain a sort of local defense fleet. In addition, new maps, multiple pirate raids, and a new Smuggling Planet Specialization were added.
  • Minor Factions - This DLC adds a minor factions mechanic, where neutral worlds may spawn on the map and can be captured by envoy cruisers. Once a minor faction allies with you, they will offer some very unique abilities that can assist you.
Forbidden Worlds DLC
The Forbidden Worlds DLC was the first DLC release for Rebellion. It's main selling point is four new types of colonizeable planets to explore: Oceanic, Barren, Greenhouse, and Ferrous. Less visible but just as important for gameplay is a new Planet Specialization system, which lets you develop planets to focus on either Social development (population and culture), or Industry (trade and shipbuilding). Finally, it also added several dozen new planet bonuses which can be found by exploring any of your worlds.


So what do you need to know about these new planets? First, they can appear on any map that uses random planet types. Random maps are the best way to see them. Some fix position maps do use random planet lists in some places, but its pretty hit or miss. Second, with this DLC all factions gain some new research to allow colonization and population expansion. In particular, Oceanic, Greenhouse, and Ferrous worlds require research by all three races to colonize them. The TEC get to research a bonus to Oceanic population, the Advent get a bonus on Barren worlds, and the Vasari Ferrous.


Oceanic planets are the most hospitable planet of the new comers. With a max population of 250, it is only just behind Terran planets in terms of the population, and thus tax income, it can support. Oceanic worlds will have at least 1 metal and crystal asteroid, with an additional two crystal asteroids possible, making them second in average crystal income. With the new Social Specialization mechanic, It also has the second highest Social specialization potential, again coming in just beyond Terrans. In short, Oceanics are great planets to colonize, with excellent tax and crystal income potential.

Ferrous planets are much less pleasant, but still very valueable. They only boast a max of 140 population, but can have 3-7 metal asteroids, more than any other planet type. Ferrous worlds also offer the highest Industry Specialization level of any planet, maxing out at a massive 100% ship build bonus and an 88% trade bonus. This allows Ferrous planets to be among the best refinery, trade, or shipyard worlds in your Empire.

Greenhouse worlds are a more middle of the road planet. It is fairly average in most stats. With only 70 population, between 2-5 resource asteroids of mixed types, and respectable but not great amount of structure slots and specializations, Greenhouse worlds are unlikely to wow you, but they can do whatever you need them to do.

Barren worlds do not sound exciting, but they are more useful than their name implies. They can have a lot of resource asteroids, with 0-2 metal and 2-4 crystal resources possible, though these mines yield 10% less than most other planets. With only 90 max population, you may wish you had a different planet type instead... until you max out their logistics slot upgrades, and realize they can boast 11 civic structures. The lack of specialization potential prevents these worlds from being too powerful as trade or culture centers, but they make an excellent place to dump your research labs at.


Now that you know what those planets do, what is this Planet Specialization mechanic? Planet Specialization are optional new planet upgrades that are mutually exclusive. Once you get a specialization upgrade, all other planet specialization types are locked out. The only way to change planet specialization is to lose the planet to an enemy or through scuttling (not recommended for Vasari Loyalists), so choose carefully. Each planet type has different stats when it comes to specializations, so some naturally work better with a specific type of specialization, though the choice is ultimately yours. After all, it may be better to build your shipyard world at the Oceanic planet on the front lines instead of the Volcanic world in the back of your Empire, as avoiding the travel time for newly constructed ships maybe more important than the better Industry potential of the Volcanic.

Social specialization funds improvements to make a world more liveable. Each Social upgrade increases the max population of the planet, increases the population growth rate, and gives a bonus to culture generation. In exchange, the planet receives a penalty to trade and shipbuilding times. Social specialization population bonuses start out small but then scale dramatically for Terran and Oceanic worlds which can get to the higher levels, making these worlds ideal social specialization candidates. However any world that does not have a trade port or shipyard can benefit from social specialization.

Industry specialization is the opposite of Social specialization. Each upgrade gives a bonus to trade and shipbuilding, at the expense of lower population and culture output. While this penalty will hurt at any planet, as trade is often the backbone of a Sins economy, Industry specialization can be very powerful. Its usefulness at a central shipbuilding planet should not be underestimated either.


Finally, this DLC adds no less than 40 new planet bonuses. Naturally this is far to many to cover in this guide, but the main thing to note is that the bonuses from this DLC can do things the standard set of planet bonuses cannot, including exciting new bonuses like ship build cost decrease and an extra Starbase slot in the gravity well. All in all these can be fun bonuses to discover and work on any map, so it is a nice little bonus.
Unit FAQ - Combat Units
This is a quick overview of each general type of unit and what they're good for. This is all the frigates and the capitalship types with enough in common to write a section about. If you forget this, in game when you hover your mouse over a unit in the build menu, a tooltip will be displayed showing the units strengths and weaknesses.

Combat Units

Frigates primarily intended for combat. Sins has a general "Combat Square" of basic combat units that counter each other, plus a handful of additional units that have more complicated or specific roles.

  • Light Frigates(LFs): One of the basic combat units and the only one that you can build without research, Light Frigates are strong against antifighter frigates,support cruisers and carrier cruisers, but are weak to Long Range Frigates (LRF). They are faster than most ships, and moderately armored and armed, but as LRFs are easy to research and build they can be easily countered if spammed. They can be upgraded with abilities to hinder support cruisers. Light Frigates and corvettes can be a good early game combination, especially for the Advent and TEC.

  • Corvettes: A new basic combat frigate added in Rebellion, corvettes are a hybrid between fighters and frigates. They don't need carriers, but are fast, light and vulnerable to antifighter frigates like strikecraft. Corvettes are strong against Long Range Frigates, Siege Frigates, Antistructure Frigates and even titans in large groups, and make very good ships for early expansion. They also have a chance to apply a faction specific debuff every time they attack a unit. The Vasari corvettes are one lab higher on the tech tree and require more supply, but for the Advent and TEC corvettes should always be researched and build ASAP, since their speed and bonus against siege frigates helps greatly with early expansion.

  • Long Range Frigates(LRFs): Slow, mid tier frigates with long range, they counter Light Frigates and are good at defeating capitalships in groups but are weak to corvettes, fighters and heavy cruisers. The Vasari and TEC units can be gotten fairly easy and are excellent focus fire units, making them a good unit to deploy early so long as your enemy isn't spamming Corvettes. The Advent Illuminator is higher up the tech tree and can fire at a target forward and on both flanks, making it less of a focus fire unit as to get maximum damage you have to have them at close range with enemies on all sides. They all have unlockable abilities but they don't really have a theme or are particularly important.

  • Antifighter Frigates (Flak): Antifighter frigates AKA Flak frigates are very well armored but lightly armed vessels strong against fighters and corvettes and to a lesser degree bombers. Flak frigates are one of the few units that can fire on strikecraft as well as fire in any direction. Their light weapons are not well suited to engaging heavier ships but their sturdiness against everything but light frigates can make them good filler units, especially for the Advent. To get the most damage out of them against non-fighter units, deploy flak frigates in the center of an enemy formation so they can fire at 4 targets at a time.

  • Antistructure Cruisers: These ships have the largest range in the game but can only fire on structures and starbases, not ships. The TEC Orgorv is a focus fire unit used to quickly overwhelm enemy defenses, while the Advent Adjudicator can fire at three targets at once but does much less damage to each. The Vasari do not have an antistructure cruiser. While dangerous in the hands of the AI, human players generally use carriers with bombers instead of antistructure cruisers as bombers are also good against starbases and structures and can attack other units too. Only in the mid game when you do not have the economy to deploy bombers in large enough numbers do antistructure cruisers find a niche.

  • Heavy Cruisers: A late game unit, heavy cruisers are very durable and well armed but have short range and are expensive. They counter long range frigates very well and can defeat any other frigate 1v1 and capitalships in groups. They are extremely vulnerable to bombers however, and for the supply you can usually get more firepower other combat frigates. If you use these, bring a lot of fighter and repair support or capitalships with antifighter abilities like the Halcyon Carrier to keep bombers away.

  • Fighters: Fighters are fast, small interceptors deployed from carriers, capitalships, titans, structures or starbases. Fighters stay in the gravity well of the host unit and are periodically generated for free as they are destroyed. Fighters are strong against bombers, long range frigates and siege frigates but are weak against other targets. They take heavy damage from flak frigates. Generally you will deploy fighters instead of bombers when you have the advantage in killing power from say Titans or heavy cruisers and mainly want to protect those asset from bombers. They can also be used to counter corvette or LRF spams, or on hangar defenses for destroying siege frigates. Somewhat confusingly, the term fighters may also be used to refer to strikecraft (I.e. fighters and bombers) in general, not just the fighter unit.

  • Bombers: A strikecraft slower than fighters but the backbone of many late game fleets, bombers do high damage against structures, starbases, capitalships and heavy cruisers but are very vulnerable to fighters. Contrary to popular believe, flak can attack bombers but do not counter them very hard. They are also often used to destroy titans from afar as you don't want to give the enemy titan XP by having it destroy your frigates, as carriers can attack safely from out of range.
Unit FAQ - Support Units
Support Units

  • Scouts: Lightly armed and armored, scouts are fast and meant to explore enemy territory. Right click the "Explore" ability to have your scouts automatically jump to unknown planets to explore (after all planets are explored, they will attempt to visit the planet that's gone the longest without being seen). Scouts can also reveal mines, and work well with flak and fighters to clear minefields. With research, scouts can also become immune to phase jump blocking and spy on planets without the scout being there by various means. Vasari scouts can also capture neutral resource extractors in uncolonizeable planets.

  • Colony Frigates: Colony Frigates are relatively expensive and weak ships that can colonize planets and capture resource extractors at uncolonizeable planets. They are armed but extremely weak, so you'll need to clear planets with other ships before sending in the colony frigate to colonize. You'll want to build one or two of these right away if you do not build a colony capitalship at the start of the game. Also, the Vasari colony frigate is a little bit different. It can not capture extractors (the Vasari scout does), but the Vasari deploy their starbases from colony frigates once researched. This is a bonus, as it increases the utility of the colony frigate and it's cheaper than the other race's starbase constructors.

  • Siege Frigates: Very fragile and weakly armed ships, siege frigates are the only frigates that can bombard enemy planets. They are quite expensive so don't deploy them unless you have the gravity well under control.

  • Starbase Constructors: Unarmed and expensive units, starbase constructors are used to deploy starbases. As a cruiser, constructors can go to any gravity well, allowing you to deploy starbases in neutral and even enemy gravity wells. Note the Vasari do not have a starbase constructor, they build starbases from their colony frigate.

  • Carrier Cruisers: Expensive and slow, carrier cruisers are the only way of mass producing strikecraft. They are very flexible as you can switch between fighters and bombers at will, but they take time to produce their strikecraft and are ineffective in small numbers. Dozens of squadrons however are very effective, as it becomes difficult for antifighter units to keep up with all the strikecraft. Note that unlike capitalships, titans and starbases, carrier cruisers must consume antimatter to produce strikecraft, so be careful when fighting antimatter draining units or jumping your carriers around a lot, or they might run out of antimatter. Each carrier cruiser carries two squadrons, while the Advent carrier is more expensive but carriers three. The Advent also deploy mines from their carrier cruiser.

  • Support Cruisers: These extremely diverse ships are hard to give tips about, but they all primarily exist for their special abilities. It is these cruisers, as well as each faction's capitalship and titan abilities, that makes each race adopt different tactics, so it is worth taking the time to learn each one individually. You typically only have a few of these ships but they're much more important than their numbers. Each race has one frigate with a healing ability, such as the Hoshiko Robotics cruiser of the TEC, as well as one with more offensive oriented abilities, such as the Vasari Subverters which can disable groups of enemy frigates. Each cruiser comes with one special ability unlocked, the rest are unlocked with research.

  • Minelayer: A ship unique to the Vasari, its only purpose is to deploy explosive or gravity mines in any gravity well it travels to. The TEC deploy their mines by building it like a structure, while the Advent deploy mines from carriers and hangar defenses.

  • Envoy Cruisers: Another unarmed unit, envoy cruisers are intended to be sent to allies in order to boost relations. Envoys can temporarily make themselves invulnerable with the Diplomatic immunity ability, and with research can give bonuses to allies in order to increase relationship faster. Each envoy can provide a max of +2 relations, and each should be deployed at a different allied planet. The main use of envoys is to cement alliances with the AI and to boost relationships to get pacts; special technology sharing agreements that give bonuses to both players.
    With the Minor Faction DLC, envoys got another use: bringing Minor Factions to your side. To do so, simply send your envoy to an unclaimed Minor Faction and use its Goodwill ability on the planet. The planet will join your side, giving you a portion of its income and access to some special abilities. Once the envoy stops using Goodwill, the planet will revert to neutral, so if you wish to conquer the planet later, or wish to take a minor faction from an enemy, you can just move or kill the envoy.
Unit FAQ - TEC Capitalships
My thoughts on the various capitalships (caps) in the game and how to use them.

TEC

Kol Battleship - Yes, it is the ship that the Sins logo is based on and yes, they picked it to make a model out of in the collector's edition. But as a capitalship it is extremely mediocre at best. The only time you should build a Kol is when facing swarms of strikecraft (30+ squads), especially Advent. Here flak burst is extremely valuable in thinning those swarms down, though you'll still need flak and fighters for the mop up. If you get finest hour that is also a good ability, but Adaptive Force field is a big waste of an ability, and Gauss Rail Gun rarely does enough damage to make a difference. Worst of all, all of these abilities use lots of antimatter, so you can't keep them up for very long unless you have a Dunov Battlecruiser with flux field, but even with this there are better capitalships to choose from.

Sova Carrier - Despite being a carrier, the Sova is an excellent early game brawler and rusher. It is a strong choice for a first capitalship when rushing and a second one when not. Like all carriers it starts with three strikecraft squadrons, which is particularly useful early before flak and fighters can be deployed in large numbers. Its missile turret abilities lets it bring extra fire power early on, especially against early game light frigate groups. And Embargo is easily the best rush ability in the game. It lets you steal a percentage (30-100%) of enemy income from a planet, as well as delay construction times, and early on most player's income and production will come from their home world. Thus if an enemy player is a few jumps away from your home world and you rush a Sova with embargo, you can easily hurt their economy enough to take them out quickly. However, the biggest weakness of the Sova is that none of its combat abilities are Area of Effects (AoE), so as fleets get larger it becomes much weaker, and more planets in your enemy's Empire means Embargo has less of an impact. Late game there are much better capitalships to build, but hopefully the one you build early on will still be around for Embargo on factory worlds or to boost production on your own with its ultimate ability.

Akkan Battlecrusier - The colonizer capitalship of the TEC, the Akkan is an excellent capitalship with all sorts of tricks at its disposal. New players should probably always build a colony capitalship for their first cap until they get more comfortable with different expansion or rush tactics, so it should be the default first capitalship choice. Its colonize ability is probably the best out of all three races, as the free extractors and bonus to resource colleciton income gives your economy a great head start. It has a passive ability, targeting uplink, that will boost the range and accuracy of nearby allies, and particularly useful helping flak with strikecraft, fighting in asteroid fields, letting LRFs (which can outrange starbases at high levels) and Orgrovs fire from extreme ranges, and boosting starbase and turret ranges to let them hit antistructure cruisers or just cover more area. Ion bolt disables a targeted enemy for a few seconds, and is a life saver as it lets you interrupt abilities like Missile Barrage and Shield Restoration before they can do much, but I find little reason to get more than one level of this ability. And its ultimate ability, Armistice, is amazing when used right. By disabling the weapons and making invulnerable all ships (allied and enemy), a TEC commander with this ability has all sorts of tactical options. He can get out of a losing battle, bypass fortified enemy planets, stall for time, or simply prevent his own ship from being destroyed.

Dunov Battlecruiser - The opposite of the Sova, the Dunov is a weak ship by itself (and thus early game), but as all of its abilities are AoEs, it grows much more useful as fleets get larger, especially once titans enter the game. Magnetize is a useful interrupt that will disable abilities for a while and can damage nearby strikecraft. Shield Restore provides some instant shield point restoration, and is great for keeping important capitalships and your titan alive. EMP is the most important ability however. This is the TEC faction's way of depleting the antimatter of a titan; without antimatter titans can not use abilities and are much less dangerous. As an extra, this ability effects multiple targets and does shield damage. Its ultimate ability, Flux Field, greatly reduces antimatter costs of non-Ultimate abilities, allowing ships with a lot of active combat abilities like the Marza, Kol, Corsev or either faction's titan to blast away without as much antimatter drain. Heck, you can even get a bunch of Hoshikos with demo bots and let them spam away, disabling many of their ships.

Marza Dreadnaught - The most powerful combat capitalship the TEC have, the Marza is a ship to be feared. Officially a siege capitalship, it has the bonuses to planet bombardment, plus an ability, "Raze Planet", that can greatly speed up planet sieges. However, in many ways it is a better battleship than the Kol. It has high base forward weapons damage, making it good at focus fire. Radiation bomb is an unlimited target AoE attack that while weak is none the less useful. Incendiary shells is a passive that allows it to inflict some over time damage to targets it attacks, but I find it pretty weak, especially as the Marza doesn't suffer from antimatter problems as Raze Planet is rarely used in combat situations, so it won't be a drain on antimatter like the Kol's active abilities. But the main reason to get and fear the Marza is its ultimate ability, Missile Barrage. When using this ability, the Marza will become immobile and fire 25 volleys of missiles doing 120 damage each to every target in range (even those behind the Marza), and has no target cap. That means any ship that gets hit by all 25 waves takes 120*25= 3000 damage, which is enough to destroy all frigates and some cruisers even when shield mitigation and armor is factored in. This gives the Marza fleet killing power that only rivals titans and starbases. However, if you see this ability being used (the missile effects are much brighter and scatter), you can avoid most damage by quickly moving your fleet away as fast as possible or using an interrupt ability like Ion Bolt or Phase Out Hull to stop the rest of the waves. Still, a level 6 Marza can be a game winning asset, and some TEC players get this as their first capitalship to try and rush Missile Barrage. It is also extra useful for the TEC Loyalists as a level 6 Marza provides fleet killing power that the Ankylon titan doesn't have.

Corsev Battlecruiser - The Corsev is a hard ship to classify. Most of its abilities are based around or get a boost from "Boarding Party", which allows the Corsev to deal heavy damage to a single frigate and if that frigate would be destroyed, it is captured instead and healed to half health. This gives it a way to replenish your fleet in the middle of combat. Salvage Operations could be the Corsevs most powerful ability. It is passive and heals the Corsev every time a ship is destroyed nearby. This passive healing ability makes the Corsev very hard to kill in the presence of a fleet, making it one of the best "tanks" in the game (second to perhaps only to the Kortul). Demolition teams allows the Corsev to destroy one of your frigates to deal heavy damage (up to 1400 at level 4 on a boarded ship) to up to 25 enemy targets, giving the Corsev some good fleet destruction capacity if at a price and not as powerful as Missile Barrage (but you can get this ability at level 1). Its Ultimate Ability, elite crews, allows it to give some good buffs to allied capitalships but is not really that game changing as it is temporary.
Unit FAQ - Advent Capitalships
Radiance Battleship - The main use of this ship is as a capitalship/titan hunter. Detonate Antimatter is the key ability it is based around. It is the only Advent ship that can drain enemy titans' antimatter, and it also disables the abilities of any non-titan it is used on. Energy Absorptive Armor is a pretty good passive, capable of increasing durability and keeping the Radiance stocked with antimatter. Animosity in theory lets this unit tank for the rest of your fleet, but the lack of any self healing abilities makes this a risky proposal without good support, and anyways it has a target cap and doesn't work particularly well on human player. Cleansing Brilliance does high damage to a single target or any other targets near the beam, and although no where near as good as missile barrage, it is still an ultimate ability worth getting when you hit level 6. Still, compared to the rest of the advent capitalships, only get this one when titans get deployed or several high level enemy capitalships need to be taken out.

Halcyon Carrier - All carrier caps are quite strong in Rebellion, and the Halcyon is no exception. Starting out with three strikecraft squads, it can clear out militia quickly, and bombers deployed from it make it the only starting Advent unit that can handle the heavy cruisers around neutral terran and desert planets easily. The Halcyon has the highest potential squadron count of any ship in the game, with 8 base squadrons earned by level 10, plus an additional 4 squadrons that can be gained by for each point you put into Adept Drone Anima, a passive ability that adds an extra squad, making the Halcyon equivalent to 4 carrier cruisers. However, the difficulty in leveling up lots of capitalships and the extra cost means its hard to replace carrier cruisers. The Halcyon has another passive, Amplify Energy Aura, that increases the rate of fire of all energy weapons on all nearby ships. As all Advent ships use energy weapons, it basically a free damage bonus to your entire fleet. Telekenetic Push is the Advent's only antistrikecraft ability, and while it doesn't do as much damage as flak burst, it throws enemy strikecraft out of range and slows them down, lowering their damage output. And its ultimate ability, Anima Tempest, creates extra strikecraft and makes all of the carrier's strikecraft harder to hit. All in all, the Halcyon is a great all round capitalship, a strong choice for a first or second capitalship, and probably worth adding to any fleet at any point in the game.

Progenitor Mothership - The heart of the Advent "Battleball" tactic and a colony capitalship, the Progenitor is a ship every Advent player needs to know well. As a colony capitalship it should be your default opening cap, and while the planet upgrade discount its colonize ability gives might not be as nice as the Akkan's it is still pretty good. The Progenitor is still worth having much later in the game however thanks to Shield regeneration, a channeling ability that restores a lot of shields over time to all allied frigates in range. This combos very well with Guardian support cruisers, as their shields can absorb some of your other ships damage, then the Progenitor can heal both ships. Offensively, Malice can be devastating when used right, causing a group of ships to take damage whenever any of them is damaged, but requires practice to use effectively. It's ultimate ability, Resurrection, is one of the most poorly understood and most powerful abilities around. Basically the game remembers the highest level any of your capitalships has attained when it was destroyed. If you build a new capitalship of the same type, Resurrection will give that destroyed capitalships' level to the newly built one. In other words, if you lose a level 10 Radiance, all you need to do to get it back is to build a new one and have a Mothership use Resurrection on it. Very late game this means the Advent are the only ones who can view high level capitalships as expendable, so long as you keep a level 6 Progenitor alive and have the economy to replace your loses. Do keep in mind however, the game only keeps track of 1 of each type of capitalship, you can not replace the levels of two Radiances that are destroyed at the same time.

Rapture Battlecruiser - The Rapture is a good support cruiser that is well worth building mid to late game. First of all, Vertigo is one of the most powerful damage debuffs in the game, reducing both damage output and rate of fire of every enemy ship in its radius, and at high levels can more the half the damage of enemy ships. It combos particularly well with the Coronata titan, and with Guardians and a Progenitor it can make it almost impossible to destroy an Advent fleet with normal weapons. As with the Coronata however, reducing weapon damage does nothing to help against ability damage, and strikecraft are immune to Vertigo's effects. Vengeance is a nice way to counter focus fire by damaging any ship that attacks a targeted allied, but doesn't usually have a very big impact. Concentration Aura is a great passive that increases the damage of all strikecraft owned by carriers in the ability's range, so it can often be worthwhile getting a Rapture just to have it sit next to a bunch of drone hosts as their strikecraft lays waste to enemy ships and structures safely out of enemy range. And Domination lets you instantly capture the targeted enemy frigate, which is probably not as useful as it sounds, but is fun to use and can be good for wearing down tough and expensive heavy cruisers and carriers.

Revelation Battlecrusier - Ah, the Revelation. If there is one Advent capitalship you should probably never build, it is this one. Its best ability is Reverie, which will leave the targeted enemy ship in a daze for a long period of time, but will be canceled if the target takes too much damage. Thus while useful for keeping several enemy capitalships out of the fight, it really does nothing to destroy them, making it an annoyance more often than it is a threat. Guidance is pretty useless on anything but Advent titans. It reduces the cooldown of special abilities. Which would be great, except many Advent abilities are long over time ones like Shield Regeneration, so the issue with them is not cooldown time but antimatter usage (though Guidance maybe more useful with titans). Clairvoyance instantly scouts any planet you pick for you, which is great for the lazy but not really game changing, considering scouts only cost 200 credits. And Provoke Hysteria, its ultimate, only works on planets. Okay, it is by far the fastest way to take out heavily fortified planets, as it deals a percentage of the total planets health as damage, but again its more of a time saver than giving you game winning capacity.

Discordia Battleship - The Discordia is a beautiful ship, if you can stand how fragile it is and its annoying captain(?) constantly going on about the beyond. It's low durability makes it hard to use early on, but it is by far the most useful offensive Advent capitalship. Fracture is a great AoE debuff to all enemy's armor, which at level 4 is basically weakens the hull by 25%. This combos with Psionic Scream, an AoE damage ability that does more damage if the enemy is "Fractured", and is one of the few Advent AoEs that affect Corvettes. Lethargy reduces weapon and ability cooldown times of a single target, and is amazing on enemy titans. And Revenge from Beyond causes all nearby frigates to inflict extra damage when they are destroyed, which I guess can cause a crippling AoE attack like Chastic Burst or Missile Barrage to hurt your enemy just as much as yourself, but I'm not sure if it's worth letting your fleet get destroyed to trigger it on a large scale.
Unit FAQ - Vasari Capitalships
Kortul Devestator - Full disclosure: the Kortul is my favorite capitalship, even though I'm not a Vasari player, and it is widely agreed to be the best battleship in the game. It is usually used as an anticapitalship/titan vessel like the Radiance, but the Kortul is more flexible and does a better job. First of all, Power Surge is amazing, giving a good increase to rate of fire and regenerating a lot of the Kortul's shields, making it one of the hardest capitalships to kill. This is great for combat, but its real utility comes from its passive, Disruptive Strikes, which has a chance to remove antimatter and increase ability cooldown times on any target the Kortul's energy weapons strike. Not only does this synergize well with Power Surge, but this effect triggers often enough that you can easily keep any capitalship or titan from using its abilities with just one mid to high level Kortul. The other main ability the Kortul has, Jam Weapons, is a nice antistrikecraft ability that simply prevents enemy fighters from attacking near the Kortul, and while this doesn't damage enemy strikecraft it further makes the Kortul very hard to kill, even from massive bomber strikes. It's ultimate, Volatine Nanites, is the only thing that's really lackluster. It makes all ships effected by it more vulnerable to damage, and when any of them dies it damages all ships nearby, but sadly the area of effect is a bit low, so you rarely get the satisfying chain reaction of enemy ships blowing up.

Skirantra Carrier - I know you'll be shocked to find another Carrier capitalship is both awesome in general and a great opening cap. There is really only one rule with this cap, never invest a point in Microphasing Aura. This passive has been rigorously tested by the Sins community to be virtually useless. With that out of the way, Scramble Bombers is the main offensive ability of the Skirantra. It instantly creates new bomber squadrons that exist independently of the Carrier's strikecraft, and as Vasari bombers are easily the best in the game (durable and equipped with those nasty Phase Missiles), it can be great for overwhelming enemy antifighter weapons, especially early game. Also as the Vasari colony frigates are used as Starbase constructors, the Vasari are the best race to choose something besides a colony cap first (as you'll want several colony frigates for starbases later anyways), so any Vasari player should be competent with Skirantra starts. Meanwhile, Repair Cloud is an Area of Effect hull restore ability that isn't as amazing as shield regeneration, but gets the job done, and you'll definitely want it. It's ultimate ability, Replicate Forces, basically lets you clone a targeted frigate, which is nice for boosting the number of expensive carriers or heavy cruisers you have, but these are sadly temporary, so it is mostly a niche ability.

Jarrasul Evacuator - The Vasari colony capitalship, the Jarrasul is a bit less focused on early game economics compared to the other races, but it makes up for it with much more hitting power. It's colonize ability grants extra temporary construction frigates, which is nice for getting extractors built quickly and for rapidly building defenses on chokepoint planets, but doesn't really compared to the economic benefits of say the Akkan. However, the other two colony caps do not have a good offensive capability, while the Jarrasul has the amazing Nano Dissassembler. This powerful ability inflicts heavy damage over time that is not affected by shield mitigation, and reduces the enemy's armor, which in a nutshell makes it much easier to kill. This makes the Jarrasul a must have against any tough single target like high level caps, titans, and starbases, and naturally works well with the Kortul on the first two. Gravity Warhead on the other hand is an AoE ability that doesn't do damage, but slows enemy ships and prevents them from phase jumping. Thus it is great for ensuring you can finish of retreating fleets, and for some reason this works on titans. And last but certainly not least, and possibly the most entertaining, Drain Planet lets the Jarrasul deploy some tractor beam thing to draw up resources from the enemy planet, giving you metal and crystal while inflicting heavy damage on the enemy planet.

Antorak Marauder - As I see it, the three capitalships above are top notch capitalships by any race's standards, while the two that will come after this range from situationally good to average. The Antorak, sadly, joins the Revelation in the "Should rarely be used" category. It's best ability is Phase out Hull, which can send either a friendly or enemy target into phase space for a short period of time. If it's an enemy, it's shields are damaged when it reemerges, while allied ships' shields are restored. It is thus a versatile ability that can prevent important capitalships from being destroyed (ships are invulnerable while in phase space), while also keeping enemy capitalships from being in the battle most of the time, and is especially useful as this is the only ability the Vasari have that can stop Missile Barrage. Distort Gravity may also appeal to some players, it speeds up all allied ships around the Antorak and lets them phase jump faster, but sadly speed does not win battles. And Subversion is truly a waste of an ability, as it just slows down enemy build times. It's ultimate, Stabilize Phase Space, lets the Marauder create a phase node to allow any allied ships near phase gates to jump to its destination, which is certainly useful, but the Kostrua cannon superweapon does mostly the same thing, so why waste a capitalship point and then level this to level 6?

Vulkoras Desolator - The Vulkoras Desolator is probably the best planet siege ship in the game, and it does this job amazingly well. It's siege platforms help it take out enemy planets, and even better lets the Desolator do other things at the same time if needed. Assault Specialization is a great passive which both increases the damage of the Vulkoras' own planet siege laser, and lets it inflict extra damage against planetary structures, which of course can always be found near its favorite prey. Phase Missile Swarm lets it damage groups of frigates, and while decent, the small target cap of this ability doesn't let it do much against even medium sized fleets. And Disintegration is a powerful ability that does heavy hull and shield damage to an enemy and heals the Vulkoras by the amount of damage done (make sure to use this against tough targets, the healing stops if the target is destroyed), which can often restore it to full health, but has a very long cooldown. If you're looking for a novel strategy, rushing two Vulkoras' early can be deadly as they can quickly destroy an enemy homeworld before they can muster a decent defense. And even later in the game, a lone Vulkoras is great for picking off poorly defended worlds or reducing your opponents fully developed planets to ashes faster than they expected.

Rankulus Battleship - Nanite Carrier might have been a better name for this strange and versatile vessel. Its three normal abilities lets it spawn temporary "nanite swarms" in three different varieties, which can act as frigates. The combat swarm counts as a light frigate and focuses on damage, the support swarm counts as a repair cruiser, while the Assault Swarm is noteable as being the only way the Vasari can get a long range antimodule cruiser. It's ultimate ability, reassemble, is interesting as it consumes all nearby "nanite swarms" and combines them into a "Greater Nanite Storm", with stronger stats and (I believe) unlimited duration. While I really haven't used this capitalship much, I will say that because it only spawns other ships, it will probably get weaker as the game progresses and the larger fleets get, the less of an impact each spawned frigate has.
Unit FAQ - Titans
I've mentioned titans a little bit when discussing subfactions, as titans are one of the major differences between them, but I figured they should get their own section. But first, some general info about titans as they are very unique ships.

First of all, Titans are the only unit that you can only have 1 of. They all cost 2 command points and 150 fleet supply. You need 4 miltary labs to research them, and there are four techs you need to research before you can build them. You can start constructing a titan with only one of them researched, but only to a certain percentage (25% per tech), and as money is usually the barrier to getting a titan, you will probably have all 4 techs before you start construction.

Titans level up like capitalships, but they require far more XP to do so. More uniquely, like Hero units in games like LotR:Battle for Middle Earth, Titans will not lose levels when they are destroyed. If you lose a level 5 titan, and then rebuild it, it will be brought back at Level 5 (do note Titans are more expensive and take longer to rebuild the higher level they are). Also Titans gain 2 ability points per level instead of 1 like capitalships, and have a set of passive upgrades that will improve their stats (but you're usually better off putting all points you can into abilities).

Defeating titans can be quite a challenge, especially since once a player gets a high level titan, you may be forced to fight it over and over again for the rest of the game. As titans generally have strong Area of Effect (AoE) abilities, they are very good at taking out groups of frigates, so be very careful when using your main battle fleet against one. Corvettes, strikecraft (with their carriers kept far away from the titan), capitalships and your own titan backed by support crusiers are usually the best ships to use against them. Each faction has one ability on a capitalship that can drain titan antimatter (the Dunov, Radiance, and Kortul), having at least one such capitalship can greatly help in dealing with titans, as titans without antimatter can not use most of their abilities and are thus a lot more manageable.

156 Comments
◥☰◟M4573RM1ND◞☰◤ Mar 10, 2023 @ 2:59am 
Holy Sh*t, That is a lot of reading man...
Rich Sep 27, 2022 @ 9:40am 
Incredible beginner's guide. Learned a ton!
General Slaughter Jul 27, 2021 @ 2:02pm 
if you have rebellion and you also bought trinity and outlaw sector if there anything else worth getting? I see options for forbidden worlds, minor factions and stellar phenomena. do these add something else that what I have doesnt already offer? thank you in advance
z|A|bik2 Jun 13, 2019 @ 4:40am 
@Immortalits Multiplayer pros do not need to pause to use abilities without auto cast, as their fingers are fast enough to use those manually. Also some abilities should not be left to autocast, as the manual control would be more of an impact.

As for comparing vulkoras, 8 of them on lvl 4 (as getting higher lvls with 8 capital ships will be problematic) will deal something like 3k damage to 7 targets. And thats without shield mititgation or armour. Shooting down 7 ships is a very minor impact, at a high cost, of getting 8 capital ships. And Vulkoras lack antimatter to spam that ability.

8 vulkoras are just an addition to your fleet. But 1 marza lvl 6 may be a game changer
Immortalits Jun 4, 2019 @ 7:32am 
Also, The Vulkoras is mentioned as a weak fleet clearer in the lategame, because it's missile swarm is limited in targets and does a relatively small ammount of damage, but it changes drastically in the long term if you 'mass' them, like 4-6 or even 8 of them, if you just put them on autofire occasionally, so all ofthem fire at the same time, you can destroy a large ammount of ships in any fleet. Compared to the Marza, it's still weaker, but if you consider, that the marza ultimate has a long CD and acn be interrupted / outmanouvered, while the Vulkoras is instant and spammable for quite some time, then it's not that different. (also not sure, but it might has the shield bypass ability too, since it's phase missile swarm.
TEC overall is still better in my opinnion for large scale multiplayer, because they're insanely less micro intensive, but I'm not able to judge it, since I have no multi experience.
Immortalits Jun 4, 2019 @ 7:20am 
Singleplayer and multiplayer are vastly different just because of the fact, that in single it's possible to pause. It's absolutely possible in multiplyer to micro things at start, but when you got up to like 8-10 capital ships, auto abilities will become much more usefull and racec, that has stronger auto-cast abilities are vastly stronger, than those, that are more micro intensive.
Like in the guide, Vasari - Antorak is considered weak, but in single it's extremely usefull, not in large quantities, but at least 1 or 2 in mid-late game, so focused out capitals can be easily saved, especially combined with multipple over time repair sources (for solo, only regeneration bay + carrier heal) and immunity for a few seconds is just priceless along with a small shield restore and targeting reset for enemy ships, if their focus target is immuned.
GoaFan77  [author] Feb 17, 2019 @ 5:35pm 
@The Cerulean Rodent: Gauss Rail Gun with Flux Field is a powerful combo, no one denies that, but that is a lot of setup when a single Vasari Kortul Battleship shuts down enemy capitalships better. Without it the Kol is just a slightly better brick of a capitalship since it gets drained of antimatter so quickly. So yes for the multiplayer meta you pretty much only see Kols used very late game for Flak burst against an enemy spamming fighters.

In singleplayer you can of course use whatever ships you want, but I still don't think it's often worth getting over a Marza, Akkan, or Sova.
Squeaks Feb 14, 2019 @ 1:17pm 
Not sure how I feel about the judgement on the Kol? Like, I tend to have a pair of them in a fleet, and I find that they make good anti-capital ship capital ships.

Like, I've taken down Advent Cap Ships by spamming the rail gun ability with the Flux Field, bringing them to zero health without even bringing their shields down pretty quickly... Though I confess I was only able to do that in single player, where I can use the pause function to micro much more easily than I would be able to in real time.

I dunno, maybe from a multiplayer meta standpoint it sucks but like, for the specific purpose of taking down other Cap ships I bring it. Especially considering that the Gauss gun inflicts a speed penalty, which is super useful for finishing off retreating cap ships.
GoaFan77  [author] Dec 28, 2018 @ 10:07am 
@hbar2pi: Hey, the tutorial map really wouldn't work too well with a total conversion like STA3 because all of the encounters use Vanilla ships, which of course do not exist in STA3. In general trying to use the same map between different major mods won't work, as they might have different planet lists, and not all mods will ensure compatability with Vanilla maps. But I'm glad you got it working, and its fairly easy to make your own for a mod by j ust getting rid of all face lanes to the enemy AI homeworld.
hbar2pi Dec 27, 2018 @ 12:07am 
I loved the tutorial map so much I wanted to play it in the STA3 mod. Not sure if it's just me, but I had to get the Forbidden Worlds DLC and also re-save the map in new Galaxy Forge for it to work.