Connor’s NX Cannon Build

(Screenshot by @peterconnorfirst)

Hello everyone,

we’re proud to publish the build from one of our channel members again. He is a very skilled Cannon Escort pilot, doing more than 180k DPS so far. The build is tested and used after the Season 13 launch and performs very well. For Questions about this build you should contact him ingame (@peterconnorfirst). Enjoy the build:

And now a statement from the creator of this build:


Hey guys, Connor here.

Cannon build escorts and beam boats share most of the gear, trait and ability choices we deem right because both use energy weapons. There are however some discrete differences.

Most noteworthy one is the boff ability Cannon: Scatter Volley which works best in PvE to distribute damage with cannons in the front and turrets in the aft weapon slots.

A “must have” starship trait here is Withering Barrage which can be acquired from Zen-Store ships for all factions. The trait has the unique attribute to prolong the duration of Cannon: Scatter Volley by 4 seconds. In case of global cooldown this means that one basically has the benefits of this boff ability running continuously forming a powerful combination with Supremacy. Another trait adjustment would be to exchange Beam Training and Beam Barrage with Cannon Training and perhaps Helmsman to gain more speed and maneuverability.

For front armaments I favor Dual Heavy Cannons after S13 since the proc of embassy consoles has been reduced to uselessness and we get additional and now working Crit D on those guns. For all energy types but Antiproton the crafting system also provides Wide Arc Dual Heavy Cannons with all-round mod selections and on which the inherent Arc mod does not consume space. We may slot only one of those but should do so. Having such a weapon is a great asset and I found on respective parses that their wider arc brings them often in the same DPS reach as even the Terran Task Force Dual Heavy Cannon, one of the hardest hitting weapons in game.

Those of us who played through the original No Win Scenario came to respect the benefits of some crowd control on cannon builds. The arc of those builds is highly constrained and no matter how good you pilot some help to simply force the critters to be where you want them to be will help. Therefor I always see to a Lt. Commander sci slot on my cannon builds to take along a Gravity Well. Some of the high end consoles we use anyway (Bioneural Infusion Circuits, Assimilated Module, Disruption Pulse Emitter, Tachyokinetic Converter and Weapon Sensor Enhancer) boost control expertise and work to our advantage here.

The playstyle with cannons is a bit different from broadsiding beams and can be described best as “park and shoot” for PvE. Don’t fly in circles! Players who have Dual Beam Banks will have an easier time to get used to it. “Parking” here means either standing still or to throttle slightly forward and backwards to increase your defense. The objective is to position your ship quickly near a target rich environment and to cover as many critters in your front arc, at least 3 or more would be the optimal amount of targets for Cannon: Scatter Volley. That way the source of hit points to burn will stay up when one target is destroyed and the volley can hit the next one without any time delay. Cannons suffer the same damage drop off as beams so staying close to the targets helps. Nevertheless the closer you are the fewer targets you can cover in that arc. Finding the right distance here takes some practice and since all matches are dynamic it will always depend on the respective situation. The moment an area is cleared take the next spot on map quickly and repeat.

Cannon builds are not only a fun alternative but, when done right, also a very effective way to approach general PvE. I think they can play a competitive role in the league and managed to shoot me into the highest DPS channels in game.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting all.

– Connor



17 comments to Connor’s NX Cannon Build

  • Neram  says:

    Thanks for this great build. The notes did not include DOff selections. Can you please let me know what you’re using. They referred to Marion and Emergency conn, and I’ll assume the rest are CritD, but I’d like to know for certain.

    • felisean  says:

      They are listed in the doff tab there 😉

    • peterconnorfirst  says:

      Thanks Neram. 🙂

  • Neram  says:

    Thanks. I had to reload the page. It was empty when I first looked. 🙂

  • Hyunmoo Sirius  says:

    Well in recent build, a console Dynamic Power Redistributor Module seems to be must-have (although it was essential in pre-s13 period), However, I’m glad that I have Atlas. 😉

    • peterconnorfirst  says:

      Yea I noticed as well that Feli began to integrate this console in all example builds the moment it was released. After nerf to leech and embassy console I think it’s one if not the best none tac console around. Especially as the clicky boosts not only energy weapons but all damage so even exotics.

      For me this is also pretty much a live savior in every run because with it I can just hammer all cannons into a gravity-welled flock of spheres without any regrets.

      Nice you have it too. 🙂

  • whicky1978  says:

    Is Pen mod preferred on cannons compared to Rapid mod? this one’s a little bit more advanced than one Cpt Jonathan Archer had 😆🤣😁

    • peterconnorfirst  says:

      To be honest I never really gave the [Rapid] mod a shot after reading that it would not interact well with boff abilities CSV and CRF.Now if that thing would just put haste or something on the guns it could be interesting to explore but if it interferes with the CD time in any way I’d rather give it a wide berth and stick to [PEN].

      Thanks to Withering Barrage CSV is already at 14/15 seconds and for CRF there would be a trait with similar functionality available from the JHSS as well.

      And yea, Captain Archer would have been happy to shoot stuff like a Defiant but if I remember correctly his weapons were at least called “cannons” too so I hope I did not move that far away from canon. 😀

      • whicky1978  says:

        yeah it’s really costly to upgrade and experiment. I might experiment some point with a rapid mod on small craft

  • whicky1978  says:

    I started STO with Cannons. I learned to use omnis to aim and focus my attacks. You have to lower the nose of the ship at the right angle.

  • weaselone  says:

    A T6 NX is a fairly significant Lobi investment and I don’t believe that there is any other escort that has quite the same Boff layout + 5/2 weapons layout + console slot setup. Can you provide any insight as to how you prioritize the features on an escort and what other escorts you think make for reasonably strong builds.

    Thanks in advance.

    • peterconnorfirst  says:

      For me personally the ability to slot a gravity well is #1 factor, #2 would be the layout 5/2>4/3 but also intel seats on which one could slot OSS3; #3 would be the basic stats as in turn rate and hull capacity.

      While at the moment the NX and especially the JHSS are my favorite escorts for general PvE there a close 3rd would be the Icarus pilot escort. If you like to give cannons a first shot or anything the Icarus would be a very powerful craft to do so. I flew it quite some time b4 I got my hand on the NX. I remember it to be bit more fragile one could compensate a bit with boffs but also a lot whole faster.

      In the end picking the NX for my main toon was also a matter of personal taste. I just saw that the ship would allow me to impellent my favorite play style in game and just loved the looks.

      You are right with pointing out that other ships have the potential to make as good (or even better?) cannon builds. While technically not an escort the T6 Breen warship will probably work well with cannons too. I used the predecessor to do NWS with the same build roots.

      I hope my answer helps a bit. 🙂

    • whicky1978  says:

      Pilot ships make for good cannon builds too.

      • peterconnorfirst  says:

        Oh they are very much good at that with their super agility. 🙂

        Only thing one need to be careful there is that they pop a bit more easily if they are forced into park and shoot playstyle; but one can compensate with boffs.

        • whicky1978  says:

          Yeah, raiders are good too but you do have to keep moving in these kinds of ships.

  • Cannoner  says:

    Hi there,

    I very much like your build, I just had a few general questions, if you don’t mind. 🙂

    Firstly, have you considered replacing Fluidic Cocoon? This build does not appear to be a tank, so I’m wondering if you’re really getting the most out of FC in this build. Have you considered replacing FC with something more constant, such as Intense Focus? It would give you 6.0% Shield Pen at 4 stacks, which is quite helpful, IMO.

    Secondly, how is Gravity Well 1 working for you in this build? From what I understand, GW1 is currently broken in that it’s only applying its pull component to the Primary Target. Are you noticing any worthwhile AoE pull with GW1 at the moment?

    Lastly, I noticed this quote at the beginning of this post:

    “He is a very skilled Cannon Escort pilot, doing more than 180k DPS so far.”

    …and was impressed as I assumed this was a S13 record. I checked both SCM and CLR’s tables and noticed your records there are 129K, and 135K, respectively. Was your 180K+ run in S12? If so, I’m curious why it’s advertised at the opening paragraph of this post without clarifying it’s from before the Space balance pass. That being said, 129K and 135K are most impressive.

    Thanks again for your build, I know from experience how difficult cannons can be to use sometimes, and certainly appreciate another cannon pilot out there doing good work.

    Cheers. 🙂

    • peterconnorfirst  says:

      Hey there.

      – I switch traits a lot atm; Intense Focus is somthing I use at times but in pug runs I often get more damage in than the rest of the team in sum. With cannon escorts I’m always close to targets and the idea behind cocoon was to trigger it over neaby explosions as well. Something that would help u even without aggro in good teams.

      – I noticed that the pull pf GW1 took a hit in current season. I found the pull still enough for the desired task to keep 3+ spheres in the front arc though. I try to balance grav gens just enough to get the initial spawn in ISA pinned (Cube + 4 spheres). Often I start that match with the rom tier 5 rep clickie to get a moderate boost for it. Works most of the time to get that straight if I get the first shot and others didn’t already spread the critters. For L/R spheres it’s not an issue and the pull still does its thing well enough for me. There is also Psychological Warfare I have ony my scis. Have not used it on my tacs yet; it is supposed to make the effect of the well better but using it would mean giving up a dmg trait.

      – My highest parse was in mid/late S12 with 187k or so as far as I can tell (2 embassy consoles used). In S13 135K should be my highest upload so far but get in the 120k reach often. All runs originate from L/R pugs. I only use CLR and not that other tool you mentioned so i can’t comment if anybody else parsed me with it.

      I hope my answer helps a bit and I’m also gald to see more peeps interestd in using cannons. 🙂

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