Hellspawny’s Cannon Avenger

Picture by <a class='bp-suggestions-mention' href='https://www.sto-league.com/members-3/hellspawny/' rel='nofollow'>@Hellspawny</a>

Hello everybody,

there are many reasons not to use cannons on a cruiser. Just think about those “fun” Galaxy X Dreadnaughts with dual heavy cannons and just two tactical bridge officer abilities. But this fun build is different. It’s not the “fun” used to excuse bad builds or poor performance. No, it’s fun in the meaning of shredding NPCs like an angel of death. It’s able to do 110k+ in pug runs and should break the 300k barrier in organized split ISAs. And it really shines in those missions where you take on the enemy head-on. Here’s the build:


Updated build (2018-05-21) https://skillplanner.stoacademy.com/af0553b1b11f3149eb0fc5d1ee05e973

Updated builds (2019-03-31):
Cannon / Disruptor 


Phaser cannon


<<This>> is an older video from the ship in CSA, just to give you an idea of the gameplay. The current version is nimble as an escort and hits even harder.

Some explanations and in-depth details:

First of: The Arbiter is ugly. Really ugly. Better use the Avenger skin. It will definitely improve your performance, too.

This build uses several items that are almost mandatory:

  • Starship Trait Withering Barrage – You’ll need the T6 defiant for it. It extends your scatter volley for 4 seconds.
  • Prevailing Fortified Engine – From the competitive reputation. Speed and mobility to get your cannons aimed at your enemies.
  • Trilithium-Enhanced Phaser Turret and Reinforced Armaments console. Two great items that also give you a decent set bonus. +5% Firing Cycle Haste for Energy Weapons means 5% more damage and +15 Flight Speed are indeed +15 to your impulse speed.

I’ve put Photonic Officer 1 on the build to reduce the cooldowns of the bridge officer skills. Running a competitive engine and using Tactical Initiative and the Temporal Negotiator should be more than enough, so you might ditch PO1 for an offensive skill like Vortex 2, TBR or Tykens. If you’re using a Sci or Eng Captain, it might be a good idea to use Reciprocity instead of Standoff (which is just a filler). Shield Overload, Improved critical Systems or any other trait that boosts your damage will work too.

Shields / Deflector / Warp Core and Engine

It’s almost the same setup that I use on my Sheshar. Nukara shield and deflector and Prevailing engine. Please use the link to get more information. Running eight energy weapons it’s better to use a Spire core instead of the Terran one.

Starship Traits

Supremacy (Astika), Emergency Weapon Cycle (Arbiter) and All Hands on Deck (Presidio) are well-known Traits that we use for our DPS builds for ages. Withering Barrage is mandatory. The 5th trait is yours to choose.


I really like Elachi crescent cannons. The look awesome and that’s only the reason I’m using them. My build consists of the Terran DHC (best cannon in game), a wide arc disruptor DHC (crafted), the Elachi Heavy Cresent Cannon (200 Lobi) and two Elachi DHCs in the front slots. If you want to replicate the build, you may also use the Terran plus 4 crafted Disruptor DHCs (Dmg/CrtD/Pen). But both wide arc (90°) and Elachi Heavy CC (180°) have a slight edge due to their wider firing arcs.

I use the Trilithium-Enhanced phaser turret, the Heavy Bio-Molecular Disruptor Turret (Counter Command Rep) and the Kinetic Cutting Beam. If your character is an engineer you may use another turret instead of the KCB. Nadion Inversion really helps against weapon power drain. 


Both Bioneural Infusion Circuits and Weapon Sensor Enhancer are expensive Lobi consoles. The BIC gives you a minor boost to disruptor damage and shield capacity when used with the Heavy Elachi CC. The WSE adds +40 accuracy which nets you 5% CrtH and +20 CrtD by accuracy overflow. Sadly this console does not work with Fire At Will…

Hydrodynamics from the Counter-Command reputation itself is a great console for mobility but also gives a decent bonus to phaser and disruptor damage when used with the Heavy Turret. Plasmonic Leech, Temporal Entanglement and Assimilated Module are well-known meta build consoles. But both Plasmonic and the Borg Set are debatable. If your captain is an Engineer, drop both. If you’re using Supremacy as a starship trait, Plasmonic isn’t really needed. Some good alternatives are Disruption Pulse or Secondary Shield from the Synergistic Retrofitting Set because they add a bonus to disruptor and phaser damage. Dynamic Power Redistributor Module is one of the best consoles in game. But quite expansive for Feds. Delphic Tear, Tachyokinetic, Nausicaan Siphon are also good choices.

The four +Cannon Locator Consoles from the spire are no real surprise, too. Don’t even think about running Exploiters on energy builds.

With those consoles it’s easy to boost your crit chance to crazy levels (for a fed at least):

Bridge Officers

3 superior Romulan operatives, 1 Krenim or Nausicaan (T4 Diplomacy) and the Hierarchy for Science. The tactical skills are pretty easy to choose. Take the highest level of Scatter Volley, Override Subsystem Safeties, add Attack Pattern Beta 1, Kemocite Laced Weaponries, Focussed Assault for targets with many HPs, and Distributed Targeting. DT sucks, but actually, there is no real alternative. You could use Intel Team or a torpedo skill to trigger Inspirational Leader.


So if you’re tired of beams, just give it a try. It’s fun. And it also works great on Scimitars, Vengeance Intel Dreadnaught, Acheros or any other Cruiser or Warbird with a 5/3 weapon layout.

Here’s the link to the current record run. 264k is not too shabby, but better piloting and timing of the buffs should boost this ship over 300k.

I use a slightly different setup for split runs:

All Hands on Deck was replaced by Improved Feedback Pulse to add more CrtH & CrtD. Sci Skills were Subspace Vortex 1 and Feedback Pulse 1. 3 Damage Control Engineers, 2 Energy Weapon for CrtH and CrtD and Dlyrene were my DOFFs.


Feel free to ask questions under comments or in game. 


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38 comments to Hellspawny’s Cannon Avenger

  • wuascht  says:

    do you use plasmo leech, its shown in the link but not on the screen shot

    • Hellspawny  says:

      Not for Split Runs.

  • wuascht  says:

    why delphic tear on cannon build?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      Boost Vortex and Anti-Time.

  • whicky1978  says:

    Cannons on a Cruiser, that’s just sick 😆. What is your turn rate?

    • whicky1978  says:

      I see you are running pilot as a secondary. I get about 26 deg/s before boff abilities on this ship. I’m using the polaric modulator could console. Use the heals with the shortest cooldown to optimize the use of the prevailing engine.

      • Hellspawny  says:

        For the Split Run? Just 21.3. If someone uses Tactical Fleet with Fleet Tactician, it’s 32 something. The normal build uses the prevailing fortified engine, so turn and speed are no problem at all.

        Skillplaner hates me, tried to update the secondary to Strategist a few times now.

  • peterconnorfirst  says:

    Thank you very much for posting this powerful and well thought through build and giving us such detailed descriptions. 🙂

  • Chop-Block  says:

    Thanks for this Hellspawny, I copied most of it for one of my toons, and it’s great fun. I’ve also tried to make a phaser version for one of my other toons, using the quantum phase inverter console (not as good). A question, with the new sensor-linked disruptor weapons, any thought of replacing the elachi cannons with sensor-linked cannons and turrets and then converting to disruptor vulnerability locators?

    • felisean  says:

      disruptors are always a good choice. the terran task force cannon/beam is the strongest weapon in the game. you could just use other disruptors (normal with pen, fleet ones, coalitions, elachi). the new ones are ok, but not overwhelming. they give you per weapon +2% weapon crit severity (for all your weapons). since you could use maybe 4-5 of them you will get 8-10% critd.

    • Hellspawny  says:

      I like the look of the Elachi cannons. And the Lobi weapon’s 180° arc. But any damage type will do, even mixing different types. I’d always use the terran taskforce DHC and the trilithium phaser turret.

      • Chop-Block  says:

        Could you post a link showing a run using this ship in ISA? I’d like to see a pro handle it.

  • Imryn  says:

    Thanks for all the time and effort you have put in here; I am just coming back to STO after a bit of a break and I am definitely going to try this.
    One question: you have 5 disruptors, 1 phaser, plus KCB – wouldn’t +Dis locators be better than +Can?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      All the sets I’m using add to both phaser and disruptor damage. Except the Silent Enemy with it’s measly +8.9%. The difference between a +Cannon and a +Disruptor locator is about 4.7, so adding everything up you’d see a difference +20 base damage bonus. Not much, but it surely adds up. So if you want to stick with disruptors, it’s the better choice. I’m often switching stuff around, so I decided to use the +Cannon ones on this character.

      I’m planning to use the DOMINO coonsole as soon as I get the event ship, replacing the KCB and Borg console with it plus an Elachi turret. I might get some +Disruptor console on the next upgrade weekend.

  • Rykus83  says:

    I cant seem to find the warp core your using in the is it got at the fleet spire?

  • Rykus83  says:

    more precise the Elite Fleet Plasma-Integrated Warp Core you list on the build has this after [AMP] [Wm>A] [Eff], the [Wm>A] part i cant find on any of the cores is it a mod that is acquired from upgrading it from mk12 to mk14? If so should i just get any the the elite fleet plasma-intergrated cores with the[AMP] and [Eff]]?

    • felisean  says:

      Its a core from the fleet spire: Elite Fleet Plasma-Integrated Warp Core Mk XII [AMP][ECap] [Eff][SSS][W->A]

  • Rykus83  says:

    with this build what is the turn rate you get and would it also work on the FED Flagship Star Cruisers like the Endeavour? for console i dont have the Weapon Sensor Enhancer or the Universal – Bioneural Infusion Circuits could i replace those 2 with the fleet Xenotech Drift Module for extra turn plus the 31.9 Starship Hull Penetration or get one of the others the shield hardness or hull regen?

  • Thom  says:


    First of all, thanks for this build – I used it as a reference and I enjoy playing it !

    Is it still up to date? If so, I have a small (beginner) question : Is the iconian set worth consideration in the setup you propose?

    Thanks in advance

    • felisean  says:

      ico set is stil ok and will buff all teammates. its just that most people prefere the combination with colony deflector, competitive engine+shield and spire core atm 😉

      • Thom  says:

        Will give it a try 🙂 In this case, which version of the competitive would be more appropriate?

        • felisean  says:

          the tac or the eng one, personally i prefere the eng one bc i have 2-3 heals slottet on my ship and with this i could use it when i need it. others prefere the tac version in combination with torpspread like tenore.

  • Rykus83  says:

    I’m so loving this build I’ve got it at about 85% done don’t got my gear all at epic and there’s some console’s and traits I don’t have so maybe at 80% complete but still so much fun.

    • Hellspawny  says:

      I’ve just linked an updated build to my post. Just some small changes to cover the current meta. Have fun.

  • Thom  says:

    Hi ! some more questions (I’m tac) : There are multiple consoles and devices which are very difficult (if not impossible) to get : Domino, Dynamic power redistributor, Timeline stabilizer, + device : temporal negociator.

    Which ones would you replace them with? my current setup is :
    – eng : Assimilated, reinforced arma, hydrodynamics comp, ablative hazard shielding and delphic tear
    – sci : Temp disentanglement + plasmonic leech

    What would be my next move ? I’ll try to get bioneural infusion, and WSE but hell are these expensive… any incoherence you see in my console setup? which ones would you remove in favor of these 2?
    what about the device? is subspace field modulator still a viable filler?

    Side question : have you ever considered the prolonged engagement set? (console + Phaser DC’s) ?

    Many thanks again for your help !

    • Hellspawny  says:

      I can get a cheap Console – Universal – Hostile Acquisition from the exchange. It’s a decent substitute for WSE. You could also use the Nausicaan Siphon Capacitor for extra Disruptor damage and EPS. Or two of the (really) cheaper ones from the https://sto.gamepedia.com/Synergistic_Retrofitting_Set to boost Disruptor damage. I don’t like the ablative hazard shielding. Delphic Tear is good for speed runs and grav welled NPCs but not so good in longer engagements. As you can see, I prefer damage boosting consoles. Subspace field modulator is okish, as is Deuterium Surplus for extra speed and turn rate.

      I don’t really like the prolonged engagement set. It takes too much time to get it’s bonus. You may use it on a dedicated Phaser build i.e. in HSE. But I’d rather stick with disruptors or sensor-linked phasers plus the terran DHC.

  • Chop-Block  says:


    I have 3 questions about this build, which I’m using with my trill tac.

    1. Is it time to swap out the sensor-linked dual heavy cannons for the spiral version?
    2. Regardless of the answer to 1, should we substitute the spiral turret for the heavy bio turret, or is the proc from the 2 piece bio-neural set still worth keeping?
    3. I’m a mediocre pilot, at best. Even with this souped up avenger, I often miss, or am too slow to, my target (resulting in only the Elachi cannon and turrets doing damage). Better for me to go with regular cannons (whether spiral, sensor-linked, etc) with their 180 degree arc?

    • Chop-Block  says:

      I should also note that if I did 2, I would probably switch all of the Vul. Loc.s to the disruptor variety, since I assume the main point behind having the trilithium weapon is for the 2 piece trait and that we were never counting on that phaser weapon to add significantly to the DPS total. Long story short, without the heavy bio turret, there would not be much point in sacrificing the boost from the disruptor VLs in favor of the generic cannon VLs.

    • Chop-Block  says:

      Also, I wouldn’t do 3 if it means I will not longer be “shredding NPCs like an angel of death”

    • Hellspawny  says:

      1. Only if you have the resources and dedication to upgrade them. You’ll get a decent proc and some bonus damage plus another [Dmg] mod. I’ve upgraded half a dozen chars to spirals during the last upgrade event. You’ll only need 3 spiral DHCs for scatter volley if you use the terran and a wide-arc (normal disruptor or sensor-linked) or only 2 spirals if you use the heavy crescent.

      2. I’m using the Trilithium, Heavy Bio and one sensor-linked turret. Turrets are for set bonuses and not so much for damage. You could also drop the sensor-linked for a Herald (dmg Bonus) or Voth (damage debuff for NPCs).

      3. Fun fact, I used Elachi single cannons a while back. Early 2014. It was fun back then and I’d guess it’s at least on par with beam builds. Withering barrage is so much better than redirecting arrays.

  • Joe smith  says:

    Good read, but I question anyone who thinks that the Arbiter is ugly, and the Avenger isn’t…

  • Memtrek  says:

    The link for the phaser build leads me back to the polaron build.

    • felisean  says:

      yea looks like. i guess spawny will fix that when he’s back 😉

      so far, just check out the miracle worker battlecruiser build as example and use this template with some minor changes. boffs should more or less like the ones from the polaron build 😉

    • Hellspawny  says:


      • felisean  says:

        awesome, thx spawny 🙂

      • Memtrek  says:

        Thank you!

  • Conflykt  says:

    1) The new Elachi ship must be perfect for this build.

    2) Is there a reason for Beam Overload on the Disruptor build? Or is that just accidental spillover from the Polaron build to proc the set bonus?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      The updated disruptor build uses the Martok omni.

      And yes, it works great on the Qulash Frigate. A really good ship.

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