Stellaris

How to beat the 2250 start 25x Contingency

stellaris 6 - How to beat the 2250 start 25x Contingency
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The end of an 80 year war of attrition

It certainly seemed rather hopeless when a 20M Contingency fleet spawned inside my empire 110 years into the game. I only had 200k-ish of fleet and had yet to conquer a fallen empire. I was also on the back foot because around year 60-70 I had an AI rebellion. I had forgotten that you need to be materialist to do the firmware update. Even though it was put down fairly quickly, lots of dead pops.

So after considering the situation for a while and doing some math, it seemed like it was possible. This is because of the way the 25x multiplier works. It doesn't give them extra ships or fire rate. Only their hull/shields/armor/weapon damage are multiplied by 38 (I imagine on a normal crisis these values are multiplied by 1.5). So without further ado, the 25x Contingency's worst nightmare:

Naked Torpedo Corvette

Yes, that's right. A naked torpedo corvette. The smallest weapon the Contingency uses is a medium laser that deals 3000 damage per shot. So this stripped down corvette gets massively overkilled by their smallest weapon system. Why is this an advantage? Another way to think about it is that in a fleet of these corvettes, 83% of the damage from medium lasers is mitigated through overkill. That isn't even factoring in evasion. And most of the enemy weapons do much more damage than medium lasers.

There are a couple other considerations. The Contingency cruisers have 50% evasion, so we can't skimp on sensors and need to run the picket computer (and obviously not the AI one). The torpedo ignoring shields is a huge plus, but it's not worth the cost to add a small disruptor to the design. More efficient to produce more ships.

Before I get into how to get to the point above, I need to mention a few bugs that are important.

Can't catch me, I'm the ginger bread man

Bug #1: The AI will stop whatever it is doing and engage an enemy fleet (doesn't work with armies) that enters the system. So you can relieve a planet from bombardment by yeeting corvettes into the system one by one. Also, they engage by the equivalent of right clicking on the fleet. So if you enter from a good angle on a large enough system, you can loop around indefinitely without being caught. This is important if you were as unprepared for the 25x Contingency as I was. Also exploiting an AI bug is RP appropriate for fighting the Contingency I guess.

Bug #2: Planetary FTL inhibitors don't work for some period of time when you first load into the game. This was a big deal for me because a hub spawned inside my empire. I relied on the local planet's FTL inhibitor to keep them bottled up for most of the war. It didn't seem to matter whether I loaded in at the beginning or end of the month. I think on that first load the AI sets orders before the FTL inhibitor effects apply. You can work around this by jumping a corvette into the system to bait them away from the exits right after loading the game.

Bug #3: AI fleets occasionally just stop moving. This can be a problem if you're doing the loop-de-loop and don't notice. It can also be a boon since they won't start moving again until you reload. Also if you select a fleet and right click on them, that seems to reactivate them (at least sometimes).

First Steps

Once you know the Contingency is coming you can start preparations. The only research that matters for fleet combat is Explosive Weapon attack speed / damage. At this point, ignore research growth entirely. Redirect pops to alloy production until you hit about 5k alloys per month. That's enough to keep 30 shipyards busy producing corvettes while allowing some stockpile to be built up to spend on megastructures. In addition aim for a surplus of 40-50 motes per month. This is to cover construction of fortresses / alloy plants, running the explosive weapon edict, and the corvettes each cost a fractional amount of motes.

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You can keep your research worlds going, but keep directing new pops to alloy production. Also try to weigh it so your synths are mostly on the research worlds and biological pops are making alloys.

Once you've hit 5k alloys, you can go back to developing normally. At this point the attrition war should be in a somewhat favorable status quo, and the explosive repeatables will make your fights more efficient.

Also, fortify the borders of the empire. Good border systems are large, and have multiple points that you can send single corvettes from. In a pinch you can jump drive the corvettes in from other angles. Do not bother developing stations on the border, these will be one-shot. Move your anchorages inside your borders. Each border system should have a planet/habitat with a planetary shield and at least one fortress. Planetary shields are garbage, but they do give you an extra 6 months or so before 100% devastation. That can make the difference between losing all the pops to bombardment or saving the system.

Contrary to normal wars, the more border systems the better. Less chance of multiple Contingency fleets stacking in one system.

Engagements

Avoid engaging the Contingency fleets until you have 1600 corvettes. Ideally with No Retreat war doctrine, inside your borders, and with defender of the galaxy. You should expect about 400 casualties from a fight with a 4M fleet, which should take a year or so to replenish. Do not take risky engagements. I made that mistake early on (pushing my luck against 2 4M fleets) and lost 2200 corvettes. This set me back at least 10 years, probably closer to 20.

Always try to jump them at the edge of a system or bait them into jumping you at the edge of a system. Torpedoes are slow and you'll lose an extra 100-200 ships on the approach otherwise. To bait them to an edge, send in a single corvette and run it back from the entry point. They also may jump you because they think they're 10x stronger than your fleet.

The longer you can avoid engaging the enemy the better. More corvettes means less casualties, which means less time needed to replenish. However, this is also balanced with the need to keep their numbers from becoming overwhelming, keeping your border systems alive, and reducing your micro (multiple systems that require corvette yeeting to survive is incredibly annoying to constantly attend to).

It can seem like a never-ending task sometimes. But, at 5k alloys, you can wear them down faster than they can spawn new fleets. There will come a point where you've cleared all Contingency fleets from your borders, and then it will be time to build up for assaulting the hubs.

Hub Assault

Acceptable Casualties

Once you have 5k corvettes and the border systems are clear, it's time to shut down a hub. In the above battle I started with about 5k corvettes and lost about 1k (I have 800 fleet cap of RP fleets with battleships that I had been building up before I figured out the anti-contingency corvette).

You definitely want the borders clear before doing this, because it takes around 2 years to bombard the hub world (unless you've got better than Indiscriminate bombardment). With travel time, you're looking at maybe 3 years or so of not having your fleet to handle incursions.

If you had a hub spawn inside your empire, save that for last. There may be a crazy amount of fleet power there, which it's best to deal with after you've removed the external threats. Once ready, let them bombard the planet up to 50% devastation and exit the system. It's best to prepare the border systems for this so that they don't do too much damage.

Then pick their fleets off. By now, you should have 6k+ corvettes and can handle 3 4M fleets at once if necessary.

Cadia stands

The fortress planet withstood the Contingency for the entire 80 years of war. Over 100M of enemy fleets ground into dust.

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