Most folks are finding that the End Game Crises are deadlier than ever (when they work), and I see questions on how to deal with them popping up every other day or so, I thought I’d put as brief a primer together as possible for new players on how to deal with them. This won’t be an overly long post, the principle is the same for each, but here you have it:
Prepare For The Crisis Before it Happens
When playing through the early game, you’ll inevitably reach a point where the Diplomacy and Warfare aspects of the game start to cool down. Everyone will have fought their earliest wars of aggression/liberation, to the extent that alliances or federations are going to form at all in 1.2 they’ll be in place, and things will have started to get ‘stagnant’ in the Galaxy. This is the dreaded “midgame,” which is usually best described as “boring.” It’s a bit immersion-breaking, but this is your best time to prepare for the End Game Crisis. Start teaching up to Tachyon Lances (this means unlocking lasers and working your way up the tree if you haven’t yet), unlock PD/Flak if you haven’t yet (You want PD III now, for reasons), make sure you have Bombardment computers, Battleships, good armor, and shields, etc. – all those things that weren’t strictly necessary when glomming the map with The Biggest Fleet On The Block but will soon make all the difference. Get your fleet cap as high as you can (pro tip: Build lots of spaceports and level them up), and start getting your fleet size as close to the cap as you can.
Slow down your colonization, because you’re going to need plenty of energy for that massive fleet, and polish off your worlds so none of them are contributing to an energy deficit. In this phase of the game, research, influence, and energy are more important than minerals, anyway. Most importantly, make an ally or two, or at least get your vassal swarm in order by “feeding” them enough minerals and cash (energy) to put together a decent fleet. You’re going to need them soon, even if you never have before.
Specialize for the Crisis at Hand
As soon as you get the first enigmatic message regarding an End Game Crisis, start specializing your fleet. Unlike the rest of the game, you want some big ships with big guns, not just a swarm of corvettes, though I suspect you’ll still have a bunch of those, anyway. If it’s the Prethoryn Scourge you’re about to fight, you’ll want Point Defense and lots of Armor and Armor Penetration. Against the Unbidden, you do the opposite, loading up on Shields and Shield Penetration (for your non-lance slots). In all cases, though, you want Tachyon Lances or at the very least Particle Lances, with as many Large slots for them as you can handle on your biggest ships, basically the opposite of what has been optimal up until this point. The Scourge will use swarms of missiles and fighter craft, the Unbidden will use massed energy weapons and abuse shield capacitors. You know this ahead of time, so prepare for it ahead of time.
Another important factor is the politics of the day. Use your Special Projects menu to get a look at where the Event will trigger (it will tell you about halfway through the message sequence) and start negotiating/warring for Open Borders or otherwise getting access to the part of the galaxy now, not after they show up. This will save you a massive headache later because the longer you wait, the stronger the Crisis will be. If you can bum rush them right when they arrive, the EGC isn’t even that hard.
Finally, recruit a +20% hp (unyielding) Admiral, you don’t specifically need this to counter an EGC, but it’s the best Admiral, and you’ll notice that your fleet power increases about 10% just for equipping them. You’re welcome.
Never Fight Alone
Once the Crisis arrives, maneuver your fleet closer to the arrival point, choose your weakest or most remote rival/enemy (or whoever is still blocking you from reaching the arrival point), and declare war on them, then ignore that war. The Warscore system prevents them from doing too much damage to you in one go this late in the game – you’ll be fine. Now your allies and vassals will stack their fleets on yours, even though for some reason they don’t normally do that when the EGC arrives. It’s going to make a huge difference. Wait for them to arrive and ball up on you. For some reason a lot of players never think to do this, whilst complaining that it’s not happening, I must admit I was on my third playthrough before it occurred to me – but now you Know, and knowing is half the battle. Anyway, it’s time to go once more into the breach, my friend. When you do go in, remember that range is your lifeline – always engage them from as far away as possible – this is why lances are so important.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
To beat the Unbidden, you have to take out their portals, without which they have no way to increase their numbers. Perhaps use a small fleet to draw as much of their firepower as far away as possible to buy yourself some time, but in the end you’re going to be fighting layered static defenses, multiple fleets, and the Portal(s) themselves. That’s just the nature of the beast, be aware of this ahead of time, so you don’t panic, and remember that even if you lose every last ship if that occurs after the portals are gone, you’ve already saved the Galaxy. You can mop up later.
When up against the Scourge, you need to take out the Queens. Queens are the only method the Scourge have to reproduce more units. Even if you can’t completely defeat them in one “punch,” if you can take out the Queens before your fleet wipes your next offensive is almost certain to be successful. Against the Scourge you have no other goal than to take out the Queens: you can clear out their planets later. To defend against a Scourge invasion of your worlds, just stack the strongest armies you can 12 deep on any world you think they may take, the Scourge actually has to land troops to take your world, and it’s possible just to fight off that invasion***. Don’t try this against the Unbidden, though – they’ll just eat everyone, including your armies. In any event, once the Queens are down and you’ve cleared out the remaining fleets, just bomb their planets from orbit to finish the Scourge off. Once the fortifications hit zero, the planet will “reset” as a barren world.
Dream of Electric Sheep
Chances are, unless you have mods or another hotfix comes out, you’ll only ever see either the Scourge or the Unbidden in a single playthrough, which is why I addressed them first. Another type of EGC you can encounter is the “AI Revolt,” but to put it simply they’re almost never working as designed right now, so it just isn’t as important as knowing how to handle the first two. If you want to avoid dealing with the AI Revolt altogether, just don’t build any Robots, Droids, or Synths, that way if they do come, they’ll actually help because it will hurt your enemies and barely affect you at all. Another option is to unlock Synthetic Leadership and give Synths full rights across all policies. They won’t revolt on you, and still will everyone else. This is actually a fine end game strategy for Materialists, who probably intended to give them full rights from the outset.
In any event, if you choose not to do those things/it all happens too fast, chances are the AI Revolt will still just sort of fizzle out on it’s own and you can literally just post up in your own space with a fleet or two, put out any particularly troublesome fires, and sip martinis until it all “blows over,” though once the devs get back from their summer vacation that is all likely to change, and if/when it does I’ll update this guide to reflect optimal strategies against them if there’s still enough interest.
Note: That just about sums it up, and feel free to post your own questions, strategies, builds, and experiences with the EGC below, I’ll do my best to address them. If anyone points out glaring oversights/convinces me I’m wrong about key points, I’ll happily update the above narrative as well.
*** If you do lose a planet, there’s currently a bug that causes Prethoryn purging on your planets to stack unhappiness on all your non-collectivist pops. It’s potentially game-breaking.
Original Link – Continuation of discussion