So you want to play on Grand Admiral, but are bored of doing the same old turtle tech rush in the early game? It’s definitely more challenging to pull off due insane AI bonuses, but the reword is doubling your pops.
How important is the build? It is important but not vital. A successful rush is more of choice of play style rather then ethics or build. Civics/ethics that boost economy or military help, but I was able to do it with xenophile/egalitarian megacorp with no military civics. However, militarist, authoritarian, and xenophobe may help. Rapid breeder and intelligence are always good species traits. Origins wise, I’d recommend prosperous unification or to a lesser extent colonial spirit. Doomsday robots/lithoids (especially hive mind lithoid) work as well, but your planet composition will be a little different then I present.
What is most important is how you play the game. Early game, your expansion is minimal. With supremacy tradition, you can have room for 5 upgrades starbases, so you should only expand to 5 systems at the most. 2 of these should be your guaranteed habitable worlds, and your territory should be connected.
Your first moves are pretty standard. Strip your ships for alloys by upgrading, and sell your excess goods to buy enough minerals to build a research lab. Send your science ship exploring to find your guaranteed habitables. Buy an extra science ship and have it boost science production. If you can replace your governor with one that boosts science, and temporarily unemploy pops to get crime and do the crime lord deal. As long as the monthly tick doesn’t happen before you restore the jobs , you will suffer no ill effects. Set trade policy to consumer goods.
You will want your capital to have 35 pops, with your buildings being 3 research labs, 3 alloys, 1 consumer goods. Prioritize the science over the alloys. Feel free to replace the admin office, if you expand minimally the penalties from going over won’t matter.
You will want to colonize your guaranteed habitable ASAP, and use the last two star bases to connect your territory. Bonus points if they have dig site Resettle excess pops from the capital to get your colonies to 5 pops ASAP, and build alloy plants or consumer goods if your desperate. Generally build generator districts because you will need as much energy as you can get.
Ideally you will want to buy 5-10 alloys from the market per month. To do this you will want to sell all excess food and consumer goods. You can sell up to 25-30 food without the price crashing. Do not be afraid to switch to buying consumer goods as your economy grows, and adjusting how many alloys you buy depending on the current state of the economy.
Tech wise, you look for military techs (at least one lv2 weapon, combat computer, lv2 shields and/or Armor) and economy boosting techs. Unity wise you are obviously pushing towards supremacy, grabbing the star base upgrade first.
One science is boosting tech, the other should excavating a dig site, surveying, anomalies or exploring around. The AI is likely to find you, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find them.
Once you see a science ship, you should start militarizing. The nearest starbase should be a double shipyard, the rest Anchorages. Your fleet cap can be expanded by anchorages, supremacy traditions, supremacy stance. Spend all your stored alloys, aiming for about 50-60 corvettes. As you build ships, you will start to loose energy, so you should then start selling alloys to stay a float.
Once you’ve built your fleet, finished supremacy and have started to build 4-6 armies, you are ready to rush your victim. Always check to make sure you are at least equivalent in fleet power first. Declare rivalry, claim their planets and anything else you can afford, then declare war.
You should have enough fleet power to crush their fleet on one, and prioritize taking shipyards and the planets. If take all their planets, they will die completely and you’ll be reworded with a ton of pops. I have found that you want to rush the enemy early before they start building alliances and/or get strongholds.
Hopefully this rough guide is helpful, and something you could apply to your own game. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work your first try, this strategy does take a little practice, but it a lot of fun. Definitely works better if the galaxy is cramped and/or empire spawn is clustered. If you find that your only neighbour is a gestalt, you may want to reset, shift towards a more traditional tech turtle or just get the purge ready if you are xenophobic.
More about StellarisPost: "Guide for rushing on Grand Admiral" specifically for the game Stellaris. Other useful information about this game:
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