Ground Combat STO

Ranged Build (Tactical)

This powerful ground build is based around an unusually strong, vendor-sold primary weapon and mission reward items (obtainable at any level, post tutorial). I think it is great for both new and experienced players alike. While some of the items listed are more expensive, the bones of the build are not, and you can safely substitute whatever you have available until you acquire more.

The Build

While Kits & Modules will vary with profession and build, the following equipment is widely considered “best in slot” for almost every ground build at this time:

The Na’Kuhl weapon is not used in combat, but should be equipped in the secondary weapon slot for its 2-piece set bonus.

I believe there is only one true ground skill tree. The Commando and Temporal specializations are also the best choices for ground.

And then of course, there’s the Plasma Wide Beam Rifle. Here’s a little more info on why I like it so much.

I use my trusty Romulan Imperial Navy kit (a mission reward):

And the standard kit modules I use:

Ground Devices

Once you have the money/R&D to burn, I cannot stress the importance of the Large Kit Overboosters. The kit performance is actually a garnish, their cooldown reduction is the real juice!

Until you have those items, use the best devices you can. Hypos and power cells will really boost your survival and energy damage.

Elite Hypos: These are pretty expensive, but they provide a nice boost when you want it:

Combat pets are fun, but I usually favor the utility of the above devices. Now that we have 5 device slots, I do find myself using pets more often (especially the double Targs). They really aren’t that effective at DPS (compared to your captain’s DPS), but they do present a target for the enemies to shoot at instead of you.

I focus on damage when choosing my traits:

Personal Ground Traits

  • Brutal Impetus
  • Vicious
  • Technophile
  • Soldier
  • Ambush Fighter
  • Creative
  • Lucky
  • Superior Rifle Training
  • Dulce Et Decorum Est
  • Hive Mind
  • Adaptive Offense

Since Hive Mind does nothing if you are solo (without boffs!), I swap it out for something else.

Adrenal Release is another favorite!

Ground Reputation Traits

  • Omega Weapon Proficiency (when not fighting Borg) or Omega Graviton Pulse Module (when fighting Borg)
  • Magnified Armaments
  • Mental Acuity
  • Deadly Aim
  • Lethality

Active Reputation Traits

  • Piezo Electric Perimeter Snare
  • Medical Nanite Cloud
  • One Little Ship
  • Defiance
  • Visual Dampening Field


  • Assault Squad Officer, Ranged Crit Chance
  • Assault Squad Officer, Ranged Crit Severity
  • Assault Squad Officer, Ambush has a chance to re-apply
  • Armory Officer, Double Expose
  • Sensors Officer, Target Optics
  • Biochemist, Consumable Recharge Reduction

And don’t forget to slot Elder Malik’itan – the Warfare Master – in a space doff slot while you are focusing on ground!

Strategy Discussion

As a Tactical captain, we have the luxury of access to many damage-buffing kits which allows us to mow through just about anything. This is great because they can all be placed on the spam bar, keeping things nice and simple:

Ground Ranged Ability Tray

In the image above, everything in row #2 is on my spam key except the last two slots. The Kit Overboosters (also spammed) and Tactical Initiative pretty much keep cooldown timers minimized, allowing maximum buff uptime.

Because we don’t need to use a lot of deployable kits, we excel at fighting on the move. A movement-enhancing kit (Motion Accelerator or Coordinated Synergies) is very valuable to us. Motion Accelerator does not buff ranged damage, but it grants invulnerability to movement-impairing effects which is often even more valuable.

I rarely use more than a single damage-dealing kit (manually triggered), and the Ambush kit takes any damage-dealing attack to the next level. I do not always save Ambush for my damage-dealing kit, however, as Ambush is also excellent when paired with the Plasma Wide Beam’s secondary attack. Ambush is also manually triggered to precisely control timing.

An important note about the Plasma Wide Beam Rifle: it’s secondary attack is amazing and should be prioritized over the primary attack. I recommend using auto-fire and be sure to right-click the secondary attack first, so that it fires whenever it is available.

NOTE: Even though I use auto-fire (set to “Toggle, never cancel”), I do manually control it during combat by pressing my #1 or #2 key. One of the best tips I can give players is: Learn how to stop firing! It will help you time other abilities (like Ambush and other buffs) and it will help you not take aggro when you don’t want it.

Originally taken because of their DPS-boosting effects, Rally Cry is also possibly the most effective heal in the game and Motivation isn’t a bad heal either. They also have the benefit of essentially being passive heals since they are spammed. For emergencies, I use the Active Rep Traits Defiance and Medical Nanite Cloud.

Tip: Put Defiance as the first ability in your spam bar and it will fire automatically when you get low on health.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

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