Are Stellaris Destroyers Worth It?

Destroyers are the next step up from a Corvette. They are fast ships although not as fast as Corvettes, but they make up for this by fielding much more firepower than a Corvette.

They are worthwhile, especially in the early game, since they add much needed firepower to the Corvette fleets. They do not make good swarming ships since they are expensive and have less evasion than a Corvette, but they do make great artillery ships, especially when equipped with an advanced combat computer for better tracking. They also excel at point defense and are the best ships to use when countering a fleet of corvettes. The fact that they can get up to 90% evasion in the late game makes them worth keeping around for Point Defense. They also have one of the best disengagement chances in the game, meaning they might survive a losing battle better than most ships.

Although they have a base rating of 35% evasion it can be brought up to around 70% to 80% with advanced afterburners and an Admiral with the Gale Speed trait. Later in the game evasion can be brought up to around 90% with an Enigmatic Encoder or an Admiral with the Psychic trait.

Destroyer Uses

Destroyers are excellent if you run into an enemy with lots of torpedoes or strike craft. When outfitted with Point Defense weapons and with a Picket Combat Computer they have the best chance of defending against fleets of that nature. They will need supporting ships since they will not do well against most other types of ships.

Destroyers are especially worthwhile in the early game if you run into an enemy AI with fleets of Corvettes. Outfitting a Picket Destroyer with small and medium weapons, such as autocannons, should handle those fleets quickly and decisively. Once plasma weapons become available you can mix a few of those into your destroyer fleet to handle any heavily armored ships the AI might be tossing at you.

Destroyers with Kinetic Artillery or Kinetic Batteries are well-suited for long-range combat, especially in larger fleets. Having secondary weapons of autocannons or lasers (depending on what you’re fighting) makes them a well-rounded ship.

There are other combat ships in Stellaris too. Visit our Stellaris Battleship, Titan, Corvette, Cruiser and Colossus pages to read about them. If you need to know more about managing them in fleets check out our How To Merge Fleets page.

What’s the Purpose of Destroyers?

Destroyers start out as front line ships but as the game evolves into the late game, they become better suited as support craft. Out of all the Stellaris ships they are the ones that excel the most at point defense and their best use is protecting Battleships. Adding some type of weapon that allows them to bombard a foe along the side of the battleship makes them a good compliment to a Battleship fleet. Point Defense with either Guardian Point defense or Flak Artillery are the weapons of choice depending on what you’re facing.

Good Early and Mid-Game Designs

Early in the game you’ll be facing small ships so large weapons with low tracking are not the best choices, smaller weapons with higher tracking capability stand a better chance of hitting fast-moving, evasive Corvettes. It’s best to try to keep shield and armor balanced, along with a good balance of 2 offensive weapon types.

A good early game design is small or medium autocannons and plasma weapons since they complement each other in the types of damage they deal out. Autocannons will rip through shields at the expense of less armor damage and plasma weapons deal out more armor and hull damage at the expense of shield damage. If you happen to run into an enemy that places a lot of importance on shield protection, then it’s safe to ignore this general rule and build up a fleet consisting entirely of autocannons or some other kinetic weapon.

For instance, a specific design for taking out corvettes (early game) is to use an Artillery Combat computer so you can get its better firing rate and weapons range or a line computer to get a better chance at hitting the target. Lasers and autocannons are good weapons to use in the early game. Afterburners aren’t really needed for additional evasion so adding an auxiliary fire control instead that gives an additional +5 chance to hit works well. Small weapons always work best against corvettes.

A good point defense design in early game is to use a picket combat computer and lots of anti-missile or flak weapons depending on what you’re fighting. Especially good against pirates in early game.

In the early to mid-game destroyers also have another good use and that’s assaulting starbases. An artillery bow with a large kinetic weapon works well; they can usually get the first salvo off before coming under fire.

Late Game Designs

Late game Destroyers need something with a little more punch to be useful. Using an Artillery Bow and Gunship stern then installing a large weapon like a neutron launcher (doesn’t do much shield damage) or kinetic artillery (not good against armor) can be effective. As with all other combat ships in Stellaris, load out the ship in order to best counter the opponent you’re facing. For the Gunship stern a medium Gauss Cannon could be used, again it really depends on what’s needed. Using a Line Combat Computer rather than a Picket for the increased firing rate and better chance to hit the target works well too. Pay attention to weapon ranges when choosing a combat computer so the ship doesn’t stay out of weapons range for some of its weapons.

How to get Destroyers

The Destroyer Tech in the Engineering branch must be researched. Adding a scientist with a Voidcraft trait makes the chances of getting that research a little more likely. No starbase upgrades are needed to build them once they’re available. Getting destroyers also increases your fleet command level by 10.

Upkeep Costs

Upkeep costs are calculated based on the build cost of a ship in alloys. It costs 1% of the build cost in energy credits and .333% of the build cost in alloys to maintain the ship. Components add an additional .833% to the upkeep cost in energy credits and an additional .15% of the build cost to the upkeep cost in alloys. Any strategic resources the ship uses increases the upkeep costs as well. A typical upkeep cost for a destroyer that has a Flak Battery, 4 Small Mass Drivers, 3 Small Nanocomposite Armor, and 3 Small Shields is 1.64 energy credits per month and .37 alloys per month. Upkeep costs can be seen in the ship designer.


A destroyer is the only ship with two sections. Its base alloy cost is twice that of a Corvette and half that of a Cruiser. Its hull is much stronger than a Corvette’s but it sacrifices a lot of evasion to gain this advantage.

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Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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