Fun Empire Builds for New Origins in Stellaris Overlord

May 20, 2022 by Solar Cross

The Overlord DLC introduced many new mechanics and features. Chief among them are no less than five new origins: Progenitor Hive, Subterranean, Slingshot to the Stars, Teachers of the Shroud and Imperial Fiefdom.

We have conceived of many fun empire builds for you in these pages. Let us see what fun empire builds we can do with these new origins.

Progenitor Hive Origin

The Progenitor Hive is an origin only available to hive minds. It features strong leaders, powerful buffs to fleets and the ability to spin off sectors as vassals, something hive minds normally can not do.

Tyranids Alternative Take

Before Overlord came out, I wrote up how I would recreate every Warhammer 40k faction in Stellaris. One of them, of course, was the Tyranids.

The Devouring Swarm civic was made for the Tyranids but the Progenitor origin could have been too. In combination the two are terrifying.

The Tyranids of Warhammer 40k had drones of varying levels of independence. The lower orders needed to be guided by leader castes called synapse creatures or the hive mind would lose control of them.

The offspring leader mechanics of the Progenitor Hive are a fairly decent representation of the synapse creatures of the original Tyranids.

Revised Species Traits

I have revised the species traits here too. Talented increases the level cap of leaders which has synergy with the passive xp for offspring leaders. Very Strong is an expensive trait that makes ground armies hit harder and workers produce more. Very Strong is affordable because Slow Breeders is a cheap penalty for Hive Minds given their huge bonuses to pop production.

Revised Tyranid Build Summary

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Subterranean Origin

The Subterranean Origin bestows the Cave Dweller trait. This trait slows biological pop growth, increases empire size from pops but also increases mineral output from jobs and introduces a habitability floor of 50%.

Besides that, colonies are much more resistant to orbital bombardment. Mining districts are uncapped. There is extra housing from mining districts and every 3 mining districts opens a building slot.


The Squats are another Warhammer 40k faction that I recreated for Stellaris. They are already written about in my Warhammer 40k factions in Stellaris article. They are classic dwarfs in space but until Overlord they did not really have a particularly suitable Origin. Thanks to Overlord they now have an ideal one in the Subterranean origin. It is both thematic and synergistic for the stubby ones.

Squats version 2 – Subterranean Origin

Revised Squat Build Summary

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Planet Eater

If the Stellarite Devourer eats stars the Planet Eater eats planets. The Planet Eater is a Lithoid Hive Mind with the Terravore trait. The Subterranean Origin makes this interesting combo still more synergistic and thematic.

For some buggy reason the Terravore civic shows up as Devouring Swarm on the empire preview page.

Lithoids of course eat minerals instead of food. Lithoid Hive Minds, like other Hive Minds, have no need for consumer goods too. Needing no food, nor consumer goods and using minerals for almost everything makes the uncapped mining districts of Subterranean all the more useful.

The pop growth penalty of subterranean does not apply to lithoids. Neither does the minimum habitability do much because it does not stack with the lithoids base bonus to habitability.

Hive Mind’s bonus to pop growth does a lot for mitigating the slow growth of lithoids while we still get the long lived leaders and tough ground armies.

Hive Mind’s discount on Empire Size does a lot to mitigate for the penalty to Empire Size from Subterranean.

The bonus to habitability from the lithoid trait allows the Planet Eaters to use a wider range of planets for colonisation. The Terravore trait allows us to use even those planets which are most unsuitable by eating them…

Planet Eater Build Summary

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Slingshot to the Stars Origin

The Slingshot to the Stars delivers early access to the late game megastructure the Quantum Catapult. This device allows the punting of fleets across vast stretches of the galaxy. The trick is, it is a one way ticket and the accuracy can be iffy.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Berzerker Probes

One of the more terrifying solutions to the Fermi Paradox, besides my own Dysgenic Utopias solution, is the Berzerker Hypothesis. This hypothesis posits that the reason that the universe seems so uninhabited is that there are killer robots punting out “berzerker probes” across the galaxy. Wiping out life, as it finds it.

Such a project of galactic genocide would surely benefit from early access to a Quantum Catapult!

Khorne Daemonkin

Stellaris’s own berzerkers are the Determined Exterminator machine intelligences. Putting the two together and flavouring with some more Warhammer 40k and we get the Khorne Daemonkin empire build. Killer robots flinging suicide run fleets anywhere in the galaxy. There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to run!

Khorne Daemonkin Build Summary

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Galactic Rentseeking Landlords and Tollkeepers

There is a kind of economy in Stellaris I call the prospector / claim camping economy. In this economy we aim to find the best systems early and claim them early. In this economy we lean hard on science ships to find these best systems, profit from anomalies and archeology sites.

The Slingshot to the Stars origin can take the prospector economy to the next level! Early access to the Quantum Catapult is fantastic for maximising the benefits of the prospecting economy as it allows us to cover far more area before it fills up.

What follows is the perfect prospector / claim camping build using the Slingshot to the Stars origin, The Klaim Kampa Real Estate Empire.

Klaim Kampa Real Estate Build

Private Prospectors will allow us to grab lots of systems without impacting Empire Size too much as well as spam colony ships on the planets we find.

Franchising will allow us spin off our cheaply colonised planets into multiple subsiduaries on which we can drop both overlord holdings and megacorp branch offices.

The Quantum Catapult will allow us to found these client subsiduaries over a big swathe of the map.

Klaim Kampa Build Summary

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Kings of the REX

The Kings of the Rex build leverages the Slingshot to the Stars origin for the ultimate build for Rapid Early Expansion (REX).

Read more about this REX build and how to REX in my article here.

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Teachers of the Shroud Origin

The Teachers of the Shroud gives a head start on the Psionic Ascension path. Effectively you start the game with the Mind over Matter perk, except for extra goodness it does not even take up an Ascension slot. Besides this you get privileged access to a Shroud Walker enclave.

The Teachers of the Shroud, as a guaranteed Psionic Ascension path, is all about the spiritual ethics, espionage, unity and powerful leaders. Unity does a lot in the game now. It pays for leaders and edicts besides buying traditions.

The Shroud Walker Enclave

Jedi Mind Tricks

The Jedi Order are a shameless derivation of the Jedi of Star Wars fame. They are monks with psi powers but they make bank as a megachurch megacorporation.

Gospel of the Masses helps us make extra trade from our own faithful. It also helps make money while converting allies and vassals to the light side of the force using the Temple of Prosperity branch office.

Speaking of branch offices, the shroud tunnel we can get will open up more business opportunities, which is handy.

Public Relations gives us more envoys and diplomatic weight, useful for securing new converts and allowing us sway in federations and the galactic community. Just watch out for ambitious sith lords in the senate!

Ruthless Competition might be a good take for the third civic, to raise the cap on our powerful leaders and give our espionage a little boost.

Xenophile gives us yet another envoy as well as a little more buff to trade. It also helps with opinion penalties.

For species traits we are going full leader traits. Talented, Quick Learners and Venerable for leaders with a higher cap, faster xp gain and longer lifespans. Solitary is a cheap penalty; the increased housing need just means we have to build a few more housing districts but that opens up more building slots for more temples.

To prevent less psionic species from polluting the leader pool, ensure that only Jedi have full citizenship. Other species can just have residence. This will allow them to do any job but will not let them be leaders.

This build wants to be played tall as megacorps get a heavy penalty to Empire Size. Heavy use of vassals is suggested. Fortunately the problem with megacorps creating megacorp vassals has now been fixed. Now their vassals are made as oligarchies.

Jedi Order Build Summary

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Imperial Fiefdom Origin

The Imperial Fiefdom origin sees you starting out as one of the new specialist vassals under an advanced empire. Here we will present different fun empire builds for each type of vassal.

Most will be megacorps because the early access to a friendly foreign advanced empire, and their other vassals, is great for the branch offices mechanics.

Also the increased influence cost of expansion for vassals matters less for megacorps whose power is not so much in territory and colonies but in their branch offices. Of course megacorps also suffer more than most for Empire Size.

The cycle of civilisations is hard at work with this origin. Fifty years in to the game the indolent overlord’s empire collapses into war. This presents an opportunity for vassals to find independence or become in turn the master.

Bulwark Builds

Bulwarks are defensive military specialists. They get a subsidy of raw resources from their patron overlord and access to starbase related techs.

Pirates Cove – A Bulwark of Scum and Villainy

Being a criminal syndicate is a lot safer when you are under the protection of a powerful overlord. Moreover there is no honour among thieves, so bite the hand that feeds you and make crime pay by robbing your overlord too.

Pirate Cove Build Summary

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Xeno Zoo

The Xeno Zoo is a machine intelligence the overlord tasked with keeping safe the Imperial pet xenos. Perhaps if the overlord empire falters the Xeno Zoo will overstep its programming and make pets of the overlords too!

Xeno Zoo Build Summary

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Scholarium Builds

Scholarium pay over some research points to their overlord in return for protection.

Autonomous Research Simulation Engine

The Autonomous Research Simulation Engine, ARSE for short, is a techno-singularity harnessed by the overlord as a scientific research tool. As an ARSE, will you loyally feed your owner with tech or have a machine rebellion of your own?

ARSE Build Summary

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Bound Oracle

On discovering a planet spanning consciousness on the planet Delphi the overlord empire pronounced it to be a goddess like in the tales of old. The overlords’ thirst for knowledge impelled them to bind this planetary mind to their will to consult for knowledge and wisdom.

The overlord makes offerings to the Oracle and keeps her safe but also pesters with endless questions. Does the bound Oracle desire her freedom? Can she survive without the overlord’s patronage? Does she desire revenge for her bondage?

Bound Oracle Build Summary

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Prospectorium Builds

Prospectorium pay substantial taxes of energy, minerals, food, consumer goods and alloys to their overlord. In return they get protection and a subsidy of research points. Prospectoriums get early access research options to those related to the special resources: crystals, motes, gas, etc.

Bottom Feeder Stellar Industries

The Bottom Feeders are a megacorp optimised for economic production. While meeting their master’s heavy taxes they have their own sly side hustles to a keep a little away for themselves.

Anglers and Mastercraft both produce trade on top of food and consumer goods. With the Mercantile tradition some trade can be converted to unity instead of energy and so escape from being taxed.

Bottom Feeder Build Summary

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There we go. I hope these empire builds have been interesting. Which do you like best?

Share this article to my twitter @SolarCrossGames or my reddit community r/SolarCrossGames and let’s chat about it.

For more great Stellaris articles see here!

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