Chapter 1 – Espionage Playthrough – Stellaris Nemesis

April 25, 2021 by Solar Cross


Here follows a playthrough implementing the Pure Espionage Build presented here at Solar Cross Games earlier. This playthrough will be part strategy guide and part field testing of this build. If you have not seen the details of this build do check it out here. If you would like a more general analysis of the espionage system introduced by the Nemesis DLC then you can read about that here.

Game Details

Galaxy = Huge and Eliptical. 30 AI civs, 4 Advanced Starts. Difficulty = Commodore with Scaling on. Ironman Mode = On.

Boast your Ironman Mode cred.
Starting Location in the Galaxy

Supreme Probinator Thanquol’s Log

Star Date 2200-01-01

The Skaven Home System at Game Start

The delightfully devious Skaven race which I rule over so graciously is at last ready to once more re-conquor the stars. No doubt horrid xeno-things have infested our stars but we shall take them back, yes-yes. First find them we must.

I send the science ship out to find out the best hyperlanes for expansion. Must get Map the Stars edict soon. Imperiously I demand the Market Place of Ideas economic policy for unity boost. I put farmers to work in the generators to make energy for hiring a scientist.

Star Date 2200-07-01

Second science ship is built. A scientist with survey skills is hired to command it. Farmers go back to the fields before hunger hurts us. Ship is sent to explore in opposite direction to the first.

Second Science Ship Away

Star Date 2201-05-22

Disgusting! First science ship finds traces of filthy xeno-things. Must learn more, find weakness.

Xenos-things found.

First science ship begins to survey a path back, must claim all for skaven! We begin to build third science ship!

Star Date 2201-07-02

We have Map the Stars edict now for fast surveys and more anomalies.

Find treasures before the filthy xeno-things. Mine-mine.

Star Date 2201-12-25

Second science ship finds more horrid xeno-things, many xeno-things, very dangerous. Flee!

Third science ship has nice safe job to survey near home. Very safe!

Star Date 2202-06-24

Second science ship finds another xeno presence, but smaller-weaker. We follow it, maybe snatch it. See how it works on the inside.

Third xeno detection.

Star Date 2202-09-06

Second science ship follows a weak xeno but is lead to its xeno lair! Enemies are close. Enemy has a Gateway, intriguing.

Star Date 2202-03-04

Fourth science ship built. This one will survey a path to the “Mecca” xenos. Must rush to grab all stars on the way. First system claimed by our home world. Must rush now, build more construction ships soon.

Star Date 2204-06-07

Horrors! We have hacked into the xenos to the west and they are angry alien killer robots! They want to purge even beautiful-friendly skaven peoples.

We must hack more, find weakness, but their Encryption is so strong, so strong!

Star Date 2205-01-16

We have hacked the xenos to the east! They are better than angry robots to the west, at least they seem edible. We must find more information on them.

Killer robots to the left of me. Jihadis to the right.

Star Date 2208-07-01

With two construction ships, many science ships, pots of influence and influence discounts on claims we are winning the land grab hard. We are almost done grabbing stars on the main lanes to both our enemies. Soon our territory will border theirs. We must begin expanding southwards now.

More xenos found to the south but we cannot spare a hacker just yet.

Star Date 2210-01-07

Haha! Killer robots were too slow to get nice-rich system on their border before we did. Even silly robot science ship is caught in a dead end by our grab. Haha, even more funny for slow-stupid killer robots! Killer robots must be so angry with us now! haha… ha… ha. Oh.

Star Date 2211-01-08

We are about done with rushing to grab systems now that we border our enemies. We can back fill the dead ends and loops that we enclosed at our leisure. Also we are pushing against our Administrative Capacity so I think we are done with the Expansionist policy and can now flip into Isolationist for the boost to Administrative Capacity and Unity. We still want to push a route southwards though. Eastwards is checked for the time being by hostile mining robots and some other aliens to the south east.

In other news a new faction has emerged to offer us unwanted-unneeded advice on how to govern clever-well. At least they are nice xenophobic chauvinists who support great Thanquol’s wise agenda.

Star Date 2212-04-18

While exploring the southward route we encountered another xeno empire, the Pliff-Plaff Watchers. Very old and powerful but silly and superstitious. They call themselves Holy Guardians. They do not completely block the way luckily. The route is cutting westwards now and approaching the killer robots of the Purge Reboot Imperative from the south. The killer robots are also exploring this route to us.

Star Date 2212-07-15

The Muzzy Khalifate to the north have laid claim to the key Puntrazed system. They will be plotting war on us! We must build fleets and defences! Puntrazed has a neutron star which slows the sublight speeds of ships. Perhaps we can use that to our advantage? Make a trap!

Star Date 2213-05-17

Sneaky killer robots have blocked the southward route.

Star Date 2215 ish

The Expansion tree in our Traditions is complete allowing us to take our first Ascension Perk. We take Nihilistic Acquisition.

We have a desert world in our territory but it is too uninhabitable for us. The Muzzys to the north however are natural desert dwellers. If we take some as slaves we can put them to work on this planet.

Our strategic direction is clear; our further expansion must be directed in the direction of the Muzzy to the north. We shall strive to avoid conflict with the Determined Exterminators to the west as much as possible. There is no profit in fighting them. Unfortunately it does not seem we can avoid a conflict with them. They are all about purging life and it seems we are the nearest target for them.

In any case we must continue to increase our alloy production both for starbases and for warships.

Star Date 2217-11-30

We have hit Maximum Infiltration against the killer robots thanks to their tough robot Encryption. We will have to successfully run an Acquire Asset Operation now if we want to get any deeper Intel. This we will do.

Star Date 2219-02-05

Curses! The tough robot Encryption has defeated our attempt to gain an Asset in their system. Worse they know we were trying to hack them. Of course they are already hate us so what difference does that make?

We will try again, it is the only way to get deeper Intel on the inscrutable killer robots.

Star Date 2222-04-01

We have finally scored an Asset within the Purge Reboot Imperative, a memory cache with specialisms in Sabotage and Technology. It is not the most useful of specialisms for right now. Really I would like something in Subterfuge and Government in order to help get more Assets, as we will soon need to do.

I hate to think how deep the killer robots have infiltrated us by now. We have begun the Domination tree so with just one more perk we can get access to the Enhanced Surveillance Edict. This will push our Encryption up a bit closer to theirs.

Star Date 2222-09-19

The killer robots have expanded fast along the southern route. The territories there were not very valuable though. We now have a long border with them. There are three different ways into our territory for them to exploit and us to defend.

The good news is we have found a habitable planet to the south east. We have almost filled out to our borders now but we still have one route for easy expansion to push against. To the north east just below the Muzzy territory there is a route away that is blocked by hostile old mining drones. Our fleet is strong now and they are weak. We can push there now.

Star Date 2222-10-09

Squeak! The nasty killer robots have declared war!

Supreme Probinator Queek Head Taker’s Log

Star Date 2223-04-09

The foolish Thanquol’s warpstone addiction finally got the better of him. I did not even have to help him along much, so frail was he! Of course I Queek Head Taker have been elected to replace him. Who else can fix all the mess he made of his reign? No one is more generous with their bribes and more fearsome with their intimidations! Thanquol is dead, long live Queek!

Star Date 2223-08-09

They come! A killer robot fleet appears at our northwestern border! Our fleet is on its way but has far to go. There are defences at the border but not strong enough.

Star Date 2223-12-27

The starbase at the border has fallen to the killer robots! Our fleet is still on route for interception. A second fleet, we begin to build.

Star Date 2225-04-10

The enemy fleet returned for repairs after taking Calam. We took it back and then returned to Hiklam base for repairs of our own. They returned and retook Calam and are now pressing on to Tiamat. Our second fleet is on the way to reinforce. The robots are fierce fighters but we may win a war of attrition. Swarm them!

Star Date 2226-05-25

Tiamat was undefended, the enemy took it easily, but right next door at our Hiklam trade base our reinforcements had arrived. They dare not push further so they fled back to base for repairs and we gave chase! Soon we retook everything and even took their system Dandar. Now both our skaven fleets are stationed one jump from the enemy capital. They have some reinforcements of their own waiting. We will hold them at Dandar. We will build defences and a base for repairs. Attrition! We can win by attrition!

I have cancelled the Map the Stars edict and ordered the Fortify the Borders edict. We must build defences fast!

Star Date 2227-10-09

While guarding Dandar with both fleets as the position was fortified, we noted the larger enemy fleet leave the capital southwards. We anticipated it would make for a strike along the undefended southern route. Now they have emerged at the southern border. Dandar is fortified enough now to hold off the smaller enemy fleet. Both our fleets are now dispatched to intercept southern flanking fleet. We can afford to lose some outlying systems down there but it is imperative that the enemy fleet does not reach any of our colonies. Determined Exterminators are murderous at planetary bombardment! If our fleets can catch and destroy that fleet then we can push back on their own soft underbelly.

We now have access to the Enhanced Surveillance edict but we will hold off on taking it over Fortify the Borders until Dandar is a little better reinforced.

Star Date 2028-06-15

The southern flanking force took just one system, Cothium, and now seems to have withdrawn. We assume it is returning to their capital across from Dandar. Our larger fleet is recalled to Dandar to reinforce the new starbase there. The other fleet returns to our capital for repairs and upgrades. We can then send it take back Cothium and perhaps push deeper.

A new threat emerges. An empire of dead things just to the north of us has made contact. The route to them passes through killer robot territory. We now drop Fortify the Borders edict and decree Enhanced Surveillance. Not only do we need better Encryption to keep our secrets but we need another spy master to infiltrate this new threat to the north.

Star Date 2228-09-15

A small enemy fleet has just made an incursion at Dandar. The station should be strong enough to hold against it. Better yet our stronger fleet is just one jump from reinforcing the station! We should give them a bloody nose, or oily lug-nut, or whatever it is killer robots use to collect snot.

Victory! Caught between a tough station and a reinforcing fleet the enemy fleet is crushed. Should we press out advantage with a strike at their capital or continue cautious skirmishing? The killer bots still have another fleet out there somewhere, we should continue cautiously.

Start Date 2229-05-08

The other enemy fleet has re-surfaced on the southern border at Cothium. Our second fleet has finished upgrades at the capital and was headed to retake Cothium. However this enemy fleet is a bit too strong or it. So now the second fleet holds at Ginigan where there are a few defences while the main fleet at Dandar moves to reinforce. A second victory against the other enemy fleet will surely precipitate final victory!

Star Date 2230-05-20

The enemy fleet in the south took Qasmathon and then hung out in Cothium a starbase was built. The enemy fleet has now withdrawn just as my two fleets are poised to retake Qazmathon and potentially take Cothium. More defences have been ordered for Dandar.

Star Date 2231-05-23

Our combined fleets have retaken Qazmathon and Cothium. Then after taking Brigaffa the killer robots are suing for peace! Not so killy now are they? All the “EXTERMINATE” and “PURGE ORGANICS” is suddenly replaced with hippy dippy singing about peace and friendship. Losers.

We accept this peace. We did not really want to be fighting nasty tasting robots anyway. No doubt they will rebuild for another round of “EXTERMINATE” but we will be growing still more in the mean time too. The next round will be even worse for them.

Our intelligence penetration of the Muzzy Empire is becoming quite deep. It is time we started planning on a raid! They have strong forts on our border though…

We also have our eastward expansion opportunities to return to and a planet to settle.

Star Date 2232-05-28

It seems that the dead things of the Illuminaughty Church of Tomorrow and desert dwellers of the Muzzy Kalifate had a war while I was busy fighting the killer robots. They have just now signed a peace treaty. That explains why the Muzzy Kalifate never took advantage of our war with the bots to attack us. They were busy with their own war.

If we can time a slave raid on the Kalifate when they are having another war that could be rather profitable. We must keep an eye on them.

Star Date 2235-11-20

Pushing through the eastern route has uncovered more filthy xenos lurking about. We have pulled our spy master who was keeping tabs on the killer bots to abduct one of these new xenos.

In other news the habitable planet in the south east is now within our borders. It turns out that the planet wide swamp there is a living being with a psychic consciousness of its own. The discovery has given us the Psionic Theory tech! This is opens up the way to getting the Mind of Matter and Transcendence Ascension Perks further down the line. Transcendence will give us huge boost to our espionage facilities both offensive and defensive!

Star Date 2236-03-30

After vivisecting the captured xenos we have discovered they are made of rocks! There origin is far to the north east on the galactic rim. We shall not bother with infiltrating them given we have nearer concerns. Consuming their body parts has taught us about hydroponics which is weird but good.

Star Date 2238-01-14

A new gang of xenos have tried to contact us, “The Uri Commerce League”. Snail people; friendly, peaceful and very likely tasty. Their origin is much nearer than the rock people. Indeed they are going to be competing with us for our eastward expansion. I have redeployed the spy master who is infiltrating the dead things to this new threat.

The dead things have the Kalifate and the killer robots to contend with, they should not bother us for some time. The killer robots are also not too much of a threat after our victory over them. Perhaps one spy master can use sleeper cells to keep an eye on both? Our posture towards the dead things and killer robots is defensive. Against the snail people and the Kalifate our posture is acquisitive. Each should have a dedicated spymaster.

A habitable planet has been found just outside the border of the snail people. Their preferred habitat is the same as ours. Certainly they will take and certainly we shall take both the planet and the snails as slaves or even food!

Star Date 2241-12-02

I did think the snail people would get that habitable planet just by them. However with another rapid land grab the planet and surrounding systems have all been claimed by us.

We are itching to raid someone but the Kalifa are too strong now and we do not have enough intelligence on the snail people yet. We must bide our time. We have a border with the snail now perhaps if they are weak we will raid them first.

Star Date 2243-12-23

The long anticipated moment has arrived! The Illuminaughty have declared war on the Muzzy Kalifate! We can take advantage of this for sneaking in a raid. Our Infiltration is deep enough on the Kalifate to see the location of their military fleets. We can wait until they are engaged and then raid the planet on our border. It is protected by a tough starbase. Perhaps a sabotage mission would soften it up?

Star Date 2246-01-14

Intelligence reports that the Muzzy fleets are now engaging the allies of the Illuminaughty in the far north of the Kalifate. The Illuminaughty themselves do not seem to be doing anything yet. The time is ripe to order the raid on their southern most planet on our border!

Supreme Probinator Ikit Claw’s Log

Star Date 2246-05-14

The buffoonish Queek Head Taker has recently perished of involuntarily induced spontaneous combustion just in his long awaited moment of glory. Given my well paid alibi it has fallen to me, Ikit Claw, to step up to take the credit for the fool’s measly accomplishments.

Star Date 2247-01-13

After a few delays repairing and positioning our fleets to the border we are now ready to strike. War is declared on the Kalifate and our plucky pilots fly into their probable doom. The station guarding the planet is quite tough. No matter I have ordered another fleet to be constructed. It will put us well over out naval capacity but only for a short time since the first two fleets are likely to be decimated. At the least enemy fleets are out of position to reinforce.

The only thing better than a sneak attack is sneak attack to raid for slaves!

Star Date 2247-08-01

The station is defeated and we can now begin raiding the planet. Losses were not too bad either. Intelligence warns that the Kalifate fleet is returning from the north. It has a long way to go and is much reduced in strength from its own battles.

Star Date 2252-09-21

After five long years of raiding we have taken 13 pops from Dressel. The enemy fleets did not bother us until only now. Just as we were getting complacent about reprisals a Kalifate fleet has shown up. We are caught out a bit. At the time it turned up our third fleet is making a run down our trade routes deterring piracy and the two remaining fleets have split up so that one can occupy some other systems.

End of Chaper 1

That is it for the first 50 years of the Pure Espionage Build run. Look out for the next chapter to find out if the skaven raiding fleet is chased away or whether it goes on to raid the Muzzy capital Mecca!

For more great Stellaris articles see here!

Brother, can you spare a dime?

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