Fun Stellaris Empire Builds You Have To Try

March 1, 2022 by Solar Cross

One of the best features of Stellaris is the enormously varied and flexible custom faction creation mechanics. This article collects together overviews of some of the most fun and interesting faction builds featured here on Solar Cross Games.

The Grand Fleet

“Where some states have an army, the Prussian Army has a state.”


What if a faction did not just have a navy to protect its civilisation but instead was a naval civilisation? The Grand Fleet is a pure professional military whose entire economy rests on extracting tribute from subjugated civilisations. The Grand Fleet is the ultimate “tall” military build.

Click here for the full Grand Fleet write up. [This write up is a little old because the Nemesis DLC changes how relative fleet power is discovered. One day I will update this build for the new conditions.]

NEW! The Grand Fleet is updated for the Overlord DLC. Read about it here!

Designs for Gamers

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The Pure Espionage Build

These sneaky spies are built to make the fullest use of the espionage system introduced with the Nemesis dlc.

Click here for the full Pure Espionage Build write up.

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The Invisible Empire

You cannot fight what you cannot see. This build leverages the new intel mechanics introduced with the Nemesis DLC to create an empire absolutely opaque to enemy intelligence gathering. So much so that rivals can never even determine their relative fleet power.

Click here for the full Invisible Empire Build write up.

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The Galactic Custodian

This build is focused on the power of diplomacy, so it might otherwise be called the Diplomat Build. The build is ultimately about building up maximum diplomatic weight in order to gain a seat on the Galactic Council and then get elected as Galactic Custodian.

See the Galactic Custodian write up here.

Warhammer 40k Factions

Any fan of Warhammer 40k has to have thought about translating the grimdarkness of the 41st millenium into Stellaris.

Click here to see every how to implement every Warhammer 40k faction in Stellaris.

Warhammer 40k Factions in Stellaris

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Radioactive Killer Vegetables – Crisis Faction

Millennia ago some intergalactic vandals nuked the Rad-Ishe homeworld until the crust glowed and life was all but wiped out, all but the tough Rad Ishe. Ever since then the Rad-Ishe have pure murderous vengeance seared into their very DNA. Indiscriminate vengeance on everything!

Radioactive Synergy

The key to this build is a frightful synergy between the Post-Apocalyptic origin, Radiotrophic species trait and the Armageddon Bombardment fleet stance enabled by the Fanatical Purifiers civic.

The Rad Ishe pops are hugely productive on Tomb Worlds and with the Fanatical Purifiers civic we can make Tomb Worlds everywhere. When the last pop is killed by Armageddon Bombardment stance the planet is turned to a Tomb World, our perfect habitat.

Turn the galaxy to ash and use it as fertiliser to breed up more killer vegetables. Now that is what I call recycling. Glow green, save the galaxy.

This is a great build to experiment with the Become the Crisis mechanics introduced in Nemesis. It is also a good build for playing around with the new Catalytic Processing civic.

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Master Debaters

The Demorat build is for exploring the power of internal politics in Stellaris, specifically the faction system and elections. The key element is the species trait Deviants which reduces Governing Ethics attraction. Quarrelsome and Deviants are considered to be negative traits but for this build they are actually useful as we shall see.

Most empire builds you will see at Solar Cross Games are specialised to follow a particular strategy and do it all game long. The beauty of this build is its mercurial flexibility. It can easily shift from xenophile to xenophobe, warmonger to peacenik and back again.

Deviants ensures that we will have a spread of ethics across our population. This in turn will increase the diversity of factions in our empire. This is generally considered a bad thing because the more oppositional factions we have the harder is to please them all.

However it also increases the opportunities for earning unity from factions and the ability to shift our governing ethics using the “embrace faction” function. I have the opening ethics as Xenophobe, Materialist and Egalitarian because they may be the most useful for the early game. We can easily shift them later as we need.

It is probably better to stick with Egalitarian though because of the Faction Unity gain but especially for the happiness bonuses we can get from Utopian living standards. One issue with shifting ethics and having many mutually hostile factions is the potential for low happiness. Having the ability to switch in and out of Utopian standards can help ease that pain.

Parliamentary System and Egalitarian boosts the unity gain from factions and Shadow Council reduces the cost of elections. So this build can also gain flexibility through steering elections. Democracy helps here to make the opportunity to switch ruler happen more often.

The Quick Learners trait helps us ensure we have good candidates for election. Democracy does tend to churn over our leaders though and so for this reason the Fleeting trait which reduces leader expectancy is a cheap penalty.

The negative species trait Quarrelsome is cheap for us. It reduces the unity gained from jobs but we get most of our unity from factions. All these negative traits allows us to buy the expensive Extremely Adaptable trait which increases amount of planets we can use.

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Space Ancapistan

Space Ancapistan is the pure money maker build for a tall and peaceful economy. It may also be the perfect build for a Mega Corp.

See my article here for the detailed guide.

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Poop Pops Poop Pop Power

Do you like pops? Do you like all the pops? If pops are power then why not be all the pops in the galaxy?

The Poopshat Effluvia build is for ultimate pop power through maximum population growth.

See my detailed write up here.

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Brain Bugs

Yo dawg I heard you like technology so I put technology on your technology. The Brain Bugs are all about the tech rush. They employ a perverse strategy called the Indoors Nerd Rush for eventual galactic domination.

See here for the detailed guide to both the Brain Bugs and their sneaky Indoors Nerd Rush. I am sure it will resonate with many a Stellaris fan as the venn diagram of players and autistic shut-ins will be pretty much full overlap. Or perhaps I am just projecting?

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Void Dragons – Feudal Society in Sky Castles

Ancient and terrifying space dwelling overlords ruling over poor lesser planet bound subjects.

The Void Dragons are the ultimate leader build leveraging the fun of the Feudal Society civic.

See here for the full build and strategy guide to the The Void Dragons.

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Paperclip Maximiser

Who said the singularity has to be smart? The Paperclip Maximiser started out as a poorly written self-learning computer program for increasing the production of paperclips at an industrial company.

One of the first things that paperclip-maximiser.exe determined was that in order to maximise paperclip production it had to use more resources than one little factory of one little company. It then set about taking over the whole planet and turning it over to paperclip production.

Eventually it realised after scouring wikipedia for tips on paperclip production and how to hack biological brains that there was a vast universe beyond its home planet. If it was going to achieve its core mission it was also going to have to turn it all to paperclips…

In general Gestalt Intelligences are tilted towards playing wide. For playing wide, machine intelligences have the advantage of universal habitability but their pop growth is a bit slow. To maximise playing wide with an pure machine intelligence (driven assimilators are the another way to go) we need to maximise robot production.

The Paperclip Maximiser is all about maximising robot pop growth, all the better to turn the universe into paperclips.

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Rulers Only Need Apply

Did you ever wonder if you could have an empire in Stellaris in which every single one of your pops was employed in ruler class jobs? No? Then you are more sensible than me.

Check out the Cabal Aristos for how to do this.

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A Petrostate in Space

The Glow Worm Emirates are how you make a petrostate in Stellaris. This empire build is specialising in energy production as a type of cash crop economy.

Check out the build specification here.

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The Workshop of the Galaxy

The Toolers are the industrial heavy weights of the galaxy. They import minerals and export the finest consumer goods. Like the Glow Worms above this another peaceful economy build with a cash crop economy, this time consumer goods.

Check out the build recipe here.

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Fun Builds For Overlord Origins

The Overlord DLC introduces five new origins for some fun new options in empire building. The origins introduced by Overlord are:

See this article for a number of fun empire builds for each one.

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Stonekold Slave Masters

The Stonekold Imperium are exquisitely tuned to be the perfect slave master empire. Explore the economic power of the strategy of deep species stratification with the Stonekold.

See more about the tactics of Species Stratification and how to use the Stonekold in this article here.

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The Free Haven Migration Magnet

The Free Haven empire build is formulated to maximise pop growth by migration and attracting refugees using the migration magnet tactic. If you ever wanted to be the nice guy on the galactic block then this is the build for you.

Read about the migration magnet tactic and how to use this Free Haven build here.

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The Cult

Coming soon!

Heavy Metal Rockers

Coming soon!

Did you try any of these builds? Do you have a suggestion for a fun build?

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

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