Please refer to the Tactitus Unit Tables to do your own evaluations of the ship types. Ok, I'm going to go over the whole list, sorting by travel time. Don't underrate travel time as sometimes an "ok" ship that gets to the battle on time is better than a "great" ship that arrives too late to help. ETA 2 ships (ETA 3 in Galaxy, ETA 4-8 in Parallel, ETA 6-10 in universe): Spider (Fighter class)- THE defensive ship of round 4. Resources spent on spiders are NEVER wasted, in my opinion. (5/5 stars) On Defense: most effective ship at stopping astropods, nothing has early enough initiative to stop them from completing this task. Can be distracted by the wraith and phoenix, but in sufficient numbers it will shut down those units as well. Also freezes interceptors if all Corvette class ships have been taken care of (big whop). On offense: Much less useful. Occasionally worth bringing along if your attacking fleet has a lot of cruisers and destroyers (esp. Tarantulas) and you want to prevent the target's phoenix and wraiths from killing your big ships. Equally good flak as interceptors, but due to their importance on defense, I don't reccomend using spiders just for flak purposes. Interceptor (Fighter class) - Arguably the worst ship of round 4. Has some situational use, and 0 crystal cost (so it doesn't keep you from buying spiders). Generally should be skipped once you have access to better ships. (1/5 stars) On Defense: Will kill astropods very inefficiently, but mobile enough that combined fleets of interceptors can make a noticeable dent. Every interceptor that dies means one more spider lives to fight another tick - therefore worthwhile. On Offense: May kill a couple wraiths/phoenix if you're lucky. Main use (if any) is to take the frig/Battleship fire so more valuable ships (Corvette class) will live longer. Slightly more efficient at killing spiders, but only if it gets around to targeting them (secondary) ETA 3 ships (ETA 4 in Galaxy, ETA 5-9 in Parallel, ETA 7-11 in universe): Wraith (corvette class)- cloaking and higher initiative don't make up for the poor EMP resistance. Uses crystal which could have been spent on spiders.(3/5 stars) On Defense: Cloaking is a liability on defense - you WANT sector scans to show that you have large numbers of ships. Primary targets (ghosts and devastators) aren't worth killing compared to the secondary cruiser class ships. On Offense: Cloaking may lure the defender into not having enough spiders to stop all of your phoenix/wraiths/astropods combined. On the other hand, the poor EMP resistance means you have to send almost twice as many wraiths as you would have had to send phoenix to distract similar amounts of spiders from your astropods. Phoenix (corvette class)- provides superb armor for Astropods and in sufficient numbers if unfrozen will tear into the valuable cruiser class (esp. tarants). (4.5/5 stars) On Defense: Not much point in protecting astropods on defense. On the other hand, there's not much harm in sending them and letting them do their inefficient job of killing. Phoenix will shine, however, if there are cruisers or tarantulas to kill - although the late initiative means the benefit may not be noticed until the following tick. On offense: Doesn't kill much, but boy does it provide great cover for astropods from PDS, and to a lesser extent spiders. If you have 2 phoenix to every 1 astropod, and outnumber the defender's spiders, you may get a few kills just for the fun of it. When roiding - not reducing your target's score by much may actually be a good thing (keeps you at maximum asteroid capture rate for longer). ETA 4 ships (ETA 5 in Galaxy, ETA 6-10 in Parallel, ETA 8-12 in universe): Black Widow (Frigate Class)- Very cheaply removes two of the most deadly ship classes from combat, main weakness is its own vulnerability to EMP, which can be overcome by escorting with Warfrigates. When the Black Widow has no primary or secondary targets to fire at, it sits around useless. (4/5 stars) On Defense: Stops dreadnaughts, specters, and cruisers (but not tarantulas). 'Nuff said. Only problem is, those ships aren't likely to be in many attack fleets. When they are, however, you will be very grateful for any Black Widows you can find. Having lots of phoenix around to kill tarantulas will make black widows even more effective on the 2nd and 3rd ticks of combat. On offense: If your target has Battleships defending him, it will be very worth while to send Black Widows along to keep the Dreadnaughts and Specters from tearing into your astropods (and other corvette class ships). Ghost (Destroyer Class)- attacks battleships and cruisers, but does so MUCH less efficiently than Black Widows. When firing randomly (i.e. no Destroyers or Cruisers around), does a piss poor job of killing things. The low initiative and cloaking might give the ghost a slight edge over the devastator, but neither ship is particularly useful. (2.5/5 stars) On Defense: well, IF it doesn't get frozen by tarantulas, and IF there are BAs or CRs to shoot at, at least it will generate salvage. On Offense: May be appropriate for "kill/punishment" fleets. Not a good general choice for a roiding fleet however. Devastator (Destroyer class)- same as ghost except for a little more EMP resistance, more armor, more gun power, and less initiative (only makes a difference in fights against Dreadnaughts). Possibly the 2nd best choice after unfrozen phoenix at taking out Tarantulas. (2.5/5 stars) On Defense: Might as well use 'em if you've got 'em. Generates tasty salvage if you outnumber tarantulas, but chances are the tarants will freeze most Devastators before they fire. On Offense: Punishment fleets only. Even then, tons of Phoenix will probably do the job better. War frigate (frigate class) - Ruled the skies in round 3. A decent low-ETA place to spend metal leaving plenty of crystal to buy spiders. A "tank with a pea shooter" whose only real enemy (and ironically best use) is the hyperion turret. (3.5/5 stars) On Defense - Enough War Frigates combined in defending a planet can provide a nice sting to an attacker that won't be forgotten. Easier to get them to the defender on time because of low ETA. Attacks fighters then corvettes, both of which go down reasonably easy and are generally high priority targets strategically (with the exception of interceptors). Also provides good EMP cover for your black widows (fewer widows frozen by enemy tarants - more enemy BAs frozen by your widows). On offense - kills spiders without slowing down your roiding fleet, you'd get more astropods through if you just sent more phoenix most likely. If the target has hyperion turrets, you should always send enough frigates to take all the hyperion fire all 3 ticks (because hyperions kill corvettes with brutal efficiency if allowed to target their secondary targets). Also, if you're sending black widows to freeze the opponent's BA class ships, then having frigs to make sure that the defender's tarantulas don't take out all the Black Widows may be wise. Astro Pods (corvette class)- Build these, steal asteroids, say no more. Just be sure that all your combined corvette class stuff can get by your target's spiders when attacking. (5/5 stars) On Defense - you're kidding right? On Offense - no attack is complete without astropods. Even a "punishment fleet" should have them since taking someone's roids is a great punishment.