Okay, so I understand that there are some very effective synergistic ship combos out there. For instance, a fun and rather obvious one for the Advent is to max out the Halcyon Carrier's "adept drone anima" ability and combine it with a Rapture's ability (I believe this is "Concentration Aura") to boost damage output for all strike-craft (or 'fighters', but as people have mentioned before, this works for all squadrons). Although this is kinda fun to do, it's not a game-winner for obvious reasons. However, I stumbled upon a rather simple one today that seemed quite unbalancing. Granted, I just started playing the game last weekend, and haven't subjugated myself to online slaughter just yet, so I may not have a broad enough perspective on what all can be done to counter this. And I suspect that some of you have already figured this out, since the combo is relatively simple.
Three ship types are involved: the Progenitor Mothership, the Revelation Battlecruiser, and disciple vessels. I'm not totally certain, but I doubt this combo works without researching the first six shield regeneration techs (the higher shield mitigation research makes it that much more gross), though I haven't tried it otherwise. This all centers on the Progenitor's shield regeneration special ability (maxed out to level three, which means your progenitor has to see some combat and get to level five or six, I believe). The Revelation has an ability that decreases the cooldown rate (by 40%) of all other ship's special abilities within a certain radius. Big woop, except you know what disciple's can do: they steal antimatter from other ships and transfer it to your own. What this means effectively is that your fleet ends up with an effective shield regeneration rate of around eighty to ninety points per second. The disciple vessels that the AI chose to focus fire on would typically lose their shields in about five to ten seconds (enemy fleets from 50 to 200 ships). I would activate the shield regeneration ability (which thankfully only lasts eight seconds), and their shields would be back up to full in less than eight seconds. Well, because the Revelation battlecruiser reduces the cooldown rate to about 15 seconds (I think it might be twelve, actually), I was losing very few of my ships in the first 45-90 seconds of every major battle. Yes, once everyone is out of antimatter, then the combo is much less effective. But if you haven't tried this yet, do so and tell me why you do or don't think this is too powerful.
Here's why I think it's unbalancing. Firstly, 45-90 seconds (the larger range of duration being for larger enemy fleets) is way too long to be losing only roughly three out of fifty of your fleet, particularly when the enemy is losing about 15-20 out of one hundred. Also, the combo isn't completely ineffective after that initial time period. In my own task force, all I had were 25 disciples, the 2 cap ships mentioned above, and 10 drone ships with fighters. This was against a much larger fleet of AI, half of which were LRM's, many cobalt's, about 10 (each) cruisers and flaks, and three cap ships. I ended up with both cap ships and about 10 disciples, which I think you'll all agree is a decisive win.
Here are some possible counters that I've thought of so far, along with why I don't think they will work well enough.
The Akkan Battlecruiser Ion Bolt directed at the Progenitor: this isn't a sure thing, simply because you can't keep the fast moving disciples from closing in to steal the Akkan's antimatter before your other two cap ships come within range.
The TEC's splash damage missiles for the LRM's: this is the best counter I can think of, but it still lacks in that it may not be enough damage. The shield regeneration ability targets ALL ships within a certain radius, so hitting all the ships with damage isn't a theoretically appealing way to circumvent the problem, although I've obviously yet to try this out with someone. Also, the LRM splash damage requires antimatter. This might have worked in the above example, but if I had roughly the same number of disciples as LRM's, it probably wouldn't make a damn bit of difference.
Let me know what you guys think. I'll be testing this again with much better mixes of ships (i.e. which will invariably include Iconus Gaurdians and Destra Crusaders) with my brother online. Anyway, I think this combo needs to be "mitigated" in some way.