I am a fairly casual player thats been around for a while but probably fits into the category of those scared to enter the highly competitive, veteran filled, multi-player scene. I definitly agree though that that's where the strategy is at.
You give us too much credit
I am a fairly casual player that has over the years become quite skilled. This guy Loki (if he is indeed a new player to sins online) is doing well online, the newest rather consistent member that comes to mind.
Many people would train you up if you so desired, give it a shot. If you fail, try try again.
You will fail, but you will learn what works and what doesn't.
It will be faster for you since there is already a wealth of experience shared by the multiplayer community.
And I have to admit I have certainly seen that. Just don't expect any of the DT players to do that for the eager Advent player. So I agree side beams will get some use but on a large fleet level I don't think the boost is really usually achieved relative to a mass of phase missiles let alone the extra 80-100 LRMs from a TEC spam.
You have to get smart about it. As advent you have to scout like crazy to stay on top of things. Keep them scouted, and don't let them see your fleet composition if you can help it.
If their fleet is set up for an attack, line up right on the other side of the phase lane where they will appear. The damage you will do to the fleet warping in will be substantial, and if this is a first engagement it is one of the little tricks that will help turn the tide in your favor. Also, as advent you have to get into your opponents head. You have to do everything you can to pick apart the enemy fleet/planets. The main thing is to NOT LOSE SHIPS. as advent losing ships is tantamount to dying. Know what counters what is extremely important, and don't even risk some kanraks shredding your disciples. Instead send those disciples to the vas HW and force them to build some defenses or retreat to deal with it.
You have to learn the juggling act with DT, but you can still shred their fleets