Well, I would like that, but we don't have that and must make do with what we have.
So from the beginning you seem to be saying "I am going to play TEC Loyalists, here's how to use the Ankylon". Which is fine and good, and perhaps more suited for this topic. But it doesn't change the fact that in a serious game, it is nice if all the factions are more or less on even ground. The TEC in general are good, but the Rebels have a lackluster research tree but an awesome titan, while the Loyalists have a lackluster titan and a good but late and expensive research tree. Which is a bad thing in multiplayer, as games are usually decided before the major late game advantages the Loyalists have can be deployed. That is why it is hard for the Loyalists to compete in a serious game, as the Rebels advantages happen to come about at the most vital time in the game, and why many players and myself want the Loyalists and especially the Ankylon buffed so it can better compete with other factions.
TEC Loyalists can either rush or they have to dig in through the mid-game and I think they have the tools to do just that subject to map conditions.
I think that is a good way to play them, but that does not make them a good faction compared to the rest. The late game Advent and Vasari factions are just as good as the TEC Loyalists if not better, and they do not suffer as bad of a middle game weakness as the Loyalists.
What isn't fair, though, is to look at it through the same analytical framework of the other factions, which are less oriented to defence, and to expect it to conform to the same dynamic and pattern of play.
You should never be afraid to compare to other factions. You maybe using other means to achieve victory, but for a serious game you must ask "Could I have a better chance of obtaining victory" another way? If other factions have strategies that give them greater odds of success, you must be totally honest with that possibility, and realize you are fighting an uphill battle.
The Ankylon shouldn't need a large capital fleet around it to serve well on defence
Well that depends. If the goal is not to get blow up, maybe. If the goal is to actually stop the enemy from inflicting serious damage on your other ships or infrastructure, you ultimately have to destroy them. Just enduring does not help that much, especially if the enemy is using corvettes or strikecraft (and they will if you're team is using titans) as they can simply run away and bypass your titan (of course these units can easily just kill your titan if its totally unsupported).
As far as levelling up capitals is concerned, I do think there's a quality vs. quantity argument that can be made that a large quantity of level 4 capitals, which can be purchased, can overwhelm a small quantity of higher level capitals and even a Titan and do so rapidly.
I must caution you here. Sins inherently greatly promotes quality over quantity when it comes to capitalships and titans. Command points are expensive to research, and the whole point of capitalships and titans is their abilities, not their stats. The fewer caps you need, the faster they level up, and they unlock more powerful versions of their abilities that lets them do their intended role better. With titans this is even more important as they get rebuilt at the level they were destroyed at, so leveling up your titan quickly is of vital importance and is actually a lasting investment. While in a few cases like Dunovs or Kortuls with titan AM draining abilities might be an exception, in general you should only build capitalships after your current ones reach high levels.
I should also point out you cannot count on having the resources to spare to purchase levels. The only time it was widely used was to rush an devastating level 2 Embargo rush. If you're winning the battle you might have the luxury of being able to afford them as a luxury, but if you're losing that is not a cost effective way to reverse your fortunes.
and I think that's wrong for TEC Loyalists. That's been my point, not to say "DROP EVERYTHING AND RESEARCH ARMOR VERY FIRST THING." Maybe I should go back and make that more clear.
First of all I agree that defensive stat bonuses are underrated, as they affect all your units versus those that only have the given weapon type. And no, I did not think you were saying to get that ASAP. But one thing players new to serious play run into is that unlike 4X games, research does not win you games. In most games I do not seriously invest in stat bonus research. If you do it should only be because you do not want to upgrade your fleet supply and have resources to spare. Again if you are fighting for your life you cannot count on being able to research such things, so it usually only applies in games you are already winning.
TEC doesn't get Nano Disassembler, so that's not really relevant
Again, you should never be afraid to compare with other races. Nano Disassembler is an effective single target killer because it does damage that bypasses shield mitigation and as a secondary debuff reduces armor. And it is amazing. Gauss Rail Gun can be viewed as a single DPS bonus while the Kol has antimatter, and for raw DPS frigates will be caps the vast majority of the time, probably all the time if you factor in cost.
Antimatter isn't a problem when the Kol is on defence in TEC culture especially fighting near an Argonev with Docking Booms.
Actually it is, it just takes longer. Docking booms is not often purchased as an upgrade, unless you have dual starbases that can support each other, but that is extremely late game.
Five heavy cruisers, unfortunately, can be eaten by Maw, converted, or otherwise have all the nasty things that can be done to frigates/cruisers done to them. The Kol can't and it's very durable, just in general. How do five heavy cruisers stack up against a level 4 Kol, because that's what TEC Loyalists should effectively be producing by the time they are set to go offensive?
Yes, but again, you don't build capitalships for raw DPS. You get them for special abilities. And an ability that only adds DPS has to be amazing to be worth the importunity cost of the more unique abilities other caps have. It is very rare single target DPS is worth more than AoE damage.
Sure, the Corsev may be more durable, but the Corsev can't help against strikecraft and doesn't have as much single target DPS against non-frigates
But how often do you actually want high DPS against a single non frigate? For starbases you have bombers and Ogrovs, titans you need Dunovs, not Kols. And in general its easier to kill other caps with massed frigates, not TEC caps.
less manoeuvrable than the Kol
Totally false. The Kol and Marza have the exact same speed and maneuverability stats. In fact all caps but colony and carrier caps are the same.
Marzas and Kols are both the wrong weapon for killing titans. Bombers, Corvettes, Dunovs and your own titans are. However, a level 6 Marza is extremely helpful even in this case for its ability to ensure the enemy fleet cannot support the titan without taking heavy losses. And this capacity is far more important than a Kol with Gauss rail gun is EVER.
Not really. I doubt a Sova takes significantly less punishment than a Kol without adaptive forcefield, and even if it does the Sova's better antimattter efficiency, strike craft and mobility (it can deploy turrets and get out while its strikecraft pound from afar, which can be a more useful form of durability in many cases).
but it's also not a Lose Button.
Again I believe it is. There is no situation except antistrikecraft that capitalships should be used for that a better TEC capitalship isn't available. If you believe otherwise, try it against other people, and see if it works as well as you think once the incompetence of the AI isn't allowing you to get away with it.
I think someone once said that you go to war with the Titan you have, not the Titan you wish you had.
Again, what is the point of this discussion? If it is "I want to play TEC Loyalists, how do I win?", it is sound. If, as most people want, it is "What is the best way to win in Rebellion?", the best methods do not involve TEC Loyalists. That is a shame, as I think that all factions should have roughly equal chances of victory in a serious match.