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Best Ascension Perks In Stellaris

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Stellaris offers many diverse avenues for its players to customize their empires and grow their power, with ascension perks being one of the most significant. Once a player finishes any tradition tree, they’ll unlock a slot for an ascension perk of their choosing that can define an empire’s vision and ambitions, or even the fate of their civilization.

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Due to the limited number of ascension slots, and the amount of time and effort it takes to unlock them, it’s prudent for players to think over their choices carefully before making their decision. Depending on the player’s priorities and the direction they want to take their empire in, certain perks may prove indispensable in the long run, while others may give them a head start on their goals in Stellaris’ early game.

Updated February 29, 2024, by Evan Arnoldi: The constantly changing meta of Stellaris makes for a more engaging gameplay style for players to try. This includes previously obsolete Ascension Perks becoming viable after new updates. Aside from the increased stats and other adjustments to the Ascension Perks, a newer style of playing the game can also bring back Ascension Perks that may have been undervalued during the previous updates. Some of these newly included Ascension Perks can also strengthen previously obsolete gameplay tactics, making them more reliable than ever. Therefore, keeping up to date with all the Ascension Perks is essential to ensure a smooth, winning experience.

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17 Interstellar Dominion

Take Over The Galaxy With Rapid Border Expansion

A Stellaris empire in early expansion

  • −20%
    Claim influence cost
  • −20%
    Starbase influence cost

In the early game, one of the most useful perks a player can choose is likely the Interstellar Dominion ascension perk. Empires with this perk will have a 20% reduction to the influence cost of both star bases and claims, which for empires just starting out (or are low on influence) will prove to be highly advantageous.

This is especially true for the very early game when expanding quickly is a necessity to make sure an empire gains its footing before it can be out-competed by its neighbors, or closed in after they failed to claim a choke point in time.

16 Galactic Contender

A Necessity To Challenge Greater Powers Of The Galaxy

An image of Stellaris: Galactic Contender

  • +20%
    more Diplomatic Weight in Galactic Community
  • Deal
    +33%
    more damage to Awakened Empires, Fallen Empires, and The L-Gate inhabitants

As an empire grows stronger, other spacefaring empires might prove to be trivial enough to be subjugated, making it trivial to conquer the galaxy. However, there are always greater powers in the galaxy to keep these upstart empires in check. One of these powers exists in the form of Fallen Empires, which can awaken during the end-game crisis.

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To challenge them, taking the Galactic Contender Ascension Perk will be crucial. This perk allows an empire to deal more damage against the greater empires in the galaxy. Moreover, taking the Ascension Perk will allow players to be more dominant in the Galactic Community, as it increases their diplomatic weight by a respectable amount.

15 Galactic Force Projection

Project Strength Of An Empire With Massive Fleet

Massive Stellaris fleet made with the Galactic Force Projection perk

  • +20
    Fleet Command Limit
  • +80
    Naval Capacity

No matter how much they try to avoid it, every empire eventually finds themselves in a position where they’re forced to go to war (or are forcing others, depending on the role players take). As a result, making sure there’s enough fleet power to defend themselves is something every empire should prioritize as they develop and expand through the galaxy.

For anyone looking for a way to get a leg up over other empires, Galactic Force Projection is definitely worth looking into, as it adds +20 to the fleet command limit and +80 to naval fleet capacity.

14 Shared Destiny

Rule The Galaxy With Numerous Subjects

An image of Stellaris: Shared Destiny

  • +2
    Available envoys
  • No Loyalty loss from multiple subjects

Sometimes, it is inevitable for a player to attack their neighbors and vassalize them, as there are no areas left to explore and expand to progress further as an empire. In these cases, too many vassals can affect the player negatively, as the vassals can gain negative modifiers to their loyalty, therefore making them rebellious.

In this case, Shared Destiny is the perfect Ascendancy Perk to get as it allows the player to hold multiple vassals without them suffering loyalty losses. It is possible to gain huge amounts of resources and technological advances in this way, as it can be more efficient to keep vassals rather than just outright integrate them into the empire.

13 Master Builders

Hoard Megastructures, Gain Superiority

An image of Stellaris: Master Builders

  • +50%
    Megastructure build speed
  • +1
    Megastructure build capacity

Megastructures are always one of the most important buildings to build in the late game, as resources become scarce and additional measures are needed to hold off hostile empires and extradimensional invaders alike. Simple resource generation does not simply cut it any longer, and players will need to build multiple megastructures to survive the late game.

Moreover, those megastructures often need to be done quickly and efficiently. The Master Builders ascendancy perk enables exactly those options, as players will be able to build multiple critical megastructures all at once without losing precious time, provided that they have sufficient resources for them.

12 Archaeo-Engineers

Reverse-Engineer Ancient Technologies Of The Past

An image of Stellaris: Archaeo-Engineers

  • Increase Scientist leader pool by 1
  • Increase
    Archaeotech
    weapon damage by
    33%
  • Reduce Minor artifact ship costs by
    10%
  • Faculty of Archaeostudies
    buildings receive two more job slots
  • Various bonuses to technologies unlocked by
    Archaeostudies

The wisdom of the ancients is quite crucial for leaders to heed, especially when one is trying to lead an empire to prosperity in the vast galaxy. The Ascension Perk Archaeo-Engineers will enable an empire to focus more on esoteric technologies.

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By acquiring the Ascension Perk, the field of Archaeostudies will be boosted. Various technologies acquired from the field, such as Ancient Pulse Armor and Ancient Rampart, receive stats bonuses. Moreover, strong Archaeotech weapons such as the Ancient Nano-Missile Cloud Launcher will receive a huge damage bonus, making them deadly enough to slay ancient Guardians in the galaxy.

11 One Vision

Consolidate An Empire Standing To Stand Unified

Stellaris' One Vision perk

  • −10%
    Pop amenities usage
  • +10%
    Monthly unity
  • +50%
    Governing ethics attraction

For any unity-focused empire, the One Vision ascension perk is an incredibly good choice as it gives not only a 10% bonus to unity but a 50% bonus to governing ethics attraction as well, making the populations far more likely to gravitate toward the empire’s ethics as opposed to unrelated or incompatible ones.

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Additionally, the One Vision perk reduces the population’s amenities usage by 10% across the empire, making this perk incredibly useful for empires that don’t have access to things like robotic populations that would’ve reduced the amenity usage otherwise.

10 Imperial Prerogative

Expand Colonies Without Worrying About Limitations

Empire sprawl in Stellaris

  • −50%
    Empire size from colonies
  • +2
    Leader capacity

One issue that every expanding empire will eventually run into and have to strategize around is that of empire sprawl. At a certain point, if the empire’s size exceeds the administrative capacity of that nation, things like researching new technology, adopting new traditions, and issuing edicts will become far more difficult and costly.

For that reason, Imperial Prerogative can be an incredibly useful ascension perk to take, as it reduces the empire size from colonies by a whopping 50%. For players frequently hindered by empire sprawl penalties, that 50% reduction will prove useful throughout the game.

9 Mind Over Matter

Harness The Power Of The Mind To Control The Galaxy

Stellaris' Mind Over Matter prompt

  • Unlock
    Psionic
    Tradition Tree

For empires that have unlocked or pursued psionic theory technology, taking the Mind Over Matter ascension perk is essential for any who wishes to pursue psionics as the path of their empire, and will find advantages to doing so. Taking the Mind Over Matter perk most notably gives the primary species the latent psionic trait, in some of its population, which will grant various bonuses depending on their jobs.

Admirals with the psychic ability gain a 10% bonus to weapons damage and a 15% bonus to evasion, which can be a major advantage in mid-game and remain useful into late-game. Whether the empire uses these abilities for mental enlightenment, or in advancing their tech, the psionics unlocked by Mind Over Matter will prove both flexible and powerful.

8 Nihilistic Acquisition

Kidnap Other Empires; Populations To Strengthen The Workforce

An image of Stellaris: Nihilistic Acquisition

  • Unlocks the
    Raiding
    bombardment stance, which grants a bombarding fleet a chance to abduct pops instead of killing them.

Most of Stellaris gameplay revolves around surviving the harsh galaxy and its hostile inhabitants by consolidating resources, which includes populations (“pops”) from all of an empire’s planets. These pops, in turn, can produce crucial resources to keep the engine of an empire working. This is crucial during all stages, including the early game. However, earning pops can be tricky. They are slow to earn, even with various beneficial traits to keep the growth speed up.

With the help of Nihilistic Acquisition, an empire can hasten its production by kidnapping pops from other empires during a war. In turn, these pops will be inserted seamlessly into the giant cog of production within the empire. They can either produce crucial resources, or work jobs that can keep a planet’s prosperity afloat.

7 Synthetic Evolution

Ascend Further As Superior Cybernetics

A spiritual faction in Stellaris scolding an empire for taking Synthetic Evolution

  • Unlock
    Synthetic
    Tradition Tree

Psionics isn’t the only way for an empire to ascend to a higher state than the way their dominant species started. Empires that have already pursued The Flesh is Weak as a special project will already have an empire that prioritizes synthetic life and converting species into cybernetic bodies.

While this is already a big step, taking the Synthetic Evolution perk is a must-have ascension perk for empires that want to take their vision for a robotic future all the way, as it provides a 10% bonus to robotics output, a 50% cut to the cost for species modification, and a special project to turn the empire as a whole synthetic.

6 Colossus Project

Dominate The Galaxy With Colossal Ship, Capable Of Devastation

Colossus vessel in Stellaris destroying a planet

  • Enable the construction of
    Colossus
    ship type

In terms of raw military power, no vessel will be stronger than the Colossus. Unlike other vessels, the Colossus cannot fight enemy fleets but comes with the unique ability to destroy planets entirely.

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While it’s usually more advantageous to conquer an enemy planet rather than destroy them, in cases of emergency when your empire is fighting for its life, having the capability to destroy a key planet in an empire can send a once-overwhelming foe into economic collapse. As another, far more morbid benefit, the number of populations wiped out by doing so may also improve the game performance on some players’ computers.

5 Technological Ascendancy

Advance Through Technologies Rapidly

An image of Stellaris: Technological Ascendancy

  • +10%
    Research Speed
  • +50%
    Rare technology chance

As the galaxy progresses further, players will also find various situations that may need further technological advances to resolve, such as a fanatic purifier knocking on the border aiming to annihilate the whole galaxy, or a curious gateway that may lead to riches, or doom.

Technological Ascendancy is a necessity for players who wish to resolve such situations quickly and efficiently as it increases research speed and the chance for players to discover rare technologies. Gaining a technological advantage is always crucial for 4X games, and Stellaris is no exception to this.

4 Galactic Wonders

Build Special Buildings Across The Galaxy With Wonders

A dyson sphere around a star in Stellaris: Utopia

  • Adds the options to build
    Galactic Wonders
    (Ring World, Dyson Sphere, Matter Decompressor)

For players with the Utopia or MegaCorp DLCs installed, Galactic Wonders is a game-changer for empires that have the resources to pursue any of the research options it unlocks, especially as players approach later stages of the game that demand much more from them.

Matter decompressors are structures from Megacorp that can extract huge amounts of minerals from black holes. In addition, ring worlds are Utopia megastructures that can hold four habitable world segments all with 100% habitability. Lastly, dyson spheres can be built around a star and generate up to four thousand energy credits are all major game-changers to the resources of whatever empire controls it.

3 Transcendent Learning

Harness The Power Of Leaders Efficiently

A high level leader in Stellaris

  • +2
    Leader capacity
  • +1
    Leader Pool Size
  • +33%
    Leader experience gain

Leaders are the backbone of any great empire and can make or break anything from research to military encounters and even how colonies manage themselves. For an empire to be successful, every player will need to pay attention to their leaders’ qualities and help them grow as much as possible and do what they can to keep them from dying unexpectedly.

One way to do this is to take the Transcendent Learning ascension perk, which will add +2 to the level cap of all leaders, as well as increase the experience gained by leaders by 50%.

2 Become The Crisis

Being A Threat To The Galaxy Is As Exciting As It Looks

Space Leviathan from Stellaris

  • Unlock the
    Crisis
    tab
  • Enables the Victory condition to
    annihilate the galaxy

In terms of endgame ascension perks and pursuing as much raw power as possible, nothing will surpass Become The Crisis in sheer power and content. For any empires that take it, the Crisis tab will be unlocked where certain actions and research projects can upgrade the level of threat the empire represents.

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With every tier unlocked, the player will reap massive benefits affecting everything from purging and subjugation to military vessels and war exhaustion speed, making the Become The Crisis perk a game-changer for anyone who takes it.

1 Arcology Project

Crank Up Planets Productivity To The Maximum

An image of Stellaris: Arcology Project

  • Unlock the ability to turn colonies into
    Ecumenopolis

Even with all the megastructures to gain raw resources, such as Dyson Spheres and Matters Decompressor, there is always a need to process these materials into something useful, such as alloys for fleets. Ecumenopolis will enable efficient conversion as it allows the planet to be fully efficient in producing resources such as alloys, consumer goods, and research, at the cost of stripping the planet of its natural resources.

Having a large-sized Ecumenopolis is always crucial, as players will want to have 2-3 dedicated worlds to produce alloys if they want to survive the late-game Crisis with fleets that might number in millions.

StellarisTagPage

Stellaris

Released
May 9, 2016

Genre(s)
4X , Grand Strategy

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