Endless Space 2 – Umbral Choir

Umbral Choir Hard to master? How come? Well, at first any player can instantly understand the […]

Umbral Choir

Hard to master? How come?

Well, at first any player can instantly understand the basics of UC but the tricky part is to adapt their unusual ways. Of course, the purpose of this guide is to prepare you for what’s to come.

While playing as the UC, the biggest virtue you must adopt is the patience! You should never ever seek out fast small gains in early turns because the UC is already strong a faction in the early (1-50) turns. If not prepared, the UC becomes a joke at later stages of the game.

From their war goals to the economy they have a prety unique style. Of course, their biggest disadvantage is having only one system. That hurts late game FIDSI production very hard but don’t worry with good planning to transform yourself throughout the stages of the game, you will catch those multisystem users and make them part of your everlasting peace. Let us start!

General Playstyle

They have auto cloaking ships. They have one system and they can only have their own population. Their faction quest is quite easy too but what else?

I would put the UC as an exploration/expansion faction. Yes! Even though they are designed to be a tall faction I would say, they play like a hybrid of both (tall&wide) playstyle but very much depended on expanding the other systems via sanctuaries.

So naturally, you should always try to find systems to put your sanctuaries on and that means exploration! Of course ideally, you should always find the systems where your opponent’s potential colonization places and fill it with the population to make them sleepers faster during later stages of the game.

The UC is a hidden faction and this will last in early turns (1-35) but after that, you are going to battle to remain hidden by upgrading your stealth from millitary tech tree. Even though you really don’t need any military tech during that time, it will be natural to spend some time on military tech. This will prevent you from worrying about the military side of the game, preparing your fleet the future and making you are a solid competitor for the Behemoth quest line.

Behemoth gameplay is a must to stay strong in mid and later stages of the game. Auto cloaking will help you when settling in dangerous locations. Also, you are going to need every other possible gain from outside since you have only one system.

The UC has to spread its range with backdoors or sanctuaries early on to make sure be present before another faction. Even if you think you are present every one of the nodes in near your home faction (including your neighbors). Otherwise you have to fight to get backdoors in great distances.

Setting up a good position at far away will help you to kickstart your hacking operations in later stages. Even if you should never focus everything at once, it will be a good idea to spend some turn for 1 or 2 backdoors in great distances; as the game progress, it will be much harder to get in those places. Always remember to play a long game and never disturb your long term plan with fast gains.

The UC’s biggest strength is being a hidden force and when you reveal yourself it must be felt like a big surprise.

Early Game

The early game is where you maximize exploring -don’t worry I’ll get to the economic and other stuff later on- so what that mean is, you can pop out a third scouting ship even a fourth (depending on the map). The UC also can use special nodes very early on so it’s ideal their exploration ship can go faster and probe too.

You mustn’t waste turns for hardcore hacking (improving relations,etc.), just focus on getting sanctuaries, backdoors, and special nodes. Always remember to play for the long game in patience.

You must identify your closest neighbors by turn 25 because you have to get closer them and if you are lucky they will start colonizing one of your sanctuaries. Getting an early population inside your opponents is the key to continue staying at the top.
It’s also possible to get one sleeper to your neighbor just to get a hint on which techs researched. Therefore you can try to match the colonization possibilities and able to put your sanctuaries on systems where it might get colonized by the opponent.

Mid Game

By the time you reach mid game, you should already control 3 special nodes, a bunch of sanctuaries inside your first target with steady population growth, ended all of your food and industry buildings.

Know that until you are sure that you will get attacked or you are going to attack, you’ll never in need of a fleet, unlike traditional factions. During mid game, you should focus on increasing your stealth level and assimilate a minor faction.

Because you can access the special nodes very fast your options becomes many. You can purge minor factions very fast or go for the buildings you lack resources. You should also get two Behemoth to your system during this time. Always try to exploit the fact that you can use the special nodes.

I’ll go about the war in later but during this time you should be fighting with one of your neighbors. UC could be a pacifist politicly but their actions are not. Their gameplay even reflects their story. Their way of observing is to infiltrate the organisms they are curious about. So in a way, they always seek to expand or grow. When coming close to the late game you need to evolve your population to Umbral Shadow.

Late Game

When you set your war goals to boom your economy and achieved. You can literary become untouchable! Overcollonization penalties shouldn’t worry you and with the help of the early distant hacking points, now you can reach for distant lands. You only need to be patient again. Patiently create a bunch of sanctuaries on your next target and declare war.

With the high bandwidth capabilities, you can now play your own version of Deus-ex hacking mini-game! You get to place lots of defensive programs to lock your opponent down. You have many possibilities with the high bandwidth, never make it go to waste.

You are going to be get detected eventually but that doesn’t mean the fun stops. Your late game super weapons are also quite powerful too. Not only you can dodge incoming fires, but you can also spawn your Obliterators in different positions.

The UC is very strong once you do all the pass the initial challenges but that doesn’t mean you are out yet! Even though you’re all industry accumulates in one place you still can’t catch the late game production of multiple systems.

Being patient doesn’t mean staying idle. You have to wait for your perfect time and strike at once. Archive your war goals and retreat to gather your strength once again. I’ll be in more detail about all of these in the next topics.

Choir Economy and Espionage Theory

Because of the nature of the UC, I believe both topics are intertwined with each other. You mustn’t approach hacking the same way other factions do. Hacking isn’t just some cool tricks for UC. It’s their economy! So, let’s delve in.


Initial challenges for the UC economy are Science, Production, and Food. Having one system means one building type and that means less upkeep to worry about. Also, you won’t need any ships to protect yourself which we established already.

What you constantly need is increasing your food. Food is the top priority in every stages of the game and the way you gather is limited too. Always use your hacking for expanding or connecting with a special node via Transmigration Beacon. Adding that +50 IDSI is a quite big deal in the early stages.

Now the important part about the UC economy is that the buildings which give bonus FIDSI for each population are not working for the population outside of your system. So, what you should always be seeking to build buildings which give a bonus to planets or planet types. That’s why you should always focus your hacking on expansion.

From early to mid game, when picking your tech, you are going to juggle with industry, science, food and the colonization. There are 3 major factors are going to interfere with that decision. Starting location, special nodes around you and colonization.

Don’t worry about colonizing to small planet sized systems. If you think you colonized to a bad place just don’t send your population there but use it as a backdoor for other expansions. It’s wise to send your populations to your good sanctuaries where your opponent has potential to colonize. Because ultimately you gonna need to transform your populations into your super population: Umbral Shadow.

If you think you are getting unlucky about not being able to match your sanctuaries with your neighbor’s colonization. What you can also try, hacking your neighbor and attempt to change their politics to ecology. With luck, now you can manipulate the AI having free colonization, meaning you will get better results of sanctuary places.

You won’t need to expand your home system at first but as you abduct your sleepers, you need space in your home base for transforming your regular pops to super pops. Ultimately your economical goal is to max out your spots with super pops. After you think you have enough population in your home system you can now focus on getting more population-based buildings.

About the special nodes; of course, the better ones are the one gives you direct +50 ISDI and you should only spend bandwidth for those but that doesn’t mean others are also important as you progress through the game.

Resource gathering and Behemoths

Behemoths are an essential part of the UC economy. Since you have more access to more special nodes and having auto cloaked Behemoths, It will be foolish not to play around with them.

At first, you should get the scientific behemoths first. Lowering science cost should be more useful for you to increase your hacking capabilities even further. Your 2nd or 3rd option should an economic Behemoth.

Your resource gathering capabilities are slightly limited for the UC but that doesn’t mean your options are too. At early stages establishing fast colonies could be the start of something but the soon as your opponents start kicking you out or stopping your hacking with defensive programs you are going to feel pressure. That pressure increases as you realized the only way to increase your luxury resource gathering is by laws. Therefore it’s possible to push for a mining Behemoth but that would be a waste for luxury resources until you have entered late-game luxry resources.

You see, the reason to get more resources are not important for the UC; your system upgrades cost a lot and you only get to do one! So, you can skip the whole luxury resource mini-game for half of the game and focus on strategic resources.

Due to the high cost for system development building, it’s possible to wait patiently for the higher tier luxury resources (e.g. Endless Foundries) which gives more % based bonus and gather it and spent it on your first system development level; The last stage of system development cost 250*3 resources! Since exploration is a natural fit for the UC you wouldn’t be missing much by rushing this.

Best way to gather resources for UC is via behemoths. In early turns where special nodes giving population-based bonuses (e.g. neutron star) were bad but now they have a use in your empire. Mid-Late game strategic resources are best to collect from special nodes.

Hacking and Umbral Shadow

Once an early game annoyance pirates become your friend in the late game. After you finished expanding lots of special nodes and infiltrated your desired locations. Now you can gain an extreme amount of resources by hacking pirate droids. They give random resources but if you have unlocked much higher tier curiosities this operation becomes much more important.

Trying to maintain good relations with the minor nations and doubling their income via hacking is a possibility but it’s not that lucrative enough to waste so many turns on hacking maybe in time if this option gets buffed I’ll let you know; right now if anyone can assimilate them and all your work could go to waste.

Of course, your ultimate goal is to pursuit for umbral shadow populations and there are 2 ways of getting it. One is hacking and abducting with the cost of 2 sleepers the other is conquering a system and abduct them with the cost of 1.

Also, their food consumption is higher so rushing for super pop isn’t a good strategy in the long game; you will slow your process. To boom your economy you have to have a substantial amount of food production in order to maintain umbral shadow and keep growing steadily at the same time. Since you have only one population boosting them with the luxury resource is the most important matter to help them.

Sleeper leaching is a newly introduced thing which UC has the capacity of being the best at it but focusing that early on is a high-risk low reward situation where you can hurt your growing. Your opponents will fight you but if you wait for enough to sustain multiple sleepers per turn then you should start leaching.

I would also advise only starting leaching during late-game or war times. You can only hurt their economy really bad when they are trying to upkeep multiple fleets and late game is where people start making real money.

War Philosophy


UC’s manpower issues can only end after a long period of time. Because of expansion and food consumption, the UC isn’t best to suit for ground battles or boarding pods. They can barely fill their own ships. This situation will only get better in the late or super-late game. You can try to obtain from trading or minor factions special grants but it will be a waste really and you shouldn’t push a hard thing.

Having said all that you still have the best options when it comes to conquering systems. That is sieging! Since you can establish sanctuaries inside your opponent base and you can use any of your sanctuaries to spawn ships. Yes, you guessed it right! After you won your space battles you can fully dedicate one of your ship designs to besiege them in few turns without spending single manpower. It’s utmost important for UC to spend the least amount of manpower in battles.

Since these siege ships are going to be bad in movement you should consider redesigning them giving it movement speed and change it back.
The best part about the UC is you can change your ship designs at any of your sanctuaries. That means you can just modify for each battle or situation. Scouting won’t be a problem for a hacking master like UC but be sure to pay attention to others and do a few more clicks in order to win.

War Goals

You are hidden but you get to have only one system. That means you can’t govern your opponent’s wonderful systems. Besides the usual razing and looting you get to do one thing which other factions can not. Abducting all of the sleeper population in a single turn!

This is your one and the only one that matter goal in the game. Yes, you can abduct with the cost of 2 sleepers but not only that is costly it’s a slow and risky process. Not only you are notifying that you are present and targeting your opponent. You are also putting your self in danger and slowing your expansion by busying your hacking operations.

Therefore you have to plan your target many turns before in order to have a good amount of sleepers. Ideally, large systems are a good way to go. It’s also important for your target to not know you are targeting there. If you readied your sleepers before you attack, you will notify your opponent by leaching its resources.

So the most optimal approach is to ready your population in sanctuaries end finish defenses by sieging and before you strike the final blow and invade you make sure you have enough sleepers at there. When you conquest now you can abduct all that sleepers and your population in the home base to super pop. Just make sure you have enough population to turn otherwise it’s waste. After you have every possible population or filled up your coffers you can start razing to end the war.

Ships and Tactics

Say you have maxed out your system with super pop (umbral shadow) then your only war goal is to destroy really. But you get to that place in patience. Always remember to have multiple sanctuaries in enemy territory before you attack. With good production line, you can spawn 3-7 ships in one turn depending on the size.

The UC has to bring the fight to enemies territory otherwise it’s too weak to protect it’s own. With the constant barrage of ships, you have to make your opponents yield. Repairing and upgrading is your best offensive tool.

Spending dust on repairing shouldn’t be considered as a waste since you can reinforce the rest of the spots with sanctuaries. UC ships are mediocre at best. In order to compete, you gonna have to research additional slots. Because of the high amount of support modules, they are good at siege (as I said earlier). You have to use lots of massive assault tactics and keep fighting over and over each turn.

UC ships are mediocre at best. So, in order to compete, you always have to unlock additional slots. They are good at ambushing strategies or siege. Due to manpower issues, your fleets are going get weaken, you can use some different battle tactics (e.g. Lifepods Away) in order to have some control over it. Since you will explore with your generals though you will have better generals than most of the factions.

Ambushing is a great tool for you to dictate your tactics. Since your ships are auto cloaked and you can spare additional support modules you should use your battle cards right. It has changed quite a lot and with good scouting, you can now more idea on what to expect. Changing your ship spawn location each time in order to ambush the supply lines for your opponent is highly annoying. After you pressured one place really hard you can widen the war by attacking different places.
Just imagine spawning a core cracker in one of the opponent’s citadel system. Sanctuaries are one of your best offense.

Political Situation and Hero Management

UC is in a bad political situation. Your population creates a huge amount of pacifists and their collection bonus isn’t helping the situation. Also, both of the UC population has the same political traits and since UC doesn’t have any population management therefor trying to micromanaging populations to effecting political clime is out of the question.

So, your only solid option is to change your government where you have more control over your laws. Starting in a democratic government is actually very useless for the UC but in later stages where you have multiple high-level heroes with senate bonuses unlocked…yes, then going for democratic is actually useful.

At first, glance maintaining science can be good law because of the lowering system improvements but laws from industry (+30 food in sanctuaries) or ecology (tech-free colonization) are quite good for expanding your empire.

Since with the population and government type you have, it’s almost impossible to change freely. Changing your government type to dictatorship is actually can be lifesaving. So, connecting +50 influence special nodes could be a good solution for your influence problems.

Federations are an absolute no-no for the UC since you only have 1 system. After you think you expanded enough and well. Changing to a republic is a good idea. Their bonus is good and they have 2 slots of representation and you still get to manipulate the elections.
UC hero gameplay is limited. However, you can still squeeze some strategies to gain good admirals. Because of the good scouting and exploring potential. You can put your other heroes in scouting ships for exploring higher tier curiosities and since its good for UC to skip some of the luxury resources in order to upgrade cheaply with higher tier luxury resources, you can have a good synergy with your overall UC strategy.

It will be relatively safe with exploring in cloaked ships. UC has the potential of having high-level admirals with this strategy but you can always sell your heroes to market If they truly have no room to grow.

Their own race is suited perfectly for the governor where you can increase even further your hacking capabilities. Their admirals only have one good skill and that is the %20 dodging which isn’t something to be overlooked at too. You should always look for a good fighter though.

Diplomatic Relations

Diplomatically the UC have few options to consider. Their relationship with the pirates is complicated. During the initial phase of the game, they are really going to bother with hacking or blocking your way but this is an only a small hickup. Unless they are on a superb system or multiple pirates blocking, you shouldn’t destroy them because after you increased your hacking capabilities having good relations are very beneficial for you.

Since the UC are not good at gaining luxury resources it is a good way for them to keep hacking their droids for random loot and as you unlock more high tier resources you can even get those. It’s like a loot box but during late game dedicating multiple hacking operations for this is a quite lucrative business. You might even want to ally yourself with the pirates so that, they will bother someone else with hacking and attacking. Even protect them with your own fleet if anybody wants to destroy them. Why would you kill the goose lays golden eggs?

The UC can achieve high influence easily by having the connection with the special nodes and you should consider purging minor factions without bloodshed because of the manpower reasons. Even very distant ones are an ok target for you. The purging cost will increase so after you purged the ones you liked you should purge just to prevents others having other perks because at the late game you will have lots of influence stacked up and nothing to spend it on.

Because the UC needs to turn their sleepers into super populations, it has to declare war to one of its neighbors at some point in the mid-game. So you must maintain your hidden status until you attack. Since the UC is bad at trading, having trade deals won’t do that good. You can also try to make deals with others for manpower or other luxury resources since both of you very much in need of. Science deals are a mediocre thing for you due to possible high science income. Maybe join in an alliance just to focus others but in reality, they play like a lone wolf.

Playing Against Umbral Choir

Fighting with an invisible force isn’t easy but once UC becomes opaque you can see how fragile it actually is. Of course, the detection is your best tool for this job. Pressuring UC into investing military tech making them slow down.

They are very good at building wonders. You if you late on building one you might as well quit but if you manage to squeeze mid-game wonders it will definetly disrupt them.

Your only way to approach hacking against UC is the counter-hacking. That means you have to spend your bandwidth to many defensive programs and trace the source. Shutting down a simple hacking won’t do you any good since their hacking offense is high. Simply focus on researching more defensive programs and try to trace them. If you are lucky you can cause blackout in their system and really hurt them.

Regular check-ups for turning sleepers are quite an easy way to dispose of them you just make sure you have enough happiness. Before the war, you have to make sure where their sanctuaries are. Destroy them or at least prepare for them. Since their defenses are very weak you can push for a fast invasion.

Obliterating systems where you are not present could have the potential to disturb their momentum. Their ships have a low number of weapon systems and their manpower is always a problem for them. Dedicating a few ship types just to throw some EMP or swarm missiles are maintainable against battling with them. Of course, boarding pods are very good against their lower amount of manpower ships. Also, make sure that you never out of decloaking tools.

When dealing with UC you have to approach it like you dealing with a snake: by going to head. If you won’t pressure their system hard enough. They’ll keep sending you fleets to your systems. Even though you can maybe produce more ships comparing them, it will take a while for you to gather all of your ships in one place (except Vaulters of course). Pressuring them is a hard blow to their economy as well even if they successfully escape to other special nodes. Their other connection to special nodes will destroy.

You have to increase your siege duration but even if they penetrate your defenses faster than you gathering up forces and addressing the situation. You must have a citadel on your best system in order them to not attack easily even if they penetrated the first line of defenses. You have to defeat them in ground battle. If they are stacking in one place very hard. Always remember that you can ion wave their asses.

Author: By Cmon S.man say your stupid line

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