I'm not going to go into much detail on tips - there are a lot of videos with driving & build tips on YouTube.
I will share with you my final Cannoneer build.
I refit my 3 Cannoneers with the 8th Millenium Gun and the High Velocity Rounds after getting enough points to grab that special and enough tokens to make the refit cheap. After that refit, I can put a Creeping Death crew on, and go hit Tier 5 targets for the 40 minutes, earn 10-12 million points, and not have to repair during that time. This is a case where the high repair time works in our favor. I can hit a lot of targets, get a lot of points, and walk away to do something else while my fleet repairs for a few hours. This makes for a very cheap raid (except the LTOs and refits).
So in terms of what to get for this raid, it's clear that I've chosen the High Velocity Rounds over the UAV Overdrive special. The fact that players can't get every new prize is a clear sign that Kixeye screwed up in how they released the tech for this raid.
In terms of what else to get... I think the next question on a player's mind would be
If I don't have the Cannoneer already, should I take it?
Maybe. Although there are only two raids of this style left, you could probably get two of these built before the next one, although you'll probably have to skimp on armor, and ranking might be an issue (more on that later). One or two Cannoneers are still effective in Tier 5, although it takes longer. Also remember this style target will probably be replacing the Draconian Mines after the three raids of this cycle are over, so you'll need to think about your future.
Should I take the Harlock's Cannoneer?
Maybe. This is the question I've been thinking about for myself - I started a 4th Cannoneer already, and so I'll need to decide if I want to build the Harlock's version after that. The only real flagship bonus is the +60% Ballistic Damage, and I'm doing pretty good with what I've got already. I do expect the targets to increase in difficulty as this raid cycle goes on for two more iterations, so the extra firepower may be helpful. A blank build of the Harlock will not be helpful because it is very difficult to keep a flagship out of trouble with the driving style needed in these targets, so a fully built and ranked ship will be needed.
Is the Millennium Gun good on ships other than the Cannoneer?
Yes. Don't miss out on this weapon. The Millennium and the Mauser are significantly more effective (from a DPS perspective) than previous ballistic weapons. If you missed the Mauser, you really want the Millennium for any ballistic ship you are building. Even players with Ironclads are liking the Millennium (over the Mauser). The exception is probably base hitting - with neither splash nor penetrating, I wouldn't choose the Millennium to put on the Malice for base hitting... there I'd go Mauser. Of course with Level 9 walls... I think all Ballistics are pretty useless.
What is Harlock's Ironclad good for?
Meh. One obvious option is to lead Ironclads. Another option might be is if you missed out on Ironclads and Cannoneers... just take this and build the one. You could put Earthshakers or PACs on it...
How about the Alpha Behemoth and the new Cesium Scarab UAV?
Maybe. Without the UAV Overdrive special, I'm not super sold on this ship as a damage dealer, and the countermeasure capability is not unique to this hull. If you already have the Millenium Gun, I wouldn't skip the UAV though. It is clearly better than previous UAVs, and we will see if the rotating wheel of weapon love stays on UAVs for a bit longer to leave us a new UAV hull or other opportunities to use that weapon.
And how about the other stuff?
- I always recommend build tokens if you are halfway decent at the raid.
- Superhulls (Ghostcrawler, ProtoNemesis, Man-of-War, and Hellstar) are pretty much obsolete, and I wouldn't tie up my shipyard building one.
- The Gamma Behemoth can be earned for just 4 million points - if you want an option for countermeasures in your base besides the Alpha Behemoth, here it is.
- Vassago's Punisher got cheap, but probably isn't worth building.
- On the lower tiers, I'd probably go Punisher, PAC, and Nuclear Accelerator if forced to choose. Punisher is the original generalist hull even though Kixeye calls it a Siege class.
Is the VXP token LTO any good?
I'm kind of sick of the Limited Time Offers (LTOs). The Millennium Gun ones were good deals, but now I'm looking at the VXP tokens. I've got one Cannoneer left to build and maybe a Harlock. (But I do need to keep in mind that the "Cannoneer" tokens won't work on the "Harlock's Cannoneer"
A Cannoneer needs 47,425 VXP to hit legendary. So the 25000x4 offer for $29.99 will get two Cannoneers to Legendary. The 5000x10 offer for $19.99 will get one there.
On a VXP weekend, a ship might get about 5000 VXP per hit (with a Salty Dog), and a Cannoneer will take 7 coin to repair, meaning it should take about 63 coin to get a Cannoneer to Legendary over that time. This means that ranking through the token offer will cost about 2-3x more than ranking through the VXP weekend. Sure those tokens may be a 90% reduction from coining the rank directly, but I think I'll skip this LTO.
Well, the first raid of a new cycle is generally pretty screwed up. This one is no exception. There were lots of problems with point awards in the first hours of the raid (some in players' favor, some not), that once more made it seem like Kixeye is doing ZERO testing. Like the last raid cycle, this one seems to be sorting players into haves & have nots. The campaigns are an effort to dull that a bit, but you can't get enough points through those to earn the needed tech.
The Reaver Skirmish cycle went through three iterations before getting it into the current format which players accepted. I guess the burning question is - How many iterations is this Scourge Siege style going to go through? After all, we're only getting three shots at it.