Monday, April 3, 2023

The Angler Angle Guide: How to Play Aquatics DLC and the Angler Civic Efficiently

TL;DR: Anglers is an economy-shifting civic that empowers trade and specialist economies. It supports a high-CG early game specialist rushing, but has a weakness in early game alloys and energy that’s mitigated with Catalytic Converter as your second civic. Pear Divers are fundamentally not about competing with artisans, but rather replacing technicians in a trade-based energy economy.

This is an organizing of thoughts and impressions of the new Stellaris 3.2 Aquatics DLC and patch. It is focused on how to use the new Anglers Civic and Aquatic species trait. Many early analysis of the Angler Civic have dismissed it, but I believe a lot of analysis is mis-aimed.

This guide is long - very long. Sections are broken to posts as organized below. CTRL-F the :number:


:1: Angler Mechanic Review

:2: Aquatic is a Trade Build (and Angler exploits that)

:3: Pearl Diver Pop Efficiency: Replacing Workers, not Artisans

:4: Pearl Divers Aren’t Merchants Either

:5: Aquatic Planet Shortage (And How Catalytic Converters Completes the Core Economy)

:6: The Angler Inner 3 World Setup

:7: Angler-Catalytic Pop Efficiency

:8: Anglers as a Specialist Rush Build

:9: Angler Grand Strategies

:10: MegaCorp Pros/Cons

:11: Hydrocentric Ascension

:12: Ascension Paths

:13: Aquatic Origins

:14: Established Origins


:1: Angler Mechanic Review

Currently its mechanical changes are this:

Angler Civic

· Main species gains the aquatic trait (NOT OPTIONAL)

· No Agriculture District limit on Ocean Worlds (capped by planet size, not district roll)

· Replaces Farmer jobs with Angler jobs on wet climates (includes continental/tropical)

· Agriculture Districts create Pearl Diver jobs on wet climates (is a specialist-tier job)

· −50 Agriculture District Minerals Cost on wet climates (150 instead of 300)

*This civic can not be added or removed after game start.

Core So What: Cheaper and more plentiful farm districts on your guaranteed core worlds. Food and CG will not be meaningfully limited by district RNG or space deposit RNG. However, currently inflexible- can not be reformed out of (or into). Adds the Aquatic trait, which imposes significant impacts.

Aquatic Trait (Required for main species)

· Ocean Habitability +20% (10% productivity/growth on guaranteed colonies)

· Housing usage on Ocean Worlds -10% (better growth capacity)

· Dry and Frozen planet habitability -20% (-10% productivity/growth)

· Housing usage on dry and frozen planets +30% (lower capacity/growth)

· Hydrocentric ascension perk boosts all effects by 50%

*Ringworlds, Ecumenopoli, Gaia Worlds, and Hive Worlds get neither bonuses or penalties.

**Can only be added with the Evolutionary Mastery ascension perk

Core So What: Your empire’s guaranteed core will be stronger and grow faster, with 10% effective boosts to guaranteed world growth and outputs, 20% if worker. Non-wet worlds, however, are basically useless without Trade. End-game economy revolves around ocean-worlds serving as resource worlds to feed Ecumenopoli, Ringworld, and/or Habitats specialist centers.

Hydrocentric (Ascension Perk)

· -25% ocean terraforming cost (cheaper, faster, earlier than gaia worlds)

· Can construct ice mining station starbase buildings (boosts mineral deposit; harvests ice)

· Allows Expand Planetary Seas decision (+1 planet size for 50 influence/1000 energy/ice)

· 50% increase effects of the Aquatic trait (makes Ocean worlds better resource worlds than gaia)

· Unlocks the Deluge Machine colossus weapon (terraforms worlds into ocean worlds; kills non-aquatic pops)

Core So What: Makes Ocean Worlds easier to make and more profitable to work. Terraforming ocean worlds is cheaper, faster, and early than Gaia worlds, and provides more resources. Can make small worlds more useful. Can total war AND mass-terraform.


· 8 food (8.8 when Aquatic factored in; realistically 10 on home world with stability)

· 2 trade (2.5 if Thrifty trait)

· Worker-tier CG upkeep

Core So What: The strongest part of the civic. A much stronger farmer, improving efficiency per pop. On the home world, even base 8 food is equivalent to a farmer-designated colony’s output. Incredibly efficient at Catalytic Converter alloy upkeep: a homeworld Angler with 8.8 output realistically has a 1 farmer-to-alloy worker alloy worker support ratio, much higher than miner-alloys.

Pearl Diver

· 3 CG (3.75 if Civilian Economy; realistically 4 on home world with stability and Civilian Economy)

· 2 trade (2.5 if Thrifty trait)

· -2 food/-2 mineral job upkeep

· Specialist-tier: Increased CG upkeep (~.25 CG per pop excess compared to workers)

Core So What: The most controversial part of the Civic. Not as good at CG production as an artificer. Strongest starting-game CG production economy of all. The core of writing this guide. Think of it as a technician substitute.

:2: Aquatic Entails a Trade Build (and Angler exploits that)

TL;DR: The most significant impact of the Aquatic trait is that it Very Strongly incentivizes Trade-build to make use of the low-habitability worlds. Angler, as a civic, just leans into that.

Aquatic as a trait has a bigger impact on your normal empire gameplay than Anglers as a civic.

As a civic, Anglers is a farm district swap- all other mechanics apply as normal. But as a trait, Aquatic creates a very significant change to how useful most of the worlds in the game are to you.

While 2 guaranteed colonies with 100% habitability and a 10% buff to food/mineral/energy buff is Very Nice, you’ll notice that’s only two of the three basic resources, and of those two minerals and farms are more important for building more stuff including alloys and CG and feeding pops and colony ships. You’ll also notice that this does not cover any sort of specialist production.

This is a critical limitation, because all your not-good worlds are really really bad when you have the Aquatic trait. A 20% habitability planet is a -40% to pop growth and pop output, and that’s what 2/3rds of the biome planets are to you, with no guarantee that you’ll get a wet world (60% habitability), let alone another Ocean World.

What you do to make use of those worlds is key to how effective any aquatic build is, and the solution for that that you can plan on is Trade.

Alien pops from migration treaties are not a guarantee- your neighbors may be uninterested, or you may not have any of another biome. Nor are robots an early-game substitute- robots take decades to pay back their own start-up cost, well past the point of early-game utilization as resource generators.

Trade, however, does not decrease with habitability.

If a base 6 energy technician with a 25% planet designation but a 40% malus is making 5.1 energy and consuming amenities that reduces stability, a base 4 clerk with a 20% (urban) planet designation is producing 4.8 energy and amenities that increase stability and trade value. Not only are these quickly on par when stability is factored in, but you don’t need to start employing entertainers to cover amenities either.

Now, you could try and research science techs and brute force % modifiers. Or you could lean into early-game trade options that give even better options, while letting your physics tree focus on more useful things.

The Thrifty trait, for example, is a 2-point perk that boosts trade by 25%. That 4-trade clerk is becoming a 5 trade clerk even before the 20% urban world is factored in, which should bring you to ~5.8 energy a clerk.

This is available at game set-up, and if you think 2/3rds of your planets after your first 3 will really be only good for trade, that’s already a win.

But the Mercantile tradition tree is also a thing, and can be used to further boost clerks base trade value by +1, and +20% trade value. A now base-5 clerk with the 65% Thrifty+Urban+Mercantile is ~8.25 trade value energy.

And the same Mercantile also unlocks Merchant jobs by spamming Commercial districts. A base 12 Merchant with 65% Thrifty+Urban+Mercantile is ~19.8 trade value, and still amenities-positive. Even if you factor in the building 2 energy upkeep and a urban district 2 energy upkeep, that’s still nearly 16 energy from a single pop.

On a planet with 20% habitability.

This is far far far far greater energy income than you’ll get any other way, marvelous pop-efficiency, and the core of funding future terraforming of terrible worlds into Ocean Worlds. And supporting an alloy/scientist economy- more Trade means fewer technicians and more trade policy CG to cover your specialists.

‘But wait,’ you might ask. ‘If Aquatic is a trade build, what’s the point of giving it 10% food/mineral/energy outputs?’

The mid-game answer for that is to feed habitats and Ecumenopoli. Part of the strength of these worlds is that they are more efficient specialist centers, but poor resource centers. When the habitat science-labs or Ecumenopolis alloy forges opens up, however, you’ll want to fill it with pops from existing planets rather than wait for them to grow.

This is the point where optimal play is to basically move your empire’s pops to the better jobs in a mass migrations. When you do, you’ll have only skeleton resource crews of pops on your previous planets, enough to hold down the high-value resource jobs providing the food/minerals/energy for those Ecumenopoli to thrive while low-density resource worlds surround them.

Like, say, planets with nothing but max-merchants and miners or anglers from farm districts.

For the early game, just accept that with the Aquatic perk, you’re going to want to take Thrifty as well. Which also boosts those starting Angler and Pearl Diver jobs with their 2 TV production…

:3: Pearl Diver Pop Efficiency: Replacing Workers, not Artisans
TL;DR: A single trait supporting the build and a single policy makes Pearl Divers 25% better than homeworld technicians and nearly 50% better than early miners.
Pearl Divers compare poorly against Artisans on a one-for-one job level.
Artisans- the basic CG worker- take 1 pop to produce 6 CG with 6 minerals before modifiers are applied. Pearl Divers take 2 pops to produce 6 CG with 4 minerals. While this is a better mineral conversion ratio than even a CG-centric world (20% saving means 4.8 minerals per 6 CG produced base value), it’s not as good a pop conversion ratio. Further, the CG-worker efficiency improves over time- as miners get better at producing minerals, as CG-centric worlds get 20% upkeep- but pearl divers don’t keep up, as trade value doesn’tget as many tech benefits.
There’s just one problem with this analysis: 
Pearl Divers should not be employed to substitute Artisans. They should be replacing Technicians. (And, by extension, miners.)
Despite being Specialists like Artisans, and producing CG like Artisans, analysis for how Pearl Divers ‘fit’ into the game’s economy becomes more apparent when you compare them to the humble home world technician, itself a product of a resource district. If you look at the Pearl Diver as a ‘substitutes energy for CG’ job, rather than ‘produces CG and some energy,’ you can see a clearer benefit.
The super-duper short version is that Pearl Divers are better at making energy than technicians and better at procuring minerals than miners in the early game.
 For those unfamiliar, an advanced player strategy in the early game is to use technicians instead of miners for your early mineral economy. A miner on a mining world district has a base 4 output. Technicians have 6. But on the market, which has a 30% market fee that serves as a conversion penalty when buying or selling resources, minerals cost 1.3 energy a mineral.
So the cost of buying 4 minerals instead of producing them is 5.2 energy. Meaning a technicians who produces 6 energy is making net .8 energy when buying the same base output as a miner.
This is not quite a 25% pop efficiency over miners for the purpose of making minerals, but early-game an energy world is better than a mining world. Even between a generator world or a mining world, the 25% boost to a miner turns a 4 job to 5, a gain of 1, but a 6-job to 7.5, a jump of 1.5- which is itself enough to buy another minerals with some left over.
These purchase trades hold up to about 50 minerals a month.

Why do I bring this up?
Pearl Divers are to Technicians what Technicians are to Miners in this scenario, especially when you lean into a Trade Build with Thrifty (which, as Aquatic, you already should).
An unmodified Pearl Diver has a +2 trade value (TV), +3 CG, -2 mineral, and -2 food. An Angler has 8 base food and 2 TV. The food cancel eachother, and the Angler’s food becomes equivalent to a normal farmer. But since a normal farmer doesn’t produce TV, for the purpose of this simplified comparison we’ll move the TV to the Pearl Diver to simulate how Pearl Divers do as an energy-delivery.
With our Pearl Diver model now having +3 CG +4 TV and -2 minerals. If we convert the TV into energy for +4, CG into energy via the market at 1.4 energy a CG for +4.2, and buy 2 minerals for -2.6, we are at:
 +4 (TV)
+4.2 (CG sale)
-2.6 (Mineral Purchase)
5.6 energy value
Mechanically, this is already actually representing an advantage: 5.6 energy is less than 6, but we paid a market conversion selling the CG. Buying the CG would give a 30% penalty the other way to 2.6 a unit, so if we translated the CG into the buy price for 3*2.6 = 7.8, we’d be at
+4 (TV)
+7.8 (CG purchase values)
-2.6 (Mineral purchase)
9.2 energy value
9.2, you might notice, is much higher than 6. Almost 50% higher. Yes, 3.6 of that energy value is locked into CG, but CG are already useful in the early game. You need them for colony ships and specialists upkeep and living standards, and don’t want to be paying energy for them.
But the thing is, this gets better- because you unlike miners and energy workers, you can boost trade value and consumer good output by 25% on your homeworld.
Trade Value boost can come from the thrifty perk. This is a trait you’d usually only want for a trade build… and surprise, Aquatic-Anglers is a trade build. With this, our 4 TV becomes 5 TV.
CG can be increased via the Civilian Economy Economic Policy on the Policy tab. This
gives a -25% to alloy production (a net 1 in the homewrold at game start), and
a +25% to CG production. With this, our 3 CG becomes 3.75.
Now, for our pure energy conversion, we are selling 3.75 CG x 1.4 energy each for 5.25 energy, and are looking at-
+5 (TV)
+5.25 (CG Sale)
-2.6 (Mineral Purchase)
7.65 Energy Value
7.65 IS more than 6. 27.5% more in fact. We are at 27.5% of what a homeworld technician pop could be producing to buy minerals, after having already bought 2 minerals. And Technicans were already almost 25% better than miners at buying minerals; our 7.65 energy could buy 5.88 minerals, making the technician 47% better than a miner at getting minerals off the market.
And if we don’t sell the CG, where 3.75*2.6 purchase value is 9.75…
+9.75 (CG purchase value)
-2.6 (Mineral Purchase)
12.15 Energy Value
Again- yes, most of this energy value is locked behind CG and reflects what we would have to pay with the conversion fee, not what we could sell it for. But you can still sell this for 27% more energy than the technician can produce, or keep it for more than 2 technicians could afford.
Your pop efficiency gains in the early game- when you’re still employing pops on your homeworld- 25% more efficient Technicians at generating power (basically a homeworld 25% designation bonus), or nearly 50% more efficient miners for the gaining minerals.
 Now this is a simplified model; it relies on the assumption that the number of farmers and technicians are the same as the number of anglers and pearl divers, and homeworld conversion rates. It falls behind on colony worlds, where Technicians can get a 25% bonus (and 10% habitability malus) while Pearl Divers can only get a 20% trade bonus (and no habitability malus). It expects a trait for a specific economic build (which- considering the Aquatic perk- is almost necessary), and a policy (which- at game start- only costs 1 alloy).
We’ll cover these more in upcoming sections.

:4: Pearl Divers Aren’t Merchants Either
An addendum to counter a different concern: that Pearl Divers should be compared to Merchants, who can be created via Commercial Districts once you have the Mercantile tradition.
On a job-to-job comparison, there is no contest in output: 3 CG and 2 TV (-2 mineral/-2food) doesn't match 12 TV. Base Merchants with the Consumer Benefits trade policy can be getting 3CG and 6 TV, better than the 3 CG/2TV production of Pearl Divers with a pure energy trade policy. Merchants also scale better with Thrifty, as 25% to 12 is 15, a 3 TV gain per pop, while 25% to 2 is 2.5, a .5 gain per pop.
This is true, but also irrelevant- Merchants are incapable of fulfilling the strategic role of Pearl Divers.
The strategic role of Pearl Divers, as argued above, is worker-tier upkeep. Pearl diver CG and energy- whether through the TV or CG sales- is fundamentally useful in that it allows other pops to take specialist jobs. Fundamentally they are using support jobs to enable specialist employment, with the CG covering the CG-upkeep and the energy covering the building or district upkeep.
Merchant-spam is mutually exclusive with employing CG-based specialists for Aquatics.
Aquatic trait requires Ocean World habitability, meaning you are on a planet. CG specialist jobs like scientists and unity workers requires building slots. Merchants also require building slots. Moverover, even with Trade-to-CG policies, it takes 2 Merchants, and thus 2 building slots, to cover the cost of 2 scientists from 1 building slot.

Building slot efficiency is even more important than pop-efficiency, because while you can build more pops the only way to get more building slots is to get more planets.
Fortunately, Merchants also aren’t in competition with Pearl Divers because they should never be on the same planet.
This is where the Aquatic-is-a-trade-build comes in. Your building slots on 100% habitaiblity planets are super-competitive for scientists and unity workers. The building slots on 20% habitability planets are no, and are only really viable for Trade. Commercial buildings are ideal here, whereas Angler districts and pearl divers are impossible.
 Fundamentally Pearl Divers and Merchants serve different roles: one is an upkeep/worker role to replace technicians and enable specialists, and the other is a way to mitigate the Aquatic habitability issue and make use of bad planets. The only point at which they ever should be on the same planet is when you’ve already terraformed all worlds into ocean worlds, and then relocated all your researchers into a Ringworld for super-science efficiency and replaced their buildings with Commercial districts for low-density ocean worlds of nothing but Anglers and Merchants.
:5: Aquatic Planet Shortage (And How Catalytic Converters Completes the Core Economy)
TL;DR: Aquatic trait means an early planet shortage and need for trade on low-habitability worlds. Catalytic Converters as your second civic is your best option for keeping energy up until trade worlds, and getting the most planet-designation efficiency from your inner core.
Three Core Worlds should be:
Homeworld (Scientists/Pearl Divers)
Farm/Rural World (Anglers/Miners)
Alloy/Industrail World (Alloys/Scientists)

 The Problem
As raised before, Anglers have to have Aquatic trait, which creates an early-game economic shortage of good-habitability planets. While their starting 3 planets are Very Nice with default 100% habitability and bonuses to worker jobs, other Wet worlds default to 60% habitability (a 20% malus, but doable), and off-biome worlds are Very Bad, with 20-0% habitability if dry/cold.
In other words, 2/3rds of the planets in the galaxy might as well be tomb worlds once you take the Hydrocentric perk, with up to 50% growth and output malus.
That’s not to say they’re useless for all jobs- Bureaucrats, Trade, and Soldiers all give flat gains. In fact, trade is not only the only viable economy build option for those worlds, but the best one, since a trade build already leans into your pre-existing Anglers and Pearl Divers and Merchants are Really Good if spammed, and will fund future terraforming. But there is a limit to what you can do when you reach your 50 mineral monthly purchase cap, especially if space deposit RNG is bad.
The means an extreme shortage of worlds you can use with designation for good pop efficiency. If your guaranteed worlds are your only two ocean worlds in your neighborhood, then you may have only 2 colony designations to give out to raw materials production (to get that 25% output) or refining (20% industrial input savings, which is worth more resources but still needs the inputs).
Further, there’s a relevant… not shortage, but energy malaise from the Angler-for-Technician switch once you reach a point where you’re using CG instead of selling them for a profit. You’re still making enough TV to fund a building economy, but starbase outposts for claiming territory always cost 1 each, and space deposit RNG may limit your ability to afford those pop-free mineral and science deposits. The wider you go in outposts in systems with no energy, the worse it may be. (It can be worth it to pay double the influence to skip over an empty star system that only has a paltry science deposit on the star.)
The normal solution for the early-game energy shortage is to make your 3rd or 4th world a generator world, but the early-game CG surplus and ocean world shortage dis-incentivizes using high-habitability worlds for energy rather than specialist employment. You can’t even use Pearl Diver/Anglers as a substitute on Cold/Dry worlds to use their trade and sell the food/CG to break even, since they are locked to wet-only farms
 Further further, there’s an alloy shortage to consider as well. Because you replace technicians with Pearl Divers on your homeworld, you didn’t need to build more artisans. Because you didn’t build more artisans, you didn’t build Industrial Districts. Because you didn’t build Industrial Districts, you didn’t get alloy workers. Because you don’t have alloy workers, your early-game alloys may still well be at 10 a month.
The normal solution would be to use a mining world designation for that to feed your homeworld’s industrial districts. However, (a) habitable world shortage, and (b) we’re already short-ish on energy, especially if we’re building 2-energy-upkeep Alloy districts on the alloy world. Maybe our space energy deposit can cover until trade worlds come online, but is there a better way?

The (Catalytic) Solution 
Catalytic Converter is the key for making the most efficient three-world core economy, making the most of Aquatic Anglers and mitigating your energy crunch at the same time.
Catalytic Converter is a civic that replaces your alloy-producing Metallurgists (3 alloys per 6 minerals) with catalytic technicians (3 alloys per 9 food).
 The merits of it in most empires is debatable. I’m personally quite fond of it for it’s year 30 war potential if you use pop-free starbase hydroponic bays to cover alloy production while re-blancing your early science priorities to focus on war techs. Other people argue that it’s pop-inefficiency in the mid-game counters this when you’d be scaling alloy production past the starbases.
This is not true with Angler-Catalytics, which have the strongest early-game alloy production efficiency in the game. At nearly every point of the game using Anglers for Catalytic Processing amounts to between .4-.5 pops efficiency gain when comparing to the pops needed to support each alloy worker. (Math-argument covered in future section, but go with it for now.)
What this means in principle  is that you have a very strong incentive to make one of your two guaranteed worlds an alloy-industrial world, and the second world a farm world to feed it.
 And what that means in practice is that your angler-farmers are not only covering your alloy production, they’re producing 2 trade value each to cover the district upkeeps in doing so.
Even if we simplify the Angler-Catalytic upkeep ratio to a 1-support-to-1-alloy-worker ratio- and it’s better than that- the trade value produced is covering the district costs of a 4-pop unit. 2 Anglers cost 2 farmer districts at 1 energy each; 1 Industrial district of 2 energy = 4 energy countered by 4 TV. This is pre-Thrifty or trade modifiers, which would be creating a small energy profit to cover other costs like the starbase or space deposit stations.
With this setup, Catalytic Converter Industrial-world and Angler-farms become energy-positive, rather than energy-negative, when supporting eachother as pure Alloy/Farm worlds. This largely negates your need for an early energy-designated world early on. It also greatly reduces your need for minerals, since alloy production no longer cuts into your core mineral economy, but if your space deposit RNG is bad you can also use the Farm world as a rural world and build some mines with a partial bonus.
:6: The Angler Inner 3 World Setup
 Based on everything discussed so far, this is your core Angler build for if you are really unlucky and the only wet worlds you have are your guaranteed three.
 In the very early game (first decades), building specialist buildings and getting scientists employed is more important than alloys. Use early game CG sales to buy minerals for huge stockpiles for later building. Once you have the specialists employed, you can look at expanding alloy production and maximizing CG-production efficiency.
Three Core Worlds should be:
Early (1st Decade)
Homeworld (Scientists/Pearl Divers/Anglers)
-Angler/PD provide the CG/TV/upkeep for employing specialists
-Max CG surplus to sell for minerals to buy specialists ASAP; get massive Mineral stockpile before monthly trade softcap reached
-As possible, phase Anglers to Specialist jobs as food economy allows
-After energy/trade colonies established and mineral/food surpluses achieved, build more industrial districts and phase out farm districts
Colony 1: Farm World/Rural World
-Use free building slots for entertainers for better unity/colonists; let Homeworld CG cover
-Prioritize Angler Jobs for Food/TV; disable Pearl Divers as possible
-If necessary, can use as a mining world after mineral soft cap sales reached
-If minerals are needed intensively, can swap planet designation for rural focus; 10% to food AND minerals
Colony 2: Forge world/Industrial World
-Same Entertainer instead of colonist building slot swap
-Alloy focus will make up for homeworld alloy-deficit
-If empire has major food shortage, can build farm districts for Angler as a secondary job
Wet Worlds: Mining Focus
-Best use even if only a few districts; overall empire mineral economy needs quite small
-DON’T waste as generator worlds; trade will cover
Cold/Dry/Tomb Worlds: Trade + Bureaucracy (and Xeno/Robot Minerals)
-Merchant spam for massive energy economy pop-efficiency for your horribly unsuited Thrifty Aquatics
-Bureacrats don’t care either
-‘Invite’ more xenos in as possible if you’re into that sort of thing
-Once Robots or more habitable Xeno pops are found, use these worlds as mineral worlds as well
Robots are really all you need to keep up with growing mineral needs in a Catalytic/Angler build.
Trade worlds will- in all likelihood- be the key source of energy to drive your mid-game terraforming.

:7: Angler-Catalytic Pop Efficiency
Before I made a case that Pearl Divers are better technicians, enough to be a pop-efficiency in the early game. That may not be enough for some people, as they do phase out in the mid-game as you get more Merchant and Artisan possibilities. Fortunately, Anglers and Catalytic Converters has a more permanent pop-efficiency all game long.
TL;DR: Due to the greater base value of Anglers, an Angler-Catalytic Converter civic combo saves between .4 to .5 pops an alloy worker based on the strength of the resource upkeep/alloy requirements jobs.
There are three main periods in the game where the pop-efficiency of upkeep-to-alloy-producers change: the early phase where everything is based on your capital, the point where you’re using one colony designation bonuses, and the point where you’re using colonies for both the resource production AND refinement bonuses.

Phase 1: Homeworld Only
In the early game, your homeworld is both your worker and specialist economy base. Miners are base 4 minerals, but 6 are required. Anglers are base 8 (200% of miners), while 9 units are required (150% of matellurgists), but because as Aquatic is a required trait the real base is 8.8 food (220%).
Mineral-Alloys have a 1.5-to-1 pop support ratio
Angler-Alloys have a 1.02-to-1 pop support ratio
Anglers on the homeworld are basically saving .5 pops vis-a-vis each homeworld alloy worker employed with Industrial districts.
 With 2 industrial districts on the homeworld meaning 2 pops, this is basically a 1-pop pop-efficiency gain at Game Start.
Phase 2: Colony-Homeworld Split
 In the second phase, the empire uses one of its guaranteed worlds for the colony designation bonus. In most empires, you use your guaranteed worlds as mining worlds and rely on the homeworld for the industry, because the 25% mineral bonus is more valuable to increasing your broader empire’s mineral economy. You also need to expand CG production to support natural pop growth, so the Empire’s homeworld’s split districts is more of a feature than a bug, especially as homeworld stability supports specialist production better than worker jobs.
 However, a normal colony’s 80% habitability means a 10% penalty to job production, so even with a mining world’s 25% designation the base 4 miner receives a 15% rather than 25% net bonus, so 4.6 rather than 5.
Mining-Colony (4.6) /Homeworld Industry (6 Required)
Mineral-Alloy has a 1.3-to-1 pop support ratio
This is better, but still requires more than 1 pop to upkeep each alloy worker.
Anglers are different, because they don’t need to be building the Industrial Districts on their homeworld for CG, and with Aquatic their colonies have the same 100% habitability so no output loss. Instead, Angler-Catalytic’s can use the homeworld Anglers to fund the colony as an Industrial world, where the designation gives 20% savings (9->7.2, a 1.8 food saving). While a farmworld bonus would give more food, we don’t need CG and want to catch-up on alloys, which would go up 2 workers a district instead of 1 worker on a homeworld split.
Angler-Homeworld (8.8) / Colony Industry (7.2 required)
Food Alloy has a .82-to-1 pop support ratio
 (Each Angler pop is producing more than the food required to support 1 worker. The 1.6 food surplus is also covering part of the worker upkeep, and trade can cover the surplus on the market if needed.)

A 1.3 to .82 split is, again, about a .5 pop saving every alloy worker.
Moreover, by having a industrial colony, this is gained every 2 pops grown, rather than 3-4 pops grown on a homeworld with split districts. So not only is your efficiency gain greater, but it's growing faster.
Part 3: Colony Modifiers Only, Resource Booster 1
 In the early game, you have a good chance of settling a world worth making an alloy world AND a world worth making a resource world for 25% production and the 20% refinery, but before the habitability bonuses you can get via tech start kicking in. An early priority economy tech are the resource-booster buildings that boost food/mineral/energy jobs by +1. Miners will still be dealing with -10% malus even on greater worlds for a 15% colony boost, and Aquatics will only be wanting to produce on ocean worlds with 100% habitability and still getting the 10% Aquatic boost for another 10% to food production.
Factoring these in-
 Miners 5 + 15% bonus -> 5.75 minerals a miner / 4.8 required = 1.2 Alloy Workers a miner
Anglers: 9 + 35% (Aquatic) bonus -> 12.15 food / 7.2 required = 1.6875 Alloy Workers an Angler
 At this point both workers are providing more input than a single alloy worker needs, but Anglers are providing just shy of .5 alloy-jobs per worker.
(The anglers are also producing about 5 net food. This is enough to pay for the food upkeep of all four pops involved in a 2-angler/2-catalytic technician upkeep analysis.)
Note also Anglers reach this phase as soon as their second guaranteed world, while other empires may not set up a designated alloy world until world 5 or 6 depending on their Energy, Food, Admin Cap, and CG needs are.
Part 4: Colony Modifiers + Techs
 Once mid-game techs are factored in, the maximized support resource extraction buildings (+2 to the base for a strategic resource cost), 60% to resource jobs in techs, maximized planetary habitability through techs, and use of both 25% production and 20% refinery bonuses will come to something close to
Miners: 6 + 85% bonus -> 11.1 minerals a miner / 4.8 required = 2.3 alloy workers a miner
Anglers: 10 + 95% bonus (aquatic) ->19.5 food an angler / 7.2 required = 2.7 alloy workers an angler
 This is now a .4 alloys producers supported pop gap.
 Obviously this isn’t final- you could factor in gene modding or planetary modifiers or the Hydrocentric Tradition (and extra 5% for Aquatics) or Edicts for further % boosts- but any % booster to the worker jobs are going to give more to Anglers than miners thanks to their larger base value, while the industrial world designation bonus gives more food savings per catalytic technician (1.8 food saved) than 6-mineral metallurgists (1.2).
 Ultimately this puts Angler-Catalytic industrialists at close to half a pop-saved pop efficiency to most miner-alloy builds at any given period in the game, which is an advantage that scales well into the end-game.
This does have one great limiting factor- Catalytic Converters can’t rely on a mega-structure equivalent to the Dyson Sphere to provide near-endless food a month- but that in and of itself let’s you re-prioritize your Megastructure build order in the early game for pressing an advantage (a Mega Shipyard) rather than to fund the industry (a matter decompressor to fund a Mega Shipyard).

:8: Anglers as a Specialist Rush Build
TL;DR: Stupid-excessive CG in the early game let’s you buy all the minerals you need to build all the specialists you can support way before anyone else. These specialists can be scientists or (colony) alloy workers.
Anglers have the highest starting CG potential of any Origin at game start. If the Default Commonwealth of Man starts with a 5 CG surplus, a Fanatic Egalitarian Angler-Catalytic Equivalent can approach 25-30 depending on ethics and living standards.
This is, in technical terms, a metric ship-ton. A Colony Ship every year even.
While nominally balanced on a much lower mineral economy (no mining districts at all for Catalytics), this is actually itself an advantage: with your superior-than-technician pearl divers, you can buy more minerals than the same number of technicians could buy, or the  the same number of miners can produce.
This huge CG (and food) surplus potential basically lets you sell your starting stockpile and cover all your early-game money needs in the first year. You can reach a 300 energy to clear your homeworld free-pop blocker on month 1 and get another 200 to energy to buy a scientist at about the time you can strip alloys of starting vessels and build a scienship AND buy 100 minerals for your construction ship’s next space deposit by month 3. You can then buy auto-buy 50 minerals a month (with no CG sales) for the rest of the year, have enough minerals to buy a farm district to replace early clerks and get a food surplus by month 7, and then tone down the mineral and really get started stockpiling minerals for your great specialist rush.
This is a very strong game-start pop-efficiency for getting- and then using- minerals, as technicians are already pop-efficient over miners, and Pearl Divers are pop-efficient at getting energy over homeworld technicians. Further, when you do need to stockpile CG and so lose energy from not selling, the conversion factor is at your advantage: instead of using energy to buy CG at a 30% penalty, you are not longer selling CG at a 30% market conversion loss.
This is also very strong in the early game rebalancing once you are employing specialists, because these are CG you don’t need to build capacity for. Instead of spending 500 minerals per industrial district (and losing the the associated mineral upkeep) to raise CG capacity by 6 a homeworld industrial district, you already have the CG, and can use that 500 minerals to build a science lab 100 minerals sooner. In time you can afford more efficient CG production with dedicated Factory worlds, but you won’t be holding up your specialist economy to do it.
(Alternatively, you can spend the 500 minerals on an Industrial plant on your colony, setting up your Caatalytic strategy of ever-increasing pop efficiency in alloy production.)
This direct investment in specialists is significant not only because it actually gets you the specialists, but because every year earlier you build them is equivalent to a decade of benefit from a 10% boost if built a year later.
Consider if you, say, took Meritocracy for 10% specialist output, then each scientist would be producing an extra .4 research a month, or 4.8 a year. But a normal scientist is producing 4 a month, or 48 a year- so just one year’s head-start from a normal scientist takes a decade for the meritocrat to catch up to. Two
years, 20 years, and so on.
Now consider the time delay most empires incur when developing science labs waiting for industrial districts to raise their CG cap. Industrial districts take at least about a year and a half to build, so even if you had the minerals to build back-to-back without stop. But you probably don’t- 500 minerals is a lot at game start, and each industrial district would- unless unemployment shenanigans are employed- lower your mineral income by 12, likely taking you longer to afford the next building. Having to build industrial districts before employing specialists who need the CG is a huge delay.
 Whether you’re going for a science or alloy focus, Anglers should be specializing in specialists pretty early.

:9: Angler Grand Strategies
There are two main grand strategies for Anglers to focus on: trade diplomacy, or catalytic. These are not entirely mutually exclusive, but should reflect your playthrough prioritization of your first and second tradition, and your second colony role.
Trade Diplomacy entails leaning into your trade and CG economy to purchase your minerals and maximizing specialists, but prioritizing diplomacy over alloys to protect yourself. Your primary goal is to rush a Trade Federation ASAP, so that your Federation allies and Federation fleet will protect you. This strategy has the highest RNG risk if you get isolated in the galaxy with no neighbors interested in diplomacy, but can also give you the highest science-economy potential if you do find friends who are willing to protect you or at least leave you alone.
If your immediate neighborhood is safe, this strategy can alloy you to use your second planet as a Angler-farm world instead of an Industrial world, and use your excess of food product to trade for diplomatic favors or curry favor, while focusing on employing more scientists. At high opinion levels you can trade for minerals with food at levels higher than the market (and only limited by the neighbor’s mineral economy), and ‘Protective’ neighbors will guarantee your independence, which functions as both a Non-Agression pact (you can refuse their vassalization demands without fear ofwar) and Defensive Pact with no cost.
If you intend to lean-into this strategy, this supports Discovery as a first Tradition and Technological Ascendency as a first Ascension. Discovery supports science builds with both output and upkeep benefits, with Map the Stars edict letting you find more anomalies which scale with your science output when studied. The +1 research choice will let you bee-line optimal techs most quickly. The early-influence cost does stymie early colonization, but you are prioritizing the science-buildup on your homeworld anyway to bee-line scientist employment for early tech advantage.
Your second tradition tree should probably be Diplomacy, for the influence savings on Commercial Pacts/Research Agreements that will build trust and make/keep neighbors protective. You likely won’t be able to form a Trade Federation immediately unless you started as a MegaCorp (or took the Merchant civic instead of Catalytic Converter for a less flexible high-risk-high-reward gamble on this strategy), but the tech-focus will let you reach the 3rd civic reform sooner.
Your extremely weak alloy economy, your expansion will be weak/slow and relatively limited to the borders of your friends. Your preferred mid-game expansion will be from peaceful willing vassals from overwhelming economy, technology, and approval. Military techs are non-essential, and will be cheaper to catch up on later with research agreements when you eventually do build military strength after expansion stops.
This strategy favors Xenophile and Materialist ethics due to its reliance on diplomacy and focus on tech-blooming. Egalitarian and Pacifist are secondary supports for boosting specialist outputs directly/indirectly. You can coast on Civilian Policy for most of the early game, increasing your planet efficiency of Pearl Divers as quasi-technicians in the Aquatic world shortage.
This strategy incentivizes starting as a MegaCorp so that you can form the Trade Federation before your 3rd Civic.

Catalytic refers to focusing on the pop-efficiency and economic self-sufficiency of angler-catalytic converters to regain a solid alloy economy while awaiting for your technological advantage to mature on your homeworld scientists. This is less ambitious technologically, but far more flexible, at it supports a greater peaceful expansion (wide) but can support a defensive turtle if necessary. This strategy rests on its pop-efficiency saving between using your guaranteed world as Industrial and Angler-only farms, as every two pops grown between the two will cover their own costs and produce the .5 pop efficiency saving while growing the alloy economy as fast as they do.
If your immediate neighborhood is dangerous, Catalytic Turtling will quickly make up for the homeworld’s lack of alloy capacity in the first decade, and become potentially overwhelming by the third. If your neighborhood is not dangerous, this can support a far wider expansion than the Trade-Diplomacy, letting you reap space mineral and energy deposits, though the admin sprawl from your many more colonies will greatly stymie your early research game until you pop-bloom, and the building costs of more planets will tax your mineral economy more; you will need more artisans sooner as you have more pops outside of the Angler-supported CG economy, and need more miners to build and support them.
If you intend to lean into this focus on Catalytic Production, Expansion remains a strong first pick, since you’re probably assuming you will go wide. The extra first pop for colony ships, the growth bonus, the influence saving per system, and the system sprawl/starbase savings are all valuable which only get more valuable the wider you go. One Vision is also a strong synergy with this; as long as your state ethic factions are happy, One Vision is effectively an Influence-and-Stability economy perk, who keeps a greater number of pops in your state ethics. A larger happy faction gives more influence to expand with, and a happy faction boosts the happiness of all pops following it, meaning greater planetary stability and thus a boost to all jobs, including the angler-food and catalytic alloys and homeworld scientists.
Your second tradition tree should probably be Mercantile, as your wider expansion will find more low-habitability worlds and risk more net-energy cost systems. Aside from bureaucratic centers, the best use for these with your own pops are as Merchant-spam trade worlds. While diplomatic migration pacts for xenos would be preferred, it’s not necessarily required if your thrifty species can be the Merchants, who can cover the energy costs while robots become your mineral force.
Your alloy strength will support normal expansion to the border of your neighbor/closest threat, and then stockpiling alloys as needed. Vassalization by force will be an option in time. Cruiser-Carriers are your military tech priority, and other military techs can be reverse engineered from salvage once deployed.
This strategy favors Egalitarian and Authoritarian ethics due to the focus on the Catalytic-Angler pop efficiency (which they increase the efficiency of on the worker/specialist end) and their increased influence for expansion. Xenophile and Xenophobe are secondary boosts, with Xenophile maximizing trade value from merchants and first contact influence while xenophobe minimizes expansion influence costs and makes better use of any found primitive or conquered pops to cover the mineral economy.
This strategy does NOT incentivize starting as a mega-corp, as Megacorps get worse empire sprawl penalties and there will be a good period of newly developed colonies costing more sprawl than you can afford to mitigate, and megacorps need the expansion influence for branch offices. This impacts both science but especially unity gain, so there’s little chance of you getting to Diplomacy tree as a third tree and being able to make the Federation before your third-civic reform.
:10: MegaCorp Pros/Cons
TL;DR: Take MegaCorp for a diplomatic trade federation rush. Don’t if you lean into the Catalytic wide strategy.
Mega-Corps have a strong Angler synergy, and are ideal if you’ll gamble it all on playing tall (and accept the risk of being wiped out early).
As described above, MegaCorps synergize very nicely with the diplomatic strategy due to being able to immediately form a Trade Federation once the diplomacy tree tradition is unlocked.
Mega-corps also start with 30 extra admin cap, meaning that your early empire- if it stays tall- can get more early scientists in without having to start investing in admin buildings. The admin buildings they do build can cover the branch offices, which can have science buildings worth 6 science a planet.
 Playing tall early on limits your expansion, but the influence saved gives you enough to afford more early branch offices. Selling excess CG for energy will let you buy those branch offices as well, setting up your core mechanic before other MegaCorps.
Once you have your catalytic converter economy going on the colony, MegaCorp angler-catalytics can also bully other MegaCorps on pop-efficiency grounds with their alloys, stealing their branch offices via war and saving influence that can be invested in edicts or Habitats.
MegaCorps have stricter admin sprawl penalties than normal empires, meaning that once you reach that cap you have to prioritize it more to keep good science and unity growth. Megacorps can’t brute-force early game science past the admin sprawl like normal empires, and will be stalled longer until colony growth allows admin jobs.
Mega-corps also can’t vassalize and integrate subjects for expansion, so a Mega-Corp that starts tall really can’t expand later short of the Colossus total war.
No matter what Paradox employees say, other mega-corps seem to spawn more often when you’re a mega-corp. This could be good or bad.
Ultimately, if you’re not going Mega-Corp, normal Empires won’t be able to form a Trade Federation until their third civic and adding Merchant Guilds, unless they take a high-risk path of taking Merchant Guilds instead of Catalytic Converter with the intent of selling and trading food for favors and approval. But since Mega-Corps can take both Angler AND Catalytic AND form the Federation, the only reason not to prefer the Mega-Corp’s military flexibility is if you wanted to vassalize and integrate a subject before your third civic… but if you wanted to do that, you’d take Catalytic Convert for the alloy efficiency.
IF all-in diplomacy, Mega-Corp is probably best.

:11: Hydrocentric Ascension
TL;DR: A second or third ascension perk once the trade-merchant economy is established. Hydrocentric makes making terraforming Ocean Worlds easier, and better, than gaia worlds.
 Hydrocentric does a couple different things with different impacts.
 In order of impact on the game-
-Con construct Ice Mining Station starbase buildings
This starbase building can only be built on a starbase in a system with a ice asteroid or Frozen world (these are the uncolonizable planets, not the cold worlds like Tundra). It boosts mining stations in the system by 15%, and enables the Expand Planetary Sea decision so ocean worlds can harvest ice. You can harvest one ice charge per asteroid, 3 per frozen world) to increase the planet size by 1 per ice charge.
 The 15% is irrelevant, and in nearly all cases the Expand Seas decision is bad. It costs 50 influence/1000 energy to expand planet size by 1. For 3 charges of 150 influence, you could build a size-4 Habitat that could be upgraded without influence.
The primary exception is very small planet size 8 and below, who can’t open up all their building slots. Planets can have up to 12 building slots, but only unlock 3 of them with the first capital building and techs. If you use this decision to raise them to size 9, you could max out building slots with pure city-districts, making it more useful as a refinery world.
 -Aquatic perk 50% more perks and minus.
This makes Aquatics have 30% habitability on Ocean worlds, 15% food/energy/mineral outputs on ocean worlds, and -30 habitability/-45% housing usage on non-wet worlds.
This basically just makes the penalties worse and the benefits better. It’s not really worth it until you have the potential to start terraforming your worlds into Ocean worlds, which is both tech and spare energy.
Once Ocean worlds are prevalent, however, this makes them better resource worlds than Gaia worlds. While Gaia worlds will have universal 100% habitability and 10% happiness, growth, and specialist output, Ocean worlds will have 100% habitability for your aquatic perks and 115% worker-tier jobs. At this point in the game growth likely doesn’t matter anymore, and you're unlikely to have major amenity issues.
This trait also has the benefit of overwhelming the Galactic Community industrial development policy that gives a minor habitability debuf to all planets, giving them a small (less than 5%) habitability buff for most ideal worlds. Since Aquatic is raising habitability on base-80 habitability ocean worlds by 30 instead of 20, this and other minor habitability penalties (like some planet modifiers) are ignored.
If you are min-maxing into the late-game, this makes ocean worlds the best support worlds for Ecumenopoli cores or Habitat specialist centers refining your ocean world worker outputs.
-25% Ocean terraforming cost
This is the real strength of the perk, as ocean terraforming is already available more cheaply and earlier than Gaia world terraforming. With this, it is viable to hold of colonizing some planets even in the early game, as the benefits of doing so for Aquatics are better than gaia. This is because of how much earlier you can get these terraforming chances.
Remember that for any 10% buff, it takes a decade for catch-up for every year the 100% version is out before the 110%. This also applies to Gaia worlds and their 100% habitability and +10% growth speed: if a Desert world is terraformed into an Ocean world, it’s going from 20% habitability and 60% growth to 100% habitability and 110% growth. Every year earlier it does that is a decade it takes the Gaia world to catch up- every decade it does is a century.
Hydrocentric lets you start mass-terraforming your own worlds decades before you’d likely have the techs and the energy to spare for gaia-world transformations, giving a 20-60% pop growth boon by getting to 100% habitability. And it’s giving 115% for the worker and Angler jobs.
 Which gaia world’s 110% can’t even build, stuck with weaker farmers.
For comparison:
Gaia World terraforming is locked behind the Climate restoration tech (a tier 4 society
tech of 16000 cost), and on the cheap end costs 7500 energy and 10 years.
Ocean terraforming can be done on uninhabited planets as early as Terrestrial Sculpting, a 6000 science tech. If an inhabited planet, you are gated by Ecological Adaptation, a 10,000 tech.

Depending on if you’re in the same biome (Wet Continental -> Ocean) or cross-biome (Dry -> Ocean), you are looking at either 2000 energy (1500 with perk) over 5 years, or 5000 (4000 with perk) over 10 years.
-Enables the Deluge Machine Colossus
 This Hydrocentric ascension requires you also take the Collosus perk, which enables Total War casus belli (no claims needed) and building colossus.
The Deluge Machine has the following effects:
-All pops without the Aquatic Trait are killed
-The planet is terraformed into an Ocean world
-Owned planets can be targeted
-Perpetrator gains ownership of the planet if not already owned
*Can NOT be used against Ringworlds, Habitats, or Ocean Worlds
This is half-total war machine, and half terraformer for players who didn’t have the time or energy to terraform their own worlds. You can use this to kill all the enemy pops on a (non-ocean)planet- or, if you captured a world the hard way and gene-mod everyone to being aquatic with bio-ascension, you can then follow up to make the captured worlds water-worthy.
Domestic terraforming should largely be irrelevant- you should have already paid the terraforming cost long before off of trade income- but this can be used to set up large-scale pop farming with Bio Ascenion tools.
 If you terraform a sector’s worth of planets, put Bio-Ascended Fertile Aquatics on them with robot factories and the mineral/energy to run them, then release the sector, that sector’s population will grow much much much faster than your own empire’s- at which point you can assimilate the vassal, migrate away the pops, reset, and do it again.

:12: Ascension Paths
TL;DR: Aquatic-Anglers synergizes well with Psionic and Bio Ascension, but not-well with Synthetic. Bio-Ascension is a better long-game min-maxer, but psionic is a better decisive early game trade-tech break out build.
Worst: Synthetic.
This may be weird because Synthetic has the strongest bonuses, but it provides the least benefits building onto the Angler-Aquatic trade-build. While Anglers can get a very strong alloy-efficiency economy going into the ascension, all the habitability benefits are moot when Anglers terraform bad worlds into Ocean worlds or Ecumenopoli. Robot output bonuses also don’t really apply to trade values, so the trade economy also isn’t getting boosted.
Bio-Ascension: A strong long-term synergy, but not necessarily worth prioritizing over psionic. Also required to add aquatic to other species. The most important factor is the Angler ability to cover clone bays with fewer pops than farmers. In this sense, Anglers support Bio-Ascension better than any other. However, Bio-Ascension doesn’t really benefit Tech-Trade blooming civs when it matters most, the early-Cruiser/Battleship breakout where tech-rushers have already gotten the lead and now alloys are need to subjugate empires that went wider. Delaying that for pops that only start paying themselves off decades later is a rough sell if you intend to be aggressive, especially when the quickest part- gene modding with Ascension perks- won’t boost the core trade economy much. It takes a lot of time for Bio-Ascension to catch up to where a Psionic trade/specialist empire could already be, at which point the game is likely already decided.
Psionic Ascension: The strongest synergy for a Trade-Science Build, as Psionic-boosted stability is the Ascension path whose main mechanic also boosts trade, and Psionic is the only ascension path that can open up early enough to benefit the early game science and alloy economy for the cruiser-era breakout. Psionic Admirals are also as good/even better than bio-ascended Erudites.
 Psionic or Bio-Ascension?
If you intend to play the game through the crisis, Bio-Ascension will (probably) catch up by by the Crisis on the strength of micro-managed specialized resource worlds. If you get bored and quit once in a position of dominance, Psionic.
In most contexts, Psionic Ascension is considered weak and inferior because while it has powerful Shroud events, these are RNG. The main psionic boosts are otherwise the benefits to Researchers (good- an Intelligent-Psychic is as good as Erudite), Stability (+10 for a psychic governor and a Psi-Corp building on-planet; a 6% boost to all jobs and trade value), but not-as-good Worker economy buffs (where gene modding pays off over time.
The thing is, for Anglers this is all that’s needed to maximize your mid-game breakout.
For a trade-based economy, stability is the best modifier any ascension path gives you to boost it, and as trade is the core of energy, CG, and unity, stability boosts 3 parts of your economy. Stability also boosts the research, which is further boosted by the science, at a time when you are research-rushing to get the Carrier Cruisers or next class of ships. And while Bio-Ascension when it comes along can do more pop-modding, any given specialized planet really only needs 2 perk points per species (reachable by techs) to give them Aqutic+another tailoring perk to excel on a Ocean World. Bio-Ascension wins on the margins, but these margins take decades or potentially centuries to make up.
At which point the biggest issue is the Angler-Alloy impact of food-hungry clone vats. Each clone vat takes 30 food. 2 Anglers reaching 15-food can do that with techs and modifiers, the best support ratio, but at that point each one of those Anglers could be feeding nearly 2x 7.8 Catalytic Technicians.
 Is 1 clone bay worth the food that could be supporting 4 Alloy workers? Even at base 3x4 12 alloys a month, 144 a year…?

Usually no- not unless you're content to wait for a century and a half for a (not) worthy adversary.
Psionic is just a better aligned almost-as-significant advantage much earlier on.
 :13: Aquatic Origins
 Some thoughts on Origins that can make the most out of the Angler civic. These are being judged on synergy, not power- how well they work along with the thrust of a specialist-rush build, rather than how powerful they are overall.
Ocean Paradise
Technically a strong Angler synergy, as Angler-Catalytic will give you the best homeworld efficiency for a Mega-Corp Trade-Diplomacy strategy.
 Ocean Paradise modifier gives 10% growth , 15% happiness,and 5% resource boost to all jobs, as well as starting in a Nebula. These aren’t worth two worlds, but are useful. The happiness raises stability, which boost all jobs including trade, while the 5% buff will boost your Pearl Diver CG. Pearl Divers are thus even better at replacing technicians and miners, which is key for using energy to set up branch offices, and Catalytic Converters are still recommended to maximize the value of those % bonuses and the alloy production efficiency.
 The Nebula is also valuable in and of itself- with nebula refineries, nebula starbases can have the nebula refinery building for 10 minerals rather than 10 food for the hydroponic bays. With alloy-food covered by your Anglers, these effectively power your mineral economy for Branch Office buildings.
 With a mega-corp start, the loss of 2 guaranteed worlds also means 10 more starting admin cap to spend on branch offices, who have a qucker pay-off as science-buildings than colonies would. With Pearl Divers as superior technicians for the energy needs, saving influence on less expansion can let you focus on early branch offices for the Science buildings.
This would be a Diplomacy Tree first run, and Trade Federate ASAP before Mercantile second. With your high trade you should maximize the benefits of the Trade Policy, while you let your Federation-mate spend the alloys on the Federation fleet that your science keeps as top-tier.
 Then you use the Federation fleet protect and fight for you, lean ever more into Branch Offices, and otherwise play a trade build.
Not a strong build, but doable and unique on normal difficulties.

Here be Dragons
TL;DR: This origin synergizes with capital-based tech rush more than a Catalytic Wide.
 There’s heavy spoilers here, so-
First, the Sky Dragon isn’t a great protector for your empire. It only hangs out in your home system, so the best you can hope for in a losing war is that the AI gets so far into your core territory that it gets fleet-wiped and you can counter-attack against a civ that lost all its alloys. That is quite likely if it does attack- the Dragon’s breath one-hit kills corvettes and destroyers- but I wouldn’t count on it against a human. If the AI is vassal or Ideology-warring you, though, white peace is worse than defeat since it’ll still take your non-capital systems that are occupied away from you.
Second, there’s a couple of events with this origin.
Seriously: Spoilers.
Starting off, Here Be Dragons guarantees a Liquid Metal spawn within 2 systems of the capital. This is the only way to guarantee-spawn Liquid Metal in the game. Living metal has one use- an edict for 50% megastructure construction- which also applies to habitats.

As of 3.2 release, you’re not guaranteed the option to research the harvesting tech, which is a probably oversight/bug to be fixed. However, if the deposit is over a planet you can build a habitat over, it becomes a habitat deposit that is auto-harvested.
The first event is why this origin synergizes with a capital-based science rush. About a decade into the game the Dragon will want to land on your planet, and you have three choices: to try and shoot it away (it kills 2 pops), to observe (kills one pop and lands), or spend 75 influence (one system claim) to let it land without issue (lands with no pops killed).
If landed- and you want to let it land even if it costs the pop- the dragon will become a feature on your home world. This feature costs 15 food (easily covered by Anglers), and provides +6 unity (nice) and +10 stability. That 10 stability translates into about a 6% buff to all your jobs, including scientists, on your homeworld, and lasts for about 15 years or until your home system is attacked, in which case the dragon takes off early to defend you.
This event is why you want to play a tall science build. Aside from the 75 influence (one system claim) to not lose a pop, you want to rush as many scientists onto your homeworld before this starts, which means selling CG constantly to buy the minerals to build the city districts and the labs. This means a lot less minerals available for your colonies, who themselves will take 10 admin sprawl and thus a bureuarcrat. Turn one of your guaranteed worlds into the Admin world and the other into an Angler world to feed the dragon/pay for the bureaucrat upkeep.
What you don’t want is to go wide and start getting swamped in early game admin sprawl from new colonies that take decades to become net positives. Your dragon’s modifier is temporary, and how much value your next two dragon-boon is depends on how much you capitalize on the science here.
 Once done feeding, you can get an option 1000 energy and 100 gas, or science. If you have no other source, these gas will allow you to start buying them on the market, and start upgrading science labs. Otherwise, the science reward scales with whatever you homeworld/empire science output is, so the more science production the better.
Once the dragon is done feeding (year 20-25), then you should start settling low-habitability trade worlds beyond your guaranteed ones in earnest. There's a good chance you can have terraformed them at this point with trade value generated or saved.
The next event occurs after the feeding but during the first 50 years. You will get an option to study the dragon with a science vessel, with a safe or high-risk/high-reward option. The low risk option gives moderate (scaling) society research. The high-risk option has a chance to unlock the next armor tech tier, all the way to max armor tier. IE, if you spent your Dragon Feeding period researching tier 2 and 3 plate armor, now it unlocks 4… if you’re lucky (15% chance). You also have a 55% chance for nothing and a re-try, a 30% chance of killing the science vessel and scientist and a re-try, or a 25-75% chance on the second+ role of the dragon killing capital pops. (25% if the dragon fed successfully.)
This is a risk, but if you spent your early game on a tech focus that included ship armor, this can get you to tier 4 or 5 ship armor decades before anyone else.
The next event is that when 75% of the galactic community has been contacted, you can make first contact with the dragon. Doing so gives 150 influence and scaling unity. Since as a Trade-Science build at this point you should have a Trade Federation that gives 25% of your empire trade value as unity, this should be A Lot of Unity.
Finally, after First Contact AND 6 Ascension Perks, the dragon asks you to help with baby-making. If you refuse, you get 500 influence but the dragon disappears. If you agree, you get the dragon and unlock the Dragon Hatchery starbase, which lets you build Dragon Fledglings.
Very Cool. Also irrelevant, because by the time you can build the darn things they’re obsolete. But GIANT SPACE DRAGONS so your argument is invalid.
(Sadly, they’re pure armor and anti-armor/hull, so they’re not really good against end-game Fallen/Awoken empires or Crisis. But GIANT SPACE DRAGONs.)
For empires playing against this origin, if you kill the Sky Dragon when fighting an empire with this origin, it’s functionally like killing the Ether Drake. Your empire capital can get the Dragonslayer Monument, you can unlock Dragonscale Armor the best ship armor in the game, and the Admiral who did the killing can get the dragonslayer perk. Also, if necromancer, you can use their undead carcasses as a space pet.
For maximum evil, though?

Make them a Criminal Mega Corp.

:14: Established Origins
Fewer thoughts on how current origins work with the build
(Except Necrophages, because they just got significantly better.)
Strategy: Catalytic-Wide, Authoritarian-Xenophobe Slaver Build
For an already-strong specialist-centric Origin whose primary weakness is high early CG costs and a worse worker economy in the early game, a civic combo that incentivizes specialist-rushing and radically improves early CG and the worker economy (with a specialist-role who’s already better than a worker!) is the best of nearly all worlds, breaking the normal limiters on either Necrophage or Aquatic.
Aquatic is no longer a game changer, as it is not required by the Prepatent and the necro-pops don’t grow naturally anyway. Make your prepatent very adaptive and rapid breeder, and they can do decent on any biome; your necro-pops can then slowly accumulate by conversion, and either fill local Merchant jobs or be auto-migrated away.
Specialist rushing is also much easier with your guaranteed primitives. Of your two primitives, look at their traits, and you can (if xenophobe) necrophage one or the other of them for more necro-pops. These necro-pops could be pushed to relocate to your capital for any capital science rush.
With xeno-slaves working the Angler jobs as chattel slaves for 10% bonuses, and necrophytes getting a 5% bonus as specialists, any authoritiaran or xenophobes get an even stronger game for an already strong origin.

Clone Army

Tall Science Synergy

Clone Army already is effectively limited to 3-4 planets without conquests or other pops. This fits right up with the Angler-Catalytic combo, which will get them the best value for a 3-planet core. Very strong synergy with a civic that's abaout early-game pop efficiency.

Syncretics have probably never had a better set-up than the aquatics trait, but the civic works against them. Servile workers can be made adaptive to thrive outside the core colonies, while the leader-caste can work the core. It’d actually work better with a different civic- so that Aquatic serviles can make the most of the ocean worlds, while Adaptive Primaries can grow on the colonies. Still, high potential not to be as ham-strung to high-habitability worlds.
Lost Colony
A very strong synergy. Aquatic means your home world’s habitability starts at 100, not 80, while the 15% job output is going to stack with your science and pearl diver jobs. The fact that your parent species will also have another 3 developed Ocean Worlds filled with Aquatic pops ready to work in the ocean mines when you liberate them is perfection. Best early-game synergy for a non-OP origin, and best break-out potential if your ‘reunite’ with your parent to get another 3 fully developed ocean worlds.
A weak starting synergy, but higher if you go wide and find non-wet worlds. Your already tight alloy economy is tighter, and the robots don’t get aquatic bonuses, but they’ll be very useful if you get non-wet worlds.
Common Ground/Hegemon
I’ve never had luck changing Federation types, but if it’s possible these would be better. If your primary weakness is alloy production, letting your allies use their alloys for the fleet could reduce your burden, while rushing the Trade Federation is a goal.
I guess it synergizes- the chance for a Fallen Empire fleet if attacks is great if it happens- but your best method of expansion is vassalization-integration, and you can’t do that as a Scion.
Technically you can do the origin, but you don’t have planet for the Angler jobs or early game CG. So... why?

This was taken from a series of Reddit posts made by "<a href="">DeanTheDull</a>". I've posted it here in its entirety for reference as well as consolidating it into one, SINGLE post as the Reddit character limit made it difficult to read.