Only way i found to deal with super entrenched enemies is to either send a emp/lightning missile and try to scratch them / nuke them or using raid starships
Raid Starships shoot through shields too - And they can FLY through them as well
Ah...that's the tip I was looking for. Use the Raids to kill the CP (withdraw for repairs when they are damaged too much), then use the Raids to kill the sniper turrets and snipers and then leave the rest to rot.
but be warned, the enemy WILL react to being hit by them ;p
You mean by building Arachnids? I consider everything the AI builds that is not a cruiser or a fighter to be a gimme as it dies from massed cruiser fire without ever coming into range.
Generally i think starships are way under-used ;p I always have each of their classes to the maximum, except scout ships (which are about as usefull as a 7th arm)
I think this is because the Light Starships are quite non-descript. They provide a little bit of support, but have too little range to be really useful. I use them in defense: you can position a few cruisers around them to gain support, so you can spare more cruisers for the front. I also use them for breaking wormholes defended by lightning turrets, as they have lots of hit points
And the Scout ship is mostly harmless. So I haven't experimented too much with them. And never bothered to look at the better ones.
But now that I think of it, they have one big advantage: lots of hit points and repairable. Which means they are re-usable and therefore cheap.
I find Lightning Missiles are the most elegant method myself, but they do give the AI a +2 bonus for each use though.
My current game is diff 8.3 against SFC and Spymaster. I'm trying to conquer a 13 planet cluster that is connected to the rest of the map through a single planet (which will become an epic 800 turret deathtrap). I have conquered 8 of them, and the AI level is increasing at +20 per planet and another +8 or so for every SFC planet (that +1/SF command post is a bitch). I had a slow start, so after 5.5 hours there is another +11. The cluster has no Data Centers.
The (schizo) raids are getting to be quite formidable with up to 80 level II ships. Soon the AI will be raiding with level III ships. If I fight at an SFC planet, the command posts are vomiting forth ever increasing groups of ships. So, the AI level is becoming quite a concern.
Also I think Scout ships are of use against the AI that insta-kills all cloaked vessels as well. Though we're really talking special, special case here.
As I'm playing the Spymaster now, it happens to be my case, and yes, they are invaluable against it to maintain scouting info on a planet. I need more resources to build all of them, so I can send them to scout as a group. The Spymaster is much stronger than it looks: being able to scout only adjacent planets is a real pain.