Marathon-class heavy cruiser
The Marathon-class heavy cruiser is a capital ship in service to the United Nations Space Command. It excels in direct ship combat and minor flagship roles.
The Marathon-class is essentially a buffed up cruiser that takes up a capital ship slot. Cheap and quick to build for a capital ship, they are powerful units to have within your fleet. Their powerful engines allow them to operate in fast-moving harassment fleets or return quickly to assist in defending a planet.
Replacing the Halcyon-class as the navy's general-purpose cruiser, the Marathon-class quickly grew in popularity among the fleets. During the Insurrection, their speed, heavy weapons, and jack-of-all-trades design allowed them to take on even fleets of inferior rebel ships. As they were often tasked leading battlegroups, very few missions led to the destruction of these cruisers, and they continued to serve the UNSC well for many years.
When the Covenant arrived, however, the Marathon-class' success took a steep fall. Unlike the cruisers they were built to replace, the Marathon's inferior structural support and armor made them susceptible to the advanced Covenant weaponry, resulting in huge amounts of these cruisers being destroyed in the early years of the war. When it became clear that their foe's advance was not slowing down, all remaining cruisers were recalled to defend the most important Inner Colony worlds. While a small number of these cruisers survived the war, their ineffectiveness against the Covenant led to themselves being replaced by the Autumn-class Heavy Cruiser - ironically a modification of the ships they were supposed to replace.
Weapons and Tactical UsageEdit
The Marathon-class is one of the earliest capital ships the player has access to aside from the Orion-class assault carrier, and can be built without research. It is the cheapest capital ship to build and consumes the least fleet supply, portraying it as an all-round cost-effective capital ship best used in large numbers.
Overall, the Marathon's abilities are well-rounded but not very outstanding compared to other capital ships that serve a specific purpose in a fleet, so these ships are meant to be versatile backbones in your fleet composition. The Fusion Rocket deals amazing damage to enemy capitals and structures, but cannot be targeted on anything else. The Falchion AP Missiles make up for this by being able to target most enemies despite dealing much less damage, and will disable enemy shield regeneration and reduce enemy armor for a long period of time. The debuffs can stack up to eight times on a single vessel, making en masse Falchion spam for enormous debuff a viable tactic given the ship's low build cost.
Another ability that nods to a Marathon fleet tactic is the passive ability AI Synchronization. This ability increases the turn rate and decreases frontal damage taken of not only the user itself, but also nearby Marathons, making them more agile and more resistance to enemy attacks. These buffs do stack as long as the Marathons are within one another's effective range, so the more Marathons you have, the deadlier they become.
The Marathon is moderately tough and deals moderate damage on its own. Its DPS and speed can be improved by researching upgrades. The cruiser sports one squadron too, but it has only a few provisions to replenish lost squadrons so the player should not over-rely on it. Despite being available early game, it is not capable of bombing enemy planets, so this task should be left to the Orion or Charon-class light frigates. Other than that, it is generally an all-rounder and is best used in groups.
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