In this guide, I will cover how to use my tier list, and my plans for talking about each set of doctrines in more detail.
My tier list was put together using my preferences and playstyles that I have developed over the past 10 months of playing planetfall. I have a lot more experience with some doctrines than other doctrines, and I did ask others a few questions about the doctrines that I am less familiar with. If you have any strong opinions about where they doctrines should go, please keep that in mind, and know that this is a general guide to help new players understand why I choose to use some doctrines over others. With that being said, I want to encourage the discussion of my tier list, so please feel free to let me know what you would change in the comments down below. Likewise, if you do agree with my assessment, then I would find it helpful to hear those thoughts as well.
Tier List and Notes
Below are my notes on each Shakarn Doctrine, accompanied by a few of the thoughts that were shared with me on reddit, the steam forums, and the paradox forums
Dwelling Intimidation – I placed this doctrine in the S tier, because it allows you to get more from allying one NPC faction and warring with another, which is a lot of player preferred way of playing. With Celestian Skakarn you should be able to integrate a single NPC faction quicker than Syndicate Celeistan.. Noble Diplomats will give you influence, but requires completing two quests to see any benefits, whereas this doctrine allows you to buy locations for less influence, like the landmark that starts next to your capital. Overall I think Noble Diplomats will give you more resources in the late game, but less in the early game.
HousePet = A small note with Dwelling Intimidation: It appears that the Faction War Reward count does not deal with overflows very well. So once you start getting attacked by two stacks of NPC units at a time, you will still only get one Faction War Reward when you smash those two stacks. (Unless they split up.)
A (really good):
Active Agent Networks – I placed this doctrine in the A tier, mostly because it can be used to greatly boost your influence productions at +2 per infiltrated player. Not only that, but you get +15 research per player and a whopping +4 operational strength. Seeing as Secret state gives you +5 operation defense, and Cloak and dagger makes covert ops 20% cheap while boosting operational strength by 3, it is clear to see that Active Agent Networks is the superior option (especially when you consider that AAN and C+D are both tech level 5 racial doctrines).
FerrokenFibrous = I personally consider Active Agent a must have in my playthroughs so that I can infiltrate opponents with higher ops defense. Not just for stealing tech, but to also make it a bit easier to drop strategic ops like Incineration Strike on them. Even in the late game I find it useful for the extra influence so that I can more easily buy all the Forgotten Arks, Psi-Fish Sirens, and etc. that I want.
Promethean = The covert ops doctrines are both excellent if you are doing covert ops. Do note that a lot of covert ops cost influence to activate (energy tap being the most notable) so that 40% cost reduction is huge. In my games I often find I am limited in activating covert ops by number of available targets (due to not having met them yet) and then the cost to activate. You can only run one of any given type of op on a singlet target but you can run multiple different ops at once. Its relatively easy to have active research taps on as many targets as ops points allows but be held back on keeping energy taps due to the influence cost.
Heightened Domok Regimen – I placed this doctrine in the A tier, because there are handful of doctrines that can boost your unit damage, and only one that I can think of right now that simply just boosts it against all units with no other requirements. That other doctrine is Extermination protocols which boosts damage by +10%, unless fighting xenoplague units, then they get +20% damage against those units. Celestians can get +10% damage to to all not enlightened units (so pretty much all other units) if they can get the enlightened buff on their units (I usually use mods to do that).
FerrokenFibrous = Domok Regimen is extremely good for the accuracy boost and upkeep alone. I always pick it due to my heavy focus on warfare and the three signature Domok units: Raider, Firebrand and Deadeye
Homeworld Reminiscence – I am thinking about placing this doctrine in the A tier, because that food growth will help you grow your colonies very quickly. Equivalent to Frontier Survival (which i put in B..) you get +4 happiness instead of 3 food (15-12=3).. So slightly better.. (maybe put HR in B)
DragonZee = it’s useful if you start with low Food income, but then again it’s totally depended on access to water, which can make it obsolete or can take a bit too much time to set-up. I would rate it lower.
Best in the early game
Promethean = I think you undervalue Frontier Survival and Homeworld is just as good in my eyes. That is as long as its a continents map. Trivially easy to get it activated on a continents map.
Holocrafted Zardas Channels – I placed this doctrine in the B tier, because it will allow your infiltrators to do an incredible +30% more damage when holoshifted. By the time you have this doctrine unlocked, I feel like you will be using the other units that you have available to you, but I could see infiltrator spam, being fairly overpowered, I just have not played around with it yet. Would love to get people’s opinion on that aspect of this doctrine. On top of that your cover operations are 40% cheaper, and you +3 operation defense, which sounds really nice, but as someone who doesn’t really play around with covert operations, I can’t tell if I am over or undervalue that aspect of this doctrine. That 40% reduction only applies to the energy involved, and not the operational points, so your covert operations are more likely to be limited by your strategic operational points than by your energy.
The reduction in influence operations is what kept this doctrine in the B tier, ahead of Society 2.0 (close call, but trusting the input of the user, Promethean on the forums)
Scorched Earth Policy – I placed this doctrine in the C tier, because as much as I like razing, so that I can get something out of my war efforts without having to worry about defending the new lands, I know that capturing and defending it is slightly more optimal in the long term. This doctrine is super valuable in mp, as human players are much harder to out maneuver (maybe move down to C/okay, not great unless playing on really competitive setting or against a human opponent, I could add a symbol for better in an mp/ better versus a human opponent).
FerrokenFibrous = Shakarn’s ability to use infiltrate to access other races’ tech early without having to own another their colonies, plus their amphibious mobility and seeming lack of ‘compatibility’ with the units of some, if not, most of the other races, makes me feel encouraged to go the xenophobe/mono-race route. I find Scorched Earth particularly good for that reason, as recently I have learned to raze most cities of races that I do not intend to use with the general exception of their capital and cities that are near cosmite nodes. It’s easy to get a ton of bonus energy and cosmite in the process, especially with this doctrine.
DragonZee = I think it’s too late in the game to actually make good use of so would rate it the lowest.
SquiggleWolfArts = I find the razing doctrine to be really good if you’re going a heavy conquest playstyle. Got like 170+ cosmite from one city I burned.