Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (2024)

Highlights

  • Balancing traits is key to optimizing gameplay in Stellaris, using positive traits with initial points and adding negatives for an optimal combination.
  • High community engagement and new DLCs offer more build variance that players can apply to their species.
  • Populating planets quickly with rapid growth traits can lead to swift technological advancement and economic prosperity.

As a grand strategy game, Stellaris can be somewhat overwhelming for many players, newcomers, and returning veterans alike, especially for its empire and species customization options. With all the downloadable contents obtained, players can choose a combination from more than 80 traits for their species, with many species having their own specified traits to choose from as well.

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With the myriads of traits to choose from, players will need to balance their choices to be able to optimize the choice of traits within the 2 initial points available. Stellaris players can pick positive traits with the initial points and add more to them by picking negative traits to accommodate the more positive traits for an optimal combination of traits.

Updated June 27, 2024 by Evan Arnoldi: With the continuing updates that the game receives from its developer thanks to their newest downloadable content and high community engagement, Stellaris is now able to be played with far more build variance than before, and players can apply these builds to the species of their own design to cater their gameplay and roleplaying choices.

These builds use a specific combination of traits that enable them to survive and control the galaxy, should the player be able to efficiently harness the build's strength without being too careless against the hostile empires that will strike at the first glance of weakness.

15 Incubators Science Rush

Flexible Science Rush With Rapid Pops Growth

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (2)
  • Incubators: Grants between +30% and -10% Pop Growth Speed, inversely proportional to the number of pops on the planet.
  • Intelligent: +10% Research from Jobs
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops

In tradition with all other 4X games, Pops or Citizens are always the number one resource in the game, as they are essentially the lifeblood of a space empire. Without an adequate number of Pops, an empire can expect itself to be left behind by its other more powerful neighbors, which can eventually invade and take over. Fortunately, the Incubators Science Rush prevents such things from happening, as it combines the rapid growth of Pops and Technology.

The presence of the Incubators trait allows any newly settled planet to grow rapidly, making way for any Science job from the Research Lab to be worked on quickly without waiting too long. Moreover, the excess Traits Picks allow flexible modification by players to add more beneficial traits in the long run, as long as they manage to survive the early phases of the game.

14 Intelligent Aquatic

Combining The Meta Aquatic Build With Science Rush

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (3)
  • Aquatic: +20% Ocean Habitability, −10% Housing Usage on Ocean Worlds, +10% Worker Output on Ocean Worlds, −20% Dry and Frozen planet Habitability, +30% Housing Usage on Dry and Frozen planets
  • Intelligent: +10% Research from Jobs
  • Natural Sociologists: +15% Society Research from Jobs
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost

Recently, the Aquatic trait has been receiving extra attention because they can utilize their dependency on Ocean Worlds into a very efficient and productive Species with the extra Worker output. By combining the trait with the Science-boosting ones, such as Intelligent and Natural Sociologists will enable players to rapidly ascend the technological tree without any real obstacles.

Moreover, the increase in Society research will allow the player to quickly research gene technologies to omit the negative traits that might hinder the species' progress in the long run. As long as the player can maneuver their safety and address any resource shortage that might come with a technological focus, the species will be destined to rule the galaxy.

13 Buddingly Strong

Making Use Of Budding With Very Strong Modifiers

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (4)
  • Budding: Pops are able to provide 0.02 monthly organic pop assembly
  • Very Strong: +40% Army Damage & +5% Worker and Menial Drone Pop Resource Output
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost

Although it can be used rarely in both multiplayer and single-player games due to its unpopularity, Budding can be made viable with the right combination of traits, such as being accompanied by the Very Strong trait. The trait allows workers to be extremely productive by increasing their resource output, which can fund any population boom, which is a consequence of the Budding trait.

Moreover, by having the minuscule negative trait modifier in Unruly and Sedentary, a species with this specific combination will be able to enjoy both productive and rapidly growing pops, enabling them to prosper in the galaxy. Also, the Very Strong trait enables an empire to have extremely tough armies that can take over planets in one single swoop without having to build numerous armies.

12 Overtuned Hyper Rapid Pop Growth

Expand The Empire Population To Consolidate Power

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (5)
  • Pre-Planned Growth: Increases Pop growth speed by 30% & Reduced Pop housing usage by 10%. Reduces Leaders' lifespan by 10 years
  • Rapid Breeders: Increases Pop growth speed by 10%
  • Enduring: Increases Leader lifespan by 20 years
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost

Having a lot of population is always a plus to have for a space empire that tries to survive the galaxy in a game of Stellaris, especially during the early game, when pops are scarce and there are a lot of jobs that need pops to work on to provide resources. Having rapidly growing pops that can easily outcompete other species in the galaxy is made possible with the help of the Overtuned traits.

Although it requires the Overtuned origin, the total combination increases the growth of pop to a total of 40%, easily able to outgrow all other species in the galaxy. The negative aspect of Overtuned traits of having reduced leaders' lifespan is easily beset by the Enduring trait, and the rest of the negative traits are easily manageable by the hyper-growth of the empire's species.

11 Rapidly Growing, Yet Solitary Physics Researchers

Quick Growing Population Supported By Focus On Physics Technologies

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (6)
  • Rapid Breeders: +10% Growth Speed
  • Natural Physicists: +15% Physics Research from Jobs
  • Solitary: +10% Pop Housing Usage

With the mixture of Rapid Breeders and Natural Physicists traits, players can cultivate a space civilization capable of taking the galaxy rapidly without sacrificing any focus on science research. The bonus Physics research helps the player to keep up with other civilizations while expanding.

However, the drawbacks of Solitary might require the player to sacrifice one to two slots in their planets to increase housing for their pops. The drawback should not necessarily be huge, given that the player can capitalize on the huge amount of pops in their civilization.

10 Deviant, But Industrious And Strong

Strong Species That Can Land Strong Armies Supported By Great Economy

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (7)
  • Strong: +20% Army Damage & +2.5% Worker and Menial Drone Pop Resource Output
  • Industrious: +15% Minerals from Jobs
  • Deviants: −15% Governing Ethics Attraction

In Stellaris, waging war needs to be carefully measured since it will cost a lot of resources, effort, and time to make sure a campaign goes smoothly. With the Strong and Industrious trait, players will be able to wage war effortlessly without putting too much strain on their economy.

However, the added negative traits of Deviants might limit their choice of governments, as choosing the wrong one could fracture the political landscape of their civilizations.

9 Charismatic And Traditional, Yet Sedentary

Flexible Choices Of Combination To Support Other Focuses

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (8)
  • Charismatic: +20% Amenities from Jobs
  • Traditional: +10% Unity from Jobs
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost

With the added amenities from Charismatic, players can focus their resources on another field to build their civilization, such as research and preparation for war against other space-faring civilizations. The added unity from Traditional also boosts their empire to another level.

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The picked Sedentary negative trait could prove to be too much if the player decides to open their borders for others to gain pops from immigration, should they choose to go down that path.

8 Overtuned Hyper Technology Rush

A Focused Build On Technology While Sacrificing Leaders' Efficiency

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (10)
  • Elevated Synapses: Increases Research from jobs by 20%, Reduces Leader upkeep by 25%, Reduces leader maximum negative trait by 1. Reduces Leaders' lifespan by 10 years
  • Augmented Intelligence: Increases Research from jobs by 10%
  • Enduring: Increases Leader lifespan by 20 years
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops

Sometimes, rushing the technology tree to have the best weapons available for the optimal ship design can be tricky, since it requires the empire to sacrifice other resources such as energy credits, minerals, and even alloys, as they will need to focus on Research Labs. However, the Overtuned origin allows a hyper-focused technology rush to achieve the strongest ship components in the early years.

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The combination of traits made possible by the Overtuned origin allows the player to achieve +30% research output from the jobs. Moreover, the bonuses also have Leaders becoming more available and strong with the reduced maximum negative traits. Unfortunately, even with the Enduring trait, the combination will reduce the Leaders' lifespan by 10 years, making it necessary for the empire to focus on Leaders' lifespan improving technology to keep them in service without dying too early.

7 Intelligent & Conservationist Engineers, But Nonadaptive

Technology Rush With Minimum Resource Usage For The Scientists

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (12)
  • Intelligent: +10% Research from Jobs
  • Conservationists: −10% Pop consumer goods upkeep
  • Natural Engineers: +15% Engineering Research from Jobs
  • Nonadaptive: −10% Habitability

Rushing technology has never been easier with the addition of both Intelligent and Natural Engineers as the picked traits. Both traits boost the research speed of the civilization, making it easy to gain an advantage against other civilizations and look for other dangerous enemies in space.

Conservationists also keep consumer goods consumption low for the player to be able to focus on bringing Researchers jobs on their planets.

6 Filthy Rich, Yet Wasteful

Best Economic Combination, Flexible For Every Species

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (13)
  • Thrifty: +25% Trade value from Jobs
  • Ingenious: +15% Energy Credits from Jobs
  • Deviants: −15% Governing Ethics Attraction
  • Wasteful: +10% Pop consumer goods upkeep

Getting rich quickly could mean a huge early advantage against other space-faring civilizations with both Thrifty and Ingenious. Both traits boost a civilization's economy in space, making them able to fully utilize the Galactic Market for resources while also boosting their empire.

The negative modifier from Wasteful can be mitigated easily with the overabundance of energy credits that they gain per month with the previous positive traits.

5 Rapid Expansion, But Nonadaptive

Rapidly Grow Without Worrying About The Consequences

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (14)
  • Rapid Breeders: +10% Growth Speed
  • Docile: −10% Empire Size from Pops
  • Nonadaptive: −10% Habitability

Colonizing planets without being worried about the pops modifiers is a dream for many players, and it could be realized with both Rapid Breeders and Docile. Both traits enable the player to focus on expansion for their civilization without worrying too much about pops growth rate.

However, the negative Nonadaptive trait might prove to be a hindrance, which can be easily addressed with further specialization and customization further down the line by the player.

4 Warmonger Club

The Optimal Warmongering Traits Combination

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (15)
  • Rapid Breeders: +10% Growth Speed
  • Very Strong: +40% Army Damage, +5% Worker and Menial Drone Pop Resource Output
  • Natural Engineers: +15% Engineering Research from Jobs
  • Nonadaptive: −10% Habitability
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops

Sometimes, peace was never an option for some player while playing Stellaris, and this combination of traits will enable them to wage war across the galaxy with their massive fleet. Rapid Breeders allows them to flourish with pops, while Very Strong supports both ground army invasion and economy during wartime.

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Furthermore, Natural Engineers allows the player to keep up with the research to gain more edge in both space battles and invasions against others. The negative traits of both Nonadaptive and Unruly should not be too much bother for the player in the long run.

3 Aquatic Rush With Leader Focus

Use The Aquatic Preference To Focus On Leaders' Acquisition

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (17)
  • Rapid Breeders: +10% Growth Speed
  • Aquatic: +20% Ocean Habitability, −10% Housing Usage on Ocean Worlds, +10% Worker Output on Ocean Worlds, −20% Dry and Frozen planet Habitability, +30% Housing Usage on Dry and Frozen planets
  • Quick Learners: +10% Leader Experience Gain
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost

The Aquatic trait helps the player to find enough starting habitable planets near them to kickstart their economy, even though it will limit their choice of planets in the future. However, both Rapid Breeders and Quick Learners will be more than enough to cover the drawbacks of the negative traits included in this combination.

With the newest addition of leaders from the downloadable content Stellaris: Galactic Paragons, a focus on gaining leaders can also prove to be beneficial both in the short-term and long-term planning of the player's civilization.

2 Ultimate Void Dwellers Combo

Become The Ultimate Habitat Spammer With An Optimal Combination

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (18)
  • Void Dwellers: +15% Pop Output on Habitats, −15% Pop Output on Planets, −30% Pop Happiness on Planets (requires Void Dwellers origin).
  • Charismatic: +20% Amenities from Jobs
  • Natural Engineers: +15% Engineering Research from Jobs
  • Incubators: Grants between +30% and -10% Pop Growth Speed, inversely proportional to the number of pops on the planet.
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost
  • Nonadaptive: −10% Habitability

Playing with the Void Dwellers trait will enable the player to not care too much about habitability since they will be focusing efforts on maintaining and building new Habitats, which already negates the negative modifier of Nonadaptive.

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Furthermore, the Charismatic trait will keep the pops happy to live in the habitat, while Natural Engineers are crucial for the player to rush the tech tree for Megastructures and advanced weapons alike. For added flavors, the player will also be able to crack worlds without worrying too much about their own Colossus ships should they choose to go that path.

1 Psionics Rush

Rush The Psionics Tradition Tree For An Optimal Playthrough

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (20)
  • Latent Psionics: +10% Research from Jobs, +5% Unity from Jobs, Leaders have a chance to gain the Psychic trait (requires Teachers of the Shroud origin).
  • Incubators: Grants between +30% and -10% Pop Growth Speed, inversely proportional to the number of pops on the planet.
  • Ingenious: +15% Energy Credits from Jobs
  • Traditional: +10% Unity from Jobs
  • Sedentary: −15% Pop growth from immigration & +25% Resettlement Cost
  • Unruly: +10% Empire Size from Pops

With the latest changes in leaders introduced by Stellaris: Galactic Paragons, it is now a viable strategy for players to gain resources from leaders. This combination of traits will allow them to gain the necessary advantageous leaders without sacrificing trait points for other advantages.

However, the one trait that makes this build viable and strong would be the Latent Psionics, which requires the player to play with the Teachers of the Shroud origin. This will lock the player into one ascension path and play style, yet rewarding enough to let the player gain huge advantages in the early stages of the game.

Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (21)
Stellaris
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
May 9, 2016
Developer(s)
Paradox Development Studio

Genre(s)
4X , Grand Strategy
Stellaris: 15 Best Traits Combinations, Ranked (2024)
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