Ascension Perks in Stellaris can be quite difficult to rate, especially if you don’t look at them in a greater perspective. For that reason, and the fact how much time and effort it takes, I wanted to write this simplified tier list to give you an overview about all of the ascension perks to help you pick the ones that will give you the best benefits in the long run.
Tier List of the best Ascension perks in Stellaris
So, without wasting more time, let’s jump directly into the tier list.
Executive Vigor is a great auto-pick for most builds. This gives you +100 Edict Fund, which means you can go with at least two edicts which can make your empire quite powerful. However, many top-tier edicts have requirements that will essentially lock them until the late game, which means Executive Vigor is rendered useless until then.
Galactic Wonders gets your empire access to economy boosting tech like the Dyson Sphere and Matter Decompressor, which in turn gives you tons of resources like minerals and energy. This lets you free up most of your pops from doing basic resource gathering to specialized jobs, like metallurgy and research.
Tons of players have hot takes on this Ascension Perk. Technological Ascendancy is a S-tier first pick in Stellaris, for sure, because the Rare Research RNG boost and research speed buff can help you grow your empire by giving you a military, economic, and pop growth bonus.
Flesh is Weak is quite mediocre with mediocre boosts on its own, and the way that it prevents you from going to the Transcendence and Evolutionary Mastery path feels like an unfair trade. However, it lets you access Synthetic Evolution, one of Stellaris’ best full-synth ascensions.
Synthetic Evolution is the ultimate goal of the robotic ascension path gives a robotic modification point, a small boost to robot mineral production, and a special project that converts all pops into synthetics. Make sure your economy is energy-ready, or you’ll have trouble once the conversion is done.
Arcology Project needs you to give up 20,000 Minerals, tons of Influence, and 10 years to transform worlds into Ecumenopolis, which is the best celestial body for biological origins in the game. Ecumenopolis gives you significant boosts in pop growth speed and resource outputs through jobs, which makes it a no-brainer choice.
Hive Worlds is an absolute must for Hiveminded empires, and Machine Worlds is an absolute must for Machine Empires. Both of these Terraforming Ascension perks require the Climate Restoration tech to be researched.
This is the ultimate power boost for your empire so far, but it follows a strict list of requirements… Become The Crisis can be considered limiting due to these restrictions, but it’s ultimately worth it if you’re going for pyrrhic victories. It unlocks tons of Menacing units along with a 50% damage boost to your ship units.
Defender of the Galaxy is a powerful Ascension that gives you a 50% boost to Endgame Crisis Factions and Empires. This is the ultimate counterpick if your enemy goes with Becoming The Crisis. This Ascension pick is a mandatory pick if you want to survive The Crisis.
The 3.3 Update made One Vision a more viable pick and would be easily S-tier for Hivemind and Unity empires. It provides a decent Unity boost, and the Governing Ethics Attraction bonus will be essential to Influence generation and happiness.
Engineered Evolution as ascension is useful for pretty much all empires aside from Machine Intelligence. Gene Seed units can be quite formidable and can take charge of army ops, especially for the late game. However, once you take this Ascension perk, you’ll be stuck with the Genetic path, so be ready to commit to it.
Evolutionary Mastery is the peak of the biological Ascension path and the only way to get the best biological ascension traits, such as Erudite and Robust. It also doubles Engineered Evolution’s bonuses and gets Genetic Resequencing tech, which lets you mess around and fine-tune species’ traits.
Mind Over Matter is the trait you get if you want to go for the Spiritualist or Psychic Ascension Path. Psionic troops are quite powerful and can hold army ops for the remainder of the game. The free Latent Psionic trait is also great, but it only applies to your primary species, which leaves out your xeno-pops.
Transcendence is the ultimate goal of the Psionic Ascension path. It boosts Espionage, buffs your primary troops to true Psionics (sans xenos), and gives access to Shroud. Remember that Shroud relies heavily on RNG, and the buffs have too little effect and last for a short time, so be careful.
Master Builders is a great perk that can carry you into the late game. Master Builder significantly reduces megastructure build-time, letting you get bonuses faster. However, faster build times can tempt you to upgrade everything simultaneously, burying you deep into alloy scarcity.
If you want your Death Star, take the Colossus Project Ascension. This is the quickest way to blow your way to victory as it unlocks a lot of weapons that you can assimilate to any strategy. However, note that this Ascension perk is adept at destroying, so you can’t take planet pops after you attack.
Galactic Contender is quite underrated as a Ascension Perk; It buffs your damage against Fallen, Awakened, and the Gray Tempest (in any form.) Galactic Contender also gives +20% Diplomatic Weight, which helps get that Custodian nomination to the Senate.
Hydrocentric is a relatively new perk that comes with the Aquatic DLC. Since you’re probably going to mod your Aquatic out through synthetic or biological ascension (or even if you stick to Aquatic), the extra 5% bonus will be underwhelming.
Imperial Prerogative is a great and safe Tier 0 perk if you’re winging it. This Ascension’s admin cap automatically buffs your research speed, though Technological Ascendancy is better. It also reduces Tradition, Leader, and Upkeep costs which lets you have a strong early game.
Before taking Nihilistic Acquisition as Ascension perk, you must ask yourself if you want pops or planets. Sure, the abduction factor is cool, but colonizing a planet and then resettling it would be better in the long run.
The Voidborn Ascension isn’t worthless, but it will require a lot of habitats for it to be worth its price. Only the Void Dweller origin can really make this worthwhile, but sometimes it works with other origins if they know what they’re doing.
If you like tech rush but want to keep your tech lead no matter what, then Enigmatic Engineering perk is for you. This makes it so that you’re immune from Steal Technology, and any tech that normally won’t be available through normal research would be encrypted and unresearchable on the debris you leave behind.
Synthetic Age is viable only if you’re running Machine empires, as this gives you extra Machine trait points and a nice discount on the Mod Species Special Project. However, this Ascension is not mandatory, and there are better alternatives to Synthetic Age.
Starbase and Defense Platform buffs are great. The only reason Eternal Vigilance is in C-tier is that Starbases are generally incapable of holding up against enemy fleets. Constructing 50 Defense Platforms can be a waste of resources when you could just be stacking fleets rather than defending a Starbase.
Interstellar Dominion used to be a top-tier Ascension. Still, in 3.3, the Influence gain greatly surpasses the Influence discounts from this perk, making it virtually redundant, especially when you enter mid-game.
Mastery Of Nature is pretty underwhelming in the early game but can be nice by mid-game. However, you’d rather build a Habitat for almost the same costs, which makes it a not-so-good decision by the late game.
The extra envoys you can get from Shared Destiny are great, but at the end of the day, vassals and tributaries aren’t a core component to victory. However, the Overlords DLC might bump this Ascension to B- or A-tier.
If you’re running with a Corporate Empire, the exclusivity of Universal Transactions can be exciting. The Branch Office discounts are really not worth an Ascension slot, and the influence gain in 3.3 easily offsets the free Commercial Pacts it provides.
Machine or Hivemind empires’ economies will really benefit from Grasp The Void. It’s not bad, but not great either. Extra Starbases are nice but might not be worth an Ascension slot. Overall, it’s a top C-tier decision.
World Shaper is one of the safest decisions you can take. Its ability to terraform worlds into Gaia planets makes it very viable if you took Consecrated Worlds. Your resources would be better used for Habitability tech and Ascensions.
Galactic Force Projection‘s Naval Capacity and Fleet Command Limit bonus are really useful. But given that you can only get this as your third Ascension Perk, it would probably be redundant as you should already have a reasonable amount of research for your Naval and Fleet cap.
Consecrated Worlds is not worth it, at least as a first Ascension perk. Consecrating celestial bodies costs Unity, and you’ll need all you can get in the early game. You’re better off just colonizing the planets instead of consecrating them.
Transcendent Learning‘s leader boosts are great on paper, but you’ll reach the max leader level cap even without Transcendent Learning. It’s essentially useless by mid-game, and by late game, it will be like it doesn’t exist at all.
Xeno-Compatibility is another perk that sounds good the first time but can be terrible by mid- to late-game. Xeno-Compatibility can produce pretty formidable species, but it’s an absolute nightmare to manage down the line. It might even cause lag, which is tilting in itself.
I hope this helps you decide which ascension perk are strong in Stellaris as well as which ones to invest in in the long run to get the most out of it. If you have further questions, please drop a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer.