How to destroy the galaxy in Stellaris: Nemesis

Crises in Stellaris are some of the hardest challenges in the game. If you’re tired of fighting off galactic incursions from the Contingent, the Immutables, or the Praetorins, then the Nemesis DLC will let you try something different. By choosing the Become The Crisis Ascension perk, you will be able to start the path to creating a doomsday weapon and destroy the entire galaxy yourself.

Becoming a Crisis means that the entire galaxy will turn against you. If you’re ready for this challenge, read on to find out how you can become an interstellar supervillain and the galaxy’s greatest menace.

How to unlock the threat

Once you complete three or more Tradition trees, the Ascension perk becomes available, allowing you to become a Crisis. This perk requires the Nemesis DLC and your empire must be evil enough to even consider this option.

Becoming a Crisis cannot be chosen if your empire has the Xenophile or Pacifist ethics, or if you are a subject of another empire. You also cannot choose Become Crisis if you are a Galactic Guardian or Emperor, although you can complete it before being assigned to any of these titles. Finally, rogue Servants and corporations can never choose to destroy the galaxy.

By adopting this Ascension perk, you will unlock a new resource called Threat. You can check the current threat and its consequences in the Crisis tab of the Society Management window (the same one you use for Traditions and Relics). Threat represents the level of fear and desperation that you have created throughout the galaxy, which is a necessary step to create enough resonance with the Shroud to power the Ethereal Phase Engine.

When your threat reaches a certain threshold and you complete the required special project, your Crisis Level will increase. Each Crisis level gives you powerful bonuses, but imposes a permanent opinion penalty with every other empire in the game. Timing your projects so that you can deal with the ever-increasing number of empires set against you.

How to increase the threat and increase the level of the crisis

Certain actions – usually aggressive and warlike – will cause your empire to become threatened. The exact amount of threat generated depends on the number of empires in the galaxy at the start of the game. The more empires, the less threat you will receive in general. This means that a larger, more populated galaxy will be harder to destroy than a smaller one. Base Threat growth per action is reduced by twenty percent for every six starting empires in the galaxy.

Sources of Threats

Base Threat Score Acquired Awarded for 15

  • Every ship or starbase has been destroyed by your fleet.
  • Every population cleared or assimilated by you.


  • Each year, the vassal remains under your control.
  • Every spy operation carried out by your spies.


  • Every year your empire breaks the Galactic Law.


  • Every empire destroyed or vassalized by you.
  • Every planet is destroyed by you.


  • All planets captured by your armies.

The Special Project required to advance to the next Crisis level is available even if you don’t have the required Threat yet. If you complete it early, then your Crisis level will increase at the moment when you have enough threat, whether you are ready for it or not. For this reason, it is best to delay the project until you are ready to advance, especially for the fifth Crisis level.

Crisis levels

Crisis Level Threat Research Cost Effects 1 0 n/a (unlocked by obtaining the Ascension ability)

  • Opens up a casus belli with forced inclusion and existential exile.
  • Empires are more likely to agree to vassalization.
  • Allows the purge policy, even if it would otherwise be denied.
  • The population is cleared six times faster.

2 1000 Society 3000

  • All empires get -40 opinions against you.
  • Unlocks the menacing corvette design.
  • Get attrition from war at a quarter of your normal rate.
  • Your ships deal 30% more damage to starbases.

3 2000 6000 Physics

  • All empires get -80 opinions against you.
  • Unlocks the menacing destroyer design.
  • Threatening Corvettes gain +15 Evasion.
  • Threatening corvettes are fifty percent more likely to successfully disengage from combat.
  • All ships are built fifty percent faster.
  • Allows the bombing of Armageddon, even if it would otherwise be prohibited.
  • Orbital bombardment deals twenty percent more damage to defending armies.

4 5000 Society 12000

  • All empires get -120 opinions against you.
  • Unlocks the threat cruiser design.
  • Threatening destroyers get +30 tracking.
  • All ships deal 50% more damage.

5 10000 20000 Engineering

  • All empires get -200 opinions against you.
  • All empires break alliances and treaties with you (except vassals).
  • You are excluded from your Federation.
  • You are excluded from the Community Galactica or the Imperium.
  • The Galactic Community or the Imperium will immediately declare war on you.
  • Threatening cruisers receive thirty percent more hull points.
  • The maintenance of the ship is reduced by thirty percent.
  • Allows you to create Star Eaters.
  • Your Dark Matter storage capacity is increased by 200,000

Threatening ships

Increasing your Crisis level allows you to open models of the Menace ships. While these ships are not technically more powerful than their regular counterparts (at first), they do have alternate circuitry that allows them to be head and shoulders above normal ones.

When you reach Crisis Level 3 or higher, your Menacing ships will also receive powerful bonuses that will render non-Threatened ships obsolete. It is best to start refitting the fleet as soon as each model of a threatening ship appears.

Ether phase engine

The ultimate goal of the formation of the Crisis is to build and activate the Ether-Phase Engine. This doomsday weapon is designed to merge reality with the Shroud, theoretically allowing your empire to ascend to a higher level of existence at the cost of destroying the galaxy (and possibly the universe).

When you reach the fifth and final level of the Crisis, the construction of the Aether Phase Engine will begin in your capital system. If possible, it’s a good idea to move your capital to the most heavily defended system in your empire before proceeding with the last step. You will also receive two free Star Eaters, which will help you collect a huge amount of dark matter needed to create a super weapon.

The Ether Phase Engine is built in five stages, each taking ten years, so it will take at least fifty years from the time you reach the highest level of crisis to destroy the galaxy.

Tip: Multiple empires can fall victim to the Crisis, and multiple Etherphasic Drives can be built at the same time. Capturing a rival system containing a doomsday weapon under construction allows you to harvest Dark Matter for your own purposes!

If the system containing the Etherphasic Drive is captured, it will be destroyed and you will have to repair it after recapturing the system before you can continue building.

Stages of construction of the Ether-phase engine

Stage Dark Matter Cost Effects (non-stacking) 1 0 (automatically reached when crisis level 5 is reached)

  • Produces an additional 100 units. energy and 250 units. minerals per month.
  • +100 fleet HP.


  • Produces an additional 200 units. energy and 500 units. minerals per month.
  • +150 fleet HP.


  • Produces an additional 400 units. energy and 1000 units. minerals per month.
  • +200 fleet capacity.
  • -1000 opinions with all empires.
  • Creates hostile Shroud avatars in your territory.


  • Produces an additional 800 units. energy and 2000 units. minerals per month.
  • +250 fleet capacity.
  • -1000 opinions with all empires.
  • Creates hostile Shroud avatars in your territory.
  • Kills up to six settlements and two leaders if they have psychic or psionic traits.


  • Destroys the galaxy, ending the game.
  • Unlocks Big Red Button, achievement.

Star Eaters

Star Eaters are ships that can destroy stars in the same way that the Core Cracker destroys planets. After successfully destroying the star, the system will become uninhabitable, and you will get a large amount of dark matter. To complete the creation of the Aether Phase Drive, your Star Eaters must be active and firing.

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