my apologies, i forgot that this was referring to the first 15 minutes.
i was referring to how selucia said that even the threat of an orky is dangerous. by 20-25 I usually have starfish, and you only need a couple to defend your planet from a vasari colony frig while your fleet's not there.
By this stage in the game, opposing players will be shadowing the other with their fleets, so it's usually fairly easy to sneak through a few starfish (unless it's a choke point of course).
Unless the opposing player has invested in static defenses or a few frigates around each planet (unlikley, since most players go all out attack), it's really easy to sweep a grav well of asteroids with starfish 'cause of their multidirectional attack abilities.
In addition, this tactic usually causes a response all out of proportion to the threat. I've seen people pull a dozen or more frigates from their fleet to chase down the cruisers and this can be easily capitalized upon. However, if the other person does not send a fairly substantial force after them, the starfish can do a great deal of damage, since they can attack while moving in any direction and have a massive range.
The effect of all that is that it forces your opponents hand. It gives them a pair of crappy choices to make: Let them live for a couple of minutes and lose more resource asteroids, or go after them and stomp them out, but remove a substantial force from your fleet. The tactic works well against any race, though against tec it's the best because of scarce strikecraft and the ability to outrange the starbase.
the point of using the starfish is that they give you a fairly reasonable counter to encroaching starbases while they also help keep your options open.
however, it only really works on random maps since there's alternate routes to go to reach your opponent's worlds
anyway, that's something i sometimes do to even up the odds when playing as advent.