So it says you should use a lot of different ships but i found that about 3 ships are all you really need to get most of the nodes.
In most cases you can just level the wasp and power through easily.
The only exception is the Swarm nodes in which you just use all Queens instead.
Once you start getting past 5 nodes per ascension the last stage of a swarm node will give two of the boss enemies and they will delete your wasps easily. This is where you pull out a Tortoise to shield immediately and focus one of them down with the shotgun blast.
Every other faction node is easy to defeat so long as you have a high enough level Wasp.
So far the only upgrade I have noticed up to tier 4 is the health per ship type so I don't see any reason to use any other ships but these 3.
The best path to go for is to go straight for VUM9X8, giving you the 2nd insectoid chunk, and access to the O' Xelg chunks and the 50% and 100% resource bonuses. This will also give you access to all extra buildings as well.
Planet Chunk Guide
The Insectoid (Swarm) chunks give a 1.5 bonus to buildings so long as it is filled with one type of building, this being the highest multiplier you can get without synergies.
The Deserted (Angel) Chunk gives a 1.3 bonus to Fuel Pumps.
The Island Chunk (DPF) gives a 1.2 bonus to ALL power buildings. It can be effective to put 2 Solar panels and 2 Fusion Reactors to increase their synergies, unless its the only chunk you place power on.
The Metal (Warden) Chunks give a 1.15 bonus to non-power buildings. This is great for setting up some of the more annoying synergies just to have them active, but otherwise is completely unnecessary early on.
The O' Xelg Chunks give a 1.2 bonus to all Mining drills on the chunk. Does not effect Asteroid Harvesters or Particle Generators.
I've found a good setup is to sandwich an Island Chunk Between two Insectoid Chunks. Place all academies on the Insectoid chunks and place fusion reactors on the island chunk to use the Nuclear Physics Advanced synergy.
The two O' Xelg chunks at the end are different, one being a 3x4 with 3 random "Obstacles", basically the spaces you cant use, and the 4x4 that has no obstacles.
It seems there's also a random chance the 1x4 chunks have an obstacle as well.