I'll add a few more observations. (BTW: Pbhead, nice summary!)
6. Vasari are the best race for rushing. 1 military lab for LRFs (assailants). The same for repair and/or seige. 2 for a StarBase. Scouts quickly grab neutrals. An Egg with Nano Dissambler can take on almost any other Cap ship. (Try SB rushing, with 1 upgrade to it's weapons, and que it to move across their structures. Complete Wipeout!)
If the enemy is nearby, you can hit him with substantial forces before he has a chance to get going.
7. Late game, one of the strongest Economies! Granted it takes 4 labs to get tradeports, but there are many discounts available. Including the Enslaved Labor tech, Crystal & Metal combined in 1 research, neutral stealing scouts, (also improved population growth rates, improved salvage, etc).
8. Returning Armada is awesome (2nd level). It is feasible to get by with only 1 military lab, tech to RA in civic tree, and end up with an awesome diversified fleet (including tier 5 HCs).
9. Kostura Cannons are a true superweapon. No prequisite research required, just 8 mil labs. Awesome special effects and destructive power.
The most recent patch turned the Kortul into an absolute monster. I had a Kortul that singlehandedly fought off two AI fleets (caps and all) over the course of an hour without ever depleting its shields. I had to research antimatter regeneration upgrades, but it basically was an invulnerable engine of death.
I have to wonder if the Kortul is bugged? I had a high level (level 6) Kortul go one on one with my fully upgraded Vasari StarBase, and it wouldn't DIE! The SB couldn't even deplete the Kortul's shields! The same Kortul took on 3 level 4 or 5 Cap ships, and wouldn't die. I went back and looked at the replay. I couldn't believe it.