Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we look at some of the big, big chunks of resin you can throw at your opponent, and trust me, if you do that literally, you can do real damage. Today, we talk about the Acastus Knight Asterius, a long-ranged anti-armor killer. If you want so more tips and tricks, you better head over to the ever-expanding catalog of material at Frontline’s Tactics Corner.
- Karacnos Mortar Battery – Range 60” Heavy 3d3 S5 AP-1 D1. This weapon can target models out of Line of Sight, and wounds on a 2+ except against Vehicle or Titanic units. This weapon also ignores cover.
- Twin Conversion Beam Cannon (x2) – When attacking, select one of the profiles below:
- Short Range – 0-24” Heavy 2d3 S12 AP-1 D2
- Medium Range – 24”-48” Heavy 2d3 S14 AP-2 D4
- Long Range – 48”-72” Heavy 2d3 S16 AP-3 D6
- Titanic Feet – S8 Ap-2 Dd3 attacks that make 3 hit rolls for each attack.
- Volkite Culverin (x2) – Range 45” Heavy 4 S6 AP0 D2. On a natural wound roll of 6, deals 1 mortal wound in addition to damage.
- Ion Shield – 5++ Invulnerable save against ranged attacks.
- Reactor Meltdown – When this model dies, roll a D6. On a 5+, it explodes and each unit within 2d6” suffers d6 mortal wounds.
- Super-Heavy Walker – This model can shoot and charge after it Falls Back. When Falling Back, it can move across enemy INFANTRY models and SWARM models as if they were not there, but must end its move 1” away from enemy models. This model does not suffer the penalty for moving and firing Heavy Weapons. This model does not receive the benefit of cover to its saving throws unless at least half of the model is obscured.
The Asterius is an odd one, a long, long range gun platform that is all about avoiding the scrum and landing some big shots on a heavy target all while slowly eating away at models hiding out of LoS. With 30 wounds at T8 and a 5++ against shooting, this is a big, big model that is not going to go down without some seriously tooled firepower, and with its range, it can sit out of the fight and away from a lot of other targets. While many Knights do not like long deployments, the Asterius sure does as its optimal kill zone is 48-60” where the Conversion Beams are at max power and the Mortar is still in range of good targets. Yes, the Volkites are out, but those are mostly for chip damage against infantry or a wounded light vehicle. At 50” or so, you are out of range of a lot of standard AT weaponry like Lascannons and Missile Launchers, and the Asterius is about living through the game as long as possible, not providing forward pressure.
The Conversion Beams are devastating at max range, getting 4d3 (so 6 on average) shots that wound just about anything on 2s with -3 AP and flat damage 6 at long range is insane. Even Iron Hands Executioners have to be scared of that. The Mortar is also excellent at flushing units out of Magic Boxes and terrain, and wounding on 2s against infantry with -1AP that ignores cover is great. D1 isn’t so great, but then Infernal can solve that problem easy enough. In general, the Asterius gives a good answer to a common Knight problem, how to kill things hiding in buildings and how to put major ranged threat from any deployment map.
Ambition here does matter in different ways. I like Infernal for the ability to boost the Mortar. Getting it up to D2 really gives you a nice answer to Primaris Marines as now they are just flat out dying for each failed save. You really don’t need to boost the Conversion Beam Cannon, but if you don’t need to boost the Mortar, getting up to T9 on such a beefy model gets you a lot of mileage. None of the Infernal only strats work that well though. Iconoclast’s ambition doesn’t matter much as with only 3 attacks base and WS 4+ when healthy, you don’t want the Asterius to fight. That said, it can definitely make use of the Vows. Vow of Dominance is excellent to make it so much harder to kill the Asterius at range as it can only be wounded on 4+, and Vow of Beastslayer gets you that extra mileage out of its cannon, and at full power, that’s an extra 12% wounds on the big cannon on any hard target, not too shabby for 1 CP.
Dreadblading here can make sense in certain matchups. If you are really concerned about other Titanic units, Path to Glory is a good call for lots of extra mileage out of the hit rolls. Galvanized Hull can be nice for ignoring AP-1, making the Asterius much harder to kill through chip damage. The big problem is that with Dreadblade, you don’t get the two Ambition specific relics, and well, the Asterius likes them both. If Iconoclast, the Veil is awesome as a 4++ to shooting on the Asterius is amazing, especially when combined with Vow of Dominance, and if Infernal, the Blasphemous Engine means you need to be damn near dead to degrade. You can go with the Helm of Warp Sight if you really need to kill flyers or Plaguebearers, but the Asterius doesn’t put out enough shots on average to really leverage that. Then again, you only need an Eldar flyer to fail 2 wounds to take 12 damage at max power. In my mind, the best loadout is an Iconoclast Asterius with the Veil and Vow of Dominance for a truly, truly frustrating model to kill at range that will smoke any heavy armor (except the ol IH Leviathan) and provide you a durable out of LoS platform as well.
Army composition matters a great deal here as I don’t see an Asterius being very effective in a pure Chaos Knight army. Combine it though with a wall of Pink Horrors for some board control and anti-horde shooting, some smitey characters, and maybe Spikey 17, and you are starting to get yourself a decent army. That said, you need to do such as the Asterius alone has big blind spotsSo why aren’t these things everywhere? Well, really, the big, big problem is the big, big price tag, both cashy-money and points. 830 points is one hell of a commitment. If you actually want the Infernal ambition, really factor in that you need to spend just a bit more than 1100 points to get that D2 mortar. Granted, an Asterius with 2 Moirax War Dogs with Tesla is a good combo that covers AT and AP pretty well, but that still leaves you very, very little room for anything else. This is why Iconoclast is best as you can get everything you need to make that 830 points as durable as possible without having to spend any more points. Even then, 830 points in one model leads to skew. Don’t forget that the only guaranteed fire that you get is from the Volkite, which are outside of the optimal range band, and that’s only 8 shots. It is completely possible to roll a lot of 1s and end up with only 4 shots from the big cannon and 3 from the mortar. That’s a real bad turn, and there is no House Raven strat here to make that less likely. If the Asterius over-performs, you are going to have a great game. If it under-performs, you’re gonna have a bad time. If you get alpha-struck by a mean as nails army, boom, you are now playing 1170 points against 2000 in a standard game. With no real way to heal, once this model gets degraded, it’s threat drops considerably, and it is a CP hungry beast. You want to spend 2 each turn for Trail of Destruction to reroll hits and get the most mileage out of your high-powered shots, and you will want to spend CP to give it Vow of Dominance at least. The Asterius is a major resource sink and against certain matchups like say an Ork horde, it is not going to do much work for you at all. It doesn’t have the volume of fire to really threaten a horde (at max, it is doing 12 big shots, 9 mortars, and 8 Volkite followed up by 9 stomps. That may seem like a lot, but against 100+ models, it really isn’t when it accounts for almost 50% of your army). This means that if you really want to take the Asterius, you need to dedicate the rest of your army to anti-horde and board control, so again, pushing you into a specific build.
65/100 – Not passing, but not garbage either. The Asterius can do work in a reasonably competitive army, but a very specific style of army, and is it going to take you to the top of the pops? Probably not as it is too expensive and resource intensive for what it gives you, and by including the Asterius, you are giving yourself a huge hole to fill in terms of meta. Thanks as always for reading, and hey, SoCal Open is coming up real fast, so make sure your models are painted and your dice are blessed.
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