The Asura has a lot of options in several combinations as befits Aleph's most potent direct aspects:
- Multi Rifle - a great close-range weapon backed up by MSV3. Both shock and AP ammo are useful, and the DA ammo is useful in the reactive turn. The Asura is a bit slow to bring the weapon to bare on your opponent's side of the table, but is incredibly efficient at attacking anything on your side of the table.
- Spitfire - A good mid-range weapon for removing specialists and skirmishers from objectives. While not as great a spitfire platform as Achilles, she's still a good choice in OSS. Realize that it will be weak against heavily armored targets, but useful against everything else.
- Combi-rifle - weak for how expensive the Asura platform is. Don't take this version. If you're struggling for points to upgrade to a multi-rifle, you're better off re-thinking the rest of your army for points savings instead.
- Nanopulsar - Always handy to have a direct template weapon for close-in work, and all the profiles have it. Use on BTS-weak opponents or to discover/plant across a series of camo markers if you're in the midfield.
Paired with the main weapons (or instead of, in the case of the Spitfire) is a fantastic support tool:
- Hacking Device Plus (upgrade: Redrum) - All the benefits of an HD+ on a rock-solid platform with high WIP and BTS, and adding in Redrum to kill enemy hackers. This also turns the Asura into a top-tier specialist able to do just about anything on the field. The MSV3 will counter surprise-shot mods from a hacker jumping out of TO camo, but only if the Asura can actually see it.
Heavy armor, high BTS, effectively 3 wounds, and suppressive fire with all of its weapon options. The Asura can take a hit from just about anything short of a missile launcher and keep on going towards its objective. Make sure to keep it in cover and point its sight-lines towards places where it has decent range bands.
With the Redrum upgrade, the Asura's HD+ is effectively like having a KHD as well. Approaching enemy hackers can force them into a tough decision: Reset, dodge, or shoot back. You're likely to win any face-to-face roll, and if they pick a defensive choice then you can counter with the opposite attack. Likewise, the same trick can work against TAGs, HI, and REMs. Armed with a multirifle, this makes your opponent's decision all the harder.
In OSS, consider the Haris option with Devas or Yadu. The Yadu especially can fill holes in the Asura's profile (most notably range, with the HMG). A Haris with Shakti, an Asura of either variety, and a Yadu HMG will be expensive but painful for your opponent to deal with. Alternatively Shakti, an Asura Spitfire, and a Rudras with K1 Marksman rifle will be equally deadly and only slightly less efficient with its range bands.
It's best to ignore the Asura if you can, or hit it with AP and Explosive ammo. E/M, Viral, breaker, and anything else that will lower its save and cause it to roll multiple dice will be your best bet. The Asura wants to tank anything you throw at it and you can either try to break that tank or take out its orders. This will be even harder in OSS where the Asura has an Lt2 option (meaning it generated 3 orders for itself).
For the points cost, the Spitfire Asura is actually one of the weaker profiles. Using the HD+ profile with Multirifle gives you a potent, survivable specialist that you can build the rest of your list around. In OSS (where you have access to an LT2 option and cheap Chain of Command from the Shukras) it makes a lot of sense to make the Asura your lieutenant and play aggressively with it.
Supporting elements will be key (as always), especially long-range weapons able to protect the Asura as it gets up to objectives. Sprinkle the list with some cheaper specialist options like the Dakini paramedic, the Proxy Mk1, and maybe a CSU for backup; but know that you can lean pretty heavily on the Asura for your primary specialist duties.
One caveat is that the Asura is expensive, and even though there are options for links of multiple it's probably not worth taking them outside of a 'fun' list. Three Asuras in a Haris will be nearly impossible to counter, but the points cost will leave you without any support options and likely less than 10 orders.
Despite having a lot of health and some potent weapons, the Asura is easily outranged in ARO. Instead, deploy in total cover or with the Asura guarding close firelanes. With your high armor, nanopulsar, and extra wounds you can set yourself up to block warbands attempting to advance into your backline.
If you take the hacking version, watch your repeater network as well. Your Asura can take on a single KHD when it activates, but is going to struggle against multiple opponents.
Active Turn Role
The Spitfire wants to advance as much as possible and take out enemy attack pieces. You'll want to focus on low-armor targets because damage 14 is going to struggle against TAGs and HI (especially in cover). Make sure it ends the turn covering an objective in suppressive fire.
The HD+ version should aim for objectives. Watch out for long-range AROs, and end your turn watching easy approaches. Despite your defensive mods, the Asura's goal is to complete objectives and force your opponent to root it out in the reactive turn instead of giving away easy wounds in the active turn.
The Asura lacks dedicated ARO profiles, but has solid ARO options. The spitfire's rangebands and the Multirifle's ammo types can threaten just about any roll as long as the Asura is well positioned on the table. The addition of a nanopulsar gives an auto-hit direct template for close-in work, and the HD+'s programs provide some good choices against enemy hackers, HI, TAGs, and REMs.
Rely on other tools in your arsenal for dedicated ARO platforms, but know that the Asura can take care of itself in a wide range of circumstances.