5 Advanced Tips From an Immortal Astra
Astra is arguably one of the best controllers in the current meta.
In the VCT Berlin Masters Astra held over an 80% pick rate for all maps except Icebox and Breeze (Viper dominates these two maps with her Toxic Screen.) Hence, the tips and tricks for this article will be concerning Split, Haven, Bind, and Ascent.
She is a very proficient controller that is able to pressure and influence interactions across the entire map.
Whilst using her Astral Form she is able to place her stars anywhere she wishes. This gives her the edge over other controller agents that are limited by distance, like Brimstone.
Additionally, Astra is capable of initiating a lot of strategic plays with her Nova Pulse and Gravity Well. These two abilities are very strong and work equally well on attack and defense.
When defending, well-placed stars may make it very difficult for attackers to hit sites like A Main Ascent, and when attacking the Gravity Well can help flush out chokepoints and or allow your team to gain early map control.
In this guide, I’ll be covering five recommended tips as an Immortal Astra player!
1. When you have max stars on defense, place them down in the buy phase for ease of use
Before the round starts, there are a lot of viable spots where you can place your stars in anticipation of enemy pushes.
In most scenarios, your first priority is to place down her signature ability Nebula to smoke off chokepoints. I mention this now because you have to be judicious with the way you use your stars since you won’t always have all of them, sometimes you may only have 2 or 3.
If you have 2 or 3 I don’t recommend placing them all down in the buy phase since you don’t have enough stars to work with.
Place a star down for a smoke on the site you are playing on and get ready to use Astral form according to the information you are gathering on the enemy team.
When you do have most of your stars, you can begin anchoring a site by yourself whilst your sentinel plays the other.
For example, you can have your Killjoy set up to anchor B Site Ascent whilst you hold A behind double box or generator like so.
When setting up your stars like this it is best to play off a teammate that is able to feed you information.
Someone that is jiggling tree-room or heaven will be able to tell you exactly when the enemy has committed to pushing the site and you can then use your Gravity Well and Nova Pulse to give the enemy a hard time at retaliating to your gunfire.
It is best to activate your abilities whilst still behind the double box or generator to minimize your own risk and allow a moment for enemies to become vulnerable (where they will be 2 shot to the chest with Vandal or Phantom).
Here are examples of how you can set up your stars on the bomb sites of other maps.
B SITE BIND:
A SITE HAVEN:
C SITE HAVEN:
A SITE SPLIT:
2. Dissipating stars can be a useful tactic
There are various reasons why dissipating stars can be useful.
Confusing enemies with patterns you have created in your attack
For example, if you have been attacking B Site on Bind for the last 3 rounds in a row and at the start of each round you have used your Gravity Well at B long like so:
You and your team could set up outside of A Short and A Showers ready to attack whilst you start the round by using the exact same Gravity Well at B Long.
You could even place two more stars at Elbow and CT to deceive those playing on B Site that you are getting ready to smoke there.
Feeding all of this false information to the enemy team after they have already fallen victim to 2 or 3 B Site attacks may just see some A Site defenders begin to rotate or hold angles less intently.
There are a lot of mind games you can play with Astra and how she can dissipate her stars. You could preemptively place stars Heaven and CT when attacking A Site Haven.
You could slowly prod your way up A looking for a pick as a team and making some noise.
After making a bit of a ruckus and causing enemies to rotate, you could begin cutting off all noise and start looking for a pick-off a defender that decided to flank.
At the same time you dissipate your stars and the enemy may feel convinced that you have rotated off. Once you think you have successfully sold the fake your team could attempt to lurk up A site.
Escaping sticky situations by smoking off angles just for a moment
For example if you are stuck on the ‘Wine’ side of A Main Ascent and need to cross Arches to retreat with your team you could place a smoke down at the choke point to dissipate and cross.
Dissipating your star gives you a good second of smoke that is just enough time to W key to safety.
Once again you can play mind games and dissipate whilst staying on the same side, pretending to have crossed.
Giving enemies a false sense of security by pretending you are using your Nebula
This works well with the first point mentioned; breaking patterns that you have created in your attacking plays. For example, if you have smoked bottom mid on Ascent 2 or 3 rounds in a row, you could place the exact same star down and dissipate it soon after.
You may find someone attempting to hold close to the smoke or even in the smoke ready to lurk out.
Obviously, this won’t work every time but on the odd occasion going the extra mile to add a layer of deception to your game can often lead to a pick here and there.
This concept works on defence as well, let’s say you are holding C Site on Haven and always default smoke off C Long when you make contact with enemies that are jiggling around the ult orb.
After doing the same smoke a few rounds in a row, this time around you could dissipate it and have your crosshair placement ready to take out a few unsuspecting enemies.
Some might be W keying to cubby, others may have their flash in their hands, ultimately you will be anticipating the gunfight more than them.
Remember, this is situational and adding this sort of flare to your game is something you should do sparingly.
3. Always hold for pushes through your Cosmic Divide
To be able to use Cosmic Divide effectively you must understand its weaknesses. This ability is as strong as you allow it to be.
Just as easily as this ability can help you secure a round it can also be the exact reason that you lost it.
The greatest downside of this wall is the false sense of security that it provides you and your teammates with.
The most important thing to remember when using Cosmic Divide is that your enemies can push through with flashes and lethal abilities like Showstoppers etc. at any point in time.
They can also quietly lurk through. More often than not those cheeky enemies that try to lurk through and be the hero for the enemy team try to peek around the outskirts of the ultimate.
Hence, holding close to the edges of this ultimate is going to place you at a significant advantage at punishing these players.
Here is a great example from VCT Masters Berlin where G2 Avova holds the close corner of his Cosmic Divide to secure 2 kills.
4. Learn enemy patterns of play so that you can use your Gravity Well and Nova Pulse accordingly
If you are attacking on Split and an enemy continuously peeks at your team at the start of the round from A Ramps.
Organize at the start of next round that you are going to suck and or concuss this player and have your Raze or Jett use their mobility to try picking off this vulnerable agent.
In this sort of scenario, make sure to place your stars down last second before the buy phase ends. Placing it down too early is going to give away what you are doing and scare the enemy off.
Astra’s Gravity Well empowers your team with the opportunity to seize space without running the risk of being picked off by enemies.
If you have attempted to push B Long on Bind as a team and have fallen victim to an enemy Jett Operator holding the angle down towards the fountain.
You could immediately place this pull down when the barrier drops and this should allow your team to reach this area safely.
Now if the enemy wishes to contest this space they must peek into you as opposed to you peeking into them.
This sort of idea can be replicated when attempting to push A long, you can place a Gravity Well where the enemy peeks near the ult orb and make the most of this by gaining ground down long.
5. Communicate with your teammates
Astra is one of the best agents right now but a lot of her strengths and outplay potential comes through team synergy.
When playing Astra in your games you are going to have to be communicating to your team what you are doing and request from them that they feed you information as well.
If you are playing the A Site Ascent anchor as Astra on Ascent as mentioned previously, you aren’t going to be able to tell the precise moment that enemies begin to push out of B Main.
At the start of the round, you can place a star for a Nebula at the B Main chokepoint, and then ask your B Main player to call for the Gravity Well when enemies are hitting the site.
Having this coordination from your B Player is going to increase your chances of actually pulling enemies rather than having to guess.
Communication is going to be vital for defense as just explained but also attack.
Whilst attacking a simple concise sentence like, “I just concussed cubby, pulling back site now” is going to alert your teammates that they should attempt capitalizing off your abilities.
Astra is one of the more complicated controllers in the game and she does have a bit of a learning curve.
At the start, she can feel quite difficult to use as you navigate in and out of her Astral Form. It may be best to practise her first in the Range, or in Unrated and Spike Rush games.
Once learned she will become easy to use and you will find yourself capable of quickly and proficiently placing new stars down mid round. She excels on both attack and defence and debatably has the best widespread map control since she can support teammates being rushed on the other side of the map.
If you are currently an Omen or Brimstone main I would recommend giving Astra a go!
P.S. Remember not to insta-lock Astra on Icebox on Breeze as Viper is better for these maps.
Good luck with learning this agent and happy climbing!
Head to our Astra agent page to learn more about her abilities and kit.