When I first played rd_asteroid, my eventual thoughts were…meh. It’s decent, but before I really understood the map and the game mode it was confusing to the point of frustration. And once I’d played it long enough that it was no longer confusing, its many flaws just seemed to hamper my ability to enjoy myself. A whole lot of classes seem underpowered on this map and several design choices (especially the plethora of overly-good sentry spots) only make it worse.
But the more I played, the more I slowly realized that a number of my problems were due to my refusal to think outside the box and try new things. There are several odd weapons that actually shine on rd_asteroid.
1. The Winger. The Winger proves its mettle due to some extremely important pathways it opens up. One of my least favorite parts of the current iteration of asteroid is the total chokepoint at Robot A spawn. The only other way in is via explosive jumping to the battlements. Or equipping the Winger!
The Atomizer is a great pair with the Winger for the extra mobility, and arguably the Soda Popper but I never found those extra jumps were really needed on top of the three lowgrav jumps you already get. Plus this lets you keep your favorite scattergun (mine is stock) equipped for combat and Robot busting.
2. The Backburner. The Pyro quickly grew to be my favorite defensive class in asteroid. Due to the aforementioned chokepoint at A, a Pyro can become a huge hindrance to anyone hoping to progress further due to being forced to confront him in some rather tight quarters. I recommend the Backburner over the other choices because its downside is largely negated by the many ammo sources available when staying in your base, either from Dispensers or pickups or the soldier you just gibbed with his own rocket.
The Phlog is fun too, and gives a much-appreciated source of health regen, but the airblast is a bit too useful on a map with lasers, pits, and literally bottomless cliffs.
3. The Sticky Jumper. That sound was about half of our normal readers throwing their hands up and closing down the article. Sorry, I know I write about it too much! But the Sticky Jumper works seriously well for most of the same reasons the Winger does; staying up on the second floors and using its ample escape abilities to roam the entire map. For once, the Persian Persuader is a poor choice because the teleporter concept makes returning to spawn to tag a Resupply Locker damn near impossible to do efficiently, and none of my other favored melees were much better. I actually found the bottle and Scotsman’s Skullcutter the best weapons to pair with the Sticky Jumper. The Skullcutter can make short work of robots if you’re low on grenades or don’t have time to reload, and your Sticky Jumping can offset the speed penalty pretty well.
4. The Quick-Fix. rd_asteroid has completely screwed pretty much my entire default Medic loadout. All the corners and tight rooms make the Crusader’s Crossbow tough to use effectively, the never-ending sequence of sentry rooms make the default Medigun charge Uber far too slowly to remain consistently useful, and the Amputator’s damage penalty makes all robots take another hit to remove. I’ve found the Quick-Fix is exactly the Medigun needed for the job; bottomless disposable Ubers give your pocket the leverage needed to survive the random groups of enemies you’ll keep running into, the rubber band jump lets you follow your Soldier/Demo to the enemy battlements, and the self-heal works wonders on a map with loads of lethality but few health kits. The Solemn Vow proved to be my preferred melee, because it could show you the health of enemy robots and assist you in killing the darn things. I admit to being really bad at that; they buzz around so erratically after taking damage!
5. The SMG. For some reason, every Sniper weapon deals tripled damage to robots. This is kinda weird, but I’m not really gonna complain because it makes one of my favorite stock weapons into the best robot-killing weapon in the game. You can kill a C-robot with less than a full clip, and when coupled with the primary of your choice, Sniper becomes a great class for picking robots, either up close or from afar. Just be careful when sniping enemy robots with your rifle; if you or a teammate can’t get over there and grab the dropped cores then you wasted some perfectly good points.
Robot Destruction is a great game mode and I’m quite enjoying the balance thread renaissance that it’s engendered on SPUF. Personally, if I could change anything about asteroid I’d just make the teleporter spawns two-way, like in MvM. It really sucks not being able to easily get back to spawn.