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Astaroth is a long-range fighter. He has long windups, sweeping attacks, and tons of options if your opponent gives you space to work.

Unfortunately, most opponents know this, and don't give you space to work. They get right up in your face and just keep up the pressure, and as Astaroth, I don't know what to do but keep blocking and hope they get tired of pressing buttons.

In Soul Calibur 4, his 6K was a really fast, reliable option to get out of these tight spots, but it seems they've slowed this move's startup down considerably. Throws are too slow and are usually ducked or interrupted.

How does Astaroth get his opponent away from him so he can breathe and start annihilating?

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+1 because I feel the same way about him now. I pretty much main'd him in 4, but now I feel like he's too easily pressured compared to the other long range / big hitters like Nightmare and Siegfried. –  TheQ Feb 10 '12 at 17:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

How to Use 6K

First off - his 6K has been slowed slightly, yes. It's still an alright interrupt as far as speed goes, but it isn't safe, and it isn't great for moving your opponent (unless it's a CH1). It is very good for ringouts if it is a CH, however. Take advantage of it if you manage to back someone up to an edge or if someone's close and starting something slow (to guarantee a CH unless they cancel). If somebody does seem like they're eating these, take advantage with a 44B (combo), or 6K into 1A.A (tech trap, I believe).

Actually Zoning

My preferences for for zoning (and a bit for punishing people at close range without actually zoning) are as follows:

  • Crouch throws

    You mention throws being too slow, getting ducked, and interrupted. Astaroth's throws are actually fairly quick - if you initiate one after a block, it'll be pretty hard to interrupt. As for ducking, after a throw or too they'll probably try to duck (especially if you keep heaving on horizontals), which let you use Astaroth's even-better crouch throws. Alternatively, you can set up a good crouch throw off of a few moves.

    Setting up Crouch Throws

    • As far as distancing recommendations, one of my favorites is his 3K.A - it's a quick mid kick, followed by a fairly wide horizontal. It's not the best, though - the horizontal is pretty easily to duck.
    • Another good one is 6A - probably his best interrupt at close range. You get a second hit with 6A.A, and the second is a crouch throw setup on CH. However, it too suffers from the second hit being duckable.
    • I like 4A a lot at mid-range (it's slower) to build distance - on CH it's that same crouch throw setup.
    • Lastly, at midrange with their back turned, B+K sets up a crouch throw.

    Ruining Their Day with Crouch Throws

    Your options are 2A+G or 2B+G - both have BE2 to take advantage of. Either do a pretty decent job distancing you from your opponent, ending with you at medium range with them on the ground.

  • Command throw

    Astaroth's command throw 63214B+G (where he hurls the opponent straight up) is great for building distance if you follow it up with 22B or 88B. If you want to get real scary, use the 22B~BE or 88B~BE that knocks them up in the air again, so that you can follow up with a second 22B or 88B, 44B, or the A+G air throw. You're using his command throw as a launcher which lets you land things that you usually wouldn't be able to get away with at close range like that.

  • Low attacks and quick interrupts

    Low Attacks

    • It doesn't build distance well, but 2K is great for quick pokes, and transitions well into his crouching 3K bull rush.
    • For ringouts and to make them afraid of horizontals, 1K.A is nice. Another quick first hit (this one's low) with duckable second, but it's very hurtful and distancing if the second hit is a CH. 1K by itself can be used interestingly as a low hit that leaves you crouching (ready for a bull rush, for when they duck the horizontal they think is coming).

    Quick Interrupts

    • Everybody loves 4B after they get used to it. It doesn't feel like you have advantage on hit, but try bull rushing or another 4B - it's weird, but it works.
    • 1B.B is great - it's quick, and on a CH you end up tossing them away from you. Makes for some hilarious ringouts, and could actually get you some okay distance on a CH.
    • Don't forget 6A and 6A.A, mentioned above.

  • Bull Rush

    Astaroth's bull rush in this is insane. People literally eschewing his CE3 in favor of his 66K~BE - this particular attack provides a shield of some kind between the first and second hits. For any non-strong attack (which is most attacks they could pull off between the two hits), you'll see Astaroth flash red, and the attack will do nothing. It usually guarantees a second it if they try to attack, so mixing up the normal 66K and the BE is great. Plus, 66[K] (holding K) lets you mess with their timing, and if you hit with the fully held version it's a launch (if they're close).

Footnotes:
[1]: CH = Counter Hit
[2]: BE = Brave Edge, performed with A+B+K
[3]: CE = Critical Edge

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I actually really like the incorporation of Bull Rush in multiple places in this answer. It is arguably stronger in 5 vs. 4 where it had a much more noticeable windup. Going to try his 44K and mixing it up with feigns into ~BE. I tend to disagree with throws as a response to pressure however, as risking a crouch throw can leave you just as vulnerable. –  TheQ Feb 10 '12 at 20:44
    
As much as I tried to answer this specifically to build some distance, I want to stress - Astaroth does not need to be at mid range (or long range) to punish opponents. Lots of what I highlight will do pretty good damage while still at close range. –  Ian Pugsley Feb 10 '12 at 20:44
    
@TheQ Going for a crouch throw without a setup, I totally agree - it's too risky, and you'll get punished for it. His command throw sets up for some really heavy damage, though, and he's got some great crouch throw setups (4A being the main). Also his bull rush is 66K or crouching 3K - I've corrected in my article, no idea how I missed that. –  Ian Pugsley Feb 20 '12 at 15:17
    
I still knew what you meant regarding Bull Rush. I'll have to try to work in the command throw more. I'd actually been playing around with it over the weekend, but I'm still not as huge a fan of Astaroth now as I used to be though. –  TheQ Feb 20 '12 at 15:56

One of his best moves for this sort of thing is 88B or 22B, which does a quick step to the side followed by a vertical axe whirl with a massive arc that launches the opponent into the air if it lands successfully, giving you time to back off a bit. It can also be powered up with the Edge bar by pressing A+B+K mid-swing.

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Unfortunately this is very easy to sidestep, which your opponent will be very happy to do given how long this one takes. –  Ian Pugsley Feb 20 '12 at 15:38

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