’Mech Manual: Atlas AS8-KE

Introduced by the Draconis Combine’s Independence Weaponry in 3140, the Atlas AS8-KE is the export version of the AS8-K that was designed at the same time. The KE is equipped with a less-advanced fusion engine and so needs to give up some of the K variant’s secondary weapons in order to not overburden its 100-ton chassis.

Independence Weaponry is happy to sell this export model to any nation or mercenary force within the Inner Sphere.

Read This First

  • Blast holes in the armor or your enemies with your gauss rifle and large lasers and then use SRMs to damage the exposed internals
  • The AS8-KE is built for durability, especially if you can match up against enemies that rely on ballistic and missile weapons
  • Remember to customize your MML ammo for your mission, the default ton of standard LRMs is most likely not your best option
  • Hold fire with a large laser when you need to cool down
  • The Command ’Mech quirk lets you give your entire side an advantage

Atlas AS8-KE

  • Role: Juggernaut
  • Tech Base: Inner Sphere (3140)
  • Chassis: 100 tons
  • Movement: 3 / 5
  • Armor: 307 (Ballistic Reinforced)
  • Gyroscope: Heavy-Duty Gyro
  • Heat Sinks: 12 (24)
  • Weapons:
    • Gauss Rifle (ammo: 16)
    • ER Large Laser × 2
    • MML 5 (ammo: 24 LRM, 20 SRM)
  • Equipment:
    • CASE II
  • Design Quirks:
    • Battlefists
    • Command ’Mech
    • Distracting
    • Improved Communications
  • Cost: 15,500,000 C-Bills
  • Battle Value: 2,658


The Atlas AS8-KE has an average movement profile for a 100-ton ’Mech which means it is slow. It can walk 3 hexes and run 5 in clear terrain. That gives it a maximum of a +2 movement modifier when running full speed in a straight line, but it will generally only be achieving a +1 movement modifier or none at all.


The AS8-KE is incredibly durable. It carries 100% of the armor allowed by its chassis and makes use of the Draconis Combine’s advanced ballistic reinforced armor. That means it has protection equivalent to nearly twice as much standard armor against ballistic and missile weapons. When possible, a MechWarrior should try to engage enemies that rely on ballistic or missile weapons while leaving opponents with an abundance of energy weapons for their companions in order to maximize their own armor’s effectiveness.

Internally, the AS8-KE also mounts a reinforced gyro that increases the damage that is needed to take that critical component offline. The side torsos of the design do contain explosive components. On the left, 40% of critical slots contain explosive missile ammo. On the right, 100% of the critical slots are occupied by the gauss rifle and will trigger a damaging energy discharge. That high chance of internal damage resulting in an explosion is mostly mitigated through CASE II in both locations that will prevent most of the damage from any blasts.


The Atlas AS8-KE carries three powerful direct-fire weapons. The gauss rifle offers a hole-punching 15 damage out to 22 hexes and then the pair of ER large lasers add two more potential 8 damage hits as far out as 19 hexes. As a secondary weapon, it carries an adaptable MML 5 launcher that can fire either long or short range missiles. The minimum range of the gauss rifle means that the Atlas’s firepower is less effective at 1-2 hexes than it is at 3 hexes where it hits its maximum expected damage output.

Maximum and Expected Damage

The mix of weapons is well-suited to slowly approaching targets or letting them come to you. While at longer ranges, the gauss rifle and large lasers can punch holes through a target’s armor. Then once the Atlas is within about 6 hexes or less, the MML can fire a salvo of 5 short range missiles to exploit those holes and attempt to damage the internal systems of the target. If an enemy force has an abundance of short-range weapons, a MechWarrior can opt to slow their approach but the ’Mech’s slow speed mean that they will rarely be able to dictate the engagement distance.

Before each mission, a MechWarrior with an AS8-KE should consider alternative munitions for the MML. While the standard SRMs provide the design with a good tactical option, firing standard LRMs contributes less. The AS8-KE already has three potent long-range weapons and a flight of 5 LRMs does not shift its damage output much. A MechWarrior could instead get good use out of specialty LRMs or SRMs. Inferno SRMs, thunder LRMs, smoke missiles, fragmentation missiles, and mine clearance missiles can all be good choices depending on a particular mission’s objectives.

Both of the AS8-KE’s large lasers are arm-mounted to give it a wide firing arc. No matter where a flanking enemy manages to position itself, the Atlas can target it with at least one of its big lasers. The missiles and gauss rifle are torso-mounted though, so they are confined to the forward arc.

Maximum Damage for Firing Arcs

A MechWarrior in an Atlas AS8-KE should not need to work hard to conserve their ammunition. The gauss rifle has two tons of ammo for 16 shots. The missile launcher also has two tons with each ton giving it either 24 LRM shots or 20 SRM shots. It’s possible for the 16 gauss shots to be used in a particularly long battle, but the missiles should last for multiple engagements.

Heat Management

The Atlas AS8-KE runs a little hot. Its weapons can generate 28 heat for a potential total of 30 heat when running. The design is only equipped with 12 double heat sinks for a cooling capacity of 24. That means it can potentially overheat by 6 in a single round. If it does not fire the MML and only walks, then it can reduce that to 2 heat build up per round which allows a pattern of 2 rounds of firing followed by one round of not firing one of the large lasers to avoid any heat penalties. At ranges of 3 hexes or less, the MML firing SRMs can be more efficient than one of the large lasers.

Heat-Adjusted Maximum and Expected Damage


As a 100-ton ’Mech with the Battlefists quirk, the AS8-KE can dish out a lot of damage in a brawl. Each arm can make a punch with improved accuracy that deals 10 damage, or it can kick for a devastating 20 damage. Making either punch requires not firing one of its large lasers, but that trade off can be worth it for the more focused hit location table or as an option to let the Atlas cool off while still dealing damage. A drawback in a brawl is that the ballistic reinforced armor offers no more protection than standard armor against physical attacks.

Other Capabilities

The Atlas AS8-KE has a few quirks that extend its abilities. The Command ’Mech quirk means that it provides its side of the battle with a bonus to initiative which makes its entire force more effective. The Improved Communications quirk improves its capability to establish a satellite uplink and allows it to ignore ghost targets generated by enemy ECM systems. Finally, the Distracting quirk makes it a natural fit for a MechWarrior with the Demoralizer special pilot ability or as part of an Assault formation.

Cost & Upkeep

The AS8-KE is a state-of-the-art ’Mech and runs a hefty price tag. The less expensive engine does mean that it does not cost as much as the AS8-K though. The two tons of ammunition for the MML should last through a few battles before they need to be reloaded, but at least a ton and possibly both tons for the gauss rifle will need to be replaced after each engagement.

When using the Warchest Point system, these are the expected costs for the Atlas AS8-KE:

Purchase2,000 SP
Armor Repair100 SP
Structure Repair200 SP
Reload10-30 SP


A new plastic version of the Atlas is available in the Direct Fire Lance force pack. It is modeled to match the AS7-D but can work to represent any variant of the Atlas including the AS8-KE.


More ’Mech Manuals

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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