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Nurgle’s Rotters strange starting skills enable them to be built into an excellent defensive team. Fragile for a primarily bashing team, they often use their skills to force mistakes from their opposition, using these to strengthen their position. The Beast of Nurgle is arguably the best Big Guy in the game, easily capable of occupying multiple opposition players.
Between Beasts of Nurgle and Rotters themselves, a Rotter team is capable of fielding an exceptionally strong, tough and resilient front line. The Beast of Nurgle is an excellent player, able to use his Tentacles to control several lower strength opposition players at a time, along with the usual big guy ability at bashing. With their Horns, beastmen also make excellent blitzers. Access to Physical traits is a big bonus, and these can be used to enhance their strengths, or to help make up for weaknesses.
For what is generally considered a bashy team, the majority of the Rotters players are quite fragile. With only AV8 and no healing from Regenerate or an Apothecary, it’s not uncommon to see Beastmen in the CAS or KO boxes. The other obvious weakness is ball handling capability. With expensive rerolls and no ball handling skills, Rotters coaches will often end up frustrated as their inability to handle the ball prevents them from taking advantage of the opportunities they create.
Rotters can go a number of ways in the development of their team, and it’s best to pick one as early as possible so that the appropriate skill choices can be made. No matter which direction they go however, a solid core of players with Block, and someone to handle the ball via Sure Hands, Big Hand or agility increases are essential. It's also a good idea to spread your precious spp's as much as possible, as you will lose that super beastman sooner or later, so it's best to have a suitable replacement ready.
Rotters can easily load up on injury increasing skills such as Mighty Blow, RSC, Dirty Player and Claw to simply beat their opponents into submission.
A more balanced approach can see Rotters become a nice all round team. In this approach, useful skills such as Guard and Tackle are as worthwhile as on any other team. Pass Block can be very useful for players with Foul Appearance like Rotters, as once next to a passer or catcher, they will force a -2 to their rolls. A balanced approach to doubles selection is also useful, generally combining further Foul Appearance and Claw for Beastmen (Nerves of Steel and Big Hand is another excellent combination), and either Tentacles or Claw for Rotters. Combining Stand Firm with Foul Appearance can also make it very frustrating to get rid of your Rotters from a particular area. Beasts benefit greatly from Pro, as it increases their reliability, and enables them to use the Tentacles to capture players much more reliably (NB - Not in the client as Pro does not work when the player is not active.). Claw is recommended above as it’s dramatic increases in causing stunning to your opponents will greatly reduce the number of blocks thrown back, which helps circumvent the vulnerability of your beastmen.
The final option is to load up on skills that play havoc with your opponents movement and ball handling, and try to beat the Elves and such at their own game. For this sort of team, Pass Block, Tackle and Shadowing are the general skills most desirable after the ubiquitous Block and Guard. On doubles, Foul Appearance, Tentacles, Diving Tackle and Prehensile Tail can all help to make every dice roll your opposition makes a much more risky proposition. This team does tend to be very vulnerable to the bashy teams however, as nothing has been done to counter the vulnerability of the beastmen.
Rotter offense tends to be quite similar to their Chaos counterparts, with a couple of differences. Rotters are not as mobile as their Chaos Warrior counterparts, and so tend to always be more useful on the line. A Beast is often best used by singling a couple of players most likely to interfere with your drive that he can reach, and go off to grab them with his tentacles. This will make your drive much easier, and high mobility players are a particularly good target for this sort of play. With your Rotters and Beast hopefully occupying more than their share of the opposition, you Beastmen should be able to use their strength in numbers to cage and pocket their way down the field.
Maximise the special abilities of your players. Against agility teams, it’s generally a good idea to hold a couple of Rotters (or other FA players if you have them) further back in your half, so that your FA coverage is wider. Players will often avoid your Beast, so you generally want him to try and make contact with as many players as possible as soon as possible. This prospect makes Blitzes a particularly sought after kickoff result for Rotters, as they can often wade into a slew of opposition players bunched together. Combine this with using your Beastmen to try and blitz and recover the ball at every opportunity. Don’t be afraid to take a high risk blitz opportunity at the end of your turn if it won’t leave you tremendously vulnerable, as the potential rewards are increased by the presence of your interfering skills, meaning your opponent will often have to get through these skills once more. A good trick is often to pass the ball to your Beast if you can get to it and there are no suitable alternatives available, as it will often prevent the opposition from retrieving it the following turn. Against slower teams, the general idea is to use your Rotters and Beast to tie up the opposition in a blocking contest, while your Beastmen attempt to blitz through into the backfield. Try and make sure as few Beastmen get caught up in the blocking contest as possible, as they simply won’t hold up very well compared to Dwarf Longbeards, Lineorcs etc. Cage breaking is generally achieved by preventing parts of the cage from moving, and using pushback combinations to expose the ball carrier to a blitz. Once the ball is out of the cage, it’s often a good move to try and throw it some distance away, as you’ll often have more free mobility than your opponent.
It's important to keep in mind when designing and playing Rotters that they are NOT a true bashy team in the way that seemingly similar Chaos teams are. This is because you have no apothecary. Regeneration on your high strength players only partially compensates for this key weakness. Over the long haul, slugfests with bashy teams can go very badly when you can't prevent that key injury. For this reason, an abundance of guard is critical if you intend to play many bashy teams. There are so many skills the rotter team can take--Block on everyone, juicy mutations, tackle to go with foul appearance against finesse teams--That guard can go on the back burner. Don't let this happen. Without guard, your team can get trashed quickly. There's a reason that, unlike any other race, no Rotter team has made it to 100 games! (No longer true! As of 22 July 2008, there are 12 Rotter teams with 100 games or more.)
One thing to note is that I don't pick Claw/RSC or foul much, this is for no other reason then I enjoy the game most this way and it is certainly not how I expect my opponents to play. The below strategy has been working nicely so far, my biggest question with it is if I should continue getting Guard before Block on the Rotters at higher Team Strength. It proved very useful while the team was lower level but I am not totally sure if it will work as well at higher level. Lend me your thoughts. :)
This guys job is primarily to deny your opponent movement. It is often better to not block with him at all rather then risk either a Really Stupid failure or a Skull/Both Down block. However if he is not in such a critical position blocks with him will help your cas due to Mighty Blow, just make sure your drive isn't screwed if he lets go of the players around him.
Guard, Break Tackle
I don't particularly like Multiple Block as a 3d block is often better then two 2d blocks. Also if you get a double and take Stand Firm your Beast can then use Break Tackle to dodge into a cage with devastating effects for your opponents drive.
Stand Firm then Block
I prefer Stand Firm first due to it's ability to team up with Break Tackle which enables a 50% chance to dodge into a tight cage and put tentacles onto the ball carrier without risk of turnover. Also the fact that there are 2 push results on the block die and only 1 both down it is also more common for a tentacled player to be able to -2d block push you away rather then getting a both down.
These guys are the strong core of the team. Beastmen come and go but Rotters with more then twice the life expectancy hang around. I use them on the los which not only keeps your Beastmen alive but can mess with an opponents turn if FA stops a few blocks.
Guard, Block, Break Tackle or Mighty Blow
I like Guard first because when fighting bashy teams you need some Guard and since these guys are getting the Guard the Beastmen can get Block first. This is vital as it helps keep your beastmen alive. After that Block is an easy choice, then depending on the rest of the team and if the Rotter has Stand Firm either Break Tackle or Mighty Blow.
Stand Firm, Tentacles or Dodge
A Stand Firm ST4 Guard player who stops 1 in 6 blocks is a big road block for your opponent to get around. Also safe 50% chance dodges, or even a crazy dodge that needs a 6, are nice to get them in prime position to give Guard help or get in the way of a drive. After Stand Firm probably Tentacles, having said that I would be tempted to take Dodge as a ST4 Blodger with FA and Stand Firm is just evil.
Don't get attached to these as they don't last long. They are awesome blitzers and the ball carrying force of the team. It is vital that you spread the SPP around as much as possible, if your key Beastman is taken out and you don't have backups you are in a bad situation.
1 Sure Hands, 1 Kick, Block, 2 Tackle, 2 Mighty Blow
If none of your Beastmen have Big Hand or +AG then Sure Hands is a good start. After that Kick is great or Block if someone already has Kick. After Block getting a couple of Tacklers and a couple of Mighty Blow is important for dealing with pesky blodgers and upping your cas for Fan Factor. I would highly recommend taking 2 Tacklers as it is easy for your opponent to take out one of them.
1 Frenzy, 1 Big Hand
I like to get a Frenzy Beastman as this either punishes mistaken moves close to the sideline or stops an opponent being able to use the full field to maneuver. After that having a Big Hand can be great at turning an opponents drive into a drive for you. If you are lucky enough to get more mutations then this see what the team looks and plays like and don't discount interesting pairings like Big Hand & Hail Mary Pass, +MA & Very Long Legs, Frenzy & Stand Firm, etc.
My usual setup that has proven very successful is shown in the image below. The Beast is in a position where he can move in front of a drive up the middle or grab hold of the side of a drive that is going wide. I find it far more useful to be able to move the Beast to the best spot rather then have him tied down on the los. The Beastman behind him is there first to help the Beast then as the main Blitzer, he is the one with Mighty Blow or Tackle depending on your opponent. I usually have the Rotters together so they can help each other with Guard but it can be good to spread them out if your opponent has lots of st4 and/or Guard players. It can also be useful to spread them out if you want to cover a larger area with FA to help against passes.
See also Nurgle's Rotters starting lineups