A player with this skill is a slavering psychopath who attacks his opponents in an uncontrollable rage. Unless otherwise overridden, this skill must always be used. When making a block, a player with this skill must always follow up if he can. If a ‘Pushed’ or ‘Defender Stumbles’ result was chosen, the player must immediately throw a second block against the same opponent so long as they are both still standing and adjacent. If possible, the player must also follow up this second block. If the frenzied player is performing a Blitz Action then he must pay a square of Movement and must make the second block unless he has no further movement and can’t Go For It again.
If there is one skill in Blood Bowl that I would consider a double edged sword, Frenzy would be it. On the one side it is an incredibly useful skill if you harness it well, on the other it can come back to bite you. The latter reason is why it is considered a skill that isn’t friendly for beginner players and as a result those teams with players who start with Frenzy are considered teams for more advanced coaches.
The key advantage of having Frenzy is that it will allow you to hit an opposing player twice in a row but with the caveat that you must both follow up and must do the second block. You can’t elect to avoid doing either, the only way you can prevent this would be if the opposing player had a skill such as Fend. You need to be careful before you block to realise where you need assists of your own and if the opposing player will gain any more assists on the second block, especially if you are going to lose yours. In some ways you could look at Frenzy as a free reoll for a block as you get two chances. If you do also use a reroll you can get 6 block dice against the one opposing player if you set up all your assists well. This gives you a much better chance of knocking the opposing player over so well worth taking, especially when blitzing the opposing ball carrier.
Crowd pushing is the second advantage and having Frenzy can effectively narrow the pitch by two squares. Pushing players off the pitch is one of the best ways to get a numerical player advantage and Frenzy makes this easier. Not to mention players pushed into the crowd automatically take an injury roll without an armour roll taking place first. So it means the other team needs to be careful when they get nearer the sideline than if you don’t have Frenzy. This can be a good way of denying them space, or with careful player positioning you can corral their team towards one sideline.
Another great use for Frenzy is just generally pushing players around. Pushing an opponent two squares rather than one can free up space for your own team, either to run recievers through or to manoeuvre a cage further towards their end zone. You can push opponents next to other team mates so they can then block them or perhaps tie them up with Tentacles or Diving Tackle. If you make good use of chain pushing players, you can set up more chances to crowd surf, free up your own ball carrier from a scrum, push their ball carrier out of a scrum to set up a block etc. Even just pushing their ball carrier further back away from your end zone can be of great benefit. The reverse of this is also useful in that you can push your own ball carrier or receiver further forward as well. This fact is worth remembering if setting up for a One Turn Touchdown for example as it will require one less player.
The last use of pushing players around is when you combine Frenzy with Strip Ball, the first hit can knock the ball loose and then the second hit can push that player away or even knock them over at the second attempt.
Disadvantages of Frenzy:
As I already mentioned though it isn’t all good and Frenzy does come with a danger. You really need to pay attention to assists, especially on the second block and where you plan on pushing them back should that occur. If you aren’t careful while you may have a favourable first block, the second block can quickly turn against you and perhaps cause a turnover. Due to this Block (or Wrestle) is generally a prerequisite before getting Frenzy (though some players start with this handicap). Against certain teams and in certain situations Frenzy can prevent you taking blocks due to this risk. Typically if facing a team that is stronger or has a lot of Guard players.
Side Step players can also be very tricky to deal with as you can’t control where to push them. Having Frenzy as a skill prevents you from getting Grab to negate Side Step as well (having Grab also prevents you from gaining Frenzy on that player as well). To make matters worse because they choose where to place the player, they could lead your player into a trap or alternatively either towards the sideline or just away from the action (a favoured tactic of mine with Gutter Runners and similar players with Block + Dodge + Side Step against Frenzy players without Tackle).
The other disadvantage it gives is that you have no choice over whether your player follows up on the block. If you don’t knock the target player over then you are likely to be facing a block against your Frenzy player in the following turn. Again this is another reason to have Block first and protective skills can also be useful such as Dodge or even just having high strength and armour. Having to follow up is also what enabled opposing players to lead your player where they want them if they have Side Step. As a result you have to consider if following up is going to leave your player in a worse situation than if you don’t block. So while Frenzy can give you a greater chance of getting a knock down, it may also prevent you making blocks that you would have done if you didn’t have Frenzy.
Following on from always having to follow up, you must always do Go For Its if required for one or both blocks. For example if a ball carrier breaks through your defence and makes a run for the end zone and you need to blitz them. If your player is 6 movement and they are 6 squares away, you hit them for the first block getting a push. Then the second block requires a Go For It and you have to do it. If you’ve no rerolls left this can obviously be risky but you have no choice in the matter. There is a way to avoid making a second block though and that is if you have run out of movement. To do this you have to run around wasting your move, do a Go For It to get next to the target player and then hit them with your second Go For It. While this does avoid the second block it does introduce two extra 2+ dice rolls for what would otherwise be a normal blitz. Obviously this isn’t possible to avoid if doing a block action. If you have the Sprint skill to do three Go For Its, then you can elect not to use Sprint to avoid a third forced Go For It roll. All these factors combined are what makes having Frenzy players tricky for new coaches, especially if facing an advanced coach.
Benefits of Frenzy:
- Higher Chance of Knock Down
- Increased Crowd Surf Opportunity
- Pushing players around
Players Frenzy is Useful On:
Regarding the players that Frenzy is useful on would be a very long list if I put them all here. I think it is safe to say that every team can benefit from Frenzy somewhere on the team. Some teams can carry Frenzy on more players safer than others are. The safest players to put it on (after Block or Wrestle) would be stronger players. They are less likely to fall victim to being forced into a bad block. Also teams that have a lot of Guard players which can provide a widely cast blanket of un-cancelled assists can utilise Frenzy well. So strong players on teams full of Guard are probably going to be your safest bet.
Lower strength players with access to strength skills can be good Frenzy players as well. It combines really well with Juggernaut for pushing players around and into the crowd and with more chances of getting knock downs Mighty Blow and Piling On can help leave those players down for good! If you have a player who blitzes a lot and has Horns then they can also usually negate the disadvantages fairly often.
It isn’t only the domain of strong players and those with strength skill access though. Knocking the ball loose and pushing players can be crucial to success in a lot of matches. Players you’ve built to go after the opposing ball carrier may find it useful, as I mentioned it can combine well with Strip Ball. Agile and high movement players can also be a threat. They can get to spots that stronger, low agile players can’t which poses other threats. They can either dodge or leap where you didn’t expect and crowd push a player you thought was otherwise safe. Or they can even get through a screen to blitz an isolated ball carrier. You do need to be careful against Guard heavy teams though. You can’t cancel out their assists just by marking them with Linemen like you typically would. If blitzing an exposed ball carrier with a good chance of knock down on the first hit, but it leads to a bad second hit on a push, weigh up your options before going ahead. If it is your ball hunting specialist sometimes you may just have to take the chance anyway.
Hopefully now you understand better the double edged sword that is the Frenzy skill. It can greatly aid you in a game as there aren’t any other skills you can gain which can provide the same benefits. I also hope this highlights the dangers you need to be aware of when you have Frenzy on your players.
One other point worth mentioning is how Stand Firm affects Frenzy. While you may end up not being able to push back a Stand Firm player, it is the result on the dice that dictates if you get a second block or not. The fact the player doesn’t get moved back doesn’t prevent the second block. Stand Firm is also optional for the opposing coach to use. So while you may have a favourable first block which would lead to an unfavourable second block, don’t assume that player is a safe hit just because they have Stand Firm.
Frenzy is without doubt a skill that can take some time and practice to truly master the benefits and work around the downsides. This will become more apparent when you find yourself match off against an advanced coach. In the mean time you should also check out the Blood Bowl Challenges on the site. Make sure you read through the comments after testing yourself against them. There are some that make great use of Frenzy and they can help advance your game to the next level.