A player with this skill uses his great strength and prowess to grab his opponent and throw him around. To represent this, only while making a Block Action, if his block results in a push back he may choose any empty square adjacent to his opponent to push back his opponent. When making a Block or Blitz Action, Grab and Side Step will cancel each other out and the standard pushback rules apply. Grab will not work if there are no empty adjacent squares. A player with the Grab skill can never learn or gain the Frenzy skill through any means. Likewise, a player with the Frenzy skill can never learn or gain the Grab skill through any means.
Grab is an interesting new addition to the game in LRB5. I doubt that many will take it as the first choice on players but it can be a great third or fourth skill choice on a number of players. The obvious benefit of Grab is that you can dictate more of the movement on the pitch. As it is a strength skill the main candidates to take it are going to be players who have normal access to strength skills. This in turn narrows it down to the bashing teams who are most likely to use a grinding cage offence. The added ability of being able to have greater choice of where to move opponents when you hit them, will make caging easier, as you can open up more space to move your players through without needing to dodge.
Grab will also provide your players with more available blocks if you so wished. You can now push players back into base contact of your team mates in situations where before you would not have been able to. These extra blocks may clear opponents off the pitch quicker and also aid in the development of your own players as well. This is especially useful if you have a rather potent blocker who you want to keep feeding opposing players to, or perhaps a very strong player of yours who is equipped with tentacles. Pushing players back towards your team mates with skills like Diving Tackle, Tackle and Prehensile Tail also has merit.
A similar great benefit I can see is greater control around the sidelines for setting up crowd pushes. With Grab equipped players, you can set up crowd pushes from further away from the sideline, even if your own player is in fact nearer the sideline than the opponent in the first place. With greater threat of this happening it can make defending near the sideline rather tricky for the opposing team and perhaps aid you with moving a cage and the ball down the side of the pitch.
The last and perhaps most obvious benefit is that it cancels out the opposing players Side Step. Obviously this benefit is mostly dependant on your opposition as to if it is any help, other bashing teams with no Side Step and this fact is redundant. It is invaluable against teams that do have it though, especially if they are around or near your ball carrier and cage. It is also key if you want to blitz any opposing players who are sat on the sideline with Side Step thinking they are safe. Now while you can’t use Grab on a Blitz action to decide which square to push players back to, it does however still cancel out Side Step, meaning you can run up and shove that player into the crowd. Do be careful about leaving yourself standing there next turn for them to retaliate though!
- Cancels Side Step
- Greater Control of Pushbacks
- Easier to Create Space for Cage progression
- Easier and Greater Crowd Push Threat
- Keep More Opponents in Base Contact
- Feed Opponents to your Killers
As I mentioned earlier it is really only a skill that strength accessible players are going to take. Everyone else needs a doubles roll to select it and they will probably have higher priority skills to select instead. This narrows it down to pretty much any blocker or blitzer type player. Big Guys are fairly likely to take it after their first few skills, they don’t have normal access to any other skill group and are great for keeping opponents tied up, combine with Stand Firm so they also can’t be pushed away to free up the opponents. You can also include Mummies in this group as well.
Other blockers would be Chaos and Nurgle Warriors and Black Orc Blockers. As these players don’t start with any blocking skills to start with I can see Block, Guard and Mighty Blow taken first and then even Stand Firm, though Grab can be put in the mix. Especially for Nurgle who will want to feed opponents to their Tentacle equipped Beast.
Dwarf Blockers are probably one of the more likely players to see taking this skill. With their slow movement and agility they can really use the extra control and space creating abilities of Grab. Also around the sidelines they can be a real threat for crowd pushes with their Troll Slayers nearby who have Frenzy. The fact they also start with Block and Tackle as well means you don’t need to take them when you skill up. After Guard and Mighty Blow, Grab can be a fantastic choice.
Moving onto blitzing players, Beastmen, Pestigors, any Blitzer with strength access as well, I would only really consider it on someone you are building for crowd pushing ability. Unfortunately you can’t take Grab on Players who have Frenzy though and as Frenzy is a greater threat for this, Grab perhaps doesn’t really get a look in. It may be worth taking it on one of them though as perhaps their fourth skill, just so you have this weapon on your team sheet, even if you don’t use it a great deal. Before that there are probably more useful skill selections for both the player and the team. You are more likely to do it on teams with more than two Blitzers as well (so not teams like Skaven for example). Humans have four Blitzers so can perhaps consider it and teams like Chaos where everyone on the team can take strength skills.
While on first appearance Grab may seem like quite a mundane skill, it can really maximise your blocking opportunities and bog opponents down keeping them in your tackle zones. I would give it a bit more consideration if you are also playing in an agility heavy league. You will face more players with sidestep, more players you want to tie up and also weaker players who you can hit easier and therefore don’t mind them being able to block back.