A player with this skill assists an offensive or defensive block even if he is in another player’s tackle zone. This skill may not be used to assist a foul.
Guard is one of the most selected skills in the game and that is due to its effect in the blocking game. The ability to assist a block by one of your team mates but cancelling out the assist for the other team, both makes your blocking more reliable as well as more effective. They can’t just bring players in to cancel your assist out either, which means a well placed Guard player can really strengthen your posistion.
This is especially important for the caging teams as blocking is more fundamental to their ability to move the ball around the pitch, as doing it by ball handling actions is risky for them. Having guard on the opposite corners of a cage also makes it harder for a high agility player to leap into the cage and knock the ball carrier over, or the ball loose. The threat of the leaper getting beaten up should it not work, may also prevent them from trying it at all.
If the opposition has a Guard player nearby it is harder to protect the ball. For example should it get late in the half and you need to make a break for it with the ball carrier, but can only get two players to run along and protect him. Assuming you can’t prevent a blitz on the ball carrier at all, it makes sense to put your two players on opposite sides of the ball carrier. This means there aren’t any squares the other team can move a team mate in to get an assist for the blitz. If he has a player with Guard however, then he can just move up to get the assist anyway. This means you may have to look towards getting a half cage agaisnt the sideline instead, though perhaps you don’t have the movement for that, or requires some Go For It rolls.
On the reverse of that, if one or both of your two non ball carrying threesome has Guard, then even though the other team will be able to blitz the ball carrier, you are always going to have an assist for the defensive side.
Guard does work best the more you have of it as well, if you only have one player with it, then it is more important that you try and make sure they are in the correct place on the pitch. One Guard player is easy to avoid, especially if that player is slow as well. The closer your Guard players are to each other, they can all assist each other and you can really restrict the two dice blocks the opposition can get on you. This may cause them having to bring more players into contact or doing more blocks (ergo dice rolls) than they would have should you not have Guard.
So you want your Guard player(s) in a position to get next to the ball carrier to either protect him (on defence) or assist the blitz (on offence). Or you want your Guard player in a spot on the pitch where he can assist other team mates. Guard is no good if your players all get spread out and can’t assist each other, especially on low agility and/or slow teams.
If you are ever struggling with a skill choice for a player and Guard is an option for them, I don’t think you can ever make a mistake by selecting it. Of course some players there may be better choices but Guard will invariably still be useful in every game.
- Harder for the other team to Block
- Easier Blocks for your team
- Better Protection for the Ball Carrier