Stand Firm (Strength)
A player with this skill may choose to not be pushed back as the result of a block. He may choose to ignore being pushed by ‘Pushed’ results, and to have ‘Knock-down’ results knock the player down in the square where he started. If a player is pushed back into a player using Stand Firm then neither player moves.
While Stand Firm isn’t as good as it once was, it still remains a very useful and attractive skill choice for a number of players. Like Side Step the main benefits to take Stand Firm is for positional reasons and to control more of the movement around the pitch. The way it combines with other skills also enhances their abilities and it can disrupt the plans of the opposing team. I personally think it is a rather undervalued skill and not enough coaches really utilise it to its potential.
The function of Stand Firm is fairly obvious in that the player can’t be pushed around (unless blitzed by a player with Juggernaut, though these aren’t very common). This ability means that the other team can’t just push your player away from someone you are marking on the other team, they instead need to actually knock your Stand Firm player over in order to remove his tackle zone. As a result this may encourage the other team to dodge more than they normally would which is great for you. If they are rolling for more dodges that is more rolls they can fail and if they are dodging away rather than hitting your player then that prolongs his lifespan as well.
Even if the other team is blocking you to try and knock you over to eliminate a dodge roll (often the lower agility teams will do this as they are less inclined to try and dodge), they can often fail in knocking you over and this can effectively ‘waste’ their block action. If they are really trying to knock your Stand Firm player over, they may then block or blitz with a second player that they were planning to do something else with. This disruption to their plans is great for you and even more satisfying if they still fail to knock you over.
Stand Firm also has the benefit of keeping other skills your player possesses in play more often. Frequently Stand Firm is taken in combination with Guard. When you move your player somewhere that Guard will be really helpful, it is much harder for the other team to eliminate its effect by just pushing them away. Other skills that Stand Firm can be key to keeping in play are, Tentacles, Diving Tackle, Tackle and to some extent Shadowing. Though as its usually taken by players with strength access who are rather slow on the whole, the Shadowing combo isn’t too common.
Positioning is also greatly enhanced in that it can be harder for the other team to clear a route through your defence, or your players protecting the ball carrier. You can keep your formations on both sides of the ball intact, denying space to the other team and keeping more space for your own players. This can be especially helpful in keeping a clear path to advance a cage forwards.
The last great use for Stand Firm is on Frenzy players who look to crowd push opposing players off the pitch. Without it you have to be careful after you push a player off the pitch that you can then get your player away from the sidelines. If you don’t then you may end up following the opposing player into the crowd on the next turn. This usually means that you use your blitz action to perform this manoeuvre, though even then if you need to do a dodge to get back away from the sideline, you may forgo the easy opportunity to get the numerical advantage. If your player has Stand Firm then you don’t need to worry about having to dodge away as they are unlikely to have a Juggernaut option to do the same to you. It also means doing crowd pushes on a block action is viable because when doing it as part of a block action, there is no way you can move your player away from the sideline after the block.
Benefits of Stand Firm:
- Keeps your player in contact with opponents
- Increase the usage of other skills
- Greater control of space on the pitch
- Less fear of being Crowd Pushed
Players who would find Stand Firm useful:
The most likely players to take Stand Firm are those with Strength skill access as usually for players who would need a double, there are going to be more attractive choices for them. There probably aren’t many players who would take it as a first skill increase either. You will often need more staple skills such as Block and Guard before Stand Firm, especially as it doesn’t do much to increase the speed of development like some alternative skill choices.
I think the players who get the best use of Stand Firm are Dwarf Linemen after they get Guard and perhaps Mighty Blow, though you can mix it in as the second skill on some of them. Likewise Chaos Dwarf Blockers are are essentially the same as their good doing cousins. Orc teams have quite a few players who can make great use of Stand Firm, both their Blitzers and Blockers and the Troll as well. Chaos teams have Strength skill access on the whole team and again can utilise it to great effect. The Warriors and any specialist crowd pushing Beastmen should look to get it. Chaos Pact Marauders should look to get a couple of players with Stand Firm. Nurgle Warriors also should consider it, even perhaps as their first skill, combining it with Foul Appearance can really make hitting one an unattractive proposition. Their Beast of Nurgle team mates will often select it as their first skill too, with both Foul Appearance and Tentacles it is a highly desirable skill for them.
Other less obviously hitting teams that would use it are Amazon Blitzers, Block, Dodge, Guard, Stand Firm creates a very annoying and hard to knock over player. Human Blitzers are another though perhaps as a later skill choice. Slann Blitzers can find it very useful in combination with their Diving Tackle skill. Norse teams have quite a few Frenzy players with Strength skill access that should consider it at some point as well. Khemri Mummies when highly advanced should take it too.
The last more broadly player type to look at Stand Firm as a skill choice are all the big guy players. I mentioned the Orc Troll and the Beast of Nurgle, but all of them will get good use from it. The ones used as a support role with Guard can keep it in the mix a lot more. Also the Wild Animals with Frenzy can keep next to opposing players more often and can increase their crowd push threat. This list is by no means complete and there are other players you should consider it on, though usually not as a priority.