Extra Arms (Mutation)
A player with one or more extra arms may add 1 to any attempt to pick up, catch or intercept.
Extra Arms has had a boost in LRB5 having previously been a very rarely taken skill. With some players able to now take it on a normal roll as well, you should see a lot more use of it now. Previously it just let you get +1 on catch rolls and there wasn’t really any players who would choose it as there were a lot of better choices. With the extra bonuses for interceptions and more importantly picking the ball up, it acts as a sort of cut down +AG for ball handling rolls.
So the use of Extra Arms is somewhat obvious, you use players with it to either pick the ball up, pass to and perhaps on the odd occasion select for intercepts. The help with picking the ball up is invaluable for the average agility or lower players. High agility players will only get a use out of it if the ball is sat in a tackle zone or if it is raining, so they will probably not choose it. For AG3 players though it will make picking the ball up a lot less troublesome, especially if combined with Sure Hands. The higher chance of picking the ball up may let you be slightly more aggressive with the rest of your team, perhaps not looking to cover for a failed pick up quite as much as before. The pick up bonus may also open up the option to perhaps try and pick the ball up in a tackle zone where before you would have looked to pushing the opponent off the ball. This is especially useful if the opposition marked a loose ball with two players and you can only push one away.
If you have multiple players with the skill on the team then the catching bonus can also really become helpful. Depending on where the ball lands when it gets kicked off, one of your Extra Arms players can go and pick the ball up, and you can use the others to move further down the pitch as a receiving threat. Before you would usually try and run the ball in with the guy who picked it up if there was a big risk of losing the ball should you fail a hand off. Extra arms will make handing the ball off easier to spread the SPP around a bit more evenly. Should things really start looking bad, or you need to score quicker than the player who picked it up can actually move to the opposition end zone, then you now have a target who you can try and make a pass to with a greater chance of success.
The other good benefit of having the catch bonus is that it gives a higher chance of getting a SPP from completions for other players on the team. Often teams look to do a quick pass to get the extra SPP on players who are 1SPP away from a skill. Having a player who is more likely to catch the pass makes this more likely to work and get you that skill after the match. This is one area that Elves are at an advantage but Extra Arms can give the less agile mutation equipped teams a boost, as it can sometimes be hard to get that extra SPP on certain players.
The interception bonus is nice to have but it doesn’t really give much benefit. You can now intercept on a 5 roll instead of only a 6, though usually the opposition will avoid passing it over this player. Of if they do then they will likely be in a tackle zone making the interception roll a 6 again. Maybe later on in the player development you can take Pass Block, but there are usually higher priority skills to take and that is a two skill combination that has very situational use.
As I mentioned earlier AG4 players won’t get much of a bonus for most pick ups, so that rules them out. AG2 players you probably don’t want carrying the ball so I would only really take it on AG3 players who you plan on picking the ball up with and usually then carrying it. Obviously there aren’t that many players who can take Mutations so this should be a short list.
Beastmen and Pestigors are the obvious candidates for it. They are often the ones handling the ball in their teams, they have AG3 and they can also select it on a normal skill roll. You may consider Chaos Warriors but I would prefer to compliment their high strength by taking skills that help in the blocking game. Underworld are the other team with normal skill access for Mutations, here I would look to giving it to their Throwers. They will probably be picking the ball up as they start with Sure hands, and you can use them as targets for the dead turn SPP completions to aid team mates skilling up. It can also make a useful combination on Underworld Goblins, though not as their first skill. If they already have Big Hand to ignore tackle zones for picking up, then Extra Arms can make picking up a loose ball in many tackle zones very easy. I would prefer Two Heads first though as it will make the dodges to get to the loose ball and getting away again easier, but it can make a great third skill on a player who likely won’t live long afterwards!
The remaining eligible players require double rolls to take Extra Arms, again I would look at the Skaven Thrower on Skaven teams this time. They usually pick the ball up and it is useful for both offence and defensively built Throwers. Starting with Sure Hands also means that they can pick the ball up more reliably than their more agile team mates.
I think Extra Arms is a very useful skill to take now and opens up options that aren’t there before. Having more players who can handle the ball on the less agile teams can be a god send and remember to position them well to take advantage of being able to spread out SPP. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it is a replacement for +AG though, even if you go in to pick the ball up in a tackle zone, you will still probably have to dodge back out again as well. Should you roll +AG on a player who already has Extra Arms then you should still take the agility increase, now you can really look at picking up ball that have been knocked loose and perhaps dodge away with it as well.