This player is very skilled at holding off would-be attackers. Opposing players may not follow-up blocks made against this player even if the Fend player is Knocked Down. The opposing player may still continue moving after blocking if he had declared a Blitz Action.
Fend is a new addition to the game and it has a few different effects on certain play styles. It has opened up some new tactics that weren’t previously there and can make skill choices a bit more diverse. Obviously the most apparent advantage is that opponents can’t follow up which means they won’t be in a position to just hit you again next turn unless you choose. It also means your player no longer needs to dodge away from them (you may need to dodge away from another opponent though depending on where you got pushed back to). This gives you the choice of if you want to move away somewhere else, or just tie up that same player that blocked you again.
Stopping opponents from following up after blocking you can also make it harder for them to manoeuvre their players. If they needed to follow up to assist a team mate for a block, you can prevent them doing so. Even if you get pushed back into another opposing tackle zone, the fact the blocking player can’t follow up means you may be in a position to easily get a block back against the player you do get left next to. Move in a team mate to assist and your players can do a block that wouldn’t be available had the opponent followed up. You can also slow down their progress down the pitch, this can be of great hassle to a caging team. The further you keep them from the endzone the harder it will be for them to score without exposing their ball carrier at some point.
Fend is also great for negating other skills on the opposing players. They can’t follow up for the second block if using Frenzy and it also will prevent them from using Piling On, which can be vital for keeping your players alive. If you combine the fact that your opponents will have less blocks against you as they won’t be standing next to as many of your players, less blocks from Frenzy and preventing Piling On, then you can really keep your players safer. This will save your team money in the long run from having to replace players as well as keeping your players on the pitch for more turns. Obviously having more of your players on the pitch will make games easier for you and should result in an improvement of results.
- Slows Down Opponents
- Less Dodges
- Prevents Frenzy and Piling On
- Less Blocking Opportunities for Opponents
Given what I’ve said above it appears that Fend would be useful for anyone who would prefer not to be stuck in a brawl. That could be quite a lot of players and while a whole team with Fend could certainly cause problems, there are also a lot of other skills for a lot of players to consider.
I would give it to the low armour linesmen who are often stuck in the way to get hit by the other team. This would be Skaven, the Elves, possibly Norse, Amazon and Humans as well. I wouldn’t select it as the first skill though, it makes a great second skill after Wrestle or perhaps Block or Dodge. Wrestle and Fend combine really well for slowing down caging teams and can protect these often victimised players.
The reason why you would pick Fend over perhaps Dodge is the fact that most of the time it isn’t going to get cancelled out. Dodge will be redundant when facing Dwarf teams or anyone else who has taken a fair amount of Tackle. Fend is only cancelled out by a player who is blitzing you with Juggernaut, this will be far, far less frequent an occurrence. Obviously the trade off is you can’t dodge as well, though you are back to square one if facing Tackle, while Fend will also give you turns where you don’t need to dodge anyway.
You may consider it as a skill on any ball carrier as well, it could make the difference between having to dodge away or not in your own turn if you survive being hit. However I prefer to try and not let my ball carrier get hit at all. Usually if they are getting hit, it will be from a blitz action ,where most of the time the blitzing player can just use another square of movement to follow up anyway, even after you use Fend. If you are stuck for ideas though by all means consider it.