Tactics 101: Better Blocking

The ultimate aim of the game is to score more touchdowns than your opponent, and that is made easier the fewer opponents there are on the pitch. Successful blocking is the key to controlling the pitch, both on the offence and defence. This means, no matter how nice the other fifty skills in the rule book look, the first skill for most players should either be Block, to hit people, or Dodge, to avoid getting hit. As with any attempt to write a ‘universal rule’ there will always be some exceptions, however the purpose of this article is to explain what Block does and how to use it effectively. Coaches can then make up their own minds as to whether to take the skill or not.

What does Block do?

Having the Block skill helps a player in several ways. The most important is reducing the chance of a turnover when blocking. Figure 1 shows the percentage chance a player will fall over when blocking.

Figure 1: Chance of a turn over (falling down)

Attacker has 3 Dice Defenders Choose 2 Dice Defenders Choose 1 Dice 2 Dice Attacker Choose 3 Dice Attacker Choose
No Skill 70.4% 55.6% 33.3% 11.1% 03.7%
Block 42.1% 30.6% 16.7% 02.8% 00.5%

Block also improves the chance of knocking your opponent down and reduces the chance of a player being knocked down themselves when getting hit. Figure 2 shows the chances, when making a two dice block, of the defender being knocked down. This also shows you how good Block and Dodge, commonly referred to as “Blodge”, is on a player as only 1 in 3 hits against them will knock them down.

Figure 2: Chance of defender down after a 2 Dice Block

Attacker has

Defender has

No Skill

Block

Dodge

Block and Dodge

No Skills

56%

56%

31%

31%

Block

75%

56%

56%

31%

How to Block Better?

The first thing to understand is how assisting a block works. You need to cancel out your opponent’s assists and position players to get your own. Without the Guard skill, players can only assist if they are adjacent to the enemy player involved in the block and not be in the tackle zone of any other player from the opposing team. As an example, if you have three of your players in a line with three enemy players in front of them then none of the players can assist one another. What you have to do is move a fourth player to one end of the line to assist and then, assuming you get at least a pushback, you will be able to get a two dice block with each player one after the other.

T1-Block1

After assists you need to understand the different directions you can push back players if you do not knock them over. It is important to understand if you block on the diagonal then you can push players sideways potentially putting them next to another one of your players allowing you to get a second chance to hit them. This also works on the Blitz when you have enough movement to get to the far side of a player you can push them back towards your other players and get extra chances to hit them. In the example below, the Skaven in the middle blocks the Beastman on the left, pushing him along the line of scrimmage. This allows the next Skaven to also punch him and then, if he is still on his feet, the Storm Vermin on the end of the line.

T1-Block2

Should I make One Dice Blocks?

Falling down on an unnecessary block is not just a failed block it is a turnover and it takes a player’s tackle-zones off the field for at least a turn; more if you fail your armour save. Those tackle-zones you are no longer exerting leave holes in your defence making the opponents turn easier. Do not make risky blocks unless there is a tactical advantage or that player can be spared if they fall down. Sometimes you have to make one dice blocks but always try to make them with a player that has the Block skill otherwise you are just asking for trouble.