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Although defensively, Swordback Hold is lacking compared to other shields, it has other, more offensive merits more likely useful in the hands of a physical fighter.
Swordback Hold only has a small enhanced defense and increased chance to block. However, it does have a very large chance of causing Open Wounds upon striking. When combined with other equipment that cause Open Wounds (such as, in early game, Blood Crescent, or in later game, Bloodmoon), a physical fighter could theoretically cause Open Wounds with almost every hit they inflict.
Open Wounds is a useful ability to have. Similar to Poison in that it causes damage over a fixed amount of time, Open Wounds' power is actually dependent on character level. By the time a character is high enough level, Open Wounds can cause quite a bit of damage, perhaps enough that such a fighter may not even need Prevents Monster Heal on their equipment, providing they can keep triggering the effect.
Still, despite Swordback Hold's bonuses, it offers no Resistances and smaller defense than other shields. Characters concerned for defense rather than offense would be better off looking in other places.
Required Level: 15
Required Strength: 30
Chance to Block: