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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Huáng Gài 黄盖

Posted by Ricky Chua On 3:15 PM No comments
What's with the cartoon?
Fancy some S&M action? Huang Gai is shown here as being tied up like a prisoner awaiting torture. It's not really an apt image in my opinion, because he usually tortures himself in the ability!

Who is he:
The veteran of Wu Kingdom 吴国, Huang Gai served 3 members of the Sun family beginning from Sun Jian 孙坚, then his eldest son Sun Ce 孙策, and finally Sun Quan 孙权. Fiercely loyal, he is best remembered for his sacrificial role in the battle of Red Cliffs 赤壁之战. So prominent was his role, in fact, that his name has become synonymous with the "Trojan Flesh ploy 苦肉计" in the story. More about that the sections below.

Character ability: "Trojan Flesh 苦肉 (kǔ ròu)"
During the action phase, Huang Gai can choose to lose 1 unit of health and draw 2 more cards from the deck. This ability can be used repeatedly in a turn.

Ability's relation to story:
A marvelous fit! Huang Gai suffered terrible pain and physical abuse, all for the sake of gaining a strategic advantage (ie: deceiving Cao Cao 曹操). In this card game, this effect is reproduced well whereby the additional cards can make a big difference.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - The ignitor of the flames that burnt Cao Cao's fleet. The ploy is the brainchild of Zhou Yu 周瑜 and Huang Gai, where Zhou Yu needs Huang Gai to feign his defecting over to join Cao Cao. However Cao Cao knows that Huang Gai is very loyal, thus more extreme measures need to be used. An elaborate show was set up in the Wu camp whereby Huang Gai interrupts Zhou Yu and advises surrender. In a show of fury, Zhou Yu orders Huang Gai executed. The other generals and advisors all plead for Huang Gai's life and Zhou Yu finally relents, lightening the punishment from death to 50 strokes of the staff. Huang Gai's flesh was bloodied and torn after the beating, but everyone was fooled. Cao Cao's spies reported this incident and thus it became believable that Huang Gai's defection was real. When the time came for Huang Gai's defection, he sailed over to Cao Cao's fleet with small boats filled with flammable material. By the time Cao Cao realized it was a trick, it was too late. Huang Gai set the boats aflame and the fire spread throughout Cao Cao's army. Thus Cao Cao suffered the greatest defeat in his career.

2. Cause of death - After the battle of Red Cliffs, there was a break out of robbers at Chang Sha 长沙. Sun Quan delegated Huang Gai to settle the matter but Huang Gai died of illness before the mission was accomplished.

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