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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mǎ Dài 马岱

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:42 PM 27 comments
Translated Description:
"Entrusted during the crisis 临危受命 (lín wēi shòu mìng)"

Who is he:
This guy has a rather dirty resume, because his biggest credit is in tricking and murdering a "compatriot". Before we get to that, let's talk about his relations to other characters. Ma Dai was the cousin of Ma Chao 马超, though Ma Dai never quite got the fame (or infamy) of his cousin. He served for Shu Kingdom and was more notable during Zhuge Liang 诸葛亮's expeditions.

But enough riff-raff. Let's get to the juicy bit. Zhuge Liang once praised Ma Dai as one of the most loyal to Shu Kingdom. You could say that Zhuge Liang was right, because Ma Dai's loyalty led him to feint friendship with Shu's most famous traitor... Wei Yan 魏延. Ma Dai was part of Zhuge Liang's plot to keep check on Wei Yan as the latter seemed likely to revolt. True enough, Wei Yan turned rebel after Zhuge Liang's death, but Ma Dai seized the opportunity whilst an insider to assassinate the rebel. Give this man a trophy!

Character ability 1: Horsemanship 马术 (mǎ shù) [Enforced Ability]
In distance calculations between you and other players, you will always be at -1.

Character ability 2: Backstab 潜袭 (qián xí)
Whenever you use ATTACK 杀 to cause damage to a player within distance of 1, you can flip a judgement card. If the judgement is not hearts, you prevent this damage and instead cause the player reduce his max health units by 1.

Ability's relation to story:
“Backstab” refers to his killing of Wei Yan. In ROTK, Wei Yan revolted against Shu Han. However, Zhuge Liang predicted that and entrusted a mission to Ma Dai before his death. Ma Dai falsely followed Wei Yan. When Wei Yan shouted out “who dares to kill me?”, Ma Dai slayed him from behind. The ability allows Ma Dai to reduce his enemy’s max. health, so Wei Yan cannot regain his health back by his ability “Insanity Streak”.

However, this ability is buggy and overpowered. It is buggy because the presence of awakening abilities of other characters. Awakening abilities use max health as a sign to indicate whether that character has awakened or not. But with this character, it would be impossible. Also, for Deng Ai 邓艾, Jiang Wei 姜维, Sun Ce 孙策, and Zhong Hui 钟会, their awakening abilities require them to reduce 1 max health when awakening. What happen if Ma Dai has reduced their max health to 1…

The ability is overpowered because of it can reduce max health. As you may observe, 1 max health represents 1 normal ability in most characters. But for Ma Dai, he can reduce their…even Cai Wenji can disable abilities at her death. Also, it is extremely powerful to all characters damage-triggered abilities (because it reduces and abilities related to lost health (e.g. Sun Jian 孙坚, Zhang Chunhua 张春华 and Wang Yi 王异).

How to obtain this character?
Ma Dai is available in the 2012 release of OverKnight Fame, otherwise known as OKF2012 (一将成名2012). Click here to purchase now!


  1. Is there a FAQ for his second ability like for Xiao Qiao and Cao Zhi?
    I feel like Yoka needs to release a guide to clarify this ability in game.

  2. While I do think that Ma Dai is one of the better 2nd generation OKF characters, I must say that I do not find him overpowered. Because his "Backstab" only works in the physical range, Ma Dai only has four options on which he can use this power (assuming he doesn't have a -1 horse). I have used him in 8-player games in which I was surrounded by allies. These situations can be very frustrating. Also, Ma Dai's ability is not as useful when attacking a character with very little health remaining. While it is not an enforced ability, other characters have more useful abilities in these situations and may have a better chance of killing the target.

    I do agree with the point that reducing the max health of characters with awakened abilities is problematic though. I guess that tokens would have to be used for these characters when they do these abilities, much in the same way that tokens are used for Pang Tong, Jia Xu and other characters with single-use abilities. Also, if Ma Dai reduces the max of Sun Ce, Deng Ai, etc to one unit and their awakening ability is activated, they are reduced to a max of zero, killing them instantly. I have done this before to king Sun Ce and it was so funny!

    1. "Also, Ma Dai's ability is not as useful when attacking a character with very little health remaining."

      Unless the target has been always right next to Ma Dai, and he repeatedly was a victim till he has only 1 health and 1 max as well. Ma Dai would simply kill him off for good with his ability. Peach would be useless?

    2. When I wrote this, I meant that Ma Dai's power is not useful against a character who has been damaged a lot by other characters (they have a large maximum health limit, but only one unit of health remaining). In some cases, it is better to try to kill the enemy than reduce their max health limit. I should have been more clear.

    3. Sorry about the double post, but I just realized something. Does Ma Dai's "Backstab" work on anyone in his physical range, or only those who are a distance of one away from him? I play using an unofficial computer program called QSanGuoSha. In this program, Ma Dai can reduce the max health level of anyone in his physical range. Is this an error in the programming, or does "Horsemanship" essentially increase the number of people who are a distance of one away from him?

    4. ^^^^ No intention to offense, but a character who is funny by himself and making others annoyed is overpowered. Plz think about the feeling of Sun Ce killed by you ;)

      ^^^ PEACH is useless because the character dies directly.

      ^^ Yes, it is more useful to deal damage, provided that he would die without saved back and activate damage-triggered abilities...

      ^ Physical range and distance of one is the same concept indeed..."Horsemanship" increases the number of people who are in distance of one/ physical range...

    5. Don't worry about the Sun Ce that died. He died in QSanGuoSha as a computer-controlled opponent. No human SGS players were harmed as a result of my actions. ;P

    6. ^Hey can I ask where did you play the QSanGuoSha from? Do you need to register like online SanGuoSha?

    7. ^Here is a link to the place where you can download the QSanGuoSha program:

      You don't need to register, but you will need to find a program that can open files with a ".7z" extension in order to install it. I found one with the standard 'microsoft help' functionality on my PC, but I no longer have the website bookmarked, so I cannot help you with that.

      The program isn't perfect, but I highly recommend it. You can use any official character from the base set and all of the expansions (including the OKF 2012 characters) except Zhang Chun Hua (they couldn't figure out how to program her abilities). Also, the program has all of the 2011 SP characters and the 2012 SP Zhao Yun, Diao Chan, Cao Ren, and Pang Tong.

    8. ^Thanks for the link, but it seems like I have to install a lot of things, and not only the 7z just to get it installed.

  3. Here are Ma Dai's FAQ. BTW, I suggest remove Ma Dai from the game...

    [Q]Ma Dai activates "Backstab" on Deng Ai for numerous times, and Deng Ai's max health is 1. If Deng Ai triggers "Conduit", how to resolve.
    [A]Deng Ai's max. health is reduced by 1. Because his is 0, he dies directly, and cannot be saved.

    [Q]Ma Dai uses ATTACK on Pang Tong with distance 1 and 1, activates "Backstab" on him, how to resolve?
    [A]1. If the judgement result is hearts, Pang Tong suffers 1 unit of damage, and enters the Brink-of-Death. He can activate "Nirvana" and regain 1 unit of health.
    2. If the judgement result is not hearts, Ma Dai prevents the damage, the max. health of Pang Tong is reduced by 1. Because the max. health is 0, he dies directly (not killed by Ma Dai), cannot be saved (so Pang Tong cannot activate "Nirvana").

    [Q]Ma Dai activates "Backstab" on Zhou Tai for numerous times, so the max. health of Zhou Tai is reduced to 0, how to resolve?
    [A]The health of Zhou Tai is not reduced (but his health might be regulated by max. health), he cannot activate "Refuting Death". So no matter there are cards or not on Zhou Tai's character card, Zhou Tai dies directly and cannot be saved.

    [Q]When Ma Dai equipping FROST BLADE or UNICORN BOW deals damage on character within distance 1, how to resolve?
    [A]This is the timing for Ma Dai to acticate "Backstab" and FROST BLADE or UNICORN BOW, Ma Dai can activate his character ability "Backkstab":
    1. The judgement result is hearts, the resolving of damage is executed normally, Ma Dai can activate FROST BLADE or UNICORN BOW.
    2. The judgement result is not hearts, Ma Dai can prevent this damage and reduce the max health of the target character by 1. Because Ma Dai prevent this damage, the resolving of damage is finished, he cannot activate FROST BLADE or UNICORN BOW.

  4. It seems like Ma Dai is created to take care of the 'sell blood gang' from Wei, like Zhang Chunhua

    1. Not only that.. Many characters would be taken care of by him..

    2. I think not only the sell blood gang hates him a lot, but also the awakening gang and the long life gang

    3. So he would be useful... it's just a matter of using him wisely.

    4. Ma Dai >>> Ma Chao? Can't it really be?

    5. I can see why a lot of people think Ma Dai is overpowered just by reading his ability, but when you actually use him, you find that he is not as strong as he initially seems. Remember, Ma Dai's ability only works against enemies he damages with an attack in his physical range. Even then, there is still a 1/4 chance that the power will fail. If Ma Dai has few or no enemies in his physical range, his power becomes a lot less useful. Experienced players will save their dodges for Ma Dai. With all of these factors working against Ma Dai, it is not uncommon for this ability to only work once or twice throughout the course of a standard 8-person game. Another thing to keep in mind is that if an enemy has only one unit of health (and their maximum is greater than one), Ma Dai's ability may not be all that useful. It is often better to try to kill an enemy that reduce their maximum health.

      When comparing Ma Dai and Ma Chao, keep in mind that Ma Chao's ability works against anyone he attacks, not just those he attacks in his physical range. Ma Chao is much more useful than Ma Dai against defensive characters like Zhao Yun, Zhen Ji, Lu Meng, and Liu Biao. These characters can be incredibly hard to hit with an attack under normal conditions, but Ma Chao has a 50% chance of hitting them no matter what cards are in their hands. Also, the eight trigrams armor can cause problems for Ma Dai, but Ma Chao has a good chance of bypassing this armor.

      I am not saying that Ma Dai is bad. There are some situations in which he excels, but he is definitely not the most powerful character in the game.

    6. ^ I don't think he's overpowered but I do think that it doesn't feel like a good game mechanic that awakening characters can straight up die in some circumstances (granted those circumstances can only happen 1/1000).

      Maybe they're running out of ideas but he is actually useful and I think that he has strengths/weaknesses and most times the side that utilizes the most strengths of its members and minimizes the weaknesses will usually win so in that aspect you can said Yoka succeeded because he certainly is not a Yu Jin or Zhou Tai.

    7. Well you say that Ma Dai's ability is not fully functional most of the time (I don't see how u can be surrounded by 4 allies most of the time) then hes ability also makes many other general's ability useless most of the time. It negates all damage done and injured abilities and most 1 life awaken abilities. Not to mention any hit is a permanent reduction in the amount of hand cards you can hold.

    8. ^ I never said that Ma Dai's ability is not fully functional most of the time. I was trying to illustrate situations in which Ma Dai is not as useful. I have used him a fair amount of times and I have occasionally encountered these situations. I will admit that Ma Dai's ability is very strong, but there are several barriers that prevent it from working each and every turn:

      1.) You must have an attack
      2.) Enemy must not have dodge or armor that prevents you from hitting them
      3.) Enemy must be within physical range (+1 horses can get in your way if the enemy is not to your immediate right or left)
      4.) Judgement must not be a heart

      You are not always surrounded by allies, but each ally in your 4-person range decreases your number of targets. If there are allies to your immediate right and left, enemies one space further way may acquire a +1 horse and escape the physical range. Additionally, it is much harder to hit enemies like Zhen Ji or Yu Jin. If characters like these are in your physical range, your 'selection' of enemies that you have a realistic chance of hitting decreases further. On top of all of this, enemies who can be more easily hit will try to save dodges for Ma Dai.

      What I was trying to convey is that it is easy for one to fantasize about how powerful he is if they have not used him. Before I used him, I thought he would be quite good. When one tries a few rounds with him, they realize that he is not as overpowered as he seems.

    9. Ma Dai + Ma Chao = Epicness

  5. let say Cai Wenji is a rebel with a max health of 1 left, and Ma Dai reduced her health to zero does it mean:

    1. Cai Wenji's ability Sorrow won't cause Ma Dai to lose all abilities, since he prevented the damage and
    2. Ma Dai doesn't get 3 cards for killing a rebel?

    1. You are correct on both counts.

    2. It feels like Cai Wenji suddenly just drop dead and no one knows what had happen, since no one gets the reward for killing a rebel.. Except for Ma Dai..

    3. When your current life is higher than your maximum life, your life will be adjusted to be the same as your maximum life and life lost in this process does not count as damage done so no damage has been done and the kill is not credited.

    4. I mean only Ma Dai knows what happen.. I don't mean only he gets the reward..


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