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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Duress 借刀杀人 (jiè dāo shā rén)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:29 PM 19 comments
Out of ATTACK 杀 cards to use? Your target opponent out of range? Want to hold a member of the opposite team hostage? This is the tool card to use. Although DURESS can be used on any player, it is most effective when used on LOYALIST 忠臣 or DEFECTOR 内奸 against RULER 主公. The only requirement, though, is that the target player must have a weapon equipped to become susceptible to DURESS. Now sit back, have a cup of tea and enjoy being evil.

What it does:
DURESS forces the target player to use an ATTACK card on another player of the user's choice. Note that the intended recipient of the ATTACK must be within attacking range of the player held under DURESS. If the target player refuses to use an ATTACK card, he or she must give up the equipped weapon to the user. The user then keeps the unethically acquired weapon as an on-hand card. The weapon can also be equipped immediately.

How to use it:
First determine the target to be held under DURESS. This player must have a weapon equipped. Then pick another player (the victim) whom you want the target player to attack. The victim must be within the attacking range of the target player.

The literal meaning of 借刀杀人 "jie dao sha ren" is to kill someone using a borrowed knife, hence the requirement for the target player to have a weapon equipped before DURESS can be used. However the true meaning of 借刀杀人 actually means making use of a third party to carry out an unethical deed. The third party usually already has intentions to carry out the deed anyway. This diverts significantly from the meaning of duress since the true meaning of 借刀杀人 does not carry any implied threat or penalty if the third party refuses. Nonetheless, I decided to translate this card as DURESS because of the obvious tactical play involved and the penalty of losing an equipped weapon.

Historical basis:
In the early days of the Three Kingdoms era, Cao Cao 曹操 had the misfortune to be insulted by a somewhat-prominent scholar called Mi Heng 祢衡. Mi Heng is quite the antagonist (and probably a little tired of living), verbally insulting many generals while carrying an air of elitism. Much as he would love to kill Mi Heng with his bare hands, Cao Cao does not want to be seen as a petty leader. Neither does he want to be known as a leader who does not treasure talent, especially since he wants to convene the best generals and strategists under his leadership.

Cao Cao, therefore, does the next best thing. He sends Mi Heng on an impossible mission to convince a rival ruler, Liu Biao 刘表, to surrender. Liu Biao is enraged by Mi Heng's audacity, but quickly realizes it is a ploy by Cao Cao to have Mi Heng murdered. Liu Biao sends Mi Heng to visit his general Huang Zhu, where Mi Heng again sarcastically criticizes Huang Zhu. Huang Zhu gets pissed and kills Mi Heng, but the son-of-a-gun deserved it anyway. In this way Cao Cao and Liu Biao were both vindicated of killing a talent, while still happy that they got rid of that uppity little fart. Read more about Mi Heng on Wikipedia!


  1. What happens if we play Duress on a player that turns out not to have any Attack cards? (since we won't know he has no Attack cards)

  2. If that player does not use an ATTACK card (regardless of whether he has or not, or just does not want to use it), you get to take away his weapon.

  3. Question came up in our game: If A uses this card and asks B to attack consequentially kills C, and C turns out to be an outlaw (green), does A or B get the kill?

  4. B (the one who uses the ATTACK) gets the kill and not A (the user of the Duress card).

    For duress, the damage is contributed by the person who actually uses the ATTACK. This person can choose not to ATTACK, thus it is fair.

  5. With remaining 2 players(A and B), can A use duress on B to attack B himself? or Duress basically is useless when left with 2 players?

  6. Yes and No.

    Yes, Duress can be used when there are only 2 players. Player A can use Duress on Player B as long as Player B has a weapon equipped.

    No, Player B CANNOT be victim of Duress and use attack ON HIMSELF. The attack can only be used against Player A (ie: Player A forces player B to attack player A).

    Though this might sound like suicide, it is actually very useful in the following scenarios:

    1. You are Zhang Jiao and when Player B attacks you, you can use Lightning Strike.

    2. You want to get rid of a Dodge card in your hand that you cannot otherwise use in your turn.

    3. You make a gamble that Player B does not have any attack and you rob him of his weapon.

    1. It is also useful if you are huang yueying because you will draw a card due to his assembling wisdom ability. ^_^

  7. Does duress take into account the effects of the weapon equipped by the target?

    eg. If I used duress to command a player with the Gu Ding Dao equipped to attack another player with no cards in hand, will the attack deal 2 points of damage? If it is then is it possible to attack 3 targets with Fang Tian Hua Ji?

  8. Yes to the Gu Ding Dao as it is an enforced ability. The Fang Tian Hua Ji's ability is optional so it is up to its owner to decide whether he wants to target another 2 players.

  9. This is not about the card, just the historical basis part, where you mentioned "Huang Zhu", I think it should be "Huang Zu": 黄祖.

  10. So if someone is the target of DURESS and decides to USE a KILL against the designated player, can they add a WINE to it to make it a WINE KILL ?

  11. I don't think you can add a WINE to that since it is not your turn to play.

  12. Can you use DURESS in yourself?

  13. when you use DURESS do you have to name the 2nd player before someone NEGATE or someone has to NEGATE before naming of the 2nd player. i.e. I want play DURESS on player A. i have to name the 2nd player to be SHA here before anyone throws NEGATE or wait for NEGATE first then name the 2nd player?

  14. It has to be negated before you tell them who to use a SHA on. However, this may subject to your house rules.^_^

  15. I use Duress 借刀杀人 (Jie Dao Sha REN) myself so I attack someone else? using it to power attack with Duress 借刀杀人 (jie dao sha ren) is more a normal attack in the same turn.
    I can send someone to attack me using Duress 借刀杀人 (Jie Dao Sha REN)? with the intention to grab his gun.

    1. You can only use Duress on other players, not yourself. You CAN make the player target you if you want the weapon.

  16. If I use Duress 借刀杀人 on a player with Zhu Ge Crossbow 诸葛连弩, can that player use more than one kill?


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