Contents Copyright Ricky Chua 2010. Powered by Blogger.

Blog Archive


Most Viewed

Latest SGS Questions

Monday, September 10, 2012

Elder Zhūgě Liàng 暮年诸葛亮

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:23 PM 20 comments
Translated description:
"Prime minister who has passed his prime 迟暮的丞相 (chí mù dè chéng xiàng)"

Who is he:
The star of the show, but definitely not the star of the card game. In this San Guo Sha 三国杀 card game there are not 1, not 2, but 3 Zhu Ge Liang to choose from. This elder version is the most subdued and the least god-like. The other 2 are just simply unfairly powerful. Just in case you do not know who Zhu Ge Liang is, he is the military strategist cum intellect extraordinaire to Liu Bei 刘备 and the Kingdom of Shu Han 蜀汉. There is just TOO MUCH to read about Zhu Ge Liang, and i'll leave that to your own reading on Wikipedia.

Character ability 1: "Star Gazing 观星 (guān xīng)"
At the beginning of your turn, you can view X number of cards from the top of the deck (X equals to the number of players still in play with X having maximum of 5). Of these X cards, you can choose any number of cards to place at the top or at the bottom of the pile. You can also rearrange the order of the cards.

Character ability 2: "Empty City 空城 (kōng chéng)" [Enforced ability]
When you have no cards on hand, you cannot become the target of ATTACK 杀 or DUEL 决斗.

Ability's relation to story:
In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhu Ge Liang is given almost god-like powers that can predict the changes in weather, accurate to within the day that wind directions change. He is able to make these predictions from his knowledge of reading the stars, thus the game ability to "predict" what cards are coming up next with his "Star Gazing" ability. Ok so its outright manipulation of the cards coming up next, but heck might as well dramatize it more!

The "Empty City" ability comes from the famous ploy he uses to fool Si Ma Yi 司马懿. As all his troops have been sent out in missions, he was unable to defend himself from Si Ma Yi's attack of his current location (Xi Cheng 西城). In classical reverse psychology, Zhu Ge Liang empties the city, opens the city gates wide to welcome the invaders, and calmly plays the zither atop the gate in full view of the enemy. Si Ma Yi suspects an ambush and thus retreats. To replicate that effect, the game makers gave the player using Elder Zhu Ge Liang unsusceptibility to ATTACK and DUEL when the player has no more cards left to defend himself or herself.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Borrowing arrows with straw boats? There really isn't ONE famous achievement because he has so many!

2. Cause of death - During a ritual ceremony to extend his life (no kidding!), Wei Yan 魏延 barges in and disturbs Zhu Ge Liang. He dies soon after from the effects of the disturbance.

Wikipedia link:

Tactics [By JonKow]:
Ruler (B+)
(Elder) Zhuge Liang in my opinion is a pretty normal ruler character, there isn’t really any added bonus when he is the ruler except for the fact that “Empty city” makes him pretty much difficult to kill. With the rattan armour addition he is basically invulnerable to all attacks except “lightning” and character effect damages. Being difficult-as-hell-to-kill just makes him an awesome character for all roles and not just as a ruler. The “Star Gazing” ability gives Zhuge Liang the ability to control the cards he draws as well as probably the next player’s cards. As usual this ability is incredible and every role would benefit from it.

Loyalist (B+)
Well if your ruler is your “next” player, he is in for a treat, you can support your ruler by giving him the best cards via “Star Gazing” Well, like the above, nothing special.

Rebel (B)
Now Zhuge Liang is not a very good rebel character to play. You might think that “hey, Zhuge Liang is so difficult to kill, he must be overpowered!” Well the way I see it, the rebels are generally easy to identify in a game, having a difficult to kill character would only induce your enemies to kill your allies, as much as you being able to assist them while being difficult-to-kill seems like a good idea, your allies might not be able to survive the heat and would soon be defeated leaving you facing whatever is left of your enemies. The lack of offensive abilities makes Zhuge Liang not very suitable for the role of a rebel.

Defector (B)
As much as how I like to play as a defector, and how awesome Zhuge Liang is, I can’t really say that he is a good defector, yes he is good support, he is difficult to kill, but there isn’t really much of a game when he is the last player left. I mean seriously, how much can you do when your star gazing is only limited to 2 cards and you have simply no offensive abilities.

FAQ and Disambiguation:

Star Gazing
1. Which comes first? "Star Gazing" ability or Judgement?

Ans: The ability comes first. Therefore Zhu Ge Liang is able to manipulate the judgement card to his favor.

2. Can he place all the cards that were gazed at the bottom of the deck, and not leave any at the top?

Ans: Yes.

3. Can this ability still apply when it is a 1-on-1 situation?

Ans: Yes. He can still gaze 2 cards, rearrange them, or place them at the bottom if he chooses.

Empty City
1. When Zhu Ge Liang has no more on-hand cards, can he be targeted for Diao Chan 貂蝉's "Seed of Animosity 离间" ability?

[Updated 2nd Feb 2011] Ans: No. He cannot be targeted for Duel even if it is Diao Chan's ability.

2. During the midst of a DUEL, if Zhu Ge Liang runs out of on-hand cards, does the "Empty City" ability activate?

Ans: No. "Empty City" means he cannot be the target of DUEL or ATTACK. During DUEL, the card has already been activated, thus the DUEL goes on even if Zhu Ge Liang has no more cards on-hand. If he is unable to produce another ATTACK in the midst of the DUEL, he receives damage.

3. Does RAINING ARROWS 万箭齐发, BARBARIANS 南蛮入侵 or tool cards other than DUEL have an effect on Zhu Ge Liang when he has no on-hand cards?

Ans: Yes. "Empty City" only prevents ATTACK and DUEL. Other tool cards are still effective.

4. Say a player equips "Green Dragon Crescent Blade 青龙偃月刀" and attacks Zhu Ge Liang, who has only 1 DODGE on-hand. After 1 ATTACK, Zhu Ge Liang uses his DODGE and no longer has anymore on-hand cards, but the weapon ability states that another ATTACK can be use if the previous was dodged. So can the second ATTACK be used on Zhu Ge Liang?

Ans: No. A second ATTACK card is executed after Zhu Ge Liang has activated his "Empty City" ability, therefore Zhu Ge Liang cannot be targeted for the second attack.

5. If he has no card in hand and has Rattan Armor equipped, is he completely immune to all damage?

Ans: No. If someone were to shackle him then channel damage across, his will still suffer damage

6. Is it possible for Zhu Ge Liang to blacken all the cards at the bottom of the deck for Zhen Ji using his Star Gazing ability?

Ans: Yes it is. But you will need to consider number of players and characters that can increase draw rate(such as Guo Jia and Xun Yu). It is not easy, but possible.


  1. I just thought of this yesterday but haven got a chance to try out the scenario
    imagine zhu ge liang has no card in hand (which means empty city is activated) and he is wearing a rattan amour (which render him immune to raining arrows and babarians). he is basically immune to almost all damages even 火杀 because of empty city and rattan amour. he cant even be targeted by 火攻 because he has no hand!
    so basically all he needs to do is to get rid of his hand every turn and he wun get hit!

  2. Exactly. He wouldn't even be vulnerable to Lightning since he can arrange his judgement cards.

    What CAN happen though, is for someone to shackle him then channel fire damage across. He's toast.

  3. Pity there is no expansion packs in the online version.

    I also thought that Zhuge Liang can put all the black cards at the bottom everytime he Stargazes.

    When the deck card number reaches 10, Zhen Ji can use Goddess Luo.

    This means that even if Zhen JI is all the way across the table, Zhuge Liang can still help.

    Better would be to keep track of how many cards Zhuge Liang has put down, and then calculate the number of players between Zhen Ji and Zhuge Liang. Since players draw 2 cards (or 3), so that Zhen Ji knows when exactly to Goddess Luo.

    In the online version, I have seen Zhen Ji who does not Luo Shen when Zhuge Liang is on play.

  4. Interesting. In theory, it is possible for ZGL to blacken all the cards at the bottom of the deck for Zhen Ji. Based on a rough estimate, it will take around 7 to 10 rounds of play at 6 players before the deck runs out.

    Definitely possible. Factors to consider include no. of players, no. of characters that can increase draw rate (such as Guo Jia and Xun Yu).

    Of utmost importance... can ZJ survive long enough to reach the bottom of the deck??

  5. The female characters are the weakest. For a start, they all have only 3 health.

    But the weakest being Huang Yue Ying and Diao Chan, Zhen Ji is actually quite long lasting, as her defensive skill comes rather useful.

    Similarly, of all the 3 health male characters, strongest being Guo Jia of course. Si Ma Yi is also strong, but can die easily when he is already hurt. Zhuge Liang is vulnerable to AOE attacks.

    I'm getting off track. Haha. So anyways, Zhen Ji lasts longer than most other female characters.

  6. Actually, diao chan can put zhu ge liang in a state of duel in the online version.

  7. Based on the comment above, i did find something mentioning this.


    But then ZGL cannot be the first person to use ATTACK? Can you confirm this for the online-version?

  8. Comment on previous poster. Yes, Diao Chan can put Zhuge in duel because he can Designate Zhuge as the initiator of the Duel which means the duel card isn't used on him but by him.

  9. But there's still something not right. The other comments out there state that ZGL must not be the first to use Attack, which means he cannot be the "initiator" of the Duel.

    This is a big grey patch. Anyone out there can resolve this? Please contribute!

  10. Ricky, the first person to give out the ATTACK in a DUEL is not the initiator of the duel. When A DUEL B, A is the initiator of the DUEL but B throws a ATTACK first. Hopes it clarifies your doubt.

  11. Ah i see! That makes sense now. Which means Diao Chan can ask ZGL and another player to Duel, but the other player must be the first to use Attack.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. What happens is Zhu Ge Liang has only one card (a dodge) left in his hand and Lu Bu attacks him? Would Empty City protect him once he puts down the dodge card in his hand?

  14. Hello! Your answer is actually found here:
    "Ans: No. "Empty City" means he cannot be the target of DUEL or ATTACK. During DUEL, the card has already been activated, thus the DUEL goes on even if Zhu Ge Liang has no more cards on-hand. If he is unable to produce another ATTACK in the midst of the DUEL, he receives damage."

    Except instead of DUEL, you are using ATTACK. Hope that helps!

  15. I have the character card for Jiang Wei and was wondering what the skills for that character was.
    Was wondering if you could help me out with the translations cause I can't seem to find him in the database.

  16. 【姜维】4HP

    挑衅: Once during your action phase, you can order a player that is able to reach you with an ATTACK to play an ATTACK on you. If this player does not do so, you can discard one of his cards (either on-hand or in-play).

    志继: Awakening Ability. At the beginning of your turn, if you do not have any on-hand cards, you must either recover 1 life or draw 2 cards. You then lose 1 max life and gain the ability “观星”.

    观星 is another character's ability, but I don't have the new expansion yet so I can't read the manual to find out whose ability it is.

  17. Oh, and guess what, it's Elder Zhuge Liang's ability.

    Awakened Ability "Star Gazing 观星 (guān xīng)":
    At the beginning of Jiang Wei's turn, before any judgement or drawing of cards, he can view X number of cards from the top of the deck (X equals to the number of players still in play with X having maximum of 5). Of these X cards, he can choose any number of cards to place at the top or at the bottom of the deck. He can also re-arrange the order of these cards.


    can zgl force discard in the discard phase to consistantly trigger Empty City? In other words, can you discard cards down to zero in discard phase?

  19. @Robert Zhang
    No you cannot do that. During your discard phase, you have to discard all except X cards(X being the amount of health you have left). Thus, if you have one or more health, you'll always have at least a card in your hand(unless you have used them all up during your action phase).

  20. I like to play him the most in 3 VS 3 contest.

    Ally up with the likes of Sun Shang Xiang or Huang Yue Yin. You use Star Gaze to re-arrange the cards, so you pick up the first 2, then next 3 cards are given to Huang Yue Yin if they are tool cards or given to Sun Shang Xiang if they are equipment cards.


Site search