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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mǎ Chāo 马超

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:39 PM 13 comments
Translated description:
"Lone horseman that can outmatch a thousand troops 一骑当千 (yì qí dāng qiān)"

Wikipedia Link: Ma Chao Wiki

Who is he:
The valiant general known for his horsemanship and combat ability, Ma Chao is one of Shu Han 蜀汉's 5 greatest generals. Typically depicted riding a horse, he initially led rebellions against Cao Cao 曹操 before eventually finding his place under Liu Bei 刘备. Ma Chao was highly regarded by Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 as an all-rounded civil and military leader.

Character ability 1: "Horsemanship 马术 (mǎ shù)" [Enforced ability]
You will always be -1 distance in any range calculations.

(This means that when he equips a "-1 horse", he will have a physical distance advantage totaling -2.)

Character ability 2: "Iron Calvary 铁骑 (tiě jì)"
Whenever you use an ATTACK 杀 on any target player, you can choose to flip over one judgement card from the deck. If the judgement card is of a red-suit (hearts and diamonds), the ATTACK cannot be evaded with DODGE 闪.

Ability's relation to story:
His "Horsemanship" ability is a given. Both him and Pang De 庞德 are known for their skilled horsemanship from the moment they appeared in the story. "Iron Calvary", however, is probably just an added skill by the game makers so as to tackle the "dodgy" characters, such as Zhang Jiao 张角, Younger Zhu Ge Liang 卧龙诸葛亮 and Zhen Ji 甄姬.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Probably the uprising he led against Cao Cao, where he very nearly captured Cao Cao alive. Cao Cao retaliated by executing over 100 of Ma Chao's family and extended family members. Though the uprising gave him prominence and respect from the kingdom of Shu Han, the death of hundreds of his family members due to his uprising would haunt him and disgrace him. It even led to an aborted marriage.

2. Cause of death - Ma Chao succumbed to illness and died. In the story version, Liu Bei dies before Ma Chao, however it seems the actual historical version of events was Ma Chao died earlier and even wrote a parting letter to Liu Bei.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. Does Ma Chao's judgement effect take place if he uses DUEL on someone and vice-versa?

Ans: No, the judgement effect does not take place. This is because during a DUEL, there is no need for the opponent to use Dodge.

2. Can Iron Calvary be used AFTER the opponent has used a Dodge?

Ans: No it cannot.

3. Must Iron Calvary be used immediately after using ATTACK?

Ans: Yes it must. The judgement must come before the opponent uses Dodge.



  1. If Ma chao uses DUEL on someone or vice-versa, does Ma chao's judgment effect take place? or any other card that forces ma chao to use attack for that matter

  2. His ability does not come into effect during Duel. This is because during a Duel, there is no need for the opponent to use Dodge.

  3. Does Ma Chao waits for opponent to use a Dodge card first before using Iron Calvary, thereby potentially wasting one of opponent's Dodge card?
    Or Iron Calvary is triggered immediately with the Kill card?

  4. Once Ma Chao uses Attack, he has to choose whether to use iron calvary. It is triggered immediately with the kill card. The judgement must come before the opponent uses Dodge.

    The ability cannot be used after the opponent uses a Dodge.

  5. If Ma Chao uses Iron Cavalry, can a character equipped with Eight Trigrams still use a judgement to avoid the attack? My guess is no, since the player would not be able to dodge anyway...

  6. You are correct. If Ma Chao's judgement card has a red suit, the player will not be dodge or use Eight Trigrams (since Eight Trigrams explicitly states that it can only be used when a Dodge is needed).

  7. Can you explain why he will have -2 if he equips -1?

  8. Because his first ability states that when counting the distance to other players, he gets a -1 bonus, which stacks with the -1 horse if he equips one.

    Could you tell me which part of Ricky's translation you do not understand so I can further elaborate?

    Character ability 1: "Horsemanship 马术 (mǎ shù)" [Enforced ability]
    Ma Chao will always be -1 distance in any range calculations. This means that when he equips a "-1 horse", he will have a physical distance advantage totaling -2.

  9. No worries, don't be afraid of seeking further elaboration or clarifying your doubts. Ricky's translations might be wrong or not clear enough sometimes, that's why we need you to point out where we can improve on them. Together, we can make this the best San Guo Sha English site ever!

  10. Shouldn't it say Iron Cavalry instead of Calvary?
    btw, thanks for this awesome site, it makes me able to play the game even if I don't speak chinese :)

  11. What happens if the judgement is negative, the attack fails or can be dodged?
    Then what is the point of NOT using this skill? (I case you are forced to play a 杀 on a person you don't wanna attack? Could you specify a case?)
    Thanks ;-)

    1. If the judgement fails, the attack is "dodgable." The judgement failure doesn't mean the the attack "fails."

      In most cases, you want to use this power, especially if you are fighting enemies. One instance in which you wouldn't want to use your power is if you had a weapon and an enemy used duress on you, forcing you to attack a teammate (assuming that you don't give up the weapon). Also, if you are attacking an allied Zhang Jiao to activate his lightening strike, you may not want to use your power. Even though Zhang Jiao can switch the judgement, he would have to waste a black card doing so.


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