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Monday, August 2, 2010

Cáo Cāo 曹操

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:20 AM 23 comments
Translated description:
"Warrior Emperor of the Kingdom of Wei 魏武帝 (wèi wǔ dì)"

Wikipedia link: Cao Cao Wiki

Who is he:
The "bad" guy. The Machiavellian. The Julius Caesar of Ancient China... or at least that is what the story teller Luo Guan Zhong 罗贯中 wants you to think of Cao Cao. This guy is one interesting character; ruthless, intelligent, user of ploys and ambushes, but yet chivalrous at the same time. He treats his loyal subjects and talents with respect and admiration, yet is paranoid and fearful of assassinations. Perhaps it is due to his "unpolitically correct" way of achieving success (through ploys, ambushes, trickery and murder) that is the cause for his negative portrayal in the story. It is said that the story itself was heavily edited to downplay Cao Cao's accomplishments so as to emphasize Liu Bei 刘备's confucius-styled leadership. Either way, there is really no denying that Cao Cao is one great leader of his time and one of the most famous Chinese historical figures of all time.

Character ability 1: "Villainous Hero 奸雄 (jiān xióng)"
You can immediately acquire the card (or cards) that resulted in you suffering damage.

Here are some examples of how that works:

Example 1 - When he is the target of ATTACK 杀, Cao Cao can choose not use DODGE 闪, suffer the 1 unit of damage, and acquire the ATTACK card that was used.

Example 2 - When he is recipient of fire damage that has been transmitted via IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环, he receives the card that caused the fire damage even though he was not the initial target.

[Edited 28th Jan 2011] Example 3 (complex scenario) - When he uses DODGE to evade an ATTACK but the attacker has equipped Stone Cleaving Axe 贯石斧 and chooses to discard 2 cards to cause damage anyways, Cao Cao suffers the damage but cannot pick up BOTH of the cards that were discarded to cause the damage. This is because the card that causes the damage is the ATTACK and not the discarded cards. Contrast this to the Serpent Halberd 丈八蛇矛, where the 2 cards used in that instance represents an ATTACK card, and thus Cao Cao can pick up both of those cards if he suffers damage.

Character ability 2: [Ruler ability] "Royal Escort 护驾 (hù jià)"
You can ask any Wei character 魏将 to use DODGE on your behalf where applicable.

Ability's relation to story:
"Villainous hero" must be one of the best thought-of abilities in the game. It is not ridiculously powerful or god-like, very useful in the game, and a wonderful fit for Cao Cao's personality in the story. Every time he met defeat, Cao Cao would bounce back and bite the face off his opponents, then convince the enemy generals to surrender into his service. Such was the case of Zhang Liao 张辽, who surrendered to Cao Cao after Lu Bu 吕布 was defeated, then became one of the Kingdom of Cao Wei 曹魏's great generals. It was also mentioned that Cao Cao loves only women who have already been taken, then relish the thought of snatching the woman away from her partner. As for "Royal escort", Cao Cao has had his ass saved countless times by his generals, who always appear just in the nick of time.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - He set the foundations for the Kingdom of Cao Wei, which became the precursor unifying the whole of China under the rule of Si Ma Zhao 司马昭. Though by that time, Si Ma Zhao had usurped Cao Wei for his own and established the Jin Dynasty of China 晋朝 (AD 265 - 420), nevertheless Cao Cao really was the father of all that groundwork. No Cao Cao, no Jin Dynasty, history would be completely different! Simple as that.

2. Cause of death - Cao Cao experienced endless headaches in his dying days. To cure him, his subjects brought him the most famous doctor of the time, Hua Tuo 华陀, who diagnosed his sickness as some form of rheumatism of the skull. Hua Tuo proposed to hack Cao Cao's head open for surgery, which in the century AD 200 is pretty much insane! Cao Cao, being all paranoid about assassination attempts, tossed Hua Tuo into jail for the suggestion. Without the doctor to cure him, Cao Cao succumbed to the sickness (whatever it was) soon after.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. Can Cao Cao acquire all the cards that caused damage to him such as Raining Arrows (both cards by 
Yuan Shao), Serpent Halberd (2 cards) and etc.

Ans: Yes he can, as long as those cards are the cause of damage. He cannot pick up cards that we
discarded” to cause damage, such as Dian Wei’s ability.

2. Can Cao Cao pick up any card for his “Villainous Hero 奸雄” ability if he has been damaged by Xia Hou Dun’s “An Eye for an Eye 刚烈” ability?

Ans: No he cannot. This is because his Villainous Hero ability only lets him pick up the cards that cause him damage. An Eye For An Eye is a character ability, not a card. Therefore Cao Cao cannot pick up any 

3. Can Cao Cao pick up the ‘’Attack’’ card if  you were to use ‘’Attack’’ on Da Qiao and Da Qiao throws a card to deflect to Cao  Cao?

Ans: Yes he can, provided Cao Cao suffers damage. (ie: if the attack deflected by Da Qiao has been dodged, Cao Cao cannot pick it up)

4. Can Cao Cao pick up the original ‘’attack’’ card if you were to use ’’attack’’ on Xiao Qiao and she threw a heart card to deflect damage to Cao Cao?

Ans: Yes he can.

5. Does Cao Cao gets to take a card  if he gets struck by Zhang Jiao’s lightning?

Ans: No he does not get to take a card. This is because the damage was caused by an ability ,not a card.


  1. The 'Royal Escort' ability also works in conjunction with any other Wei player's Eight Trigrams armor, possibly giving Cao Cao a free escape as long as any other Wei player has it.
    I saw this work while playing online, and I thought it would be a good thing to add.

  2. Can Cao Cao acquire the cards that caused damage to him such as Raining Arrows (2 cards by Yuan Shao), Serpent Halberd (2 cards), equipment card (by Xia Hou Yuan) and etc.

  3. Yes he can. As long as those were the cards that were "used" to cause that damage.

    The scenario includes:
    - Yuan Shao's raining arrows (both cards)
    - Serpent Halberd (both cards)
    - Equipment cards by XiaHou Yuan or Dian Wei
    - Younger Zhuge Liang's blaze (red card)

    and many more.

  4. Hi, i have a question: If cao cao attacks xia hou duan with duel, and cao cao is damaged by his An Eye for an Eye 刚烈 ability, can cao cao take the Duel card with his Villainous Hero 奸雄 ability? In this case, it becomes a loop as cao cao can use the Duel card on xia hou duan again. Whoever has the most blood wins. thanks

  5. Cao Cao does not pick up any card. His Villainous Hero ability only lets him pick up the cards that cause him damage. An Eye For An Eye is a character's ability and not a card, therefore Cao Cao cannot pick up any card.

    The same applies when Cao Cao is damaged by Diao Chan 貂蝉's and Yu Ji 于吉's ability.

  6. Ricky, I would like to point out a mistake.
    Cao Cao could not pick up the Equipment cards by XiaHou Yuan or Dian Wei .
    for Xia Hou Yuan, the Equipment is NOT a substitute of kill card. Godspeed 2 's description is to "discard" the equipment, not to substitute the "kill".
    for Dian Wei too. the Equipment is NOT a substitute.
    and for both cases, Cao Cao could pick up nothing because in these cases, no card made Cao Cao losing life.

  7. zyt33: Yup! I came to realize that recently as well. Unfortunately i am unable to edit my comments!!

    The same applies to Yu Ji's Bewilderment, where if Cao Cao suspects and is wrong, he cannot pick up the card. Diao Chan's ability too!

  8. If I use "Attack" on Da Qiao and Da Qiao throw a card to deflect to Cao Cao, can Cao Cao pick up the "Attack" card?

    Also, if I use "attack" on Xiao Qiao and she threw a heart card to deflect the damage to Cao Cao, can Cao Cao pick up the original "attack" card?

  9. Answer to both the questions above is YES, provided Cao Cao suffers damage. (ie: if the attack deflected by Da Qiao has been dodged, Cao Cao cannot pick it up)

  10. If Cao Cao is successfully damaged by Blaze, does Cao Cao pick up both the Blaze and the matching card or only Blaze?

  11. Only Blaze, since it is the card that is doing the damage. Same reasoning as Stone Cleaving Axe in the 3rd example.

  12. If I were to cast the "Raining Arrows" on everyone, and CaoCao is the first to take the damage, does he accuried the "Rainning Arrow" card immediately?
    - If yes, does the effect of the "Raining Arrow" still takes effect toward the rest of the player?
    - In relations to the question above is this effect the same for "Barbarians" ?

  13. While I play the role of CaoCao this came out.

    Player A cast a Duress 借刀杀人 (jiè dāo shā rén)
    on PLayer B to attack me. Player B respond by using "attack 杀". I took the damage.
    As such, do i get the "Duress 借刀杀人" card or the "Attack 杀" card.

    Given the same theory, if Player C were to "Duel 决斗" with me, and after a round of throwing "Attack 杀" cards, i lost. So do i get the "Duel 决斗" card or the "Attack 杀" card.??

  14. Cao Cao collects the card that hurt him, Raining Arrows, immediately. This only really matters in a few cases. One is Zhu Rong collects the Barbarians card after everything so Cao Cao can collect it first if he is hurt.

    If Cao Cao is hurt through Duress, he would collect the attack card. This is from the person having the choice to use the attack. The Duress card on it's own will not hurt. The Duel card on the other hand is always collected by Cao Cao. Even after 15 passes of arms, Cao Cao will then collect the Duel and only the duel. Usually he will then try and use it again on that person.

  15. The other players are still affected by Raining Arrows after Cao Cao takes it.

  16. If Cao Cao uses Duel on some one and loses, can he take his own Duel back?

  17. To Anonymous - yes, if he loses his own duel, he gets the card back. He can keep dueling until he wins, although this could cost him a lot of health. His power has more implications than one would first imagine. If he uses blaze on someone who is chained to him and hurts himself in the process, he gets the blaze card back.

    An insanely powerful tactic using this power involves Xiǎo Qiáo. If he plays barbarians and she passes damage back to him, he picks up the card again (because this barbarians card just hurt him) and can use it again immediately. This process can continue each time he plays it until she runs out of hearts/spades (or he runs too low on health for her to pass the damage back to him). I have seen and used this tactic online. It is deadly!

  18. I have noticed on a couple of different occasions that the phrase "ask a player to..." has been used. Whether it be ask to use an attack or ask to use a dodge. Does this mean the player has opportunity to decline or it is forced?

  19. The exact Chinese phrase used is 可以 (ke yi), which means may. Hence, Wei generals MAY play a DODGE card for Cao Cao when requested to do so.

    The same applies for Shu generals playing an ATTACK card for Liu Bei.

    Note that these abilities only work if Cao Cao or Liu Bei are the Ruler.

  20. Can Cao Cao pick up the Wine card of a DRUNKEN ATTACK?

    1. No. The wine does not inherently cause damage. It simply raises the power of an attack by one.

  21. Does cao cao get his duel back if he loses a duel that he initiates?

    1. Yes he can! And after that, Cao Cao can give this Duel card to another player and duel him :D


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