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Monday, August 9, 2010

Sī Mǎ Yì 司马懿

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:36 PM 46 comments
Translated description:
"The Devil with eyes behind his head 狼顾之鬼 (láng gù zhī gǔi)"

(狼顾 means a "cautious wolf" always on the lookout for enemy ambush. It is referring to a legendary ability of Si Ma Yi where he can turn his head around 180 degrees.)

Wikipedia link: Si Ma Yi Wiki

Who is he:
The cunning. The scheming. The ultimate bad guy. He is the beginning of the end of the Three Kingdoms era. If you have never read Romance of Three Kingdoms, my apologies for the spoiler. We are talking about a man of ambition so great, it transcended two generations after his death before it was achieved. Portrayed as cunning and untrustworthy with promises, Si Ma Yi is practically demonized by the story. No doubt he was the most important military advisor the Kingdom of Cao Wei 曹魏 ever had, time would never dilute his usurper legacy that erased Cao Wei off the face of the planet. As tribute to this incredibly smart yet devious historical figure, the card game has aptly given Si Ma Yi abilities that make him a formidable opponent. Meet the most dangerous character in the entire San Guo Sha 三国杀 card game.

Character ability 1: "Retaliation 反馈 (fǎn kuì)"
When you receive any damage, you can obtain 1 card (whether on-hand or equipped) from the player who is the source of the damage.

(In most cases, source of damage is the player who is currently in the action phase (that player's turn) that played an offensive move. This is true even if the damage was transmitted through IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环, or deflected of another character such as Xiao Qiao 小乔's "Heavenly Scent 天香" ability.)

Character ability 2: "Demonic Talent 鬼才 (guǐ cái)"
After any judgement card has been flipped over, you can immediately play one of your on-hand cards to replace the judgement card.

(Note that Si Ma Yi cannot take back the original judgement card. Net effect is Si Ma Yi loses one on-hand card to change the judgement card.)

Ability's relation to story:
It is generally well-known that Si Ma Yi was a smart and shrewd strategist, but no, he was not smart enough to tinker with heaven's will. The abilities themselves do not reflect Si Ma Yi as well as how these abilities are used during game play. As a "Judgement Tinkerer", Si Ma Yi can just crouch inactively, waiting for judgement cards to appear before he rears his ugly head. This somewhat resembles the life mission of Si Ma Yi as he lay in wait for the right moment, then pouncing on opportunity to usurp an entire Cao Wei kingdom for his own.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - The man that started the end of the Three Kingdoms era. Si Ma Yi handed down power to his son and grandson, who ultimately concurred all of China to form the Jin Dynasty 晋朝 (AD 265 - 420).

2. Cause of death - Si Ma Yi died of old-age at 72. His son Si Ma Shi 司马师 took over the reigns and strengthened his family's control over Cao Wei, followed by his grandson Si Ma Zhao 司马昭 who united China.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. From whom does Si Ma Yi draws a card from the following scenarios?

i . After Si Ma Yi loses a duel with someone

 Ans: The person he is duelling with. With Diao Chan's ability, Si Ma Yi does not draw a card from Diao Chan, but instead the person he was forced to duel with.

ii. After being attacked by a player that he cannot dodge

Ans: The player that attacked him.

iii. If someone plays barbarian or raining arrows and damages Si Ma Yi

Ans: From the player that used those cards. Exception is when Barbarians is used when Meng Huo is around, then Si Ma Yi will pick from Meng Huo.

iii. How about lightning? Does he get a card from the player who played the lightning in the first place?

Ans: No. In this case, he does not pick from anyone.

2. Must the card that Si Ma Yi takes from the player be random, a card chosen by the victim, or a card chosen by Si Ma Yi?

Ans: It should be a card chosen by Si Ma Yi. It can either be on-hand or equipped.

3. Can Si Ma Yi take the lightning card if he is struck?

Ans: No.

4. Can Si Ma Yi take away  pending judgement cards using his ability?

Ans: Yes he can.

5. Does Si Ma Yi takes cards from Zhang Jiao or the person that attacked Zhang Jiao if he gets damaged by Zhang Jiao's lightning strike?

Ans: From Zhang Jiao,as he is the one who dealt with the damage.

6. Does Si Ma Yi gets to take a card per unit of damage or per instance of damage?

Ans: Per instance. He still gets only 1 card even if he is dealt more than 1 damage in a single attack.

7. Does Si Ma Yi gets to take a card from Xiao Qiao if she deflected damage to him?

Ans: No. This is because the source of damage is not Xiao Qiao.


  1. Just want to make sure about Sima Yi's first ability (to take a card) in the following cases:

    1. After Sima Yi loses a duel with someone. (I'm guessing only IF the other person initiated the duel? If he was forced to duel through diao chan's ability and loses, who does he take a card from?)

    2. After being attacked by a player that he cannot dodge.

    3. If someone plays barbarians or raining arrows, does he take card from that player? I guess this brings up the other question: when those cards are played, is the source of the damage the card itself or the player who played the card? (This kinda relates to Cao Cao ability, can he take a barbarian card or raining arrows card if he took damage?)

    4. How about lightning? Does he get a card from the player who played the lighting in the first place?

    Sorry for so many questions...I'm just a little confused :)

  2. Hi Ryan,

    I try to answer your question while Ricky is currently away...

    2. ya, take card fr that player.

    3.from the one who played a barbarian/raining arrows.

    4. lightening belongs to natural disaster, he should ask god. Lol.. kidding, In this case, he will not take any card from any one.

    qns 1 i leave to Ricky. cos i myself not too sure :P sorry~

  3. 1st qns i have ask other player.

    From the one who duel with Simayi not from Diao Chan

  4. Thanks! That helped clear up a lot!

  5. Note that if Meng Huo is in play, he becomes the source of barbarians instead of the active player.

  6. Princemousey: That is correct. Therefore Sima Yi will pick one card from MengHuo is he gets damaged by Barbarians.

  7. When he takes card from the player, is it a random card selected by the player, or is it a card chosen by Sima Yi?

  8. It is a card chosen by Sima Yi. Can be either on-hand or equipped.

  9. So if Player A just played lightning and it is in his judgement area and he damage SMY after tat, SMY can take the lightning card?

  10. No. The cards awaiting judgement do not belong to the player, thus Si Ma Yi cannot take those pending judgement cards.

  11. Eh then how come steal and dismantle can remove lightning since they do not belong to player? Sorry if question a bit noob

  12. Not a noob question at all. In fact i have never realized this until you pointed it out.

    This may sound inconsistent. It has been widely accepted since the original pack that Lightning can be Dismantle or Steal away. To be very honest, i'm stumped!

    Is the consensus about Si Ma Yi's ability wrong? Somebody please check the online version and see if Si Ma Yi can use Retaliation on pending judgement cards!!

  13. I play online and there, SMY can take any card from that player, including pending judgement cards.

  14. I see. Then we can make the conclusion that Pending Judgement Cards can be picked away by SMY!

  15. Here's some questions on sima
    1)if he gets struck by ZHANG JIAO's lightning, does he take cards from zhang jiao or the person that attacked zhangjiao?

    2) Does he get to take a card per unit of damage, or just damage in general like Xiahoudun?

    3) Here's a cao cao question, if cao cao gets struck by zhang jiao's lightning, is he to take the attack card used on zhangjiao? Or does he take the judgement card that caused his 2 damage? or something else?

  16. And one more, if sima attacked xiao qiao, and she deflected the damage back to sima, does sima get to take a card from her?

  17. 1) He takes a card from Zhang Jiao, as he is the one who deals the damage.

    2) Even if he is dealt more than 1 damage in a single attack, he still gets only 1 card.

    3) Cao Cao doesn't get a card as the damage was caused by an ability, not a card.

    4) No, the source of the damage doesn't change.

  18. I know that if Da Qiao deflects the attack to sima, and gets hit, sima takes the card from the attacker and not da qiao. But if somebody attacked xiao qiao, and she deflected it to sima, then sima takes a card from xiao qiao or the attacker?

  19. I would say Sima Yi will get the card from Xiao Qiao. The difference is that Da Qiao redirects the ATTACK, whereas Xiao Qiao redirects the damage. Thus, she becomes the new source of the damage.

  20. Apparently not. The source of the damage still comes from the person who uses the attack, and not xiao qiao.

    This is the same reason that xiao qiao can cause a Ruler to kill his loyalist by transmitting the damage.

  21. Oh, I see. Thanks for clarifying! So the source of the damage does not change after all. To answer the Da Qiao question, Sima Yi will then get a card from the original attacker instead.

  22. I was just reviewing the older comments for Sima Yi, and I'm wondering, is it official that Sima Yi can take a pending judgement card?

  23. The online version of the game allows it! That is causing a lot a inconsistency with regards to ownership of pending judgement cards.

  24. Demonic Talent works even if draw an onther player? It works only in the Sī Mǎ Yì' turn or also in other players' turn?

  25. Ricky, indeed it does. Judgement zone is supposed to be a "no-man's land" according to the rule book.

    Marco, Demonic Talent works anytime a judgement card is flipped. That means:
    1) It can be used on a judgement card another player flipped.
    2) It works in both Sima Yi's turn and the other players' turns.

    Hope that helps! Feel free to clarify further if my explanation is not clear enough.

  26. When Sima Yi takes does take a pending judgement card, does the said card goes to his hand or does it go to his judgement area?

  27. You're talking about Character ability 1: "Retaliation 反馈 (fǎn kuì)", right?

    The card goes to his hand.

  28. It would except Retaliation cannot take pending judgement cards.
    Even though Ricky says he can, I found out online that Sima Yi actually cannot.

  29. Anonymous, I agree that Sima Yi cannot take pending judgement cards as they do not "belong" to any player as specified in the game rules.

  30. maybe a little bit off-topic in regard to game mechanics, but a minor correction to your "cause of death section". afaik sima ZHAO was his second son and sima YAN was his grandson who became the first emperor of Jin.

  31. abit confuse about 鬼才, this skill can remove judgement card? or it can take the judgement card and put it as his on hand card?

  32. After the judgement card is flipped and discarded as usual, Sima Yi can play a card to change the judgement.

    Example: Player A with the EIGHT TRIGRAMS flips a red card for his judgement. This card is then discarded (as normal). Sima Yi then plays a black card as judgement and discards it. Hence, the judgement is now black.

    To specifically answer your questions, this skill cannot remove judgement cards. It only allows Sima Yi to change the outcome. Both judgement cards are then discarded (as is normal, with all judgement cards). As Ricky put it, "net effect is Si Ma Yi loses one on-hand card to change the judgement card."

  33. When si ma yi on his last life is dealt the killing blow, can he still activate retaliation before retiring?

  34. If he is on the brink of death you may not activate his ability. You need to save him first.

  35. When SiMaYi replaces a judgment card what happens to the original ? I know it goes to the discard pile, but is it considered "discarded" ? Lets say the original judgment is a club. If it replaced and then gets "discarded" this means Cao Zhi can take it. Cao Zhi can also take judgment cards after the judgment, but the original judgment card is no longer a judgment card because it was replaced. So if SiMaYi replaces the judgment with a club Cao Zhi can definitely take it afterwards. However it the original judgment was a club, but then replaced by SiMaYi can Cao Zhi take that original judgment ?

  36. ^yes, Cao Zhi takes the original clubs, better yet, if Si Ma Yi is replacing clubs with clubs, Cao Zhi takes both of them.

  37. Can sima yi choose to not obtain the card from the person that deals the damage to him?

    1. The ability "Retaliation" is optional. So yes, he can choose not to obtain any card after receiving the damage -.-

  38. If Sima Yi and Zhang Jiao are in the same game, and someone is pending judgment for a lightning in his area, who gets priority to switch the judgment?

  39. Depending on whose turn's judgement,you must see from who turn next is like Simayi is the next turn and Zhang Jiao is the next turn after Si Ma Yi. So it will be Si Ma Yi changed first then Zhang Jiao changed next.

  40. A easy to use sangousha reference guide

  41. Hi
    What happens if the source of attack has no cards in gand ir equiped?

    Thank you

  42. Hi
    What happens if the source of attack has no cards in hand or equiped?

    Thank you

    1. If the source don't have anything left, Sima Yi will get nothing to pick from and thus can't use the ability.


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