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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wraith Si Ma Yi 妖司马懿

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:01 AM 2 comments
Translated Description:
Shadowy Tiger 冢虎 (zhǒng hǔ)

Why is he a Wraith:
The tide of time has not been very kind to Si Ma Yi, particularly when folk tales are passed via word-of-mouth without corroborated facts. We all know of the two "great ones" as described by ROTK: 卧龙 (Hidden Dragon) describing Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 and 凤雏 (Rising Phoenix) describing Pang Tong 庞统. However, lesser known but factual, there were a total of four "great ones". The third was none other than Si Ma Yi the Shadowy Tiger 冢虎.

Even though ROTK was written with an obvious slant, painting the Wei Kingdom as the antagonist, you still have to admit that Si Ma Yi was a brilliant person. So brilliant that he took over the Kingdom for himself and eventually ended the Three Kingdoms era. Perhaps that is why people will never come to view him in a good light. The cunning. The scheming. The usurper. Should he be immortalized as a Wraith? Justly so.

In case you are wondering who the fourth "great one" is, the title bestowed is 幼麒 (Young Unicorn) and it is still unclear exactly who it refers to. Some say Zhou Yu 周瑜, some say Jiang Wei 姜维 (Zhu Ge Liang's protege).

Character ability 1: Feint Illness 诈病 (zhà bìng)
At the end your turn (after discard phase), you can choose to lose 1 unit of health. By doing so, you will not suffer any damage until the start of your next turn.

Character ability 2: Scheming Ghost 鬼谋 (guǐ móu)
In the drawing phase, draw X+2 cards, X being the amount of health you have lost thus far.

Ability's relation to story:
"Feint Illness" is beautifully linked to the story! In his later years, Si Ma Yi was ousted from military power by Cao Cao 曹操's great-grandson, Cao Fang 曹芳. Using a textbook "Open Feint 瞒天过海" strategy, Si Ma Yi pretends to be very sick when one of the ministers comes to visit. Si Ma Yi's acting was so convincing that the Wei cabinet felt Si Ma Yi was a dying old man that could no longer threaten them. Well, that feint was the turning point that destroyed the Wei Kingdom and paved the way for the Jin Dynasty 晋朝. The "Feint illness" ability is very apt in transplanting this episode into SGS.

"Scheming Ghost" is not related to the story. Pity.

Usage Comments:
Another Defector 内奸 favorite! A perfect way to stand by the side and watch the show as everyone kills everyone else. What's more, being granted immunity means you can avoid using your on-hand cards outside your turn. And his "Scheming Ghost" ability stacks on by allowing him to draw even more cards whenever he uses "Feint Illness".

The trouble I foresee here is he is lacking in fire-power. He will not be able to amass a truck-load of cards since he still needs to go through discard phase. That also means that as a Defector, he can be helpless when the Rebels 反贼 become too strong and slaughter the Ruler 主公. Furthermore, using "Feint Illness" is such a typical Defector move that his role would be quickly exposed.

Still, this is an incredibly interesting character. He will either be as useless as wallpaper, or as disturbing as a stalker. It all depends on the skill of the player using him.


  1. If you use Feint Illness to prevent all damage till your next turn and there was a Lightning in play, would you take damage from the Lightning if the judgement resulted in a 2-9 of spades? or is that considered during your turn?

  2. The judgement phase is phase 2 of your next turn, so you would have recovered from your malingering.


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