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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wraith Xiao Qiao 妖小乔

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:29 PM No comments
Translated Description:
Eternal Spring at the Bronze Phoenix Towers 铜雀春深 (tóng qǜe chūn shēn)

Why is she a Wraith:
One of the most exotic stories that spun off ROTK is that of Cao Cao 曹操's desire to acquire Da Qiao 大乔 and Xiao Qiao for himself. After hearing about the unrivaled beauty of the Qiao sisters, acquiring them from the hands of Sun Quan 孙权 and Zhou Yu 周瑜 became one of his motivations for attacking the Kingdom of Wu. In a sense, Cao Cao's obsession with Xiao Qiao in particular bestows upon her the unflattering description of succubus. Perhaps that justifies her joining the ranks of the Wraiths.

On a more personal note, Xiao Qiao is indeed wraith-like in terms of the relentless questions and bugs caused by her character card. Check out the original Xiao Qiao character card and just see the number of questions that have appeared!

Character ability 1: Call of the Siren 曲误 (qǔ wù)
In the action phase, select a player within your attacking range. During this player's drawing phase, he or she will draw one card less while you will get to draw 1 card in that player's drawing phase. Limited to one use per turn.

Character ability 2: The Bronze Phoenix 铜雀 (tóng qǜe)
You can choose for WINE 酒 and IRON SHACKLES 铁锁连环 to have no effect on you.

(Note: This ability is not an Enforced ability. Wraith Xiao Qiao can use WINE ATTACK 酒杀 on another player, as well as not be subject to WINE ATTACK from another player. The added words are from the booklet that comes with the Wraith pack.)

Character ability 3: Soldier's Burial 冢殇 (zhǒng shāng)
For every 1 player that has died, your on-hand card limit increases by 1.

Ability's relation to story:
Scant relation, although I must say that the abilities are quite well thought out. "Call of the siren" was probably created as a kind of succubus-like seduction play. It's a shame that this ability targets all instead of just the males only. "Bronze Phoenix" is completely aloof. "Soldier's Burial" actually touches a little on Xiao Qiao's feelings as a hapless female awaiting her hero-husband Zhou Yu's return. Zhou Yu did not actually come home in a basket, but it probably just plays on that scenario.

Historical Basis:
How is Xiao Qiao related to "Bronze Phoenix"? In the Bronze Phoenix Quatrain by Cao Zhi 曹植, one line reads as such - (liberally translated) "Connect two towers using two bridges on the east and south 揽二桥于东南兮". On the surface, it does not mean very much else.. However, Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 was quick to pick up on the similar tones in Chinese, which can also be read as "Capture the two Qiao sisters from the South-East". Of course, this is just conjecture on his part. Whether it is a lyrical coincidence or a hidden message constructed into the quatrain by Cao Zhi or Cao Cao, nobody really knows. Zhu Ge Liang then used this twisted translation to aggravate Zhou Yu, swinging Zhou Yu towards war against Cao Cao. This is where all the myths and legends surrounding Cao Cao's obsession with Xiao Qiao stemmed from.

Usage comments:
The general comments out there about this character is not very pleasant. "Call of the Siren" has been described as "变态" (perverse/insane). It can completely cripple whoever is sitting in your range, and it cannot be prevented! As a Defector, Wraith Xiao Qiao will be the Ruler's worst nightmare. All she has to do is sit it out and wait for the other players to die 1-by-1. Her on-hand card limit just keeps growing and she feeds on the deaths of the other players, getting stronger as time goes by. The perverse part of this is she does not even have to do any of the dirty work!

When most of the players have died off, she can easily use "Call of the Siren" to cripple the loyalist, then the Ruler. By then she would be almost invincible, refilling her inflated hand of cards repeatedly during hers and her victim's turns. Just the thought of that would give any Ruler nightmares...


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