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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zuǒ Cí 左慈

Posted by Ricky Chua On 4:53 PM 33 comments
Translated description:
"The Mystical Immortal 迷之仙人 (mí zhī xiān rén)"

Who is he:
Ever watched "X-Men" the movie? Remember the villain femme fatale known as "Mystique"? Well, here's the SGS version of Mystique! Without doubt one of the most interesting but controversial characters in SGS, Zuo Ci is currently the most popular character in the Hills Expansion Pack. But who is the real Zuo Ci, and why does he have X-Men like abilities? Alas, that question is very difficult to answer!

In the information available about Zuo Ci, be it on Wikipedia or on sites about Chinese "history", Zuo Ci has very little factual information left today. Whatever facts there are, they are diluted in the vast quantities of myth that surround this strange old man. For example, Zuo Ci was said to have lived to 300 (!) years old, and can walk through walls. There! See?? David Copperfield was not the first to walk through the Great Wall after all!!

Character ability 1: "Shapeshift 化身 (huà shēn)"
After everyone has selected their character cards, you select two unused character cards randomly from the deck. Select one of these two characters and place it before you, then state one of that character's abilities (excluding Single-use ability, awakening ability and ruler ability). You will obtain the stated ability, the allegiance, and the gender of this character until you have replaced it. At the beginning and end of each turn, you can replace the character with another character and/or re-state another ability.

Character ability 2: "Germinate 新生 (xīn shēng)"
For every 1 unit of damage you receive, you can acquire another new character card for "Shapeshift".

Ability's relation to story:
A wonderful link to the story... err... myth. Zuo Ci was said to wield the ability to shapeshift into anything. According to both historical texts and ROTK, he used this ability to escape from Cao Cao 曹操. When Cao Cao sent his troops to arrest Zuo Ci, he concealed himself among a flock of sheep. The game mechanics allowed the immortal to "shapeshift" as other characters, using their abilities freely in the game. To learn more about Zuo Ci's strange abilities, read my previous post on Mystic Cipher.

The phrase "新生" literally means “new life” in Chinese. It was said that he told his apprentice that he would make a mystical potion in the mountains, and he left this world as an immortal afterwards. However, the game mechanics do not grant Zuo Ci the ability to resurrect like Pang Tong, but he can get a new form to shapeshift instead. For this reason, this ability was initially translated as "Metamorphosis", to show the ability of “getting a new form” while suiting the literal meaning. On the other hand, I felt that the game creator was alluding to the biological ability to regenerate and grow. I think of it as chopping a leech in two, then ending up with two live leeches instead, double the trouble! Thus I translated this ability as "Germinate" instead.

Additional info based on story:
Most famous achievement - Teasing Cao Cao with his sorcery, which forms the basis of this character's ability. Zuo Ci was said to be able to transform into sheep, or into any other person on the street. Eat that David Blaine!!

Cause of death - Unknown. Perhaps he isn't dead. He's supposed to be immortal... right? *Eyes that sheep in the zoo suspiciously*

Wiki Link:
Zuo Ci Wiki


  1. for his second ability, does he choose the new character or is it random?

  2. ^ It is randomly drawn from the pile of character cards unused.

    Also, the dead characters should be returned to the unused character pile. The character cards you get should be hidden (place them face down) unless you use the ability, according to the manual.

  3. He isn't "that" OP since he can only have ONE ability on at one time (most, if not all characters usually have 2 abilities that work wonders with each other)...

    Though, Zuo Ci will DEFINITELY have a very interesting and unique gameplay...

  4. ^ Believe me, every round there were players praying to get Zuo Ci in their hand of characters to choose from!

  5. How does it work if he has Liu Bei but then receives damage intentionally (as he knows he will give away at least two cards - 3 health left)and then draws Lu Xun with his second ability... ? When it is his turn to play, he will just state Liu Bei's ability and the Lu Xun's ability to have always 1 card on hand. He is invincible then as he just have to give his cards to his partners ???

  6. will his hp change to the according character? or his hp remains the same

  7. You can only change and state the desired character's ONE ability ONCE at the beginning of your turn and ONCE at the end of your turn. Your health limit is still as Cuo Zi 3 points, but your allegiance and gender change according to the chosen character's card. Hope this help.

  8. ^^ No, he can use only one of the ability at the same time. The ability "Germinate" allows him to get new character abilities to select, but he has to choose which ability to be used at the beginning and the end of the turn.

    ^ His max. health and current health remains the same. He gets one of the ability, gender and allegiance from the character he chooses.

    By the way, Diaochan's ability "Envious Moon" activates at the end phase, not the end of the turn (The tranlstion is wrong). If you use Zuo Ci and gets Diaochan for "Shapeshift", you have to choose from "Seed of Animosity" and "Envious Moon" at the beginning of the turn. If you choose "Envious Moon" at the end of the turn, you cannot draw the additional card.

  9. Zhen Ji's Luo Shen occurs at the beginning of the turn as well. Can I still say that I take Zhen Ji's Luo Shen ability, then go on to use Luo Shen? (Or is there some fixed order even in Beginning of the round?)

  10. I should think that he can use the ability!

  11. Man, i like this character soooo much.
    When you got a good character to copy, you can get about 30 more character to copy before you lose. HarHarHar.

  12. This guy is amazing if you get some good characters to change into and use him well.

    I find you need 1 good attacking character and 1 good defensive character.

    I won with both Fa Zheng/Lu Bu and Cao Pi/Pang De. Just make sure you switch appropriately.

  13. ^^ If he gets about 30 more characters to copy, even though he can only wield 1 ability at one occasion, he is almost invincible =w=

    ^ There are several characters you would like the most.

    1. Hua Tuo. With the doctor, you can receive damage voluntarily while regaining health. In our party, Zuo Ci with Hua Tuo is nicknamed as "Shiny Cards Collector", as my friend wields a deck of shiny character cards (covered with non-transparent plastic protector) and Zuo Ci holds a bunch of them...

    2. Lu Meng. You may store more cards to wait for characters which wields the ability to attack multiple times, like Zhang Fei, Yuan Shao, Yan Liang & Wen Chou.

    3. Characters with damage-triggered ability, like Guo Jia or Sima Yi. No one dares to attack you again, so you will not be focus-fired. (Since you can activate "Germinate" and the ability of your choice)

    By the way, every abilities have their own uses, even for abilities like "The Smoking Gun" (at least it makes you immune to BARBARIANS and you get three cards for killing a REBEL). Plan carefully and shapeshift strategically.

  14. If Zuo Ci is flipped, can he choose to change forms when he misses his turn and flips, or can he only change forms when he is taking a normal turn?

  15. ^ He can only change form in a normal turn, which contains the beginning and end phase.

  16. When character card is flipped, someone should discard his hand card if exceed his limit, isnt it considered end phase ?
    Which mean Zuo Ci can change character or cant he ?

  17. You do not discard the turn you are flipped(unflipping), or else a few Cao family members would be nearly useless.

  18. Speaking of which, if he were to use Cao Ren's ability, would he choose him at beginning of turn? ie.
    -> Begin turn
    -> Choose Cao Ren
    -> Do whatever
    -> Discard phase
    -> Use Cao Ren's ability
    -> End turn, choose another ability (eg. Cao Zhi if available)

  19. ^
    Cao Ren`s ability description states "at the end of your turn", while Zuo Ci`s states "after the end of your turn", so your order is correct.

  20. @anonym Sep12
    I still dont get it. Its written here that..
    Once a character has been forced to Flip Character Card, does the player need to discard any cards?
    (Amended) Ans: Yes! The player will need to discard cards at the end of that turn.

  21. ^ That one is misguiding. In fact, if you are forced to flip your card in your turn (most possibly "Banish into Exile"), he has to flip his character card immediately (another mistake!), but skipping his next turn. He has to discard in this turn. At the time he flips back, there isn't any component of a turn, including the discard phase.

    P.S. Zuo Ci's ability occurs at the start and the end of his turn, but there are beginning phase and end phase, which are, in fact, different concepts. I will re-translate the rules and eliminate the ambiguity (the effect of WINE, flipping character cards, phases, the Brink of Death problem, etc.) once I have sufficient spare time, for instance, a holiday.

  22. In regard to the Cao Ren scenario - Just because you change your character / ability doesn't make you change the status of your card flip. However, you could change to a character which will likely not be the target of any attacks. Then next turn card flip, on the next turn when you have like 6 cards before the draw phase, change to a character that gets more drawing... hope to get an autocross bow and go to town. Then at the end of your turn turn back into the damage protection character... Next turn turn back into cao ren rinse and repeat.

  23. What happens when Zuo Ci is using Zhou Tai's Refuting Death ability? Can he still change use shapeshift or does he die?

  24. ^ He can use Zhou Tai's ability as Zhou Tai does, i.e. remain alive at health below 0. However, if he activates "Shapeshift" and changes his ability, he needs to regain health equals to the number of cards on his character cards (he can ask other characters to save him by PEACH), or else he dies.

    By the way, according to official FAQ, if Zuo Ci shapeshifts from "Refuting Death" to "Emergency Rescue(First-aid)" at the end of his turn, it is considered as 'outside of his turn', so he can save himself by "Emergency Rescue", i.e. converting his red cards to PEACH.

  25. ^Is that possible? As if you are in the brink-of-death "Refuting Death", you will not have any on-hand-card at the end of your turn. Hence the ability of "Emergency Rescue" is useless.

    Shapeshift from "Refuting Death" to any other ability will make you in the brink-of-death and MUST be saved until you have at least 1 HP, otherwise the player will die immediately. Correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.

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  28. Zuo Ci is almost completely useless when facing against Zhang ChunHua.

  29. Clarifying some details:

    In your Action Phase, you deal damage to Cao Pi and he flips your character card immediately. You discard cards in the discard phase.

    When it comes back to you, you flip your character card over again and that's it. You get your turn next round.

    So, the technical order of phases are as follows.
    0. If your card is flipped, flip it back and skip the steps below.
    1. After your previous player's turn and before your turn, you can activate Zuo Ci's ability.
    2. During your Beginning Phase (phase 1 of 6), you can activate Sun Jian's ability.
    3. Judgement Phase (phase 2 of 6).
    4. Drawing Phase.
    5. Action Phase.
    6. Discard Phase, Lu Meng.
    7. Ending Phase (phase 6 of 6), Cao Ren, Diao Chan.
    8. After your turn and before next player's turn.

    Some abilities allow you to skip a phase during that phase. Which means if you want to use Xia Hou Yuan's ability, then you have to go into Action Phase first. But before doing anything else, you can choose to skip the current phase because you haven't actually done anything yet.

  30. If Zuo Ci is targeted by a black acedia, and before the beginning of his turn he changes into Jia Xu with his third ability "Behind the Curtain 帷幕" does the acedia lose it's effect or is it still judged?

  31. Possibly no. The ACEDIA still takes effect.

    It is because "Behind the Curtain" states that 'you cannot be the target of black tool cards', not 'black tool cards have no effect on you'. For time-delay tool cards, the target is confirmed when it is placed into the pending area of target character (therefore, you cannot put a black ACEDIA into the pending area of Lu Xun and Jia Xu), and the tool card takes effect on the pending area.

    In this case, "Behind the Curtain" can only make Zuo Ci 'immune to be the target of black tool cards', but not 'immune to be affected to the effect of black tool cards'.

    However, I cannot find the relevant official FAQ, so it is not confirmed.

  32. what if he changes his ability to
    The Pseudo-Emperor
    the ruler is the SP LIU BEI?

    1. Case 1:
      Ruler SP liu Bei can use his [Oath of Vengeance] on Zuo ci when Zuo ci uses [Shapeshift] and turn into a Shu character, the effect lingers even if Zuo ci re-use [Shapeshift] and turn into other characters rather than Shu.

      Case 2:
      When Zuo ci uses [Shapeshift] to copy, or Yuan Shu himself uses [The Pseudo-Emperor] for Ruler SP liu Bei's [Oath of Vengeance]

      Case 2-A:
      When both Yuan Shu / Zuo ci and Ruler SP Liu Bei uses their [Oath of Vengeance] on Shu Character A, the damage they received will both transfer onto Shu Character A, Until Shu Character A enters brink of death for the first time and both [Oath of Vengeance] effect ends.

      Case 2-B:
      When Ruler SP Liu Bei uses his [Oath of Vengeance] on Shu Character A, the effect perpetuates until Shu Character A enters brink of death for the first time; then Yuan Shu / Zuo ci can still use their version of [Oath of Vengeance] on Shu Character A, and Shu Character A will have to enter brink of death for a second time to end the second [Oath of Vengeance] effect. Vice Versa.

      Case 2-C:
      When Yuan Shu / Zuo ci uses [Oath of Vengeance] on Ruler SP Liu Bei, and Ruler SP Liu Bei uses his own on Shu Character A or vice versa, both damage they received will eventually transfer to Shu Character A til Shu Character A enters brink of death for the first time.

      Case 2-D: Worst CASE
      If Ruler SP liu Bei uses [Oath of Vengeance] on Zuo ci when Zuo ci is a Shu character and later, Zuo ci uses [Shapeshift] to copy Yuan Shu's [The Pseudo-Emperor] and uses Ruler SP liu Bei's [Oath of Vengeance] on Ruler SP Liu Bei himself, it becomes an ENDLESS LOOP as damage received by both players will immediately transfer to the other and then transfer back.


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