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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pang Tong 庞统 (*SP004)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:41 PM 25 comments
Translated Description:
"Genius of Jing Chu 荆楚之高俊 (jīng chǔ zhī gāo jùn)

(Note: Jing Chu is the ancient name for the area that is Hubei province today.)

Who is he:
The first time I came across the original Pang Tong character, a friend commented that his "Nirvana 涅槃" resurrection ability was to compensate for the early death of this historically important person. Yet somehow, despite being given "one life more" than others, the old Pang Tong could never quite live up to expectations of such a brilliant man.

I think this "upgrade" has been well deserved and the tweak has made him seem slightly over-powered. Oh well! Consider it payback for all the neglect that the old Pang Tong suffered. Finally, the phoenix has truly risen!

Why is he an SP character?
Pang Tong was probably one of the most under-powered characters in the original deck, and subsequently also one of the most under-utilized. I must say that I do adore his "Shackle 连环" ability from last time, though this complete makeover is most appreciated.

Character ability 1: "To Hell with Work 漫卷 (màn juàn)"
Whenever you are about to receive a card, you must place that card in the discard pile. If this happens within your turn, you can pick up any one card with the same number (Ace to King) from the discard pile and place it in your on-hand cards.
[Updated 25/04/2012] 

Character ability 2: "Plastered 醉乡(zuì xiāng)" [Single-Use ability]
At the beginning of your turn, you can flip over 3 cards from the top of the deck and place them on your character card. You cannot use or play any card of the same "type" (basic card, tool card, weapon card, etc.) as those placed on your character card. All cards of the same type also have no effect on you. For every turn henceforth, you must flip over another 3 cards and place them on your character card, until any 2 cards placed on your character card has the same number (Ace to King). When that happens, all the cards on your character card will go into your on-hand cards.

Additional info based on changes:
According of ZYZ magazine, his two abilities comes from the story of Pang Tong clearing100 days of leftover work in one afternoon (RoTK Chapter 57). When Pang Tong first joined Shu,  Liu Bei 刘备 sent him to a magistracy to work. Yet in his new position, Pang Tong refused to work (to hell with work!). Scrolls of complaint were accumulated on the table for 100 days and the town was in disarray. Upon hearing this news, an angry Liu Bei sent Zhang Fei 张飞 to check him out. When Zhang Fei arrived, he was surprised to find Pang Tong drunk (plastered). However Pang Tong promptly cleared his 100 days of leftover work in one afternoon without the slightest mistake.

One interesting trivia here is that both of the abilities have been drawn into the portrait illustration. "To hell with work" can be seen with him tossing scrolls worth of work over his shoulders, which is a literal depiction of 漫卷 (Translated: to toss scrolls into the air like you couldn't care less). "Plastered" can be seen with him holding a big drinking bowl, a huge vat of wine to his left, and a smile so wide you would think he was at the pub on Friday night.

[Updated 25/04/2012] Left this portion out when I first writing up this article. "To Hell with Work" paints a nice analogy, because when someone gives you work, you toss it away like you don't care. In this case, when someone gives you cards, you toss it away too! The mechanism for "Plastered" is a smart way for the creator to simulate the character getting drunk. You basically lose a few of your body psychomotor functions after having a drink too many, and this ability replicates that by making you almost useless after "drinking" 3 cards. Drink some more and you have the fighting ability of wallpaper. The not-so-children-friendly twist to this is that after drinking a ton of wine, the ability jolts you with a massive stack of cards and you instantly regain all your abilities.

That... doesn't quite happen in real life.

How to obtain this character:
Purchase the 15th issue of Zhuo You Zhi magazine (April 2012) to get this limited character card as a free gift! Or simply click here to purchase it separately through!

Labour Day Special

Posted by Ricky Chua On 1:15 PM No comments
Hi Everyone,

There was a mistake in the previous discount code, and some customers could not access the 20% discount promotion.

Our apologies for that glitch. It has since been rectified.

20% off orders more than $50.00 (expires 6th May 2012)

Promo code: Z2NJXA11N36Y

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Hiatus is over

Posted by Ricky Chua On 2:05 PM 1 comment
Hi Everyone,

The past 2 months have been a blur of frantic work and multiple travelling. My apologies to the readers and contributors.

Anyways the posts on SP003 Cao Ren and SP004 Pang Tong will be coming up very soon!

In the meantime, you can purchase those two SP cards on since they are already on sale.

Better yet, take advantage of the storewide sale. 20% discount on your purchase with every order above $50.00.

Simply key in this promo code in your check out page!

Promo code: Z2NJXA11N36Y

Thanks everyone and I look forward to pushing out more SGS articles soon.

Have fun and 杀!!

Would you like to see this blog update more regularly?? Join us as a contributor/translator!! Contact me at ASAP!! THIS BLOG NEEDS YOU!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cao Ren 曹仁 (*SP003)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:40 PM 8 comments
Translated description:
"Quitting is not an option 险不辞难 (xiǎn bù cí nán)"

Who is he:
You are probably familiar with him by now. Before this SP release, Cao Ren was considered one of the least popular characters. I especially did not look forward to skipping one full round of action despite having additional cards. I felt like a wealthy paraplegic whenever I used him.

Sad to say, I'm still not a fan after this update. True, his defensive abilities have remained, and its usefulness is now pegged to player skill. He now has a 2nd ability that gives him slightly more playability. His portrait also looks fantastic and I would gladly hang a life-size poster on my bedroom wall.

But his most crippling weakness still remains: that "skip-a-turn" cost for using his first (and most useful) ability. Ultimately, I feel like i'm still handicapped and restrained. It's an improvement no doubt, but I'd still wouldn't use him.

Why is he an SP character?
The answer is simple. The old Cao Ren was as energetic as a kettle, and just as respected. If there was a character that needed tweaking, he was it.

Character ability 1: "Break Out 溃围 (kuì wéi)"
At the Ending phase of your turn, you may draw 2 + X cards, then flip your character card over. If you do so, you must discard X cards at the beginning of your next drawing phase. X is the total number of weapon cards in all the equipped areas of all characters.

Character ability 2: "Discipline 严整 (yán zhěng)"
If the number of your on-hand cards is larger than your health, you may use any of your equipped cards as NEGATE 无懈可击.

Additional info based on changes:
Being a master of defensive warfare, Cao Ren knew that simply entrenching was the worst defensive tactics, as the cut of supply would slowly deplete the defense. Only by counterstriking and breaking through the encirclement could save his troops. Cao Ren himself performed two amazing breakthroughs in the history. The first one was in the defense of Jiang Ling 江陵. After the defeat of Cao Cao 曹操 in Red Cliffs, Zhou Yu 周瑜 led his troops to attack the city of Jiang Ling. Cao Ren was assigned to protect Jiang Ling, and he sent Niu Jin 牛金 and 300 troops to challenge  the vanguard of Zhou Yu's troops. Niu Jing's troops were encircled quickly. Neglecting the advice of Chen Jiao 陈矫, Cao Ren managed to lead some elite cavaliers personally to save Niu Jing, which was a success. The adviser stopped him just before exclaiming, "General, you are truly a man from Heaven!".

Betrayed by the name, "Breakthrough" is actually a defensive ability like his previous ability "Entrenchment". Perhaps the action of drawing cards reflected the preparation of Cao Ren and the action of discarding reflected the depletion of power after counter attacking?

"Discipline" was the backbone of army, and Cao Ren was good at promoting discipline of his army, just as almost all Wei generals. Discipline was an essential concern of Cao Cao, who aimed at conquering/liberating (pick the one you like) the whole China, Being a respected general and a master of defense, Cao Ren knew the importance of discipline very well. His army was one of the most disciplined troops at that time. This ability allowed you to convert equipped cards to NEGATE. Perhaps it shows that you have to discard the impure troops to maintain "无懈可击 (No flaw to be exploited)"?

How to obtain this character?
Purchase the 14th issue of Zhuo You Zhi magazine (March 2012) to get this limited character card as a free gift! Or simply purchase it separately through!

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