Ma Dai
Ma Dai 马岱
Takes Charge in Danger 临危受命

Sneak Attack 潜袭
Whenever Ma Dai damages someone in range with an attack, he can choose to flip a judgment. If it is not a heart, the target's maximum health level is reduced by one rather than being damaged.  

Horsemanship 马术
Ma Dai always has a bonus -1.
  • If a player's maximum health level is reduced to a smaller value than their current health level, they lose one unit of health in addition to the loss of maximum health. For example, if Ma Dai activates "Sneak Attack" successfully on a character with four units of health and maximum health level of four, they will have three units of health and a maximum health value of three after the power is concluded.
  • Note that if Ma Dai activates "Sneak Attack" successfully, the maximum health value is always reduced by one, regardless of the amount of damage that would have been caused by the Attack had he not activated this power. For example, if Ma Dai Attacks somebody with Wine then activates "Sneak Attack," the victim's maximum health level is reduced by one, not two.
  • Note that when Ma Dai successfully activates "Sneak Attack," he does not cause damage. As a result, damage-activated abilities and retaliatory abilities cannot be activated by the victim. For a comprehensive list of these abilities, please see the table on Zhang Chun Hua page for abilities bypassed by "Unfeeling."
  • If Ma Dai reduces the maximum health level of a character who has an awakened ability to one, their awakened ability will kill them if it reduces their maximum health level.
  • If a player's maximum is reduced to zero, they cannot be saved by any means. Additionally, if Ma Dai causes a player to die in this fashion, he is not considered to be the killer. For example, if Ma Dai reduces a rebel's max health level to zero, he does not draw three cards.
  • Note that "Sneak Attack" is not enforced. Ma Dai can choose to damage a character with an Attack without trying to reduce their maximum health level.
  • Ma Dai's "Horsemanship" gives him a bonus that stacks with another -1 horse when he has one equipped (i.e. if he has a -1 horse equipped, Ma Dai has a physical range bonus of 2 and could reach someone three spaces to his right or left).

 Strengths Weaknesses
  • "Sneak Attack" is a brutal character ability. There is no way to recover from Ma Dai's Attacks within his physical range. Peaches become less and less useful for Ma Dai's victims as he wears them down with this ability.
  • As mentioned in the 'Clarification' section, "Sneak Attack" bypasses damage-activated abilities much in the same way Zhang Chun Hua's "Unfeeling" does. Unlike Zhang Chun Hua, however, Ma Dai can choose not to activate this ability.
  • "Horsemanship" is not only useful for increasing the number of targets he has for "Sneak Attack," but it also increases his range for Steal and Starvation.
  • "Sneak Attack" is very useful against characters with abilities that give them an advantage when they are damaged. For example, if Ma Dai uses his ability to lower Sun Jian's health, "Brave Spirit" is weakened considerably. 
  • "Sneak Attack" only works within Ma Dai's physical range. If he is surrounded by allies, he will have a harder time using this ability on enemies.
  • Defensive character abilities hinder "Sneak Attack." If one of Ma Dai's opponents has a defensive ability that protects them from Attacks, he will quickly find himself in a disadvantage against them, as his "Sneak Attack" is centered on damaging enemies with Attacks.
  • There are some cases in which "Sneak Attack" is not useful. If an enemy has only a few units of health remaining but a high maximum health level, it is better to deal damage than lower the maximum health value. 

Notable Combinations:
  • Xiao Qiao - If Ma Dai uses "Sneak Attack" to lower an enemy's maximum health level, they will not draw as many cards when Xiao Qiao passes damage to them via "Fantasy."
  • Cao Pi - The number of cards that a flipped character draws from Cao Pi's "Exile" is determined by the number of units of health remaining after Cao Pi takes damage. If Ma Dai uses "Sneak Attack" against Cao Pi, he makes this ability more potent against his enemies. This can put Ma Dai at a disadvantage if he uses this ability against him.
  • Ma Su - It is humorous that this otherwise worthless worm actually has an advantage against Ma Dai. "Winning Hearts" is activated when the number of hand cards exceeds his maximum health level. If Ma Dai reduces his maximum health level, it becomes easier for Ma Su to activate this ability. However, it should be noted that Ma Dai can avoid Ma Su's "Bottomless Tears" if he reduces his maximum health level to zero, so Ma Dai is not at a total disadvantage against him.
  • Sima Yi - Sima Yi's "Devil" can be used to change Ma Dai's flipped judgement for "Sneak Attack" to a heart, forcing it to fail.
  • Zhen Ji/Liu Shan/Zhang Jiao/Yu Jin/Younger Zhuge Liang - These characters have abilities that protect them from Attacks and make it more difficult for Ma Dai to activate "Sneak Attack."
 KingMa Dai is a poor king choice. He does not have any defensive abilities that can keep him alive for a long period of time.
 LoyalistMa Dai is a good loyalist pick. "Sneak Attack" can be very damaging against rebels. However, he should try to not use this ability against a rebel to decrease their maximum to zero units of health if he wants to draw the three card bounty.
 RebelMa Dai is a powerful rebel. He can reduce the king's maximum health level, making it impossible for him to recover health. 
 SpyMa Dai is a serviceable spy pick, but there are usually better spy choices. He can cause a lot of damage with "Sneak Attack," but he may have a hard time keeping the game balanced when one side quickly gains a large advantage. 

Final Remarks:
Ma Dai is a very powerful character. Like Xu Sheng, his ability can put a lot of fear into the hearts of his enemies. Ma Dai seems to be the most powerful when he focuses his energy on lowering the maximum health limit of one of his enemies at a time. Try to focus on one enemy at a time and try to obtain a -1 horse whenever possible. It should be noted that Ma Dai causes a bit of a 'glitch' when used against characters with awakened abilities. These awakened abilities are single-use abilities and the way to denote that the power has been activated is to observe the character's maximum health level, as these abilities either change the value of this number. When Ma Dai is in play, one cannot determine if a character's awakened ability has been activated just by looking at the maximum health level. In these cases, a 'token' of some sort needs to be used to denote the activation of awakened abilities.