Yi Xian: The Cultivation Card Game – Summary of Jiang Ximing Formation Master Guide

Preface

This guide is about playing Formation Master and relying on Jiang Ximing’s Immortality-phase Immortal Fate Heptastar Soulstat to fight everything.

[TL Note: Whenever I read “Heptastar Soulstat”, I think of the website MajSoul Stats, which tracks Mahjong Soul statistics. I think the card should simply be named “Stasis”.]

Setting aside the discussion of first-place rate, it’s strong at farming rank points.

残月寺 says he reached Dao Mindset 6000 in 107 matches, which is pretty average, it’s not like he got 6000 in 60 matches, or 10000 in 100, that kind of thing is beyond him.

In the current version, Jiang Ximing Formation Master relies heavily on the legendary Immortal Fate card Water Drop Erosion and the Immortal Fate Astral Eclipse. He writes that with both, it’s easily first or second; otherwise, it’s difficult. He narrates that “With both, it’s very strong; with one, it’s also playable.”

Immortal Fates

The guide is about Formation Master only, so Immortal Fate discussion will be in that context only.

The Initial Immortal Fate, Strategize, gives Jiang high Cultivation in Meditation phase, and causes him to go through more cards, which is important for finding key cards. Therefore, in the transitional period, we can hold some cards to upgrade them to lv.max.

Heptastar Soulstat is must-pick for any Jiang Ximing, but it’s the core of our build in particular.

For the other Immortal Fate choices, prioritize Water Drop Erosion and Astral Eclipse. Water Drop Erosion has the highest priority, but we only need one copy. For Astral Eclipse, the Incarnation-phase version is best. As for other Immortal Fates, it’s not that you can’t pick them, but they aren’t prioritized.

Transit Plan

Don’t exchange in Meditation phase. If you win, you win; if you lose, you lose.

You can break through to Foundation at Round 2 or 3, no big difference. If it’s Round 2, you’re just giving up the round, unless you pick Shattered Dao.

Since we didn’t exchange in Meditation, we need to exchange heavily in Foundation phase to become strong. Look for Cacopoisonous Formation, Cure Formation, Golden Rooster Independence, Imposing, Scutturtle Formation, Stillness Citta-Dharma, etc. Some people like to play Scutturtle Formation and dispense with Stillness Citta-Dharma, which is fine. Cacopoisonous Formation and Cure Formation are most critical. Rooster is a high-damage card, same damage as Astral Move – Flank at each upgrade level, without requiring Star Point; and then it has its ability, which is especially useful against Sword Intent. Stillness Citta-Dharma can be strong in Foundation and Virtuoso.

Usually, with lv.2 Cacopoisonous Formation, lv.2 Cure Formation, lv.2 Stillness Citta-Dharma, lv.2 Imposing, it’s enough to fight with until Immortality. Other cards are not as critical, they don’t make as much of a difference. But you gotta have these cards. Without them, it’s difficult. At least for my transit plan, they’re needed; but it is only one possible plan.

Sample Boards:

There’s no need to linger in Foundation phase; break through to Virtuoso with normal timing. (Don’t throw all your cards away to break through early, either. I often break through late by a round in order to hold cards in hand.)

Don’t spend Luck on Daoist Rhyme Omen; save it for finding Water Drop Erosion and Astral Eclipse.

Cards you can pick over At Own Pace are Highly Suspicious, Motionless Tutelary Formation, Anthomania Formation, and Meru Formation.

[TL: In my opinion, Motionless Tutelary Formation should really be named Immovable Idol Formation]

Don’t spend Luck on Foundation-phase Immortal Fates, either; pick what you can from the choices offered. Divination is pickable; it can help you play Heaven Hexagram. Astral Move – Twin Swallows is pickable, even at Foundation-phase; you can play it with Hunter Hunting Hunter, and you really need two (otherwise it’s awkward), but it’s OK to pick up a single one at Foundation phase.

You can exchange a little bit in Virtuoso, but I usually don’t. Spiritage Formation, Hexproof Formation, Ruthless Water, and Lake Hexagram are pretty important, too.

Foremost is Spiritage Formation, which is quite strong, though when you play it, you won’t have room for Stillness Citta-Dharma or Motionless Tutelary Formation, because Cacopoisonous Formation is indispensable. Often I’ll play one of those instead, it’s situational. But whenever you see that you’ll be going second anyway, you can hold Spiritage Formation with no downside.

Hexproof Formation is for the mirror match, against Cacopoisonous Formation. It’s also good against Musician Internal Injury, if they aren’t too strong anyway. The DEF can also be useful.

We’re playing Internal Injury, so Ruthless Water is good. It’s especially good when you’ve cut Stillness Citta-Dharma to play Spiritage Formation.

Lake Hexagram is good with Stillness Citta-Dharma, and can provide Hexagram for Falling Thunder and Golden Rooster Independence. But the awkward thing is that the opponent can use the qi, too. I’m afraid to play it.

Immortality phase is a critical period. Other builds can come together in Immortality, but not ours; we await Incarnation. You’re likely to lose in a streak through Immortality; you can only hope to lose less Destiny. We have to save our exchanges for Incarnation, too. How to play well in this period is beyond my ability to teach. I can only say that it’s a difficult phase for all Jiang Ximing builds, not just this one.

Don’t rush the breakthrough to Incarnation; you want to have cards to exchange. Don’t talk about Shattered Dao; we need to look for Astral Eclipse. You’ll normally break through on Round 12.

Endgame

At Incarnation, there are several builds depending on what we have. Before Incarnation, it was roughly one template, but now it depends whether we have Water Drop Erosion, etc.

As long as you don’t have Anthomania Formation, don’t cut Cacopoisonous Formation. With Water Drop Erosion and Cacopoisonous Formation, you can play something like:

  1. Cacopoisonous Formation
  2. Water Drop Erosion
  3. Highly Suspicious
  4. Motionless Tutelary Formation
  5. Imposing
  6. Astral Move – Tiger
  7. Strike Twice
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

It’s not super strong yet, but it’s fine for just having broken through. Note that we play Motionless Tutelary Formation after Chasing. Astral Move – Tiger can go in position 3 or 6 depending on the situation.

If you don’t have Meru Formation, or don’t have it lv.2, don’t merge Highly Suspicious without thinking. You may want to play something like:

  1. Cacopoisonous Formation
  2. Water Drop Erosion
  3. Hunter Hunting Hunter
  4. Highly Suspicious
  5. Highly Suspicious
  6. (Normal Attack)
  7. Meru Formation (lv. 1)
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

This is also quite strong, can win in four or five moves, not bad for just having broken through. It’s not as easy to assemble as the previous lineup though, so you might end up playing that one first.

When you get Anthomania Formation, you can swap it in without thinking. You can absorb Cacopoisonous Formation. When ou get lv.2 Meru Formation, you can merge Highly Suspicious, too. For example:

  1. Anthomania Formation
  2. Water Drop Erosion
  3. Hunter Hunting Hunter
  4. Highly Suspicious
  5. (Normal Attack)
  6. (Normal Attack)
  7. Meru Formation (lv.2)
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

I’ll make another video to justify my statement that you can swap Anthomania Formation in without thinking, so I’ll save my breath here. This is equivalent to a four-move kill, accounting for the Soulstat effect; that is, your opponent will have four moves to kill you, assuming you go second, which is normally the case. 

[TL: The video is a demonstration that Anthomania always kills at least as quickly as Cacopoisonous Formation, even ignoring the fact that it decreases the opponent’s attack. But Water Drop Erosion is present in all of the examples.] What if they can kill you in four moves? Well, that’s a problem, there’s nothing we can do, just die.

Well maybe you can drop HHH and try Motionless Tutelary Formation:

  1. Motionless Tutelary Formation
  2. Anthomania Formation
  3. Water Drop Erosion
  4. Highly Suspicious
  5. Meru Formation (lv.2)
  6. (Normal Attack)
  7. (Normal Attack)
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

If their quality is not so good, you can get there, especially if your Motionless Tutelary Formation is well-upgraded. But their quality can’t be too good, for which we can only pray. It’s not easy for Jiang Ximing Formation Master to get first place, but it’s easy to farm rank points.

What if you don’t have Water Drop Erosion? It’s still okay, as long as you have Astral Eclipse, especially Incarnation-phase Astral Eclipse, very strong. It’s the traditional build. Example (with Astral Eclipse):

  1. Anthomania Formation
  2. Motionless Tutelary Formation
  3. Heaven Hexagram
  4. Escape Plan
  5. Echo Formation
  6. Meru Formation
  7. (Normal Attack)
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

Against Dharma, you can try something like this, dispensing with the Echo Formation; if you survive long enough to get the Post-Action Guard Up, it’s good:

  1. Motionless Tutelary Formation
  2. Anthomania Formation
  3. Heaven Hexagram
  4. Escape Plan
  5. Meru Formation
  6. (Normal Attack)
  7. Strike Twice
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

Against a slow kill (6-7 turns; don’t laugh, it happens!), possibly Sword Intent, you can try it this way, without the Motionless Tutelary Formation:

  1. Anthomania Formation
  2. Heaven Hexagram
  3. Escape Plan
  4. Echo Formation
  5. Meru Formation
  6. (Normal Attack)
  7. Strike Twice
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

If Meru Formation is lv.2, you can cut the Echo Formation. Remember, this is with Astral Eclipse, which makes Anthomania Formation do a lot more damage.

Another Example:

What if you don’t have Water Drop Erosion or Astral Eclipse? Well, maybe you have Astral Move – Twin Swallows. There are two ways to play it. Polaris Citta-Dharma is the easy way. Hunter Hunting Hunter is the hard way.

Polaris example (you can also play Propitious Omen unless the opponent gives you qi with Lake Hexagram or Sky Spirit Tune):

  1. Polaris Citta-Dharma
  2. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  3. Starry Moon
  4. Astral Move – Fly
  5. Astral Move – Tiger
  6. Motionless Tutelary Formation
  7. Strike Twice
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

You can mix it up with Tiger, Cide, and Strike Twice. [TL: As a Go player, I can say that “Cide” should actually be “Cut”, which is what the move is actually called in English.] This build is a reason to keep Starry Moon and Astral Move – Fly during Immortality, in case you end up picking Astral Move – Twin Swallows at Incarnation. Turn-two Cide example:

  1. Starry Moon
  2. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  3. Astral Move – Cide
  4. Polaris Citta-Dharma
  5. Propitious Omen
  6. Astral Move – Fly
  7. Strike Twice
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

Multiple Swallows example:

  1. Polaris Citta-Dharma
  2. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  3. Propitious Omen
  4. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  5. Astral Move – Tiger
  6. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  7. Astral Move – Hit
  8. Astral Move – Fly

The other way, nearly impossible to get, equivalent to a three-move kill:

  1. Hunter Hunting Hunter
  2. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  3. Echo Formation
  4. (empty)
  5. (empty)
  6. Echo Formation
  7. Astral Move – Twin Swallows
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

I’ve seen the following way for Formation Master to play Spiritual Divination, but I haven’t done it myself:

  1. Spiritual Divination
  2. Stillness Citta-Dharma / Hexagram Formacide / Polaris Citta-Dharma
  3. Echo Formation
  4. Heaven Hexagram
  5. Yin Yang Formation
  6. Astral Move – Fly
  7. Star Trail Divination
  8. (Heptastar Soulstat)

Maybe it’s playable, but I don’t know that it’s that strong.

As for Throw Petals, I regard it as a transitional card; I don’t want to keep it to the end.

Game Records

Astral Eclipse:

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Water Drop Erosion:

  • gmakj1cvdf
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  • gmakf53p1y
  • gmakf9io1b
  • gmakfdj8of
  • gmakhc4839
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Astral Move – Twin Swallows:

  • gmakiw2iuf
  • gmakfdiz26
  • gmakf9qyhv
  • gmakf55mup
  • gmakf9he46
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2990 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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