Yi Xian: The Cultivation Card Game – Sword Intent for Beginners


This guide is for Lin Xiaoyue Painter Sword Intent, recommended for beginners. If you want to play Sword Intent but fear that it’s too weak, then I can reassure you, the upper limit of Sword Intent is very high, but it’s hard, there’s no Sword Intent guide. Now then, allow me to explain Sword Intent in detail for everyone.

When you play Sword Intent, you must be diligent in calculating damage!


  1. Exchange a lot, stay in Meditation

When you reach 9 Cultivation, breaking through to Foundation phase requires you to manually click the button. If you don’t break through, you stay in Meditation phase and continue to draw only from that card pool.

Tip: Each round, you gain 2 max HP, 2 cultivation, two sect cards, one side-job card, and 3 exchanges. Starting with Round 10, you gain 4 exchanges instead, and with Round 15, 5 exchanges. One card equals 1 cultivation, so it’s equivalent to 5 cultivation per round. Breaking through gains an additional 5, 7, 10, and 13 max HP, respectively.

Stay in Meditation, and every round, exchange for Sword Slash, Sword Defence, Qi Perfusion, Flying Fang Sword, and Thunder Sword. Sword Slash and Sword Defence must be lv.3; for Qi Perfusion, lv.2 is enough; for Flying Fang Sword, two copies; for Thunder Sword, having it is enough. Sword Defence can be kept as two lv.2 cards. It’s usually a six-turn kill, but you can add another damage card after, as well as some more DEF, and you’ll need fewer upgrades for Flying Fang Sword and Thunder Sword.

  1. Inverting

Pay attention to every round. It’s not enough to simply exchange your cards and make a deck. To deal damage sooner in the second pass, invert your deck as in the screenshot below. In the normal order of Sword Slash, Qi Perfusion, Flying Fang Sword, Thunder Sword, it’s a kill on turn seven with Flying Fang Sword, but inverted like this, it’s a kill on turn six with Thunder Sword. But be careful, if your opponent can kill you first, then keep the normal order, to deal more damage and lose less Destiny.

After you’ve gotten your cards from exchanging, you must calculate your damage and your opponent’s defense. For example, see if you need two Flying Fang Swords to kill, or only one. Don’t miss wins by being slow, figure out your killing turn!

  1. Qi delay

At Round 5, the deck Qi Perfusion, Thunder Sword, Sword Slash, Sword Defence, Flying Fang Sword kills on turn seven with Thunder Sword. It can be rearranged into Thunder Sword, Sword Slash, Qi Perfusion, Sword Defence, Flying Fang Sword. After spending the first turn gaining 1 qi, Thunder Sword is played on the second and seventh turns, same as the original arrangement. This way, Qi Perfusion is applied to Flying Fang Sword instead.

Against Striding Into the Wind or Earth Spirit Elixir, qi delay is an option that can’t be ignored. The disadvantage is if the opponent doesn’t defend, and instead attacks full-on or uses Great Recover Elixir, you may lose. Later there are other techniques such as countering Hua’s Peach Branch Ruyi guard-up by adding an attack early or moving your last attack to the beginning. This is another indispensable skill.

Round 7: another example of qi delay vs. Earth Spirit Elixir

  1. Use of Curiosity (Lin Xiaoyue’s passive) and Painter

Among the Cat cards, Catnip is crucial, Cloud Sword – Flying Sand you can immediately discard, the fish you can immediately eat, and with Cat Teaser, you must be careful: you can trigger Curiosity a second time in one round by using it to increase your exchanges from 0 to 3, but you must do it when you have cards on hand that you’re willing to exchange. Bronze Cat is strong early, good against Jiang Ximing and against other Sword Intent players. But it’s weak later. Against Jiang and Sword Intent, I recommend keeping it.

Once you’ve gotten Catnip, stop using the passive, stop exchanging at 1 remaining. If you save exchanges in Meditation, you might get Shadow Owl Rabbit or Colorful Spirit Crane in Incarnation phase.

Thanks to Practice Writing, your stay in Meditation phase will be over much sooner than with other side jobs.

When you have 1 exchange remaining, Practice Writing and Reason By Analogy won’t trigger Curiosity, because they add exchange(s). However, Ask Dao By Paint [or Wonderful Strokes] will be wasted, its effect overridden by Curiosity.

[TL Note: As of August, you’re guaranteed at least one Catnip. According to Eng. Discord, how it works is same as before except the last surprise card is 100% Catnip if you didn’t get it yet. If true, expect the last card to be the sole Catnip in at least 20% of games.]

Foundation, Virtuoso, Immortality

When you’re done with Meditation phase, often it’ll be round 6 or 7, and you can break straight through to Virtuoso.

  1. Don’t exchange

Don’t exchange in these middle phases. Save exchanges for Incarnation phase, to find Sword Intent Surge, Rule Sky Sword Formation, and Flying Brush.

Save Ask Dao By Paint if you can, use it if you must. Use Practice Writing and Reason By Analogy immediately.

  1. Immortal Fate choices

For Foundation and Virtuoso, prioritize cultivation. Remember, one card equals 1 cultivation. Choose whatever gives you the most. Cloud Sword – Cat Paw is a high-quality 1-cultivation choice; it consumes Sword Intent and ignores DEF, combats Earth, etc. For Immortality, you must choose Spirit Cat Chaos Sword.

  1. Cards to keep

Contemplate Spirits Rhythm and Cloud Dance Rhythm are most important. If Earth is among your opponents, you must keep Qi Perfusion. If there’s Sword Intent and/or DEF-stacking Fuluist Spirit Sword, you can keep Moon Water and Mirror Flower.

  1. Breaking through to Immortality

When breaking through to Immortality, first remove the lv.1 Cat cards other than Catnip, such as Bronze Cat and Cloud Sword – Cat Paw, then absorb Catnip to upgrade Spirit Cat Chaos Sword. Note that this will put you at 37 Cultivation.

If you gained a total of 3 cultivation from Daoist Rhyme Omen and Foundation and Virtuoso Immortal Fates, then you have exactly enough to break through on Round 8, absorb Catnip, and play Sword Slash, Sword Defence, (qi delay,) Flying Fang Sword, Spirit Cat Chaos Sword with three cards left in hand. If you gained 4 cultivation, then you have one more card you can use to make up damage, but this is not important. If Sword Slash and Sword Defence are lv.max, Flying Fang Sword is lv.1, and Spirit Cat Chaos Sword is lv.2, it’s 82 damage in five turns, which few can withstand at Round 8. (Round 8 Immortality phase default max HP is 76.)

Most situations at this stage are just boring calculation; after calculating your damage and seeing the opponent with no defense, if their max HP is low, move Flying Fang Sword and attack directly with Spirit Cat Chaos Sword first, so that they can’t surprise you by blocking Flying Fang Sword.

Round 8: 38 Cultivation, having taken Epiphany. Should’ve stayed 37 and played Qi Perfusion.


  1. Immortal Fate choices

Shattered Dao is best (unless your cards are relatively good), followed by 3-cultivation choices, among which Tool Governor, Inheritance of Spirit Sword, and Inheritance of Sword Formation are outstanding. Epiphany can be considered. If you need cards, you can take Thunder Tribulation or Sword Pool The Heart Ask. If they’re all 0-cultivation, Sword Formation Guard, Sword Rhyme Cultivate*, and Recuperate are the foremost to consider.

[*TL Note: As of now, 2023-10-19, Sword Rhyme Cultivate currently gives cultivation+2 at Incarnation phase. Though I see no changes to it in the patch notes between then and now.]

  1. Exchange choices

Don’t forget that the first exchange each round has an increased chance to draw a current phase card, so exchange something else first before exchanging Ask Dao By Paint.

The crucial cards at this phase are the three Chase cards Rule Sky Sword Formation, Chain Sword Formation, and Flying Brush, the two finishers Flying Spirit Shade Sword and Dharma Spirit Sword, the core Sword Intent card Sword Intent Surge, and the quality-upgrading Finishing Touch. Sword Intent Surge is the most important card.

For Spirit Cat Chaos Sword, remember to keep three cards in hand.

When you play Sword Intent, you must pay attention to your opponents! If their deck is straightforward, then calculate your killing turn and analyze whether they can kill you first (don’t forget that they may improve and/or play guessing games). Exchanging until you can win and then stopping is best, which requires excellent understanding of the opponent’s card set only achievable by experience; the advantage of this is that you can keep more cards to swap in to handle other situations.

Mono-Wood Elixirist is slow. Keep Flying Fang Sword in, go slow and deal big damage.

Five-turn kill. Follow up with miscellaneous damage cards just in case you fell a bit short.

  1. Uses of Incarnation cards

Rule Sky Sword Formation, Chain Sword Formation, and Flying Brush: Adding DEF with Chase is an indispensable part of Cloud Spirit Sword Sect. Chase can also be used to loop the deck, but for Lin Xiaoyue, it usually ends in one pass, so just use these three cards for free DEF. Yet there are special situations. Against build-up combo decks, such as Sword Intent or Yan Xue’s Dharma Spirit Sword, which have no early damage, Moon Flower Sword Formation, Rule Sky Sword Formation, Flying Brush, Mirror Flower Sword Formation, Chain Sword Formation can easily be troublesome. Against such a combo deck that’s high-quality with protective cards like Rule Sky Sword Formation, your own Sword Formation must also be high-quality to win. Since deck quality is so important, I usually only play this later when I have enough quality. With enough quality, you can also use Sword Formation against Earth, Water, healing, and Internal Injury decks.

“Flying Spirit Dharma” (Flying Spirit Shade Sword + Dharma Spirit Sword): Since Spirit Cat Chaos Sword lv.2 (six hits) exists, with Sword Intent Surge, it’s enough to kill, and Flying Spirit Dharma is unneeded. But it’s undeniable that when Sword Intent Surge is missing, Cloud Dance Rhythm + Flying Spirit Dharma is a lot of damage.

Sword Intent Surge: After multiplying, fractional damage is lost, so when playing multiple Sword Intent Surges in a row, lv.2 (+100% Sword Intent) should always go first. Keep Sword Intent Surges unmerged except when merging is necessary to win.

Finishing Touch: Strong, but slow. Upgrade Rule Sky Sword Formation and Flying Brush for more DEF, upgrade Sword Intent Surge and Spirit Cat Chaos Sword for more damage. Don’t necessarily upgrade Spirit Cat Chaos Sword; calculate the damage first.

  1. Guessing games

[TL Note: I don’t understand some of what’s written next. I don’t see an advanced chapter. Maybe it’s not public, who knows.]

Originally, I wrote this section, thought that this is for beginners, and I just put the importance on the advanced chapter.

Playing Painter, I’m not strong at guessing games, which makes me weak later in the game. I rely entirely on deck quality and brute force. The key points are “enough damage” and “can survive”.

Painter Sword Intent is just for you to understand this game, to understand the way of Sword Intent. In your actual games, if various masters beat you savagely with Cide, Tiger, Ice Spirit Guard Elixir, etc., then you’d better come see the advanced chapter.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2994 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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