Many people, even experienced Shadowfist players, commonly make this mistake. Some may even disagree with my calling it a
mistake at all. To be fair, in some regional metagames, it is a common, accepted practice, and in an area where everyone else is
doing it, it doesn’t look particularly bad. In an open environment (at a major tournament, for example), though, the fact that this
is a mistake becomes more apparent.
Now, obviously, if you’re making a bid for the win, you’ll try for the weakest, least protected Feng Shui Site on the board –
regardless of who’s controlling it. In most every other situation, though, the last person you should be attacking is the person
in the weakest position.
One way to see why attacking the weakest player is a bad idea is to envision a group of players who regularly attack the person
in the weakest position. What happens when such a group plays?
While the initial turns may proceed smoothly, as soon as one person is at a disadvantage (which could be as early as the first
turn, if they fail to draw resource Characters or Feng Shui Sites) others start focusing their attacks on him. While everyone else
is building up, this player is falling further and further behind – when two or three people keep attacking one of your sites, it’s
unlikely that you’re going to be keeping that site for long.
Once a player has fallen far behind on Power generation, it’s difficult to recover, even with comeback cards like Pocket Demon
or Humble Beginnings – and if the other players persist in attacking when he’s down, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever be much
more than an annoyance.
The weakest player is soon reduced to zero sites, at which point his only role is to repeatedly play Feng Shui Sites he can’t
defend for long. (Sure, he can thwart some attacks with cheap removal cards or defensive Feng Shui Sites, but if everyone treats
him as a target he won’t be able to keep this up for long.) Eventually, someone takes one of his sites for the win.
Playing like this is a mistake for a number of reasons. Simply put, if you attack the weakest position, you make it weaker still.
You’ve spent some of your resources putting another player in a position where they cannot defend themselves as well as anyone else.
When someone makes a bid for the win, the player in the weakest position is likely to be the target. You spent Power and cards to take
down someone already weaker than you are. Another player spent their Power and cards building up their forces. Who’s the one more likely
to be able to make a winning bid? And who’s going to have to spend even more of their Power and card trying to stop the win, protecting
the same guy they just made too weak to protect himself?
Although there is a strong strategic reason not to attack the weakest player, the biggest problem with this style of play is that it
isn’t any fun from either side – while being a victim gets old fast, so does being a bully.