Why do people think Wei Yan is so great?

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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:28 pm

Wei Yan was a very talented general. He was an excellent leader of troops and in battle tactics. However he didn't have a mind for large scale strategy and tended to be a brute force kind of officer. This was perfectly fine in battle but he grew arrogant over time which led to his downfall. At the end he became so full of himself that he was blind to the fact that his own troops defected from him when he planned his little coup. A great general destroyed by his own arrogance, shame really. He could have really helped Shu out in the latter years, perhaps with him leading Jiang Wei's vanguard they could have accomplished more. Though considering how old he would have been at that time, maybe not.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:09 pm

dwonline wrote:yea, I'm talking about WY in SGYY. Your reading about recorded history of him?


but the topic is about why the history one is so admired
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:47 pm

I think Wei Yan is admired more for his potential than for any talent he actually demonstrated to any significant degree. His plans against Chang'an could have worked, and if they did he would have been a hero. He could have been a great help to Jiang Wei if he'd been around. As it stands, though, we never got to see any of that, so we can't know.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:20 am

I think he would have been too old by the time of Jiang Wei assuming the same 15 year of no military campaigns occurred again. However, if he made it home safely after the death of Zhuge Liang and behaved i think he would have been in quite a senior position. He would have been the last of the great generals and probably even Jiang Wan and Fei Yi may have some difficulty reigning him in.

His existance in court could lead to a pro-war faction and he would probably be a challenge to the management skills of Jiang Wan and Fei Yi.

Also since he would remain governor of Hanzhong, Wang Ping would not get that position. Wang Ping was recognised to be a great general, so much so that after ZL's death he received another great promotion and replaced Wu Yi (or Qi) as governor of Hanzhong.

That turned out to be a good move since he pwned Cao Shuang's attack on Shu. I wonder how Wei Yan would have performed - certainly i don't think Wei Yan would have lost Hanzhong but i don't think he may win so spectacularly either.
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Unread postby Antiochus » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:10 am

Wang Ping's rise is also due to the fact that it occured during the time Shu was on a heavy decline. Most of its talented officer kept dying or were being replaced depending of the mood the corrupted Shu court had.

I dont recall of any action Wang Ping did that could match the experience Wei Yan had, or his deeds during the many campaings he fought for Shu. Im not saying Wang Ping is bad, but that the forum has a tendancy to overrate some officers while underrating other officers under the pretence they were overrated (such as Guan Yu, Zhuge Liang, Cao Cao, Ma Chao ect...) .
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Unread postby Zhilong » Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:58 am

Antiochus wrote:Wang Ping's rise is also due to the fact that it occured during the time Shu was on a heavy decline. Most of its talented officer kept dying or were being replaced depending of the mood the corrupted Shu court had.


Not entirely true. The corruption started once Fei Yi died - the rise of Wang Ping was before this. Wang Ping was first noticed by ZL in the first NC, when he was sent along with Ma Su to Jieting. While the latter fled from his own mess, which Wang Ping had advised against, Wang Ping also acted similar to Zhao Yun. While all troops under Ma Su dispersed, Wang Pings was able to hold his troops together and hold their ground, bluffing to Zhang He. Due to this Zhang He was wary of an ambush and did not pursue. Wang Ping was then able to gather equipment and troops before beating a steady retreat.

Impressed by this ZL gave him a big promotion (including an appointment as a Marquis as well as a plethora of others), prior to this he had only received a nominal posts for surrendering. To put this into perspective, after this campaign he was not only promoted but significantly whilst others (ZL, Zhao Yun) were at best demoted or at worst executed (Ma Su, Li Sheng, Zhang Xiu).

Of the officers ZL put on the fast track to power, only Wang Ping and Jiang Wei got this honour in the military sector.

I dont recall of any action Wang Ping did that could match the experience Wei Yan had, or his deeds during the many campaings he fought for Shu.


Wei Yan certainly had some deeds but also plenty that detract from his key strength - his valour. When he received the governorship of Hanzhong he spoke of how he would swallow the enemy. In reality he had a tendency to bully the weak eg:

1) In his feud with Yang Yi he would often pull a sword on him - what a way for a warrior general to treat a non-warrior official
2) The basis for his alternative attack on Wei was scaring what he imagined to be a total pussy of a Xiahou Mao into flight
3) In his plot to seize the army after ZL's death he tried to capture Fei Yi and hold him hostage in the hope to use his authority to help him seize control
4) He was adamant about continuing the campaign and attacking Wei and he has his own troops but what does he do? He turns around and does not attack the enemy at all but his own countrymen. (Will explain more about this point in the next section)
5) Wanted to kill those officials who stood in the way of his self-appointment as commander in chief in order to bully the army into submitting to his unrightful authority.

Wang Ping's achievements:

1) Aforementioned role at Jieting preventing a complete rout by Wei despite only having 1000 troops to face the infinitely more numerous.
2) During NC4, Zhang He attacked Wang Ping at the South of Qishan but the former was unable to overcome Wang Ping due to his resilient defence.
3) When Wei Yan arrayed his troops to attack the main army that was retreating after the death of ZL, it was Wang Ping who stepped out to face him and in one holler he dispersed Wei Yan's troops, allieviating a crisis that could have spiralled into civil war. For that he was promoted and replaced Wei Yan's post as General of the rear.
4) Upon returning to Hanzhong he was appointed in charge of Hanzhong as deputy of Wu Yi but soon replaced him. This is in contrast to Wei Yan who was not really in charge here since ZL was personally stationed here most of the time whilst Fei Yi was not.

He proved his worth in this role when he took the initiative to face Cao Shuang's huge invasion force before reinforcements arrived with his meager 1000 troops. His actions were decisive.

5) In addition Wang Ping was in charge of administering the C-I-C's office which shows he was not just a mindless brute but more of a self-educated scholar general in the vein of Lu Meng, even if he was illiterate!

In the later period the senior generals were Wang Ping, Ma Zhong (watch over the Nanman) and Deng Zhi (dealing with Wu border). Of course the most important is the north which was Wang Ping's responsibility. Imo Wang Ping had the best abilities of Wei Yan but also did not have his weakenesses as he was responsible and reliable too.
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Unread postby Six_and_Up » Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:48 am

Well Wei Yan had to shown more than just potential, because there no way you get appointed by Liu Bei to be governor of Hanzhong just on 'showing potential'.

On the post-ZGL death incidents, I believe that Wei Yan got really unlucky because he got involved in a political struggle with Yang Yi and well as shown by other posters, this guy was a warrior and not a politician. Yang Yi was no angel either, he wanted ZGL's job but couldn't get it because Jiang Wan was the appointed successor.

Anyway I'm not the biggest fan of Wei Yan, but i do believe he was probably better than a lot of people give him credit for.
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