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Cao Xiu
Dynasty Warriors 9 artwork
Character Information
Force(s): Wei
175 cm (5'9")
Weapon Type: Fan sword
Significant Battle(s):
Playable Debut: Dynasty Warriors 9
Historical Information
Real name:
Cáo Xiū
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:

Cao Xiu (onyomi: Sō Kyū) is a Wei officer as well as Cao Cao's nephew. He was hailed as a wonderful archer and the "loyal stallion" of the clan, where alongside Cao Chun was known for leading the famed cavalry known as the Tiger Leopard Riders. After being fooled by Zhou Fang's false defection, his health failed due to the shame and he died, though before his death, he would succeed Cao Ren in becoming Wei's Commander-in-Chief.

Before his playable Dynasty Warriors appearance, he was formerly a NPC character since Dynasty Warriors 3. This interpretation has a character image song, BEST STEED.

Roles in Games[]

Dynasty Warriors[]

"In these chaotic times... your honesty is much like... a double-edged sword. But never fear... As long as I am around... that same sword... will always be treasured."
~~Cao Pi; Dynasty Warriors 9

In the Dynasty Warriors series, he is usually the commander at the Battle of Shiting in which he is fooled by Zhou Fang, thinking the Wu officer would defect to Wei. In most games he always survives until the battles of Hefei Castle and Wuzhang Plains.

For Dynasty Warriors 4 at He Fei, if Wu manages to take Shi Ting, Cao Xiu will arrive to get revenge for his defeat. In Wei's scenario, saving Cao Xiu from Zhou Fang's ploy enables him to join the fight in Fan Castle.

Cao Xiu is prominently featured as a Wei officer in Dynasty Warriors 6. He may appear as early as Hu Lao Gate, where he replaces one of the playable Wei characters if chosen in their place. He continues to appear in many Wei battles in the sequels.

In Dynasty Warriors 8, he also joins his uncle's conquest of Wu at Jianye as well as the suppression of Liu Bei at Baidi Castle. In Wu's story, he acts as one of the commanders of Shiting, and will be fooled by Zhou Fang's plot if Sun Quan retreats as planned. In Shu's story, Cao Xiu leads the first detachment of reinforcements for Xiahou Yuan. If Cao Xiu is defeated in the battle, then the forces from Hanzhong will be able to ride their momentum, and appear to assist Guan Yu at Fan Castle.

In Dynasty Warriors 9, Cao Xiu is among Cao Cao's relatives who join him in his army against Dong Zhuo. Delightfully surprised at his nephew's arrival with cavalry, Cao Cao allows Cao Xiu to join. Cao Xiu would then join many of his uncle's campaigns at Guandu, Chibi, and Hanzhong. After Cao Cao's death, Cao Xiu returns to the capital to meet with Cao Pi. Helping consolidate his cousin's rule, Cao Xiu then participates at the invasion of Shu and Guangling. Impressed by his cousin's service, Cao Pi sends Cao Xiu to guard the border of Wu. As Cao Xiu departs, he is met by his cousin, who reminds him that his honesty is a double-edged sword in times of chaos, but one that is highly thought of and valued.

Cao Xiu, however, is defeated at Shiting thanks to Zhou Fang's defection. Hoping to avenge himself, Cao Xiu works with Man Chong and Sima Yi to defeat the Wu forces. After the victory, Cao Xiu opts to return to the capital and submit himself to his cousin for the earlier loss. Before he can depart, however, a messenger arrives and informs the trio that Cao Pi has died due to sickness. Cao Xiu also briefly appears during Shu's side of the Wuzhang Plains, where he can be deceived into an ambush if the Shu forces intercept Cao Rui's messenger.

During Cao Pi's DLC, Cao Xiu remains at his cousin's side and is chosen to be the vanguard during the battle against Wu at Yiling and for the capture of Liu Bei at Baidi Castle. Upon doing so, Cao Xiu is tasked with leading the southern front against Shu while his cousin reinforces Sima Yi at the north.

Once Cao Pi rejects Shu's wish to form an alliance, the invasion commences, and Cao Xiu helps take Chengdu. With Shu vanquished, they soon turn their attention to Wu, and are eventually able to eliminate Lu Xun at Lake Poyang.

Without their strategist, the Wei forces are able to conquer Jianye and kill Sun Quan. Cao Xiu is later amongst Cao Pi's chief retainers, who are ordered to do as they please should their emperor meet an untimely end.

Warriors Orochi[]

In Warriors Orochi, Cao Xiu sometimes serves as a replacement officer for several leading characters in Wei's story.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

Romance of the Three Kingdoms gives Cao Xiu battle skills in the 70's, while his other stats are rated in the 50's or lower. In each game, he excels in archery, but can also lead cavalry units without major disadvantages. He starts to serve Cao Cao in the Dong Zhuo campaign and becomes one of the major Wei officers in the later scenarios.

Character Information[]


Suzuki said that Cao Xiu's Dynasty Warriors design is themed to Cao Cao's historical praise of being the "Thousand League Horse [of his family]", which led to an overall emphasis on mobility, lightness, and eloquence to his attire. Though he has facial similarities to note their Cao family relations, he was intentionally given a kinder-looking visage to contrast Cao Pi.


Spirited and active, Cao Xiu is someone eager to prove his worth in the battlefield. His enthusiasm makes him highly liked by Cao Cao, Cao Pi and his other relatives, the former referring to Cao Xiu by his given name in the English script. Sima Yi and Man Chong, however, believe that Cao Xiu is too honest and trusting which can lead to foolhardy decisions.

In the Asian scripts, he also refers to Cao Pi by his style name.

Voice Actors[]

  • Hisayoshi Suganuma - Dynasty Warriors 6 (Japanese-uncredited)
  • Grant George - Dynasty Warriors 6 (English-uncredited)
  • Darrel Guilbeau - Dynasty Warriors 7 (English-uncredited)
  • Dan Woren - Dynasty Warriors 8 (English-uncredited)
  • Eric Hoff - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
  • Chenguang Wang - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
  • Takuya Satō - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Japanese)
  • Yoshiya Naruke - Sangokushi Legion
  • Yukiya Matsui - Sangokushi Hadou (Japanese)


  • "They've cut me off! I should have seen this trick of Zhou Fang's!"
  • "At last, the time has come! Now we will have our revenge on Wu!"
  • "The Wu forces?! They're not supposed to be here! Where did Zhou Fang go?"
"Zhou Fang's surrender was a hoax. No one would ever betray Wu."
~~Cao Xiu and Lian Shi; Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends
  • "Now we've got you. The burning ambition of Wu shall engulf you whole!"
"What?! It's a fire attack! Curse you, Zhou Fang! I should never have trusted you!"
~~Zhou Fang and Cao Xiu; Dynasty Warriors 8
  • "My lord, I have come all this way to fight for you"
"But Xiu... Aren't you from the Wu district? Are you saying you rode all this way for me?"
"That's correct... I heard that you were declaring yourself, Uncle... And I couldn't stay away... And besides... I had to join you. Because we are under the same sky.
"I see. I hadn't expected you, but I am glad you came. Alright, Xiu, the 1,000 league pawn of the Cao family. You will be in the forefront of my battles!"
~~Cao Xiu and Cao Cao; Dynasty Warriors 9




Keys: Square Flow Attack • Triangle Reactive Attack • Circle Musou X Jump/Mount

Cao Xiu is affiliated with the fan sword in this appearance.

Unique Flow Attack:
Unique Trigger Attack ( R1 + ):
Special Technique (R1 + Circle):
Musou (Circle):
Aerial Musou (X + Circle):

Historical Information[]

Cao Xiu was a nephew of Cao Cao, whom he joined during the formation of the Alliance against Dong Zhuo while leaving behind his mother in Wu. Beforehand, he was known greatly for his sense of fillal piety to many of his late parental figures. He was treated by Cao Cao as if he were his own son and led Wei's elite Tiger and Leopard Rider Cavalry alongside Cao Chun and Cao Zhen; the latter of the two was also close to both Cao Xiu and Cao Pi during their early years. During Liu Bei's campaign against Hanzhong, Cao Xiu served as an adviser to Cao Hong. He suggested to fight Zhang Fei and Ma Chao head on when the former threatened to cut off Cao Hong's retreat route, seeing through the ploy and defeating them both, which led to the death of Wu Lan. However, the said cavalry was eventually disbanded and Cao Xiu once again served alongside Cao Cao.

After Cao Cao's death, his successor Cao Pi promoted him to General who Guards the South and sent him south to the borders to Wu. He was made General who Conquers the East in 222 and followed Cao Pi on the campaign against Wu. Together with Zhang Liao and Zang Ba, he defeated Lu Fan at Dongkou, but had to retreat after reinforcements led by Xu Sheng, Sun Shao, and Quan Cong arrived. After Cao Pi's death, Cao Xiu became Great Defender-in-chief and led another campaign against Wu.

At some point however, his mother soon died and caused much grief towards Cao Xiu, making him unable to act in his duties as well as not eating or sleeping. Cao Pi himself eventually went to Cao Xiu to comfort him with all he could, and soon their close relationship allowed for Cao Xiu to move on from his grieving and he returned to the front lines.

At Shiting via careful planning from the Wu forces and the fact they all considered Cao Xiu to be a massive threat, he fell for a ploy by Zhou Fang and was heavily defeated and wounded. He escaped thanks to the efforts of Jia Kui and retreated, as well as the fact that Lu Xun did not employ any measures to seal off Cao Xiu's escape route. He sent a memorial to Cao Rui, pleading guilty for his misjudgment. Cao Rui forgave him and treated him with even more respect. Cao Xiu died shortly afterwards because of skin infections resulting from his wounds at Shiting and was posthumously named Marqius Zhuang ("robust marquis"). He had two sons, Cao Zuan and Cao Zhao.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

In the novel, Cao Xiu makes his first appearance at Cao Cao's archery contest after the construction of the Tongquetai was finished. Later at Ruxukou, he shot an arrow that hit Ling Tong's horse and knocked him down. Ling Tong would have been killed by Yue Jin if not for the aid of Gan Ning. He then aided Xiahou Dun in putting down the rebellion of Jin Yi, Geng Ji and others and followed Cao Cao to fight Liu Bei at Hanzhong. After having suffered defeat against Lu Xun at Shiting, he was ashamed and developed an illness from which he died.


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