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Battle of Guandu
Guandu in Dynasty Warriors 8
Date September ~ November 200
Location Guandu, Si Province (northeast of modern-day Zhongmu, Henan)
Result Cao Cao defeats Yuan Shao's forces.
Yuan Shao's Forces Cao Cao's Forces
Yuan Shao Cao Cao

The Battle of Guandu (官渡の戦い, rōmaji: Kanto no Tatakai) is a decisive battle between Cao Cao's forces and Yuan Shao's forces. Armed with fewer troops, Cao Cao is determined to win against Yuan Shao's massive army. Depending on the title, a secondary follow up to the battle may take place at Runan.

The battle was famous for Cao Cao's assault on Yuan Shao's supply depot, going by the name of Wuchao (烏巣, rōmaji: Usō, lit. Crow Nest), and there by managing to deprive Yuan Shao's army of their resources despite the early pressure Cao Cao was forced under. This eventually brought chaos to Yuan Shao's army and forced him to retreat under great stress.

Guan Yu during this time was under temporary service of Cao Cao's army, and in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel was famous for defeating both Yan Liang and Wen Chou in succession, two of Yuan Shao's most fearsome generals at the time. However, it's often stated that Guan Yu and Liu Bei (who was under Yuan Shao at the time) eventually met on the battlefield and escaped together soon after, leaving Cao Cao and Yuan Shao to their devices.

Role in Games[]

"Cao Cao, I'll give you one more chance to surrender!" - Yuan Shao to Cao Cao, Dynasty Warriors 2.

"The true battle is not fought with men... It is fought with this." - Cao Cao, Dynasty Warriors 2.

Dynasty Warriors[]

In Dynasty Warriors 3, players on the Wei side must keep Yuan Shao's army out of the castle, while searching for the Wu Chao Supply Base (randomly set in 1 of 4 bases on the map). If Guan Yu makes contact with Yan Liang, he will easily cut him down, then the same will happen for Wen Chou. Sooner or later, the enemy will break down the castle walls. After the Wu Chao depot burns, Cao Cao will issue an all-out charge.

In Dynasty Warriors 4, it is similar to the other renditions of the battle: Cao Cao's forces are defending Bai Ma, Yan Jin, and Guan Du Castle, with Cao Cao in the latter. Guan Yu is at his side, and will slay Yan Liang and Wen Chou in rapid succession. Liu Bei and Zhang Fei are also on the map, and defeating them both will prevent Guan Yu's withdrawal. When the player attacks the Wu Chao Supply Base, enemy morale will shrink and Zhang He will defect to Cao Cao's forces.

An altered version of the stage has Cao Cao's army clash with Lu Bu, Dong Zhuo, and the Yellow Turbans in their respective stories. With Wei employing numerous ploys to their advantage, the player must overcome them while keeping an eye on the main camp simultaneously.

Dynasty Warriors 5 has the battle begin when Cao Cao reinforces the three forts. In Cao Cao's scenario, Cao Cao will go to Bai Ma while Xiahou Dun goes to Yan Jin and Cao Pi stays at Guan Du. In a few minutes, Guan Yu will kill Yan Liang lowering the enemy morale. If the player defeats Liu Bei, who is at the north-eastern side of the map, Guan Yu shall then continue and kill Wen Chou. By this time, Zhen Ji and Cao Pi meet up which causes the latter to entice the former into joining him. Guan Yu withdraws after completing his duties and Yuan Shao opens Wu Chao. By defeating the general inside the supply base, Chunyu Qiong, the raid on the supply base becomes a success. In Yuan Shao's scenario, the only problem the player shall be facing is Guan Yu. If the player defeats the God of War, Guan Du shall be poorly guarded from the outside with Cao Pi guarding the exterior. Siege towers are then sent and in just a few minutes, if successful, Guan Du castle opens the gates and Cao Cao will be waiting. Note that Zhang He and Zhen Ji will defect if the supply compound is burned to the ground.

In Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2, the battle appears in Wei's story. In the first few engagements, scouts will report Yan Liang's suspicious activity near Bai Ma castle. If he gets too close to Bai Ma castle, he will set fire to the altar, and will conquer it immediately. Defeating Yuan Shao or taking all the bases of the area will guarantee a Cao victory. Aside from the rescuable village, there is also a treasure trove guarded by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. In Yuan Shao's side, the only victory condition is to defeat Cao Cao. Similarly to Cao Cao's side of the battle, reports will come in stating suspicious behavior near Wu Chao, and a fire attack will wipe out the supply depot if the enemy attack isn't intercepted. Also, using Zhen Ji and meeting Cao Pi will trigger a special dialogue from the two. There are two treasure troves in the area; One is guarded by Hua Tuo while the other is guarded by Genghis Khan.

The only viewpoints available are from Cao Cao and Lu Bu forces in Dynasty Warriors 6. In Cao Cao's scenario, if either the Yan Jin or Bai Ma forts are taken, and Yuan Shao moves to the center camp from the Wu Chao supply base, Xiahou Dun and Zhang Liao may ambush the supply base and set it on fire. If the fire attack succeeds, Zhang He, Gao Lan, and Xu You will defect from Yuan Shao. If Yan Liang or Wen Chou are defeated, Yuan Shao's morale will decrease dramatically. By protecting the allied central bases, the enemy forces will advance slower towards Cao Cao's main camp as they will travel from the west and east. If Guan Yu defeats Yan Liang, he will declare that he has fulfilled his duty and leave the battlefield.

Lu Bu interrupts the battle with his own force in his scenario. Seeing that there is a bigger threat than each other, Cao Cao and Yuan Shao reconcile and set aside their differences, joining their armies together to deal with Lu Bu.

In Dynasty Warriors 7, the stage layout reverts to the old Dynasty Warriors 5 design in a sense. This battle is available in the Wei and Shu story modes.

In Wei's story, the playable character is Cao Pi. In the first part of the battle, he and Jia Xu carry out their mission by defeating as many sub-generals around the stage as possible before Yuan Shao's main force appears. Cao Pi must defeat four generals to trigger the battle's second half, but it is recommended to defeat as many generals as possible (especially Yan Liang and Wen Chou.) Cao Cao uses himself as bait to lure the enemy to him, and Jia Xu executes a pincer attack to eliminate generals in the middle of the stage near Baima, and Yanjin fortresses. Cao Pi must escort Cao Cao to Wei's main camp, and part 1 is complete.

In part 2 of the stage, the plan is to defeat the Wuchao supply depot utilizing a newly defected Xu You to open the gates. The stage begins by using catapults to defeat the siege towers (four of them, for the two catapults.) Once that's completed, Jia Xu will accompany Cao Pi along a trail with little enemy resistance. From there the player is given the option of either taking the left path to sneak past the ambush unit, or the center to hit the ambush unit head on. Gao Lan typically leads the ambush unit. The best strategy is to jump down from the left path and defeat the general leading the ambush unit. No matter which path is taken, Cao Pi, Jia Xu, and Xu You will continue on and get to the supply depot gates. Once there, Cao Pi must defeat Zhen Ji and the remaining generals surrounding the supply depot. Xu You will open the gates and troops will burn the supply depot down. Zhang He will appear, but once Cao Pi bests him, his defeat triggers his defection to Wei. After this is done, all that remains for Cao Pi is to defeat the remaining generals on the field near the middle and to the north, and Yuan Shao himself.

On part 2, there is a minor glitch in the game that confuses Xu You for Zhu Jun in game tasks.

In Shu's story, the playable character is Zhao Yun. He joins Liu Bei and Zhang Fei as they reinforce Yuan Shao's army. Zhao Yun must first protect the main camp from being taken over by Wei forces that are coming from the west. Then Yuan Shao order's Liu Bei's army to help the defense of Wuchao on the northeastern side. Once Zhao Yun is close, he encounters Guan Yu, who is working for Wei. Although Guan Yu flees from battle, the very sight of him fighting for Cao Cao enrages Yuan Shao, and the nobleman considers Liu Bei a traitor and turns against him. Zhao Yun must escort Liu Bei to the escape point in the southeast. While at Wuchao, the site is set on fire and Zhao Yun must defeat Zhang He and Xu You. After escaping, he must overcome more ambushes led by Zhang Liao and Cao Pi. When Liu Bei closes in on the escape point, Yuan Shao will appear to slay him. Zhao Yun must defeat the noble. Once he is defeated, the stage is complete.

In Dynasty Warriors 8 the battle appears once again in both Wei and Shu's story. In Wei's scenario, Guo Jia first advises the generals to defend the areas and withdraw in order to bait out the opposing Yuan forces. When this is done, the Yuan forces are unable to conquer the strong defense and Guan Yu slays both Yan Liang and Wen Chou. Soon Liu Bei is sent to check the situation, but he leaves the battlefield alongside Guan Yu when they see each other. Once Wuchao is destroyed, Cao Cao's forces will be able to breach Yuan Shao's camp and the defeated Zhang He and Zhenji both surrender. Oddly, unlike the other titles, Gao Lan stays loyal to Yuan Shao when Wuchao is set on fire.

In Shu's scenario, Liu Bei, Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei are all serving Yuan Shao, having lost their main base at Xiapi to Cao Cao. They first take the western bases to Baima in order to prepare for the siege, however, Yan Liang is slain by Guan Yu during the siege and the Yuan forces now choose to attack Yanjin from the east. When they attack again, Guan Yu reappears and kills Wen Chou. He encounters his sworn brothers and Zhao Yun and the four will leave the battlefield. Yuan Shao misinterprets this as a betrayal and immediately turns on Liu Bei. As Yuan Shao's reinforcements appear, the four decide to escape by the west. Jia Xu will appear and needs to be defeated before the four can actually escape.

In Xtreme Legends, a new what-if scenario is given to Wei in which Lu Bu's surrender is accepted by Cao Cao and the two attack Yuan Shao together. Yuan Shao will attempt to goad Lu Bu into siding against Cao Cao, but the warrior shrugs off the initial messengers, but will defect if more messengers arrive, or if he's forced to remain on the defensive for too long.

In Yuan Shao's version of the stage, Lu Bu will never defect, and will instead rampage across Yuan Shao's army, defeating officers until he himself is defeated. Defeating Lu Bu will eventually entice the Cao Cao's reserve troops to begin their march. Killing Cao Cao will end the battle in a Yuan victory. The only way for Lu Bu to fight on Yuan Shao's side in this scenario would be for the player to use him there.

In Lu Bu's hypothetical storyline, Lu Bu becomes Yuan Shao's rival in the north after defeating Cao Cao. The battle starts with Lu Bu and Zhang Liao advancing on Baima and Yanjin respectively while Chen Gong leads reinforcements, defeating Zhang He in the process. Once the bases are taken, Lu Bu slays Yan Liang and Wen Chou, taking control of their respective supply routes as a result. The Wei forces led by Xiahou Dun arrive to assist Yuan Shao and attack Lu Bu's main camp. Once they are defeated, the gates to Yuan Shao's stronghold open and defeating him results in victory.

Yuan Shao's version of the stage starts out with all of the supply lines having already been taken. As Yuan Shao's men move in to retake the supply lines, Lu Bu's forces will activate the siege weaponry in the defense, and the officer in charge must be defeated. When all supply lines have been taken, Xiahou Dun will appear in the south to help assist in Yuan Shao's charge. The battle is won when Lu Bu is defeated.

Warriors Orochi[]

In the first game, Nobunaga launches a surprise attack against Da Ji at Guan Du. The main army of Orochi was drawn away due to Shingen and Kenshin's actions to support Nobunaga.Though undermanned and caught off-guard, the Orochi army's use of sorcery and artillery can hinder the coalition's advance. Players may also have to watch out for Da Qiao's imminent march on the main camp. During the battle, Ling Tong arrives to assist Nobunaga's forces. As a result, Ling Tong joins Nobunaga after the victory. Despite this, Huang Zhong reports that Shingen and Kenshin's forces has been defeated at Nagashino.

In Warriors Orochi 2, Guan Du serves as the final battle for the Wei kingdom. Cao Cao and Nobunaga lead the anti-Orochi forces, and order the western frontline to be secured, though meanwhile Masamune fires his cannons from Guan Du castle. If the frontline is secured, the Wei army will move the battle to the center of the field, while Masamune leaves his castle. Eventually, the other two kingdom rulers of Sun Jian and Liu Bei arrive as reinforcements, and they move to finally defeat the revived Orochi. Completing this stage unlocks Sun Wukong.

In Warriors Orochi 4, this initially serves as a battlefield for Wu. The resistance army is led by Sun Quan's forces, as he seeks to overcome his father who is under Nobunaga's coalition. Sun Jian, reinforced by Sun Ce and Zhou Yu, pressure Sun Quan's strategist Lu Xun but they are able to endure for the reinforcements of the Hōjō army such as Ujiyasu and Lady Hayakawa, they manage to defeat Sun Jian's army. After their defeat, Sun Jian and others joined with Liu Bei, Shingen, Kenshin and Hōjō army, who prepared against Nobunaga. This also serves as a climactic battle much later in the story,  where after Odin is revealed as the true enemy of this dimension, many of Wei and Jin forces along with Yoshimoto, Motochika and the bracelet wielders such as Cao Pi and Mitsunari, lead a daring raid on the stronghold at Guandu. They encounter Seimei Abe and various other agents of Odin and the demon forces, who are testing the strength of humanity, while spying on Odin such as Jia Chong, Zhong Hui and Kanbei Kuroda. After their victory, Seimei Abe explains his true intention of joining Odin, revealing Odin's horrigfying plans in full and joins the resistance. 

This stage re-appears in Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate where Xiahou Dun, Takatora, Gaia, Zhao Yun, Yang Jian and others must help Joan of Arc to defeat Kiyomori's army and accompanying her to the escape point.

In side story, Kotarō along with Li Dian, have a request from Ujiyasu must rescue Zhang Jiao and his comrades from the Demon army.


The battle is briefly mentioned in Kessen II. Cao Cao is suddenly attacked by Yuan Shao, which forces him to split his forces to defend against both Liu Bei at Ru Nan and Yuan Shao at Guan Du. Regardless of whoever claims a victory at Ru Nan, Cao Cao will defeat Yuan Shao and conquer his lands.

Historical Information[]

The battle of Baima (or Boma) was the first battle between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. Yuan Shao invaded Yanjin (AKA Yan Ford/Yan Harbor) which was easier to capture, while Cao Cao went to Boma Fort in order to distract Yuan Shao. The latter was a success, and Yuan Shao's forces headed to Boma. The battle was easily won by Cao Cao after Guan Yu killed Yan Liang.

The battle of Yan Harbor was the second battle of the two warlords in which Yuan Shao attempted to recapture Yan Harbor. Cao Cao counterattacked and defeated Yuan Shao's force easily after Wen Chou was killed in battle. Afterwards, Cao Cao withdrew from his bases to focus on Guandu.

Guandu was the third battle of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. The battle was one of war machines. The first part of the battle started when Yuan Shao used siege towers against Cao Cao. Arrows rained on Guandu and Cao Cao countered by using shields to defend his men. The second part was Yuan Shao attempting to attack the base underground which was easily countered by Cao Cao, ending in a stalemate.

Cao Cao's forces were low on supplies and attempted to raid Yuan Shao's supplies at Wuchao, which was guarded by Chunyu Qiong. The raid was fast and Chunyu Qiong was defeated and executed. Soon after the supplies on Wuchao were burned and Yuan Shao, at Guandu, was forced to retreat.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

As tensions flared between both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, Liu Bei, who had fled to Yuan after losing Xuzhou to Cao Cao's forces, wished for Yuan Shao to launch an expedition to save Emperor Xian from Cao Cao's control. While Tian Feng and Ju Shou were against this as Cao Cao had solidified his position and was anticipating an attack from them, Yuan Shao ignored these words and began preparations for war. Cao Cao subsequently declared war on his friend, but Yuan Shao's advisor, Chen Lin, wrote a declaration filled with crimes committed by Cao Cao.

Beginning the first battle, Yuan Shao's general, Yan Liang, attacked Baima. Slaying Song Xian and Wei Xu in quick manner, Yan dueled Xu Huang and defeated him. In response to Yan Liang's attack, Cheng Yu advised his lord to send out Guan Yu. Cao Cao, however, was reluctant to bring out the general as he could leave immediately after fulfilling his debt, but Cheng insisted that Guan Yu killing Yan Liang would likely result in Yuan Shao killing Liu Bei, leaving Guan without a place to go. Cao agreed to send out Guan Yu, broke past the enemy ranks and slew Yan Liang. Yan Liang's death was met by an scout's report to Yuan Shao, who was only told that a red, bearded man wielding a polearm had killed Yan Liang. While there were suspicions that this was Guan Yu, Liu Bei replied that there were many red men with beards, and that it would only be an assumption to say it was Guan. In response to Yan Liang's death, Wen Chou volunteered to attack Yanjin, with Liu Bei supporting him from the rear.

To deal with Wen Chou's troops, Cao Cao ordered his troops to abandon their supplies to an enemy raid. Wen Chou, who attacked his opponent's supplies, easily took the grain, but was unable to discipline his troops sufficiently. As a result, many of the Yuan troops began fighting amongst themselves for the stolen supplies, and Cao Cao's troops returned to counterattack while their enemies were disorganized. Wen Chou's army crumbled immediately, and he attempted to flee. Zhang Liao and Xu Huang both chased Wen, but were both defeated by him and withdrew. Guan Yu, however, was able to catch up with the enemy general thanks to Red Hare's superior speed, and cut him down from behind. With Yuan Shao's troops finally confirming Guan Yu's service to Cao Cao, Yuan Shao attempted to execute Liu Bei, who responded by volunteering to write a letter to Guan Yu to switch sides. Yuan Shao agreed and spared Liu Bei, whose letter caused Guan Yu to desert Cao's forces. Liu Bei's forces would then desert Yuan Shao, however.

Though without Liu Bei, Yuan Shao was not fazed and besieged Guandu castle. Though he brought out his archer platforms to attack the castle, Cao Cao responded with catapults that destroyed the opposing platforms. Locked in a stalemate, Cao Cao's supplies were dwindling, and he sent an emergency messenger back to request for more supplies to hold out. The messenger was caught, however, and Yuan Shao read the message. While Xu You insisted that this meant that they only needed to stall and wait for the enemy supplies to run out, Guo Tu believed that this was a fake letter inciting Yuan Shao's forces into a fake security. Frustrated by his lord's inability, and Guo Tu's further slandering as Xu and Cao were old friends, Xu You visited Cao Cao's main camp, and requested for the amount of days Cao believed his supplies could last. Initially Cao stated only fifty days, only to progressively decrease the amount the more Xu pressed for details. Eventually, Xu You, having heard enough of Cao Cao's lies, presented him with the messenger's letter, revealing that supplies had run out completely. Xu You then advised Cao to lead his cavalry unit to disguise themselves as Jiang Qi's troops and destroy the enemy's supply compound.

Yuan Shao, who had previously not heeded Ju Shou's advice of reinforcing Wuchao, now faced a dilemma of defending his supplies, which were now burning under Chunyu Qiong's watch. Zhang He immediately wished to lead troops to save Wuchao, but Guo Tu believed that Cao Cao's camp should be lightly defended as troops were sent to Wuchao. Zhang He and Gao Lan were sent to attack the enemy camp but were defeated by the defenders of the camp. With little place left to go, both men surrendered. By the time the sun rose, Yuan Shao's troops had lost all morale with the loss of Wuchao and many generals. Broken by the loss, Yuan Shao fled back to his territory in shame.

After the battle, Cao Cao's troops held a celebratory banquet. During the banquet, Cao Cao brought out a large chest, containing many letters from his side, conniving for potential surrender and mercy from Yuan Shao. Though many advisors and generals demanded to hunt down the writers, Cao Cao ordered that the letters be burned, stating that when the battle dragged on, he couldn't guarantee his own safety, let alone others. This move solidified the loyalties of many that previously could've broken away from him, turning many of retainers into devout followers.

On Yuan Shao's end, his health began worsening by the humiliating loss until the arrival of Yuan Tan, Yuan Xi and Gao Gan, along with their armies. Reorganizing his troops, Yuan Shao was ready for battle once more and would meet Cao Cao for the last time at Cangting, where he would suffer immeasurable losses, which resulted in his death.

See also[]


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