Musou/Musō (無双, lit. "Unmatched"), or read as Wushuang in a Chinese context, is an umbrella term for powerful moves used by playable characters and enemy officers in Warriors games, and a term that is usually the Japanese equivalent of Warriors. They are automated, cinematic attack sequences that often provide invincibility to the player character for the duration of the sequence, oftentimes accompanied with time freezing around the player character during the initial startup. Players can usually activate a Musou attack by pressing (default setting on PlayStation controllers) while possessing at least one full Musou gauge/stock.
A character's Musou capacity is often indicated by a gauge underneath their health bar; it is filled by attacking foes, receiving damage, or consuming Musou-restoring items found on the battlefield. Earlier games allowed players to slowly recharge the gauge by holding down . If players are in critical condition, the gauge will gradually replenish on its own. Natural non-item restoration is determined by the "Musou Fill" stat.
True Musou, a stronger Musou attack, often adds special properties or hit animations for the sequence. Usually available to critically injured characters, they can be performed regardless of health by equipping special items or skills. If two allied characters are in close proximity to one another, both of them can unleash a Double Musou (激・無双乱舞, Geki: Musou Ranbu, lit. Raging: Unmatched Wild Dance) if they press simultaneously.
If Musou attacks from two opposing units collide, a weapon deadlock may ensue. Other specific effects vary between titles.
The Japanese name for Musou in this series is Musou Ranbu (無双乱舞, lit. "Unmatched Wild Dance"). True Musou is known as Shin Musou Ranbu (真･無双乱舞, lit. "True Unmatched Wild Dance"). In the very first installment, this is usually an automatic sequence of attacks that inflicts notable damage, with more attacks being added to the string on low health. However, the time to do it is limited as the Musou gauge will gradually decrease until it has to be refilled once more. Musou Attacks however, are easily punishable should they miss in some manner, as they provide no invincibility during the sequence.
In earlier titles of this series, is held down to determine the length of the assault. They will end if players release before the gauge is emptied or if their character falls off a platform. True Musou Attacks add fire damage to gradually weaken affected targets, though may overall lead to less damage depending on how the aerial damage penalty affects it; True Musou Attacks are known in older titles to add in certain animations from the characters' normal attack chains before the finisher.
Musou attacks in Dynasty Warriors 2 can be canceled if the user is struck by arrows or counterattacks from an enemy officer, as well as knocking targets away with knockback on every hit. These hindrances are eliminated in the third title, though stage hazards still pose a threat to players performing their Musou. However, a notable buff includes targets being kept in place for the whole Musou Attack chain to connect, with some normal Musou variations inflicting normal grounded hitstun which lead to more damage without the aerial penalty. The fourth title also adds a 'booming' sound effect to nearly all characters' Musou Attack finishing blows.
Both Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends and Dynasty Warriors 4 introduce the ability to use the aforementioned Double Musou with one's playable bodyguard; though in the latter case, the said bodyguard can only pop up after specific conditions have been fulfilled during the battle (and if it's someone the player with a specific character has aided personally many times). Once they appear, they will be signified with a flickering green aura. Curiously enough, Double Musou Attacks can be performed around the said playable bodyguard even if they suffer from other hit effects, such as being knocked down, launched or stunned; as long as the player is still active and ready to use a Musou Attack near them.
In Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends, carried over from certain fifth weapons in 3: Xtreme Legends, characters with indirect Musou attacks can apply elemental orbs to their True Musou; the better the orb, the stronger the effects will be. Dynasty Warriors 5 gives each character new and improved finishing moves for their True Musou attacks.
Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce and its sequel requires characters to change into their fury forms before they can perform a Musou attack. The button input to activate the attack sequence is + which also reverts the user back to their normal self; Shin Sangoku Musou Multi Raid 2 averts this consequential side effect.
In Dynasty Warriors 7, Musou attacks are all reworked to be single-input special/super moves as opposed an extended string of attacks, making the Japanese name of it a "Musou Ranbu/Unmatched Wild Dance" in-name only. They now require one full stock and automatically flinch surrounding foes upon execution with slowed-down-bullet-time hitstun that also can pick up foes lying on the ground (even though it can be blocked and broken out of with another Musou Attack); characters may hold up to four stocks, but can no longer recharge Musou with . Players can unlock a second Musou which, depending on the individual, must be done in the air or by holding both R1 and simultaneously. Aerial Musou attacks are useful for breaking out of mid-air flinching while their stationary R1 counterparts are more damaging. These versions of Musou Attacks no longer can clash with each other, as two Musou Attacks pitted against each other are mainly dictated whose invincibility frames last longer and the timing of when each Musou Attack was activated.
Dynasty Warriors 8 gives the playable cast all three Musou attack types, and introduces the Rage feature that converts the player's Musou stocks (empty or not) into one full bar when activated. Characters under this condition are able to perform a Rage Attack AKA the Kakusei Ranbu (覚醒乱舞, lit. Awakening Wild Dance) reminiscent of the animation style used in previous titles. Rage Attacks cause defeated enemies to drop minor experience scrolls and may become more potent if a large number of hits are chained together, turning into a Shin Kakusei Ranbu (真･無双乱舞, lit. True Awakening Wild Dance). Though if Rage ends without any Rage Attacks being done, then the Musou Gauge will return to being full. However, Musou Attacks no longer extend the duration of the combo count between its non-damaging startup, ending and mid-Musou Attack. Three Musou gauges max are allowed this time instead of four.
Dynasty Warriors 9 gives the playable cast two different Musou attack types: regular ground Musou, and an aerial Musou. Each character possesses only a single Musou gauge styled akin to the classic one, displayed underneath their health bar on the bottom-left of the screen. Much like before, the gauge can be filled by attacking enemies, consuming restorative items, receiving damage, or through passive buffs. The aerial Musou works like previous titles, and can be performed by pressing in the air while possessing a full Musou gauge. Aerial Musou attacks only consume a portion of the gauge.
The ground Musou is now a combination of the old style and the new style, where it can be performed by pressing on the ground while possessing a full Musou gauge. Upon initiation, the player character will then begin the startup animation, which is a sequence of repeated attacks trailed with blue flames (an effect used for all playable generals), until the button is released or the Musou gauge depletes (some may use new or recycled animations from prior attacks, such as either an old Musou Attack or Rage Attack). can be held down to extend the duration of the attack sequence and to continuously consume the Musou gauge. When the sequence ends, the character will then automatically perform a cinematic finisher that, once again, may reuse a certain grounded Musou finisher or more.
While the character is limited to only one Musou gauge, the old method of upgrading the Musou gauge now returns to increasing its overall length through character upgrades, allowing the startup animation to last longer before performing the finisher.
Dynasty Warriors Next adds a secondary Musou sequence known as Speed Musou (神速乱舞, Shinsoku Ranbu, lit. "Godspeed Wild Dance") which requires the player's active participation of the PS Vita's touch screen in order to complete.
The Japanese name for Musou in this series is Musou Ougi (無双奥義, lit. "Unmatched Secret Skill"). True Musou is regarded as Musou Hiougi (無双秘奥義, lit. "Unmatched Hidden Secret Skill"). Throughout the series, a character's associated kanji will flash on the screen once their Musou is activated; the first kanji appears during normal Musou attacks while the second is shown when using a True Musou.
Samurai Warriors follows a format similar to most Dynasty Warriors installments, but with more emphasis on mobility. When initiated, however, the battlefield slows to a bullet-time like sequence and automatically stuns nearby foes upon startup. If is held, the character will perform their base Musou Attack animation in the usual looping manner until the gauge is depleted, leaving them to end the assault with a shockwave attack (in tandem with a posing finish) which can hit downed targets and inflicts spiraling knockback on a standard hit. Players have the option of controlling their character to perform other attacks if they should desire for the entire invincible duration. But as a trade-off, Musou Attacks cannot be interrupted at will and will forcibly drain the whole gauge. Mounted Musou speeds the horse's sprint and provides an automated sequence from the rider. Two players will also share the same Musou gauge.
The sequel allows characters to stock up to three levels for their Musou gauge. These levels are earned by leveling each character individually, with the first level giving off a blue shockwave finisher and the second giving off a green shockwave finisher. On the third level, a secondary effect is added to the character's attacks, which may include a shadow effect, faster attack execution, support fire, and so on (most of them can also inflict extra damage on downed targets just like both the shockwave finisher and the jumping charge attacks can, as well as potentially lock down the said targets as they continuously occur), all of which end with a yellow shockwave. Unlike the first game, two players are given their own separate Musou gauges. Mounted Musou attacks now have the horse stampede through enemy lines, and the ending no longer interrupts the horse's sprint. Only one stock of the Musou Gauge can be manually charged up while the rest must be replenished by other means.
Samurai Warriors 3 retains the idea of three Musou stocks but limits the Musou to using one level, making it last for a set duration but no longer forcibly draining the whole gauge. Characters can also use their Spirit gauge to unleash an Ultimate Musou (無双奥義・皆伝, Musou Ougi Kaiden, lit. "Unmatched Secret Skill: Full Transmit"). This unique finisher covers a wider range of attack and inflicts more damage than a regular Musou.
The fourth title eliminates free action during Musou attacks and replaces previous finishers with new unique animations; tapping during an attack sequence will cause it to end sooner (but will not have the kanji flash up), and makes it a predecessor of how Musou Attacks in the aforementioned ninth Dynasty Warriors installment function. True Musou attacks now increase the repetition of attacks done by a slight amount. Ultimate Musou has been kept, though players can only use them while performing a Rage Attack (無双極意, Musou Gokui, lit. "Unmatched Essential Point"), an invincible powerup state that can only be accessed by pressing R3 (default input on Playstation consoles) when the Spirit Gauge is full, which activates a small cinematic (using the same startup pose for a normal Musou Attack) and causes the character to enter a state of full invincibility and to have all their attacks powered up by a specific element throughout depending on the character. The Rage Attack in this instance is a spiritual reprisal of the original free-action mechanic of the prior Musou Attacks in the series, though the duration is now instead tied to the Spirit Gauge; characters all perform a unique animation to indicate the end of the Rage Attack state, and for returning characters they all use their original shockwave finisher animations.
Characters controlled by the CPU still use the original style from previous games, but are no longer completely invulnerable to damage and instead grant hyper armor to them for the duration (save for the shockwave finisher which instead grants them full invincibility frames). Weapon deadlocks caused by conflicting Musou attacks have been removed, and by this proxy two Musou Attacks that clash will cause both the player and enemy general units to slide back from each other, especially if the initial shockwaves clash properly.
In the Warriors Orochi series, characters no longer regain Musou by attacking units or taking hits. Instead, they must switch with another teammate in order to recover. The distinct Musou styles of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors casts have been left intact albeit with some minor tweaks. Secondary Musou effects from Samurai Warriors 2 are omitted in the first two games while the third installment limits Dynasty Warriors characters to only one non-aerial Musou. With the exception of Musashi, Kojirō, and Goemon, all Samurai Warriors characters/historical figures in Warriors Orochi 3 now use their Ultimate Musou as finishers during True Musou attacks.
Characters/figures of Chinese or Western origin utilize Musou Ranbu (styled akin to Dynasty Warriors 5 with unique True Musou finishers) whereas Japanese characters/figures make use of Musou Ougi (Level 1 and 2 versions only); in the third installment the startup effect for such original characters plus Musashi, Kojirō and Goemon is changed into a "Mystic-Musou" effect where a brief portrait of them is shown with runes surrounding them.
The first two games allow players to perform a Musou Chain (無双バースト, Musou Burst, lit. Unmatched Burst) by following up one Musou attack with another via switching. The next sequence results in a True Musou imbued with a particular attribute depending on the number of character types within the player's team.
The second game introduces Triple Musou Attacks (合体技, Gattai Waza, lit. Union Arts) that involve all three characters performing individual attacks before ganging up on their target all at once; using certain characters together will result in unique combination attacks. Warriors Orochi 3 reworks it into a joint True Triple Attack (真・合体技, Shin Gattai Waza, lit. True Union Art) which has the player fight freely in bullet-time while supported by AI-controlled teammates and causing every hit landed to be a free critical hit (even from simple contact through movement). When the gauge for this function is depleted, the team will release a huge blast to devastate affected enemies. Damage output and special effects vary depending on the team's bond levels.
In Warriors Orochi 3, while allowing for Musou to be regained from taking damage, also in particular changes a majority of characters' Musou Attacks; characters who use Musou Ranbu can no longer hold down to increase the duration as they mostly are formed akin to the style used as of Dynasty Warriors 7; those who use Musou Ougi still function the same as in previous games, though more unique "shockwave finishers" may be used, with newer characters having their own "Ultimate Musou" as their True Musou. Most of the said Musou Ranbu users exclusive to the series (first-to-second installment) also use their original Dynasty Warriors 5-styled True Musou finisher animations by default, regardless of HP level.
Added in the Ultimate expansion is the True Musou Burst (真・無双バースト, Shin Musou Burst, lit. True Unmatched Burst), a two-team combination of six characters formed by two players. It is similar to a Double Musou and can be done on Gauntlet Mode with four other party members.
In the fourth game, characters have access to their respective Musou attacks from Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires and Samurai Warriors 4-II. The Musou gauge is a pink bar underneath the player character's health bar on the bottom left of the screen. It only consists of two segments. Musou attacks can be performed on the ground by pressing , which consumes both segments of the Musou gauge. Dynasty Warriors characters can perform aerial Musous by pressing while airborne, which also consumes both Musou gauges. Samurai Warriors characters can perform their Ultimate Musou by pressing while in Rage Mode, while Dynasty Warriors characters can perform their Rage Attack by doing the same.
Dynasty Warriors: GundamEdit
Musou in this series are known as SP Attacks or Special Attacks. Hyper SP Attacks and Combination SP Attacks serve as the series equivalent of True Musou and Double Musou respectively.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam lets players stockpile a maximum of three levels for a Mobile Suit. Each SP attack level initiates a unique attack which is linked to another level. To see the entire sequence, players will need to fill the gauge to its maximum level. The Mobile Suit's varied SP Attacks may alter present strategies in battle.
On the other hand, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 omits the need for strategy by assigning automated SP Attacks. Mobile Suits which require licenses to use have three unique SP Attacks available to them: on ground, in the air, or with a friendly ally. These suits will also use the entire SP gauge while secondary ones will only use a single stock upon activating their SP Attack. Secondary Mobile Suits are limited to one SP Attack. Combination SP Attacks cannot change their form of assault.
Select Mobile Suits yield different buffs or effects when executing SP Attacks at different levels of the SP gauge. Certain suits like Burning Gundam and Gundam F91 have a temporary special effect unlocked after performing their SP Attacks.
Fist of the North Star: Ken's RageEdit
Musou in these games are called Signature Moves while the Musou gauge is known as the Spirit Reserve.
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage allows characters to equip a maximum of four different Signature Moves per battle. Signature Moves are learned by leveling up a character. Players can choose which technique to use by pressing the directional pad and the button. Multiple stocks may be filled for repeated use against a powerful opponent.
A filled Spirit Reserve gauge can be sacrificed to activate Spirit Aura, a condition that strengthens a character's attack. This also enables them to perform their Hyper Signature Move which, depending on the character, can either be an instant kill move or a deadly quick-time event sequence.
One Piece: Pirate WarriorsEdit
Musou Attacks in this series are referred to as Special Attacks (必殺技, Hissatsu Waza, lit. "Sure-Killing Art"), and the Musou gauge is depicted by a horizontal yellow bar underneath the character's health bar in the top-left corner of the UI. When is pressed, a white flash occurs that inflicts non-damaging hitstun in an area around the character before the attack is unleashed (the sole odd exception to this however is Ace). Holding down allows the player to remain invincible until they can unleash the attack.
Special Attacks are divided into Level 1 and Level 2 variations. Level 1 attacks consume one full gauge and function similarly to traditional Musou attacks. Level 2 attacks, on the other hand, provide bullet-time speed akin to Musou Ougi from Samurai Warriors, though invincibility does not occur until either special attack is successfully unleashed (meaning that it's possible for the user to get interrupted if is not released on time). Characters have a maximum capacity of four Special Attack gauges when fully upgraded.
However, as of the second game, Level 2 attacks are instead a different attack than the Level 1, and are usually a stronger attack. Level 2 Musou attacks consume two full gauges to perform, and require holding down the Special Attack button for a longer duration than the Level 1 attack. Characters can have different Special Attacks depending on which version of the character is being used, which is influenced by what costume is chosen by the player when choosing the character. For example, the pre-timeskip Straw Hat crew members' Special Attacks differ from their post-timeskip, older counterparts.
The third installment includes Special Kizuna Attacks (絆/キズナ必殺技, Kizuna Hissatsu Waza, lit. "Bond Sure-Killing Arts") that can only be used by characters under the effects of a Kizuna Rush. Combining the specific attacks of two characters, they usually have varying areas of effect and damage output. Unlike normal Special Attacks, Special Kizuna Attacks offer full startup invincibility.
CPU-controlled major units and/or playable characters (both allied and enemy) can use the Special Attack-delaying state as a form of guard counter, where they appear to be charging up for a special attack the same way a player does, only they will instead perform a deflection animation after the duration in order to stagger away any opposing units (including the player themselves) for a free incoming attack. The only way to stop said units from guard-countering is to time a proper dash cancel into them to break through their guard (and possibly increase their stun gauge).
Musou attacks in this series are coined Special Attacks, and consume one special gauge to perform. The Musou gauge is signified by a horizontal yellow bar underneath the character's heart meter in the upper left of the screen UI. The Special Attacks in this game are a single, cinematic attack.
All characters start with only one gauge at the beginning of the game, but it can be permanently increased up to a maximum capacity of three gauges by upgrading the character in the Bazaar. The Special Attack gauge can be filled by defeating enemies or consuming Triforce fragments scattered around the battlefield. Once the player character possesses at least a full single gauge, players can trigger the Special Attack sequence by tapping A.
Focus Spirit finishers serve as this title's variant of Ultimate Musou attacks. Unleashed by tapping A during Focus Spirit mode, the finisher will forcefully deplete the Magic Meter prematurely. They have a different animation from the normal Special Attack, and inflict heavy damage and leave affected enemies' weak points wide open. Unlike Special Attacks, these finishers don't consume any of the Special Attack gauge and only consume Magic Meter.
If the Magic Meter is depleted naturally, then the character will perform a different Focus Spirit finisher.
Arslan: The Warriors of LegendEdit
Musou attacks in this game are called Special Attacks, and are represented by the horizontal yellow bar below the character's health bar in the top-left corner of the screen UI. All characters start with only one Special Attack bar at level 1, but it can be increased to a maximum of three bars through the natural process of leveling up the character. The bar is filled by attacking enemies and collecting restorative items on the battlefield.
When the character has at least one bar full, the player can press to perform the Special Attack. Some characters have different variations of their Special Attack, depending on which version of the character is being used, usually influenced by what costume the player selects. For example, the character Arslan has two possible Special Attacks, depending on whether or not he has his hawk companion Azrael accompanying him.
Berserk and the Band of the HawkEdit
Musou attacks in this game are referred to as the Death Blow attack. The Death Blow gauge is a vertical gauge displayed next to the character's portrait, and it can only be filled by collecting Lost Souls, which are only dropped during Frenzy Mode. It can also be filled with passive skills on equipped accessories. The Death Blow attack can only be performed if the gauge completely full, and is glowing orange. Since the Death Blow gauge only glows during Frenzy Mode, the attack itself can only be performed during Frenzy Mode. Unlike many other entries, there is only one Death Blow gauge, so they cannot be performed one straight after another.
Warriors All-Stars Edit
Once again, Musou Attacks are coined as Special Attacks/Hissatsu Waza; the Musou gauge in this game is depicted as a curved orange bar underneath the character's health bar on the top-left of the screen UI. Characters fill the Musou gauge by attacking enemies and collecting restorative items found on the battlefield. There is only one Musou gauge per character, so the Musou attack cannot be performed one after another. Once the gauge is full, the player can perform the character's Musou Attack by pressing circle. Musou Attacks also now cause the UI to disappear when executed by the player, though there are moments where if the player is not close enough to their primary target, there is a chance that during the real-time animation, the Musou Attack will miss (especially vs. enemy generals/characters).
Fire Emblem Warriors Edit
Musou attacks in this game are termed Warrior Specials. The Warrior Specials are unique to each character regardless of whether they share a moveset with another character(s). The Warrior Special is a single, automated, cinematic attack sequence.
The Musou gauge is displayed underneath the character's health gauge in the top-left corner of the screen, and is represented by a horizontal white bar. It can be filled by attacking enemies or consuming restorative items. All characters start with one gauge, though it can be permanently upgraded to a maximum of three gauges through the Crest Market.
The Warrior Special is initiated by tapping the A button once. Since the character can have up to three gauges, it is possible to perform them back to back.
During Awakening Mode, the player can tap A to forcefully deplete the Awakening Gauge and trigger the Awakening Special, or let it trigger naturally by letting the gauge deplete on its own. The Awakening Special has its own unique animation for each character, but does not have any unique properties of its own. It serves as this game's variant of the Ultimate Musou.
When the player character is paired up with another unit and both units have at least one full special gauge each, they can perform a Dual Special Attack. This attack animation will involve both characters attacking together. The animation will change depending on who is the Vanguard unit, and who is the Support unit.
Musou are referred to as Kessen Attack in Kessen III.
Once an allied officer has initiated the Rampage skill, press to unleash their Kessen Attack. Doing so automatically stops the timer for the Rampage screen. The attacks are reliant on the officer's equiped weapon; only Nobunaga, Mitsuhide, and Kicho have unique Kessen Attack sequences. Light Orbs can restore the Kessen Attack slots and are often dropped by defeated officers. Alternatively, the player can hold to restore it.
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' WarEdit
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War uses a similar mechanic called Zeal. When the morale gauge reaches its peak, the player along with his or her troops will undergo a state of Zeal (otherwise known as Bladestorm Mode). Units under this condition are granted full invincibility and doubled stats (including damage output, mobility, and skill recovery time) for thirty seconds before the gauge exhausts itself completely. One way to increase morale is to defeat opposing units in succession. Other methods of raising it include picking up wine and chalices dropped by enemies or touching wild deer found throughout the battlefield.
In a pinch, Zeal can easily turn the tide of battle to the player's favor if used correctly. By entering this state, allied troops are immune to damage and receive a variety of stat enhancements. Even buff skills like Mighty Arm and Dead Shot become twice as deadly when employed during Zeal. At times, it may be wise to maximize morale when confronting troops the player's unit is currently weak against.
While catching wild deer, players are recommended to chase them down as quickly as possible by using the Sprint skill, riding on horseback, or both.