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Battle of Xu Province
Xu Province in Dynasty Warriors 8
Date 193~194
Spring 200
Location Xu Province (modern day Xuzhou, Jiangsu)
Result Tao Qian retains his territory (194)
Cao Cao conquers Xu and employs Guan Yu (200)
Tao Qian's Forces (194)
Liu Bei's Forces (194, 200)
Cao Cao's Forces
Tao Qian (194)
Liu Bei (194, 200)
Guan Yu (200)
Cao Cao

The Battle of Xu Province (徐州坡の戦い, rōmaji: Joshūha no Tatakai) or literally "Battle of Xu Province Bank" in the Asian ports was an attack Cao Cao launched against Tao Qian in retaliation to avenge his father's death. Historically while Cao Cao did bring his army, he retreated before any real confrontation could take place to suppress an internal rebellion raised by Zhang Miao. Tao Qian later gave the territory to Liu Bei, who would later lose it to Lu Bu. The games and novel exaggerate this to become a full scale battle.

After Lu Bu's death at Xiapi, Liu Bei led troops to Xu Province in order to lead the expedition against Yuan Shu. While Yuan Shu was defeated, Liu Bei killed Che Zhou, Xu Province's governor and took the province for himself. Fearing an alliance between Liu Bei and Yuan Shao, Cao Cao reclaimed the province and convinced its defending officer, Guan Yu to temporarily serve him.

Role in Games[]

Dynasty Warriors[]

The stage appears in Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2 for both Shu and Wei's stories. In Shu's story, Liu Bei and his brothers will guard the southern supply depot while Tao Qian will guard his main camp. In the initial battle, Cao Cao will order a charge and move from his main camp to the central fortress. If his assault units retreat, Cao Cao will withdraw back to his main camp and remain there with Yu Jin and Li Dian. Either defeating Cao Cao or taking all the bases will end the battle. There is a treasure trove in the map with Liu Bang as the guardian.

During Wei's side of the battle, Cao Cao will advance together with Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan towards Tao Qian's main camp. Amidst their advance, Jian Yong will appear at the allied supply depot, and must be defeated before he can take the supplies. Defeating either Liu Bei or Tao Qian will end the battle. The treasure trove of the battle is guarded by Lu Zhishen.

The stage takes place during Shu's story in Dynasty Warriors 7. Zhang Fei commands the allied armies of Liu Bei's forces and Xu to fight Cao Cao for control of the province. Tao Qian is besieged and players need to escort him south to Xuzhou castle. Arriving at the castle triggers a mission to take down Cao Cao’s main camp. Players need to defeat Xu Zhu and Xiahou Yuan to take the central garrison. Taking the garrison unlocks an option to open another path to attack Cao Cao’s camp. Players should be mindful of enemy forces trying to retake the garrison. Lu Bu will arrive as reinforcements to take Xu for himself.

In Wei's story, Xu Zhu has to fight Tao Qian's officers and protect Cao Cao from Lu Bu's advance on the main camp. When Lu Bu retreats, Liu Bei will attempt to assist Tao Qian.

Dynasty Warriors 8 has players begin the battle by pursuing Tao Qian's officers. Doing so triggers the dragon boulder trap which must be eliminated by capturing the enemy catapults and using them to destroy the dragon statues. Players may also avert Tao Qian's surprise ambush by using one of two hidden paths within the forest. Once Liu Bei arrives, Tao Qian will make a hasty retreat to the escape point while Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun assault Cao Cao's forces. Defeating Tao Qian is necessary in order to unlock the Battle of Puyang. Either way, Liu Bei and Guan Yu must be defeated.

Players on Liu Bei's side have to eliminate the Wei officers inside the castle before activating the boulder trap defenses. Li Dian will attempt to smash the statues with catapults while the player must deal with reinforcements from the north and west. A while later, Guo Jia will arrive and give a retreat order to the frontline. The player may choose whether or not to go after the withdrawing officers, but if they manage to catch up to and defeat them, it will open the hypothetical story branch. The player must then defeat Guo Jia's fire attack units before they set either the castle or boulder traps on fire. Dian Wei, Xu Zhu and Cao Ren then advance on the castle and must also be defeated before facing Guo Jia. If the Wei officers withdrew they will arrive and and Liu Bei and his men are forced to flee. Otherwise, Guo Jia and the Wei forces will retreat.

In Lu Bu's hypothetical route, Lu Bu's forces arrive to assist Liu Bei in the defense of Xu Province as payment for Liu Bei's reinforcements during the Battle of Dingtao. After Lu Bu's forces rescue Liu Bei's stranded officers, Lu Bu clears the castle of Cao Cao's forces and rescues Liu Bei from an ambush. The subsequent counterattack on the Wei main camp by Lu Bu and Liu Bei's forces results in victory and Cao Cao retreats.

Warriors Orochi[]

Xu Province makes its appearance in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate as a collaboration stage featuring Sterkenburg Cranach. The stage also contains a labyrinth-like area with its own separate background music.

The stage makes an appearance in Warriors Orochi 4, as the rebel army led by Sun Quan, Yukimura and Kanetsugu must rescue Aya and Kagekatsu from the Oda army's offensive. After defeating all officers, Xu Huang and Taishi Ci appeared and charge the rebel main camp. They must defeat the rest of Oda army quickly. With the rebel army victorious, Xu Huang and Taishi Ci join their cause.

Later on the Coalition receives word that new heroes have appeared in the area and marches to assist Jiang Wei, Huang Zhong and Wei Yan against the combined Olympian-Toyotomi forces. As the Coalition makes their escape after successfully rescuing the newly-arrived allies, enemy reinforcements emerge to intercept them. Nobunaga, wanting to confirm Hideyoshi's true intentions, moves to confront him alone. Surrounded by Hideyoshi and his strategists Mitsunari and Yoshitsugu, he transforms using the Ouroboros bracelet and fights Mitsunari, who has also harnessed the power of the bracelet, allowing Hideyoshi to withdraw. After fighting their way through opposition forces, which includes Athena, the Coalition finally reaches the escape point.


Xu Province acts as the first battle between Liu Bei and Cao Cao in Kessen II. If one were to follow the subtle hints given from the prologue, this battle takes place after they have joined forces at Xia Pi. First time players are entreated to a tutorial sequence by Mei Sanniang for learning the battle system. The automated sequence forces the player to lose Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. Second playthroughs allow a harder difficulty setting and a chance to salvage their losses.

During Liu Bei's scenario, Liu Bei and his army march from the south once Liu Bei finally gains the will to oppose Cao Cao and reclaim Diao Chan. Zhang Fei and his daughters takes position in the west while Guan Yu stands in the east. Liu Bei begins in the lower center section of the map and has the option of reinforcing his brothers. Players may also choose to have Liu Bei destroy the enemy storehouse, which may or may not be guarded by Himiko. After Li Dian and Yue Jin are defeated, Xiahou Yuan enters the fray. He is a powerful unit so it might be in the player's best interest to avoid confrontation with a single unit. Guan Yu will also struggle if he fights Himiko by himself due to her magic. The battle can dramatically shift towards the player's favor once Zhao Yun appears, so timing ally movements is everything on harder difficulties.

Cao Cao's scenario has Policy and War Council take effect for this battle, which has an option to recruit Guo Jia. Xiahou Yuan offers to act as a decoy to topple Zhang Fei and Guan Yu simultaneously while Xun Yu suggests staging an ambush near the ally storehouse. The first strategy might work well on Cao Cao's first playthrough, but it may be hazardous to support Xiahou Yuan when Zhao Yun quickly appears on harder difficulty levels. Xun Yu's strategy is a safer bet for success on all difficulties, but the small corner of land available to the ally forces severely restricts movement. If ally armies falter, it may be difficult to have them retreat and be replaced with another healthy unit.

The story result in either scenario has Liu Bei eventually flee from Xu due to Cao Cao's overwhelming numbers. This happens either due to this battle or due to the Battle of Ru Nan.

Historical Information[]

Cao Cao had conquered Yan Province in 192 and established his base there. One year later, Cao Cao's father Cao Song decided to resign from office and return to his home in Qiao. On the way back, he was murdered by Tao Qian's men in Hua county, probably because of the wealth he had brought with him. Cao Cao made Tao Qian responsible for Cao Song's death and later that year, he launched a campaign against him.

Cao Cao's forces conquered ten of Tao Qian's cities in western Xu Province and eventually captured Tao Qian's capital at Pengcheng, where they slaughtered about 10,000 defenders. Tao Qian fled to Tancheng and successfully repelled Cao Cao's assault on the city. Being low on supplies, Cao Cao turned his army around and sacked numerous cities, killing 100,000 civilians in the process. In spring 194, Cao Cao's army returned to Xu and plundered some counties at the border. Tao Qian requested aid from Gongsun Zan's general Tian Kai in Qing Province, who sent Liu Bei south with a few thousand men. Tao Qian appointed him Inspector of Yu Province and gave him 4,000 troops to repel Cao Cao's forces. Near the city of Xiangben, Cao Cao's forces defeated Liu Bei. Shortly afterwards, Cao Cao was informed that Zhang Miao and Chen Gong had rebelled in Yan Province and turned most of the cities over to Lu Bu, forcing him to retreat and deal with the threat.

Tao Qian died shortly afterwards and was succeeded by Liu Bei. After having lost Xu to Lu Bu and retaking it with the help of Cao Cao, Liu Bei rebelled against Cao Cao in 200 after killing Cao Cao's inspector Che Zhou and sided with Yuan Shao. Cao Cao immediately left the northern front and led an invasion of Xu Province. He engaged Liu Bei in the west and defeated his army, forcing him to flee north to Yuan Shao. Cao Cao then besieged Guan Yu at Xiapi and conquered the city, capturing the general in the process. Cao Cao treated him with great respect and employed him for a short time. And just as Cao Cao predicted, Yuan Shao's indecisiveness caused him to miss his chance to attack the barely defended Xuchang.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

After claiming the emperor for himself and establishing Xuchang as the temporary capital, Cao Cao had his father, Cao Song, relocate to the city. Tao Qian volunteered to send Zhang Kai as an escort for Cao Song, but Zhang Kai saw all the riches Cao had, and killed him to take the riches. Cao Cao then launched punitive expedition and began sweeping through the province.

Lacking any real military strength, Tao Qian held a council with his advisors, and they advised to call for nearby warlords for help. Liu Bei of Pingyuan led his troops and successfully held back the invaders, who were forced to withdraw as Lu Bu had invaded Puyang and put the entire control of Yan Province in jeopardy.

After Cao Cao's withdrawal, Tao Qian, now ailing, called upon Liu Bei to be Xuzhou's new governor. Out of kindness, Liu Bei insisted on leaving the province to Tao. At the behest of his brothers, Tao Qian, and his advisors, Liu Bei finally accepted the province after the third time the request was made. Over time, Liu Bei would shelter the defeated Lu Bu, who turned on his host when he left, and took the province for himself.

Lu Bu would eventually be defeated at Xiapi, and control of the province was left to Che Zhou. Liu Bei, however, was given troops to defeat Yuan Shu. Before he accomplished this task, he killed Che and retook the province for himself. While Liu Bei was at Xuzhou, Cao Cao had discovered a conspiracy plot against him led by Emperor Xian himself. After leading a purge that killed most of the suspects that had written their names in a pledge to kill Cao, Liu Bei became fearful for his own life. With Yuan Shao defeating Gongsun Zan at the north and an inevitable conflict between the two looming, Cao Cao's advisors warned him to deal with Liu Bei before he could ally himself with Yuan.

Guo Jia believed that Yuan Shao was indecisive and slow, and would not send reinforcements or attack his rival's territory during this time. True to this, Yuan ignored Shen Pei's suggestions to attack. Liu Bei and Zhang Fei, who were stationed at Xiaopei, were routed and fled to join Yuan Shao. Guan Yu, however, was guarding Xiapi, and Liu Bei's family. Despite being heavily surrounded, Guan Yu held his position firmly. In response, Cao Cao's troops lured him out and captured the city and the isolated Guan Yu was approached by Zhang Liao. Zhang Liao pleaded with his friend to not commit suicide, and Guan agreed to submit, but only on three conditions.

  1. There will be no mistreatment to Liu Bei's concubines
  2. Guan Yu would surrender to Emperor Xian, not Cao Cao
  3. He will be allowed to leave once he knows the whereabouts of his brothers

Cao Cao accepted the first two conditions, the second meaning little to him as he controlled the imperial court by this point. The third, however, instantly dampened his thoughts. Zhang Liao, however, told his lord that Guan Yu was a man of honor, and that this was a potential chance to steal him away and win him over. Thus, Cao Cao accepted the third condition, and Guan Yu formally surrendered. Guan would later serve as an integral part of Cao Cao's eventual victory at Guandu, and would leave the warlord upon learning of his brother's place in Yuan Shao's army.


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