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Not to be confused with Xun You.

Xun Yu
Dynasty Warriors 9 artwork
Character Information
Force(s): Yuan Shao's Forces
Cao Cao's Forces
180 cm (5'11")
Weapon Type: Formation wand (8:E)
Throwing daggers (9)
Significant Battle(s):
Playable Debut: Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires
Historical Information
Real name:
Xún Yù
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:
Warriors Orochi Info
Character Type:
Sacred Treasure:

Xun Yu (onyomi: Jun Iku) is an advisor to Cao Cao whose talents as a strategist were compared to those of Sima Yi. Historical records indicate that Xun You, though older, is Xun Yu's second-cousin nephew. Despite serving under Cao Cao, Xun Yu is known for his loyalty to the Han Dynasty. His greatest achievement was when he advised Cao Cao to protect Emperor Xian to "control the rebellious in the name of the emperor".

Xun Yu at some point fell ill which made Cao Cao worry for his well-being, but soon the said illness claimed his life; Romance of the Three Kingdoms instead had Cao Cao supposedly shame Xun Yu to death on his loyalty to the Han when the latter openly opposed the former's decision to crown himself as a duke.

Before his playable appearance, he was a generic officer since Dynasty Warriors 3. He is the winning vote for the Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires Strategist edit character. In Famitsu's first most wanted character poll, he ranked fourth with fans. Fans voted him to second place in the second most wanted poll with 278 votes. He placed fifth in Gamecity's Shin Sangoku Musou Blast first card promotion poll. The latest poll for the eighth installment puts him in sixteenth. The character poll for overseas fans puts him in eleventh place for the Wei division. He won eighth place in the Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate popularity poll. This counterpart has a character image song called Ends-Ways-Means.

His name in the English localization of the first Romance of the Three Kingdoms game is misspelled as Gou Yu.

The height for his Kessen II counterpart is 165 cm (5'5").

Role in Games[]

Dynasty Warriors[]

Throughout the Dynasty Warriors series, Xun Yu is a constant general for Cao Cao in numerous battles as a generic officer since the third title. Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends has Xun Yu appear at Yan Province as the commander of Cao Cao's forces. He holes himself up in Puyang castle, but surrounding the castle will lead to Chen Gong's surrender and the opening of the gates. Defeating Xun Yu before Cao Cao's main force arrives will end the stage, but taking too long will relegate the role of commander to Cao Cao.

In Dynasty Warriors 6, Xun Yu is placed in charge of Xu Chang while Cao Cao is engaged in battle against Yuan Shao at Guan Du. During Sun Ce's invasion of Xu Chang, he noted the Little Conqueror's commanding prowess and doubted his ability to stop him. He may further serve as the allied commander at Xia Pi, if the player chooses to play as Xiahou Dun. His role is reduced in the following installment, albeit he reprises his role as the commander at Xuchang for most of the battle until Xiahou Dun arrives. His other appearances are restricted to Xu Province and Changban, but Xtreme Legends has him further aid Guo Jia in his quest to defeat the Yuan family.

In Dynasty Warriors 8, he has his most prominent role at Puyang in Wei's story and serves as the commander. He is besieged at Juan castle and has to be rescued. Once this is done, a cutscene is triggered in which Xun Yu thanks Xiahou Dun and his comrades for rescuing him. Xtreme Legends also has him participate in the Strategist Tournament of the Wu scenarios.

In Lu Bu's story, Xun Yu reprises his role at Puyang, but is more defiant as he activates ballistae in an attempt to stop the general's army. In the historical route, he will appear to ambush Lu Bu's men at Dingtao as they continue their escape.

He is also instrumental in recruiting Guo Jia during the latter's personal story in Blast.

In one of the Wei-centric missions for Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed, Xun Yu guides the player in escorting Emperor Xian to Xuchang while repelling Yellow Turban remnants along the way.

His bond story begins with him relocating his clan to Ji Province for their own safety. Despite being welcomed by Yuan Shao himself, he feels nothing but contempt for the noble and instead sides with Cao Cao. He persuades his lord to deal with the widespread famine first before attacking Xuzhou and even estimates when launching an assault on the Yuan family is ideal. These actions result in Cao Cao's forces gaining the upper hand.

Although Xun Yu recruits various officers with the intention of restoring the Han, he is distraught by Cao Cao's plan to create his own dynasty using their newly-formed personnel as the foundation for Wei. The two of them become estranged over this debacle, and eventually Xun Yu poisons himself in despair.

In Dynasty Warriors 9, Xun Yu and Guo Jia both join Cao Cao for his upcoming battle against Tao Qian. Xun Yu later recruits both Man Chong and Xun You to his lord's cause. Helping oversee his lord's victories over both Lu Bu and Yuan Shao, Xun Yu quietly traces Guo Jia's ailing health, but promises his friend to keep the matter a secret until he passes away.

Xun Yu's relationship with his lord becomes strained when they are defeated at Chibi, and Cao Cao accepts the title of Duke of Wei. As the move would mirror that of the late Dong Zhuo's, Xun Yu continues to voice his discontent until Cao Cao finally decides to relegate him to take over the political matters of Xuchang during their battle at Nanjun. Disobeying orders, Xun Yu arrives to offer his strategies in the battle. Foreseeing a potential rift between Sun Quan and Liu Bei, Xun Yu requests that Cao Ren leave Nanjun to Guan Yu to anger the Wu forces, which Cao Cao accepts.

When he and his lord return to Xuchang, Xun Yu explains that he did not aid them at Nanjun as an apology for his insolence, still believing that the Duke of Wei shouldn't have more power than the emperor. Xun Yu follows up that his only goal is to end the chaos, and he will only continue to aid Cao Cao as he believes this to be the fastest method to ending the war.

During Guo Jia's personal DLC scenario, Xun Yu is visited by his friend shortly before the Battle of Chibi. As they can no longer stop the enemy's fire attack, the pair begin making moves to reduce losses to the absolute minimum, whilst giving the impression of a permanent loss of strength.

Xun Yu, like in the normal story, opposes Cao Cao's promotion as Duke of Wei, but Guo Jia is able to find an appropriate compromise between Xun Yu and Dong Zhao, only spreading rumors of a promotion to smoke out potential rebels within their ranks but not actually having Cao Cao receive the rank at all.

Because of this, Xun Yu remains loyal to Cao Cao and accompanies the rest of the Wei forces in their campaigns against Sun Quan and Liu Bei. In the latter campaign, he and the other strategists find that Guo Jia's health was now failing once again and they work together to finish off Liu Bei before they can lose their friend.

With the land united, Xun Yu drinks and celebrates with the other strategists as a content Guo Jia quietly passes away from their gaze.

Warriors Orochi[]

Xun Yu acts as one of the escort generals for Cao Cao in the Battle of Si Province in Warriors Orochi 2, and will also defend the southeastern-most garrison at Si Shui Gate. In Warriors Orochi 3, he serves as Guo Jia's replacement officer when the player assumes his fellow adviser's role.

Xun Yu was one of the late arrivals in the new world in Warriors Orochi 4, and he and his lord are caught between Ares and Lu Bu's battle at Nagashino. Thanks to a timely rescue from Liu Bei's forces, Xun Yu is able to formulate a counter strategy and has both warlords act as bait for Xiahou Dun and Guan Yu's ambush. After their rescue, Xun Yu and Cao Cao's forces join the Coalition. In Odani Castle, he later appears as the reinforcements with Hanbei to begin the counterattack against Cao Pi's army.

Upon hearing of a large man with white hair and handsome gentleman, Xun Yu and Cao Cao leave to try and recruit both heroes to their side. Believing to have an idea who the gentle man is, Xun Yu takes Oichi along with jars of wine with them for the excursion. True enough, the identity of the gentle man turns out to be Guo Jia, who was working alongside Yoshihiro Shimazu to repel Pang De's army. After the two friends join together again, they defeat Pang De and return to camp.


In Kessen II, Xun Yu is depicted as a woman and one of Wei's strategists. Dressed in armor, she is torn between her duty as an officer and her love for Cao Cao.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

Romance of the Three Kingdoms usually lists Xun Yu as the regular officer with the highest politics stat in the game. His intelligence and charisma are also among the game's top values, but his military stats are considerably lower. This makes him a very good domestic officer as his stat increase the drafting of troops, production of weapons and the success chance of diplomatic actions and plots. In battle, he can be used as a supporting officer to prevent better commanders with lower intelligence to fall for enemy ploys. In most scenarios, he serves Cao Cao as one of his highest ranked political officers and may also fill the role of the force's strategist in some scenarios.

Dynasty Tactics[]

Although he had a minor generic role in Dynasty Tactics, he gets a more decent role in Wei's army in the sequel.

Character Information[]

Xun Yu's Shin Sangoku Musou 15th Anniversary artwork.



A gifted intellectual and supporter of the Emperor, Xun Yu has a knack for dispensing invaluable advice and discovering people with talent. Rarely found without his cool demeanor, Xun Yu has a habit of observing the smaller habits and traits of others, even during more casual times like banquets. Xun Yu is initially a staunch supporter of Cao Cao, believing in the lord's true abilities to rule the land, yet feels conflict over the warlord's decisions over time. In his debut, Xun Yu's closest friend is Guo Jia, the two having hailed from the same hometown, and Xun Yu is the only one that is able to catch on to his friend's secret illness. In 9, his network of connections extends to his relative, Xun You, and to fellow intellectual, Man Chong.

His Warriors Orochi incarnation gives him a unique bond with Taigong Wang, whom the strategist gives advice regarding utilizing his fellow humans as well as how he shapes himself, and Hideyoshi, whose ability to join people together and socialize with others make him admired by the strategist.

Voice Actors[]

  • Eli Godfrey - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
  • Lex Lang - Dynasty Tactics 2 (English)
  • Quinton Flynn - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (English-uncredited)
  • Yu Lin - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
  • Choi Seunghun - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
  • Munehiro Tokita - Dynasty Tactics 2 (Japanese)
  • Takashi Ōhara - Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires~9, Warriors Orochi 4 (Japanese)
  • Sumi Shimamoto - Kessen II (Japanese)
  • Keiichi Nanba - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
  • Tomokazu Sugita - Sangokushi Legion
  • Ryōko Nagata - Youkai Sangokushi (Japanese)
  • Kisho Taniyama - Sangokushi Hadou (Japanese)

Live Action Performers[]

  • Chihiro Okutani - Butai Shin Sangoku Musou Kanto no Tatakai
  • Toshihiko Tanaka - Butai Shin Sangoku Musou Sekiheki no Tatakai


See also Xun Yu/Quotes
  • "I have been given control of this army. I will not lose it to the likes of you!"
  • "The enemy is too strong! It is regrettable, but we must withdraw for now. There are more ways than one to repay our lord's trust."
  • "I am happy to offer advice on anything you need. Come talk to me anytime."
"Your strategies have saved me on countless occasions. I hope I can continue to rely on you."
"Betrayals, coups, whatever you may require; I have a strategy for every occasion."
"We cannot lose as long as you are on our side. You never cease to amaze me, Zhang Liang."
~~Xun Yu and Cao Cao; Dynasty Warriors 8
  • "The terrible defeat at Chibi has thrown a shadow across our master's path. He failed, even backed by such strength."
"I think it marked a good opportunity to learn that power isn't everything. A solid system of ranks is required."
"This is about his appointment as a lord of Wei? I fear that kind of thing will move him away from his path."
"Yet my father will probably go for it. He may become king of Wei, one day. But I am aiming even higher than that."
"What? You can't be serious! The Emperor is the one we have to serve. You can't plan on replacing him!"
"Xun Yu. The very cause of all this chaos is because the Emperor lost his power to rule. We owe that fool nothing. The Emperor must be the absolute ruler. Beyond the path laid by my father, I will reach the ultimate heights."
"I can't believe what I'm hearing. Ending this chaos in such a way will only lead to the same thing happening again."
"I see. What will you do, then? Find a different master?"
"No, I will raise my voice in protest. Even if you dislike it, that is what a good advisor should do."
~~Xun Yu and Cao Pi; Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers
  • "Xun Yu, you really are serious to the core, aren't you? You and I have gone out together many times now, but you never seem to lose your cool."
"Is that so? I assure you that I always enjoy myself."
"Hmm... All I can recall is you smiling condescendingly while I have fun..."
"Yes. Your talent for fraternization with others... I have always observed it with great interest."
"Huh? So when you said you enjoyed yourself, that's what you meant?"
"Of course. Such occasions provide the perfect opportunity to observe the true nature of people, and to identify their particular talents. Your oratory skills, your subtle acts of kindness, your friendliness... I have witnessed all of the elements that draw others to you. Your talents are remarkable."
"Hmm, this isn't what I planned at all... I took you out as a way of loosening you up, and I ended up being observed instead. Well, never mind. All that praise has got me feeling pretty good about myself. Xun Yu, we're going out on the town again tonight!"
"I look forward to it."
~~Hideyoshi and Xun Yu; Warriors Orochi 4


See also: Xun Yu/Movesets

Dynasty Warriors 9[]



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

Xun Yu is affiliated with the throwing knives in this appearance.

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


See also: Xun Yu/Weapons

Xun Yu uses the formation wand as his default weapon.

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers[]

Iron Cane
Formation Wand - 1st Weapon (DW8E).png Base Attack: 36~64
Rank: 1 ★
Violet Cane
Formation Wand - 2nd Weapon (DW8E).png Base Attack: 55~100
Rank: 2 ★
Blue Spirit Cane
Formation Wand - 3rd Weapon (DW8E).png Base Attack: 84~156
Rank: 3 ★
Rondel Blade
Formation Wand - 4th Weapon (DW8E).png Base Attack: 130~242
Rank: 4 ★
Royal Cane
Formation Wand - 5th Weapon (DW8E).png Base Attack: 202~375
Rank: 5 ★
Ash Purple Cane
Formation Wand - 6th Weapon (DW8E).png Base Attack: 312~469
Rank: 6 ★

Historical Information[]

Xun Yu hailed from Yingchuan and was the son of Xun Gun and the grandson of the Minister of Works Xun Shuang. As a young man, he was praised by He Yu of Nanyang for his ability. Xun Yu served as the Prefect of Palace Guards in 189, but when Dong Zhuo took over the capital, he asked to be sent off as a local officer and was assigned the post of Prefect of Kangfu. He gave up his post soon after and returned to his hometown, where he tried to convince the locals to abandon their homes as Yingchuan was a battleground, but the locals did not listen to him. He then led his family north into Ji Province, which was governed by Yuan Shao upon his arrival. Xun Yu was welcomed by him and while his younger brother Xun Chen went to serve Yuan Shao faithfully, Xun Yu said that Yuan Shao would be unable to achieve great things. In 191, he left Yuan Shao and went to serve Cao Cao in Dong Commandery instead. Cao Cao was pleased and called Xun Yu his own Zifang, a reference to the great Zhang Liang of Western Han.

Cao Cao asked Xun Yu for his opinion about Dong Zhuo. Xun Yu said that Dong Zhuo would experience a violent end due to his extreme tyranny. At that time, Dong Zhuo sent Li Jue to pillage the counties of Chenliu and Yingchuan, killing many of Xun Yu's former fellow villagers who had previously ignored his advice to flee. In 194, while Cao Cao was away fighting Tao Qian at Xu Province, Xun Yu was left in charge of Yan Province. At that time, Zhang Miao aligned himself with Lu Bu and surrendered most of Yan's cities. Lu Bu pretended to aid Cao Cao and Zhang Miao asked Xun Yu for supplies. Xun Yu saw through the ploy and instead ordered his men to strengthen the defenses of Juancheng and call for Xiahou Dun as support, calming the situation. Later, when the Inspector of Yu Province Guo Gong arrived with his men, many feared that he would help Lu Bu. Xiahou Dun and others tried to dissuade Xun Yu from meeting him, but Xun Yu said that showing doubt about Guo Gong would surely lead him to plot against them. Guo Gong was impressed by Xun Yu and believed that Juancheng's defenses were strong, so he left. Together with Xiahou Dun and Cheng Yu, Xun Yu was able to hold the counties of Juancheng, Fan and Dong'e until Cao Cao returned and defeated Lu Bu at Puyang in 195.

After the death of Tao Qian, Cao Cao wished to make another attempt to conquer Xu Province before dealing with Lu Bu. Xun Yu dissuaded him, saying that Liu Bang and Liu Xie, who founded the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties respectively, were only able to accomplish greatness because of a secured home base and further analyzing the situation in favor of attacking Lu Bu first by pointing out the difficulty of conquering Xu Province after their last defeats against Cao Cao and the importance of sustaining the troops with enough supplies. Thus, Cao Cao did not attack Xu Province and instead focused on the harvest before sending multiple units out to reconquer the counties of Yan Province and finally driving Lu Bu out of Yan.

In 196, Emperor Xian fled Chang'an and returned to the destroyed capital of Luoyang. Cao Cao wished to rescue the emperor and move the capital to Xuchang, but many of his subjects advised against the move, saying that the Luoyang area was in turmoil and that Yang Feng and Han Xian, who had escorted the emperor, allied with Zhang Yang of Bing and would be difficult to overcome. Xun Yu on the other hand persuaded Cao Cao to rescue Emperor Xian, pointing out Cao Cao's show of his Han loyalty in the past and the fact that the other warlords of the realm would desire to get the emperor in their hands sooner or later. Cao Cao led his forces to rescue Emperor Xian and safely escorted him to Xuchang after defeating Yang Feng and Han Xian. Xun Yu was promoted to Imperial Counselor and Chief of the Imperial Secretariat. Although Xun Yu now stayed behind to manage the internal affairs, Cao Cao still often consulted him during his military campaigns. When Cao Cao asked Xun Yu on whom he should rely in Xun Yu's place, Xun Yu recommended his cousin Xun You and Zhong Yao, as well as Xi Zhicai. Xi Zhicai died of an illness shortly afterwards and when Cao Cao asked Xun Yu for a replacement, the latter recommended his friend Guo Jia.

After Cao Cao's defeat against Zhang Xiu at Wan, Yuan Shao sent a rude letter to him. Cao Cao wanted to attack Yuan Shao, but Xun Yu and Guo Jia dissuaded him with an impressing speech in which they compared Cao Cao and Yuan Shao and made out ten points that made Cao Cao superior to Yuan Shao and made him prevail against him eventually. Instead, Xun Yu advised to first take care of Lu Bu and Zhang Xiu and then ally with Ma Teng and Han Sui in the west to secure his position. Afterwards, when Cao Cao prepared to advance on Yuan Shao, Kong Rong tried to dissuade him and praised Yuan Shao's officers and strategists. Xun Yu countered by pointing out the various flaws of Yuan Shao's commanders and silenced Kong Rong. In 200, when Cao Cao fought against Yuan Shao at Guandu, his food supplies ran low and he wrote a letter to Xun Yu asking whether to keep up the defense or withdraw to lure Yuan Shao out. Xun Yu persuaded Cao Cao to hold the lines and that it would be time to employ unexpected tactics. Cao Cao proceeded with a night raid on Yuan Shao's camp at Wuchao and scored a great victory against his rival.

One year later in 201, Cao Cao discovered a shortage on grain and thought about abandoning the campaign and attack Liu Biao in Jing. Xun Yu advised against the move, saying that withdrawing their troops from the Yellow River would allow Yuan Shao to regroup and attack them from behind. Instead, they should focus on Yuan Shao while the morale of his troops was still low after the huge defeat at Guandu. Cao Cao did not withdraw the troops from the northern front lines and Yuan Shao died a year later, leaving his territory contested between his sons Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang. In 203, Xun Yu was granted the title of Marquis of Wansui.

In 204, Cao Cao conquered Ye and many urged him to re-instate the Nine Imperial Districts system, which would have Ji Province gain a large amount of territory in the north and unite it under a central government. Xun Yu advised against the idea, bringing up that this would equal annexation and lead to the other warlords, especially in the northwest to fear that they would be annexed as well and close off the passes, making it harder for Cao Cao to unite the land. Cao Cao thus did not re-instate the system and instead focused on defeating the Yuan family. In the following years, Xun Yu would often serve Cao Cao as a military adviser. Cao Cao even gave one of his daughter's in marriage to Xun Yu's oldest son Xun Yun. In 207, Cao Cao united northern China and Xun Yu's fief was increased to 2,000 households. Despite this, Xun Yu and also Xun You were always known to be humble and gave much of their salaries to their friends and relatives. Cao Cao asked Xun Yu how to proceed in attacking Liu Biao. Xun Yu suggested that Cao Cao should lead a large force towards Wan and Ye to show off, while sending another portion of the army ahead to travel swiftly and catch them unaware. Liu Biao died of an illness soon afterwards and when Cao Cao's main force arrived at Wan, Liu Cong surrendered Jing to Cao Cao.

In 212, Dong Zhao and others urged Cao Cao to be promoted to the Duke of Wei. Cao Cao again asked Xun Yu for his opinion. Xun Yu, believing that Cao Cao's initial goal was to start a volunteer force to uphold the Han Dynasty, should not make such a move and instead display his loyalty to the Han Dynasty. Cao Cao declined the position as Duke, but started to bear a grudge against Xun Yu. When Cao Cao marched off to face Sun Quan at Ruxu, he had Xun Yu sent to Qiaojun to reward the army. He then served Cao Cao as a military advisor again and was made a Honorary Palace Attendant. When Cao Cao continued to head for Ruxu, Xun Yu was left behind in Shouchun because of an illness which still made Cao Cao worry often for his well-being. Xun Yu had all of his secret letters discussing official affairs burnt and died a short time afterwards at the age of 50. He was given the posthumous title of "Respected Marquis" and later even promoted posthumously to Grand Commandant. One year after Xun Yu's death, Cao Cao became the Duke of Wei.

Xun Yu's family did not fare much better as many of his other relatives that came after him also died nearly as young as he himself did, all before even reaching 40 years of age.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Xun Yu's actions remain largely the same for the first decade of his service under Cao Cao, although his words concerning the rescue of Emperor Xian were rephrased a bit so that Xun Yu said that Cao Cao should hold the emperor hostage to control the warlords. He is also often seen to calm Cao Cao down when the latter wanted to execute someone for his behavior or failure in campaigns, such as Zhu Ling and Zhang Song. When Cao Cao learned about Liu Bei's attack on Runan, Xun Yu advised him to not take Guan Yu with him and later objected Xiahou Dun's attack on Liu Bei at Bowang Slope. After the death of Zhou Yu, he advised Cao Cao to attack Sun Quan and at the same time summon Ma Teng to the capital in order to prevent the Xiliang forces from attacking them. He finally died in chapter 61 after receiving Cao Cao's empty food box and taking poison. In chapter 68, when Cui Yan objected Cao Cao's decision to become King, his colleagues reminded him of Xun Yu's fate, but Cui Yan ignored them and was later thrown into prison and beaten to death.


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