Liu Zhang is a Chinese name; the family name is Liu.

Liu Zhang is a unique Commander hero in Total War: Three Kingdoms. He is a member of Liu Yan in 190 and 194, serving as the heir of Liu Yan. He leads the faction in 200 as his successor.

Description[edit | edit source]

The youngest son of Liu Yan, Liu Zhang ruled over the Yi Province. While he maintained peace in his realm, some viewed him to be a foolish and incapable ruler. He is easily taken in by tricks and deception, and will choose the wellbeing of his subjects over his own ambition.

General Information[edit | edit source]

Attributes[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Attributes (Total War: Three Kingdoms)

  • Expertise: 56
    • -8% construction cost (administered commandery)
    • +12 melee evasion
  • Resolve: 36
    • +5% general's health
    • +1k population growth (administered commandery)
  • Cunning: 58
    • +17% ammunition (own retinue)
    • +5 military supplies (own army)
  • Instinct: 60
    • +9% melee damage
    • -2% recruitment cost (this army)
  • Authority: 86
    • +5 satisfaction (faction-wide)
    • +4 unit morale (own retinue)

Background[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Background (Total War: Three Kingdoms)

Proponent of Peace

  • +10 cunning
  • +5 instinct
  • +15 authority
  • +1 resilience
  • +50% food production (faction-wide)

Values Kindness, Values Diplomacy, Opposes War.

Unit Statistics[edit | edit source]

  • Morale: 55
  • Melee Toughness: 22
  • Ranged Toughness: 27
  • Melee Power: 11

  • Hit Points: 18k
  • Melee Charge Bonus: 116
  • Melee Attack Rate: 30
  • Base Melee Damage: 702
  • Armour-Piercing Melee Damage: 161
  • Base Melee Evasion: 12%
  • Base Armour: 20%
  • Speed: 97

Traits[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Traits (Total War: Three Kingdoms)


  • +8 cunning
  • +25% character experience

Admires Intelligence, Loahtes Superstition.


  • -4 expertise
  • +4 resolve
  • -20% character experience

Accepts Carelessness, Wary of Intelligence.


  • -4 cunning
  • +6 instinct
  • -15% chance of avoiding ambush (own army)

Accepts Carelessness.

Skills[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Skill (Total War: Three Kingdoms)

Nature's Ally

  • +4 cunning
  • +4 authority
  • Ability: Nature's Ally


  • +8 authority
  • +1 available assignments
  • Enables: Encourage
  • +20% ranged block chance for melee cavalry (own retinue)


  • +8 instinct
  • Enables: Disciplined (own retinue)
  • +5 faction support (faction-wide)

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Ability (Total War: Three Kingdoms)

  • Encourage (Passive)
    • Provides a morale boost to nearby allies.
  • Nature's Ally (Passive)
    • +25% speed
    • +10 morale
    • Ignore Forest Penalties
    • Range: 75m

Ancillaries[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Ancillary (Total War: Three Kingdoms)

Noble's Sword

  • Base Melee Damage: 643
  • Armour-Piercing Melee Damage: 161
  • Melee Attack Rate: 30
  • +9 authority
  • +5 satisfaction

Liu Zhang's Armour

  • Base Armour: 20
  • +15 expertise
  • +6 instinct

Brown Horse

  • Speed: 97
  • Mass: 1.5k
  • +2 resolve

Guanxi[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Guanxi




Biography[edit | edit source]

To know about Liu Zhang, you must first learn about Liu Yan. In short, Yan was a power-hungry tyrant in his own regard. Whilst never outright declaring war on the Han Empire, he did become the governor of Yi Province, a position he earned by having any opposition assassinated and putting down the revolt of Jia Long. He spent the next few years growing his territory. When Dong Zhuo died, Yan allied with Ma Teng to march on Chang'an against the cruel reign of Li Jue. Yan had become too ambitious for his own good, and when the plan fell in enemy hands, Li Jue crushed the combined armies of the two warlords. Liu Fan and Liu Dan, the two remaining brothers of Zhang (Liu Mao had died earlier of disease), were captured and tortured to death. Liu Zhang was the only son to escape being caught. Liu Yan died shortly after, with Yi Province rapidly falling into chaos with the elderly warlord gone.

Liu Zhang inherited the province with the approval of Emperor Xian in 194. Zhang immediately consolidated his power, quickly stabilizing the chaotic region he inherited. Unlike Yan before him, Liu Zhang never built large armies and seemed to be his father's polar opposite. Whereas Liu Yan took every opportunity to expand his territory, Liu Zhang never made any effort to conquer more land, instead opting to stabilize and develop Yi. This policy earned him somewhat of an unjustified reputation as a weak ruler. Whilst Zhang was peaceful, he was no pushover and maintained firm control over his province, crushing any outlaws foolish enough to plunder his territory. He had a chance to prove himself before long.

Zhang Lu, a former vassal warlord of Liu Yan, had begrudgingly tolerated Liu Zhang's rise to power. Zhang Lu was well-liked by the late Liu Yan, mostly because he was just as aggressive as Yan himself. Zhang Lu had conquered a significant amount of territory to the north, and now his new overlord was a pacifist who refused to launch any campaigns. In 200, Zhang Lu had enough and launched a revolt against Liu Zhang. The plan was to simply take over Yi province and then conquer more land independently.

The rebellion wasn't precisely what Zhang Lu had in mind. While Zhang Lu failed to defeat Liu Zhang, Liu Zhang could not defeat him either, and the conflict quickly bogged down to a stalemate. Liu Zhang had a trick up his sleeve, though: the famous warlord Liu Bei to the east. Liu Zhang and Liu Bei were loosely related to each other, with both being members of the royal family, and as such, Liu Bei sent over an army to defend Yi Province.

Zhang Song, a disgruntled general under Liu Zhang, quickly started scheming to overthrow Liu Zhang. His goal was not to take the province for himself but to conquer it for Liu Bei. After all, Liu Zhang's reputation as a weak ruler preceded him across China, and Liu Bei was well respected. Liu Zhang eventually found out about the plot against him, but it was already too late at that point. Zhang Song quickly made peace with Zhang Lu, then his and Liu Bei's soldiers rose up all across Yi Province. Despite the unwinnable odds, Liu Zhang's soldiers were bitterly loyal and put up fierce resistance against the surprise attack, but it was not enough to protect Liu Zhang's power.

Liu Zhang desperately defended his province but ultimately retreated to his capital city of Chengdu in 214. Whilst his men would happily fight to the bitter end, Liu Zhang was no fool and surrendered to Zhang Song, who later handed the territory over to Liu Bei. Liu Bei didn't give the order for the rebellion, nor did he entirely agree with it, but he still happily accepted ownership of Yi Province. Zhang Lu's territory would be partitioned between Liu Bei and Cao Cao in later years.

Liu Zhang was banished from his province and was eventually taken in by Sun Quan. Sun Quan recognized him as the rightful governor of Yi Province, referring to Emperor Xian's approval in 194 and the lack of such imperial support for Liu Bei, but never bothered to press the claim against him as they were still in an alliance against Cao Cao at the time. Sun Quan still didn't press the claim when war broke out between the two former allies. Liu Zhang died in 219 from old age.

Total War THREE KINGDOMS factions and leaders
Warlords Cao Wei (Cao Cao)・Dong Zhuo (Dong Zhuo)・Gongsun Zan (Gongsun Zan)・Shu-Han (Liu Bei)・Wu (Sun Jian)・Yuan Shao (Yuan Shao)・Yuan Shu (Yuan Shu)
Governors Kong Rong (Kong Rong)・Liu Biao (Liu Biao)・Ma Teng (Ma Teng)
Outlaws Black Mountain bandits (Zhang Yan)・Zheng Jiang (Zheng Jiang)
Nanman King Meng Huo (Meng Huo)・King Mulu (Mulu)・King Shamoke (Shamoke)・Lady Zhurong (Lady Zhurong)
Other factions Han EmpireCai MaoGongsun DuHan FuHan SuiHuang ZuJia LongKong ZhouLiu DaiLiu Yan (Liu Yan)・Liu YaoLiu YuLiu ZhangShi XieTao QianWang LangWang KuangZe RongZhang ChaoZhang LuZhang Yang
Total War THREE KINGDOMS historical characters
Sentinel Bao XinCai HeCai YangCao RenChang DiaoChang XiaChen HengChen QianChen WuChen XiuCheng PuCongqianCui JunDeng AiDing FengGan LiGao GanGongsun DuGongsun XuGuo XianHou YinHan SuiSHuang SheHuang YueyingFHuang ZhongSHuangfu SongJia LongJian YongLi DianLiang XingLiu ShangLiu YaoLu MengLu ZhiMa MaoQu YingSong JianSui GuSun JianSSun ShaoTaishi CiSTao ShangTian FenWang KuangWang SuWang YuXia ZhaoXiaoqiaoXu HuangSXue LiYan XingYang BoYang HongYang ZhongYin LiYu JinYuan ShangYue JinSZang HongZhang HuZhang LiaoSZhang YaZhao YunSZheng BaoZhu Zhi
Champion Cai ZhongCao AngCao HongCao ShuangCao XiCao ZhangChang XiChen JiuChen LanCheng YiDong FengDian WeiSGao DingGao ShengGuan XingGuan YuSHan FuHan HaoHong MingHuan LinHuan ZhiHuang GaiHuang ZuHuo NuJi BenJiang GongLi DamuLi HuanLi YuLing TongLiu ShaoLu KangPang DeQu GongQuan RouSen PeiSong YangTao YingTuoba LiweiWang XiWei HuangWei JieWen ChouXiahou DunSXianyu YinXin PingXu ChuSXu RongXuan FanYang FengYou TuYu QinZang BaZao ZhiZhang FangZhang FuZhang GuangZhang LuZhang YanSZhao DuZheng YanZheng JiangSFZou LinZuozi Hangba
Strategist Bao XunBian RangBu LianshiFCai YanFCai YongCao ChongCao ZhiChang LinChe ZhouChen BiaoChen DiChen GongChen LinChen QunChen ZhenCheng XuCheng YuCui LinCui YanDiaochanFDing YiDong YunDong ZhaoDu QiongFa ZhengFan QinLady FengFFeng ShuoFu GanFu JiaFu WanGao RouGaotangGongsun XiuGu YongGuan ChunGuan JingGuan LuGuan NingGuanqiu DianGuo JiaGuo TuHan JiHan RanHan RongHan YinHandan ChunHandan ShangHe YanHe ZengHu ZhaoHu ZhiHu ZongHua BiaoHua TuoHua XinHuan DianHuan FanHuan JiaHuang WanHungfu MiJi MiaoJi MuJia ChongJia CongJia XuJiang JiJin YiJu ShouKan ZeKong RongSKong ZhouKuai LiangKuai YueLiu BaLi ChaoLi FuLi KangLi RuLi ShaoLi XiuLiang MaoLiu DaiLiu FuLiu HeLiu JiLiu YanLiu YeLiu YiLiu ZhenLu AnLiu FanLu JiLu KaiLu MaoLu SuLu XingLu XunLu YiLu YuLu ZhengFMa LiangMa MidiMa QiuMa SuMa YuMao JieMi HengMi ZhuMiao XiMin ChunPan XuPang JiPang TongPei JunPei QianPeng YangQi ZhouQiao ZhouQin MiQuan JiQue XuanRen AnRen JunRuan YuShan GuShan TaoShen YouSheng XianShi WeiShi XieShi YiShi ZhiSima FengSima FuSima LangSima YiSSu ShuoSu ZeSun QianSun XuTao QianSTeng YinTian ChouTian FengTian JingWang BiaoWang CanWang DangWang FuWang JianWang LanWang LeiWang LieWang SuWang XiangWei DanWei FengWei ShuWei YouWei ZhaoWei HuiWu FanWu ShuoWu ZhiXiahou RongXiahou XuanXiahou ZuoXiahou LangXin XianyingXing YongXu GanXu JingXu MiaoXu ShaoXu ShuXu TaXu XuanXu YouXue ZongXun WeiXun YuXun YueYan PuYan XiangYan YuYang ChouYang DaoYang XiYang XiuYao TaiYao ZhouYing QuYing YangYing YuYu FanYuan LongYuan YiYue DunZhang ChaoZhang ChengZhang ChunhuaZhang HongZhang JiZhang MiaoZhang MinZhang QuanZhang SongZhang WenZhang YunZhang ZanZhang ZhaoZhang ZhenZhang ZhiZhao AngZhao QiZhao WeiZhao YanZhao YiZheng MaoZheng MoZheng SuiZheng TaiZheng XuanZhong YaoZhongchang TongZhou HuanZhou YuSZhou ZhiZhu EnZhu GuiZhu HanZhuge JinZhuge LiangS
Vanguard Bu JiBu ZhiCai MaoDong ZhuoGan NingGongsun ZanSLiu QiLü BuSMa ChaoSMa TengSSun CeSSun RenSFXiahou JieXiahou YuanSYan LiangZe RongZhang FeiSZhang HeZhang Yang
Commander Lady BianFLady CaiFCai XunCao CaoSCao JieFCao RenDaqiaoFDong PeishanFGuan YinpingFLiu BeiSLiu BiaoSLady LiuFLiu YuLiu ZhangSWang LangLady WuFSun QuanSYuan AnyangFYuan ShaoSYuan ShuSYuan TanYuan Xi
Healer(YTR) Han XianHe YiSLiu PiWang Du
Veteran(YTR) Gong DuSGuan HaiLiao HuaPei YuanshaoSZhang KaiSZhao Bo
Scholar(YTR) Guo DaHe ManSHuang ShaoSWang RaoXu He

In Defence of Liu Zhang[edit | edit source]

Usually, the page ends up there with the end of the biography. Still, I feel the need to defend Liu Zhang's legacy because the game does him somewhat of an injustice by giving him the Incompetent and Careless traits. Liu Zhang became known as a weak ruler, too scared to fight any wars and unable to defend his province. He became a laughingstock for warlords across China for being defeated by a mere lonely general of his. He is still known and portrayed like this in many forms of media to this very day. The truth of the matter is just a little more complicated when you put it in context.

Liu Yan, the father of Zhang, was rather evil. He would attack diplomatic envoys and terrorise his own subjects, having anyone that disagreed with him killed. When Yan brewed up his plan to defeat Li Jue, Yan raised taxes to an almost unmanageable level and conscripted a good portion of the population. When Li Jue defeated his armies, he and his generals went on a field trip through Yi Province, burning and plundering anything they came across.

Essentially, what Liu Zhang inherited was an unstable, raided, war-torn, bankrupt mess without much of a standing army. If anything, it's a wonder he wasn't picked off by nearby warlords almost immediately. Liu Zhang picked the only path before him that wouldn't result in Yi Province being conquered from all sides. If he had simply gathered the weak remains of his father's armies and attacked Li Jue or another warlord, there'd be nothing defending the province. What was left of the military was definitely not in fighting condition.

It's actually rather impressive what he managed to pull off. The chaotic Yi quickly became stable. Any areas that Li Jue raided during the war were granted economic aid. Liu Zhang rebuilt the army to a more minor and defensive role. There were extensive systems to combat any outlaw groups from plundering his territory, whether that be bandits, Yellow Turbans or Nanman raiders to the south. If anything, the largely underdeveloped Yi Province became something of a Tiger Economy, with its economy rapidly improving from what it was under Liu Yan.

When Zhang Lu eventually rose up against Liu Zhang, it was more or less an unwinnable war for both sides, not because he was a poor commander but because of geography. Go, launch a game as Liu Zhang in 200 and take a peek at Zhang Lu's territory. It's just mountains everywhere. There were a small handful of chokepoints that both sides just got stuck on. Now Liu Zhang could have won, but he chose not to on purpose. After the element of surprise was lost and Liu Zhang gathered his armies, he won a few victories but quickly stopped attacking. Not because he's weak or was afraid, but because it was an extreme bloodbath and the successes were pyrrhic at best because he was simply forced to slam his armies into frontal charges on fortified positions.

What about inviting Liu Bei's army into his province? That was pretty stupid, right? Perhaps, but it should be noted that Liu Zhang and Liu Bei were quite friendly towards one another, and there was a lot of trade going back and forth between the two. Having an aggressive rogue warlord in control of Yi Province was not in Liu Bei's interest either, as it would threaten his western border. The whole revolt of Zhang Song was an internal conflict. Liu Bei did not order a revolt against Liu Zhang, but Zhang Song claimed to be fighting under the banner of Liu Bei, so Bei's soldiers in the area just sort of... went along with it.

Mind you, that war was very much unwinnable for Liu Zhang. The entire province erupted into violence at once, and most of his armies were located in the north. Supply lines, local garrisons, smaller towns: they were all overrun by the rebel armies. All that was left under Liu Zhang was Chengdu and some scattered territories around the city and way out west. Apparently, not throwing your men into pointless meat grinders or trying to improve the lives of ordinary people makes you quite popular as a ruler, so Zhang Song became more of a conqueror than a liberator.

Only a tiny portion of Liu Zhang's soldiers defected to the rebels. It was mostly his ambitious generals, their retinues and the vast armies of Liu Bei that made up the rebel force. The peasantry also wasn't too happy. All over Yi Province, peasants turned into guerillas and militias out of their own initiative, fighting a hopeless war to defend their (more or less) beloved Liu Zhang. Still, it was an impossible effort.

Warlords also mocked Liu Zhang for surrendering at Chengdu before any major fighting over the city took place, but context is needed here again. Chengdu was surrounded on all sides by the armies of Zhang Song and Liu Bei, and they were starving it out instead of laying siege. Liu Zhang couldn't fight because the rebels were the attackers, and they opted to starve the city out. A charge out of the gates would've been akin to suicide as archers would have mowed down the entire army. Liu Zhang very much valued human life, so he surrendered to prevent any pointless bloodshed for his men and the people of Chengdu. It's not like any army was coming to lift the city's siege, as basically all that was left of Liu Zhang's forces were inside the city already.

In conclusion: Yes, Liu Zhang didn't achieve a lot militarily, but he was not a weak person who was too scared to fight wars. He was a pacifist, and after witnessing the suffering his father's constant warmongering had brought to Yi Province, he wanted to prevent any more pointless bloodshed. He never started a war but was forced into multiple ones by forces outside his control.

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