Just like the previous games, Total War: Three Kingdoms allows players to choose one of several available factions that differ both in terms of units and buildings, and the overall style of gameplay, but also offers several leaders who introduce additional changes. In this section, you will find a list of all available in-game leaders, along with their characteristics.
- Cao Cao - Strategic Mastermind
- Liu Bei - Virtuous Idealist
- Sun Jian - The Tiger of Jiangdong
- Gongsun Zan - The Ironfist General
- Yuan Shao - The Dragon of the Yuan
- Yuan Shu - The Ambitious Powermonger
- Kong Rong - The Master Scholar
- Liu Biao - Gentleman of the Han
- Ma Teng - Protector of the West
- Zhang Yan - King Of Black Mountain
- Zheng Jiang - The Bandit Queen
- He Yi - The Leader of the People
- Gong Du - Master of the Land
- Huang Shao - The Wielder of the Heavenly Way
Cao Cao - Strategic Mastermind
Cao Cao is the first in line, the warlord of the Cao Cao faction, Commander class, is also the warlord recommended at the beginning of the game, as he will make the initial hours easier. A characteristic feature of Cao Cao is Credibility. This is a unique resource that mainly represents the respect of other factions of the Coalition led by Cao Cao. During the game, you can use it to manipulate and influence the actions of others in diplomacy. It can be used, for example, to provoke a military conflict between the two factions (proxy war). This mechanics can be used in the diplomacy window. This resource is limited and updated after a while. The recommended style of play of this warlord is diplomatic manipulation, for which the credibility can be used.
Unique troops for Cao Cao are two branches of shock cavalry, Tigers and Leopards Cavalry, and Tigers and Leopards Heavy Cavalry, otherwise available between 3 and 6 levels of experience of the commander. These units give a huge advantage in the initial rounds and are a perfect combination with Cao Cao, who has bonuses that reduce the cost of maintaining the cavalry and increase the number of military resources. Most of his abilities allow you to further strengthen the cavalry. Playing as Cao Cao, the player will have access to two unique structures: Farming Garrisons and Tuntian Conscription.
Liu Bei - Virtuous Idealist
Liu Bei is the second of the six class commander-class leaders available to the Coalition. His special treat is Unity, a unique resource for this character. Increasing the level of unity will allow the player to quickly gain prestige, it will be possible to occupy more positions of administrators, and at a sufficiently high level, the faction will receive a powerful bonus to income from all sources. In addition, thanks to Unity, Liu Bei is able to take control of the territory of the Han Empire without military conquest. If used accordingly, Unity gives a huge advantage.
The units unique for Liu Bei are Yi Archers and Yi Marksmen, ranged units otherwise available from level 3 and 6 of the commander's experience. Both of these units are excellent in ranged combat; since they are also effective in close combat with enemy infantry, they don't come with ranged units' usual drawback. During the game, the player will have access to a unique, Shu Han Tax Collection building, increasing income from the peasantry and the ability to join confederation with other factions from the beginning of the game. Liu Bei himself, like Cao Cao, is great as a commander on the battlefield, supporting his troops, and at the start of the campaign, he gives his faction a bonus of +4 points for public order and -50% for the cost of maintaining the infantry militias.
Sun Jian - The Tiger of Jiangdong
Sun Jian, another Sentinel-class warlord of the Sun Jian faction. His special feat is Heroism, a unique resource that gives bonuses to public order and reduces the cost of hiring units and their maintenance. Heroism grows when a player loses fewer soldiers during a battle than the opponent, and when the faction leaders win fights. The high level of heroism allows the player using Sun Jian to maintain a large army and achieve rapid military expansion.
Unique units for Sun Jiana are Mercenary Archers, Mercenary Infantry and Mercenary Cavalry, so the player has access to a very diverse army from the beginning of the game. When playing Sun Jian, the player will be able to build a unique building, Mercenary Outpost, which increases the income from trade and accelerates the replenishment of wounded soldiers. Sun Jian himself, given his guard class, works great in defense and blocking enemy generals - he does not deal great damage, but is very resilient - also provides increased range of movement on the campaign map and a morale boost when attacking.
Gongsun Zan - The Ironfist General
Gongsun Zan is the warlord of the Vanguard class. This is a classic warlord with military roots, who, however, does not have his own unique resource for use on the military map, but compensates with other qualities. Playing as this leader, the player will not have access to typical administration posts that have been replaced by military positions that can be taken by other generals, giving various bonuses.
Unique units of Gongsun Zan are White Horse Raiders and White Horse Fellows, powerful units of horse archers, which give an advantage on the battlefield during the initial stages of the campaign. The building unique to Gonsun Zan is a Military Government that increases revenues from all sources and giving a bonus to public order. On the battlefield, he perfectly breaks through enemy units but is less effective against generals. Campaign map unique features include strengthening of the armor for shock cavalry and an increase of 50% of the range of reinforcement of the army - i.e. the distance from which one army controlled by the player can help another. This is one of the best bonuses throughout the game, perfect for defense.
Yuan Shao - The Dragon of the Yuan
Fifth in line, the Commander-class warlord of the Yuan Shao faction. His trait is Pedigree, a unique resource, which reduces the cost of hiring the captain's retinue and increases the rate of replenishment of losses in the army. Thanks to that, Yuan Shao can use the unique options of occupation of a settlement after the siege, which allows increasing the replenishment rates and the supply of the army.
Yuan Shao's unique units are Ye Warriors and Hebei Defenders, a spear-wielding infantry that is great for attacking enemy units without taking extra damage from spearmen, as in the case of cavalry. In addition, Yuan Shao can hire captains instead of heroes. They will lead units consisting of various units specializing in certain functions (infantry, cavalry, marksmen). During the game, the player will be able to build a Yuan Administration Office, which increases income, public order, and Pedigree growth. This leader, just like Cao Cao and Liu Bei, is a commander and works perfectly as support. He is lagging behind other generals specializing in combat, though. Global bonuses Yuan Shao, are a bonus to morale and a -50% of the cost of hiring and maintaining the specified captains' units, significantly reducing the costs associated with expanding the army.
Yuan Shu - The Ambitious Powermonger
The last, sixth commander-class Coalition leader. A distinctive feature of this character is Legitimacy, a unique resource, the high level of which significantly increases prestige, public order and income from any source, but has a negative impact on diplomatic relations with other factions. Legitimacy can be used to recruit new characters, run tasks, or build some buildings.
The unique units for Yuan Shu are Rapid Tiger Infantry and Warriors of the Left - both units are shock infantry, with good statistics, the biggest advantage of whom is the high, heavy-to-break morale. Yuan Shu will give the player access to the unique building Zhong Administration, increasing revenue from all sources, however, adversely affecting the resource Legitimacy, as well as for the unique task of the Enterprise, which allows you to generate income from trade. In combat, Yuan Shu works perfectly as support for allied troops, does worse in the fight against other generals. Global bonuses of this warlord give boost income from trade and industry and increase the price of actions of opponent spies.
Kong Rong - The Master Scholar
One of the three Strategist-class leaders. A characteristic feature of this warlord is Trade Monopoly, a unique resource that allows the player to significantly increase income from trade. Trade Monopoly can be increased with a unique diplomatic option of the same name. Playing as this leader, the player will not be able to declare himself the Emperor, the only option would be to capture the capitals of the already existing Emperor.
Unique units for Kong Ronga are the Fury of Beihai and Thunder of Jian An. These are both crossbow units, perfect for fighting armored troops. Playing as this leader, the player will be able to create a unique Academy of Culture, giving a bonus to the growth of population, income and public order; you will also have access to a unique Educational Program task that will increase income from trade. Kong Rong, given his Strategist class, is good for strengthening troops on the battlefield, however, has a poor defense against other generals and it's better to keep him at the back. Global bonuses of this warlord give an increase in population growth and income from trade.
Liu Biao - Gentleman of the Han
Liu Biao is another warlord of the commander class managers. Just like Gongsun Zan, this warlord does not have his unique resource. Instead, he gains access to new administrative positions related to training, offering additional bonuses, within the abilities, Harmony, and knowledge. As with Kong Rong, Liu Biao cannot declare himself Emperor.
Unique units for Liu BAIO are Jing Infantry and Imperial Defenders. Both these groups-heavy, well-armored infantry with the wood weapon, characterized by high durability and high moral coefficient. These units are the nightmare of hostile cavalry. Playing as this leader, the player will be able to build a unique structure Lodging, which increases the experience of the character and income from trade. Liu Biao is the warlord of the class Commander, excellent in support of allied units, worse against other generals. Global leadership bonuses are a bonus to happiness and public order.
Ma Teng - Protector of the West
The third and last leader, this time of the Vanguard class. Like Liu Biao described above, he does not have his own unique resource, instead, he gets bonuses to ransacking, enables the army to collect food when camping, as well as giving a bonus to military resources. As with the previous two leaders, he cannot declare himself the Emperor.
The unique units for Ma Tenga are Qiang Hunters, Qiang Marauders, and Qiang Raiders. These are horse archers, shock cavalry and melee cavalry, and each of these units is characterized by high stamina, which is excellent during long fights. Thanks to the presence of Ma Teng, the player will be able to build a Xiliang Supply Line, giving a bonus to the food received from gathering, and military supplies for allied armies, and at the same time, punishing the enemy's military supplies. In combat, this warlord perfectly breaks through enemy units but is less effective in the fight with enemy generals. Global bonuses of this warlord are bonuses to damage inflicted by the shock cavalry, to income from silk and spices, and reducing the cost of maintaining Qiang units.
Zhang Yan - King Of Black Mountain
Zhang Yan is one of the two champion-class leaders of the bandits. He does not have his own unique resource, but in exchange, he is the only warlord in the game able to improve relations with the Yellow Turbans by making an Alliance with them - the other leaders have very limited options of diplomacy with this faction. Zhang Yan also can attack from ambush, greatly increasing the possibility of a successful conclusion of a battle.
Unique units for Zhang Yang are Black Mountain Raiders, Black Mountain Bandits and of Black Mountain Hunters. Each of these infantry units causes fear in enemy troops, reducing their morale, and can also use ambush locations at the beginning of the battle, being able to deploy outside the regular deployment zone. His unique building is the Black Mountain Hideout which gives access to different branches which offer different bonuses. In battle, Zhang Yang copes well with other generals but fares worse against conventional units. His global bonuses are an increased amount of loot, ignoring penalties to movement speed in the woods.
Note - this is probably the most difficult start in the game, so you should first get acquainted with the game, playing the campaign with another warlord.
Zheng Jiang - The Bandit Queen
Zheng Jiang is the second leader of bandits. she is also a Champion class character. Her characteristic feature is Infamy, a unique resource that offers a high level of bonuses for prestige, satisfaction or tribute in diplomacy, but negatively affects relations with other factions. Victorious battles and the occupation of the settlements increase her Infamy.
Zheng Jiang's unique units are Hidden Axes and the Fists of the Bandit Queen, two assault infantry units, which work perfectly in charges at enemy positions. During the game, the player will be able to raise Bandit Lair which increases the speed of replenishment but gives a penalty to the income of your kingdom. Like Zhang Yan, Zheng Jiang is great for fighting against enemy generals, however, she is less effective in battles against regular units. Global bonuses of this leader are a reduction of the number of turns required for mobilization and the increase of the influence by receiving diplomacy tributes.
Note - this is one of the most difficult starts in the game, do not choose Zheng Jiang during your first playthrough.
He Yi - The Leader of the People
One of the three leaders of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. His class is Healer. He doesn't have his own unique resource but as the population grows, he receives bonuses that increase the level of replenishment and reduce the cost of hiring new troops.
He Yi has access to Youxia, a heavy assault infantry characterized by a powerful armor and having access to guerilla deployment ability - at the beginning of the battle, you can place them outside the standard placement area. During the game He Yi, the player will be able to build a unique structure called Village Healer and will have access to an additional option for the occupation of the conquered settlement called Aid the wounded, which increases population growth and gives additional gold from the trade. Because of his class, He Yi is perfect for supporting soldiers from the distance, but he has poor performance in melee combat. Global bonuses for this leader are a reduction of ranged units' maintenance and a bonus to morality.
Gong Du - Master of the Land
The second in order leader of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. Gong Du is a Veteran class. Like his predecessor, Gong Du doesn't have his own unique resource but instead, he receives a bonus to the range of movement on the campaign map and the amount of loot obtained from battles.
Gong Du has access to Guardians of the Land, heavy-armored assault infantry, which works perfectly in close combat against any type of enemy. During the game, the player will be able to build a unique structure, Guerrilla Camp, which will increase the amount of loot obtained after the battle and the number of military resources. This building also allows you to take advantage of a unique mode of a movement called Liberate stance which steals food and resources from the local region. Gong Du, as Veteran, does well against numerous enemies, but his effectiveness will plummet when enemies use weapons that can penetrate armor. Global bonuses for this leader allow him to increase military resources on the enemy territory. He also gets a bonus to the armor of infantry units with spears.
Huang Shao - The Wielder of the Heavenly Way
Huang Shao is the third in order leader of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. He represents the Scholar class. Like the two leaders described above, he does not have access to his unique resource. Instead, he receives bonuses that increase character experience and enhance the speed of development of new reforms.
Huang Shao has access to Archery Masters, one of the best archery units in the game, deadly at a long distance. During the game, the player will be able to build Gardens which offer a premium to the satisfaction, and increased speed of unlocking new reforms. The player will also be able to use a unique quest that will allow you to find unique characters. Huang Shao fights great against enemy generals, but he will have problems winning against enemies that have numerical superiority. Global bonuses for this leader give him a population growth and the dodge bonus for melee infantry units fighting at a close distance.