One of the new playable lords in Total War: Three Kingdoms – Mandate of Heaven is Lu Zhi, a wise scholar, and governor who’s responsible for teaching the next generation of Han leaders. This mini-guide covers Lu Zhi’s faction mechanics, opening moves, dilemmas, events, and additional tips.
Note: Many of Total War: Three Kingdoms – Mandate of Heaven‘s core concepts have already been discussed in our previous articles, so check out our guides and features hub for more information. This guide was completed while playing Romance Mode on VH/VH difficulty.
Mandate of Heaven: Lu Zhi’s faction mechanics overview
Teaching Assignment and XP boosts
Lu Zhi has a faction-wide effect that provides 10% experience for characters. Likewise, all Strategist-type officers can do a “Teaching Assignment” which gives +100% experience (local) and +50% experience (adjacent commanderies). This helps you get high-level generals faster than other factions.
Lu Zhi has a mechanic similar to the “Trophy Cabinet” used by Liu Chong. Yours is called the “Great Library.” Completing certain objectives will reward you with great works and up to five can be placed in the Great Library. These provide faction-wide buffs. Examples include:
- Chu Ci – 100% character experience; own a Silk resource
- The Art of War – enables circle, diamond, and hollow-square formations, and gives +5% speed; win 30 battles
- The Book of Lord Shang – -25% corruption; fully upgrade a city
- Mencius – +5 satisfaction; hire five enemy generals
- Classic of Poetry – +50% trade influence; maintain five trade deals
- Huainanzi – +10 public order; have Lu Zhi reach rank 10
- Book of Rites – +20 diplomatic relations with Han factions; fight a battle alongside another faction (get another faction’s army to reinforce you while fighting the Yellow Turbans)
As you can see, most of the boons obtained from Great Library items help with your economy and empire management. Unlike Liu Chong, you’re not laser-focused on having ranged unit boosts and you don’t have a unique resource akin to Fortitude.
Lu Zhi’s unique units are the Defenders of the Empire spearmen and Destroyers of Treachery shock cavalry. Both are quite expensive, and the ones you have at the start of Mandate of Heaven‘s campaign will be irreplaceable.
Starting position and threats
Lu Zhi’s campaign in Total War: Three Kingdoms – Mandate of Heaven is considered “very hard,” and with good reason. Like his student Liu Bei, you’re situated in Northern China and you’ll take the brunt of the Yellow Turbans’ offensive (you’re even at war with Zhang Liang once you start).
Unlike Liu Bei, you don’t have beefed-up generals like Guan Yu and Zhang Fei (or their bugged duplicates). All you have is Huangfu Song.
There are two ways of going about Lu Zhi’s Mandate of Heaven campaign. The most obvious one is to become a bulwark against the Yellow Turbans. The alternative is to pack up your bags and sail to the south to grab deserted settlements. Or, you could take Luoyang’s trade port which is closer. Let’s assume that you’re defending the north for this guide.
- Defeat the Yellow Turban army to get an ancillary/book. Place that in the Great Library to complete a mission (Reward: +10% replenishment).
- You can have two trade agreements (pick Tao Qian and Wang Rui). Later, remember to have a trade agreement with someone who has Silk to get the Chu Ci item for your Great Library.
- Have Zong Yuan “Oversee Mustering” in Henei.
- Deploy Gao Yu’s retinue in Lu Zhi’s army since they’re both close to getting “Fire Arrows.” Recruit more militia troops since you’ll fight Zhang Liang soon.
- Move to the edge of Henei’s borders; switch to ambush stance.
- Upgrade Henei’s farmlands.
- Lu Kang has an unmarried female officer. You can use “Receive Marriage” to help Lu Zhi find love.
- Lu Zhi already has “Private Tutors” (+10% character experience) unlocked when you start Mandate of Heaven, so pick “Foreign Envoys” for now. Get another trade agreement (I picked Zhou Xin).
- Watch Zhang Liang’s moves closely (he probably captured Ye’s farmlands). Recruit a full stack if your income allows.
- Be in normal stance and make sure you’re close enough to Henei city’s reinforcement range.
The end of this turn is very important: Zhang Liang will advance like a goof towards Henei even though he doesn’t have a full army. Heck, I even got backup from Henei’s garrison (which had Spear Guards and Archers).
The map you get might be random, but use the forests to your advantage. My Defenders of the Empire units soaked some arrows while my Defenders of Treachery cavalry units stayed hidden. They eventually waylaid Zhang Liang’s archers before charging melee troops from behind and in their flanks.
Huangfu Song’s and Gao Yu’s skills were helpful in the fight (increased melee evasion for friendlies and reduced melee evasion/armor for enemies, respectively). Synchronize their usage and you should inflict massive casualties.
I cycle-charged until Zhang Liang’s units routed. That led to an easy victory within Mandate of Heaven‘s second turn.
- Because I was still in Henei’s territory when Zhang Liang attacked, my troops were able to replenish in between turns.
- Cancel “Oversee Mustering” in Henei.
- Capture Ye’s farmland. Zhang Liang’s faction got destroyed. One Zhang brother down, two more to go.
- Owning two farmlands provided the Lushi Chunqiu (+2 food) Great Library item.
- Any extra gold you have should be used to obtain talented officers (ie. Yu Jin, Lu Fan) and upgrade your farms. We’ll be trading our extra food for good deals.
- Zhang Bao will likely capture Ye’s main settlement, though you’re not yet at war with him. Move your army close to Ye; switch to ambush stance.
- Declare war on Zhang Bao (who went north to attack Han Fu) and capture Ye.
- Start an assignment for mustering or replenishment in Ye.
- Optional: You could try to request military support from Liu Bei who, in my Mandate of Heaven campaign, wasn’t fighting the Yellow Turbans yet.
- Move your army closer to Anping; switch to ambush stance. Zhang Bao will likely try to recapture Ye when you end your turn.
- After winning an ambush battle, you’ll get The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong for your Great Library (+10% speed for shock cavalry).
- Capture Anping’s main settlement and cancel Ye’s assignment. Switch over to Anping next turn.
- Take “Sino-Roman Embassy” for another trade agreement.
Mandate of Heaven: Lu Zhi and… wait, what Mandate War?
By the end of turn 7 (seen above), Zhang Bao was down to his last settlement. You’ll also receive a mission to face Zhang Jue’s army in battle (Reward: +10% replenishment). Focus on Zhang Bao for now, but don’t forget to start offering military access to the other Han lords to milk them for GPT deals.
The next couple of turns were very crucial as well:
- Zhang Jue attacked Anding, but Liu Bei’s army trounced him with the help of my garrison. I received the Book of Rites (+20 diplomatic relations with Han factions) since my garrison fought alongside Liu Bei’s forces. This also completed the aforementioned mission to fight Zhang Jue’s army.
- A ragtag Yellow Turban force besieging Ye was beaten back by my garrison.
- Another mission was provided to capture one of Zhang Jue’s settlements. I marched Lu Zhi’s troops to Zhongshan’s livestock farm.
- Zhang Jue made another attempt to take Anding. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and my garrison finished him off. This allowed Liu Bei to capture Zhongshan’s main settlement.
I captured Zhongshan’s livestock farm after that. With my capture of Zhang Jue’s last settlement, the Yellow Turban Rebellion ended… on turn 11. That was a surprise.
He Yi’s faction was also destroyed on turn 12. The only threats remaining were:
- Huang Shao mustering across the river.
- Yellow Turban stacks spawning due to high Fervor.
- The Yellow Turban NPC faction that usually spawns in Youbeiping.
- Gong Du far to the southwest (which you’ll ignore).
- Beigong Boyu’s Liang Rebellion to the west (also ignored).
I didn’t encounter any other dilemmas or events that were specific to Lu Zhi’s faction. It might be because the Mandate War ended so soon. Here’s what I continued doing:
- Getting reforms for assignments and administrator slots
- Building additional schools
- Completing objectives to obtain books for the Great Library – This seems to be bugged since certain tallies weren’t updating.
- Recruiting additional officers – I had Guo Jia, Xun Yu, and Kong Rong by turn 22.
- Declaring a feud with nearby Han lords (ie. Qiao Mao) – You’ve got nothing to do anyway until turn 34-36 when the Han Empire collapses.
- Letting Fervor increase – I combined this with XP boons from schools and the “Teaching Assignment” so that Henei, Anping, Ye, and Zhongshan often had Yellow Turban mini-stacks. You could level-up additional characters by smacking around mustering rebels.
That’s about it, really. Maybe I did all the right moves to make Lu Zhi’s “very hard” Mandate of Heaven campaign feel absurdly easy. The downside was that I had nothing to look forward to after less than a dozen turns. I guess I should’ve just sailed all the way to the south.