Cao Zhen
Cao Zhen (DWB)
Character Information
Force(s): Wei
Weapon Type: Sword (3~5)
Pike (6)
Club (7)
Great sword (8)
Bomb (Blast)
Unit Type: Warrior (3~5, 7~8)
Large warrior (6)
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 3
Historical Information
Real name:
Cáo Zhēn
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:

Cao Zhen (onyomi: Sō Shin) is an officer under the Wei army. He was also a distant nephew of Cao Cao, and was adopted into the Cao clan. Under Cao Rui, he rose to become the commander-in-chief of Wei's western armies.

Role in GamesEdit

For his first appearance in Dynasty Warriors 3, Cao Zhen only appears at Jie Ting against Zhuge Liang on his Northern expedition. During the following games, Cao Zhen gets a bigger role and is mainly featured in Zhuge Liang's northern campaigns, where he often arrives as reinforcements to aid the Wei forces. Later installments have him show up for the first time at Chibi and he will constantly appear as a Wei general from then on. In Dynasty Warriors 8, he is also featured in Wei's hypothetical route, aiding in defeating both Wu at Jianye and Shu at Baidi Castle.

In Warriors Orochi 3, Cao Zhen will appear in every battle Guo Huai serves as an ally officer should the player use the latter on those maps.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Cao Zhen is a decent officer who has very high leadership in most games, also it is cut by a few points in the latest installment. He also has very high charisma and decent intelligence and politics skills. He'll join Cao Cao after the defeat of Yuan Shao and becomes a major Wei figure in the later scenarios.

Voice ActorsEdit

  • Yoshiyuki Kōno - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
  • Teruyuki Tanzawa - Sangokushi Legion

Historical InformationEdit

Cao Zhen was the son of Cao Shao. After Cao Shao was killed by Huang Wan, Cao Cao took Cao Zhen and raised him with his own sons. At Hanzhong, Cao Zhen defeated the Shu general Gao Xiang and later went to Wudu in order to welcome the returning Cao Hong. When Cao Pi ascended the throne, Cao Zhen was made General who Suppresses the West and given authority over Yong and Liang Provinces. In 222 he suppressed the rebellion of Zhang Jin and later defeated Sun Quan with Xiahou Shang at Niuzhu. When Cao Pi died in 226, he ordered Cao Zhen, Sima Yi, Chen Qun, and others to aid Cao Rui in the affairs of the State.

In 228, the Shu Prime Minister Zhuge Liang started his northern Campaigns and conquered Mt. Qi, causing the commanderies of Tianshui, Anding and Nan'an to rebel against Wei. Cao Zhen dispatched Zhang He to deal with Shu's forces, defeating the enemy general Ma Su at Jieting. Cao Zhen personally led the Wei forces to recapture the three commanderies. Having beaten Zhuge Liang, Cao Zhen expected him to attack Chencang next, so he sent Hao Zhao and Wang Shuang to guard it. Zhuge Liang did indeed attack, but was unable to breach the defenses. Cao Zhen was promoted to Grand Minister of War in 230 and led an expedition against Shu. Together with Sima Yi, he aimed to conquer Hanzhong and advanced via Ziwu, with Sima Yi leading the troops via the Han river. However, one month of continuous rain forced Cao Zhen to abandon the plan and retreat. He fell ill and died one year later in Luoyang and was posthumously made Marquis Yuan.

Cao Zhen was known to always toil with his men during campaigns and when official rewards were not sufficient, he rewarded his men with his own money. Cao Zhen's oldest son Cao Shuang inherited his father's title and would later become co-regent together with Sima Yi, to whom he would eventually lose all of his power and by whom he would be executed along with his brothers Cao Xi and Cao Xun.

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

The novel plays down Cao Zhen's abilities by a good amount, possibly to boost up the rivalry between Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi. He is first mentioned to have led his forces with Xiahou Shang to attack Nanjun, but they were both defeated and later led one of the five armies in a failed attack on Shu. He later accompanied Cao Pi on his attack on Wu at Guangling and was made regent marshal when Cao Rui became emperor. When Zhuge Liang began his northern expedition, Cao Zhen was appointed as Commander-in-Chief and sent to repel him. Together with Guo Huai, he was defeated numerous times by Zhuge Liang. He later tried to get the Qiang to aid him, but they were also defeated by Zhuge Liang or surrendered. It was not until Sima Yi and Zhang He arrived that they were able to gain some success.

When Wei reconquered the commanderies of Tianshui, Nan'an and Anding, Cao Zhen and Guo Huai took all credit for themselves. Cao Zhen was later given another command and fooled by Jiang Wei's false letter, causing the death of Fei Yao. He eventually returned to Luoyang when he became ill from grief over the loss of Wang Shuang. After he recovered, he led an expedition against Shu with Sima Yi, but it had to be abandoned because of heavy rain fall. Eventually, Cao Zhen was defeated at Mt. Qi. He became ashamed and frightened, developing an illness. When Zhuge Liang heard of Cao Zhen's condition, he sent him an insulting letter that filled him with so much rage that he died.