How to beat Zhang Liang in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

zhang liang cut scene in wo long: fallen dynastyTeam Ninja

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s Zhang Liang is the game’s first boss and he is incredibly strong and appears very early on in the game. Team Ninja’s first real test can be bested, and our guide will show you how.

Souls fans, in particular Nioh and Sekiro fans, will be right at home in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty as the action game set in historical China will challenge, test, and punish plucky players brave enough to step into its very powerful domain.

It retains all the core elements of Nioh games and mixes in some new features such as a jump button and a strong emphasis on parrying – known as deflecting in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.

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The latter is instrumental as Team Ninja have tweaked their approach by incorporating a more block-heavy system comparable to FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Zhang Liang, General of Man is essentially the game’s tutorial boss, but you will have to ‘git gud’ very quickly if you have any hopes of beating him and advancing.

main character in wo long fallen dynasty drawing weaponTeam Ninja

How to defeat first boss in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

The early stages of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will walk the player through the ropes and introduce Wo Long’s central game mechanics rather quickly to get the player up to speed. This is not only a necessity for the rest of the game but also because you’ll be using the majority of these controls and techniques against Zhang Liang in the first half an hour or so.

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Whether you’re new to Souls games or not, there are plenty of explainers showing you how to use Martial Arts, how the Spirit system works, and how to deflect enemy attacks – all of which you will need to become part of your arsenal if you want to survive in Wo Long.

In a rather shocking turn of events, Zhang Liang, despite being the first boss and in essence the tutorial boss, is actually a relentless two-phase fight. Giving the very first boss multiple phases is largely uncommon, even for Souls games. Nevertheless, with the right tactics you should be able to take down Zhang Liang and progress.

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By the time you get to this fight, make sure you’ve activated all the possible flags in the level so that your Morale level is as high as can be. We’d also recommend you go into this fight with the Enhanced Defense Wizardry Spell, which can be found under the Earth Phase in the Five Phases upgrade screen.

Finally, a Ring Pommel Sabre will be a more than adequate weapon to wield here as faster weapons generally suit Wo Long’s faster-paced gameplay, and heavier and more powerful weapons can become a liability in boss fights. Plus, the Ring Pommel Sabre has a far more generous deflection timing window if you’re struggling to block attacks.

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zhang liang smiling in wo long fallen dynastyTeam Ninja

Zhang Liang, General of Man Phase 1 in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

As soon as the fight begins, activate Enhanced Defense and make a beeline for Zhang Liang. Start laying in some solid combos to try and get your Spirit Level up quickly. Zhang Liang’s first phase leaves him open to rapid strikes as he will stagger with most shots and you can also interrupt his attacks.

Try not to distance yourself from Zhang Liang too much as he can unleash some pretty damaging combos of his own if you give him time and space.

Instead, keep topping up Enhanced Defense and be aggressive with charged Spirit Attacks and throw in the occasional Martial Arts attack as you can quickly get Zhang’s Spirit gauge shortened through repeated Spirit Attacks.

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If you need to, deflect his normal combos by pressing the appropriate button just as Zhang is about to land an attack on you. If you get a brief window to attack do so, as, again, you can break through his attacks and launch an assault of your own.

Wo Long’s combat system does rely on your ability to deflect Critical Blows – highlighted by the glowing red circle that will appear in and around an enemy’s midriff.

In his first phase, Zhang Liang’s typical Critical Blow will see him glow for a second before charging at you, make sure you press the deflect button just as he gets to you, and if done correctly, you will deal a solid amount of damage, greatly fill up his Spirit Gauge and possibly give yourself the chance to land a huge blow yourself – dealing a ton of damage.

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zhang liang phase two boss in wo long fallen dynastyTeam Ninja

Zhang Liang, General of Man Phase 2 in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Once you’ve diminished Zhang Liang’s health bar in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, Team Ninja throws a massive curveball by giving the first boss of the game a second phase, and Zhang will now take on an even more imposing second form that sees his him sprout a giant tentacle-like arm.

Throw intimidation out the window here as you’re going to want to be aggressive again as letting this phase go on for too long can be detrimental to your hopes of beating him.

Again, cast Enhance Defense periodically and get in close to Zhang. He will have less punishing combos in this phase, but bigger attacks that can hit frequently – dealing way more damage.

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The main things to look out for are a slow swinging arm combo that will occur two or three times in sequence, but these can be easily deflected. Running away to heal isn’t as bad here as Zhang’s biggest ranged attack is a ground-based projectile attack that you can easily dodge.

As with most bosses in Wo Long, the main threat is the Critical Blow attacks, and Zhang Liang has a couple with one being far more deadly than the other. His first one is when he will fire his arm towards you, but there’s plenty of time to prepare yourself for this and rebuttal with a well-time deflection.

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If you’ve landed a big blow and destroyed his arm, then his other Critical Blow attack is far more dangerous as the fearsome boss will unleash a snaking attack that can cover the whole distance between yourself and him. His movement can be tricky to track and is a bit more difficult to master, so if possible, try and stay close to Zhang.

How to end Zhang Liang fight early with Divine Beast in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

The most important detail of this fight is the fact you can actually end the fight once the health bar gets to about halfway.

Once Zhang’s second health bar gets to about 49%, a prompt will appear in the top-left of the screen informing you that you can Summon Divine Beast. On PlayStation, this action can be performed by pressing circle and triangle together or Y and B on Xbox.

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It’s very easy to miss this if you’re concentrating on the battle and Zhang Liang himself, so make sure to keep an eye on his health bar and look for the instruction.

If you input the command, this will trigger a cutscene and instantly end the fight, giving you time to wipe your brow and enjoy the spoils of war.

If you enjoyed our Wo long: Fallen Dynasty Zhang Liang boss battle walkthrough, we have some other useful guides if you need them:

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty PC system requirements | Will Wo Long Fallen Dynasty be on Steam Deck? | Does Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty have co-op multiplayer? | Wo Long Fallen Dynasty stats explained: How to plan your best build | How to get Genuine Qi fast in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty | Wo Long Fallen Dynasty review

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