Cao Cao Review, Empires and Puzzles (War of the Three Kingdoms)

Screenshot of Cao Cao Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Cao Cao is the most recent addition to Empires and Puzzles’ War of the Three Kingdoms family. And I’ll admit, when I first saw him back in May, I thought he was a shoo-in Hall of Famer. But it feels like a lot has changed. Has it?

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Caveat: This post contains gameplay speculation and personal opinion. It may also contain comedy and sarcasm. It is not advice and is solely for entertainment and informational purposes.

Cao Cao Stats and Special Skills (Legendary Hero)

[This hero was buffed after this review – Details updated, although the review remains the same]

Key Facts: Ice (Blue), Slow, Rogue

Family Bonus (for 1/2/3 Kingdom Heroes): 1. 3/6/10% 2/4/6% Mana each time a minion is summoned for the Hero. 2. 4/6/8% 3/5/7% heal each time a minion is summoned for the Hero.

[This Family Bonus was buffed/nerfed after this review – Details updated, although the review remains the same.]

Special Skills (Order to Overwhelm): 1. Deals 275% 330% damage to all enemies. 2. Summons a Wei Soldier Minion for each ally with 20% HP and 25% attack inherited from the caster. 3. Each hit from a Wei Soldier Minion dispels all dispellable buffs from the target. 4. Deals extra damage against Fire. All allies get +30% defense for 4 turns.

Talent: EVADE ~ +20% chance to dodge direct damage from offensive Special skills.

Cao Cao – Empires and Puzzles

How Good is Cao Cao? (Empires and Puzzles)

Cao Cao’s Special Skill has an appropriate name: Order to Overwhelm.

Because that’s exactly what he’ll do.

It’s his speed which keeps him from true greatness. After all, Slow is such a long time to wait for these guys to charge up.

But I suspect, it’s all in the synergy, that’s where he’ll crush his victims. When paired with the Mount Rushmores, he won’t look out of place.

Cao Cao Versus Diaochan (Empires and Puzzles)

I saw Cao Cao this morning and got to thinking about who I’d prefer, Diaochan or Cao Cao?

Here is how they look side by side:

HeroMana SpeedHeal/AttackMinions
DiaochanFast (8 tiles)Recovers 35% health for all alliesSummons a minion for caster and NB with 16% HP and 25% Attack. Minions steal buffs.
Cao CaoSlow (12 tiles)Deals 330% Damage to all enemiesSummons a minion for all allies with 20% HP and 25% Attack. Minions de-buff
OldCynic.com – Cao Cao Vs Diaochan

I wanted to compare them because their minions function in a similar way. Albeit, Diaochan’s minions will steal 1 buff from an enemy, while Cao’s will dispel all buffs from that enemy.

We now know how frustrating Diaochan can be, with her Speed factoring in. But if Cao Cao can fire off and his minions can be embedded behind other minions, Buffing will quickly become a pointless exercise for any unwitting invader.

Imagine Hulda healing while Cao Cao was Dispelling…

Again though, we return to the matter of Speed. This is pivotal, at least for lower-level players who live in the shadow of the Mana-Gods and have yet to find any Magic Troops.

On the matter of Buffs…

While we’re on the subject of buffs, it’s worth noting that so many of the new heroes we’ve seen of late, don’t actually buff directly. -Their minions do the dirty work for them, and so dispelling isn’t an option!

The before mentioned Hulda is a prime example, as is Zhuge Liang.

And some of the other big problems we face aren’t buffs at all, but rather immediate applications, like Xnolphod’s mana boost.

So while Cao Cao might have once looked like the bee’s knees, the game has changed a lot since then.

Cao Cao Versus Empires & Puzzles (Empires and Puzzles)

OK, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What’s that hit worth?

We don’t have to travel too far to get our answer. This is Costumed Guardian Panther’s table:

HeroMana SpeedDamageAdditional
Cao CaoSlow (12 tiles)Deals 330% damage to all enemiesSummons a minion for all allies with 20% HP and 25% Attack. Minions de-buff
Costumed Guardian PantherFast (8 tiles)Deals 280% damage to all enemies-64% defense against Dark for 3 turns, All enemies are immune to new status buffs for 3 turns
Costumed Master LepusFast (8 tiles)Deals 280% damage to all enemiesCaster gets -24% mana generation for 4 turns
LewenaFast (8 tiles)Deals 260% damage to all enemiesBlocks Talent activation for all enemies for 6 turns
Irritated PenoliteAverage (10 tiles)Deals 490% damage to all SummonersAll enemies get -50% decreased healing
Costumed KillhareAverage (10 tiles)Deals 330% damage to all enemiesAll allies get -20% attack
CongalachSlow (12 tiles)Deals 310% damage to 5 random enemiesStacks -9% attack on target
MilenaMagic 2 (12.3 tiles)Deals 420% damage to all enemiesDispels buffs from all enemies
OldCynic.com – Costumed Guardian Panther comparisons Table

As we can see, 275% isn’t anything outlandish.

It’s certainly enough to do some damage and finish off some enemies, but at Slow, he won’t be playing Whack-a-Mole like C. Guardian Panther does.

Klaern, the much loved current Hero of the Month, hits all enemies for 240% on a Slow charge too.

No, the real value here is found in those minions.

War Of Three Kingdoms Empires and Puzzles
Click for the War of the Three Kingdoms – Empires and Puzzles

Cao Cao Review (Empires and Puzzles)

My final thoughts:

Cao Cao’s a formidable hero.

His minions weigh in at 20% HP, so they’ll be stoutly little things. -That’s Bera/Freya minion weight.

So, along with their unique skills, you’ll also benefit from a nice bit of pseudo-healing.

I like the look of Cao because:

  • He will summon a minion for each ally
  • They will remove all buffs from an enemy (with each hit)
  • There should be meaningful synergy to be obtained from fielding him alongside a couple of common heroes (for those vying for the top 100)
  • He will gain mana & healing for minions… See Family Bonus
  • He hits for a decent amount, and
  • He’s Blue, so not competing with the Purple superstars

Those with quality minion controllers will be counting their lucky stars because without them life could be a whole lot more difficult.

I do concede that Cao Cao’s speed is an issue, but I can’t in good faith discount him solely on that.

He’s still a star and I suspect his usefulness will be dependent on your roster, current set-up, and personal preference.

A subjective review…

I’ll be the first to tell you that my reviews are subjective. And none more so than with Cao Cao.

If you have Bera or a solid strategy for dealing with minions, then Cao Cao is less threatening.

If you don’t find the current best teams in the world challenging, those stacked with awesome heroes, where every tile hit counts, then Cao Cao is less threatening.

And if you don’t run or can’t build a Raid squad that Cao could fit into, then Cao Cao isn’t as useful.

I see Cao Cao as more than that, only because I don’t fit into the top 2 criteria! I have no Bera to call my own, and it is a challenge for me to monitor and control every hero when nearing the Top 100 in the World.

The idea of Cao Cao sitting among the group opposite, waiting his turn to fire off a cluster of minions who will destroy my buffs, well that sounds like it could get frustrating.

For me, Cao Cao sits on the border between Archangel and Deity, and due to the unique nature of his skill set, I’m going to lean towards Deity.

I would love to hear your thoughts! So let me know what’s up!

Hero Grade for Cao Cao (Empires and Puzzles)

So for my grading, the question is:

Is this hero’s Special capable of/likely to change the outcome of a battle? Yes

If not, do they still bring enough to the party to help defeat the deities? N/a

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity ⭐⭐

Grade Revised

This hero was subsequently Buffed or Nerfed by the developers. Details have been updated to reflect the changes.

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6 Comments

  1. Is Bera more relevant now with these minion-heavy Three Kingdom heroes?

    1. I’d say so. Bera can make many of these new heroes irrelevant. Take Hulda for example, if you’re facing her with Bera, you have a great advantage. And as for Cao Cao, I’d say his strength is in his minions and Bera at Fast, has a great chance of stopping them. There are a few other options, but she’s a nice hero to have. Thanks for visiting!

  2. For me, his speed is the deal breaker here. He does gave decent damage and with those minions, you dont have to be sacred of dodgers, taunters and that pesky mana boost by Ludwig. But at slow, by the time he’s charged up, it might have been too late. But its still early and need to see how people using him and actually facing him in defense to be sure.
    With more and more minion summoners being introduced, I kinda regret not getting Grimble from the last Soul Exchange.

    1. Hey MIB, for me he was on the border but people including yourself have made some strong points that I take on board. I really like the potential of Cao Cao, but it’s not based on him running free and working in isolation. The Long and Short is I’ve downgraded him to Archangel, which is where he probably should have started. Thanks for the input! I do need a solid Minion controller too, my only current option is C.Gormek. Good luck in your search!

  3. I’m surprised that Xiahou Dun’s name hasn’t come up. Yes, he’s a 4* and a sniper, but his minions do exactly the same thing as Cao Cao’s for him and NB, and his mana speed is fast. I wouldn’t mind pulling Cao Cao by any means, but I’m pretty pleased with Xiahou Dun’s performance against elite teams with the right support around him. As to minion controllers, if I’m not mistaken OC, you have Devana as well as C. Gormek. Sure, Devana only takes out three opposing heroes’ minions at a time, but doesn’t she count as a controller as well? I’m asking because I’m curious as to the definition of the term. I have C. Gormek, Devana, Eiora & Fluffy, Gobbler, and Guan Yu in my roster. They all either destroy minions or punish opponents for spawning them. Would they all count as controllers?

    1. Hey Dharion, I love my Devena, but she doesn’t do enough to be considered minion control for me. Her effort is duly noted, it’s just not enough against Hulda, Diaochan, etc. I have C.Gormek too, but he just doesn’t fit into my teams, tho I keep trying with that because he’s my only real option. My wife has Bera and that’s a wonderful hero to have for real minion control, imv. X. Dun is a great hero and at Fast, a fantastic option. Thank you for sharing!

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