How to beat Zhang Liang, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s infuriating jerk of a first boss

How to beat Zhang Liang, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s infuriating jerk of a first boss

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty starts by walking you through a tutorial and introducing you to the various controls and attacks. And then, about 15 minutes into the game, it drops you into a shockingly intense boss fight — with little to no warning — against Zhiang Liang, General of Man.

It’s a real sink-or-swim moment, and it’s so early in the game. It also needs you to already be really comfortable with the combat system. Our Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Zhiang Liang, General of Man boss fight guide will help you prepare for the fight, and then walk you through both phases. (Yes, there’s a second phase.)

Preparing for the Zhiang Liang boss fight in Wo Long

The first boss fight comes early in Wo Long, so there’s not a ton you can do to prepare, but let’s talk about everything you can do that might help.

Practice, practice, practice

When you Rest at any Battle Flag, you’ll get the option to Travel. Much later in the game, this is how you’ll replay levels or take on side quests. Right now, it’s how you’ll go get some extra training.

When you select Travel, use RB to tab to Other. You should see a card for Tutorial: Basic Training. Select that. Yes, you just went through the tutorial, but this is different. You’ll go through a longer and more detailed training session here. Pay special attention to the Deflect part.

Don’t skip this step. Go do it. Do it twice. Then do it again. We promise it helps.

Level up

Throughout the tutorial, you should pick up enough Genuine Qi to level up a couple times at least (don’t forget to use any Genuine Qi Flakes or Fragments from your inventory). Our recommendation is increase one level each in Water (decreased Spirit consumption when Deflecting) and Fire (increased Spirit drain from Martial Arts and increased Spirit gain from attacking).

Those will also bump up your health by a few points, and will increase your Attack Bonuses with the default Ring Pommel Saber. (That’s our recommendation, but put your points into whatever Five Points Virtues you want to shape your character. What matters most is that you spend the Qi to level up and increase at least some of your stats.)

Trim your equipment

You’re not going to have a vast inventory full of different weapons and armors at this point in the game, but you will have picked up a few things. Check your inventory for any weapon that deals more damage than what you currently have or any armor that gives you better defense than the Nameless Warrior Garb you start off with.

Keep an eye on your Equipment Weight, though, and keep it below 25%. This is how heavy your armor is and, as a result, how fast your Spirit will drain while Dodging and Deflecting — you’re going to be doing a lot of Dodging and Deflecting.

Slot Wizardry Spells

We’re not going to get into much detail here (the magic system is A Whole Thing, which you can read more about here). And besides, you’ll only have enough Qi and Levels to unlock one spell in each of the Five Phases. We can talk about what works and what doesn’t, though.

Offensive spells aren’t going to get you far — your spells at this point won’t do much damage and the fight against Zhang Liang is fast and unrelenting, so you’re not going to have a lot of time to stand back and fire off a few piddly spells. Instead, look for buff spells.

If you have two points in the Earth Five Phases Virtue, you’ll be able to cast Enhanced Defense to decrease the damage you take. If you have two points in Water, grab Cloud Stance to decrease your Spirit consumption when deflecting (noticing a theme yet?). If you have two points in Metal, grab Repression Crush to slow down Zhang Liang’s Spirit recovery.

Understand the Spirit Gauge

Think of Wo Long’s Spirit like a combination of mana and stamina. You’ll lose Spirit when you get hit or dodge, and you’ll spend Spirit to cast Wizardry Spells or perform Martial Arts. You’ll gain Spirit when you land regular melee attacks or when you successfully deflect an attack. Both your character and every enemy (including Zhang Liang) have Spirit Gauges.

When a Spirit Gauge is drained to its lower limit, that person (or demon) will be stunned for a few seconds, opening them up to a powerful attack — a Fatal Blow. Your goal is to avoid that happening to you, and, more importantly, make sure it happens to your enemy.

Hitting an enemy with certain attacks — Martial Arts, Wizardry Spells, Spirit Attacks (with Y/triangle), or deflections — also shrinks their Spirit gauge. That, in turn, makes it all the easier to drain their Spirit.

This is going to come up a lot, particularly when it comes to the strategy for defeating Zhang Liang.

Ignore your companion

Throughout this fight, your companion, the Blindfolded Boy, will shout encouragement and advice while very sporadically dealing the tiniest amount of damage possible. Do not think about him. He’ll only distract you.

More importantly, when you take too much damage, he’ll say, “You are hurt… Stay behind me” or “I shall protect you from further harm.” Both of these are lies. More accurately, they’re just dialogue. He is not going to protect you or do anything differently. He’s just saying things to make you feel better.

How to beat Zhang Liang boss fight — phase 1

When you first drop into Zhang Liang’s arena, he’ll do a big villain monologue — don’t worry, you’ll automatically skip it when you get killed and have to come back. When he’s done, he’ll raise up his great club and slam it down in front of him. This move is mostly for show, but if you sprint straight at him, you’ll get smacked.

The very beginning of the Wo Long Zhang Liang boss fight.
Give him a second to get through his mini-monologue.
Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo via Polygon

Instead, take a moment, cast a buff spell, and let him come to you.

Your main goal in the first phase of this fight is to deflect with the B/circle button. You do also need to deal a little damage, but focus on deflecting first. You need to hit the button right before one of Zhang Liang’s attacks connect, like a parry in most other games. However, you’re not really penalized for (trying to) deflect multiple times in a row. Practice to get the timing right, but you can button-mash a little if you have to. Worst case, you’ll just dodge instead.

We’re not going to break down his attacks here. Just know that he’s going to attack. A lot. Non-stop. What you need to focus on is deflecting with B/circle in order to shorten his Spirit gauge. Every time you deflect successfully, it’ll shrink his gauge.

As you get more comfortable with deflecting, start to mix in some normal with X/square and Spirit Attacks with Y/triangle. These will keep draining his (already shrunken) Spirit Gauge. You can see this in the GIF below — keep an eye on his Spirit Gauge below his health bar. The white chunks at the end are from deflections that shrink his total gauge, and the red bar is his Spirit draining as we hit him. When the shrinking part meets the draining part, that means he’s stunned.

The first phase of this fight is less about dealing damage, and more about getting his Spirit Gauge shrunken and drained so you can hit him with a Fatal Blow. Do that two or three times, and you’ll have him.

Now things get interesting.

How to beat Zhang Liang boss fight — phase 2

The good news is you only have to drain his health bar halfway to finish this fight. Actually, that is also the bad news.

The biggest change for phase 2 of the Zhang Liang boss fight is that he has a giant, Elixir-fueled demon arm now. This increases his reach dramatically, but you can still deflect almost every attack. He’s also a bit more aggressive.

The adjustment you’ll have to make is deflecting multiple attacks in a row now. You can see us fail to do so in the video below.

You can also see Zhang Liang wind up for his most common Critical Blow in this phase. He’ll wind up his demon arm, then thrust it forward like a battering ram. Deflecting this one will (temporarily) cut off his demon arm and dramatically shrink his Spirit gauge. It shouldn’t take too much to get him stunned for a Fatal Stab at that point.

However, he’ll grow it back not too long later.

He’s also got a few new attacks to watch out for.

The first, and most annoying, is an Earth-based magical attack. He’ll swing his club around and plant it vertically into the ground in front of him. A moment later, a line of rock will explode along the ground toward you. It’s possible to (mostly) deflect it, but we had a lot more luck just guarding with LB.

He also adds charging attack that may or may not be a Critical Blow (when he’s glowing red). He’ll swing his club around to his side like a lance and charge at you. Both guarding and deflecting work to deal with the non-Critical version, but you’ll have to deflect if he’s glowing.

He also has a rushing flurry of Critical Blows attack. It’s a lot to handle, but he does it rarely. Guarding is the best option if he’s close, but if you can, try to deflect the third, biggest swing at the end to do a lot of damage to his Spirit Gauge.

The second phase of Wo Long’s Zhang Liang fight when the Divine Beast gauge is full.
Listen for the Blindfolded Boy’s prompt and watch for the Divine Beast Gauge to fill.
Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo via Polygon

When you finally get him down to about half health (or a little below), the Blindfolded Boy will call out to “unleash the power residing in the jade!” He’s telling you to Summon the Divine Beast. You’ll also see its icon fill up over on the right side of the screen, and you’ll get a helpful tooltip on the left side.

All that’s left is to hit Y+B/triangle+circle and bask in your victory.