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- In the earlier games (mainly the fourth and fifth installments), combine the Shadow Harness with Ma Chao or Zhou Tai for instant win as they first started the trend of attacking on one side of their horses (though their attack speed on that one side was just fast), allowing for infinitely juggling enemy officers. Even on the hardest difficulty, as long as you don't get one shotted, all generals and masses of enemies can be easily defeat by spamming the attack button and moving around a little. Considerably nerfed in the latter games but still powerful.
- In fact, Ma Chao's more effective than Zhou Tai due to the reach of and the speed that he swings his spear. Let's not get into his mounted charge attack...a shockwave attack with a lot more longer range than expected that stuns, but was eventually nerfed in the fifth title. This also makes the Storm Runner a viable choice for him due to it increasing mounted attack.
- Obtaining the ultimate weapons in earlier games could be irritating, as your main boss was always in danger of dying while you were off fulfilling the specific prerequisite for your weapon to spawn. An easy way around this is to simply play the game on co-op, and have Player 2 either control your faction leader competently or park them somewhere safe on the edge of the map, out of harm's way. Newer games mostly did away with this little trick, sometimes changing the defeat condition to "losing the main camp" instead of "(Kingdom Leader) dies" if a player happens to be controlling their main boss.
- In Dynasty Warriors 3 (and even up to 5 before it was changed in 6), to quote a certain YouTuber, Gan Ning is capable of a "2 Musou Offense". His Musou Attack not only travels a good distance, but inflicts so many hits at once that it can instantly break through guards (not break guards, mind you. Break through, thanks to its lingering hitboxes) to continue to deal damage for a solid amount. Sure, you need to learn to know how to control the Musou Attack, but once you do, Gan Ning can 4-shot any single general with 2 Musou Attacks, and he doesn't even need Way of the Musou equipped. 4-onwards had him literally going faster during the attack while also having a different animation that changed the hitbox, but it still didn't stop him one bit until others overshadowed him around 5.
- Then in the rarely-discussed Dynasty Warriors 4 and its XL version, Gan Ning was a good crowd clearer, but wasn't as busted as the aforementioned Ma Chao and Zhou Tai, his power backed up with the Power Rune item and his decent Lv. 11 weapon makes him a force to be reckoned with regardless.
Dynasty Warriors 3
- In Dynasty Warriors 3, when you encounter a commander face-to-face and their battle taunt cutscene triggers, their "Commander Stamina" activates and, even on Novice, you can barely chip off a few centimeters of their health with every hit. How do you get around this ridiculous defense boost? Pelt them with arrows without triggering the cutscene. Watch their health plummet faster than your army's morale on Very Hard. It should be noted that this does not work on Lu Bu as he always has Commander Stamina. Have fun with that.
- The "Steel/Death" element (lit. "Slay/Slash" in the Japanese/Asian versions) in 3 kills any non-officer (from the lowliest archer all the way up to Lu Bu's bodyguards) automatically and can deal heavy damage to officer characters (a percentage of their current health, regardless of your strength and their defense) while also having an amazing Musou fill rate on peon targets. Cao Cao, in particular, becomes nearly unstoppable with this; you have to set the difficulty to Hard to be challenged at all with him, especially if you're playing a stage that requires a bodyguard setup with him (since his C6 and other Steel/Death charge attacks have some notable startup). And Cao Cao's weapon with that said element is found in the Yellow Turban Rebellion stage, meaning it's difficult, but not impossible, to get it in the first stage of his story mode. You can then leave the game set on Hard and probably not be significantly challenged for the rest of his story. It was eventually toned down (as the Vorpal element in 4, Shadow element in 5 and so forth), but it's still very useful even in the later games.
Dynasty Warriors 4 (mainly Xtreme Legends)
- Lu Bu, while not a big game breaker per say with his Lv. 11 weapon, at least has solid stats/items attached to it allowing him to actually be effective on any Legend Mode stages that restrict items while being played on Expert mode, due to the weapon coming with maximum attack power possible (Lv. 20 Tiger Amulet and Lv. 20 Herbal Remedy on top of the usual base 60 attack all Lv. 11 weapons have).
- Zhang Fei's parry attack, especially with his Lv. 11 weapon (Lv. 20 Tiger Amulet and only a Lv. 17 Herbal Remedy) gives him the strongest one out of all of them in the game with solid range all around.
- Whenever you pair a character who can have a high charge attack stat (via a Lv. 20 Herbal Remedy or a high level one already on a Lv. 11 weapon), pair them with maximum attack stats possible, a Power Rune and picking up even a x2 Attack battlefield pick up, then your charge attacks via how the game handles guarding-power, become completely unblockable, even more so with elements that can help bypass defenses (Lightning and Blast in particular, along with Poison nerfing overall defense for its duration).
- Zhao Yun's C1 has startup invincibility, on top of having 5 item slots to make up for his mid-leveled Herbal Remedy on his Lv. 11 weapon; having the aforementioned setup with either Poison Orb or Blast Orb makes him be able to spam an unblockable C1 attack out of impunity to destroy generals and/or crowd control with ease; Yuan Shao works in a similar fashion with his C1 as well, on top of his Lv. 11 weapon providing decent stats as well.
Dynasty Warriors 5
- Dynasty Warriors 5 has Ling Tong's C4. He leaps into the air, does a flip, and stomps on the ground. And it stuns anyone it hits... just long enough for you to do it again. Even better, it triggers elements.
- Also in 5, Zhuge Liang goes from a low-tier to a top-tier mainly due to his new hard-multi-hitting jump charge that fills his Musou bar quickly, and his Musou now inflicting crumple state on his targets, causing them to take fully-unhampered-grounded damage on each beam shot. Added with his C1 and C6 gaining the unblockable properties of his C3, and you have a solid character who has great Musou fill along with a solid Musou Attack in general.
Dynasty Warriors 6
- The bow moveset for Sun Shangxiang and Yueying in Dynasty Warriors 6. Once the character is fully leveled up via the Renbu Gauge, it is ridiculously easy to mow down enormous crowds and strike repeatedly at enemy officers before they even get within range of you using just normal attacks, as it becomes a rapid firing volley of five enemy-piercing arrows, with an element activating on each other. Give these two an ice-based weapon, and she'll turn every enemy into an ice sculpture within seconds.
Dynasty Warriors 7
- Despite Lu Bu's quasi-Nerf in 7, he's the only character with a built-in Synergy "seal" in his skill tree to go with the possible Synergy seal on each weapon, which (by being the only possible character who can "stack Synergy 3x") gives him the highest Attack power in the game. Equip two Halberds with a Synergy seal on each, one preferably the Black Dragon Halberd, then use his Switch Attack (which buffs his attack speed temporarily and can also stun an opponent) on a regular basis and proceed to murder all in your path at super speed.
- Lu Bu is also overpowered in the sense that he has no less than 3 unblockable moves, 1 of which is an aerial Musou Attack that deals massive damage and the other has a long invincibility frame. Coupling this with his Halberd's speed buff Switch Attack, and he becomes virtually unstoppable.
- Created characters in Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires get whatever weapon you want them to use as a first weapon. Yes, that little girl you just created as a Halberd user can now cause massive shockwaves with its EX attack: an invincible Grapple Move, in the form of a one-handed chokeslam. All the Grapple Moves in this game grant a small bit of invincibility while it's being performed, but that one move...
- In Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends, acquiring a title for officers that allows them to absorb a portion of the damage they deal to enemies as health when they wield Speed-type weapons. If your officers have high enough attack and strong enough weapons, they can keep their health at maximum forever. You can practically steamroll even the most difficult (5 stars and above) Chaos difficulty stages with relative ease, and health recovery items are completely unnecessary. The only way to be challenged with this setup is to play the even more difficult Nightmare difficulty stages, where enemy officers gain free attack and defense boosts, along with Combat Resistance (normal attacks do not make them flinch). In hindsight, it appears this ability was made for the Nightmare difficulty in mind...
- In DW7 Empires, any characters with the Evil Main Fame are this, largely due to the fact that it gives you ample amounts of resource incomes and allows the use of ridiculously powerful Strategems. To name just a few: the Explosion Strategem can continuously blow away all approaching enemies and set bases on fire for a good 15 seconds, while the Poison Mist Strategem outright kills any surrounding enemies in less than 5 seconds under any difficulty. Ultimate Might, the crown jewel of the Evil Strategems, takes the cake by boosting your character attributes to insane levels that a few hits is enough to take down even the most fortified base, and anything the enemy throws at you will barely give you a scrath. Oh, and this effect lasts as long as you still have remaining Troop Strength.
- The Brave Main Fame characters also have shades of this, as one of the main benefits grants by this Fame is insanely fast Musou recharge rate and movement speed, both of which increase proportionally to the character's Fame level. Coupling these with the powerful Strategems it gives you, such as "Immovable", which prevents any if all damage to be dealt at you for a good 30 seconds, and a bit of skill, and you have your unstoppable Lightning Bruiser right here.
- DW7's Curved Sword (Zhou Tai's EX weapon). No, not because of its weapon strength, but when combined with a character with maximum Dash skill, they're capable of using a maneuver that makes them as fast as (or faster than) Red Hare: By jumping, air-dashing, attacking mid-air, then jump-cancel, air-dash, attack mid-air, jump-cancel, repeat ad-nauseum. Not exactly combat-breaking, but will break some difficulties about reaching out some Lv.5 weapons with strict time limit.
Dynasty Warriors 8
- Remember Zhou Tai's Curved sword from 7? In 8, its Switch Attack, when fully charged, procs elements. Not to mention, Switch Attacks are completely invincible (despite not being usable as reversals unlike Musou Attacks), are unblockable and will prevent the target(s) from using their Musou Attack to retaliate upon them getting hit. Add that together and when combined with Thunder, Slash and Explosive to be able to continuously fire it into a crowd in order have rapid guaranteed chances to insta-kill your targets (as it even makes the elemental procs themselves unblockable, so no need for Cyclone) even in Ultimate Difficulty when enemy generals are powered up in Hyper Mode. The only downsides are that having too much attack speed on the weapon will cause the Switch Attack's hitboxes to move by too fast, and that sometimes the launch effect of the fully-charged Switch Attack won't result in much raw damage on its own without the elements, making proc'ing that spread-unblockable-instant-kill-damage requiring a bit of precision and some RNG at best.
- Zhang Jiao's Shaman Rod weapon in 8. Its C5-EX attack ends with a time-stopping fire wave in front of him that DESTROYS anyone caught in it. Even enemies wielding a weapon with the element the staff is at a disadvantage to will get stunned and burned for their trouble. And since it's a Dash weapon, it's best wielded by the most mobile characters in the game. Doing the combo and rapidly air-dashing out of crowds makes the game RIDICULOUSLY easier. Though its C6 actually is his most reliable elemental-proc attack however, just in case you need to run an elemental setup on it to bypass hyper officers' defenses as the C5-EX's physical damage will still get neutered on the highest level of hyper mode auras.
- Although it's still substantially overshadowed by Zhang Jiao's own R1 Musou, which comes in the form of a violent storm of fireballs that hit so ridiculously hard it may as well be the DW universe's equivalent of tactical nukes. It is also one of the few Musous that lets you regain control of your character before it has finished firing, so you're free to follow up with another hailstorm of destruction just in case anything survived the first one (ESPECIALLY when you pair it with the right attributes to increase its overall damage, though the tankiest of hyper officers still need elemental damage to be brought down effectively). Now say it with me: "Fear the wrrrrrrath of the HEAVENS!!" (or "THIS IS THE MIRACLE OF HEAVEN!!!" in the Asian dialogue versions.)
- In Dynasty Warriors 8, each type of weapon has a unique bonus ability. Boosts in attack and defense, being able to cancel into certain moves that would be otherwise impossible, and so on. And then we have the Halberd weapons. When switching into a Halberd, the player gains a HUGE attack bonus, doubles speed (like your character is on fast-forward) and makes an afterimage trail you all for 5 seconds. It may sound not that impressive, but during these 5 seconds you're so fast that you will be able to do two □, □, □, □ combos, wich will kill anyone nearby (filling your Musou and Rage gauges very fast) and deal incredible amounts of damage on officers. And when you switch off from your Halberd, you make a swipe attack that cuts throught all kinds of defenses and immunities (such as Lu Bu being immune to flinching at Hulao Gate) and stuns enyone nearby. By equiping two Halberds on your characters, you can keep the bonus for as long as you need, and keep enemy officers stunned while you tear their HP away. And to boot: you start the game with three Halberds and can equip them on anyone.
- In 8, Cyclone is a general Game Breaker because of it always does percentage damage, even if enemies are guarding. This element makes defeating enemy officers absurdly easy and acquiring 5th Weapons a walk in the park, since it activates 100% of the time, so charge-attacks that activate elements multiple times can just fire and chop enemies down like a hot knife through butter. Finally toned down in the expansion by making it only activating if the enemy is guarding, and reducing element activation on many weapons to a single time, but even then, it's still soundly overpowered. Even though it still triggers if guarding, you can still make it hurt REALLY badly using the Trident Tusk's C6 attack (Zhu Rong's Boomerang weapon) and watch enemy HP get ripped to shreds if they guard the combo.
- It's telling that it got nerfed in two ways in the expansions: one, the percentage damage it inflicts now only works on blocking targets, and two, enemy generals will have a high chance of not blocking a Cyclone-based attack just to avoid the bonus damage, which often means Cyclone often has to be paired with Slash in order to have equal chances (enemy generals blocking or not) in order to inflict percentage damage on them in any given situation.
- Lu Bu's jump Musou is so powerful enough that it is able to one-shot normal officers, and has huge range and completely unblockable. With the correct setup the Musou even recharges itself back in a large enough crowd. Not to mention his already overpowered halberd. However, trying to add offensive attributes to him compared to sustain pretty much makes it harder for him to handle Ultimate difficulty runs, especially since other characters that can proc much more damage + sustain than he can are arguably safer to use (e.g. Guan Yu and Zhou Tai), since Lu Bu has a lack of self-stats buffs in his natural moveset outside of his missed R1 Musou (which costs a resource) while the Halberd Switch Attack doesn't actually directly increase his attack power.
- The game is completely trivalized by putting any character on a Shadow horse, circle-strafing clockwise around enemy officers, and spamming normal attacks on a weapon that has a long ranged one-sided horse attack or with the 360 degree Harp.
- Some skills can become this with the right combination as well, such as the one that increases Power-up drop rate, meaning that the player can just kill a dozen mooks, pick up some axes and wines then proceed to kick the enemy's ass with doubled damage output.
- In 8 Empires, the special action "Threaten". This is because it is a non-combat action that can cause the threatened kingdom to forcibly join up giving you their officers, money, army, and resources. It has a low chance of working with a weak kingdom, but usually there will be 1 enemy kingdom that has around 12-20% of being threatened, and the one who posses the fixed strategy have a higher chance, meaning you have about a 25% even with a starting kingdom if you go early enough, and it keeps getting higher as you get stronger. So, once the first threaten works, it only goes downhill from there. It's actually possible to get an all threaten win and never fight at all, so long as you can pay the necessary character to join you and get them to stay.
- Xun Yu in particular stands out as the most egregious example, as his Way of Life (Aide to Kings) not only comes with Threaten, but also the biggest stratagem success chance boost. You can forget fighting as soon as you get him (or any self-created character with the same Way of Life) and one territory, and just Threaten your way to unification. It's pretty fitting, given how, as one Tumblr blogger observed, "He probably could have ruled the land himself, had he any desire to take it."
Dynasty Warriors 9
- Explosive Arrows. Because of the way bows work in the game, a player could take aim at an officer, fire a single arrow, and if the shot doesn't take the officer out immeidately, it will deal damage to any surrounding units to it. The only thing prohibitive about Explosive Arrows is this price (30,000 Gold each), and its Dispersive variant is even more expensive at 120k Gold per shot, and even this is alleviated if the player takes the time to farm gold. They become even more effective when combined with...
- The Qilin Bow and Qilin Bow EX both add a multi-shot dispersion effect to any arrow show from it. What makes this even more broken is that it boosts the effects of arrows that already have the Dispersion effect to them: a single Dispersion Poison arrow could clear out packs of animals more efficiently, while a single Dispersion Explosive arrow could take down a few dozen enemy units out from a safe distance.
- Sun Jian is obscenely broken in Advance, thanks to the nice coverage on his moveset and his second charge having a VERY long combo chains (with each hits having a Super Effective Bonus) that makes killing officers easy. Furthermore, unlike most characters who have similarly overpowered offense (namely Xu Zhu, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei) and/or a similar moveset in general (Cao Cao and Liu Bei), Sun Jian has a standard movement speed, and an easy to control Musou that deals high damage. While a lot of characters can be a killing machine in Advance when you have their attributes maxed out, Sun Jian has a combination of traits that make him stand at the top as the best character in the game.