The goal of this guide is to introduce how to keep this AI at bay. Record mode is used for the strategic part. As some players complained about him blobing and I agree starting with outlaw and get vassal swarmed don’t feel good.
Yuan Shao AI benefit from all the value and knowledge at the start and more you are a threat to a faction more easily he get friend.
The easy way : Kill Yuan Shao
1) Proxy war him as Cao Cao and try to get NAP with him (filthy mastermind) Get some coalition deal (hostile to yuan shao, not at war and also his neighbours) meanwhile with his neighbours just pay as you can with the quick deal menu.
Easy money like that by the way you start the war and get some cash in agreement if you are his “NAP friend”.
The standard DLC way :
2) Start as Huang Shao (Yellow turban) and attack him while rushing north east toward the peninsula to get a map corner advantage and push then north east in order to deny vassal.
The hard way:
3) Be in a coalition with Yuan Shao send spy pray that you can sabotage him. Reject all his call to arms against cash but when you are at war and
just call him what ever thing happen in order to keep his relation low and making him breaking deal if you can. Just conquer faster than he can make vassal (coalition with liu bei or whatever 3 province guy if you can and subside their war) to do that make a doomstack rush toward south like sun jian free real estate here you can’t fail that occupy as much land as you can for the final showdown.
Battle Tips and Optimum Core Retinue
When you get a blue general as army stack his cunning and long range unit use it as garrison for walled city. The gray one max his sword retinue he give better armor piercing evasion and usually you can make him dismount in records mode and go yolo against their frontline his high melee evasion will help him survive and cut down those ji infantry.
The yellow one meh only the best to use saber cav rush toward their archers.
Green and red should be your main core army as green make spearman useful and the increase in bodyguard make him versatile. Red can be player as DPS cav just do like Lu Bu stack 3 cav in the retinue at least rear attack them to doom, Shocktrooper warband no need for long range in this one.