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Hero Overview

Ma Chao (in Chinese: 馬超), nicknamed Ma Chao the Splendid (in Chinese: 錦馬超), is one of the major characters in the 14th-century Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by the late Luo Guanzhong, and its multiple adaptations. He is the son of Xi leader Ma Teng and cousin of fellow Shu officer Ma Dai.


Ma Chao was the son of Ma Teng, one of the generals of Han Dynasty. Ma Teng was assassinated along with Ma Chao's brother, by Cao Cao, at the time the emperor's newly appoint imperial minister of war.

Though by all account still loyal to the Emperor, Cao Cao did not trust any of his political/military rivals, including other members of the Han, and so he exiled and/or slaughtered anyone who could theoretically challenge his position.

After the assassination of his father, Ma Chao held a grudge against Cao Cao and attempts to avenge his father's death in Tong Gate, to no avail.

Battle of Tong Pass

"The Battle of Tong Pass"/"The Battle at Tong Gate", is one of the more significant battles Ma Chao was in. Ma Chao had been forced to go into exile as "a traitor" to the Han and during this time he had dedicated himself to avenging his fallen family members against Cao Cao. Ma Chao allied himself with Pang De and Han Sui, an old friend of his father's who had inherited the Liang Province.

Ma Chao and Han Sui organized an ambushes at the Tong Pass to destroy Cao Cao's regional army and kill Cao Cao himself. While slaying soldiers, and interrogating Wei officers, at least one of which Ma Chao kills afterwards, Ma Chao gets a steady stream of information that Han Sui is in-fact planning to betray the forces to Cao Cao to be welcomed back into the Han.

Ma Chao strikes at Han Sui for the treachery, however it would turn out the information about talks with Han Sui was planted as part of a fearmongering campaign by Cao Cao, Ma Chao's strike against Han Sui, forces him to cooperate with Cao Cao when he came through. Ma Chao realizes too late he had been manipulated by his own fears and Han Sui turns over Tong Pass to Cao Cao rather than strikes at him.

Joining Shu

Ma Chao swore to never let Cao Cao manipulate him again and renewed his vows to one day avenge his father and brother. Ma Chao shall escaped and allied himself with governor Liu Zhang.

Ma Chao joined Zhang Lu and as Zhang Lu's officer, he led reinforcements to Liu Zhang when the latter was attacked by Liu Bei in Chengdu. Liu Bei was commander of the newly formed Shu, made up of those Wei had seized the territories of.

However, Ma Chao and Ma Dai decide to join with Shu because he believes that Liu Bei is on the side of justice and becomes one of the Five Tiger Generals. Ma Chao became one of Liu Bei's main supports and supported him in every move he made against Cao Cao.

Later in his own life, Liu Bei become the greatest emperor as he founding of Shu empire, Ma Chao dies from illness such before the battle of Yiling.


Filled with a warrior's pride, Ma Chao is a straightforward man who believes in making his future with his own power. A firm believer of justice and heroics, he is always intent on declaring his intentions for all to hear.

Prior to the Battle of Tong, Ma Chao is impetuous and eager for battle.

After he was tricked into driving away his own allies though, Ma Chao becomes more wary of Cao Cao's cunning and his own hot-headed nature. In the Dynasty Warriors game series, Ma Chao is can be found speaking of conflicts as a matter of honor against Wei, with a grudge against Cao Cao in-particular.


  • Ma Chao is one of the playable characters in both the Dynasty Warriors and Knights of Valour video game series.
  • Around Yiling and his death by illness, Ma Chao took on the role of an encouraging big brother figure for the children of Guan Yu and Zhang Fei.
  • Though in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Han Sui betrays Ma Chao to Cao Cao, historically, Han Sui's children and grandchildren were held hostage and killed to compromise him, and he died of mysterious circumstances once his troops suspected he had been compromised.
  • In real life, historians actually have confirmed Ma Chao was cruel to the point of hated by his own people for the various forms of abuse he unleashed upon his soldiers.
  • He perhaps it to believes in Taoism.


           Romance of the Three Kingdoms Logo.png Heroes

Cao Wei
Xiahou Dun | Xiahou Yuan | Lady Zhen | Cao Pi | Pang De | Cai Wenji | Guo Jia | Li Dian | Yue Jin | Yu Jin | Xun Yu | Xun You | Man Chong | Cao Xiu | Cao Zhi | Cao Zhang | Cao Zhen | Cao Ang | Cao Anmin | Ren Jun | Cao Jie | Cao Hong | Cao Rui | Cao Chun | Cao Fang | Han Hao | Meng Da | Tian Yu | Wen Ping | Xin Pi | Xu Zhi | Xiahou Mao | Xiahou Shang | Xiahou Hui | Chen Tai | Zhuge Xu | Empress Guo | Empress Dowager Bian | Cheng Yin | Chen Lin | Wang Su | Wang Ling | Zang Ba | Yue Lin

Eastern Wu
Zhou Yu | Lu Xun | Taishi Ci | Lady Sun | Sun Jian | Sun Quan | Lu Meng | Gan Ning | Sun Ce | Huang Gai | Two Qiaos | Zhou Tai | Ling Tong | Ding Feng | Bu Lianshi | Han Dang | Lu Su | Zhu Ran | Cheng Pu | Xu Sheng | Dong Xi | Sun Yi | Su Fei | Sun Kuang | Sun Luban | Sun Luyu | Zhu Huan | Pan Zhang | Jiang Qin | Hu Zong | Kan Ze | Chen Wu | Zhuge Ke | Zhuge Jin | Pan Jun | Lu Mao | Sun Liang | Sun Xiu | Sun Hao | Zhou Fang | Lu Dai | Lu Fan | Lu Jun | Lu Kang | Lu Yi | Lou Xuan | Bu Zhi | Bu Xie | Lady Wu | Wu Guotai | Empress Zhu | Taishi Xiang | Yan Jun | Zhu Yi | Quan Cong | Zhu Zhi

Shu Han
Zhao Yun | Guan Yu | Zhang Fei | Zhuge Liang | Liu Bei | Ma Chao | Huang Zhong | Jiang Wei | Wei Yan | Pang Tong | Lady Huang | Guan Ping | Empress Zhang | Guan Suo | Liu Shan | Ma Dai | Bao Sanniang | Xu Shu | Lady Guan | Guan Xing | Zhang Bao | Fa Zheng | Lady Xiahou | Zhou Cang | Deng Zhi | Wang Ping | Zhuge Zhan | Feng Xi | Huo Jun | Huo Yi | Liu Ba | Jian Yong | Fei Yi | Liao Hua | Jiang Wan | Ma Su | Ma Liang | Fan Qiang | Zhang Da | Liu Du | Liu Feng | Lady Fan | Shamoke | Zhao Fan | Mi Zhu | Mi Fang | Yang Xi | Zhang Nan | Zhao Lei | Zhao Tong | Zhao Guang | Dong Yun | Huang Quan | Li Feng | Li Yan | Liu Yan | Lady Gan | Lady Mi | Sun Qian | Zhang Da | Jiang Shu | Xu Jing | Fu Shiren

Jin Dynasty
Sima Shi | Sima Zhao | Wang Yuanji | Deng Ai | Xiahou Ba | Guo Huai | Zhuge Dan | Zhong Hui | Wen Yang | Xin Xianying | Chen Shou | Sima Yan | Sima You | Cao Huan | Wen Qin

Han Dynasty
Diao Chan | Zuo Ci | Lady Lu | Hua Xiong | He Jin | Gongsun Zan | Gongsun Fan | Gongsun Yue | Huangfu Song | Chen Gui | Tian Kai | Guan Jing | Kong Rong | Liu Biao | Liu Qi | Cao Bao | Lady Yan | Bao Long | Chen Ying | Zhao Hong | Xu Rong | Ze Rong | Ou Xing | Wang Yun | Lady Cai | Gongsun Du | Cai Mao | Cai Yong | Ma Tie | Ma Xiu | Han Fu | Han Sui | Han De | Emperor Xian | Emperor Ling | Yuan Yao | Huang Shao | Huang Chengyan | Jiao Chu | Fu Shou | Ma Teng | Consort Tang | Zhang Lu | Liu Zhang | Liu Yao | Tao Qian | Guan Ding | Zhang Song | Lady Yang | Ma Yunlu | Liu Cong | Qiao Xuan | Yan Baihu

Exclusive Characters
Lei Bin | Lixia | Luo Pingan | Jingshu | Gongsun Baoyue | Li Feiyan | Xiahou Qingyi | Sun Ruan'er | Liu Qing'er

Good Organizations
Five Bushel Sect | Five Tiger Generals | Forces in Xiliang | Gongsun Zan's Army | Liu Biao's Army | Liu Zhang's Army | Tao Qian's Army