Here’s my guide for the Mori clan! It includes a detailed turn by turn description for an optimal opening strategy as well as some more generalized thoughts regarding the mid and endgame. I hope you will find it helpful or at least interesting!
Clan Mori is a faction that I consider to be in the middle of the pack when it comes to campaign difficulty. To their south lies Kyushu which is held by the Shimazu and Imagawa. To their east lies Shikoku which is held by rebels who will eventually come to field powerful armies thanks to their legendary sword dojo in Tosa. And to the north lies Clan Oda and more rebels and most of the rebels in central Honshu will have warrior monks. Not to forget the Takeda outpost that has imbedded itself right in the middle of Mori lands hugging the eastern coast of southern Honshu.
Getting rid of the Takeda is easy enough to do on turn 1 and this makes the opening move rather simple. It’s the rest of Mori’s opening that I found to be rather tricky when I was trying to get the hang of this clan. The timing is really important when dealing with each front because your territory is too long to be quickly switching from one front to the other. To make matters worse clan Mori happens to be the poorest clan in the beginning of the campaign. This makes early game port prioritization really difficult because they’re so expensive. The next decision is to decide which of either Tajima or Sanuki should be taken as well on turn 1. You’ll have enough armies to take one more province in addition to Takeda’s three territories. You’ll technically be able to take Sanuki and Tajima on turn 1 but with your forces spread that thin you’ll find that keeping population loyalty high is next to impossible. Sanuki is a tempting target because of it’s 380 koku farm yield. Tajima in comparison is rather poor but it does grant +1 honor to any shinobi that are trained there. Now I love using shinobi and I like getting them as early in the campaign as possible, especially when there’s going to be a rapid advance followed up by some unhappy provinces. If you prefer taking Sanuki on turn 1 I totally understand but I’ll go for Tajima first every time.
The opening strategy that I’ve decided on is this: invade the three Takeda lands plus Tajima on turn 1 and finish off the garrison in Aki on turn 2. Start shuffling forces towards Suo and Iwami in preparation for taking Nagato off of the Shimazu. Limiting the southern border to a one province frontier is too beneficial to not get that done as soon as possible. The other half of my forces will move towards Kawachi but I don’t want to have to go to war with Oda to get it. My emissary will already be on his way to arrange an alliance with lord Oda. He always ends up in the fight for his life against a nest of angry warrior monks and he’ll be glad to have the alliance. Kawachi and Yamashiro will usually trade hands a few times, make sure that you’re ready to attack Kawachi once the rebels have it. Kawachi is key, it’s rich farm yield plus it’s defensible river makes it a prime territory that helps me hold my northern border while I clean up the rest of southern Japan.
You’ll usually have to build up your forces a bit before you can take on the rebels in Tosa. This is okay because now with Takeda gone and Nagato and Kawachi in your possession you’ll have time. The build up will allow you to reach warrior monks and yari cavalry which will help you take Kyushu. Once Kyushu is yours you can push on through central Japan and reach the defensible line of Owari, Mino and Echizen. While playing as the Mori I don’t mind betraying lord Oda but I find in many cases either the rebels have devoured him or he’s already sent assassins after me which justifies the betrayal from a roleplaying perspective. Once I’ve reached the Owari-Mino-Echizen line I’ll usually slow down a bit just like with my Shimazu campaign. Sure I could continue the blitz but I like going into the end game with some decent armies and I like to give the A.I. a chance to build up as well.
Here’s a summarized turn by turn breakdown of my opening for anyone who’s interested in the nitty gritty.
Turn 1) I’ll start by invading Aki with the SA and YA from both Suo and Iwami. I know that leaves those provinces undefended but here’s a secret, Shimazu is led by a very passive Daimyo at the start. He won’t attack those provinces, at least not right away. Actually it makes sense, those provinces are too poor to be worth his time and he’d probably struggle with population loyalty anyway. Moving on I’ll also attack Bingo with 2 YS from Izumo and 1 YS from Hoki. I’ll also attack Bitchu from Mimasaka with my Daimyo, YS and SA. Finally I’ll also attack Tajima with YS from Inaba and SA from Harima. Then I’ll build a mine in Harima and I’ll train a YA.
During the end turn Takeda will defend Aki with 1 YS and 1 SA. This is an easy battle I can usually kill most of theirs and lose very little of mine. Takeda will retreat from Bingo and then defend Bitchu with 1 CA. Again this is easy, just charge your Daimyo after him and have your spears and archers following up as fast as possible. Tajima is defended by 1 YA, they’ll hide in a forest but you’ll still be able to kill most of them with arrows before they flee.
Turn 2) Keep the emissary in the Kawachi area for now, it’s important to have eyes on the province so that you know what units the rebel army has once they are in control. Move YA from Harima to Tajima to help with population loyalty. Move YA from Mimasaka to Harima. Attack the garrison in Aki. Train YA and build a castle in Tajima.
Turn 3) An average harvest with taxes set to very low will net you a treasury of 979. It’s pretty bad but it can only get better from here! This is enough money to build a spear dojo in Aki plus a tea house in Tajima once the castle is complete plus 4 YA. The rest of this turn’s moves involve a bit of shuffling forces around to cover for low population loyalty and undefended borders. I’ll move 1 YA from Aki into Suo and another YA from Aki into Iwami. I’ll move a YS from Bingo into Aki. Daimyo and SA from Bitchu into Bizen. I’ll leave the 3 star general SA in Aki to lead my southern forces but I’ll start moving the other SA in Aki north to help in the fight for Kawachi.
Turn 4) Start building the tea house in Tajima and train YA. Move SA and YS from Tajima into Harima. Move Daimyo plus 2 SA from Bizen into Harima and prepare to attack Kawachi as soon as the rebels take it. In addition to those moves I’ll also move the SA from Bingo into Bitchu, YA from Mimasaka into Bitchu, YS from Bingo into Aki and YS from Aki into Suo.
Turn 5) During my test playthrough for this guide the rebels have taken Kawachi during that last end turn. However their forces are too strong (3 WM, 3 SA) so I’ll have to wait. In the meantime I’ll move my SA + YS from Bitchu into Bizen, YS from Bizen into Harima, YA from Mimasaka into Bizen and YS from Aki into Iwami. I’ll also train a YA in Aki and I’ll save the rest of my money to train a shinobi next turn.
Turn 6) During this turn in my test run the rebels have left Kawachi defended with only 1 SA and 2 WM, the time to strike is now! I’ll attack Kawachi with my Daimyo + 3 SA and 2 YS. Now I’ll finally send my emissary out for his real purpose which is to propose an alliance with lord Oda. Also I’ll move my SA and YS from Bizen into Harima and my SA from Aki into Suo. Then I’ll train a shinobi.
The battle for Kawachi turns out really easy as long as your fine with baiting WM into your archer fire on the bridge.
Turn 7) An average harvest with the taxes set to very low is now 1,180 koku. Now I’ll send my first shinobi towards Takeda’s previous territory to help with population loyalty and hopefully relieve some units of garrison duty. Also I’ll attack Awaji with my Daimyo from Kawachi plus the YS and SA from Harima. Then I’ll build castles in Kawachi and Harima and train YA in Mimasaka and Aki plus another shinobi.
During the defense of Awaji the rebels flee!
Turn 8) Here’s where I’ll declare war on Shimazu by attacking Nagato with SA, YA and YS from Suo plus YS and YA form Iwami. Then I’ll move 1 YA from Aki into Iwami and another YA from Aki into Suo. Then I’ll move a YS from Bingo into Iwami, YA from Mimasaka into Bizen, YA from Tajima into Harima and a YA from Harima into Awaji. Then I’ll train a YA in Mimasaka and I’ll build a castle in Awaji. The second shinobi that I’ve trained will be sent towards my Daimyo’s force. He’ll need all the help he can get with subduing conquered rebel territory!
During the end turn Shimazu has defended Nagato with 2 YA and 1 SA, again this is a rather easy battle. I pillaged 200 koku from the the victory in Nagato and then Oda accepts my alliance, all good news!
Turn 9) Here I’ll attack the garrison in Nagato’s castle to end the siege. Also I’ll move the YS and YA from Iwami into Nagato and I’ll move the YA from Suo back into Aki to help with population loyalty. Then I’ll move a YA from Bitchu to Bingo to also help with population loyalty. I’ll start moving my emissary back towards Shikoku to help scout for my Daimyo’s army. Then I’ll attack Sanuki with my Daimyo + SA and YS from Awaji + 2 YA from Bizen. Move YA from Mimasaka to Bizen. Train YA in Mimasaka and Aki.
During the end turn I defeat the castle garrison in Nagato and the rebels flee Sanuki.
Turn 10) The rebels have abandoned Awa! So I’ll attack Awa with a SA and YS from Sanuki. Then I’ll move a YA from Aki into Suo, a YA from Bingo into Aki, a YA from Bizen into Sanuki and I’ll finish up by moving a YS from Kawachi to Awaji to help out with population loyalty.
Turn 11) An average harvest set at very low taxes will net me a handsome 2,412 koku! Hey now we’re going places! With this treasury I’ll have enough to build castles in Sanuki and Awa plus 6 YS, 2 SA and a 3rd shinobi.
This feels like a decent start and now I can start to build up and focus on taking the rest of Shikoku and eventually Kyushu.
Obviously I don’t expect everyone to read all of that, that would be as tedious to read as it was to write. However I wanted to go into a little more detail with my Mori turn by turn guide because I know that this constant expansion can be tricky while also keeping population loyalty high. If there’s anyone out there who’s having difficulty with their first Mori playthrough I hope that his can help provide an outline and show that it is possible to expand relatively quickly while still eliminating any chance of a rebellion occurring.
Having a northern border of Kawachi – Harima – Tajima plus an alliance with lord Oda will help secure the north. Having a one province border on your southern frontier with Nagato plus a two province border in the east with Sanuki and Awa all by turn 11 will go a long ways towards providing a relatively safe place with which you can build up a little and get ready for your next expansion.
Shimazu is a lot easier because by turn 11 they’ve only taken 4 provinces (in my Shimazu guide). Mori by comparison has taken 9 provinces by turn 11! That’s a lot of conquered people to subdue.
That ends my opening breakdown of the Mori campaign but I will leave you with a few notes to consider.
By turn 15 you’ll either want to start investing more into your economy or teching up to WM and YC, or you can take a half and half approach. I’ll suggest building a mine in Aki and building a port in either Bizen or Harima. Both of those provinces have natural harbors which makes building a ports in those provinces cheaper. Eventually you’ll also want a port in Nagato but that can wait a bit until your economy is doing better. Also on the subject of the economy, farming upgrades should be built in Bitchu, Kawachi and Sanuki.
Eventually I’ll switch Mimasaka over to WM production and I’ll switch Aki over to YC production. This means that I’ll have to move archer and spear production to different provinces. Luckily as the Mori you’ll have a million iron sands deposits so you can have armor upgrades nearly everywhere in your home provinces. I’ll choose Iwami for my alternate spear dojo site and Hoki or Inaba for my alternate archer dojo site.
On the subject of army composition I prefer to use a different composition for each clan that I play just for an extra bit of roleplay plus some challenge and variety. For each clan I’ll use a standard base of four units (YS,YA,SA and YC) plus two extra special units. I’ve taken inspiration from the starting units each clan receives in the 1580 campaign and for Mori that’ll be Warrior Monks and Naginata! It’s definitely a fearsome army! My exact army composition is 4 SA (including my heir/general), 4 naginata, 4 WM, 3 YS and 1 YC.
On the subject of the Mori clan itself your heirs will be fewer than Shimazu’s, they’ll come of age later than Shimazu’s and they’ll be less capable in combat. So it’s important to keep them alive once they do come of age. This is all balanced out by the fact that Mori Motonari himself starts the campaign as a 5 star general! In addition to that Mori’s unit generals are quite a bit better than Shimazu’s as you’ll come across quite a few 3 stars and even a couple 4 stars in the mid game.
One last piece of advice, don’t totally neglect your northern border. I know it seem safe because Oda has his hands full with the Ikko-Ikki Warrior Monks in central Japan but send a unit or two up to your northern border every once in a while to help bolster your defenses in Kawachi, Harima and Tajima.
I hope that this has been informative for those of you who are looking for some advice heading into a Mori campaign. I have created a Youtube channel that focuses on Shogun Total War walkthroughs on expert difficulty so if you’d like to see some more in depth strategies come visit me on Youtube! I know there are folks who still remember this game fondly but I also believe that the popularity of the Total War franchise may be bringing newer players to some of these older games. And for that I’d like to reach out and say welcome! And if you’d like to talk shop then by all means check out my channel and stop in a say “Hi!”
This is it guys!! I am sure that you will love SHOGUN: Total War™ Mori Clan Guide that we have shared with you. We are always open to discussion and suggestions from you. Just let us what you thought about the guide in the comment section.
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