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Warning: The following text contains spoilers relating to the plot of Factions Campaign.

Shiro Tagachi
Shiro Tagachi.jpg
Species: Human/Envoy
Profession: Assassin Assassin-icon.png
Level(s): 31 (33)


Shiro Tagachi, also known as Shiro the Betrayer, is the main antagonist of Guild Wars Factions and was the bodyguard of Emperor Angsiyan, the 27th Emperor of Cantha. Two hundred years before the present day, he killed the very Emperor he was sworn to protect at the Harvest Ceremony in Kaoya Zun Temple and was slain for his betrayal. His death wail triggered the Jade Wind that swept the land, petrifying the Echovald Forest and turning the Jade Sea into solid jade.

In the PvE campaign in Factions, Shiro returns to threaten Cantha once more.


Skills Used[]

Special abilities[]


  • Knockdowns shorter than three seconds don't work on Shiro. Thus, Shiro can be knocked down (although very shortly) by Warriors using a Stonefist Insignia, or by the skill Backbreaker. Earthbind will increase the knockdown duration on Shiro, as well as enable other knockdown skills to knock Shiro down.
  • Shiro double-strikes like an Assassin and wields two blades. He uses no profession-specific skills, though he does shadow step during the skill Riposting Shadows.
  • Shiro Tagachi's total health in Imperial Sanctum is estimated to be 6300, and 6800 in Hard Mode.
  • Shiro does not actually use the weapon Shiro's Blades, as when you are hit you do not lose 3 health from life stealing (Shiro's Blades are vampiric) and Shiro does not suffer from the -1 degeneration the blades would cause.
  • It is possible to kill Shiro in Sunjiang District through the repeated use of Unholy Feast by the entire party. This is extremely difficult to do, and has no overall bearing on the story.
  • Shiro, along with Mallyx the Unyielding, used to be the highest level foe in the game (reaching level 33 in hard mode) before Alpha Tyrannus was introduced.

Shiro's Betrayal[]

Shiro was a powerful Canthan champion in life. One day, he was told by a Fortune Teller that he was destined to greatness and that fortune will come his way. He ignored her words at first, but it was apparent they bothered him. As he walked away, he knocked a small bucket over by accident while pondering on her words, which spilled several gold coins.

He returned to the Fortune Teller later, and she told him the Emperor admires and trusts him, and would bestow a great honor upon him. Again, he dismissed her words, but Emperor Angsiyan appointed Shiro as his personal bodyguard soon after.

Convinced of the Fortune Teller's gifts, he returned to her to listen to more of her words. This time, however, she told him that the Emperor was planning to kill him. He did not believe her at first and struck her down in rage. With her dying breath, she told Shiro that the Emperor would attempt to kill him at the Harvest Ceremony in Kuan Jun Temple. She also told him that he would have to make a choice at the Temple: either Shiro or the Emperor would die ("Him or you").

At the Festival, the Emperor told the guards to allow his retinue and Shiro to enter with him into the Temple. This was unprecedented and against the Emperor's earlier instructions. The Guard Captain had to relent to the wishes of the Emperor, though he did so with hesitation. Shiro remembered the words of the Fortune Teller and suspected that the Emperor was setting a trap for him. Torn by conflicting thoughts, Shiro decided to kill the Emperor. Shiro came up behind the Emperor who bowed his head to pray for the blessings of Dwayna and killed him as well as the others with him.

The champions of Cantha who were present at the ceremony rushed to avenge their Emperor, but Shiro was without match in the use of the blade. The fight was entirely one-sided, and soon only two warriors remained to challenge Shiro; the Luxon champion Archemorus, and the Kurzick champion Viktor. Even they did not have the power to stop Shiro by themselves.

The tide of the battle was turned by the assassin Vizu who shadow stepped behind Shiro and, before Shiro even noticed it, crippled and disarmed him. The Kurzick and Luxon champions then attacked Shiro with his own blades— the very blades that slew the Emperor.

Overcome with pain, rage, and malice, Shiro let out a terrible cry that caused a Jade Wind to sweep across the lands of Cantha, petrifying the forest and turning the sea into pure jade. The three Heroes who bested Shiro also perished in the event. The Kuan Jun Temple itself did not survive the Jade Wind. Right before the Sea solidified around it, it sunk to the bottom in a huge whirlpool that has come to be known as the Unwaking Waters.

The Fortune Teller makes a reappearance in the Nightfall campaign - the optional quest Bad Fortune allows players to track her down and destroy her once and for all. This quest explains that she was a demonic agent of Abaddon who manipulated Shiro into assassinating his Emperor. It does not reveal why, however, probably because Abaddon wanted him as a guard for his break-out.

After Death[]

It is revealed in the Factions Campaign storyline that Shiro has become an Envoy, a shepherd of the souls of the dead who leads them to the Mists. How he achieved this is never explained explicitly in-game. However, the Official Strategy Guide states that Shiro becomes an envoy due to his sins in life.

It is uncertain whether or not Shiro ever performed his duties as an Envoy, but, by the time of the Factions campaign, he had completely forsaken that duty, binding the newly dead into constructs to serve him in the material realm rather than guiding them to the Mists.

Shiro returns in his spirit form to the land of Cantha, leaving a trail of Afflicted and Shiro'ken in his wake. With the players hot on his trail, Shiro gradually comes closer to his unannounced goal. He manages to capture Emperor Kisu and hold him hostage in his own palace, with the goal of returning to the mortal realm and breaking his original curse. The curse can only be broken by repeating the deed that cursed him originally: spilling the blood of the imperial line.

Shiro, sealed in jade

Master Togo and Brother Mhenlo lead the players through Raisu Palace and rush to save the Emperor. They arrive just in time, but when Master Togo approaches the throne, Shiro makes a surprise appearance, knocks everyone down, and takes Togo away to the Imperial Sanctum before anyone can react. There, Shiro reveals that he sensed Master Togo was also of the imperial blood line; he slays Togo and breaks his curse to return to the mortal realm. At that moment he ceases to be an Envoy, which is ultimately his undoing as he can now be killed.

Mhenlo leads the players on a quest for revenge, aided by several of the NPCs who have participated in the Factions Campaign, including the dragon Kuunavang herself. They find and kill Shiro, and the adepts of the Oracle of the Mists, Suun, seal his mortal form in jade. Shiro finally dies a normal death, and his spirit comes into the keeping of the Envoys who have a special place in the Underworld planned for him.

Warning: The following text contains spoilers relating to the plot of the Nightfall Campaign.

After Shiro's second death, the envoys remarked that they have reserved a special place in the Underworld just for him. In Nightfall, this is revealed to be the Realm of Torment, which is also the prison of Abaddon. Shiro makes an appearance at the end of Gate of Madness.

Finally, the truth is revealed1: The Fortune Teller was a torment creature, an agent of Abaddon sent to Cantha to twist the mind of Shiro and corrupt his soul, possibly to ensure that Shiro would take the actions he took so he'd be placed in the Realm of Torment, thus giving Abaddon another potential general.


External Links[]

  • An animated rendition of Shiro's betrayal is the opening cinematic for Guild Wars Factions (which can be found here). This cinematic animation can also be found on disc 1 of the retail version of Guild Wars Factions.