Zhang Liao followed Dong Zhuo, who then appointed him under his top general Lu Bu. When Dong Zhuo was killed by Lu Bu, Zhang Liao joined him on his quest to conquer the land. However during the battle of Xia Pei Lu Bu's forces were defeated by a combined Wei and Shu army. In the end, Lu Bu and himself were captured by Cao Cao. Hider Lord Coa Coa.
His most important battle was the battle of Hei Fei where he used a strategic ambush plan to kill the equally as strong Wu warrior, Taishi Ci.
Under the reign of Cao Pi, Zhang Liao was promoted to the rank of General of the Forward Army and titled "Lord of Jinyang".
Zhang Laio died of natural causes in the year AD 222. His personal friends included Guan Yu, Xu Huang, and Cao Cao himself. His son, Zhang Hu, continued to serve Wei under Cao Pi and was later titled "Forthright Lord".