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I'm reading a manga and having problems with a sentence. For context, one character just recommended going after the leader of the monsters so as to prevent more damage to their town from happening. The main character's response is:

成程。上を失えば化け物と言えど、烏合の集という訳か!

I'm actually having problems with the entirety of this sentence, but especially 上を失えば. The only thing I've guessed after looking various things up may be that it means "losing again"? I know と言えど means something like "having said that", but probably because I'm confused about the beginning of the sentence I'm having problems parsing.

Since it's in the same sentence I'll quickly also ask about 烏合の集. I can't find any info (I'm guessing this is a saying), and Google autocorrects this to 烏合の衆. Can someone confirm that they mean the same thing? Thanks very much.

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「[上]{うえ}」, in this context, means the "boss", "leader", etc.

「上を[失]{うしな}えば」 means "if they/you lost their/your boss/leader". Not sure where you get "losing again", really.

「と言えど」 is a conditional/hypothetical expression.

And yes, 「[烏合]{うごう}の[集]{しゅう}」 and 「烏合の衆」 mean the same thing. It literally means "(just) a flock of crows", and figuratively means a "disorderly crowd (without a commander)".

Thus the sentence means:

"Ah, I see. Even if they were monsters, they would be just as good as a disorderly crowd if they lost their leader!"

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