EU4: Best malleable nations

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On a world map from 1444, you can quickly see that things look very different from today. Spain does not exist, the Ottomans are a major world power and Japan is made up of warring states. But there are many things you can do to shape the world as we know it in the 21st century.

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From a start in 1444 in Paradox Interactive’s magnum opus, you get to choose multiple nations that might start out small but progress to bigger and better things over the years. Whether through war, diplomacy, or luck, you have many opportunities to rise through the ranks of the world and become a great power.

10 Castile to Spain

If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, it’s possible to base Spain with Aragon, but Castile is the easiest way to do it. In fact, Castile is one of the most popular options for a 1444 start, and it’s also a nation that recommends the game even for beginners. Part of the reason for this is that Castile has few internal issues, has a very clear mission tree, and has engaging gameplay options right from the start.

Since you shouldn’t spend too much time playing Mole Smash with Rebels, The Reconquista will have you playing almost immediately after starting the game. The Iberian Wedding, which is fairly easy to trigger, also allows Castile to ultimately take control of neighboring Aragon, meaning you can avoid unnecessary military risks and focus on building your economy to become an Imperial power. After all, it’s in colonialism that Spain really shines, as you’ll be one of the first European nations to make it across the pond.

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9 England to Great Britain

There is a convoluted way you can found Britain by starting as Scotland, conquering England, reforming England and then founding Britain with Irish ideas, but England is the easier choice. Right off the bat, England is the dominant power in the English Channel Trade Hub, which is the best trade hub in the game. And you will continue to gain more power in this node by vassaling and conquering Ireland. If you can bypass France’s guarantee of independence from Scotland (which you should be able to do with your incredible navy), taking Scotland will make you even more powerful.

They also start with provinces in France. So if you want to try extending the Hundred Years War, you have that option too. But even if you lose your footing in mainland Europe, the United British Isles alone offer the English player exceptional power within an EU4 game.

8th Holland to the Netherlands

A real Holland game is preferably with the Conquest of Paradise DLC, because this is the additional content you need to gain support for your independence and break free from your personal union with Burgundy. And if you manage to shape them, they could be a great force.

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The Dutch start with an additional trader, increased trading range, 15 percent more trading efficiency, and reduced cost of developing their provinces. Militarily, Dutch forces have ten percent more fire capability. The unique Dutch government of the Netherlands also offers an additional 10 percent efficiency bonus for trading and a bonus to the damage heavy ships can dish out. If you can found the Netherlands and build your navy to rival Britain, it could be your ticket to becoming a global power.

7 Brandenburg to Prussia

Prussia is arguably the best military nation in the entire game. It’s also a nice reward, as the early decades for the Brandenburg player can be a bit rough. However, the early fights are worth it.

Reforms available to Prussia as a monarchy or republic include, in addition to Prussia’s strong military ideas, militarization (with the Rights of Man DLC), giving your army bonuses as you become more militarized. 50 Military Power gets you 10 Militarization and at 100 you get even more boons for your army. The Teutonic Order or any nation with Prussian, Saxon or Pomeranian culture can also form Prussia.

6 Brandenburg to Germany

Prussia is often the target for Brandenburg, but you can take your game one step further and try to shape Germany. While perhaps not as militarily imposing as Prussia, Germany can still be a force to be reckoned with thanks to its national ideas, which grant you more discipline, trade efficiency, less unrest, more goods produced, and additional diplomatic ties, among other benefits .

You cannot found Germany directly from Brandenburg. Part of a good Germany game is to shape Prussia as quickly as possible. If you want to go a different route, you can start your game as Brunswick.

5 Naples to Italy

The Italian peninsula is one of the most developed plots in the game and the competition for it is fierce. What is the payout? A stable nation with great economic and diplomatic prowess and a chance to dominate the Mediterranean with an impressive navy.

Napoli starts in personal union with Aragon as a junior partner, but you can Get your independence with the Conquest of Paradise DLC. If you don’t have the DLC, fear not! The formation of Italy can also come from other Italian nations, many of which are quite good. Florence, for example, can form Tuscany and so quickly expand into Italy.

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However, the advantage of a Neapolitan start is that you start with the southern half of the boot and have access to the sea on both sides of the peninsula. Fun Fact: Italy is the only Catholic nation in the game that can hold Roma and subdue the Papal States with no penalties.

4 Poland to Commonwealth

You can set up Commonwealth over Lithuania, but Poland starts in a better position economically and has the superior military, so it’s Poland. 16th Century Eastern Europe can be a dangerous place in EU4.

The Ottomans have been growing in power since 1444, and Moscow or Russia has been expanding eastwards for a few hundred years, growing in both size and power. If you’re in the region and don’t belong to any of these nations, then the superior cavalry, army morale and overall stability of the Commonwealth are your best bet for staying alive.


3 Moscow to Russia

From 1444 you’re likely to find yourself immediately engaged in a rivalry with the fearsome Ottomans, and it takes a great deal of strength to survive, let alone thrive as their neighbors. But as Moscow, and later Russia, you will thrive!

Russia can field a huge army, especially if you take crowd ideas and use the idea of ​​lifetime conscription, which grants the Russian player 50 percent more to your allowed army size. Russian troops also take less fire damage, artillery is cheaper, penalties for aggressive expansion are reduced, and you pay less for core provinces.


2 Uesugi to Japan

In 1444, the Warring States of Japan began as tiny nations with a handful of provinces. You don’t make any money and war is raging around you. Regardless – Uesugi is the way to unite Japan.

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Uesugi holds three provinces in the Hokoriko region, giving them good access to the sea on either side of the archipelago. This positioning is also useful in allowing Uesugi to conquer the Northeast with relatively less competition from the other Daimyos. Sure, you may need to borrow a boatload of credit to muster a competent army and navy, but it’s worth it… right?


1 Jianzhou to Qing

You may be surprised to learn that tiny Jianzhou, bordered by the almighty Ming in 1444, is a more than apt nation to form a future world power. In fact, thanks to its strong military ideas, Jianzhou is the best non-Ming nation in the region. Boasting bonuses to her morale and manpower, Jianzhou suffers less attrition in enemy lands while also inflicting additional attrition on her enemies in Jianzhou’s own lands.

Jianzhou also added bonuses to Annual Legitimacy, Horde Unity, and Stability. Remember that Jianzhou Qing can form after they establish Manchu via the Nurhachi’s Reforms event, which only triggers once per game.

NEXT: EU4: Best malleable former colonial nations to create


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