[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (2024)

With hundreds of nations to choose from, you might find yourself spoilt for choice when deciding who to play as in Europa Universalis 4.

That being said, not all of those hundreds of nations were made equal. And as you’ll be able to see in this list, the power of some nations is absurdly lopsided.

1. Ottomans ( Best for beginners )

[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (1)

When most people think about the Ottomans, the first thing that comes to mind is short sofa-type chairs. If they’re history buffs, they might think about the historical empire that was the last great Muslim empire to expand into Europe. When EU4 players think about the Ottomans, the only thing that comes to mind is pain.

Time and again, when all other foes fall, the Ottomans still reign supreme. Time and again, where other AI nations control barely functional states on the brink of collapse, the Ottomans stand tall. Time and again, where you might cripple a rival nation to gain an upper hand, the Ottomans only bounce back, stronger than ever.

So what makes the Ottomans the de facto most powerful nation in the game? Well, the answer to that is, pretty much everything.

They have a fantastic starting position with incredibly rich land, which is also surrounded by a solid mix of both rich and poor land around them. Their starting ruler is young and one of the best starting rulers in the game, guaranteeing early technological supremacy, as well as having the downright overpowered (in the early game) Anatolian tech group. And finally, the fact that they start off with a great religion and one of the most powerful government types in the game.

Really, there’s so much going for them, that it’s honestly quicker to list things that aren’t! And even then, that list is frighteningly short.

However, while all of these things tend to work against you to create a sort of boss by the mid to late game, they can also work to ease newer players into the mechanics of the game. If you play the Ottomans, on your path of conquest you’ll be interacting with most mechanics in the game. Be it religion, trade, diplomacy, or any of the myriad other mechanics the game has to offer.

All of them will be accessible, and, because of how solid of a foundation the Ottomans have, you’ll be able to experiment without fear of completely ruining your campaign. Provided of course, you aren’t literally trying to ruin the Ottomans, in which case, is still surprisingly difficult to do!

What The Ottomans Excel In:

  • Strong Economy
  • Strong Military and Tech Group
  • Strong and Young Ruler
  • Strong and Flexible Position
  • Strong Ideas

Pick The Ottomans If You:

  • Are new to the game
  • Want to play a chill and relaxing campaign without any real worries

2. Muscovy ( Best for chill )

[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (2)

Privet, tovarish! The nation of Muscovy comes from Russia with love and is a fairly strong mid-range power at the start of the game, but also one that has incredible potential for an incredible amount of growth.

Starting in the vast region of Russia, Muscovy has one of the best campaign progressions in the game. Rather it is just large enough that none of your neighbors would be able to contest you in a proper 1 v 1, yet are also powerful enough to never be a pushover. And due to the way the game plays out, alongside the AI’s tendencies, this sort of balance of power is more often than not going to follow you to the end of the game.

Of course, if you’re starting as Muscovy, there’s only really one way that campaign is going to play out, and that’s with the formation of Russia. And what is the thing Russia is most famous for? That’s right, it’s manpower!

EU4 is no different in this regard and playing as Russia will let you quite literally drown the enemy in bodies. From quantity-based based national ideas and government type to the most stable religion, which also coincidentally gives you the most manpower. To becoming the Defender of the Faith and picking Quantity ideas, becoming a Military Hegemon, and having more force limit and reserves than you know what to do with is laughably easy.

Though, about that progression, I was talking about earlier. Why is it important and why should you care about it? The answer to that is simple, it provides a fun game.

If anything, when playing as Muscovy, and later Russia, imagine you’re playing a game with scaling difficulty. In the early stages, your main rivals would be Novgorod and Denmark with its Kalmar union in the north, Poland and Lithuania to the west, and various steppe nomads to the south and east. Later on, once the Kalmar union breaks, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forms and becomes your main adversary in the west.

After that, the Ottomans become your main foe in the south, and whoever wins out in Persia becomes your rival in the east. And all of that will eventually lead you to the Far East where your main rival would be Ming, provided they manage to stabilize and not implode, and to India, where an ascendant Delhi, Bahmanis, Bengal, or Vijayanagar are waiting for you as a late-game rival.

Overall, there are few games in EU4 where you won’t usually snowball out of control, but given the vastness of the Motherland working against you, chances are that, despite being stronger on paper, you’ll end up with fights that are far fairer than you might expect!

What Muscovy Excels In:

  • Strong Position
  • Fielding Large Armies
  • A Fair, Yet Challenging Progression

Pick Muscovy If You:

  • Want a chill game
  • Want to carpet siege your enemies with armies instead of regiments

3. England ( Best for colonizing )

[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (3)

There are many things you might need to truly enjoy your time in England, but one thing you won’t need a loicinse for is playing England in EU4.

Starting in 1444., England is in an interesting position. On the one hand, you’re presented with an opportunity to reverse the course of history and claim the French throne for your own. Beware, though this will be a difficult war, but it is certainly possible to win it and cement your presence on the Continent.

But, what if you don’t? Well, the obvious result is that France will kick you out of the Continent, making it nigh-impossible to return given how unwieldy naval invasions are in EU4. However, where one door closes, another opens, and even though traditional conquest in Europe is made much more difficult, playing as England you’ll quickly realize that that won’t stop you from becoming a major power regardless.

Just like the English had done in real-life, colonization is an easy and mostly hassle-free way to gain a great amount of power very quickly. What’s more, once the British isles are united under one banner, your banner, you’ll be able to form Great Britain and sing Britannia Rules the Waves with arguably the most powerful naval nation in the game, dominating trade throughout the New World as well as the Old.

Now, I know that there are better colonizers out there. Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, and France to name a few. Hell, even the Mamlukes and Japan are sometimes known to go on colonial ventures!

So why is England the best one for colonizing? The answer is because it’s easier. True, Portugal and Spain have better national ideas when it comes to colonization for example.

True as well that you could potentially earn more money with The Netherlands. And of course, France is just a straight-up good nation to pick. But none of them have the sheer lack of crap to give about enemies like England.

There is a reason why the English navy is feared throughout the game, and that wooden wall effectively lets you play with complete disregard for your enemies. Considering that they’ll never be able to actually reach you in the first place, giving you effectively total naval dominance as well as the ability to land and strike any place in the world.

What England Excels In:

  • Colonization
  • Strong Economy
  • Maintaining Technological Supremacy
  • Strong Navy

Pick England If You:

  • Want to experience colonizer and naval gameplay to its fullest

4. Timurids ( Best for world conquest )

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I won’t lie to you, the Timurids are a fairly difficult start. With an old ruler on his deathbed just barely managing to maintain the decaying corpse of a once-great empire, failure is almost guaranteed for those unable to deal with the numerous issues that plague the Timurids.

But for those able to rise from the ashes and rekindle the lost hope, what awaits you is a nation primed and ready to conquer the world. Literally.

I’m only half-joking on that of course! Rather, the Timurids don’t have a mission tree that guides them through the process of world conquest, nor are they particularly special on their own, with solid, but not particularly standout ideas. Really, the only thing they have going for them is that they’re able to quickly consolidate a rich area of the world and the fact that they have a pretty map color.

So, the question remains, where is the world conquest potential? Well, as it so happens, it’s not actually the Timurids that have this potential, but rather a formable nation called the Mughals.

“But wait!” I hear you say, “If this is about the Mughals, then why has the position taken by the Timurids?!”

Well, to put it simply, the Timurids are in by far the best position to form the Mughals. Remember those solid ideas and rich land I mentioned earlier? Well, once you manage to establish yourself as the proper Shahanshah of Iran, conquering the needed land to form the Mughals becomes a piece of cake.

And what a formable this is. The Mughals have the best government reform in the game. Period.

And the name of this government reform? The Mughal Diwan. It allows for the assimilation mechanic, which automatically accepts any culture which you had completely conquered.

Pretty neat right? Of course, it is, unaccepted culture maluses, while not really that important at first glance, actually, take a significant chunk of your potential power away. But that’s not all.

Oh no, in fact, once you manage to conquer all of the provinces of a specific culture group you gain a bonus from it on top of accepting all of them automatically. And these bonuses range from economic to military, both army and navy, to diplomatic, and so on and so forth.

There is a reason after all, why the Mughals are considered the chillest nation to do a world conquest with.

What The Timurids Excel In:

  • Strong Position
  • Strong Expansion Routes
  • Strong Economy

Pick The Timurids If You:

  • Like painting the map your color
  • Having a stableand powerful empire

5. Oda ( Best for going tall / colonizing )

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Don’t let this seemingly tiny and barely visible smidge-on-the-map of a one province minor Daimyo in Japan fool you, because they can be a real powerhouse if they have the chance!

Rather, while the situation might seem dire, being surrounded by dozens of angry neighbors who think that your grass might be a bit greener than theirs, if you choose to play Oda you don’t really have much to fear. Japan usually unites by the end of the first century if left unsupervised, while in a player’s hands that process could be reduced to as little as a few decades.

Oda, on the other hand, takes that ease of conquest to a whole new level. With the best military ideas in Nippon, you’ll be able to beat the other Daimyos into submission faster than you can say “Shameful Display!”. And when all’s said and done, you’ll be able to assume the rightful title of Shogun and bring unity to the Japanese people, in a remarkably short amount of time.

That being said, once the Thunderdome of Japan is united and you do actually become Shogun, then the real game begins.

Do you want to conquer China and the Pacific, expanding your empire towards the rich lands to your west and south? Go for it!

Or maybe you want to colonize the Pacific and Eastern America and civilize the natives in the ways of Shinto? Nothing’s stopping you!

Or perhaps you just want to play tall and build up your power in your own homeland and duke it out with would-be colonizers at sea? Perfectly viable!

As you can see, there are few playstyles you can’t do with Japan, and if the more rounded ideas of Japan aren’t for you, Oda’s ideas of sheer military supremacy will allow you to punch well above your weight. Hell, even if you don’t form Japan and instead remain a Shogun forever, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a vassal swarm large enough to lag the game with!

What Oda Excels In:

  • Strong Military and Navy
  • Rich Land
  • Flexible Campaign

Pick Oda If You:

  • Want to experience a unique religion
  • Want to have a chill game where you can either go colonizing or conquering in Asia

6. Austria ( Best for HRE gameplay )

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Voltaire once famously said that the Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire. And while that may have been correct in real life, playing as Austria in EU4, you’ll have the perfect chance to reverse the course of history and forge a worthy successor to the Empire.

Already starting with the Emperorship as Austria is a boon to any would-be Holy Romans, however not all is milk and honey with this nation. You’ll have to weave between alliances and rivalries in order to accomplish the mission of uniting all of the disparate states of the HRE.

Not to mention deal with external threats as well as internal ones constantly. The Ottomans, Poland, Denmark, and France are all eyeing vulnerable land to take, and it would be up to you to preserve the territorial integrity of your de jure empire. Of course, the most insidious foes are those within, which is why the Reformation will have to be dealt with swiftly in order to succeed.

So what tools will you have at your disposal to deal with so many problems and issues you may ask? Diplomacy of course!

Sure, a good military is needed to fend off the numerous enemies you’ll have, but the Austrian mission tree, events, and the plain simple use of the new and improved favors mechanic allows you to claim the thrones of many of the sovereign states of Europe, be the from within the Empire, or without. Bohemia and Hungary are, of course, almost guaranteed to fall under your sway in every game.

But the likes of Milan, Naples, Burgundy, and Castile, to name a few, are all just as likely targets to spread your dynasty to. And, eventually, integrate into your realm.

And once all of your hardships pass? Once the heretical Reformation is beaten back, and the enemies of the Empire are little more than barely functional rump states? Once the Empire is reformed?

Then? Well, there is only really one thing to do isn’t there?

While there may be two paths to go down to reform the Empire, realistically, only one of them would ever be chosen. And that’s the centralization path, which allows you to vassalize each and every member of the Empire without them having to take a relationship slot, or impact each other’s liberty desire like normal vassals do. Funnily enough, this is also another strategy often used in world conquests, considering that the vassal swarm effectively acts as an “I Win” button.

Though remember, when you finish your conquests, there would always be one button left. The A.E.I.O.U. button.

What Austria Excels In:

  • Good Military
  • Strong Diplomacy
  • Holy Roman Emperor

Pick Austria If You:

  • Want a vassal swarm the size of a continent
  • Want all the chins
  • Want to Renovatio Imperii

7. Byzantium ( Best for roleplay )

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While the Sun was destined to set on Eastern Rome in our timeline, EU4 offers players the chance to reverse fate and reconquer the lost lands of the Purple Phoenix.

Byzantium is probably one of the most well-known starting nations in the game, and for good reason. The fact of the matter is, it’s a fun nation to play! Be it in a normal game, or for roleplay purposes.

The start is very challenging but possible to win. There have even been players who solo-ed the Ottomans as Byzantium! Reconquering their many Greek cores and setting the Ottomans on a path of eventual downfall.

The Byzantine Orthodox faith further allows you to quickly stabilize any newly conquered land, as well as giving you great bonuses. Furthermore, while the ideas aren’t particularly great, they aren’t anything to sniff at either. Once set up, Byzantium is arguably one of the most stable nations in the game, able to tank hundreds of percent of overextension like a champ without burning down, unlike what happened in the real world.

Not to mention the mission tree Byzantium has access to. In fact, considering that most of the missions give quite good bonuses, be it to Patriarch Authority or any of the many other bonuses, temporary or otherwise, the missions also give you large amounts of claims. How many claims?

Well, only enough to reconquer all of the lands that Justinian the Great had once owned, stretching your Empire from the Caucasus to Spain and from Egypt to Italy. Who said that the Mare Nostrum couldn’t be Greek?

And a final fun fact about Byzantium, they are actually one of only a handful of nations at the start of the game that is actually Empire ranked, despite only owning a measly 4 provinces and a vassal.

What Byzantium Excels In:

  • Strong Stability
  • Extensive Mission Tree
  • Unique Flavor

Pick Byzantium If You:

  • Want to be a phoenix and reform an empire from ashes
  • Want a challenging and extremely rewarding start

8. Brandenburg ( Best for making Space Marines )

[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (8)

Brandenburg is a nation with many options. You could go for the emperorship, or you could even try playing tall, perhaps dabble into colonial games. But let’s be honest here, if you’re playing as Brandenburg, you’re going to be making Space Marines.

The fact of the matter is that Brandenburg is in an excellent position for attempting this feat. It starts off within the HRE, meaning that it would be able to expand into it without incurring the wrath of the Emperor. Furthermore, it’s also on the border of the Empire, which means that once aggressive expansion gets a bit too high in Germany, you could always just go east into Poland, or north into Scandinavia.

And of course, once you conquer all of the required lands, and flip to either Protestant or Reformed, you’ll be able to form the most powerful military nation in the game, Prussia.

The Prussian government reform is a very powerful one, allowing you to bulk up the quality of your armies to an unprecedented degree. And alongside the bonuses from your religion and national ideas, none would be able to stand up to you in a proper fight. In fact, if you’ve taken a few extra army quality ideas, it wouldn’t be unsurprising for you to be winning battles where you’re outnumbered two, or even three to one!

Though, to be fair, the government reform that gives you this power that no mortal should possess is not without any drawbacks. Rather, it gives you a nasty -50% to your governing cap, which means that, unless you’re willing to go drastically over your limit or unstate provinces, you’re pretty much limited to tall gameplay.

Honestly though, even with that heavy nerf, Prussia easily manages to punch several times above its weight class. Though, fair warning, as high quality as your troops are, be wary of a lack of manpower given how little land you’ll be able to hold.

What Brandenburg Excels In:

  • Strongest Military

Pick Brandenburg If You:

  • Want to know what it’s like to disappear enemies
  • Like inflicting insane casualties with barely any effort

9. Oirat ( Best for horsing around / world conquest )

[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (9)

Hordes aren’t generally considered very strong countries, mainly due to the fact that they scale extremely poorly towards the late game. That being said, they are also extremely fun to play as and offer an entirely unique playstyle not found anywhere else in the game.

First things first, there is one thing that you have to know before playing as Oirat. And that is that infantry are for cowards and settled people! Like a true Mongol, cavalry will be your go-to units throughout your campaign. Early, mid and late game.

To help you connect your people with your people’s horses is the Steppe Horde government reform which greatly aids you in rekindling the old cavalry traditions. However, even with that government reform, you’ll only be able to field 75% cavalry armies, right? That’s where your religion comes into play.

Oirat starts the game as Tengri, and one of the bonuses of following the sky god is the ability to field full cavalry armies. Full cavalry armies that will have an insane amount of cavalry combat ability. Selecting underused idea groups, such as Horde (which is the steppe nomad replacement for Aristocratic) and Espionage, also give you even more cav combat ability, on top of all of the other bonuses.

All this results in horses that are more akin to tanks than they are to any flesh and blood creature, allowing you to conquer vast lands extremely quickly. Not to mention the fact that Oirat can take over the Mandate of Heaven and form not only the Mongol Empire but also Yuan, a nation with one of the best idea sets in the game!

So if you’re ever feeling the call of the steppes, Oirat is bar none the single best nation to experience it with. It would also be unfair not to mention the fastest world conquest in the world was done with Oirat. From the start of the game, it only took 28 years, and this feat was done by the ridiculously talented Lambdaxx.

Another fun fact about Oirat, and hordes in general. They are the only type of nation that actually benefits from high corruption. So, ducat mint go brrr!

What Oirat Excels In:

  • Horsing
  • Around

Pick Oirat If You:

  • Want to conquer the world
  • Think that you’re a descendant of Genghis Khan

10. Morocco ( Best for… everything! )

[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (10)

Finally, the ultimate nation you’ve all been waiting for is *drum rolls*...


Yes, believe it or not, it is Morocco. And no, it is not because Morocco is secretly a fantastic nation to play as that has some secret mechanics only unlocked when you play it instead of an AI. Instead, it’s because of the nation that it can form.

Rather, Morocco itself starts in a fairly good position. You have three subjects that can be integrated instantly due to already having cores on them. And to your immediate north and east, you have weak targets that you can easily conquer in the form of Granada and Tlemcen.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Wouldn’t the Iberians be kind of a problem since Castile always goes for Granada and you’re bordering Portugal? Well, to that my friend, let me introduce you to one of the best forts in the entire game.

Fez. That fat province just south of the Portuguese holding of Ceuta will run red with the blood of any invader that thinks of trying to conquer you. It covers a frankly obscene amount of provinces on top of being a mountain fort, let alone the fact that with proper reinforcing, you can whittle down any and every army the Iberians might throw your way.

And once you managed to push them back across? Well, that’s where the real prize lies, because Morocco is able to form the nation of Andalusia, the single most versatile nation in the game.

Given your position, colonizing the New World is a breeze, especially with the extra colonist from the Andalusian ideas. Beyond that, while you might lose Morocco’s ability to raid, Andalusia more than makes up for it with better economic and much better military bonuses. Allowing you to go toe to toe with all of the European powers, as well as the Mamluks and Ottomans.

But that’s not all, no. Andalusia also sports a fairly rare vassal force limit contribution modifier, which while at first glance might seem like a wasted idea, is actually incredibly powerful. It is not at all rare to have several hundred force limit from that modifier alone if you go colonizing and using subjects, especially marches.

And to top it all off, Andalusia has a great mission tree as well as the fact that it is the only Muslim nation that can use Holy Orders, which is, admittedly, something only Iberian cultured countries have access to. However, as great as Andalusia is, Morocco itself also has an extensive mission tree, allowing you to conquer vast swathes of West and North Africa, as well as give you some sweet modifiers, like a permanent 2.5% discipline.

And of course, for those who want their runs to be extra spicy, one of the few Ibadi Muslim provinces is right next to Morocco. So if you’re more inclined to a darker shade for your religion, as well as the most economically strong religion in the game, the choice is available.

While it is possible to also form Andalusia with Granada, which is another difficult and satisfying start on par with Byzantium, I’d argue that Morocco is simply more fun. Besides, doing it this way gives you two mission trees, so there’s another boon!

What Morocco Excels In:

  • Strong military
  • Strong Economy
  • Strong and Flexible Position
  • Colonizing
  • Playing Tall
  • Conquest

Pick Morocco If You:

  • Want to have a somewhat challenging campaign with as many options available to you as possible, there’s no wrong choice!

You may also be interested in:

  • Europa Universalis IV Best Expansions (All Expansions Ranked Worst To Best)
  • Europa Universalis IV Best DLCs (Ranked Worst To Best)
  • Europa Universalis IV Best Mods Every Player Should Have
  • Europa Universalis IV Best Idea Groups That Are Excellent
[Top 10] Europa Universalis IV Best Nations That Are Powerful (2024)


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