The Best Golden (Papal) Bulls in EU4, All RankedThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Being the Papal controller has many bonuses for your nation. One bonus is that you get to pick what the golden bull for your Pope’s reign will be.
Out of the 6 options, two have special conditions to fulfill before you can choose them.
Depending on the current situation of the world and of course your own country’s needs, golden bulls can situationally be proven very helpful. Because of their situational nature, we’re ranking all the golden bulls based primarily on how frequently you’ll use each one of them.
6. Illius Qui Se Pro Divini
Meaning “Of him who claims to be divine”, the Papal Bull in question allows for Crusades to be waged after the age of reformation.
While a unique bonus, it’s not really something that you find yourself in need of.
The aggressive expansion impact reduction that comes with this Bull would be awesome in the early game, especially if you play in the HRE.
However, you can only issue it after the age of absolutism begins. At that point, its value diminishes significantly.
Now, to be fair, everyone likes crusading. If you simply want to spread the word of Christ until the game’s end, you can abuse this Papal Bull for crusading beyond the conventional age limit.
All in all, there are other casus bellis you can use against heathens, rendering this Golden Bull a bit redundant.
5. Libertas Ecclesiae
Libertas Ecclesiae, or “Freedom of the Church” is the other Golden Bull that has extra requirements beyond being the Papal controller.
It can only be issued by a Holy Roman Emperor after an official faith has been established in the HRE. An AI fulfilling the requirements will always pick this Bull.
Its bonuses for the emperor are amazing to say the least.
There is one caveat to that, however. Necessitating an official HRE faith makes it a bit redundant.
If you have prevented the reformation all together and established an official faith, you already are probably in a position where your imperial seat is unchallenged. A bit extra imperial authority won’t make a big difference.
The other scenario is becoming emperor later.
After winning the Religious Leagues war and making Catholicism the official faith you may find yourself with few or even no reforms passed. In that case, the Libertas Ecclesiae Bull is exactly what you are looking for.
Due to its niche application, this Golden Bull is probably the one you will see the least of in your campaigns!
4. Dei Gratia Rex
Dei Gratia Rex, which translates to “By God’s grace, King” is a phrase British people will be familiar with.
Many coins in the Commonwealth still bare this inscription or the female variation, Dei Gratia Regina.
This Golden Bull has no restriction for issuing, but it might as well have one. The main bonus it provides, the yearly absolutism, is only relevant after the Age of Reformation ends.
The other two bonuses are decent, especially the unrest reduction, but there are superior options in the other Bulls.
Even if you are in the Age of Absolutism, think twice about choosing this Bull. Sure, the yearly gain is nice, but there are other ways to raise your absolutism as well.
Certainly not a big priority for you to choose.
But the AI might start picking this Bull when absolutism becomes relevant, so you will see it a bit in your games.
3. Christiana Pietas
Christiana Pietas, “Christian Piety”, is the papal bull that you will see the most of in your campaigns.
It’s the Golden Bull the Pope issues at the game start if you are not playing as the Pope yourself.
The tolerance of heathens is not applicable to catholic nations in the case of the player. Usually, you will be converting provinces to Catholicism as you get lots of missionary bonuses to do so.
If you are going for a tolerant playthrough and chose accordingly in the council of Trent, then the heathen tolerance can find some good value indeed.
The main reason you want to pick this Bull is the development cost reduction it provides. Development cost reduction is one of the most sought-after modifiers in the game, especially in multiplayer campaigns or single player ones where you play tall.
With few sources of development cost reduction available, this one can allow you to significantly save on monarch points.
2. Apostolicae Servitutis
Apostolicae Servitutis gives one very straightforward bonus.
It halves the cost of all Curia Powers. Curia Powers are those benefits Catholic nations can choose in exchange for 50 (or 100 in the case of the +1 stability) papal influence.
Halving that cost is a big deal.
It allows you to easily have all the passive bonuses active for cheap, while spending any extra papal influence for free stability and mercantilism.
This is the Papal Bull you want to have active for a standard campaign’s majority. You can think of the bonus as extra papal influence. A lot of extra papal influence.
The potential downside is that all other Catholic nations enjoy this bonus as well, giving you no edge in the investiture for Papal controller. However, in a single player campaign, you will make use of the extra influence far better than the AI. I hope so at least.
1. Immensa Aeterni Dei
Immensa Aeterni Dei, “The immensity of the eternal God”, gets the top spot on the list.
Honestly, with a name like that, it deserves it.
The embracement cost reduction and institution spread bonus are welcome, but the main appeal of the Golden Bull is the unique attribute it gives to Cardinals while it is active.
This allows all Cardinals to spread institutions, and they do it fast.
This Golden Bull is more situational than #2 and #3 on our list. However, its power when it’s relevant cannot be overstated.
Immensa Aeterni Dei is what you want to pick when an institution has recently spawned or is going to spawn soon.
Especially if it is an institution that will take decades to reach your country’s borders otherwise.
The best example is the colonialism institution. Let’s say you’re playing as Poland or Austria. Colonialism will take more than a decade to reach your country. Choosing this Bull will make it appear in provinces with a cardinal in a couple of years.
On the other hand, if you are a colonial nation and colonialism just spawned, you want to lock down the Papal controller spot for yourself to deny this Bull from the others. Doing so will leave the rest of Europe far behind in tech, giving you a decent edge overall.