Top 5 Best Horde Nations in EU4

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Hordes are some of the most unique nations in the game.

And their gameplay differs a lot from the standard.

Situated in a very specific, although vast, geographical area, the nomads of the steppe offer a variety of unique and challenging starts.

In this ranking I’ve put together the strongest and most flavorful horde nations worth trying. From the Tatars in Europe, all the way to the Manchus in the far east, let’s see what your best options are for terrorizing the settled folk.


5. Uzbek

Starting position of the Uzbek horde. / EU4

Uzbek begins the game in a very interesting position.

The Shaybanid dynasty, direct descendants of Genghis Khan, has united Tatar and Altaic tribes in the central steppe. However, ruling from their capital in Chimgi-Tura they control only a single province of the Uzbek culture.

Most Uzbek lands are under the control of Transoxiana – and by extension the Timurid empire – to the south. Wait for their inevitable collapse and pounce in to seize the rich Uzbek cities in the silk road.

Uzbek has the generic horde ideas. This is not much of a negative as the idea set is decent. On top of that, your goal will be to form some other nation at some point, hence switching idea sets.

With options to expand on all directions, Uzbek is a very flexible choice, albeit one of the more unpredictable ones!


4. Great Horde

Starting position of the Great Horde. / EU4

The Great Horde begins the game in 1444 as the not-so-great-horde. Representing the western part of the Mongol Empire, internal strife has reduced the Golden Horde to the area of Astrakhan and the Don River.

With an awful ruler and enemies on every side, this start will certainly not be on the easy side. The reason we have this nation on our list is because of the nation’s access to two unique achievements, and the historical significance of playing as the rightful heir to the Golden horde!

Your position on the border of Muscovy is excellent, as you’ll want to fight them the soonest.

Hordes are far more powerful at the game’s start, and you should make as much use of this advantage as possible.

Strike fast against the Russians while they fight among themselves. Bring all the breakaway rebel states back into the fold and consolidate the western steppe.

Do you have what it takes to reform the Golden Horde of Batu and Özbeg Khan?


3. Kazan

Starting position of the Kazan horde. / EU4

The Kazan horde also has the Genghisid dynasty on its throne, much like the Great Horde.

In fact, its ruler is Mohammad the Older in contrast to the Great Horde’s ruler, Mohammed the Younger. It’s obvious that Kazan is thus the superior of the two!

Well, not really a good argument, but there are a lot of those for Kazan’s supremacy over its neighbor.

First of all, with access to a goldmine, it actually has an economy unlike most nomad nations. Trade income in the Kazan node is not bad either.

A better ruler and unique ideas are also things working in Kazan’s favor. Your strategy doesn’t deviate much from the other Tatar hordes. Annex your steppe rivals and crush the Russians early on.

After that, re-forming the Golden Horde and eventually the Mongol Empire is a dream you can work towards realizing.


2. Jianzhou

Starting position of the Jianzhou horde. / EU4

Jianzhou is the southernmost of the Jurchen tribes in Manchuria.

As a tributary of Ming, the Jianzhou and their Haixi neighbors have been influenced a lot by the sedentary Chinese and Koreans to their south.

While they may have embraced Confucianism, they remain true to their nomad traditions. For the time being at least.

Generally, any campaign with the Jurchen tribes will lead into you forming the Qing empire and becoming the Celestial Emperor, leaving the nomadic life to the past.

With tons of flavor, unique missions and ideas, two formable nations from very early on, and excellent rulers and generals available to them, the Jianzhou Jurchens offer one of the most fun and interactive campaigns you can have.

Unite the Manchus, subjugate the Mongols and break through the Great Wall. Recreating the exploits of the Aisin Gioro dynasty and conquering China is a most satisfying experience.

Did I mention achievements? There are also 3 unique achievements available to them!


1. Oirat

Starting position of the Oirat horde. / EU4

The Oirat federation is indisputably the strongest horde nation in the game. Potentially the strongest nation in the game, period.

Yes, not the Ottomans, not France, but a bunch of Mongol tribes are the strongest starting nation.

For any experienced player, playing as the Oirat and putting effort feels like cheating. Where do I even begin?

They have the best national traditions with +20% cavalry combat ability and -20% core creation cost.

Sure, other horde ideas get these as well in their idea set, but not right out of the gate. Having these bonuses from day one makes a great difference.

They start with a great ruler and general, although he is 51 years old. They also have unique events when fighting Ming in the very early game, essentially ensuring you comfortably win that first war.

As the Oirats, you can literally declare war on Ming immediately and crush them in the field of battle. Conquer some land if you wish, and demand as much money as possible. Congratulations, you now have a treasury in the thousands to fund your endless conquest westwards!

Access to the Mongol mission tree gives you powerful bonuses after you integrate your vassal Mongolia.

Whether you restore the Yuan dynasty in China or postpone it and conquer your way to Europe, the road to restoring the empire of Genghis and Kublai lies open to you.


Honorable Mention: Zaporozhia

(Click for full-size)

This list could not be complete without mentioning the Zaporozhian Cossacks and their unique government type.

While independent at the starting date, you can start as Lithuania and “release and play as” them before unpausing. Then you can immediately click the “Call of the Steppes” decision and acquire the unique government “Sich Rada”.

Congratulations, you’re now playing as an Orthodox Christian republic that also has all the relevant Horde mechanics.

You can raze provinces and you get awesome buffs to your cavalry combat ability.

Unfortunately, you do not have access to the unique Horde casus-bellis. This can be alleviated by picking religious ideas sometime soon. Fabricating claims is always also an option.

The major benefits are that you’re part of the Eastern Technology group (meaning your units won’t be outscaled massively as the game progresses) and you have Republican tradition instead of Horde unity. No horrible events every couple of years either!

Razing from West to East as a Christian republic is certainly a unique experience you must try at some point.

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G. Tsechilidis

Born and raised Greek citizen. His love of history, geography, and all things map-related, are certainly a contrast to his pursuit of a master in civil engineering. An avid gamer from a very young age, he found the perfect match in Grand Strategy Games. If not for a good chess match or a round of carambole billiards, you'll certainly catch him firing up EU4 or a Total War game to spend the evening.