7 Best Releasable Nations in EU4This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
There are many nations in the game that are not playable at the nation selection screen outright.
These usually represent polities and realms that recently stopped existing in 1444.
These nations start with cores in the territory they consider rightfully theirs. In many cases they also have unique national ideas and even mission trees! Some have unique achievements tied to them, although these can be cheesed by releasing them later.
You can make use of these nations in two ways:
You can obviously choose to play as them if you want. But the spicier way is releasing them as vassals and using their cores to conquer big chunks of rival nations for little to no aggressive expansion.
So without further ado, let’s see which nations lie hidden in EUIV, waiting to be released!
Syria opens the list as one of the preeminent nations used to conquer your rivals’ lands at little to no aggressive expansion.
With generic Arabian ideas and no unique missions, Syria isn’t a nation you would often choose to play as. Except if you really, really, like its position on the map or live there, I guess.
Who am I to judge?
Syria’s power lies in its core provinces.
Simply nabbing one province in the initial war is enough to release the nation. Then, in the following war against whoever controls the area (usually the Mamluks or the Ottomans) you just reconquer all the land in Syria’s name!
Bulgaria can largely serve the same purpose as Syria.
If you want to drive the Ottomans out of Europe, Bulgaria is a great tool you can use.
With the Ottoman Balkans split evenly between Byzantium and Bulgaria, using them as vassals to reconquer all that land can help you drive the Turks out of Europe in only a couple of wars!
On top of that, Bulgaria has unique national ideas, a couple of unique missions, and starts with a great project (the Rila Monasteries) in the province of Konstendil. The Kosovo gold mine is also nearby and ripe for the taking. Not too shabby of a nation to play as.
Restoring the First Bulgarian Empire can make for a fun challenge!
Kazakh, not to be confused with the Tatar horde of Kazan to its west, gets its spot on the list for its capabilities as a vassal.
With generic horde ideas and a starting situation similar to its neighboring Horde nations, releasing Kazakh in order to play as them is not that appealing.
What is appealing though, is releasing them as a vassal to conquer Central Asia!
With 26 provinces and close to 130 development, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Giving all this land back to them will also massively boost their loyalty to you, making it unlikely for them to rebel anytime.
Kazakh makes for an excellent vassal in Russian campaigns especially.
You can use it as your go-to option whenever you want to pacify the steppes but do not want to directly control them yourself.
Gascogne is your best friend when playing in western Europe as anyone but the French.
Why is that?
Well, their purpose in your campaigns will be one and only:
Destroy the Baguettes!
Of course, if you want a unique experience in a French start, picking Gascogne to play as is always an option. A lot of development and a prime position to colonize will do wonders for your early game options.
However, Gascogne serves a much greater purpose as stated above. Simply release them in a province as a vassal and go ham on the French. This can be combined with other releasable French duchies like Champagne and Toulouse for maximum effectiveness.
Asturias and León go hand in hand in this double entry.
While León has the slightly stronger idea set and more development, Asturias has a unique achievement.
As most achievements of releasable nations, this one can be cheesed by releasing and feeding Asturias the necessary provinces in the late game, annexing them, and then releasing and choosing to play as them.
The reason both these nations make the list is their national ideas and map position. Both get a free colonist from their ideas, which is quite a big deal. Not many nations have that luxury!
If you’re bored playing as the OG Iberian colonizers, you can always give these two a try. Just make sure to weaken Castile before releasing or you‘ll find yourself always looking over your shoulder.
Even if playing as a nation outside Iberia, if you conquer into Iberia, it’s always worth considering releasing Asturias and León as vassals.
Even if they won’t have exploration and expansion ideas (AI will never pick them as a vassal), they will put their free colonist to good use.
2. Smolensk and the Ruthenian Principalities
Smolensk, along with the other Russian principalities in Ruthenia and Belorussia, start the game integrated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
All these nations have rather similar starting positions and similar idea sets. Ultimately, your goal will be to unify Ruthenia and bring all Eastern Europe under your control.
They can also be used to expand into Ruthenia efficiently. Choosing one or two of them and feeding them the Ruthenian lands is a great way to save on governing capacity and aggressive expansion.
Some of these principalities, though, are more interesting than the others. While Galicia-Volhynia has the most development and Kiev controls the original capital of the Rus, the two principalities that stand out are Smolensk and Zaporozhie.
Zaporozhie’s unique horde-like government is discussed in-depth in our list of the Best Horde Nations. They’re an excellent choice for a unique campaign, unlike any other involving Christian nations!
Smolensk is most unique due to its national ideas. If you haven’t noticed, Smolensk’s flag is a cannon. Oh boy if that isn’t fitting enough! Smolensk’s national idea set is all about artillery.
Seriously, Napoleon would have been proud.
Cheaper artillery (20% cheaper, borderline busted), a great bonus to land fire damage and artillery combat ability, and increased siege ability. These ideas are a late game powerhouse by themselves.
Add to all that some idea groups like quality and quantity and you have the only nation in the game that can field artillery-only armies and have a chance at winning engagements!
Maybe Portugal can do it too, but don’t take my word on it.
Nitra gets the number one spot because it combines a little bit of everything.
It can be used to expand into Hungary, but not to the extent other nations in this list. Not the worst option, don’t get me wrong, but nothing exceptional.
What distinguishes Nitra among releasable nations is its unique achievement that encourages having an actual campaign with them.
The “Great Moravia” achievement can of course be cheesed the same way all other similar achievements can.
However, in the case of Nitra, doing the campaign yourself is something I greatly encourage. It is one of the most fun mini-campaigns I ever had in EUIV.
Starting as Nitra in 1444 you have decent development; low enough to be able to join the HRE. You start in control of a gold mine and have access to three more that are relatively close-by (Inntal, Cheb, Kosovo).
You have unique national ideas, the Slovak ideas. A great idea set, with a pair of traditions that can help you win tight early wars.
The infantry combat ability and Fort Defense can be lifesaving, especially in your mountainous terrain.
The rest of the set compliments the infantry buffs nicely with economical and other military bonuses.
While lacking a mission tree, if you wish to continue the campaign after finishing the unique achievement, you can always transition into forming another nation for extra flavor.