How To Become the Emperor of China in EU4

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You don’t need to be Chinese to rule China in EU4 – you can actually become the Emperor of China simply by seizing the Mandate of Heaven from the reigning Emperor.

This is only possible with the “Take the Mandate of Heaven” casus belli.

Claim Mandate of Heaven for 50 War Score / EU4
“Claim Mandate of Heaven” for 50 War Score

You’ll get this CB if:

  • You have a border with the current Emperor of China (EoC)
  • Your state religion is any of these:
Group Religion
  • Confucian
  • Shinto
  • Theravada
  • Mahayana
  • Vajrayana
  • Tengri
  • Animist
  • Totemist
  • Mayan
  • Fetishist
  • Inti
  • Nahuatl
  • Alcheringa
  • Norse

Fighting the Emperor of China

Ming is the current EoC at the start. They seem big, but they’re not that strong.

First, consider these points:

1. Ming’s strength is their massive manpower reserves. They can outlast you even if you keep crushing their armies.

2. The Chinese tech group has the worst units in the early and mid-game. They only get decent at around Military Tech 17–19.

3. Ming’s starting ruler has the “Craven” personality, which gives them -5% army morale.

4. Ming either gets negative or positive modifiers depending on their Mandate value.

At 0 Mandate:

  • +50% Shock Damage Received
  • +50% Fire Damage Received
  • -50% National Manpower
  • -50% Mercenary Manpower
  • +5 National Unrest

At 100 Mandate:

  • -2.5 National Unrest
  • -0.03 Monthly War Exhaustion
  • -10% Stability Cost

5. The combat debuffs at low Mandate makes their already terrible units easy to stackwipe.

Asymmetric War at 1 Mandate / EU4
Asymmetric War at 1 Mandate

6. At low Mandate, large rebellions may become more frequent in Ming, which often leads to the “Ming-splosion”. This is when several Chinese states break away from Ming and declare independence.

Therefore, the trick to defeating Ming (or any other EoCs) is to hurt their Mandate.


The Mandate Mechanic

You can check the Mandate by clicking the dragon icon beside the mini-map.

The Mandate with Its Current Value at 0 / EU4
The Mandate with Its Current Value at 0

Mandate Modifiers

The modifiers that increase or decrease the Mandate are:

Monthly Mandate Change Condition
+0.02 per stability point Stability
+0.0025 per prosperous state Prosperity
+0.0125 per 100 development of tributaries Tributaries
+0.05 for 25 years after taking the Mandate New Dynasty
-0.01 per corruption point Corruption
-0.3 for every five loans Loans
-0.01 Bankruptcy
-0.83 per 100 development in devastated states (scales with severity of devastation) Devastation
-0.05 Doesn’t control and own Beijing
-0.05 Doesn’t control and own Nanjing
-0.05 Doesn’t control and own Canton
+0.03–0.05 “The Forbidden City” great project in Beijing
+0.05 “Elevate Tributary Relations” celestial reform
+0.05 during a “Unify China” CB war War for Heaven
+0.05 “The Mandate of Heaven” Manchu mission
+0.05 “Take the Mandate” Siamese mission
+0.03 for 20 years “Tame the Dragon” Korean mission
+0.05 Dai Viet national idea
+0.05 Chinese group national idea
+0.03 Great Shun national idea
+0.05 Ruler has the “Humane” personality
-0.05 Ruler has the “Petty” personality
-0.3 “Unguarded Nomadic Frontier” disaster
-0.3 “Empire of China in Name” disaster

Tip: Open the Mandate screen and hover over the growth/decay number to see what’s affecting it.

Mandate Decay / EU4
Mandate Decay

Celestial Reforms

The EoC needs at least 80 Mandate to pass a celestial reform.

After doing so, they’ll lose -70 Mandate and -1 Stability. The AI usually does this as soon as they’re able.

If you’ve allowed Ming to accrue a high Mandate, wait for them to pass a reform. They’ll become vulnerable, giving you an opportunity to attack.


The Destiny of Ming

Ming has several disasters and events which often lead to their downfall. Triggering these are crucial to defeating Ming.



“Unguarded Nomadic Frontier”

The progress meter for this disaster appears when:

  • Ming is neighboring a steppe nomadic horde.
  • This horde is not a tributary of Ming.
  • They’ve at least 300 development.
  • They’re not in a truce or in a war with Ming.

Once these are met, the disaster will gain monthly progress by:

Monthly Progress Condition
+1% Always if the progress meter conditions have been met
+1.5% The EoC is at war with the instigator horde and they’ve less than -10% war score
+3.0% They’ve less than -25% war score against the horde
-3.0% They’ve more than 25% war score against the horde

Note: All neighboring steppe nomads will be notified when this disaster reaches certain progress milestones. These are at 10, 75, and 100 progress points.

“Crisis of the Ming Dynasty”

If you’re not a steppe nomad, this is the alternative that you want to trigger.

The progress meter for this disaster appears when:

  • The Age of Discovery is over.
  • Ming isn’t the EoC or they’ve less than 50 Mandate

This will gain monthly progress by:

Monthly Progress Condition
+10% Ming isn’t the EoC
+10% Ming is the EoC but has less than 10 Mandate
+3.0% Has less than 30 Mandate
+2% Has less than 50 Mandate
+5% Has at least 10 corruption
+2% Has at least 5 corruption
+5% Bankruptcy
+3% Has at least 10 loans
+1% Has at least 5 loans

Bad Events

While either disaster is active, a series of bad events can happen in Ming. These are collectively known as the “Mingsplosion”.

The Southern Half of the Mingsplosion / EU4
The Southern Half of the Mingsplosion
Event Name Cause Effect
Li Zicheng’s Rebellion and the Shun Dynasty Rebels occupy at least 10 of Ming’s provinces in the North China region 1. Ming releases Shun as an independent nation.
2. Shun gains all of Ming’s provinces in these areas:

  • East Gansu
  • West Gansu
  • Shaanxi
  • Shanxi
  • North Hebei
  • South Hebei
  • Liaoning
  • Mongolia region

3. Shun automatically declares war on Ming using the “Take the Mandate of Heaven” CB.

Losing Control of the South Rebels occupy at least 10 of Ming’s provinces in the South China region 1. Ming releases Wu and Yue as marches.
2. Wu gains all of Ming’s provinces in these areas:

  • Zhejiang
  • Fujian

3. Yue gains all of Ming’s provinces in these areas:

  • East Guangdong
  • West Guangdong
  • Guangxi

4. Wu and Yue gain 100% Liberty Desire.

Yunnan Protectorate Rebels occupy at least 10 of Ming’s provinces in the Xinan region 1. Ming releases Dali as a march.
2. Dali gains all of Ming’s provinces in these areas:

  • Yun-Gui Hinterland
  • Chuannan
  • Yun-Gui Frontier

3. Dali gains 100% Liberty Desire.

Turmoil in China Any of the previous three events Tributaries of Ming will become independent.
Koxinga Flees to Taiwan Ming has less than 600 development All uncolonized provinces of Taiwan will form the independent nation of Tungning.

General Tips To Become Emperor

  • Oirat and the Jurchen tribes are the closest steppe nomads to Ming. Their missions and events also give them massive advantages against Ming.
  • The Jurchens can form the nation of Manchu. They’re the most likely horde to trigger the “Unguarded Nomadic Frontier” disaster — even if they’re AI-controlled.
  • If the Manchus become the EoC, they’ll form the Qing dynasty. They get bonuses to Mandate growth, which makes them more stable than Ming. But they’ll also switch tech groups from Nomadic to Chinese.
  • Just occupying Beijing, Canton, and Nanjing can harm the EoC’s Mandate by -0.15. Prioritize taking them first.
  • If possible, try to prolong your wars against the EoC. Get their war exhaustion to rise so their unrest increases. This makes their rebels spawn more often.
  • Do not attack any of Ming’s rebels. Let them wreak havoc to hasten Ming’s demise.
  • The three marches’ 100% Liberty Desire means they won’t help defend Ming from invaders, even if they’re formally part of their wars. Their armies will just stay within their own borders.
  • The Mingsplosion isn’t limited to the events mentioned above. Other rebel-occupied areas can declare independence from Ming.
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Louie Nelson Zafico

As a frustrated otter who dreams of getting published, Louie instead wastes his life cuddling his cats. He spent his childhood playing Suikoden, grew up with Total War, and matured (somewhat) with EU4. He hopes to someday find a geopolitical JRPG with the 4X systems of a Paradox game.