Europa Universalis 4 (EU4) Guide: Ottomans Made Easy – Late Game

We're in the home stretch! By now, the Ottomans are a powerhouse that dominates the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Play your cards right, and you'll be on your way to restoring the Caliphate. Welcome to the third and final part of this Ottomans guide for EU4: The Ottomans made easy!

Europa Universalis 4 (EU4) Guide: Ottomans Made Easy – Late GameThis is part 3 of the Ottomans made easy EU4 guide. In the previous part, we covered the remainder of the Age of Discovery and built the Ottomans from a major power to a powerhouse. By outsmarting Hungary, the Mamluks, and Venice, we became the undisputed ruler of the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Levant. We also established footholds in Persia, Egypt, Libya, and the Caucasus, which we can use to expand further. This part is for those players who are trying to complete the Unify Islam mission, in which you unite all corners of the vast Islamic world under a single Caliphate once more. Whereas we matched the historical Ottoman sultans in previous episodes, we’ll one-up them in this one!

In case this is where you enter the series, first of all welcome! To repeat some more basic info (so you won’t have to hop pages all the time), this EU4 Ottomans guide was written for patch 1.33.3 with all DLCs installed. I always do a little DLC recommendation to make the run more fun – previously I recommended Cradle of Civilization and Rights of Man. For your finances throughout this run, trade is instrumental. The Ottomans are at such a crossroads of trade routes that good trade can make them very – very – wealthy. To maximize your trade income, consider addingWealth of Nations to your DLC list!

Find the first and second installments of this guide here:

Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations Release Trailer

We interrupt this guide for a brief section on damage control

Since this Ottomans EU4 guide is so RNG-heavy, you’ll likely be running into situations that don’t play out as planned. I encountered some issues in my own run that could’ve jeopardized the progress of this guide. Here are some of the issues I encountered, as well as how you can act on them, should the situation arise.

  • Tunis is taking over all of Fezzan.

Yeah, they like doing that. Although it’s tricky to avoid, it’s possible to increase your chances to keep Fezzan alive long enough to let it fall into your sphere of influence. Fezzan may be allied to the Mamluks. If you call Tunis into wars but don’t give them any of the lands they may want, they’ll always have a truce with Fezzan, but never get to annex it. However, you might have other priorities, and Tunis gains wiggle room. Fortunately, the Tunisians can’t be everywhere at once. Purchase some mercenaries in Benghazi and siege down at least one of Fezzan’s provinces, like Sirt. As long as you own at least one occupation, Tunis will never be able to annex Fezzan, allowing you to vassalize it instead and use their cores against Tunis later.

Who would win? The entire army of Tunis or 10k expensive boys?

Who would win? The entire army of Tunis or 10k expensive boys?

  • A country I’m supposed to take over is allied with a bigger and stronger country.

Watch if you can either go around it by declaring war on an ally, vassalizing the state instead, or ask it kindly to break its alliance using the Great Power status. It’s fundamental throughout this guide that you use little diplomatic entanglements to further your conquest.

Act V – From 1500 onwards

From 1500 onwards, it’s time to fight anything, anywhere, all the time. So, feel free to jump around in this guide to have it suit your campaign. It’s also important to consolidate your holdings at home. Through Humanist ideas and Trade ideas, you can make your country less prone to revolt and wealthier. Upgrade your centers of trade to turn Constantinople into a powerful trade node while developing your centers of trade. Continue building up your army as the force limit grows, but beware of your dependence on janissaries. If your army has at least 20 Janissary regiments or over 20% of the army is Janissaries, and your stability is negative, you may be facing the Janissary Coup disaster which hurts your technological advancements tremendously.

Aside from this generic advice, be sure to check whether you can accidentally vassalize your allies. You’re very powerful around this time, so allies might be willing to become vassals. Always check whether someone is willingly letting itself be annexed by you. Beats conquering, right?

When you're already allied, you're giving that country a diplomatic relationship slot anyhow. Might as well ask them to be your vassal!

When you’re already allied, you’re giving that country a diplomatic relationship slot anyhow. Might as well ask them to be your vassal!

Lingering Italians

Genoa and Venice still hold on to some of our rightful territories. Venice still owns Crete, and Genoa still has a bunch of islands in the Meditteranean, as well as outposts in Crimea. We can’t have that! Fortunately, there’s a good chance these guys are allied. Simply declare war for your permanent claim on Caffa, and take your cores back. I decided to take Crete as well, but not yet more of Dalmatia. It’d give me a serious coalition I don’t want to face yet. You can also take some cash from these extremely wealthy merchant republics.

Aren't those borders pretty!

Aren’t those borders pretty!

After you dealt with Genoa, you can complete the mission Conquer Caffa for a temporary trade power boost in the Black Sea.

Fortifying the South

With my aggressive expansion pretty high in Europe, it’s time we shift away. East Africa is a great target. Your vassal may have some cores left – in my case, Makuria had a core on Dongola, so use that and declare war. Integrate the vassal after they’ve cored all of Sudan for you since hanging on to Ethiopia will be trouble for them. Afterward, you can focus on expanding your coastal possessions to gain more power in the Horn of Africa trade node. You can also take some holdings on the Arabian peninsula to make future conquest easier.

Another front for you to not worry about!

Another front for you to not worry about!

The Mamluks and Tunis, Re-Re-Visited

Before declaring war, see if there are any vassals you can annex. I recommend annexing any vassal that has no more foreign cores you can take. Since you can’t annex vassals during the war, use your moments of peace to start the process. When you’re annexing a vassal, see if you can concentrate land. If this doesn’t bring their disloyalty above 50, do so to make the annexation process easier.

Meanwhile, declare war on the Mamluks to take Palestine, Transjordan, and start expanding into Arabia. You may be able to take the Nile Delta, but this could be too expensive at this time. Moreover, it will anger our next target of expansion: Tunis. I took most of the Levant, snaked my way to Medina, got some more land in the Nile Delta, and cleaned up my African borders. While you prepare for a war with Tunis, consolidate your holdings. You can now also complete the mission Conquer the Levant to grant you a bunch more permanent claims all around.

Ah, all nice and connected.

Ah, all nice and connected.

At this point, you might be running into government capacity issues. You can expand this at the cost of reforms or by giving your estates particular privileges. Give the Ulema Ulema Land Rights, the Merchant Guilds Merchand Guild Land Rights, and the Dhimmi Dhimmi Land Rights. The Ümera can also gain land rights, but they have more important modifiers right now, such as the integration of nobility and stronger duchies. 

More governing capacity means more states, and more states means more money.

More governing capacity means more states, and more states means more money.

Once you declared war on Tunis, expand Fezzan in the desert itself and take the powerful coastal provinces for yourself. I took Tripoli, Jerba, Susa, and Tunis and gave everything south of that to Fezzan.

We're in another race for influence - this time in North Africa, against a much more formidable foe!

We’re in another race for influence – this time in North Africa, against a much more formidable foe!

Now observe the situation. In my game, I had a problem. I had a mighty Spain to deal with that expanded deep into North Africa and threatened my expansion plan. However, by the logic that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, I reached out to a powerful historical ally of the Ottomans – France makes a perfect ally in this scenario. Tell them not to get called into their stupid offensive wars so that you’re not caught off guard. You can do so by going to the diplomatic interaction screen, selecting “diplomatic feedback” and toggling “join offensive wars” off. However, always have an army ready in case you need it for war. I also guaranteed the Moroccans, to prevent Spain from consolidating its foothold in the Meditteranean.

Just like in actual history, France and the Ottomans make quite natural allies.

Just like in actual history, France and the Ottomans make quite natural allies.

Ending Hungary

Oh Hungary, you and your developed land filled with claims which just so, unfortunately, sit right next to me. That’s right – Europe seemed to have forgotten what we’ve been doing to the other states, so it’s time for a friendly reminder. Move your army in position and declare war to retake a Transylvanian core – like Hunyad. This war can be tricky since Hungary could have a high discipline. Engage when you have a clear advantage and use your massive amounts of vassals. Retake all of Transylvania’s cores, including Maramaros, and take the provinces in the state of Alföld. You can now complete the missions Control the Danube and Conquer Transsylvania, but don’t complete them just yet. They don’t grant permanent claims, so only do them when you’re ready to attack Hungary once more.

With these claims, you’ll get a great opportunity to expand your holdings when the Religious League War fires. In my case, Hungary got into a war with Austria, which saw both their units occupied. With both of them weakening, I swooped in and strengthened my position in the Balkan. Make sure to at least take Pest for the Bibliotheca Corvinana great project. You can also take a single Croatian province to core-conquer large parts of Dalmatia. Make your way towards the Holy Roman Empire to go there where the real-life Ottomans couldn’t: Vienna.

Consolidating around the Caucasus

This part of the guide may look completely different from mine. The QQ exploded in my case and gave birth to an independent Kurdish state, Soran. By giving them Mosul, I was able to vassalize them. It’s useful for you to grab important Caucasus provinces early. You won’t gain cores on them, but Dagestan is a province you will need to retake the Caliphate. It’s useful for you to take this before a rising threat, Russia, can show itself.

The earlier you consolidate around here, the better it is for you. The Caucasus mountains provide a valuable defense. Aside from sealing off the Black Sea and connecting your territories, there’s mostly no need for you to conquer anything north of the Caucasus mountains. However, prevent the Russians from getting any land south of the mountains by taking out any Georgian state that might still remain. By doing so, you’ll deny the Russians a strategically useful area of operations, and protect your core land. Aside from forcing the Russians to take a long way around, your imperial heart will be safe, which works miracles for your prosperity. I also connected my Crimean holdings to the mainland, so I can defend it more easily.

Alternatively, you may be able to ally with Russia. This will save you from a continuous threat in the north and allows you to concentrate against more direct enemies, like the Timurids, Austria, and Spain.

Into Arabia

When you fight with the Mamluks, make sure to expand into Saudi Arabia, towards Medina and Yemen. You can take small coastal ports when you peace out their allies to gain an early foothold. This area is very wealthy and contains the Islamic Holy cities of Mekka and Medina. If Medina still exists, you can likely vassalize them to speed up your conquest.

When you control these cities, you gain the permanent modifier Custodian of the Holy Cities. Although you can speed up conquest by using diplomatic entanglements, wars with the Mamluks will mostly be you chipping away at them over time. Prevent their room for expansion, cut them off so rebels can take hold or other nations can try to expand, and declare war whenever the truce timer is up. Depending on how large the Mamluks are, you can finish them off before 1600.

Arabia shouldn't give you any issues. Most states are weak, meaning you can diplomatically conquer most of them..

Arabia shouldn’t give you any issues. Most states are weak, meaning you can diplomatically conquer most of them..

Once you’ve taken the east coast of Arabia, you can complete the mission to Conquer Al-Ahsa. All of this conquest you can do diplomatically, but don’t be afraid to declare war if you want things to be a little quicker.

After you dealt with the Mamluks, you’re the only Great Power left in Arabia. Most nations will want to be your vassal; conquer the remainder. Make sure to take the cities of Aden and Masqat as soon as you can, since you need them to restore the Caliphate. I strongly recommend keeping Oman around as a vassal for the time being – there’s a good chance they’ll be the last nation to host the Hanbali school of thought. If you annex them, you can no longer get the -10% Aggressive Expansion bonus.

I can’t forget to mention the use of trade companies at this point. You can assign far-flung territories to trade companies to help you bring in some extra ducats. I set up two: the Ottoman Hormuz Company and the Ottoman Horn of Africa company.

Deeper into Africa

Keep a continuous Spy network on Tunis to expand faster towards the Atlantic coast. In this area, you may want to expand recklessly to the point that it nearly breaks your nation. This has a simple reason: Spain.

Spain will be the toughest nut you’ll have to crack in this entire campaign and kind of the final boss of this EU4 Ottomans guide. Although they may be weak, they’re sitting on at least one province we need to restore the Caliphate – Cordoba- and they may have taken Sicily, where we need two provinces: Palermo and Messina. Moreover, we need a Moroccan province, Ifni. The Spanish AI is fond of expanding into North Africa and might be blocking your way towards these important areas. The more of it is under your control, the less will be under the control of the Spanish.

You can also expand into the Horn of Africa at this point in time. I prefer to leave Ethiopia alone for most of the run, and simply conquer around them. The country is mountainous and can be tricky to conquer or divert resources to, especially if you need them against Spain. However, the coastal areas are likely up for grabs. From there, you can also go back to the southern tip of Arabia and take out the states in Yemen there before you’ve dealt with the Mamluks in Arabia.

Entering Persia and the Fringes of India

The Ottomans historically had issues expanding into Persia. However, history won’t stop us! We need at least one province deep Persian territory – Samarkand. Your situation might differ from mine, but I had to deal with a massive Timurids that united all of Persia. When dealing with a large nation, core conquest is a very viable tactic. I still had Ajam as a vassal, which gets cores on much of Iran. Use them to take a lot of land for cheap, and use Russia to distract the Timurids in the north. Don’t give them land though, that’d be a waste of your precious war score. 

Slowly head towards Samarkand by expanding Ajam. If Ajam gets too big or runs out of cores, integrate them and expand with new vassals, like Fars, Khorasan, Afghanistan, and Transoxiana.

Once you’ve successfully taken Samarkand, the one area you still need for the Caliphate is Thatta, in India. Fortunately, this is a coastal province, so you won’t have to expand deeply inward. Just take the province when you fight a war with the state that happens to own it, like Sindh or Gujarat. You’ll gain claims on this area with the mission Conquer Mocha, that you get when you’ve conquered the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

The Final Showdown

After you’ve wreaked Havoc in Arabia, Africa, and Persia, it’s time to confront Spain. This war can be tricky, so it can be useful to curry favors with important allies that can distract the Spanish, like France, Russia, Britain, or even Bohemia, Scandinavia, or Naples. Anyone who dislikes Spain is your friend, in this case. Build up your naval forces – if you are uncertain of your navy’s ability, take Naval Ideas to give yourself an edge. Make sure you are stable both in terms of unrest and economy and move your armies to Morocco. Keep some stacks in Europe and the Middle-East, to combat any Spanish troops should they decide to do a naval invasion.

Note: Be smart about who you declare war on. You can attack the Spanish head-on, but this might bring in some difficult allies. I declared war on Morocco, which they had guaranteed. If you need a repeatable method, don’t annex Morocco after you’re done. Simply take some Spanish lands and repeat after the truce timer runs out.

Avoid tough wars by using Spain's diplomatic commitments! And don't forget to fabricate a claim, of course.

Avoid tough wars by using Spain’s diplomatic commitments! And don’t forget to fabricate a claim, of course.

Even if the Spanish took Ifni, you can take all the provinces in a single war. However, fabricate claims on Palermo and Messina to make it a lot cheaper, should you need more land. Cordoba is a landlocked province, so it’s tricky to fabricate a claim. Ifni is a very poor province, so it doesn’t cost much to take.

After you declare war on Morocco, focus on landing an army on Sicily and taking down the Spanish and Moroccan holdings in Africa. Spain might lend a large army in Morocco, so be wary when and where you attack. When you attack a mountain, or a fort, or -worse- a mountain fort, you have a good chance to be defeated. If they engage you in a bad position, forfeit the battle to prevent a stack wipe. Use your fleet to prevent the Spanish from landing more units in Morocco while you siege it down. Meanwhile, you should’ve gotten Sicily sieged down by now. If you’re allied to Naples, call them in only now. They have claims on the provinces, which means that if they get the siege, you won’t be able to take it in the peace deal.

After finishing up Sicily and Morocco, you can cross the Strait of Gibraltar and siege Spain itself. Ideally, you managed to cripple the Spanish armies trapped in Morocco, so the Spanish may not put up much of a fight. Especially if you got France on your side, the Spanish got a bigger fish to fry, so the heartland lies right open. Siege down the fort in Malaga before swarming over the Spanish mainland. At this point, the war is won. You can trap their navies and force them out to reduce their naval strength, but that’s completely optional. Take at least Ifni, Malaga, Cordoba, Palermo, and Messina to Unify Islam. Congratulations!

Take all the provinces you need for the Caliphate to finally realize the unification of Islam.

Take all the provinces you need for the Caliphate to finally realize the unification of Islam.

Epilogue: The Caliphate Reborn

Now that you’re the Caliphate, the world truly lies at your feet. The decision makes your country more stable and lets you easily convert all your lands to Sunni if you didn’t take humanist ideas before or are really into that.

  • −20% stability cost modifier,
  • +2% missionary strength,
  • +2 tolerance of the true faith,
  • +1 tolerance of heretics.
Congratulations on restoring the Caliphate!

Congratulations on restoring the Caliphate!

More importantly, the land you had to take to unify the Caliphate should have made you a formidable power by now. You’ll also get an achievement to show off how great you’ve become at EU4: the Dar al-Islam. You can try and hunt down some Ottomans-unique achievements as well. Definitely the Sultan of Rum needs you to core Rome, Moscow, and Istanbul. Istanbul isn’t the problem (obviously), and Rome should be easy takings with your dominance in the Mediterranean. Moscow is a tougher nut to crack – focus on core conquest to make your way into Russia and take the city. The Great Horde is a great nation to do this with.

You can also shoot for Parisian Pasha. From your base in Morocco and Spain, it shouldn’t be hard for you to break your alliance with France and declare war on them. Ally a powerful nation nearby, such as Great Britain or Scandinavia, and snake your way to Paris from a coastal province. After that, make Paris a state and assign a Pasha to it in the corresponding maintenance screen.

There we have it – the end of our EU4 guide, as we made the Ottomans easy! It’s a lengthy process for sure, but use the guide as a reference point to guide yourself through the ages. Did you find this guide helpful, or did you run into trouble anywhere? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!