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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

bly08

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bly08

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This AAR will detail the run from a strategy perspective. I will try to include enough information so that a similar date can be replicated.

Starting Conditions:

- Hungary must rival Poland to guarantee they will not ally each other
- Neither Hungary nor Bohemia can have strong allies
- Samtskhe cannot have allies by January 1445
- Poland should choose Local Noble. This is not required but makes things easier.

Hungary and Bohemia's alliances should be set by 1445. You will need to restart as many times as it takes for all conditions to be met. By "strong allies" I am referring mostly to France. It is preferred for Bohemia to have only HRE minors as allies, and for Hungary to have allies no stronger than TO and 2-3 province HRE minors.
 
Last edited:

Tom D.

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How is the first question that comes to mind, would you like to explain how you did it? Pretty amazing in just 30 years.
 

bly08

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Before unpausing:

- Set rivals (Bohemia + Hungary + anyone), use estate interactions, get power projection from rivals, recruit regiments
- Ally, RM, guarantee, offer military access to every elector
- Keep admin focus
- Roll a general that has at least a siege pip
- Send a stack toward the parked transports

eu4_1130.jpg

It's also preferable to have a morale advisor at the start. One needs to be rolled eventually. Remember that both normal and scornful insult can be used on different rivals to stack PP.

eu4_1131.jpg

Demand money from Burghers and 150 points each from estates

eu4_1132.jpg

Would be nice to have a shock pip but I prefer to restart no more than 30 times for any run

eu4_1133.jpg

Ally electors first before sending RM offer, if they send one it saves a diplomat trip. I allied Milan because Hungary allied Genoa. Alliance patterns will be different every run so plan accordingly. Some other potential allies to consider are anyone that borders Saxony, Brandenburg, and Bavaria, and who, if allied, will not break your alliance with the two electors.

A successful run will require multiple attempts, be patient.
 
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Check Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia, and Hungary's alliances in the first few months. No one should ally France and Bohemia should not ally Hungary. The weaker their allies are the better.

After unpausing, transport a stack of six regiments to the Black sea, ask for access from Trebizond. No-CB Samtskhe.

eu4_1134.jpg

This can technically be done as soon as all alliances are made, the later the war, the more likely it is for Samtskhe to get allies.

eu4_1135.jpg

Complete the Bohemia PU mission as soon as possible

eu4_1136.jpg

Poland is allied to two of my allies, not the best scenario but it could be worse.

eu4_1054.jpg

Bohemia only has Memmingen, though they still have dip slots left.

eu4_1052.jpg

Lithuania does not always ally Poland on this patch which is good for us

eu4_1055.jpg

Trebizond should usually ally only Theodoro

eu4_1057.jpg

Imereti will sometimes have allies but it should not matter

eu4_1053.jpg

Hungary used two slots on guarantees. They have allied only Genoa thus far which is one of the best situations possible.
 
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Samtskhe has a level 3 fort that needs 10k men. After they are wiped one or both of their Caucasian neighbors should declare.

eu4_1061.jpg
eu4_1062.jpg
eu4_1063.jpg

In my case, both declared, but one is enough.

eu4_1064.jpg

We then vassalize Samtskhe

eu4_1065.jpg

who drag us into two defensive wars. Samtskhe is also needed for coring range in the Caucasus.
 
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eu4_1066.jpg

We call in our allies

eu4_1067.jpg

And on the same day, without unpausing, declare on Bohemia. Our allies get called into both wars. This is the double CtA exploit. It's a bug left over from 1.14's favor system according to DDRJake.

eu4_1069.jpg

Our allies do most of the work in Europe while we concentrate on the Caucasus. Every fort should be sieged as soon as possible.
 
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eu4_1237.jpg

Bohemia is PU'd

eu4_1070.jpg

We do not full annex Imereti but instead take their coastal provinces and vassalize

eu4_1071.jpg

This is because Circassia attacked Imereti. Meanwhile we seize Oltu from Samtskhe. Kakheti was not taken due to warscore cost and that Kakheti is not in direct coring range from Samtskhe.

eu4_1072.jpg

Georgia, Imereti and Oltu's development are enough to fulfill the Decline of Hungary mission

eu4_1073.jpg

We call in our allies again vs. Circassia

upload_2018-10-12_4-35-30.png

and declare on Hungary using the PU CB. This second double CtA is not required as Hungary can be defeated without allies. Brandenburg and Saxony are not called in because both are allied to Poland, and so favors from both are needed to double CtA the two against Poland later.
 
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eu4_1137.jpg

We declare on Trebizond the next month. This war is for Theodoro, which is required to add Caucasus provinces to the HRE. Otherwise Trebizond's fort is not worth the effort.

eu4_1138.jpg

After PUing Bohemia do not click on this reward. It needs to be saved for later.

eu4_1140.jpg

Georgian separatists progressing. I recommend using a Theologian as it's better that they rise after the Hungary war.

eu4_1139.jpg

Make sure to always keep the corruption slider maxed. Lower maintenance and mothball forts whenever possible.

eu4_1141.jpg

As long as these guys have siege pips I can care less...

eu4_1078.jpg

Nice!

eu4_1079.jpg

Since Hungary needs full warscore, I recommend peacing out their allies asap.

eu4_1080.jpg

TO was also being battered by Poland.
 
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eu4_1081.jpg

Full annex Circassia. No coalition potential yet.

eu4_1082.jpg

Full annex Trebizond and Theodoro

eu4_1083.jpg

We take Pozsony and Trencin for a landbridge to Poland and beyond, otherwise their provinces would have to be cored layer by layer, same reason for taking Zagreb to Bosnia/Serbia.

eu4_1142.jpg

Lithuania is fighting Crimea and Great Horde. They were not PU'd by Poland and only have Pomerania as ally. We attack immediately after defeating Hungary.

eu4_1084.jpg

We luck into Papal controller which helps a bit with AE management, though it will not last long.

eu4_1143.jpg

Dip slots need to be cleared soon or else war exhaustion will be difficult to buy down. Samtskhe and Imereti can't be abandoned yet because of the truce.

eu4_1085.jpg

Lithuania white peaces Crimea.

eu4_1147.jpg

We take only 58 development from Lithuania
 
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The crux of our strategy relies on being able to convert quickly between Orthodox and Catholic. Rebel conversion works only if the rebel religion holds the largest fraction of development among all religions. The goal is thus to take enough Orthodox provinces to get to an even split of Catholic and Orthodox land, then switch between Catholic and Orthodox majority by exploiting development. We also need around 50 provinces so that adding every province is enough to pass one reform.

Austria starts with 165 Catholic development. The three Hungarian provinces add up to 25, Nowy Sącz has 14, the two Catholic provinces are another 13. The total is 217 Catholic development. There is 89 Orthodox development from Theodoro and Caucasus. Ottomans took Kotor and Kosovo which leaves 46 development between Bosnia and Serbia. Przemyśl and Belz equal 17 development. We would thus need 217 - 89 - 46 - 17 = 65 development from Lithuania. I take one province less to take more ducats and war rep.

The religious majority that's needed to convert from rebels used to count number of provinces instead of development. This was changed in 1.25 either due to a bug or stealth fix. Unfortunately the religion pie chart has not been updated. A spreadsheet is strongly recommended when attempting this strategy.

eu4_1154.jpg

Since Brandenburg and Saxony were not called in vs. Hungary, their favors have been accumulating since the Bohemia PU war. Upon reaching 10 favors with both we declare on Augsburg.

eu4_1155.jpg

CtAs are sent after a month

eu4_1156.jpg

Double CtA Poland. They have only Brandenburg as ally.

eu4_1157.jpg

Brandenburg is turned against Poland. This isn't vital to the run but does make the war faster as Poland has a lot of forts.

eu4_1152.jpg

A few loans. Money will cease to matter after the revoke.

eu4_1151.jpg

Santok is given to Brandenburg to feed them AE. This will lessen their chances of getting elected. I wanted to give Poznań as well but it was occupied by Silesia. The other three provinces are taken as planned.
 
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After Serbia is annexed, all provinces need to finish coring before the first reform can be passed. Fabricate claims on all bordering HRE minors during this time.

eu4_1164.jpg

The first reform can be passed without adding provinces. We have taken around 40 provinces thus far, those along with abdication is enough to pass the second reform.

eu4_1168.jpg

A 10% IA modifier makes every added province worth 1.1 IA. It's important to save the mission reward until it's time to pass reforms.

eu4_1165.jpg

We have 51 provinces total

eu4_1166.jpg

Two of which cannot be added as they are isolated

eu4_1167.jpg

The two OPM vassals have to be abandoned asap

eu4_1170.jpg

Keep track of elector backing. A Germanic culture minor should be the first to get elected. In this case it's Hesse. The votes should be split pretty evenly.

eu4_1171.jpg

We exploit enough Catholic development to get an Orthodox majority. A missionary is sent to an Orthodox province which has to be full cored beforehand. Make sure the province does not have the "recent uprising" modifier so that the missionary's +5 unrest will result in positive unrest.

eu4_1172.jpg

Rebel progress will turn into zealot progress the next month. Separatist progress can change into zealot progress if it's under 30%.

Some of you might be wondering why conversion no longer costs one stab. It has something to do with this change from the 1.27 patch notes:

"Fixed breaking to rebels sometimes causing an extra stab hit, especially as the Pope"

I do not like to harp on QA but the mistake made here is a little embarrassing. For details, compare the Coptic rebel file with the Catholic one.

eu4_1173.jpg

Hesse gets elected as the next emperor.
 
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Austria borders Alsace, Lorraine, Baden, Switzerland, Memmingen, Ravensburg, Augsburg, Salzburg, Bavaria, and Ferrara. In order to get re-elected we have to drag the emperor into war to either vassalize or annex the emperor. The emperor will always protect free cities, he will not protect other HRE princes if they are declared on with a claim. Thus in order to fight the emperor through a prince that's not a free city we would first have to leave the HRE. As there are only so many countries that Austria can fabricate claims on, it is preferable to save the free city claims for last because re-election becomes more difficult when we leave the empire

eu4_1181.jpg

We will use our Augsburg claim first since they have the least allies and are already weakened from before. Augsburg is not a free city so we have to leave the HRE before declaring.

eu4_1182.jpg

Our provinces are removed also

eu4_1183.jpg

Ravensburg does not join. If they had, their claim would become useless as the truce would be too long.

eu4_1176.jpg

The priority is to siege down forts, specifically Hesse's and Augsburg's capital forts. Only engage if the enemy is threatening to attack the sieging stacks. The AI love to base race and it seems even more so on 1.27.

eu4_1177.jpg

The HRE emperor gets an extra modifier when fighting non HRE tags. He will not submit through separate peace unless all allies are fully occupied. This can be circumvented by negotiating through the war leader. We do not need full warscore in this or any of the subsequent emperor wars, only enough to vassalize or kill the emperor. Both of Hesse's provinces are given away to Cologne. We cannot take OE as it would affect reform votes, as does AE.

eu4_1178.jpg

Before sending the peace deal, make absolutely sure we have enough votes to get re-elected. It is best to convert back to Catholic the next month after declaring so the voter backing UI has time to update. Bohemia will always vote for us as they are a subject. One more vote should be enough. Only two provinces need to be exploited to switch the religious majority each time unless there are events that change development.

eu4_1179.jpg

Re-election
 
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eu4_1091.jpg

Add provinces again, pass third reform. Since there is a +10% IA modifier, we will have some leftover IA from adding 49 provinces. Make sure to pass reforms at the minimum IA required before adding the rest so the extra IA carries over.

eu4_1092.jpg

Exploit development, convert. This time The Palatinate is elected. The elections should usually result in a Germanic emperor. We want the emperor to be small and easy to kill. Anyone but Brandenburg should be fine. Saxony or Bavaria would be a bit annoying as they are bigger and have more than one fort. It's a good idea for this reason to ally minors that border the two early on in order to have allies to feed. Brandenburg can be disqualified by feeding them Polish land. As a failsafe, it may be useful to ally Pomerania who can be called in vs. Brandenburg.

The elector backing mechanic is full of mysteries. I've encountered several seven way ties where more than one country have the same prestige. It is unclear what the next tiebreaker is. Tag order may be it, but there are also times when it appears to be random. In these situations one may need to fast forward a few months for the votes to change. If either Brandenburg, Saxony, or Bavaria is elected the wars would still be manageable except take longer to finish. The only prince that can not be emperor for the sake of the run is Savoy who have more than 100 warscore. However, Savoy is Latin culture so they should rarely be elected over Germanic minors.

eu4_1093.jpg

We use Salzburg to drag in Palatinate. They are allied to each other and thus we do not need to leave the empire before declaring. This nets some extra IA tick. We still need to leave before re-election to remove provinces.

eu4_1187.jpg

The war is more difficult than the last because of Palatinate's ally Burgundy. They are white peaced asap.

eu4_1188.jpg

Once Burgundy and their vassals are gone the war becomes much easier

eu4_1189.jpg

We can separate peace the emperor this time because we stayed in the HRE. Alsace is released, Pfalz and Heidelberg are given to Trier. We take the last province which will be returned after the war.

eu4_1190.jpg

Re-elected again
 
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bly08

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eu4_1191.jpg

Flip to Orthodox, add provinces, pass the next reform.

eu4_1192.jpg

The Palatinate was an elector. This means we have the power to influence the next vote through who we choose as the new elector. Out of the princes that have elector backing, Anhalt would be the easiest to kill.

eu4_1193.jpg

We grant electorate to Saxe-Lauenburg, one of Anhalt's allies.

eu4_1194.jpg

As expected, they back their buddies, which brings Anhalt's votes to two from a previous seven way tie.

eu4_1195.jpg

We convert next month. Anhalt becomes emperor.
 
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bly08

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eu4_1196.jpg

Quick and easy war vs. Ravensburg. No need to leave the empire before declaring as Ravensburg is a free city.

eu4_1197.jpg

Anhalt is given to Saxony

eu4_1223.jpg

Fifth reform passed. Not pictured is Anhalt's 77 year old king dying during the war which added 10 IA.

There is now another seven way tie:
eu4_1224.jpg

eu4_1225.jpg
eu4_1226.jpg
eu4_1227.jpg
eu4_1228.jpg
eu4_1229.jpg
eu4_1230.jpg
eu4_1231.jpg
eu4_1232.jpg

eu4_1245.jpg

Mecklenburg, Saxony, and Pomerania all have the same prestige.

eu4_1116.jpg

Mecklenburg gets elected the next month. The tag order goes Mecklenburg > Pomerania > Saxony.
 
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bly08

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eu4_1208.jpg

We use one of our last claims. Lorraine is allied to Liege, Mecklenburg is allied to Brandenburg.

eu4_1209.jpg

Brandenburg is peaced out first. Mecklenburg is vassalized through Loraine. We gain some AE from the war but it's too little to matter at this point.

eu4_1210.jpg

Re-elected

eu4_1120.jpg

Convert to Orthodox one last time

eu4_1121.jpg

The last placeholder emperor is conveniently Lüneburg. At this point it doesn't matter who gets elected.

eu4_1211.jpg

We have enough provinces to pass Erbkaisertum with some IA left over. But, one more war would guarantee enough IA for both Erbkaisertum and Revoke. We therefore add every province but do not pass Erbkaisertum. The new emperor cannot pass reforms due to their "too small nation" modifier. When we get re-elected again all the IA that was added previously will be inherited, which allows Erbkaisertum to be passed without adding any provinces. The IA from adding our provinces again can then be used toward the next reform which is the revoke.

eu4_1212.jpg

We declare on Ferrara, the only bordering country with a claim and without a truce. Note that Milan cannot be called in due to the fifth reform.
 
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bly08

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eu4_1213.jpg

Only Lüneburg and Lucca need to be sieged down

eu4_1214.jpg

Re-elected for the last time

eu4_1215.jpg

Pass Erbkaisertum instantly

eu4_1216.jpg

Genoa adds Caffa and Matrega. With a 35% IA buff 51 provinces give 68.85 IA.

eu4_1217.jpg

We now have enough IA to revoke. If the run is to continue, another year or so is needed for a unanimous revoke.
 
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bly08

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To summarize the run:

- Each province added to the HRE gives 1 imperial authority by default.
- Provinces can be re-added by leaving the HRE and getting re-elected.
- Austria can abdicate HRE emperorship by converting to Orthodox
- A country can convert through rebels if the rebel religion holds the majority among all religions by development
- Re-election can be forced by annexing or vassalizing the current emperor
- Conversion can be performed quickly if a country has an even fraction of development among two or more religions. Exploiting the development of one religion will flip the majority and allow for conversion.
- The emperor can be called into wars through their allies or free cities. If neither is possible, the emperor will defend any HRE prince versus nations outside of the HRE.
- By adding enough provinces for 50 IA or more, one reform can be passed with each re-election.

A few tips:

- The HRE interface does not update instantly. Elector backing can take two months or more to sync up. This goes for re-election as well as losing emperorship. Make sure to have enough displayed votes before sending out peace deals.
- When declaring on free cities or allies of the emperor that do not require leaving the HRE, you will still need to leave before forcing re-election so that all provinces can be removed and re-added.
- Leaving the HRE will change voter backing, but since the UI does not update instantly, it's possible to send the peace deal and leave on the same day while keeping the same votes as before.
- Try to farm as much prestige as possible from peace deals. Prestige helps with re-election.
- To be absolutely safe, ally minors that border Brandenburg, Saxony, and Bavaria. The later the war the less it matters who gets elected as the fifth reform prevents HRE princes from joining a coalition against the emperor. But opinion still matters for passing reforms. If the current elector backings are undesirable, let the game run for a few months for votes to change. If a situation comes up where Savoy will get elected no matter what, the run will probably have to be abandoned.
- Sieging down forts is much more important than winning battles. Since none of the emperor wars require 100 warscore, the enemy army can be ignored unless they threaten sieges. Set subjects to siege mode.
- The Bohemia PU is required as Bohemia is an elector and potential candidate for emperor. The Hungary PU is not vital to the run.
- Be selective of which allies to call in. Save favors and call in only those who can be fed land.

Thanks to @alexti who first notified me of the strategy and corrected my mistakes.

Final screenshots:
eu4_1220.jpg
eu4_1221.jpg
eu4_1222.jpg
eu4_1218.jpg
 
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