Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis IV [EU4]- NeuralGamer (2024)

Idea groups are a fundamental part of EU4 — and they can make, or break you nation. For this reason, we will be discussing the Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis 4. What you will learn in this Europa Universalis Guide:

  • The 3 Best Idea Groups in EU4
  • What Ideas NOT to Choose in EU4

… and with that being said, let’s talk idea groups!

The Best Idea Groups in EU4

There are 18 different groups available in the game — and it is select the right ones, as unlocking all ideas in each idea group costs an expensive 2 800 monarch points; as such, it will be a huge waste if you pick a bad idea groups.

You usually get your first 3 idea groups within the first 100 years of a campaign — so by about 1550. Its vital to pick the right idea groups, as it can give you a jump start in your campaign. You unlock your first 3 idea groups at administrative technology levels 5, 7, and 10, respectively.

If you didn’t know, after unlocking your third idea at administrative level 10, one of your national ideas is unlocked — and as such, this means you could unlock all national ideas plus the national ambition if you unlock all the ideas in the first three idea groups.

What Ideas NOT to Choose in EU4

A fundamental principle of EU4 Ideas is to not pick any military ideas in the first three idea groups — because military technologies are more important than military ideas, as the tech gives you discipline and other buffs. This is more the case in earlier parts of the game, where each level of military technology differences increase the damage you do to enemy in combat significantly.

Like we have mentioned, unlocking all the ideas in an idea group cost about 2800 military points — this places you far behind you enemies military technology; thus giving your nation a huge disadvantage in early game.

Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis IV [EU4]- NeuralGamer (1)

Always Pick Administrative Ideas First

Next, ALWAYS pick Administrative Ideas first. This is primarily due to a modifier you receive from the idea group. Within administrative ideas, you gan a -25% Coring Cost, which throughout the game saves ALOT of administrative points. Plus, it also shortens the time it takes to core up newly conquered provinces. This does 2 things:

  • Overextension is less of an issue.
  • You can expand much faster, as less administrative points are wasted on coring provinces.

Before the 1600s, expansion within EU4 is very hard. This is because of the limits and restrictions you have on governing capacity — you may be asking; how do I gain governing capacity in EU4?

Unfortunately, the only way to gain governing capacity (besides through government reforms) is through administrative technology (starting at technology level 6). This again, is a reason that the 25 governing capacity you get from administrative ideas is useful.

This is not to mention the many buffs you receive for mercenary companies by choosing administrative ideas.

Pick Either Relious Ideas or Humanist Ideas

Our next suggestion is that you ALWAYS pick one of these 2 idea groups as your second idea slot.

  • Religious Ideas
  • Humanist Ideas

Why? You may be asking. Both these ideas REALLY help with any unrest issues you may be experiencing, early, mid, or late game. Furthermore, during the ‘Age of Reformation’, nations with one of these 2 idea groups will also complete one of the age goals; so which one of the 2 ideas should you pick?

For most Catholic and Muslim nations — religions ideas is usually a better choice. This is because, Catholic and Muslim nations are able to become the defender of faith. And for Muslim nations, you are able to gain buffs from controlling holy cities.

The +3 Missionary Strength, and +1 missionary makes the religious idea group really helpful — and makes it much more effective to spread religion; thus, you gain a high religion unity (giving you many extra buffs)

Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis IV [EU4]- NeuralGamer (2)

The only time I would suggest nations NOT to get Religious ideas is countries with national ideas that give tolerance for heavens — think Mali, or the Ottoman Empire

For these nations, pick Humanist Ideas, and you can expect to get -15 years of separatism and -3 national unrest.

For nations located in the East (think China, Japan, or India)— the humanist idea group is usually the better choice. This is due to what we mentioned previously, these countries are unable to:

  • Claim the Defender of Faith for their respective religion.
  • Do not get any holy city bonuses.

Plus, Eastern Countries already usually tolerate other religious groups. Luckily, if you are part are Confucianist religious group, you have the ‘harmonize with religion’ ability. Also, many Indian countries have a high tolerance of heathens.

Either Exploration Ideas or Influence Ideas

What should you pick as your third idea group? We highly suggest you pick one these groups:

  • Exploration
  • Influence


If you are a European nation, and want to colonize regions, this idea lets you explore terra incognita, and gives you a colonist. Also, Exploration is really important if you are playing as a South-East Asian nation, as you will need it if you want to expand to the nearby islands.

Tip: Once you have got your colonist, you can send it to a province, than recall it; then send it to another province. Using this method, you can sustain multiple colonies at ones, with just a single colonist.

Influence Ideas

Previously one of the best idea groups in the game, Influence Ideas have been nerfed in recent patches. Still, influence ideas are a very strong idea group. This is primarily due to the -25% modifier you get for Diplomatic Annexations. Plus, you get a whole bunch of other buffs from this idea group.

We recommend this idea for countries like Austria and France, as they have many vassals— and this idea group can help out with that.


So, what have we learn’t in this article about the Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis IV?

  • Never pick a military idea for your first three idea slots.
  • Firstly, pick Administrative Ideas
  • Secondly, pick either Religious Ideas or Humanist Ideas
  • Thirdly, pick Exploration Ideas, or Influence Ideas

Thanks for reading out guide on the Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis IV

Best Idea Groups in Europa Universalis IV [EU4]- NeuralGamer (2024)
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