All Hearts of Iron 4 DLCs Ranked From Worst To Best

Ranking HOI4 DLCs from Worst to Best - Game_Ruski
From large improvements to more formable nations, play with espionage or as...Bulgaria...just Bulgaria.

All Hearts of Iron 4 DLCs Ranked From Worst To Best


What are DLCs?

DLCs or Downloadable Content are additional packages that include enhancements to the base game. DLCs may include new items, mechanics, or other things that are exclusive only to those who buy them. Hearts of Iron IV has 19 DLCs, ranging from soundtracks and skins, to new units and expansions! Paradox Interactive, the developers of Hearts of Iron IV and other popular franchises like Europa Universalis, Victoria, and Crusader Kings, have recently made 3 DLCs free, these include; Together for Victory, Death or Dishonor, and Waking the Tiger. Putting minor additions aside, we will be ranking 10 MAJOR DLCs (and country packs) from worst to best! These DLCs add new focuses, mechanics, and formables. (countries that can be formed after completing certain requirements) Additionally, make sure you get your hands on the three free DLCs “Together for Victory” “Death or Dishonor” and “Waking the Tiger” before the sale ends on the 24th of March!

#10 - Trial of Allegiance

Trial of Allegiance is the most recent DLC added to Hearts of Iron IV on March 7, 2024. The DLC features long-awaited rework of South American countries, including; Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The Customer Reviews on Steam show mostly negative comments and reviews, and despite Trial of Allegiance being the cheapest “official” DLC (Battle for the Bosporus is considered a country pack) the DLC is still considered “Overpriced” by several gamers! Why may that be the case? The answer is; too few additions added to the game. While the DLC does feature new exclusive content to South America, the only countries that truly got a rework are Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. With only a few formables for each nation, you may find more fun in releasing the natives as Chile and watch them brawl than to have a communist path for Brazil, however, that is just a personal opinion. Factually speaking, Trial of Allegiance is a DLC that, in comparison to other major HOI4 mods, doesn’t add much. It doesn’t have any new mechanics, it doesn’t feature any game-changing features, and it doesn’t even feature all of South America! On a more positive side however, Chile gains massive buffs and Brazil has a national focus option to dominate South America.

#9 -  Battle for the Bosporus

    Battle for the Bosporus is a country pack that was released on October 15. 2020. This pack/DLC is the cheapest one on this list, standing at $9.99, and offers major rework in the national focus tree for Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. With many things to do, each potentially affecting the main theater (Europe), these Balkan nations and classical enemies can all either turn to their historical glory, or embrace the new ideologies of fascism, communism, or democracy. Reform Constantinople by forming the Byzantine Empire as Greece. Additionally, Greece can also recreate Alexander the Great’s Empire, a.k.a the Macedonian Empire. As Turkey, you can reestablish the sultanate to form the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria isn’t left out either! As Bulgaria, you either can reunify the Balkans to form the United Balkan Federation, or you can take a smaller approach to create the Third Bulgarian Empire. Accompanied by unique voiceovers for the three countries, Battle for the Bosporus is the only country pack that is expected to have more additions to come in the future, although that is according to Paradox. If that is the case, why isn’t this ranked higher? Well, it has been almost 2 years with no new additions in sight. Additionally, the countries that were expected to be major nations, like Turkey, didn’t actually get many focuses or bonuses as opposed to Greece or Bulgaria. Overall, this DLC is put at a great price, and adds many changes to the Balkan region.

#8 -  Man the Guns

Man the Guns is a naval-focused DLC that features many alternative history focuses! Released February 28, 2019, Man the Guns adds new national focuses for the United States and United Kingdom including a second U.S civil war, the early decolonization of the British Empire, and governments in exile. Additionally, Mexico and The Netherlands get some love and gain new national focus trees! With the DLC, players can now design ships, research new ship components, and improve stealth for  submarines. Similar to the General and Field Marshal traits and skills, the Admirals now have their own new traits and skills waiting to be unlocked! There are three completely new things being added for all countries.

1. Naval Mines, which can protect coastlines from enemy invasions and amphibious assault.

2. Shipping Route Controls. Control where your convoys/warships can and can not go, you now have the ability to mark areas you want for the ships to avoid.

3. Naval Treaties. Internationally agreed upon rules for ships similar to land!

Overall, Man the Guns DLC adds many significant bonuses for naval warfare and a few features that might change the game. The new Mexican and Dutch focus trees are great, however realistically, they are mediocre at most. The ship design, like the tank design, do not matter much as they do not impact significantly enough to change the game. The Admiral traits are a great touch, however for $20, players really start to question whether or not it is worth the price, and truly, it is not. The naval mines do not do much, and the ship route can easily be thrown in the trash once the enemy has naval supremacy.

#7 - Death or Dishonor

Death or Dishonor is a highly debated DLC that was added on June 14, 2017. Now free, the exclusive content used to be $9.99, however was it worth its price? Death or Dishonor adds 4 new focus trees, these countries are Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. Form the Greater Hungary, or go bigger and reform the old Austria-Hungary! Fight or side with the Germans as fascist nations can get new subject levels like Reichskommissariat, and like in “Together for Victory” (A DLC that we will talk more about later) puppets are able to share industry, licenses, and strategic resources. Speaking of licenses, new diplomatic interactions allow for military technologies to be licensed and sold to other nations to the highest bidder. Test your weapons on the field without even declaring war! (Although this is a wargame) With this DLC, outdated and/or captured weapons now have a use! Upgrade your outdated equipment, or use the captured gear to your advantage against the enemy. Overall, this DLC adds many great things for all players to enjoy, and for a group of people who just wish to return to WW1 borders. Now that the DLC is free, there is no reason why you should not get it!

#6 - Arms Against Tyranny

Arms Against Tyranny is a DLC that all of the Nordic nations hold deeply in their heart. From the south of Denmark, to the north of Sweden, and from west of Norway, to east of Finland, Arms Against Tyranny truly gives major bonuses and buffs to the Nordic countries. As Denmark, you can make Norway and Sweden be your subjects in order to form Scandinavia, a nation that existed from late 1300s to early the 1500s. Additionally, as Denmark, (or Norway) you can form the North Sea Federation through a more violent approach, fighting both the Brits and and the Swedes. Speaking of Sweden, if you follow the neutrality path in the focus tree, you can form the Eternal Nordic Empire, spanning across many different parts of Europe like Reykjavik, Oslo, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Copenhagen, and Hannover! The restoration of the Swedish Empire would make every Gustaf proud. We can not forget about Finland too! While Finland does not have any major formable nations, they do get massive bonuses and buffs in the Winter War against the Soviets, making them even more challenging for the Red Army to beat. That is not all! With this DLC, players can now customize their special forces units, division specializations, and manufacturers. Both the Military Industrial Organization and the International Market are new features with the international market being used for the sell/purchase of military equipment for civilian industrial output.

#5 - Waking the Tiger

Waking the Tiger is a DLC heavily focused on the Asian Theatre during WW2. The DLC adds new focus trees for Communist and Nationalist Chinas, Germany, and Japan. Before I get to the main part, let’s get rid of smaller changes first. Attaches (members of the embassy) can be sent to countries, giving your country full visibility of their army, and their country more organization and XP. Volunteer Air Corps, similar to Army Volunteers, are also now able to be sent to a country in need of help. Now that the smaller changes are out of the way, we can talk about the formables. In Waking the Tiger DLC, players can form:

Indonesian Confederacy

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 


Austria-Hungary (although also requires Death or Dishonor DLC)

Rattanakosin Kingdom

Baltic Federation

Holy Roman Empire

Roman Empire

Byzantine Empire (although also requires Battle for the Bosporus)

Scandinavia (although also requires Arms Against Tyranny DLC)


United States of Central America

Greater German Reich

People’s Republic of China

Chinese Empire


The sheer amount of formable nations truly changes the game. The restoration of several former empires allows for alternative history to be crazier than ever. This DLC is needed for several other DLC formables (most of which weren’t listed above) to work. You might wonder the price of such beauty, but do not forget that this DLC is in fact FREE! Waking the Tiger (according to the Hearts of Iron IV community) is considered to be one of the most fun DLCs added, and speaking from experience, it really is! 

#4 - By Blood Alone

By Blood Alone was released on September 27, 2022. If you think that Waking the Tiger has a lot of formable nations, this DLC is just like it. You can form the Aksumite Empire, East Africa, Horn of Africa, Zion, Solomon, Regnum Bospori, and more! Countries like Italy, Switzerland, and Ethiopia gain new national focus trees and Switzerland has the option to form the Alpine Confederation, spanning from Genoa through Zurich and to Vienna. Like tank and the ship designer, By Blood Alone allows players to design planes, give units/divisions medals, impose embargoes, and mark Demilitarized Zones (DMZ) or claim resources as part of the war reparations from defeated countries. With over 20 unit models for Italy, Ethiopia, and Switzerland, and an additional 67 plane models to see, this DLC will make the skies look more flavorful with its variety! Restore the Italian monarchy or let the communist revolution take over, replacing Mussolini. Fend off the Italian invaders as Ethiopia, or use the Government in Exile abilities. End the classic stereotype and expand territory as Switzerland. This DLC is great for players who want Italy to have a larger impact in Europe and Africa.

#3 - Together for Victory

Together for Victory may be surprising that it takes the podium, but there is a reason! With national focuses being added for all ANZAC countries, (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, British Raj, and South Africa) there are also important changes added for all of the countries. Along with a new autonomy system, players are now able to ask for Lend-Lease, meaning that multiplayer games might just get a lot more interesting with more new ways of indirect support. Additionally, players now have a new form of battle plan. Instead of the normal, “Offensive Battle Plan,” players now have the option to select the, “Spearhead Battle Plan,” instead! The Spearhead battle plan opts for a more direct approach over the marked target, where instead of the generals trying to occupy areas around it, they are strictly following given orders and will not cross the marked Area of Operation. This battle plan is useful for encirclements, blitzkrieg/bewegungskrieg, or simply speeding up the capitulation! That’s not all! Together for Victory adds the ability for ANZAC nations to either remain loyal or slowly break away from the British Empire. Additionally, staying loyal as a dominion of Britain allows the ANZAC nations to share technology between each other, speeding up the process of research! Combat Log is another feature added to this DLC. Combat Log allows players to see how much equipment was lost during the war, allowing for players to get a better visual and understanding about the pros and cons of their template configurations, and allow for players to improve or work on implementing new strategies and ideas!

#2 - La Résistance

Vive La France! Vive La Résistance

Released on February 25, 2020, fight for the independence of France with the new national focus added for Free France, or fight alongside the Germans with the new national focus added for Vichy France. If neither of these options interest you, and your inner Napoleon Bonaparte is kicking in, this DLC gives players the option to restore the French Monarchy! If you don’t want to play as France, and instead fancy Spain, do not worry! This DLC adds national focuses for both the Republican Spain and the Nationalist Spain! If that wasn’t enough, you can also play with the new national focuses added for Portugal, for all of the Portuguese HOI4 fans out there! For the rest of the nations (and those previously mentioned) there are new game-changing mechanics. With new buffs added to reconnaissance troops, players now also have the option of sending espionage to foreign nations, reporting info and sabotaging industries for your benefit. Additionally, you can also support resistance movements with these special agents to hopefully start a coup or maybe a whole REVOLUTION, although that is a stretch as a lot of the times, they won’t work.There is another feature added in La Resistance, and that is Code Cracking! Decrypt enemy communications to gain short-term advantages over the enemy! Always stay one-step ahead with this DLC!

#1 - No Step Back

    No Step Back, orders comrade Stalin, as the soldiers hold Stalingrad until the last man. Experience the war with new Soviet, Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian national focuses. With new supply/logistic updates, the new tactic, “Scorched Earth” (infamously used by the Russians during the Napoleonic Wars) will force the enemies to think twice before messing with a pyromaniac! Give the enemy severe debuffs, slow them down, anything just to keep precious Moscow away from the enemy hands. For the Germans, researching the new railway gun units like the Gustav cannon, and a new option like designing tanks are now also a thing, so unleash your creativity on the battlefield! With the No Step Back DLC enabled, players can now boost their armies, navies, and airforce doctrines with the new, “Spirits” mechanic! Now to talk about formable nations, many might be delighted to hear that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (with the addition of Waking the Tiger) are added. Along with the commonwealth, these are some of the other formable nations added with this DLC:

Baltic Federation (which also requires Waking the Tiger)

Nordic League (which also requires Waking the Tiger)



Pan-Slavic Union


Empire of Finno-Ugra

Greater Lithuania

Kingdom of Livonia

Kingdom of Poland-Romania


Slavic Union

Third Rome


With several formable nations and additions, there is a reason why this DLC has a community review of “Mostly Positive.” This DLC is highly recommended, the entertainment and content is worth the price, and even if it isn’t, you can always pick it up on a sale for a large discounted price, making this DLC even more exciting and worth the money!

Writer/Blogger who enjoys playing RTS and Grand Strategy Games for fun. Hearts of Iron IV, Cossacks 3, EU4, etc. I write in both Russian and English so that many people could enjoy the content!
Gamer Since: 2011
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Cossacks 3
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