[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Focus Trees

The best focus trees you should be playing in Hearts of Iron IV
Top 10 Best Focus Tree to ensure you remain glued to your seat (literally)

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the top 10 best focuses (according to me) as of the By Blood Alone DLC. We’ll be taking into account the content of the focus tree and its general length in determining the best ones, as having a short focus tree will surely lead to a short playthrough.


1. Soviet Union

The focus of the recent No Step Back DLC, the Soviet Union, has been quite fleshed out with the inclusion of other blocs of the Communist Party attempting to wrangle power away from Joseph Stalin and the possible restoration of the Russian Tsar to the Imperial throne. As such, there’s no other place to put this focus than at the top due to the new game mechanics that it offers, especially Stalin’s paranoia, which may force you to offer up some of your best generals, admirals, or advisors in order to appease the dictator’s growing distrust.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Provides alternative Communist leaders such as Bukharin and Trotsky.
  • Stalin’s path replicates his paranoia really well, forcing the player to tread water.
  • Contains a lot of focus and alternate history paths that will allow for a long playthrough.


2. Italy

The recent darling of the game, Italy, was the primary recipient of the By Blood Alone DLC, which greatly reworked the nation’s focus tree. Now, we’re treated to an Italy that is treading between Mussolini, the Grand Council of Fascism, and anarchy. Who wins is dependent on you, but with the large amount of content, it’s fair to say that you will not be lacking in choices.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Introduces a new mechanic to balance out Il Duce’s power.
  • You can attempt to recreate the Roman Empire at its peak.
  • Includes alternate history paths for a communist, democratic, and non-Mussolini state.


3. Spain

While the Spanish Tree focuses mostly on the Spanish Civil War, it cannot be said that it is lacking in content. As the Spanish Civil War served as an important prelude to the Second World War, it would also serve the same role in Hearts of Iron IV, with the victor playing an important role in the Mediterranean and the Iberian Peninsula.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Provides strong focuses straight out due to the upcoming Civil War.
  • There were tons of flavorful events to determine who would eventually come out on top in the Civil War.
  • Post-war content is available in order to shape the future of the Mediterranean as well.


4. Mexico

Mexico is definitely an interesting nation to put here. Their main driving factor is the unique geographic location of the country, as it is the smallest North American country to have its own unique focus. Not only this, but all ideology branches of Mexico are geared towards conquering the Central Americas, the Caribbean, and then the United States, the ultimate David vs. Goliath scenario for both veteran and new players.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Allows for the conquest of Central Americaand the Caribbean
  • Can ultimately reconquer lost Mexican territories in present-day America
  • Provides different ideology bonuses


5. Germany

Given that the best beginner nation is Germany, it’s only natural that their focus tree is deemed sufficient to maintain the player’s interest, and in this task, they have succeeded. The German focus tree allows for a historical focus path (one based on taking control of Europe) or an alternate path that can see the Kaiserreich restored or a democratic government installed. Regardless, as Germany, you alone can dictate the fate of Europe.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Contains an early civil war to get rid of Hitler and shift to a more democratic or monarchical government.
  • Being the main aggressor in World War 2, they have the best focus for aggressively attacking neighbors.
  • On the democratic path, they can establish the European Union and serve as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.


6. Poland

The reason why Poland ranks lower is because their unique position places them in an unenviable situation with the rising German Reich to the left and the immense Soviet Union to the right. But fret not; Poland comes with multiple paths that will inevitably lead to multiple playthroughs due to the scenarios that some paths require. Still, if you’re able to hold Poland against the odds, you'll have earned it all.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Offers a lot of internal political focus, allowing you to either align with Germany, the Soviet Union, or the Allies or remain neutral.
  • Also contains large amounts of industrial and war focus to prepare for a possible war.
  • Each ideology has its own unique government and path.


7. Ethiopia

Ethiopia is almost in a similar position to Poland, instead having to face off against the technologically superior Italian focus. But thanks to their recent rework in the By Blood Alone DLC, Ethiopia now has a number of paths that can see them beat back the Italians and establish their hegemony over the African continent.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Is the best African country with a unique focus tree.
  • Can surprisingly form the Empire of Zion.
  • Can also form the African Union as a communist state.


8. Turkey

While Turkey does have some great roleplaying paths, they are mostly hampered by the need to conquer much of the world before being able to declare an empire. Still, bolstered by the traits and skills of Ataturk, Turkey can reclaim its place in European affairs, meddle in wars as it sees fit, and conquer where it deems necessary.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Can reinstate the Ottoman Empire with even a Sultana as the leader
  • Plays an important role in the affairs of Europe.
  • Can form the Turanian Empire after conquering most of the world.


9. Switzerland


Switzerland is a nation that favors a patient player who waits for the opportune moment to strike their foes. They are heavily focused on building up reserves, preparing defenses, and acquiring the equipment needed to win a war. Additionally, they also contain two alternate history paths that will suit players who favor a more offensive war, though with Switzerland’s limited manpower, it will definitely prove to be a challenge.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Has a lot of focus dedicated to making Switzerland an unconquerable nation.
  • Can also seek to pivot toward Germany, the Allies, or conquer the world on its own.
  • Is ideal for players who like to remain hidden in the background until they are ready to strike or join the action.


10. Portugal

While Portugal barely makes the list due to its relative newness, its roleplaying potential is interesting, to say the least. Having the ability to form various empires and governments, their role in influencing much of Europe and Latin America cannot be discounted. Plus, it’s a great benefit for the Portuguese that they are able to restore the Portuguese Empire, a decision that can solve their manpower issues as Brazil is brought back into the fold.

Why this Focus Tree is Great:

  • Can restore the Portuguese Empire.
  • Contains decent construction, colonization, military, and research focus trees.
  • Can play a key role in the Iberian Peninsula and in South America.

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Forever content in the world of strategy and simulation, Jonathan has been testing out new games in the genre for millenia, never ceasing his unrelenting wonder for the genre.
Gamer Since: 2008
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Hearts of Iron IV
Top 3 Favorite Games:League of Legends, Sid Meier's Civilization V, Dragon Age: Origins

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