Sweden is a powerful nation in Europa Universalis 4, but starts the game hampered by their status as a junior partner under Denmark. Any Swedish campaign starts by gaining independence, after which you can work toward establishing yourself as the premier power of Northern Europe and beyond.
Gaining independence is critical, so this guide will help you with the opening moves if you choose to play as Sweden. EU4's publisher, Paradox, is a Swedish company, so they've given their homeland lots of love. Under your guidance, the Swedish Empire could become mightier in-game than it was in real life!
Once it gets going, Sweden is a military power first and foremost. Their infantry are some of the best in the game, and once their National Ideas are all unlocked they get some exceptional manpower bonuses as well. In the mid-to-late game, Sweden also excels at maintaining their Stability, particularly through maximizing their Absolutism.
Sweden's starting territory doesn't have provinces as well-developed as Demark, but has much more land overall with plenty of the Baltic coastline and a land route into Finland. This is useful for expanding eastward once you gain independence, as you likely won't be able to match Denmark at sea but should have little trouble facing any foes on land.
Lastly, Sweden gets several events and missions that make it much easier to gain independence from Denmark. With just a bit of preparation you should be able to break free from the Kalmar Union with ease.
How To Declare Independence From Denmark As Sweden
It's best to complete the four preparatory missions that Sweden has before declaring war on Denmark. To do this, you'll need money, troops, and allies.
You can get a little extra money to start by increasing the Base Tax of Stockholm and the Production of Dalaskogen. Dalaskogen has the Falun Copper Mines, which allow it to produce more goods and put more money in your coffers. Hang onto your Military Power for now, as you'll want to research the Pike Square as soon as possible.Once the starting month has ended, check Denmark's diplomatic status. They'll have selected three nations as their enemies; usually this will include England, Poland, and/or Lithuania, but Scotland, Novgorod, and Burgundy are also options. Choose Denmark's two most powerful rivals and send diplomats to improve relations with them.
The Support Of The Estates
Next, you need to get the Estates ready for war. To complete the Support From The Estates mission, at least two Estates need to have three or more privileges each. When the mission is completed, all qualifying estates will offer to help with the independence effort, but you can only choose one offer to accept:
|Estate||Recommended Privileges||Support Event Offer|
|Clergy|| || |
|Nobility|| || |
|Burghers|| || |
If you take the Clergy's offer, you can spend the Papal Influence to get free Stability, army morale, and a tax boost.
If you take the Nobility's offer, you'll have the best possible advisor to hire and trigger Vasa's appearance (see below).
If you take the Burgers' offer, you'll be able to match or exceed Denmark's naval power, robbing them of their primary advantage.
Whichever you choose, you'll be considered in debt to the selected Estate until you complete several tasks for them in the future. Until that's done, you'll suffer a minor penalty to Legitimacy and the Estate's base loyalty will be lower.
Of course, you can always reject all three offers for a quick boost of twenty Prestige!
As soon as you have enough money and the Aristocratic Counselors privilege is in place, hire a military advisor. Any will do, and as soon as you've done so the mission Military Advice can be completed. This automatically recruits Johan Vasa as a general, for free. As a result, you don't need to spend Military Power recruiting a general for your army. Assign Vasa to your army and drill them until you're ready to declare war.
When your Liberty Desire reaches one hundred percent (which should be easy if you've completed all of the above steps), you can finish the Swedish Allies mission. This lets you choose between forcing Denmark's rivals to support your war or getting military buffs and an additional reward for going it alone. If you've already secured promises of aid, force the rivals to join you as well. You'll only get the benefit of going it alone if you win the war with no allies whatsoever.
If you're lucky, it's possible that Pretender Rebels will spawn in Sweden. If this happens, move your army to Finland and let the rebels take your capital. You'll suffer economically while your important provinces are in rebel hands, but when the rebels take over the country they'll automatically break you free from Denmark, skipping the independence war entirely!
How To Win The Swedish War Of Independence
Independence wars put the onus on the former overlord to retake the rebel capital. That means that you're ultimately fighting a defensive war. Keep Denmark and their allies out of Stockholm, and you can eventually claim victory.
Sweden has great defensive terrain and fairly harsh winters; declare independence in the autumn so that by the time the Danish army and their allies arrive they'll take extra attrition from the snow. If you can cath Denmark at a time when their allies are otherwise occupied, so much the better!
As long as you've completed all four preparatory missions, you'll be able to complete the Declare Independence mission as soon as you start the war. This refunds the Stability that you lose from standing up to your liege.
Before declaring war, dock all your ships unless you took the Burghers' offer to build a fleet. Your navy will be easy pickings for the Danes otherwise, resulting in some early losses.
Denmark will usually attempt to march from the south, slowly making their way toward Stockholm while Norway waits just across the border to offer combat support as needed. Let them suffer attrition until their first siege reaches a positive success chance, then attack with your full army led by Vasa to drive them off. In the meantime, watch the coastline and the eastern border for any sneaky attacks from Denmark's allies. If England attempts to make landfall, be sure your troops are there to meet them to capitalize on disembarking penalties.
Unless you opted to go it alone, rely on your allies to fight off large enemy armies. A prolonged war is to your benefit, so don't be afraid to lose a fort or two that can be retaken if it means forcing more attrition and meeting the enemy on more advantageous terms.
If you're in a position to go on the offensive, make the occupation of Skaneland a priority. These four provinces directly to your south will make an excellent addition to your empire if you take them as war concessions, and doing so lets you complete a mission as soon as they become Swedish cores.