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Civilization VI: Gathering Storm - title

Civilization VI's second expansion, Gathering Storm released earlier this year and has added a handful of new civilizations and leaders. I am hoping to write a strategy for each of them, but I want to start with the civilizations and leaders who are completely new to the franchise. This time, I'll be writing about the last of the truly new civs and leaders: the kingdom of Hungary, lead by the Raven King Matthias Corvinus.

Hungary is a modestly-sized country that lies along the dividing lines between central and eastern Europe, known for its vast geothermal water cave network. It reached its political and military height between the 14th and 15th centuries, when it became a major player in European politics and history. When the Ottomans invaded Europe in the mid-15th century, they set their eyes on securing a valuable border fortress at Belgrade. A noble from Transylvania, named John Hunyadi, levied a mercenary army to defend Belgrade from the Turks and hold back the Ottoman army from successfully gaining a foothold in mainland Europe.

The golden age of the Hungarian Kingdom concluded with the rule of the Raven King Matthias Corvinus, son of John Hunyadi. His election made him the first noble to ascend to the throne without a dynastic background. He was a patron of arts and education, and was seen as a protector of the common folk. His Bibliotheca Corvinian was the second largest library in all of Europe in the 15th century, second only to the Vatican Library. Matthias' mercenary Black Army fought off invasions from the Ottomans (possibly helping to protect all of Europe from Ottoman rule), and also conquered parts of Austria and Bohemia. When Matthias died without an heir, the country fell into decline.

Civilization VI is still a "living game". Strategies for the game (and for specific leaders and civs) may change as Firaxis applies balance patches, introduces new features, or expands the game through further DLC or expansion packs, or as the Civ community discovers new strategies or exploits. As such, the following strategy guide may change from time to time. I will try to keep it up-to-date, and will make notations whenever changes are made. I'll also post links in the official 2K forums and CivFanatics, where I'll also report any changes made. If possible and practical, I will try to retain the original content of the strategy for posterity.

I welcome any feedback or suggestions that readers wish to offer. Feel free to post on the linked forums, or by posting a comment at the bottom of the page.

This guide is up to date as of the release of the Gathering Storm expansion's "June 2019 update" (ver.

Hungarian cities in Civilization VI do best when founded on snaky rivers and near geothermal fissures. They can be a military force to be reckoned with thanks to a pair of light cavalry unique units and a leader who can use levied city state units to crush his foes.

Civilization VI - Matthias Corvinus of Hungary

Matthias Corvinus of Hungary's uniques in Civilization VI

Civilization VI - Hungarian flag

Hungarian capital start bias: geothermal fissures and rivers.

Hungary civilization unique: Pearl of the Danube

"+50% Production for districts and buildings built across a river from a City Center."

Hungary will want to settle cities along the curves of snaky rivers in order to maximize how many tiles across the river are adjacent to the City Center. Hungary gets a 50% production bonus for any districts built across a river from, and adjacent to, a City Center. This can allow Hungary to quickly get important districts like Commercial Hubs, Campuses, Theater Squares, and maybe Holy Sites into play earlier. Hungary will also be able to more quickly upgrade these districts with buildings, as new buildings become unlocked.

Districts must be built both across the river and adjacent to the City Center [TOP] to receive the production bonus.
Districts places across the river but further up or down stream [BOTTOM] do not count.

Be mindful of the adjacency bonuses of your districts. With unfavorable terrain, you may have to decide between a +3 (or better) adjacency bonus or placing the district along the river for the production bonus for a measly +1 adjacency bonus. You may not always be able to get both the high adjacency bonus and the production bonus, depending on the map.

Matthias Corvinus' leader unique: Raven King

"Levied city-state units gain +2 Movement and +5 Combat Strength. It costs 75% less Gold and resources to upgrade levied units. If you levy troops from a city-state, receive 2 envoys with that city-state. Gain the Black Army unique unit with Castles."

Civilization VI - Matthias Corvinus portrait

Acquiring and maintaining suzerain status with multiple city states can make or break a game for Matthias Corvinus. He can levy those city states' units to act as an in-expensive back-bone of his army. Levied units only remain under your control for a period of 30 turns (on standard speed), so you need to be quick and efficient. They won't be useful for prolonged wars unless you can afford to levy them again after the 30 turns expires.

Even if your levy period expires, if you are still the suzerain of the city state, then the city state will remain at war with your opponent. If you have already moved the levied units into enemy territory, then it is very likely that the city state will continue to attack enemy units even after they regain control of their levied units.

You can also suddenly lose control of your levied forces if another civ usurps you as the suzerain of the respective city state. If that civ is an enemy, then your formerly levied units can even turn against you! To protect you against this, the act of levying a city state's units will grant you two free envoys that can provide a buffer to protect you from losing control of that city state.

Levied units can quickly move into enemy territory for a surprise strike.

Keep in mind that more advanced governments provide additional envoys. A rival with a level-3 government (Democracy, Fascism, or Communism) will be granted three envoys when their influence meter fills up. Those three envoys can be potentially used to offset the two free envoys that you received from levying the city state, which will tie your influence and revoke your suzerain status, thus terminating the levy period for the units. As such, your free envoys will be more powerful early in the game, or if you repeatedly levy the same city state in order to inflate the number of envoys a rival would need to match your envoy total.

Once you have the units levied, they gain two additional movement and five additional combat strength. Levied units can rapidly mobilize to penetrate enemy territory and will receive a substantial combat buff. You can also upgrade the units at a substantial discount of both gold and resources, which can give advanced units to you if you are strapped for resources or cash.

These bonuses are a double-edged sword. If you levy a city state's units, upgrade them, and give them a bunch of promotions, they could hypothetically be used against you at a later date.

The cost to levy a city state's units scales up as the city state trains more units.

Lastly, it's very important to keep in mind that the cost to levy a city state's units is based on the combined production of all military units that the city state owns. This cost will go up as the city state trains more units, and also if those units are upgraded (since more advanced units have a higher production cost). Militaristic city states with large armies will be much more costly to levy than city states with weaker armies. In some cases, it might even be useful to let an opponent kill a few of your suzerain city state's units in order to make levying that city state more affordable.

Unique building: Thermal Bath

Game Info:

"A building unique to Hungary. +2 Amenities and +2 Production extends to each city center within 6 tiles. These bonuses apply once to a city, and multiple copies of this building within 6 tiles of a city center do not provide additional bonuses.
This city receives +3 Tourism and +2 additional Amenities if there is at least one Geothermal Fissure in this city's borders.

Civilization VI - Thermal Bath

Requirements: Natural History civic,
must be built in an Entertainment Complex with an Arena.

Replaces: Zoo.

Cost: 360 Production / 1440 Gold [Standard speed].
Maintenance Cost: 2 Gold per turn [Standard speed].

Effects: +1 Amenity from entertainment. Bonus extends to each City Center within 6 tiles.
+2 Production. Bonus extends to each City Center within 6 tiles.
+2 additional Amenities and +3 Tourism if there is at least one Geothermal Fissure within city's borders.

The Thermal Bath comes into play fairly late in the game. As such, you probably don't need to build your strategy around it. This is especially true if you're playing a domination game, since the game will probably be pretty much over by the time you unlock this building. If you can get some cities near geothermal fissures, then great! If not, don't worry too much about it.

You also don't need a geothermal fissure in order to build the bath. The fissure only further buffs the tourism and amenity of the bath, if one is present. Without a fissure, the bath will still provide 2 amenities and 2 production, both of which extend to other cities within six tiles.

Civilization VI - Black Army icon

Unique unit: Black Army

Game Info: "Hungarian unique Medieval Era unit that replaces the Courser. +3 Combat Strength for each adjacent Levied unit."

Civilization VI - Black Army unit portrait

Requirements: Castles technology and 20 Horses [Standard speed]
Replaces: Courser.
Obsoleted: Military Science.
Upgrades to: Huszár.

Cost: 205 Production (+5 from Courser) / 820 Gold [Standard speed].
Maintenance Cost: 3 Gold per turn [Standard speed].

Attack Type: melee, Promotion Class: light cavalry,
Melee Strength: 47 (+3 from Courser),
Movement Speed: 5.

Bonuses: +3 combat strength for each adjacent levied unit,
ignores enemy zone of control.

The Black Army is most powerful when combined with nearby levied city state units. Use the bonus movement of levied units to position them adjacent to the Black Army prior to attacking with the Black Army, in order to maximize the combat bonus that the Black Army will receive. This bonus will stack with the normal flanking and support bonuses, and works on both offense and defense. You may want to station a Black Army or two in the territory of your suzerain city states in preparation for levying those units, and immediately striking out with the levy and Black Army.

Even without the support of adjacent levied units, the Black Army can be a formidable weapon. It's base strength is three higher than the Courser, which will give it a small advantage against most other medieval units (except maybe for well-promoted pikemen).

Civilization VI - Huszar icon

Unique unit: Huszár

Game Info: "Hungarian unique Industrial era unit that replaces Cavalry. +3 Combat Strength for every active Alliance."

Civilization VI - Huszar unit portrait

Requirements: Military Science technology and 20 Niter [Standard speed]
Replaces: Cavalry.
Obsoleted: Synthetic Materials technology.
Upgrades to: Helicopter.

Cost: 335 Production (+5 from Cavalry) / 1340 Gold [Standard speed].
Maintenance Cost: 5 Gold per turn [Standard speed].

Attack Type: melee, Promotion Class: light cavalry,
Melee Strength: 65 (+3 from Cavalry),
Movement Speed: 5.

Bonuses: +3 combat strength for every active Alliance,
ignores enemy zone of control.

When the Black Army is upgraded to the Huszár, it loses its bonus for adjacent levied units, and replaced it with a bonus for having alliances with other full civilizations (not city states). The Huszár retains its +3 combat strength compared to the Cavalry unit that it replaces, but can be much harder to effectively utilize because your diplomatic standing with other civilizations is [at least partly] out of your control. Having an alliance or two can, however, be a decisive advantage. This will bonus will also stack with the combat bonus from fighting a common foe with your Military Ally, as well as all normal support and flanking bonuses.

If promoted with the Depredation promotion (pillaging costs 1 movement), and buffed by at least 1 alliance, the Huszár has a good chance to be able to use its five movement points to safely rush into enemy territory, pillage improvements and districts, and hopefully escape before being bombarded to death by cities, Encampments, and/or Field Cannons. If you can get some early Huszár corps, then they will likely be devastatingly disruptive to your enemies.

Playing as Matthias Corvinus' Hungary: Usurper of city state armies

Hungary should very carefully scrutinize locations for possible cities. You want to try to settle the City Center along the bend of a snaky river whenever possible (in order to benefit from the district production bonus of Pearl of the Danube), but you also want to make sure that the districts you build will still get decent adjacency bonuses. Commercial Hubs should be easy to place, since they'll be along rivers anyway, but Campuses and Holy Sites can be tricky to place, since the mountains and forests that provide adjacency bonuses to those districts may not lie along the rivers at all.

Look to place cities along snaky rivers.

Your earlier cities will probably benefit most from going for the highest adjacency bonuses possible, since the districts will be relatively cheap anyway, and the bonus adjacency yield will have more time to snowball over the course of the game. The cost of districts scales up as you progress through the tech and civic trees, so cities founded later in the game will need to put greater emphasis on settling in places where multiple districts can be built across a river from the City Center.

You'll also want to look for geothermal fissures, but (as stated earlier) it isn't a deal-breaker if you don't find any. These tiles will provide a benefit to your Thermal Bath buildings later in the game, so you'll want to settle cities near them whenever practical. Hopefully, your capital will have one nearby, but it's far from guaranteed. If you have multiple geothermal fissures and/or volcanoes near your starting location, then you can consider adopting the Goddess of Fire pantheon (a new pantheon added by the June 2019 patch), which will grant extra faith on those tiles. It's a pretty weak pantheon, so go with a better one if the terrain is appropriate.

Their armies are my armies!

Matthias' greatest strength is his ability to levy city state armies. He doesn't get a gold discount towards levying the way that Gilgamesh does, but levying does grant him two free envoys with the city state, which helps to protect that city state from flipping allegiances in the middle of a war. This allows him to field massive armies without necessarily having to spend the production to train those armies himself.

Hungary can effectively buy envoys by levying city states.

It also means that once you become the suzerain of a city state, you can effectively buy more envoys with gold! This can be a good way to create a solid buffer of envoys with multiple city states that have relatively small armies. If you are the suzerain of a city state with only 3 or 4 envoys, then you can also use this ability to more quickly get to 6 envoys and reap the rewards earlier.

Civilization VI - Foreign Ministry government building

Since you don't get a discount towards levying city states, it is very important to build up a large economy quickly. Get Commercial Hubs and Markets (or Harbors and Lighthouses, if applicable) built in multiple cities as soon as you can. You may want to send more trade routes to other civs or city states (rather than trading domestically for food and production). If you are stuck having to send trade routes between your own cities, then consider the Caravansaries policy (+2 Gold from all trade routes) in order to make up for not getting gold from trading with other civilizations or city states.

You should also regularly trade away excess luxury and strategic resources. If you are planning on investing heavily in levying city state armies for conquest, you may even want to sell away excess diplomatic favor. The A.I.s will often pay a high price. I can often get hundreds of gold (and a luxury or two) for selling away 20 or 25 favor. Just make sure that you keep enough favor to allow you to vote against any emergencies or proposals that would harm you. You may also want to invest in building the Foreign Ministry in your Government Plaza, as it will decrease the cost to levy city states by half.

You can also use your military to generate money by sending forces out to eliminate barbarian outposts.

Liberating a city state is also an easy way to become its suzerain. However, a recently-liberated city state will take a while to build its army back up, and the game rules do not allow you to levy a city state that has no units.

You may be able to levy advanced or expensive units, such as Catapults.

I recommend running the Charismatic Leader diplomatic policy in the early game in order to become the suzerain of one or two city states. Then, you can levy their units in order to provide a buffer of envoys, focus your newly-earned envoys on becoming suzerain of other city states, and switch to running policies like Raj or Merchant Confedation to claim the extra yields. The Potala Palace world wonder will provide you with an extra diplomatic slot if you want to run both.

Civilization VI - Potala Palace world wonder

Levying city states can also be an easy way to gain access to powerful units that you might otherwise not be able to train in a timely manner, or which you don't have the resources to train at all! Levying a city state with a few Catapults in play could spare you from having to train the expensive siege units yourself. Levying can also be an easy way for a land-locked Hungarian empire to temporarily acquire naval units, including Caravels, which you might use to circumnavigate the globe or launch a surprise amphibious assault on a rival.

Being able to more cheaply upgrade obsolete units also allows you field more advanced units at a much cheaper cost. This can be an easy way to acquire a bunch of Knights if you have a suzerain city state that already has a bunch of Chariots.

Watch out for your enemies sending Amani
to a city state you've levied.

Be careful about spreading your envoys too thin. If you are going to be levying city state units, then you'll want to make sure that your enemies are not going to be able to become suzerain of that city state and then turn those units against you. Levying the units will provide you with a buffer of two extra envoys, but that buffer can be overcome by an opponent with a higher-level government, or policies and wonders that increase envoy-generation. The governor Amani the Diplomat can also throw a wrench in your schemes, so watch out for enemies placing her in city states you've levied. You might want to recruit Amani early in the game so that you can send her to city states you've levied, just in case.

There's two key ways that you can use your levied units. The first is to levy a city state's units, then sneak attack a nearby rival (whether you use a casus beli or not). The levied units will move faster and hit harder, so you can quickly invade their territory, crush their units, and possibly capture their cities. You can also attack from an unexpected direction, since you can levy a city state on the other end of the continent or world.

A second method could be for you to maintain a relatively weak army in order to bait a surprise war from a belligerent neighbor, such that your opponent receives the brunt of the grievances. Then you can levy an army from one or more nearby city state(s) to defend your own empire, and then counter-attack your enemy. The rest of the world will likely favor you in such a conflict, which will allow you to maintain friendships, alliances, and trade partnerships. This can work very well for aggressive, forward-settling leaders like Montezuma, Alexander, Trajan, or Genghis Khan.

Levied units are only temporary.

In both cases, you need to remain keenly aware of how long the war is taking. The levied units only remain under your control for a limited period of time (30 turns on standard game speed). You can highlight over the clock icon on the unit flag to tell you how much longer the levy will last.

If you open a new front with your levied units, you'll want to be careful about capturing cities. Captured cities in the back-lines will likely just flip back from loyalty. Either focus on pillaging, or raze the cities (if you don't mind the extra grievances). The extra speed of the levied units makes them excel at moving into enemy territory and pillaging their tiles or plundering their trade routes. If you don't have enough firepower to take cities (or the capital), you can likely decimate their armies and cripple their economy!

There's other ways that you can use levied units. For one thing, the extra movement can make them useful for exploration and barbarian-hunting, which can be good sources of era score. Acquiring a Galley or a Swordsman as a levied unit can also give you the era score for having trained your first naval unit or trained your first resource-dependent unit, respectively, if you haven't already done so. This can help push Hungary into a golden age, or pull you out of a looming dark age.

Levying city states (especially during war-time) can be a great source of era score.

Acquiring levied city state units can also fulfill other city states' quests to train a specific unit. If one city state gives you a quest to train a Galley, and you levy a Galley from another city state, you will fulfill that first city state's quest and receive an envoy. Levied units will also contribute towards eurekas and inspirations. Levying a city state may give you enough units to earn you the inspiration boost for the Mercenaries civic, for instance.

Dropping the coalition pretense

Hungary will want to walk a fine line between aggression and diplomacy in the first half of the game. You can use your ability to levy city states, combined with the Black Army unit to conquer other civilizations during the medieval era. Once Pike and Shot start showing up, your Black Army's days are numbered. You'll instead want to upgrade to the Huszár. The Black Army's bonus from adjacent levied units will be replaced with a bonus for each alliance you have with another civ (suzerain doesn't count) when you upgrade to Huszár. You'll have to build renaissance coalitions, but they'll need to be with full civilizations instead of city states.

It's easy to make the mistake of generating too many mid-game grievances,
and not being able to maintain alliances with other civs.

Be mindful of actions that generate grievances early in the game so that you do not alienate potential future allies. Use joint wars or casus beli whenever possible. When you get into the renaissance and industrial eras, you can continue to levy city states in order to outnumber and/or outflank your enemies, and can also use a military alliance, the Oligarchic Legacy policy, and Huszár to crush your common enemies.

After the industrial era, your Huszár will become obsolete, your bonuses from alliances will be expired, and you can drop any pretenses of peaceful intent. Now it's just you and your levied city states against the world!

If you play your cards well, you can win an early domination victory long before your unique building even comes into play. If not, then you can use the Thermal Bath to help grow your cities larger and more productive. With a Geothermal Fissure within range of the city, the amenity bonus will be +4 (same as a luxury or a Stadium). Having a geothermal fissure will also grant bonus tourism to the Bath, which can help propel Hungary towards a Culture Victory.

Playing against Matthias Corvinus' Hungary

Matthias Corvinus' A.I. agenda: Raven Banner

"Will often levy troops from city states and likes those who do the same. Dislikes civilizations that shun the use of mercenaries."

Much like with Gilgamesh and Kupe, Matthias' army can literally come out of nowhere! In the case of Kupe, it's an army from across the seas. But with Gilgamesh and Matthias, it's an army of levied units. Pay close attention to the city states around you, and be wary of any city state that is allied with Hungary. Do not leave your flanks with such a city state unguarded!

The A.I.s don't seem to be very effective at levying units, but they will do it from time to time. The best ways to prevent another civilization from using levied units against you is to become the suzerain of nearby city states yourself, keep the other civilization broke (either by selling resources to them, or by pillaging all their economic infrastructure), or simply kill the relevant city state(s) (or at the very least, wipe out their armies). Once Matthias becomes the suzerain of a city state and begins levying its units, it will likely become near impossible to unseat him as suzerain, since he can effectively keep buying more envoys.

I've yet to see the Matthias A.I. levy a city state unit, but here's a screenshot of Germany
using a levied unit just to prove that yeah, sometimes the A.I.s do levy.

If an A.I. or rival player does levy units, you will be able to see the little timer banner that tells you that the unit is levied, and how much longer the unit will remain under that other player's control. This will be true if the other player is Matthias, Gilgamesh, or any other civ. If levied enemy units start marching on you, be sure to hover over their unit flag to see how many turns are left. Maybe you can get away with just delaying fighting them until control reverts back to the city state (assuming the other civ can't just pay to levy them again).

If you have some spare envoys (or Amani is sitting around doing nothing), maybe you can flip that city state to your control. Remember, all you have to do is match the number of envoys that Hungary has with the given city state. That will be enough to revoke Hungary's suzerain status and revert control of those units back to the city state. You do not have to invest the extra envoy to become the suzerain yourself.

If you are able to turn the tide on Hungary, then he should have some fairly well-developed cities due to the Pearl of the Danube ability. The districts may not be laid out optimally if Hungary prioritized getting the districts built quicker, but there should be lots of districts.

An A.I. of faith

Even though Matthias and Hungary don't have any specific religious abilities, Matthias' A.I. seems to have very high preference for religious play. Every time I've played against a Matthias A.I., he has build Holy Sites, tried to build Stonehenge, founded a religion, and aggressively proselytized it. Don't be surprised to see an A.I.-controlled Hungary roll up on you with Missionaries or Warrior Monks. Human players will be much less likely to bother with religion, unless lots of early faith just falls in their laps.

Though he has no religious abilities, Matthias' A.I. seems to favor religious play.

Discussions & Change Log

Thanks for reading. I hope this guide helps you to build a Hungarian civilization that will stand the test of time!


These strategy guides for Civilization VI have been taking longer to research and write than I would like. Part of this is due to the fact that I'm not as familiar and experienced with Civ VI as I was with Civ V when I started writing strategy guides for that game, so I have to spend more time trying to learn the different mechanics and rules associated with each new civ that I play. I also have a lot more things competing for my time.

If you enjoy this strategy guide, and would like to see more like it, please consider making a contribution and become a Patron on Patreon. As a Patron, you'll have the ability to vote on which civilization(s) you'd like to see a strategy guide for next, will receive early previews of certain content, and will have an opportunity to discuss or contribute to its development. With some additional funding, I could dedicate more time to writing guides like this one, and can maybe even branch out into more video content on Youtube.

In any case, feel free to comment and share, or discuss you Hungary strategies in the CivFanatics forums at:

on Steam:

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