How to Win War in Divergences of Darkness Mod Using Japan in Victoria II

A guide for how to win the opening scenario for Japan and Korea as Japan in the Divergences of Darkness mod

Situational Overview

Japan begins the game in the midst of a war with Korea and the Qing Empire. Its army tech is rated as a 4 in comparison to Korea’s 5 and the Qing’s 1 [as of the Mesoameriga patch.] Japan will not need to worry about serious naval competition with Korea or the Qing Empire.

Japan’s armies are scattered across Korea and its 2 navies lay in port. Parts of Korea are occupied but the Koreans are better organized on the whole and at least 2 Qing armies have already arrived in Korea with many more pouring in with time.

You have two possible ways of handling this situation. The first of these is to simply withdraw. Open the diplomatic menu with Korea and offer them white peace, and then move your armies home. You can come back at a later date when Korea’s alliance with the Qing wears off, and although Korea will be better prepared, they will be isolated and easier to attack.

The second option is to continue the fight where you’re currently at. This may seem daunting given that you’re on the backfoot, but this is the better long term option.

To explain why, some background information is needed.

Lore Background

Japan’s story diverges from our timeline in the Sengoku period. In this timeline, the Oda clan was able to maintain their success in the conflict. They went on to cement their power by marrying directly into the Imperial family.

For the next 200 years the Oda ruled, expanding Japan’s borders by conquering and vassalizing its neighbors, including Korea and the distant land they now call Kita Kaigan, or the North Coast in English.

In those many years, the fusion of the houses of Oda and Tenno created uncertainty over who actually held power in Japan. These tensions continued to mount until 1826, when a reformist ascended to the throne and abolished the Shogunate by decree. The following year, The War of the Rising Sun broke out with pro-Imperial soldiers and samurai on one side and pro-Shogunate samurai on the other; in the meantime, a third faction had emerged.

This third faction was a group of samurai who sought to break away from Japan entirely, and intended to establish Korea as theirs.

By 1835 the Shogunate had effectively collapsed due to the superior organization of the Imperial faction. Korea’s army had swollen in size due to many rebellious samurai fleeing to their cause, and large amounts of Korean nationalist guerrillas supporting them.

It was at this point that the Qing Empire intervened, fearing Japan’s power.

Essentially, the opening war can be best understood as a civil war.

Should Korea win and Japanese troops withdraw, Japan will lose its foothold in mainland Asia and Kita Kaigan will be very likely to rebel against Japan in the future, having seen the successful example of Korea. These losses will lock Japan to its metropole and doom it to being a second rate power.

Should Japan win, then the rebel leaders will be executed, the rest deported to Kita Kaigan, and Japan will experience an enormous prestige boost, cementing its place as Asia’s only GP and having avenues of expansion opened up in Arcadia and in Asia.

This latter option is the better choice and this guide will help you succeed.

Opening Moves

Firstly, make economic preparations. Set your economic policy to mercantilism and crank up the tariffs as high as possible. Crank up your taxes to 100% on all classes and max out military spending. Cut your administrative and educational budget to 40% or 35% and then prepare to mobilize.

Be sure to undo this after the war. One of Japan’s greatest strengths is in numbers. Japan can mobilize 7% of its 7.22 million adult men for war, or 505,400soldiers. Of course, actually getting them into Korea is another issue entirely.

Before mobilizing, press the O button and select the province of Matsue.

You should see a little tab in the bottom left-hand corner that says ‘set province as a rally point.’

Click the tab…

And it should look like this.

Now, all your mobilized soldiers and the soldiers you will recruit will automatically make their way here. This feature is incredibly useful for warfare in general, but here it will save you precious time and get your reinforcements where they need to be at a much faster rate.

After this, press the mobilize button. Take both of your fleets and combine them in Matsue. Start building a harbor here as well, and begin pumping out as many transports as possible. Your unified fleet should have a fair amount of transports with a good amount of screens to protect them in the event that the Qing send their ships after you. Some guides will tell you to blockade the Strait of Tartary, but having screens for your transports is invaluable. While the Qing will cross this to attack Sakhalin/Karafuto, you can just set a mobilization point for your troops there – or, alternatively, don’t bother with it at all!

Your main fleet will be able to rapidly shuttle troops between Matsue and Pohang, making it easier for you to bring reinforcements to Korea. In the meantime you should be pumping out artillery to support the conscript infantry brigades going to Korea.

Divide and Conquer

Your priority with your forces in Korea should be the capture of Hanseong. Hanseong serves as Korea’s capital and largest mobilization center. Ensuring its capture and the defeat of its mobos will save you a lot of trouble in the long run and provide useful war exhaustion against Korea. Korea only has one major army at the start of the war, and they will leave the city at the start. If necessary, take your smallest army and combine it with your northern army to defeat the mobos in Hanseong.

Meanwhile, your 39 stack army should be wary of the large Korean army heading toward the south. These soldiers will typically go for your base around Busan, so keep an eye on them. Any reinforcements arriving should be moved to the mountains to the north unless the Korean forces manage to get to Pohang before you can move them in time. You should be able to tell if this is going to happen by hovering your mouse over their armies, showing you where they’re going and when they’re going to get there. If your forces will arrive from Japan to Pohang before the Korean armies, leave them and begin moving in behind their army with your 39 stack. While the battle for Pohang rages, continue to funnel reinforcements to it from Matsue. This should result in a victory, at which point you will separate your larger army from the reinforcements and have them pursue the retreating Korean forces until they are completely crushed. Combine your reinforcements and have them occupy territory, with emphasis placed on the mountainous provinces.

This should take care of the Korean armies. In order to keep them down and win the war, though, you’ll have to occupy their territory. This shouldn’t be hard with large armies and an increasing amount of reinforcements pouring into Korea. The Qing reinforcements will be your next problem.

While the Qing are vastly technologically inferior and take longer to arrive, they will do so in astounding numbers. They are not to be underestimated on the battlefield, as they will target numerically inferior, low-org Japanese armies. It should be stated that if the Qing attack these armies, they have a very good chance of wiping them out, which is something to avoid given the numerical superiority of the Qing. The Qing will fight very aggressively in order to wear you down and overwhelm you.

However, it’s unlikely that the Qing will wipe your armies if you reinforce them fast enough and send your disorganized ones to occupied provinces to recover. At this point you can either form a defensive line to withstand the Qing assault and push onward or continue a straightforward aggressive assault in order to quickly end the war. Korea will surrender when all of their provinces plus the Qing capital of Jilin are occupied. So long as you continue a steady pace and occupy Jilin, the war will be over quickly.


Korea will surrender once all of their provinces are occupied and enough defeats have been inflicted on the Qing that they do not see a point in continuing the fight anymore. At this point, an event called The Dust Settles will fire. Afterwards, you will be able to take a decision called Restore the order to Korea. This decision will core Korea and give you massive prestige. Yet another event will fire giving you another huge prestige boost after this. Japan’s position as a great power will be secured, and the game will be loads of fun from here!

I hope this guide helps those of you who are still playing Victoria 2 and want to try their hand at the Divergences of Darkness mod. Japan is a very fun country to play in DoD but can be frustrating because of its initial challenges. I will be trying my hand at Victoria 3 as time comes 🙂 tbh i wrote this on a whim to distract from academic stress sooooo i hope it’s helpful!!

This guide about Victoria II was written by BlackSkiyes. You can visit the original publication from this link. If you have any concerns about this guide, please don't hesitate to reach us here.

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