Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – How to Get More Spies

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Hearts of Iron 4 isn’t all about destroying your enemies on the battlefield using superior tanks and divisions. There are many aspects of the game that can decide if you are going to win the Second World War or not.

Intelligence Agencies are a huge part of HOI4 now, as they will allow you to capitulate your enemies faster, learn their troops positioning, and even cause them internal problems.

Recommended Read: What Is the Volunteer Limit in Hearts of Iron 4?

Unfortunately, Intelligence Agencies require a lot of investments to actually work properly and supply you with more than one spy to use against your enemies.

To get more spies in HOI4, you can get 5 agency upgrades, hire the Illusive Gentleman advisor, and become the Spy Master of a large faction.


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How to Get More Spies/Operatives in HOI4

To get your first spy Operative in HOI4, you will need to use 5 Civilian Factories to create an Intelligence Agency. Once this happens, in 30 days, you should be able to recruit your first spy.

However, you will be limited to a single spy until you manage to do one of four things. Here is how to get more spies in HOI4:

  • Get 5 Intelligence Agency upgrades
  • Appoint the Illusive Gentleman Political Advisor
  • Become Spy Master of a large faction
  • Complete National Focuses

Intelligence Agency Upgrades

After you’ve managed to create the Intelligence Agency, you will get access to a lot of upgrades for it if you press on the Agency Branches.

Most of these upgrades will cost 5 Civilian Factories and will take 30 days to complete. During this time, those factories will be unavailable, and you will have to simply wait.

Even if an upgrade costs 15 Civilian Factories, it will still take 30 days unless you got some modifier that lowers this wait time.

After you get 5 upgrades from the Agency Branches of the Intelligence Agency, you will get another extra Operative Slot, which means you can hire a new spy.

Illusive Gentleman Political Advisor

All countries in HOI4 have an Illusive Gentleman Political Advisor that can be hired once you have created an Intelligence Agency.

As long as you have the La Résistance DLC, which is necessary to create Intelligence Agencies in general, you will have access to the Illusive Gentleman advisor.

This Political Advisor will increase your Operative Slots by 1, allowing you to recruit a new spy, and lower the time it takes to upgrade the Intelligence Agency by 15%, which will result in 25 days per upgrade.

The Illusive Gentleman is the easiest way to get an extra spy fast and will usually allow most players to reach the common maximum Operative Slots, which is 3 spies.

Spy Master

If you have at least 3 Intelligence Agency upgrades, are independent, and part of a faction, then you can press the “Become Spy Master” button for 50 Political Power.

All factions can have a Spy Master, which just means that your country is the one that concentrates on using spies to destabilize and learn more about your enemies.

Here are the advantages you get from being a Spy Master in HOI4:

  • Each independent country and high autonomy puppet (close to independence) in your faction can increase your Operative Slot, allowing you to get more spies.
  • Countries with factories between 0 and 9 will provide you with 0 spies.
  • Countries with factories between 10 and 49 will provide you with 0.25 spies.
  • Countries with over 50 factories will provide you with 0.5 spies.

The maximum limit for spies is 10, and the best you could get without the Spy Master is 3, which means you would need at least 14 countries with over 50 factories in your faction to reach the maximum Operative Slots.

Usually, the United Kingdom is the best Spy Master since it starts with a huge faction and a lot of puppets with high autonomy.

If you are part of a faction that already has a Spy Master, then you will still have to pay 50 PP to press the button, and you will also need the current Spy Master to accept your request.

Luckily, as long as you aren’t in a multiplayer game, the AI will always accept your request since you are a player.

So, taking over as the new Spy Master can only be a problem in multiplayer games and not in single-player.

National Focuses

All countries that received a focus tree rework after the La Résistance DLC released will also have special national focuses that give them extra spies.

The USSR, Poland, and most of the Nordic countries have a special focus that will grant them more Operative Slots.

The USSR, for example, can get up to 5 extra spies using the focus tree in the normal Stalinist route.

The easiest way to find if your county has one is to open the focus tree and type in the search box in the upper right corner, “operative”.

If the game can’t find any focuses, it means that your country will have to use the classic methods to increase Operative Slots and get more spies.


That’s everything you need to know about how to get more spies in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Adrian Oprea

Based in London, United Kingdom, Adrian Oprea is a Guides Writer. As a professional single-player RPG player, Adrian has often been stigmatized. He has decided to pour his frustration into writing guides!

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