In Empire of Sin, you can choose from one of many nefarious bosses to take over the streets of Chicago in prohibition America. With their leadership, you can sling booze to any passerby who’s sick to death of the restrictive laws on alcohol, as well as run illegal gambling rings and brothels.
If you’re looking for more general tips and tricks, then we do have an Empire of Sin guide that will go over the best strategies for dominating the competition, either by making uneasy alliances skew in your favour, or taking over a rival’s rackets and absorbing them into your criminal organisation. That said, you can go a long way to beating the game with your choice of boss – particularly those with a good selection of empire bonuses, or just a really good combat skill!
So, of the 14 that you can choose from, who are the best Empire of Sin bosses? Is it the singer, one of the real-life mobsters, or perhaps the Mexican den mother? We will be ranking each one of the mob bosses below.
Empire of Sin bosses tier list
Since the game has just come out, this list will not cover any expansions. It’s just the 14 mob bosses that come with the base game, so it will also not include any of the crew that you can hire along the way
“Bloody Angelo” was yet another bootlegger in the prohibition era and was responsible for the assassination of Dion O’Banion. His ruthlessness extends to his combat skill as well. Fan of Knives allows him to throw a total of six knives at any number of targets. He can mix and match, but all the knives inflict a small amount of damage and the bleed status ailment. These are very powerful early-game and can make short work of some skirmishes if used right. He also gets a first-strike overwatch (similar to Maria – one of the early hires) from the beginning of the game, so is a good candidate for combat-orientated tactics.
His empire bonuses are also very good as they have synergy. Breweries now get an additional guard, protecting your stock that you supply to your speakeasies. The speakeasies upgrade costs are reduced by 5% too, so you can get your booze empire up and running very quickly.
Genna also has a number of diplomatic bonuses, provided that he honours the pacts that have been made. The faction’s rating goes up by a hundred, and the honour gained is up by 50 points, so you’ll easily make friends among the AI rivals. You will eventually need to break those bonds, but Angelo is better placed overall for diplomacy than a lot of other rivals. We think that he’s among one of the better mob bosses in the game as a result.
Let’s cut to the chase: Sai Wing Mock’s Death Blossoms combat skill is nuts. As long as he has line of sight, he can lob three poisonous bombs that explode upon impact with the ground. It’s guaranteed to hit anyone nearby, deals massive damage, and will poison anyone who walks into the gas left behind. It’s devastating!
The only thing you absolutely must keep in mind is that you don’t want to be throwing poison gas bombs in confined spaces. Any ally that walks into the poison clouds left behind will immediately be poisoned, including Mock. Keep this in mind and he’s almost unstoppable.
His empire and diplomatic bonuses are also quite good, even if there’s no real synergy. The additional brothel guard and reduced cost of casino games makes his venture into the ‘leisure’ industry rather smooth, while his ‘Enemy of my Enemy’ diplomacy bonus ensures that the faction rating of a rival gang with whom he has a business arrangement with, isn’t reduced when entering a truce or trade deal with an enemy of that faction. If it wasn’t for the slight lack of synergy in the empire bonuses, Sai Wing Mock would be the best mob boss in the game.
Mabel Ryley took control of the Alley Cats after her husband was ‘taken care of’. It’s unclear whether she was the one who did it, or if there were others involved in his murder, but one thing’s for certain: Ryley has a ruthless streak and a gift for getting what she wants.
Her biggest strength is with the Swindler’s Shot combat skill. By marking multiple targets, she will fire one shot that ricochets between them, with anyone caught in the crossfire taking damage and having the ‘Deep Wounds’ effect applied to them. This makes them take damage at the beginning of every turn and it’s a sizeable chunk of damage.
She also has a decent diplomatic bonus. Having a 10% increased chance that trades go how she wants them to is a big deal, especially if the terms of the deal are obviously in her favour.
The downside is that casinos are pretty risky and Ryley goes all in on them for her empire bonuses. That said, a 10% discount on security upgrades and a reduction on her casinos being raided by 25% is nothing to be sniffed at, especially when her other abilities are so good! If you’re open to trick-shots, then Ryley’s a great choice.
Maggie Dyer is a lion tamer with full-on circus ringmaster attire, and she’s a badass. Her combat skill isn’t fancy, but it does a few important things. Her whip wraps around an enemy’s neck, before she yanks them out from behind cover. For good measure, she also punches them in the mouth as the enemy gets back up, dealing decent damage. It’s best used to pull stronger enemies in a more vulnerable position and can turn the tide of a skirmish.
Her empire bonuses are also not all that bad. Having a smaller chance of her speakeasies getting raided is good, while a 20% discount on security costs for brothels is a huge saving. Sadly there’s little synergy here with the bonuses themselves, putting her at a small disadvantage, but they’re at least decent bonuses.
Given that Dyer has a more volatile personality, her so-called allies won’t get as annoyed if she breaks treaties or business arrangements, which allows her crew to take what they want and when a rival is bled dry, stab them in the back. She’s one of the low-key best bosses in the game, but takes a while to work out exactly how best to use her talents.
For beginners, Goldie Garneau is a good choice. Her Killer Queen combat skill allows her to target up to three separate enemies, sniping them with rounds that ignore armour. This is particularly useful when going up against mob boss fights.
In addition, she has increased earnings from speakeasies – no doubt because she’s a star in her own right and her name attracts the punters. She also has a small reduction in the cost to casino upgrades, which isn’t fabulous but better than nothing.
Her talents also ensure that people don’t freak out when she muscles in on enemy territory. If she shares a neighbourhood with a rival, the amount of threat generated is reduced by 50%. She isn’t the best mob boss, but she’s significantly better than most.
In real-life, Alphonse Capone was one of the most infamous mob bosses, and for very good reasons. While he was widely assumed to have been responsible for the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, Capone has been portrayed in films by Hollywood greats such as Robert De Niro in The Untouchables.
It’s really ironic that Empire of Sin has Al Capone’s organisation give a bonus to lowering the risk of infections in all brothels, since the cause of his death was due to complications from syphilis. However, this is a useful bonus to have, since STDs are extremely bad for your crew to contract. More fitting is the bonus to breweries that his faction gives, allowing you to create regular beer at the start of the game. His passive faction rating gain while in defensive pacts is also very good.
Really, it’s just a shame that his combat skill is a bit pants. Rain of Fire has Capone fire a tommy gun in a cone for the next turn, with anyone who walks into it becoming suppressed and taking damage, anyone, including your guys and gals. It’s a double edged sword on most maps since you’ll want to get in closer to take pot shots with the rest of your crew. It also stops as soon as Capone gets shot, the same as with Overwatch. While certainly not the worst combat skill in the game for a boss, Capone’s skills certainly lie elsewhere.
Frankie Donovan is an Irish brawler who is no stranger to a scrap. Armed with a shillelagh, Dovovan’s ‘Unleash Fury’ combat skill has him saunter up to an enemy, and batter them repeatedly. If the enemy dies as a result of the beatdown, Donovan recovers all of his AP to use immediately.
However, every time that Donovan uses this skill, he becomes exhausted for two turns. Melee damage is reduced by 20%, and he gets penalties to his movement (2 squares) and melee skill (-50).
While his combat skill has a rather bad downside, his empire bonuses have a great amount of synergy. Speakeasies have a reduced upgrade cost to the Word of Mouth stat, while the increased brewery production rates ensure your speakeasies are well stocked with booze. He also has fewer negative effects with factions his crew were previously at war with, meaning that he can switch allegiances whenever it suits him. He’s not all that flashy, but he gets the job done.
Capone’s bloodiest rival in real-life, Charles Dean ‘Dion’ O’Banion was an Irish Catholic who began his criminal career as a bootlegger. So his empire bonus to reduce brewery upkeep by 15% and the ambience cost of speakeasies by 20% are fitting and valuable bonuses to have.
However, he’s a bit of a double-crosser, so the diplomatic bonuses may not play to your advantage. Truces last half as long, while business arrangements are 20% more difficult than they are for everyone else. It’s a heavy drawback, but there’s a good reason for its inclusion: his combat skill is rather nuts.
‘Blastphemy’ has O’Banion whip out a shotgun with explosive slugs, which upon hitting an opponent is guaranteed to knock them back and destroy their armour in the process. For bulkier bodyguards, this dramatically reduces the time it takes to kill them. If you’re a hyper-aggressive mob boss that doesn’t need friends, then O’Banion might be the boss for you.
Sometimes introducing a bat to the face gets the job done, and Frank Ragen is no stranger to meet and beats. His Home Run combat skill smashes an enemy’s face in with his baseball bat. Should Ragen kill the enemy with his bat, he’ll get the ‘Batter Up!’ effect which makes him hit any enemy that gets too close to him with his bat. Since he can move immediately after the first strike, you can use it to potentially take down two foes at once.
On top of having a rather good, but not the best ability out there, Ragen also has two empire bonuses that sync well with each other. Speakeasy upkeep costs are reduced by 15%, while production in breweries is up by 5% compared to most rivals, so it’s worth him specialising in the booze trade.
His diplomatic bonus is also pretty good. When rolling with a crew of 6 or greater, the amount of threat produced by his crew is reduced by 20% of what it would be if you had six or more allies in your current party. He’s perhaps a tiny bit vulnerable in fights as his ability relies on attacking one foe at a time, but other than that Frank’s a pretty good choice.
This Slovakian-American gangster was one of the least successful in real-life, but one of the few that weren’t absorbed into Al Capone’s criminal organisation until much later. He was, however, one of the first to begin supplying speakeasies when prohibition era began. However, his territory was soon taken over by Capone and he fled to Wisconsin.
Saltis’s combat skill is Stampede, which makes him charge forward, ploughing his large mass into an opponent with sheer force. This makes them take damage and knocks them back. This can be very helpful with some bothersome foes, but it puts Saltis at risk of being blasted away. If you lose your mob boss, it’s game over.
To make up for this risky play, Saltis does have great bonuses for opening speakeasies. They automatically begin at the second level of upgrades when opened, and the threat level is far lower when opened up. Unfortunately it doesn’t really synergise with the increased brothel earnings, so supplying the speakeasies with booze might be tricky. Still, he hits with the force of a bull and that’s worth considering.
If you pick Daniel Mckee Jackson, you’re not exactly picking him because of his lack of prowess in combat, rather his fantastic late-game ability to reduce threat generation by 25% with a large empire. Picking Jackson means that you’re hoping to play the long game, or just expand as quickly as possible.
His empire bonuses go a long way to doing just that. Brothels are 25% less likely to be raided, while casino’s earnings are increased by 20%. If you can ensure that there is a steady flow of cash coming in, then you’re certain to get up to speed before your rivals.
Getting territory might be the hardest thing for Jackson though. His combat skill is extremely situational, but dear lord is it powerful in those circumstances. If enemies are all at low health, Jackson can unload an entire clip of his pistol to deal damage to a target. If that target dies, it moves to another one in range, and so on until either the clip is empty or all the nearby enemies are dead.
What’s more, every enemy killed reduces the cooldown of this ability, so killing many foes makes it activate sooner. But as mentioned before, it’s extremely situational. You’re more likely to end up swimming with the fishies than getting an unlikely potential killing spree set up. He’s definitely one to take for his empire bonuses rather than his combat skill.
Despite never setting foot in Chicago in real-life, Stephanie St. Clair was notorious for running a numbers game in Harlem, and was an activist for the black community. She was aptly nicknamed “Queen of the Policy Rackets” by some. For a time, St. Clair’s gambling ring was untouched until the end of prohibition, when mobsters like Dutch Schultz waded in on her business interests.
Gambling is part of St. Clair’s main empire bonus, with the security cost reduced by 20% for her casinos. Though it’s never stated that the Card Sharks ever produced booze, brewery storage costs are also reduced by 20%. These are alright bonuses, but Stephanie has a couple of decent tricks up her sleeve.
Related: Check out our Empire of Sin Switch review .
The first is the diplomatic bonus. Whenever she opens up a casino, the neighbourhood threat generation is half of what it would be for anyone else. This means the cops will be knocking on doors less often and the mood of the local population won’t be as tense. Her combat bonus is also great in a pinch, as she can order allies around her to fire upon one target at the same time.
Where her plan becomes unstuck is the range at which her ability activates. Allies have to be quite close to her in order to attack, and they also need to be able to see the target. This is downright dangerous when thrown explosives come into play, as you’ll be clumping your crew in such a way that one well-aimed molotov can take out multiple targets at once. Use her at your own risk.
Salazar Reyna is a Mexican gangster who has made his way to Chicago with some ruthless tactics. Chief among these is his combat skill: Santa Muerte. When activated, Reyna will fire at all the enemies within the admittedly very large circle. This is very good for dealing with clumps of enemies, or whenever Reyna is surrounded.
His empire bonuses are alright, but don’t have that desirable synergy. Still, a hefty reduction in ambiance costs for brothels and more attractive casinos are not something to be sniffed at.
Reyna isn’t exactly open to making new friends. His diplomatic bonus is anything but, since threat generation is reduced by 50% when his gang kills another boss. This is good though because you’re less likely to attract the ire of the rest of the AI gangs for taking care of a rival. If you’re a highly aggressive player who just wants to whack foes, then Reyna isn’t a terrible option. Just be sure to keep in mind that he doesn’t do phenomenally well with economics.
Sometimes, the best allies are your enemies: as Elvira Duarte’s Devil’s Breath combat skill proves. This is a close-range charming ability that lasts four turns, but will make the enemy become her ally for a good chunk of any battle. If she controls a powerful enemy, then they’re one less issue to deal with and the numbers will edge to her favour.
It’s a good thing that her combat skill is really good, because she’s otherwise fairly mediocre. While the decreased brothel security cost is significant and the additional casino guard is handy, they don’t really synergise all that well. However, the faction rating increase whenever she makes a non-aggression pact with other factions is very useful as it means rivals are less likely to double-cross her early on. Sadly there’s not much more to say about Duarte, other than she’s probably the most challenging boss to achieve success with.
And that’s the list. When the two expansion passes arrive for Empire of Sin, it’s likely that there will be at least one or two new faces to add to the list. We’ll keep an eye out to see how they stack up against our current king and queen of the racketeers, but until then, get out there and make Chicago your own!