Civilization 6 tier list – every civ ranked

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Civilization VI is a massive and dense strategy game that can pull thousands of hours out of the most dedicated players. It’s one of the legends in the 4X genre, and there are no signs of its excellence ending any time soon. As someone who has played more than a thousand hours of it, I think it is exquisite.

The game has seen many additions over the years, from balance changes and new leaders to massive gameplay overhauls like the Gathering Storm expansion. All of this can mean it’s hard to know who to use in-game, so we’ve put together a Civilization 6 tier list to solve just that.

Of course, this isn’t an exact science. A lot is based on my opinion, as well as the general consensus. There are a couple of rogue choices higher up in the list, but that’s because I’ve had great success with these leaders, even if others may not think they’re any good. Just trust me. Also, this guide is massive, so watch out.

Civilization 6 tier list

Here’s a quick look at the Civilization 6 tier list, but down below we’ve gone into a lot more detail about the S and A ranked leaders. This should help you choose one to fit your playstyle or learn how to work with different leaders better.

S- and A-tier leaders

I may add descriptions of how best to use some of the lower-ranked leaders in the future, but for now, it’s just the best of the best. The main thing to remember is that all these civs can win against the deity difficulty. It’s just that it’s very hard for some to do. If you fancy a challenge, the worst civs are still listed.

Tier Civilization
S Alexander (Macedon), Basil II (Byzantium), Frederick Barbarossa (Germany), Hojo Tokimune (Japan), Montezuma (Aztec), Pericles (Greece), Peter (Russia), Seondeok (Korea), Simón Bolívar (Gran Colombia), Trajan (Rome), Wilfrid Laurier (Canada),
A Amanitore (Nubia), Catherine de Medici – Black Queen (France), Cleopatra (Egypt), Cyrus (Persia), Eleanor of Aquitaine (England), Genghis Khan (Mongolia), John Curtin (Australia), Kupe (Maori), Matthias Corvinus (Hungary), Menelik II (Ethiopia), Pedro II (Brazil), Philip II (Spain), Saladin (Arabia)
B Catherine de Medici – Magnificence (France), Eleanor of Aquitaine (France), Gilgamesh (Sumerian), Gitarja (Indonesia), Gorgo (Greece), Jayavarman VII (Khmer), Kristina (Sweden), Kublai Khan (Mongolia), Lady Six Sky (Maya), Mansa Musa (Mali), Pachacuti (Inca), Qin Shi Huang (China), Shaka (Zulu), Suleiman (Ottomans), Teddy Roosevelt – Rough Rider (America), Victoria (England)
C  Ba Trieu (Vietnam), Chandragupta (India), Hammurabi (Babylon), Harald Hardrada (Norway), Jadwiga (Poland), João III (Portugal), Kublai Khan (China), Poundmaker (Cree), Teddy Roosevelt – Bull Moose (America), Tomyris (Scythia)
D Ambiorix (Gaul), Dido (Phoenicia), Gandhi (India), Lautaro (Mapuche), Mvemba a Nzinga (Kongo), Robert the Bruce (Scotland), Tamar (Georgia)

S-tier

Here we have the best of the best. For the most part, these leaders can be successful in any era, as they go for a very specific victory with near-unbeatable bonuses, or they’re great generalists who can change tactics on the fly. You can’t go wrong here.

Alexander from Civilization 6, a man with blond hair, a helmet under his arm, and a metal armour breastplate.

Alexander (Macedon)

Alexander is a good option if you want to go for a domination victory, whether online or against the AI. His main ability means that cities do not incur war-weariness, and all your military units fully heal when you capture a city with a world wonder. Check out his abilities and unique units/buildings below.

To world’s end

  • Cities do not incur war-weariness
  • All military units heal completely when this player captures a city with a world wonder

Hellenistic fusion

  • When conquering a city that is not a free city, receive a ‘eureka’ for each encampment or campus in the conquered city and an ‘inspiration’ for each holy site or theatre square.

Hypaspist

  • Macedonian unique melee unit that replaces the swordsman
  • Plus five combat strength when besieging districts
  • 50% additional support bonus.

Hetairoi

  • Macedonian unique heavy cavalry unit that replaces the horseman
  • Additional plus five combat strength when adjacent to a great general
  • Plus five great general points when killing an enemy unit
  • Starts with one free promotion.

Basilikoi Paides

  • A building unique to Macedon
  • Plus 25% combat experience for all melee, ranged land units, and Hetairoi trained in this city
  • Gain science equal to 25% of the unit’s cost when a non-civilian unit is created in this city
  • Strategic resource stockpiles increased by ten (on standard speed)
  • It may not be built in an encampment district that already has a stable

Basil II from Civilization 6, a man with silver hair and beard, a golden crown, and a purple and silver armour.

Basil II (Byzantium)

Basil II has a great combination of combat strength and religious strength, which allows for a two-pronged tactic where you aim for religious victory but can pivot to a domination victory and get big bonuses. These include boosted siege damage against civs following the same religion as you and other combat bonuses.

Porphyrogénnetos

  • Heavy and light cavalry units do full damage against cities following the same religion as Byzantium
  • Gain the Tagma unique unit when the divine right civic is discovered

Taxis

  • Units receive plus three combat strength or religious strength for each holy city converted to Byzantium’s religion (including Byzantium’s holy city)
  • Byzantium’s religion is spread to nearby cities when defeating a unit belonging to an enemy civilization or city-state
  • Plus one great prophet points from cities with a holy site district

Dromon

  • Byzantine unique classical era unit that replaces the quadrireme
  • Has additional range and receives plus ten combat strength against units

Tagma

  • Unique medieval era unit that replaces the knight
  • Land units within one tile of the Tagma receive plus four combat strength or religious strength

Hippodrome

  • A district unique to Byzantium
  • Replace the entertainment complex, provides three amenities and is cheaper to build
  • When the hippodrome and buildings in its district are constructed, you receive a heavy cavalry unit
  • Units granted from this district do not have a resource maintenance cost
  • Cannot be built in a water park

Frederick Barbarossa from Civilization 6, wearing full metal armour, holding a large stuff, with a gold and red crown on his head. He has ginger hair and a large beard.

Frederick Barbarossa (Germany)

Barbarossa is one of my favourite leaders in Civ VI, and they’re pretty useful too, which helps. He has an additional military policy slot, combat bonuses versus city-states, and a good industrial zone replacement that can churn out production. They’re a classic tier list topper.

Holy Roman Emperor

  • Additional military policy slot
  • Combat strength when attacking city-states is increased by seven

Free imperial cities

  • Each city can build one more district than usual

U-boat

  • German unique modern era naval unit that replaces the submarine
  • Cheaper to produce, with plus on sight and plus ten combat strength when fighting on ocean tiles
  • Able to reveal other stealth units

Hansa

  • A district unique to Germany for industrial activity
  • Replaces the industrial zone (and is cheaper)
  • Plus two production for each adjacent commercial hub, aqueduct, canal, and dam district
  • Plus one production bonus for each adjacent resource
  • Plus one production bonus for every two adjacent district tiles

Hojo Tokimune from Civilization 6, a man in a blue top, with wooden armour on his wrists and a white belt.

Hojo Tokimune (Japan)

Hojo Tokimune might be the best leader in Civ. Their combination of adjacency bonuses for any district alongside halved build time for encampments, theatre squares, and holy sites means that you can get a great start no matter what. Pair this with their combat bonuses, and they’re pretty much unbeatable. If there were a tier above S, they’d go there.

Divine wind

  • Land units receive plus five combat strength in land tiles adjacent to the coast
  • Naval units receive plus five combat strength in shallow water tiles
  • Builds encampment, holy site, and theatre square districts in half the time
  • Units do not receive damage from hurricanes
  • Civilizations at war with Japan receive 100% extra unit damage from hurricanes in Japanese territory

Meiji restoration

  • All districts receive an additional standard adjacency bonus for being adjacent to another district

Samurai

  • Japanese unique medieval era melee unit that replaces the man-at-arms
  • does not suffer combat penalties when damaged

Electronics factory

  • A building unique to Japan
  • Provides plus four culture to this city after researching the electricity technology.
  • Its production bonus is extended to all city centres within six tiles that do not already have a bonus from this building type.

Montezuma from Civilization 6, an Aztec with green leafy headers, golden coverings on bits of his body, and brown trousers.

Montezuma (Aztec)

If you focus on working with Montezuma’s bonuses, you can turn any domination victory into a cakewalk. There’s the help of his early game eagle warriors to get free builders, sure, but by the late game, if you focus on building your pool of luxury resources, you can up your combat bonus through the roof. Oh, that’s not even the best bit, as the Aztecs’ main ability can let you make the most of builders to get churning out those districts. When played wisely, Montezuma is a powerhouse.

Gifts for the Tlatoani

  • Luxury resources in his territory provide an amenity to two extra cities
  • Military units receive plus one combat strength when attacking for each different luxury resource improved in Aztec lands

Legend of the Five Suns

  • Spend builder charges to complete 20% of the original district cost

Eagle warrior

  • Aztec unique Ancient era unit that replaces the warrior
  • Has a chance to capture other civilizations’ military units by turning them into builders.

Tlachtli

  • A building unique to the Aztecs
  • Provides ane extra two amenities, two culture, two faith, and one great general point
  • Provides plus one tourism after advancing to the conservation civic

Pericles from Civilization 6, a Greek man with a white robe, gold sash, and tall gold helmet on. He has a large white bushy beard and big eyebrows.

Pericles (Greece)

While Gorgo and Pericles are both pretty excellent, Pericles takes the cake with his extra 5% culture for suzerain status. The base abilities of Greece are outstanding, too, with culture being easy to stack up and get you those all-important policy cards, the hoplite unit, which is exceptional in the early game thanks to its adjacency bonus, and the extra wildcard policy slot from beginning to end to help you churn out those great people. Top stuff.

Surrounded by glory

  • An extra 5% culture per city-state you are the suzerain of

Plato’s Republic

  • One extra wildcard policy slot in any government.

Hoplite

  • Greek unique ancient era anti-cavalry unit that replaces the spearman
  • Plus 10% combat strength if there is at least one adjacent hoplite unit

Acropolis

  • A district unique to Greece for cultural sites
  • Replaces the theatre square district and is cheaper to build
  • Awards one envoy when completed
  • Plus one culture bonus for each adjacent district and an additional plus one culture bonus for an adjacent city centre.
  • Plus two culture bonus for each adjacent wonder, entertainment complex, and water park
  • Can only be built on hills

Peter from Civilization 6, a man with a thin curled moustached, bushy hair, and a black, red, blue, and white shirt and jacket combo. Looks like a general.

Peter (Russia)

Peter is a classic Civilization 6 tier list topper. While their extra bonuses from trade routes aren’t that helpful unless you’re really far behind, the lavra is an excellent district that helps you get tonnes of great people and expand your borders. They are also surprisingly effective on maps without tundra, even though they’re better with it.

The grand embassy

  • Receives science or culture from five trade routes to civilizations that are more advanced than Russia.
  • Plus one per three technologies or civics ahead

Mother Russia

  • Extra territory upon founding cities.
  • Plus on faith and one production from tundra
  • Units do not receive damage from blizzards
  • Civilizations that are at war with Russia receive +100% unit damage from blizzards in Russian territory

Cossack

  • Russian unique industrial era unit that replaces cavalry
  • Stronger than cavalry and gains plus five combat strength when fighting in or adjacent to its home territory
  • Can move after attacking if movement points remain

Lavra

  • A district unique to Russia for religious activity
  • Replaces the holy site district and is cheaper to build
  • Your city border grows by one tile each time a great person is expended in this city
  • The Lavra provides one great writer point per turn with a shrine,
  • Plus one great artist point per turn with a temple, and plus one great musician point per turn with a worship building

Seondeok from Civilization 6, a woman with a large gold grown and purple robe.

Seondeok (Korea)

The perfect science victory candidate, Seondeok can overflow with science thanks to their seowon district. Due to the bonuses, a good bit of planning can lead to loads more science from surrounding farms. The hwacha is an excellent field cannon replacement for defending your city when climbing through the tech tree. Oh, and that governor boost can go a long way too.

Hwarang

  • Governors established in a city provide plus 3% culture and science for each promotion they have earned, including their first

Three Kingdoms

  • Mines receive plus one science for every adjacent seowon district
  • Farms receive plus one food for every adjacent seowon district

Hwacha

  • Korean unique Renaissance-era unit that replaces the field cannon
  • High ranged attack strength
  • Cannot move and attack in the same turn

Seowon

  • A district unique to Korea for scientific endeavours
  • Replaces the campus district
  • Plus four science
  • Minus one science for every adjacent district tile
  • Must be built on hills

Simon Bolivar from Civilization 6, a man with black short hair and long sideburns, a red and blue ornate jacket, and a stern and slick look on his face.

Simón Bolívar (Gran Colombia)

Bolívar is perfectly ready to take any domination victory no matter the circumstances. All your units get one extra movement range and can keep their turn going after being promoted, which is incredibly helpful. Commandante generals are super useful, especially alongside a bunch of llanero units. And as if that wasn’t enough, the hacienda can offer excellent bonuses if set up properly.

Campaña admirable

  • Earn a comandante general when the game enters a new era

Ejército patriota

  • Plus one movement to all units
  • Promoting a unit does not end that unit’s turn

Comandante general

  • A special type of great person only available to Simón Bolívar
  • Each has unique abilities, including a passive effect, and a retire effect

Hacienda

  • Unlocks the builder ability to construct a Hacienda, unique to Gran Colombia
  • Plus two gold, plus one production, and plus 0.5 housing.
  • Plus one food for every two adjacent plantations (increased to every plantation with replaceable parts)
  • Plantations and haciendas receive plus one production for every two adjacent haciendas (increased to every hacienda with rapid deployment civic)
  • Can only be built on plains, plains, hills, grassland, and grassland hills.

Llanero

  • Gran Colombian industrial era unique unit that replaces the cavalry
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Plus two combat strength for every adjacent Llanero
  • Fully heals when in range of a Comandante General that activates its retire ability

Trajan from Civilization 6. They are an old Roman man, with a long face, short grey hair. and a Roman outfit of metal breastplate, tassels over his upper legs, and a red shirt.

Trajan (Rome)

Another classic pick, Trajan keeps all your units moving by automatically building roads between newly settled cities. They’re a bit more of a generalist than most other leaders on this list, but that sets up a great base to build on and push for whatever victory the situation requires.

Trajan’s column

  • All cities start with an additional city centre building
  • Starts with a monument bulling in the ancient era

All roads lead to Rome

  • All cities you found or conquer start with a Trading Post
  • If in trade route range of your capital, they also start with a road to it
  • Your trade routes earn plus one gold for passing through trading posts in your own cities

Legion

  • Roman unique classical era melee unit that replaces the swordsman
  • Can build a Roman fort.

Bath

  • A district unique to Rome for city growth
  • Replaces the aqueduct district and is cheaper to build
  • It provides this city with a source of fresh water from an adjacent river, lake, oasis, or mountain
  • Cities that do not yet have existing fresh water receive up to six housing
  • Cities that already have existing fresh water will instead get an extra two housing
  • Plus one amenity if built adjacent to a geothermal fissure
  • In all cases, the Bath provides an additional bonus of plus two housing and plus one amenity
  • Prevents food loss during drought
  • Must be built adjacent to the city centre
  • Military engineers can spend a charge to complete 20% of a bath’s production.

Wilfrid Laurier from Civilization 6, an old man with receding white hair, a blue jacket and brown shirt.

Wilfrid Laurier (Canada)

If you want to push for a culture victory, Canada is a great way to go. Their base bonus improves all snowy tiles to something actually useful, while the ice hockey rink can get as much as plus ten culture with some clever placement. And then there’s the mountie, which can build two national parks, sending you flying towards big tourism gains. Dreamy.

The last best West

  • Allows farms to be built on tundra terrain
  • After civil engineering is unlocked, farms can be built on tundra hills
  • In snow, tundra, snow hills, and tundra hills, all mines and lumber mills provide plus two production, camps and farms provide plus two food, while strategic resource accumulation rate is plus 100%
  • Reduces the purchase cost of tiles in these terrain types by 50%

Four faces of peace

  • Cannot declare war on city-states or surprise wars
  • Surprise wars cannot be declared on Canada
  • For every 100 tourism per turn, receive one diplomatic favour per turn.
  • Receive plus 100% diplomatic favour from successfully completing an emergency or scored competition

Ice hockey rink

  • Unlocks the builder ability to construct an ice hockey rink that’s unique to Canada
  • Plus one amenity
  • Plus one culture for each adjacent tundra, tundra hills, snow, and snow hills tile
  • Provides tourism from culture once flight is unlocked
  • Plus two food and production once the professional sports civic is unlocked
  • Plus four culture if adjacent to a stadium building
  • Can be built on the tundra, tundra hills, snow, and snow hills.
  • One per city
  • Plus two appeal

Mountie

  • Canadian unique modern era unit
  • Can create two national parks
  • Plus five combat strength when fighting within two tiles of a national park
  • Additional five combat strength when fighting within two tiles of a national park you own.

A-tier

Here we have some great leaders that may need a little bit more luck (or just more awareness from the player to make the most of them). Victory against the deity difficulty is still very doable, but the more unpredictable nature of multiplayer means that you need to be on your toes.

Amanitore from Civilization 6, a larger lady in a golden robe holding a gold spear. She has a small golden crown and earrings.

Amanitore (Nubia)

One of the rare purely production-focused leaders, Amanitore can be good for the more versatile player or if you need to change strategy on the fly. Their main ability gives you an extra 20% production towards all districts, which can double if you build their unique building adjacent to the city centre. Check out all the details below.

Kandake of Meroë

  • Plus 20% production towards all districts
  • Rises to 40% if there is a Nubian Pyramid adjacent to the city centre

Ta-Seti

  • Plus 30% production towards ranged units
  • All ranged units gain an additional 50% combat experience
  • Mines over strategic resources provide plus one production
  • Mines over bonus and luxury resources provide plus two gold

Pítati archer

  • Nubian unique ancient era unit that replaces the archer
  • Stronger than the archer with extra movement
  • Upgrades to crossbowman

Nubian Pyramid

  • Improvement that unlocks masonry and must be built on desert, desert hills, or floodplains
  • Plus two faith and plus two food
  • Receives additional yields from an adjacent district
  • Plus one food if adjacent to the city centre
  • For all other districts that award adjacency bonuses: plus one of the appropriate yield if that district is adjacent

Catherine from Civilization 6, a woman in a black gown with white cuffs and a white ruff. She has long black hair tied back.

Catherine de Medici, the Black Queen (France)

Catherine de Medici can take two forms, with the black queen form being the original. She has a greater level of diplomatic visibility, gets a free spy early on, and receives good tourism bonuses, but the unique building is where you can push your culture through the roof.

Catherine’s flying squadron

  • Has one level of diplomatic visibility greater than normal with every civilisation she’s met
  • Receive a free spy and extra spy capacity with the castles technology
  • All spies start as agents with a free promotion.

Grand tour

  • Plus 20% production towards medieval, renaissance, and industrial era wonders
  • Tourism from wonders of any era is increased by 100%

Garde Impériale

  • French unique industrial era melee unit that replaces the line infantry
  • Plus ten combat strength when fighting on your capital’s continent
  • Great general points for killing units

Château

  • Unique builder construction ability
  • Plus two culture, one gold, and one appeal
  • Plus one culture for every adjacent wonder (increased to plus two after researching flight)
  • Plus two gold if on a tile containing a river edge
  • Provides tourism from culture after researching flight
  • Must be placed adjacent to a bonus or luxury resource
  • Cannot be built adjacent to another château

Celopatra from Civilization 6, a woman in a low cut beige dress, with a large piece of turquoise and gold jewellery around her neck, and a gold piece of headwear.

Cleopatra (Egypt)

Cleopatra is almost as much of a civ classic as Gandhi, but luckily they fare a little better in action. They have great trade route bonuses, a good unique unit and builder ability, and will feel familiar to any experienced civ player. There’s better out there, but who doesn’t love a classic?

Mediterranean’s bride

  • Your trade routes to other civilisations provide plus four gold for Egypt
  • Other civs’ trade routes to Egypt provide two extra food for them and plus two gold for Egypt
  • Trading with allies earns twice as many bonus alliance points

Iteru

  • Plus 15% production towards districts and wonders if placed next to a river
  • Does not receive damage from floods

Maryannu chariot archer

  • Unique ancient era ranged unit
  • Four movement range when starting in open terrain

Sphinx

  • Unique builder ability
  • Plus one faith, plus one culture, and plus two appeal
  • Plus one additional culture if built on floodplains
  • Even more culture once natural history is discovered
  • Provides tourism after researching flight
  • Cannot be built next to another Sphinx
  • Cannot be built on snow or snow hills

Cyrus from Civilization 6, a man with dark brown hair and trimmed beard, alongside old fashioned armour with slight hints of purple.

Cyrus (Persia)

Cyrus is one of the best options for a cultural victory, with great bonuses towards culture accumulation and movement bonuses when declaring a surprise war. They also have good loyalty bonuses to avoid losing newly captured cities.

Fall of Babylon

  • Plus two movement for the first ten turns after declaring a surprise war on a major civilisation
  • Plus five loyalty per turn in occupied cities with a garrisoned unit
  • Declaring a surprise war only counts as a formal war for the purposes of grievances and warmongering

Satrapies

  • Plus one trade route capacity wth political philosophy civic
  • Plus two gold and one culture for routes between your own cities
  • Roads built in your territory are one level more advanced than usual

Immortal

  • Persian unique melee unit that replaces the swordsman
  • Melee class unit with a ranged attack (range: 2)
  • Strong defence strength

Pairidaeza

  • Unique builder ability
  • Plus one culture, two gold, and one appeal
  • Plus one culture for each adjacent holy site and theatre square
  • Plus one gold for each adjacent commercial hub and city centre
  • Additional culture and tourism as you advance through the tech and civics trees
  • Cannot be built on snow, tundra, snow hills, or tundra hills, or adjacent to another pairidaeza

Eleanor from Civilization 6, a woman in a blue and red robe with fabric hanging down from her elbows, drinking from a golden goblet, with blonde hair in twisted buns and a crown of pink flowers.

Eleanor of Aquitaine (England)

Eleanor is often put at the bottom of tier lists, and I’m not sure why. The basic set-up of England in the game means that they can get buckets of gold, fast track districts with tonnes of military engineers, and set up on other continents and hold onto loyalty. Eleanor has this and then more, thanks to her personal loyalty abilities. She’s excellent, versatile, and deserves more praise.

Court of Love

  • Great works in Eleanor’s cities each cause minus one loyalty per turn in foreign cities within nine tiles
  • A city that leaves another civilization due to a loss of loyalty and is currently receiving the most loyalty per turn from Eleanor’s civilisation skips the free city step to join this civilisation

Workshop of the World

  • Iron and coal mines accumulate two more resources per turn
  • Plus 100% production towards military engineers
  • Military engineers receive plus two charges
  • Buildings that provide additional yields when powered receive plus four of that yield
  • Plus 20% production towards industrial zone buildings
  • Harbour buildings increase strategic resource stockpiles by ten (on standard speed)

Sea dog

  • English unique renaissance era naval unit that replaces the privateer
  • Has a chance to capture defeated enemy ships
  • Can only be seen by other naval raiders unless adjacent to it
  • Reveals naval raiders within sight range

Royal navy dockyard

  • A district unique to England for naval activity in your city
  • Replaces the harbour district
  • Also removes the movement penalty for embarking and disembarking to and from this tile
  • Must be built on coast or lake terrain adjacent to land
  • Plus one movement for all naval units trained in the dockyard
  • Plus two gold and four loyalty per turn when built on a foreign continent
  • Cannot be built on a reef tile

Genghis Khan from Civilization 6, a stocky man in large brown armour with a jewel in the very centre of his chest. He has a fluffy hat on, and a moustache and soul patch combo.

Genghis Khan (Mongolia)

Genghis Khan is the cavalry king, with decent bonuses that are easy to obtain. Combine this with the trade and diplomatic visibility bonuses (which also add even more combat strength), and you can be pretty sure that you’ll dominate your opponent.

Mongol Horde

  • All cavalry class units gain three combat strength and a chance to capture defeated enemy cavalry class units.

Örtöö

  • Starting a trade route immediately creates a trading post in the destination city
  • Receive an extra level of diplomatic visibility for possessing a trading post in any city of a civilization
  • All Mongolian units double the usual combat bonus for having a higher level of diplomatic visibility than their opponent

Keshig

  • Mongolian unique medieval era ranged cavalry unit
  • Can escort moving civilian and support units at their higher movement speed

Ordu

  • A building unique to Mongolia
  • Grants an ability that gives plus one movement to heavy and light cavalry trained in this city
  • Plus 25% combat experience for all cavalry and siege class units trained in this city
  • Strategic resource stockpiles increased by ten (on standard speed)
  • May not be built in an encampment that already has barracks

John Curtin from Civilization 6, a man with a white shirt, red tie, and brown waistcoat on. He wears thin glasses and a beige hat on his head.

John Curtin (Australia)

John Curtin is great, especially in multiplayer, as war is more likely, in general. The production bonus from war declarations received are massive, while the digger is a great late-game unit. The outback station build is fine, nothing mind-blowing, but it makes for an overall excellent package.

Citadel of civilization

  • Plus 100% production if they have either received a declaration of war or liberated a city in the past ten turns.

Land down under

  • Plus three housing in coastal cities
  • Pastures trigger a culture bomb
  • Yields from campuses, commercial hubs, holy sites and theatre squares are plus one in tiles with charming appeal, plus three in breathtaking.

Digger

  • Australian unique modern era unit that replaces infantry
  • Combat strength when fighting on coastal tiles
  • Plus five combat strength when fighting on neutral or foreign territory.

Outback station

  • Unlocks the builder ability to construct an outback station, unique to Australia.
  • Plus one food and plus one production
  • Plus one food for each adjacent pasture
  • Additional food and production as you advance through the technology and civic trees for adjacent outback stations and pastures
  • Can only be built on a desert, desert hills, grassland, and plains tiles

Kupe from Civilization 6, a man without a shirt on, brown furry stuff over his shoulders and red skirt-type thing.

Kupe (Maori)

One of the most fun leaders to use, Kupe starts in the ocean, which is a bit odd. You have to find the land and settle before you can get started, but once it’s settled, you get lots of bonuses to make up for it. You can also explore the ocean from the beginning, helping you find all the map’s secrets straight away.

Kupe’s voyage

  • Begin the game in an ocean tile
  • Gain a free Builder and plus one population when settling your first city
  • The palace receives plus three housing and plus one amenity
  • Plus two science and plus two culture per turn before you settle your first city

Māori-mana

  • Begin the game with the sailing and shipbuilding technologies unlocked and with the ability to enter ocean tiles
  • Embarked units gain plus two movement
  • Unimproved woods and rainforest get plus one production
  • Additional plus one production from mercantilism and plus two production from conservation
  • Fishing boats provide plus one food and a culture bomb to adjacent tiles
  • Resources cannot be harvested
  • Great writers cannot be earned

Toa

  • Māori unique classical era melee unit
  • Adjacent enemy units receive minus five combat strength
  • Can build the unique Pā improvement

Marae

  • A building unique to the Māori
  • Plus one culture and faith to all of this city’s tiles with a passable feature or natural wonder
  • After flight is researched, receive plus one tourism to all of this city’s tiles with a feature or natural wonder
  • Costs no maintenance
  • Has no great work slots

  • Unlocks the toa ability to construct a Pā, unique to Maori
  • Occupying unit receives plus four defence strength and automatically gains two turns of fortification
  • A Māori unit occupying a pā heals even If they just moved or attacked
  • Must be built on a hill tile

Matthias from Civilization 6, a man in silver armour, blue cape and robe, with blond hair and a crown.

Matthias Corvinus (Hungary)

Hungary is an amazing civ and is probably the best in the A-tier. Pearl of the Danube is an excellent production boost that makes a strong difference, while thermal baths are decent, if not amazing. But the abilities around levying units are far and away the best ability on their list. Huge stuff.

Raven king

  • Levied units gain an ability giving them plus two movement and plus five combat strength
  • It costs 75% less gold and resources to upgrade levied units
  • If you levy trips from a city-state receive two envoys with that city-state
  • Gain the black army unique unit when the castles technology is researched

Pearl of the Danube

  • Plus 50% production to districts and building constructed across a river from a city-centre

Thermal bath

  • A building unique to Hungary
  • Plus two amenities and plus two production extends to each city centre within six tiles
  • These bonuses apply once to a city, and multiple copies of this building within six tiles of a city centre do not provide additional bonuses
  • This city receives plus three tourism and plus two additional amenities if there is at least one geothermal fissure in the city’s borders

Huszár

  • Hungarian unique industrial era unit that replaces cavalry
  • Plus three combat strength for every active alliance

Black army

  • Hungarian unique medieval era unit that replaces the courser
  • Plus three combat strength for each adjacent levied unit

The Ethiopian leader Menelik II from Civilization 6, a man in a black outfit with a red and gold design on the front, a golden fabric belt, gold cuffs, and large black hat. He has a black beard.

Menelik II (Ethiopia)

Ethiopia can get lots of faith, with decent culture and science bonuses, which is good for moving through the research trees. With the rock-hewn church then providing more bonuses, you can stack them all up and have a fairly easy time of it.

Council of ministers

  • Receive science and culture equal to 15% of your faith generation in cities founded on hills
  • Units receive plus four combat strength on hills

Aksumite legacy

  • Ethiopia’s international trade routes grant plus 0.5 faith per resource at the origin
  • Improved resources provide plus one faith for each copy the city owns
  • Can purchase archaeological museums and archaeologists with faith

Oromo caravan

  • Ethiopian unique medieval era light cavalry unit
  • Stronger and greater sight than the courser that it replaces
  • Receives no movement penalty from moving in hills

Rock-hewn church

  • Unlocks the builder ability to construct a rock-hewn church, unique to Ethiopia
  • Plus one faith
  • Plus one additional faith for every adjacent mountain and hills tile
  • Provides tourism from faith after researching flight
  • Plus one appeal
  • Can only be pillaged (never destroyed) by natural disasters
  • Can only be built on hills or volcanic soil not adjacent to another rock-hewn church

Pedro from Civilization 6, a man in military uniform with a sash across his from and white trousers. His a large black beard and slicked black hair.

Pedro II (Brazil)

The rainforest bonuses that Pedro gets are pretty special, boosting science, money, faith, and culture, as well as the appeal of the tiles. You can get unique districts for amenities to keep everyone happy and rule the seas with the unique battleship that they have.

Magnanimous

  • After recruiting or patronizing a great person, 20% of its great person cost is refunded

Amazon

  • Rainforest tiles provide plus one adjacency bonus for campus, commercial hub, holy site, and theatre districts
  • And plus one appeal to adjacent tiles, instead of the usual minus one

Minas geraes

  • Brazilian unique industrial era unit that replaces the battleship
  • Stronger than the battleship
  • Unlocked by nationalism

Street carnival

  • A district unique to Brazil
  • Replace the entertainment complex district and provides plus two amenities
  • Also unlocks the carnival project, which grants an additional plus one when underway and a variety of great people points once completed
  • Cannot be built in a city with a Copacabana

Copacabana

  • A district unique to Brazil
  • Replace the water park district and provides plus two amenities
  • Also unlocks the carnival project, which grants one additional amenity when underway and a variety of great people points once completed
  • Cannot be built in a city with a street carnival
  • Cannot be built on a reef

Phillip from Civilization 6, a man in large brown and red military armour with a sword, brown beard, and short, slightly receding brown hair.

Philip II (Spain)

Spain is an excellent faith victory civ, with combat bonuses against people who follow different religions. You can also build fleets and armadas early, creating up a huge navy to rule the seas. They could maybe be a little higher on this list if it weren’t for their slightly scattershot benefits that don’t always come in handy.

El Escorial

  • Inquisitors can remove heresy one extra time
  • Inquisitors eliminate 100% of the presence of other religions
  • Combat and religious units have a bonus of plus five combat strength against players following other religions

Treasure fleet

  • May form fleets and armadas with mercantilism, instead of nationalism and mobilization
  • Trade routes receive plus three gold, two faith, and one production
  • Between multiple continents, receive these number times three
  • Cities not on your original capital’s continent receive 25% production towards districts and a builder when founded

Conquistador

  • Spanish unique renaissance era unit that replaces the musketman
  • Plus ten combat strength when there is a religious unit within one hex
  • If this unit captures a city or is adjacent to a city when it is captured, the city will automatically adopt the conquistador player’s religion as the dominant religion

Mission

  • Unlocks the builder ability to construct a mission, unique to Spain
  • Plus two faith
  • Plus two faith, one production, and one food if on a different continent than your capital
  • Plus one science for every adjacent campus and holy site district
  • Additional science once cultural heritage is discovered
  • Plus two loyalty per turn for cities with a mission improvement adjacent to the city centre and not on your original capital’s continent

Saladin from Civilization 6, a man with a piece of white fabric headwear, and a white robe over a brown outfit underneath. He has a thin face and small brown facial hair.

Saladin (Arabia)

Saladin is a great leader for a science victory, even if it looks like all they can do is faith. You get a religion whether you earn a great prophet or not, as you get the last one for free. But the Madrasa is a real treat, boosting science to help you fly through your research.

Righteousness of the Faith

  • The worship building for their religion can be purchased by any player for just one-tenth of the usual faith cost
  • This worship building is enhanced to add 10% to the science, faith, and culture output of Arabian cities

The last prophet

  • Automatically receive the final great prophet when the next-to-last one is claimed (if you have not earned a great prophet already)
  • Plus one science for each foreign city following Arabia’s religion

Mamluk

  • Arabian unique medieval era unit that replaces the knight
  • Heals at the end of every turn, even after moving or attacking

Madrasa

  • A building unique to Arabia
  • Bonus faith equal to the adjacent bonus of the campus district

There you have it then, an exhaustive guide to the best civs with our Civilization 6 tier list. For something more, check out our guide to games like Civilization (or just do one more turn of Civ VI).

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