Civilization 5, commonly known as Civ 5, is a densely packed game with several layers of game mechanics padded onto it. It’s a deep game that rewards the player’s strategy, foresight, and creativity to win matches.
We could go on about the myriad of factors that contribute to a win in Civ 5, but we’re going to focus on the most basic one: the civilization the player chooses. The game offers a roster of over 35 civilizations you can lead. Each is unique and its own strengths, weaknesses, and quirks.
This tier list ranks the civilizations in terms of their capacity to win any match at varying difficulties. Since there are multiple ways to win a game in Civ 5, this list also acknowledges how good each civilization is in accordance with their unique play style.
With all that out of the way, let’s dive right into the Civ 5 tier list.
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These are currently the best civilizations to play as in the game.
They have so many avenues to win that you don’t have to worry about adjusting your strategy mid-game. You can also afford to pay less attention to your enemies because there’s little need to specialize on your tactics.
Because of their dominance, beginner Civ players can win some matches with these under their control.
|Walls of Babylon
These are specialist civilizations with a few all-rounders in the mix.
While not as dominant as those in S-Tier, they will still be able to secure wins early on because of how effective they are in a lot of aspects of the game.
|Pathfinder, Comanche Riders
|Trade Caravan, Ships of the Desert
|Father Governs Children
|Art of War
|Hoplite, Companion Cavalry
On paper, these civilizations pale in comparison with S and A-Tiers. In the hands of a skilled player, however, that gap starts to close.
When set up in the right situation, these civs can crush the opposition no matter what tier they place in.
|The Glory of Rome
|The Great Warpath
|Foreign Legion, Musketeer
|Ancient Regime, City of Light
|Great Andean Road
|Treasures of Nineveh
These civilizations have limited flexibility when it comes to playstyles. They mostly win on the victory path optimized for their civilization, and nothing else.
|Merchant of Venice, Great Galleass
|Seven Cities of Gold
|Hwach’a, Turtle Ship
|Scholars of the Jade Hall
|Gateway to Africa
|Berserker, Norwegian Ski Infantry
|The Long Count
Poorly optimized civilizations that struggle to win any victory path.
These civs can be effective on lower difficulties but struggle even on normal.
|Otto von Bismarck
|East India Company
|Mud Pyramid Mosque
|Battering Ram, Horse Archer
|Scourge of God
The worst civilizations in the game. In a match with more than 2 civs, these are usually the ones to fall first.
|Patriarchate of Constantinople
|African Forest Elephant, Quinquereme
|Spirit of Adwa