Civilization 5 Tier List

Gain an advantage in Civilization 5 by using the best leaders and civilizations. Our up-to-date Civ 5 tier list will give you the perfect overview.

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.

Table of ContentsShow


Civ 5 Tier List S Tier

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.

CivilizationLeaderUnique UnitUnique BuildingUnique Skill
PolandCasimir IIIWinged HussarDucal StableSolidarity
AustriaMaria TheresaHussarCoffee HouseDiplomatic Marriage
BabyloniaNebuchadnezzar IIBowmanWalls of BabylonIngenuity


Civ 5 Tier List A Tier

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.

CivilizationLeaderUnique UnitUnique BuildingUnique Skill
ShoshonePocatelloPathfinder, Comanche Riders Great Expanse
EgyptRamesses IIWar ChariotBurial TombMonument Builders
AztecMontezumaJaguarFloating GardensSacrificial Captives
ArabiaHarun al-RashidCamel ArcherBazaarTrade Caravan, Ships of the Desert
SiamRamkhamhaengNaresuan’s ElephantWatFather Governs Children
BrazilPedro IIPracinhaBrazilwood CampCarnival
ChinaWu ZetianChu-Ko-NuPaper MakerArt of War
JapanOda NobunagaSamurai, Zero Bushido
GreeceAlexanderHoplite, Companion Cavalry Hellenic League


Civ 5 Tier List B Tier

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.

CivilizationLeaderUnique UnitUnique BuildingUnique Skill
RomeAugustus CaesarLegion, Ballista The Glory of Rome
IroquoisHiawathaMohawk WarriorLonghouseThe Great Warpath
FranceNapoleonForeign Legion, MusketeerChateauAncient Regime, City of Light
PolynesiaKamehamehaMaori WarriorMoaiWayfinding
Ottoman EmpireSuleimanJanissary, Sipahi Barbary Corsairs
IncaPachacutiSlingerTerrace FarmGreat Andean Road
IndonesiaGajah MadaKris SwordsmanCandiSpice Islanders
SwedenGustavus AdoplhusCarolean, Hakkapeliitta Nobel Prize
PortugalMaria INauFeitoraMare Clausum
AssyriaAshurbanipalSiege TowerRoyal LibraryTreasures of Nineveh
RussiaCatherineCossackKrepostSiberian Riches


Civ 5 Tier List C Tier

These civilizations have limited flexibility when it comes to playstyles. They mostly win on the victory path optimized for their civilization, and nothing else.

CivilizationLeaderUnique UnitUnique BuildingUnique Skill
AmericaWashingtonMinuteman, B17 Manifest Destiny
VeniceEnrico DandoloMerchant of Venice, Great Galleass Serenissima
SpainIsabellaTercio, Conquistador Seven Cities of Gold
KoreaSejongHwach’a, Turtle Ship Scholars of the Jade Hall
MongoliaGenghis KhanKeshik, Khan Mongol Terror
MoroccoAhmad al-MansurBerber CavalryKasbahGateway to Africa
DenmarkHarald BluetoothBerserker, Norwegian Ski InfantryViking FuryViking Fury
MayaPacalAtlatlistPyramidThe Long Count


Civ 5 Tier List D Tier

Poorly optimized civilizations that struggle to win any victory path.

These civs can be effective on lower difficulties but struggle even on normal.

CivilizationLeaderUnique UnitUnique BuildingUnique Ability
GermanyOtto von BismarckLandsknecht, PanzerHanseFuror Teutonicus
PersiaDarius IImmortalSatrap’s CourtAchaemenid Legacy
IndiaGandhiWar ElephantMughal FortPopulation Growth
NetherlandsWilliam ISea BeggarPolderEast India Company
SonghaiAskiaMandekalu CavalryMud Pyramid MosqueRiver Warlord
HunsAttilaBattering Ram, Horse Archer Scourge of God


Civ 5 Tier List F Tier

The worst civilizations in the game. In a match with more than 2 civs, these are usually the ones to fall first.

CivilizationLeaderUnique UnitUnique BuildingUnique Ability
CeltsBoudiccaPictish WarriorCeilidh HallDruidic Lore
ByzantineTheodoraCataphract, Dromon Patriarchate of Constantinople
CarthageDidoAfrican Forest Elephant, QuinqueremePhoenician HeritagePhoenician Heritage
EthiopiaHaile SelassieMehal SefariSteleSpirit of Adwa

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