Civ 5 Tier List (2021)

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In this Civ 5 Tier List, we are looking at 43 Civs and leaders in Civilization 5, and we are going to be assigning scores based on their overall ability, unique abilities, playability, start bias, and then an overall score. This tier list takes into consideration both expansions: Gods & Kings and Brave New World.

CIV 5 TIER LIST

S-Tier

  • Poland (Casimir III)
  • Egypt (Ramesses II)
  • Huns (Atilla)
  • England (Elizabeth)
  • Korea (Sejong)

A-Tier

  • Persia (Darius I)
  • Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar II)
  • Arabia (Harun al-Rashid)
  • Inca (Pachacuti)
  • China (Wu Zetian)
  • Austria (Maria Theresa)
  • Celts (Boudicca)
  • Siam (Ramkhamhaeng)
  • Zulu (Shaka)
  • Maya (Pacal)

B-Tier

  • Aztec (Montezuma)
  • Greece (Alexander)
  • America (Washington)
  • Russia (Catherine)
  • Ethiopia (Haile Selassie)
  • Spain (Isabella)

C-Tier

  • Mongolia (Genghis Khan)
  • Songhai (Askia)
  • Morocco (Ahmad al-Mansur)
  • India (Gandhi)
  • The Shoshone (Pocatello)
  • Byzantium (Theodora)
  • Denmark (Harald Bluetooth)
  • Germany (Bismarck)

D-Tier

  • Indonesia (Gajah Mada)
  • Brazil (Pedro II)
  • Portugal (Maria I)
  • Netherlands (William)
  • Sweden (Gustavus Adolphus)
  • Ottomans (Suleiman)
  • Rome (Augustus Caesar)
  • Japan (Oda Nobunaga)

F-Tier

  • Assyria (Ashurbanipal)
  • France (Napoleon)
  • Polynesia (Kamehameha)
  • Carthage (Dido)
  • Venice (Enrico Dandolo)

LOL-Tier

  • Iroquois (Hiawatha)

CIV 5 TIER LIST: RANKED

Civ Civ Ability Unique 1 Unique 2 Playability Start Bias Score Tier
Poland 8 7 7 8 8 46 S
Egypt 8 7 7 8 6 44 S
Huns 7 8 8 8 4 43 S
England 7 7 8 8 5 43 S
Korea 8 6 7 8 5 42 S
Persia 8 7 7 8 3 41 A
Babylon 8 6 6 8 4 40 A
Arabia 6 8 6 7 6 40 A
Inca 7 1 8 8 7 39 A
China 6 8 8 7 3 39 A
Austria 5 6 8 6 7 38 A
Celts 7 6 6 7 5 38 A
Siam 6 8 7 6 5 38 A
Zulu 6 8 6 6 6 38 A
Maya 8 3 8 8 3 38 A
Shoshone 8 8 4 7 3 37 B
Aztec 7 5 8 7 2 36 B
Greece 6 7 7 6 3 35 B
America 5 6 7 5 7 35 B
Russia 8 7 4 7 2 35 B
Ethiopia 3 4 8 8 3 34 B
Spain 8 3 2 8 5 34 B
Mongolia 3 6 7 4 8 32 C
Songhai 4 6 7 5 4 31 C
Morocco 4 5 5 5 6 30 C
India 6 6 4 5 4 30 C
Byzantium 4 6 7 4 5 30 C
Denmark 7 7 3 4 5 30 C
Germany 6 3 8 5 3 30 C
Indonesia 6 2 8 4 5 29 D
Brazil 6 3 7 5 2 28 D
Portugal 5 4 5 4 5 27 D
Netherlands 2 5 6 4 4 25 D
Sweden 6 2 6 4 2 24 D
Ottomans 2 7 3 3 5 23 D
Rome 3 2 6 4 3 22 D
Japan 4 3 3 3 5 21 D
Assyria 3 5 4 2 4 20 F
France 2 4 4 3 3 19 F
Polynesia 2 3 3 3 5 19 F
Carthage 3 4 2 2 5 18 F
Venice 1 3 6 1 5 17 F
Iroquois 3 4 1 1 4 14 LOL

Ability refers to the Civilization’s specific ability.

Unique 1 and Unique 2 refers to the special abilities unique to the Civilizations, such as their Unique Units or other bonuses.

Playability refers to refers to how well the Unique characteristics mesh together to create a better overall advantage.

Start Bias refers to certain advantages or disadvantage Civs get. For example, a country that starts primarily in Tundra, may have early game disadvantages with getting agricultural land setup.

It’s not surprising that Civilization 5 is still active on Steam, and in some cases by some people, even is the preferred game. So why did we prepare this Civ 5 Tier List for civs and leaders at the tail-end of 2020 for a game that was released 10 years ago? The primary reason is the fact that the game is still highly relevant. For a casual player, the gameplay differences are not all that great. Consider the obvious: you are dealing with historical civilizations in a turn-based game, with extremely similar mechanics. What’s the point of dishing out extra money for the newer game if you aren’t a hardcore fan that cares about all of the specific nuances?

Once again, thank you to our friend Nick Gutierrez who was able to contribute the analysis to this article.

Playing Civ 6? Check out our Civ 6 Tier List.


About James Sterling

James Sterling received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California (USC). His Bachelor of Science was completed in Computer Science (Games) and his Master of Science was completed in Game Development. James spends his free time contributing on popular forums such as Tom's Hardware and AnandTech while hanging out with his cat Jonathan. Humorously, his favorite youtube channel is Jimquisition by Jim Sterling.

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