Civ 6 Tier List: Best Religious, Scientific, Domination, and Cultural Civs

Civ 6 Tier List Cover Image
Civ 6 has been out since 2016, and gets new Civs every few months, Here are the best and worst. Image via Firaxis.

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Civ 6 is one of the latest Sid Meier’s Civilization game that has brought a whole new depth to the series. Instead of playing anation, you play a character from the nation, and the depth of the tiles and city building has changed. Throw in mechanics like loyalty, global warming, and more, and you have an entirely new game. Now the game has been out; there are many more civilizations in the game. Here is our Civ 6 Tier List, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of those in the game.

Ranking Methodology

The Civ 6 Tier List will look through the strengths and weaknesses of each of the available civs and rulers in the game. By doing so, it will become clear which of the civilizations rank the best, moving further down into other brackets, the more weaknesses become apparent, or their strengths are not as strong as others.

It is worth mentioning that this Civ 6 Tier List encompasses both multiplayer and single player. In some instances, Civilizations like Alexander the Great have relation boosters with warring factions, making it more of a single-player civ rather than a multiplayer trait. Instances like this will are taken into account and are reflected on the tier list. Also, the Civ 6 Tier List presumes you have access to all available content.

Civ 6 civilizations have specialities on a final note, but they are not as hardcore as Civ 5 design. There is much more flexibility to adapt a civ in a game, as they tend to have a main victory focus and a secondary focus to adapt if needed. Please be aware the Civs rankings are in no particular ordering per tier.

 

S Tier: is the bracket where the best Civs for specific win conditions sit.

A Tier: Civs in this bracket are perfectly fine. However, there is a breakpoint that the S tier ones don’t have. Otherwise perfectly fine for winning games. 

B Tier: Civs with clear strengths and clear weaknesses. A perfectly balanced spot to sit in on the Civ 6 Tier List. B Tier civs typically have fairly flexible nation buffs, allowing them to brand out ad adapt well rather than strong in one area.

C Tier: Are underpowered, either because other Civs in their class are better, or their gimmick has a few challenges that snub its overall effectiveness.

D Tier: picks are underpowered and not worth it.

 

Civilization Rankings

S Tier: Hojo Tokimune (Japan), Cyrus (Persia), John Curtain (Australia), Peter (Russia), Seondeok (Korea), Trajan (Rome), Bolivar (Gran Colombian), Lady Six Sky (Maya), Pedro II (Brazil), Kupe (Maori), Saladin (Arabia), Qin Shi (China),

A TIer: Alexander (Macedonia), Ambiriox (Gallic), Barbarossa (Germany), Pericles (Greece), Gorgo (Greece), Wilhelmina (Netherlands), Gilgamesh (Sumerian), Wilfrid Laurier (Canada), Gandhi (India), Montezuma (Aztec), Suleiman (Ottoman), Corvinus (Hungary), Tomyris (Scythia) Joao III (Portugal). Jayavarman VII (Khmer), Basil II (Byzantium),

B Tier: Amanitore (Nubia), Genghis Khan (Mongolia),  Kublai Khan (Mongolia), Dido (Carthage), Cleopatra (Egypt), Shaka (Zulu), Teddy Rough Rider (America), Teddy Bull Moose (America), Catherine (France), Eleanor (France), Victoria (England), Menelik (Ethiopia), Jadwiga (Poland), Hammurabi (Babylonia), Basil II (Byzantium), 

C Tier: Mansa (Mali), Kristina (Sweden), Phillip II (Spain), Robert the Bruce (Scottish), Mansa (Malian), Lautaro (Mapuche), Chandragupta (India), Ba Trieu (Vietnam), Gitarja (Indonesia),

D Tier:  Harald (Norway), Tamar (Georgia), Poundmaker (Cree), Pachacuti (Inca), Mvemba (Kongo)

The Best Civs for Domination Victories

Scythia Civ 6 Tier List
Scythia can be one of the most dominant Domination Civs in the game. Image via Firaxis.

 

The Meta

Byzantium is a mixed bag when it comes to domination. After spreading whatever faith they have, they then gain full damage from Heavy and Light Cavalry attacking cities. Sieging is one of the biggest army attritions in the game, making it easier to achieve results. Therefore there is a rather staple tactic to employ. 

In the early game, try and get as many civs following the same faith. If there is a dedicated religious faith near you, then convert to theirs and let them do the hard work for you. Once when that is there, you are ready to build an empire through cavalry sieges. Basil also has an exclusive district called the Hippodrome, which grants a free heavy cavalry unit. Take out as much as you can by the mid-game and convert those cities to make you relevant in the late game.

Tomyris’ Scythia is one of the best nations for conquering. Her warfare ability, Killer of Cyrus, allows her to deal +5 Combat Strength towards wounded troops. The unit that gets the kill heals for 30 hit points. As you can imagine, this is great against large armies, niche armies, etc. and relevant throughout an entire game.

Bear in mind her exclusive Saka Horse Archer benefits on wider spaces. Using the map effectively is one of the most efficient ways to abuse her wounded passive. A nice blend of frontline and horse archers chipping away at the back is the core of her army structure. Those at the frontline will like farm promotions with ease as long as map movement is carefully planned and adapted. With that said, Tomyris is likely the best domination civilization of the Civ 6 Tier List.

Shaka Zulu’s units get stronger when his large military might forms armies and corps. Those that want to flood the map as a horde nation can find lots of success here. Shaka is one of the ultimate mid to late-game threats. While having a big army on the offence might leave you weak at home, the garrison grants +3 loyalty, so you can somewhat withstand that bit longer for reinforcements to build or to return.

 

Solid Alternatives

Hungary is another great option for conquering, especially when they have several city-state and gold. Hungary can adapt to warfare quickly by upgrading its troops for 75% less gold than needed. The levied city-state units also gain +5 combat strength and +2 movement speed. Hungary can go on the offence here or remain defensive depending on map placements.  Also, one of the key player in diplomatic victories by playing the friendlier version of Hungary’s passive bonuses.

Genghis Khan is a character that can stampede around the map with cavalry and gain even more units if he defeats other horsemen. The trick for Genghis is to take out as much as possible before cavalry becomes irrelevant. Also, watch for those pesky pikemen as it is a major counter to Genghi’ gameplay. Once when cavalry falls off, those conquered cities will go to work on maintaining a late game. Also, it is straightforward to overextend with Genghis, so be careful of loyalty drop-offs.

The Best Civs for Culture Victories

Civ 6 Maori Civ
The Maori have one of the most unique playstyles in the game, Image via Firaxis.

 

Kupe’s Maori are one of the best early game culture civilizations. The longer these people hold off from settling, the better their extra growth for Science and Culture. Their passive grants an extra  +2 to each resource as long as they don’t settle the first city. It can last a fair while as they spawn in an ocean as far away from threats as possible.

Once settled, they can get steamrolling ahead for mid-game cultural achievements. Their first city gets a free builder, one population, and the palace grants +3 housing and loyalty.

Due to their unique starting spot, they’ll likely get access to Volcanos, Reefs, Woods and more. This is going to be great for Tourism, as that will flood in all the mid to late game tourism they need to get the win. Clever planning of the passive and late-game geological appeal is the reason why they excel on the CIV 6 Tier List.

Wilhelmina’s Netherlands is a good shot at taking home cultural wins. Their strength relies on their trade bonuses and exploring to encounter foreign civilizations. Also, they can take advantage of nearby city-states with trade routes to grant their bonus culture too. Don’t forget to maintain Theatre districts to reap the natural bonuses of the added culture the Netherlands generates.

Pericles’ Greece is another outstanding option for Cultural wins. The aim of Pericles is to runa joint- cultural and diplomatic game as they ally City-States, gaining 5% culture from every city they become suzerain over. Since the culture is a percentage and not a flat gain, this scales incredibly well. The more Theatre districts Pericles builds the better its effects. If the Pericles manages to abuse Tourism, then it’s unlikely any other culture civ can keep up as long as he maintains one or two suzerains. 

The Best Civs for Scientific Victories

Civ 6 Tier List Maya
The Mayans look to space to get their victories. Image via Firaxis.

 

Korea jumps out as one of the best Scientific civilizations on the Civ 6 Tier List. When Seondeok establishes a governor, she gains 3% science and culture for each promotion the Governor has. It is best to pick Governors specifically for the science tree has that reaps the most benefit. Furthermore, positioning Seowons surrounded by hills and flat land grants even more Science. Once the nation gets into a Golden Age, pick the Heartbeat of Steam bonus that can grant up to 8 science and production for each Seowon.

Saladin’s Arabia can achieve so many victories it’s hard to pinpoint where he should be. However, the bonus his worship building grants is rather strong. The Madrasas buildings grant 10% bonus science culture and faith for the city they construct. This allows Saladin to specialize cities to reap the most out of any of those productions. 

Furthermore, spreading your faith and acquiring the bonus science for those following your faith is a good shout. Saladin naturally wants to spread the faith, so both science and faith go hand in hand. It means that Saladin can play both sides in a Civ 6 game and still come out on top. By the mid-game, you’ll know how much you can reasonably convert to your faith. Once that assessment is made, you can hone in on building Science and scaling to the moon. 

Lady Six’s Mayans are a great Scientific civilization as they have a unique science building called observatory. The building is essentially a cheaper Campus, providing more stats than them too. Smart positioning is key to abusing the Mayan’s scientific focus. They are a rather turtle and small empire. Find the mountains, find the rivers, and find the resources to abuse for those scientific purposes.

Also, many scientific nations can find themselves suspectable to military invades as they lack the production to build an army. The Mayans get a 10% buff to yields for cities within 6 tiles of their capital. This means that the Mayans can grow at a decent rate and prepare for such weaknesses to Scientific focuses. Not to mention they can produce better units earlier on at quicker speeds ensuring their survival.

The Best Civs for Religious Victories

Civ 6 Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a new Civ and is already making the rankings. Image via Firaxis.

 

The newly released Ethiopia is a great civilization for religious victories. The core of Ethiopia’s gameplay is based on hills. Being surrounded by hills is a benefit, as their unique building, the Rock-Hewn Church, gets bonus faith for being surrounded by hills and mountains. In addition, their cities founded on hills get bonus science and culture equal to 15% of their faith. 

The benefit of following the core rules of their buildings and traits means they are naturally fortified, and their focus on faith means they don’t fall behind on other areas as they neglect it for faith production. If they can get a religion that allows them to boost their food, science, or culture, they can also specialise in potentially a second victory type to further enhance their gameplay.

Gandhi’s India is a solid religious option, as they gain +5 faith for every religion that establishes faith and are not at war. Naturally, lots of Civs create religions over a game, so Gandhi generates faith that way. The trick with Gandhi here is not to bite the hand that feeds him. If he converts other faiths too soon, he can lose the bonus faith.

Poland is another decent Civilization for faith specific victories. However, Poland isn’t all that great in general. Spamming Holy Sites and benefiting from the bonuses of the Lithuanian Union makes her relevant, with Holy Sites getting adjacency bonuses to other districts. It means that Poland spams district and finds weaknesses, but it can be really powerful in some situation. 

Other Civilizations on this list, including Arabia, Byzantium and more, can also go for religious victories. 

Special Mentions

Civ 6 Tier List Pedro
Pedro has the opportunity to choose his destiny with his special ability. Image via Firaxis.

 

Pedro II’s Brazil is one of the best Civs in the game. There are no inherent buffs to any specific victory. Although, the Magnanimous trait allows him to get a 20% refund on all the great people they earn. Fortunately, this allows Pedro to earn Great People faster, meaning he can funnel efforts into generating Culture and Science victories primarily. He can then expand on speciality districts and buildings, adding those great people and their works into their slots to further enhance their per turn generation. 

Canada is launched at the same time a dedicated diplomatic victory condition came around. Therefore, this nation is purpose-built and the best for diplomatic victories. By the industrial era, Canada can gain plenty of diplomatic favour through tourism. Spending that favour on events diplomacy and more is a way to get that investment back and more.

Victoria might not be that great in general, but on naval maps, Victoria becomes extremely powerful.

For those wanting a game they can branch into anything with, Portugal might be the play. The Portuguese can generate so many trade routes; they can become mighty very quickly. As they accumulate that gold, they can spend it on rushing the desired victory condition.

Conclusion

For those that got this far, thank you. These highlights take into account some of the purpose-built civilizations that favour a win condition. However, many A and S Tier Civilization are not highlighted here, as theft is good in general but don’t fit these categories too well. With that said, even some of the B and C Tier picks are highlights here, showing how good these civs can be. The moral of the story is to play whatever you feel like, as there is a way to win the game with every civ. For those looking for more tier lists, we have a section here.