Civ 5 Tier List: All 43 Civilizations Ranked & Compared

It's not easy to do, but we finally decided to write up eXputer's Civ 5 Tier List. Not everyone will agree with our choices, and that's okay.

With our Civ 5 tier list, we’re going to divide each of the game’s 43 different civilizations into five different tiers. This article is based on our preferences and playstyles.

Key Highlights

Civilization V Civilizations Tier List:

  • Top-Tier Civilizations:
  1. Poland
  2. Zulu
  3. Babylon
  4. Arabia
  5. Korea
  6. Persia
  • Comparatively Lower-Tier Civilizations:
  1. France
  2. Byzantium
  3. Carthage
  4. Indonesia
  5. Iroquois
  6. Rome
  7. Portugal
  8. India

Considerations for Rankings:

  • Playing Preference: Based on popular player choices.
  • Victory Achievement: How easily a civilization achieves victory.
  • Entertainment Value: The amount of fun and engaging experience for gamers.
  • Unique Elements: Unique gameplay ability, units, and leaders.

Note: While beginners may benefit from top-tier civilizations, veterans can strategically utilize the perks of any civilization in Civilization V.

Civ 5 Tier List Summary

Here’s a complete summary of Best Civ 5 Tier List Civilizations:

Best Civ 5 Tier List Civilizations Ranking Table 
Tiers Civilizations 
S-Tier Zulu, Poland, Babylon, Korea, Arabia, and Persia
A-Tier Songhai, Greece, Maya, Venice, Inca, Germany, Mongolia, Huns, England, and America
B-Tier China, Spain, Morocco, Ethiopia, Russia, Sweden, Celts, Polynesia, Shoshone, Aztec, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, and the Netherlands
C-Tier Assyrian, Austria, Japan, Ottoman, and Siam
D-Tier France, Carthage, Byzantium, Indonesia, Rome, Iroquois, Portugal, and India

Tier List Ranking 

Now that you’ve seen our rankings, here’s a quick info comparison of each nation in Civ 5:

CIVILIZATIONTIERLEADERUNIQUE UNITS(s)UNIQUE ABILITYUNIQUE BUILDING/ IMPROVEMENT
ZuluSShakaImpiIklwaIkanda
PolandSCasimir IIIWinged HussarSolidarityDucal Stable
BabylonSNebuchadnezzar IIBowmanIngenuityWalls of Babylon
KoreaSSejongTurtle ShipScholars of the Jade HallHwach’a
ArabiaSement
Harun al-Rashid
Camel ArcherBazaarVanilla and Trade Caravans
PersiaSDarius IImmortalAchaemenid LegacySatrap’s Court
IncaAPachacutiSlingerGreat Andean RoadTerrace Farm
VeniceAEnrico DandoloMerchant of VeniceSerenissimaGreat Galleass
MayaAPacalAtlatlistThe Long CountPyramid
GreeceAAlexanderCompanion CavalryHellenic LeagueHoplite
SonghaiAAskiaMandekalu CavalryRiver WarlordMud Pyramid Mosque
AmericaAWashingtonB17Manifest DestinyMinuteman
EnglandAElizabethLongbowmanSun Never SetsShip of the Line
HunsAAttilaHorse ArcherScourge of GodBattering Ram
MongoliaAGenghis KhanKeshikMongol TerrorKhan (Great Person)
GermanyABismarckVanilla and GodsKings, Landsknecht, PanzerFuror TeutonicusHanse
ChinaBWu ZetianChu-Ko-NuArt of WarPaper Maker
SwedenBGustavus AdolphusHakkapeliittaNobel PrizeCarolean
RussiaBCatherineCossackSiberian RichesKrepost
EthiopiaBHaile SelassieSteleSpirit of AdwaMehal Sefari
MoroccoBAhmad al-MansurBerber cavalryGateway to AfricaKasbah (Improvement)
SpainBIsabellaTercioSeven Cities of GoldConquistador
BrazilBPedro IIPracinhaCarnivalBrazilwood Camp (Improvement)
AztecBMontezumaJaguarSacrificial CaptivesFloating Gardens
ShoshoneBPocatelloPathfinderGreat ExpanseComanche Riders
PolynesiaBKamehamehaMaori WarriorWayfindingMoai (Tile Improvement)
CeltsBBoudiccaPictish WarriorDruidic LoreCeilidh Hall
NetherlandsBWilliamSea BeggarDutch East India CompanyPolder (Improvement)
EgyptBRamesses IIWar ChariotMonument BuildersBurial tomb
DenmarkBHarald BluetoothBerserkerViking FuryNorwegian Ski Infantry
SiamCRamkhamhaengNaresuan’s ElephantFather Governs ChildrenWat
OttomanCSuleimanJanissaryBarbary CorsairsSipahi
JapanCOda NobunagaSamuraiBushidoZero
AustriaCMaria TheresaHussarDiplomatic MarriageCoffee House
AssyrianCAshurbanipalSiege TowerTreasures of NinevehRoyal Library
RomeDAugustus CaesarBallistaThe Glory of RomeLegion
IndonesiaDGajah MadaKris SwordsmanSpice IslandersCandi
ByzantiumDTheodoraCataphractPatriarchate of ConstantinopleDromon
CarthageDDidoAfrican Forest ElephantPhoenician HeritageQuinquereme
FranceDNapoleonForeign Legion, Musketeer, MusketeerVanilla and GodsKings, Ancien Régime, City of LightChateau (Improvement
IndiaDGandhiWar elephantPopulation GrowthMughal Fort
PortugalDMaria INauMare ClausumFeitoria (Improvement)
IroquoisDHiawathaMohawk WarriorThe Great WarpathLonghouse

Civ 5 Tier List

Civ 5 Tier List
Civ 5 Tier List.

For the sake of context, we would like to mention that this tier listing is based on how easy it is for a particular civilization to achieve victory.

We’ll consider their capabilities when it comes to all of the major victory conditions in a match. We’ll also go over different units and abilities that they may possess.

S TIER

Civilization WHY WE RANKED IT IN S-TIER?
Poland Known for its versatility, excelling in achieving various victory types, particularly domination, with its powerful Winged Hussar units.
Babylon Focused on achieving a Science Victory, Babylon gains early advantages in technology with the ability to build an Academy and increased Great Scientist birth rates.
Korea Another Science-focused civilization, Korea benefits from increased science from specialists and Great Person tile improvements, along with access to the effective Hwach’a unit.
Arabia Suited for a Cultural Victory, Arabia’s trade routes spread religion effectively and provide economic advantages with bonus gold and extended caravan range.
Zulu Geared towards Domination Victory, the Zulu civilization benefits from reduced unit experience requirements, encouraging aggressive playstyles and quicker military advancement.
Persia Excelling during Golden Ages, Persia enjoys extended Golden Ages, granting bonuses to culture, gold, production, and military strength, making them formidable during these periods of prosperity.

A Tier

Civilization WHY WE RANKED IT IN A-TIER?
Inca Excel on hills with no maintenance costs for roads and railroads and units ignoring terrain costs on hills. The Slinger unit offers early-game tactical advantages.
Venice Unique gameplay revolves around not being able to create settlers or found new cities, instead relying on purchasing city-states. Can be powerful if managed well.
Maya Tricky to master but rewarding, the Maya gain bonus Great People through The Long Count ability.
Greece Suited for Diplomatic Victory with the Hellenic League ability, which maintains and recovers influence with city-states more effectively.
Songhai Focused on Domination Victory, benefits from cheaper Mandekalu Cavalry for city sieges.
America Offers increased sight for land military units and extra spies during the Renaissance Era, aiding in exploration and espionage.
England Strong naval capabilities with +2 movement for naval units, along with an extra spy in the Renaissance Era, making them formidable in maritime affairs and espionage.
Huns Ideal for early-game city sieges with powerful units like the Battering Ram and Horse Archer, allowing for swift domination.
Mongolia Boasts the formidable Keshik unit, capable of rapid movement, ranged attacks, and swift retreats, making them a dominant force in early-game warfare.
Germany Suited for Domination Victory, gains barbarian units by defeating them, bolstering their army and providing additional gold.

B Tier

Civilization WHY WE RANKED IT IN B-TIER?
China Flexible option suitable for Science and Domination victories, excelling in military strength and gold generation with unique abilities.
Sweden Focused on Diplomatic Victory, gains significant boosts to Great Person generation and can gift them to City-States for influence.
Russia Thrives in tundra terrain, with bonuses to resource yields and reduced costs for acquiring land tiles, balancing initial challenges.
Ethiopia Encourages limited expansion for combat bonuses against civilizations with more cities, challenging traditional expansion strategies.
Morocco Strong Cultural Victory potential, earning gold and culture from trade routes, fostering long-term cultural growth.
Spain Excellent explorers, gaining substantial gold bonuses for discovering Natural Wonders, encouraging map exploration.
Brazil Weak in the early game but excels later with increased Tourism during Golden Ages, fostering a strong cultural influence.
Aztec Capable of pursuing both Domination and Cultural Victory with combat bonuses and increased faith generation from combat.
Shoshone Benefits from expanded city territory upon founding, allowing for strategic resource access and versatile city placement.
Polynesia Early ocean navigation capabilities provide access to prime territories, facilitating rapid expansion across continents.
Celts Quick to establish religion with faith generation from forests and bonuses from the Pictish Warrior unit, emphasizing early faith accumulation.
Netherlands Retains happiness benefits when selling luxury resources, allowing for strategic resource trading without sacrificing happiness.
Egypt Specializes in Wonder construction with increased production, enabling rapid monument building and significant cultural development.
Denmark Suited for Domination Victory with coastal combat advantages, gaining movement and embarkation bonuses for naval raids.

C Tier

Civilization WHY WE RANKED IT IN C-TIER?
Siam Specializes in diplomatic relations with City-States, gaining increased rewards when becoming friendly with them. While lacking impressive unique units or buildings, their diplomatic approach can provide strategic advantages.
Ottoman Focuses on naval warfare, gaining gold and the chance to convert defeated Barbarian ships to their side. With reduced naval unit maintenance, they can quickly assemble a sizable navy in the early game.
Japan Suited for aggressive playstyles, Japanese units maintain full combat strength regardless of damage taken, providing a significant advantage in combat situations. While capable of pursuing Cultural victory, their strength lies in military endeavors.
Austria Can quickly acquire new cities through diplomatic means using their unique ability, Diplomatic Marriage, which allows them to spend gold to annex allied City-States without fighting. This provides a non-military method of expanding territory and influence.
Assyrian Specializes in city sieges, with the unique Siege Tower unit granting significant damage bonuses against cities and boosting nearby units’ effectiveness in city attacks. While lacking in broader strengths, their focus on conquest can be advantageous in specific situations.

D Tier

Civilization WHY WE RANKED IT IN D-TIER?
Rome Lacks prominent advantages, with the only unique ability providing a modest production bonus for constructing buildings already present in the capital. Offers no exceptional strengths compared to other civilizations.
Indonesia Rewards expansion to other landmasses with Luxury Resources, but the mechanism for obtaining them is convoluted and lacks significant benefits.
Byzantium Not recommended for new players, as it lacks notable units or buildings. Allows the choice of one additional Belief when establishing a Religion, which requires a deep understanding of religious mechanics to fully leverage.
Carthage Starts with coastal cities equipped with Harbors, facilitating trade routes early on but offers little else of significance. The benefit diminishes if water is scarce, limiting its utility beyond the early game.
France Geared towards achieving a Cultural Victory, but its unique ability providing additional Culture per turn per city becomes less effective as the game progresses. Progression past certain technological eras reduces its effectiveness, making the late game challenging for cultural dominance.
India Faces unique challenges due to its doubled unhappiness from the number of cities but halved unhappiness from population growth within cities. Encourages managing large populations within a few cities, which can be both challenging and less engaging.
Portugal Focuses on trade for Diplomatic Victory, with trade routes granting increased Gold. However, the advantage provided is modest compared to other civilizations like Morocco, limiting its effectiveness in generating significant diplomatic influence.
Iroquois Possesses mobility advantages, allowing units to move through forests and jungles as if they were roads in friendly territory. However, this ability is restricted to friendly terrain, limiting its utility. The unique Longhouse building provides a modest production boost but fails to compensate for the civilization’s overall lack of significant strengths.

What Is The Best Civilization In Civ 5?

The short answer to this question is Poland. But depending on your playstyle, any of the A and S ranks on our list can classify as the best.

Hopefully, we’ve made it clear with this article that Civ 5 is a highly varied game that supports a number of different playstyles. An experienced player can dominate a match with a D rank nation, while a beginner can flop hard with an S rank.

There’s also a factor of randomness to the whole equation. A high-rank civilization could start out in a terrible terrain with no resources, and their unique abilities could serve no purpose. A veteran can still make it work, but it all depends on the level of skills they possess.

What Is The Worst Civilization In Civ 5?

Iroquois is arguably the worst civilization in the entire game.

Selective movement capabilities are not something that you truly require in a match. It’s hard to play as Iroquois when so many better options are available.

This has been eXputers Civ 5 tier list. While you’re here, why not also check out our For Honor Tier List.

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Feedback From Our Fellow Gamers

very found of the amount of words spent

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.


Huzaifa is eXputer's Review Editor, who’s all about RPG games. He’s got several years of experience critically judging games and writing his unbiased thoughts on them. You can also find his content published on sites like Twinfinite & GearNuke. Huzaifa has been gaming for 23+ years, during which he managed to amass 400+ hours on Elden Ring! You can follow his gaming activity on his Xbox and Steam Profiles.

Experience: 5+ years || Previously Worked At GearNuke & Twinfinite || Mainly Covers RPG Guides & Latest Games Reviews || Education: Bachelors in Hospitality.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.