Civ 5 Tier List: Best Civilizations Ranked

Here are the best and worst civilizations.

by Christian Bognar
Civilization 5 all Civilizations Ranked Tier List

With 43 civilizations in CIV 5, it can be a timely task to discover which one is best and grants you the highest chance of success. And though it may be true that with the right skills, you can still find victory with every one of the civilization options. Still, there is no doubt that some will provide you with a greater and easier chance of coming out on top. That is why we took all civilizations and threw them into a ranked tier list, so our readers get a good feel of who to choose and which ones are better left avoided.

Ranking All Civilizations in CIV 5

Below you will find a grid of all 43 civilizations ranked from S to C. You will also get a brief description of each ranked list with examples of why we believe certain civilizations belong at that level.

SPoland, Babylon, Arabia, Korea, Persia, Songhai.
AZulu, Inca, Maya, Greece, America, England, Huns, Mongolia, Germany, Sweden, Denmark.
BVenice, China, Russia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Spain, Brazil, Shoshone, Polynesia, Netherlands, Egypt, Celts, Siam, Ottoman, Japan, Austria, France.
CAztec, Assyrian, Rome, Indonesia, Byzantium, Carthage, India, Portugal, Iroquois.

S Tier

Here you will find what we believe to be the best of the best. What makes them the best? Well, they have the most effective strategies and mechanics that make them the easiest to claim victory. For example, you have Poland in this list with their powerful Hussar Units paired with their ability to gain free social policies, allowing them to progress your society at a tremendous rate. Another notable standout here is Korea, which can use its science-focused organization to your advantage by granting a bonus to all specialists, making them more helpful from the start.

A Tier

Due to their advantages not being as game-changing as those listed in the S-rank level, they are found one tier below, but they are still some of the best civilizations in the game. Some recognizable names here, such as Maya and Greece, have tremendous perks. Maya can be hard to master, but once you get their theology bonus down, you will realize how helpful this can be, especially in the early game. The Theology bonus grants you one great person at the end of each calendar year, and time goes by fast in the game, making you receive great persons at a rapid rate. On the other hand, Greece has an ability that slows down the time it takes for your city-states to break down while also speeding up the process for you to build up.

B Tier

Now you start to get into the ranks of civilizations that can be very difficult to master or don’t provide the best perks. You can still do great by selecting these options, but you need to know what you’re doing. The biggest name here, as most would agree, is China. China offers you bonuses towards combat and a higher birth rate towards Great Generals, making them arguably the best in this B tier. Ethiopia also provides a bonus to combat, but only if you go against an army with more cities than you. It is a frustrating unique ability considering the game teaches you not to have fewer cities than other folks.

C Tier

These are the civilizations that players should avoid due to their lack of power and influence they have in the game. They are also tough to master. Let’s look at Byzantium, for example, which has no special units to take note of and only offers the possibility of an additional religion. That can be great in its own right, but lacking other abilities makes it pointless. This is the type of disappointment you will see at the C-tier level, and it is best if you disregard these options when selecting.

We have plenty of tier lists on our site for you to enjoy, especially for popular games such as Civilization 5. This includes the newer addition of the Civilization games, CIV 6, where we discuss our picks for the best and worst leaders in the game so you can make the right choice.

Civilization 5 is available now for PC.

- This article was updated on January 23rd, 2023