Civ 6 Tier List: Best Civilizations and Leaders Ranked

The best leaders run the best civilizations.

by Christian Bognar
Civilization 6 National Park Highlight
Image: Attack of the Fanboy

Civilization 6 is about selecting the right leader or country and bringing them to the top to become the strongest world leader. This can be done by advancing technologies, learning new knowledge, and expanding civilization. This can be tough, but selecting the proper civilization and leader from the start can make the game more manageable. Here are the best leaders and civilizations ranked in Civ 6.

All Civilizations and Leaders Ranked in Civ 6

As this article goes over the rankings of each civilization and leader, it will also detail the best option in each tier level. This should give the player a solid understanding of who to choose.

TierCivilizations and Leaders
SAustralia (John Curtin), Germany (Frederick), Rome (Trajan), Korea (Seondeok), Japan (Hojo Tokimune), Persia (Cyrus), Maya (Lady Six Sky), Russia (Peter Alexeyevich), China (Qin Shi Huang), Egypt (Cleopatra), Nubia (Amanitore), Khmer (Jayavarman VII) Arabia (Saladin), Macedon (Alexander the Great)
AByzantium (Basil II), Hungary (Mathias Corvinus), Spain (Philip II), Indonesia (Gitarja), Aztec (Montezuma), Gran Colombia (Simon Bolivar), Inca (Pachacuti), Maori (Kupe), Ethiopia (Menelik II), Dutch (Wilhelmina), Greece (Pericles).
BZulu (Shaka), Brazil (Pedro II), Babylon (Hammurabi), America (Teddy Roosevelt), England (Victoria), Kongo (Mvemba a Nzinga), Canada (Wilfrid Laurier), Mongolia (Genghis Khan), Sumerian (Gilgamesh), Mali (Mansa Musa).
CIndia (Chandragupta), Gaul (Ambiorix), Georgia (Tamar), Phoenicia (Dido), Mapuche (Lautaro), Portugal (Joao III), Cree (Poundmaker), Norway (Harald Hardrad), Poland (Jadwiga), Scythia (Tomyris), France (Catherine de Medici).
DGreece (Gorgo), Mongolia (Kublai Khan), Vietnam (Ba Trieu), France (Eleanor of Aquitaine), Scotland (Robert the Bruce).

Related: Civ 5 Tier List: Best Civilizations Ranked.

S Tier

S-tier civilizations and their leaders will be the right choice for beginners to the Civ series or someone who want’s the largest headstart against others. They offer the best perks and can progress at the quickest rate compared to their counterparts. Let’s look at the top choice in the S rank.

Japan is arguably the best civilization in the game. It has a unique ability called Divine Wind that reduces the building time of Holy Sites, Encampments, and Theater Squares, resulting in a massive boost at the beginning of the game. Not to mention that their combat troops get a boost when fighting in certain tiles, including coastal and shallow.

A Tier

These leaders of the civilizations in this tier are a step down from the S ranking but offer great bonuses that any player can take advantage. This tier consists of leaders specializing in advancing technologies, culture, and overall war/combat. Some of these options can be pushed up to the S tier for a player who knows what they are doing.

Gran Columbia’s Simon Bolivar is the standout name here precisely due to the perk it gets from the start regarding combat. Players will receive Comandante General, which provides a combat strength boost to all land units in its proximity. This is the perfect choice for players who favor the domination victory condition.

B Tier

These civilizations are great but can be tough to understand and aren’t recommended for a newcomer to the series or someone looking for a relaxing time. But, those who know what they are doing and have high skill levels will find that these civilizations and leaders can grow to be an undeniable force in the mid to late game.

America’s Teddy Roosevelt provides a plus-two boost toward science and culture. To activate this perk, Teddy Roosevelt must be the Bull Moose Persona, and the tiles must be near a Natural wonder or mountain for the former and Woods for the latter, which is fine if players play their cards right.

Another option includes the Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt, which provides a plus five combat strength and a calvary unit with plus ten combat. As you can see, America is a well-rounded civilization with a leader that offers leniency and choice.

C Tier

Any Civilization has potential, but those that fall under the C tier require a lot of strategies and can be time-consuming for the average player or newcomer. Sometimes, the amount of effort isn’t worth it for these leaders, as the perks and advantages are less than those options in the higher tiers.

If someone goes with civilization and a leader in this tier, it is highly recommended that Poland is the choice. Poland offers helpful perks revolving around religion and its Holy Sites. Holy Sites will get a boost toward adjacency, and Relics will provide a boost toward Gold, Fath, and Culture. It is recommended that the player picks a victory condition and sticks with it till the end, or it could mess up the whole playthrough.

D Tier

D Tier Civilizations don’t have much to offer except an incredibly challenging time with leaders that don’t have influence. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if someone chooses one of these options, it will automatically result in a loss. There are perks here that can have top-notch players finding a way to maneuver into victory territory.

Your focus should be France in this tier if you must select one in the D tier. France will gain a 20% production boost toward Renaissance, Industrial, and Medieval Era Wonders that you construct in any city-owned by France. Also another positive of France is that any city that loses all its loyalty joins France, bringing more force to the civilization.

Now that you know who you should pick on your next (or first) playthrough. Make sure you build a national park! Building national parks can improve your country’s culture and make it more appealing.

- This article was updated on March 6th, 2023