Are Chinese really OP? (crosspost)

(this is a crosspost from reddit but I was curious to get feedback from people here as well)

Ok this is a topic that has been bugging me for a long time.

It is common dogma that the Chinese are an OP pro + tournament civ. The main reasons given for this is their eco head start + wide open flexible tech tree. The thing is though, there is just no data to back this claim up. The chart below shows their win rate by Elo for open maps. Although that chart uses ±10% boundaries I double checked and even at > 1850 Elo they have a win rate of 47.6% [45.4%, 49.9%] (data from 20Nov2021 - 26Apr2022). For reference >1850 is equivalent to the top 1.5% of the player base.

As a comparison another commonly complained about civ for being OP in the upper Elos is the Mayans who have a >1850 Elo win rate of 58.4% [56.8% 60.0%]. That is to say the data clearly supports that they are in potentially OP in the upper Elos.

Overall I don’t really know where the belief of Chinese being OP comes from; my speculation is that players and pros alike have confused the flexibility and ease of playing the civ with it actually being powerful. I further speculate that despite it being flexible and nice to play it actually lacks any major power/eco spikes compared to other well known OP civs that help set civs apart and secure wins in the upper Elos.

But alas I am a mere 1000-1100 Elo player so am talking about things beyond my skillset, I am curious to hear what others think about this…

Chinese win rate by Elo for “Open” maps, source:


Dont Chinese have ridiculous winrates in tourneys? They also were top 2 on 2000+ Elo on HD, have shown to have some ridiculous wins against other top civs and theres probably more to talk about. The idea of Chinese being OP didnt appear out of nowhere nor came frol speculation, it was shocking for pros to see how good China was back in the late days of HD,

I think arguing that they arent one of the top 5 is a bit silly

Are chinese really considered s-tier? I know they got picked a lot on maps like fortress.

Chinese have a vill lead thanks to extra vill at the start, extra food on farms thanks by the team bonus, a wide tech tree that allows them to go for everything, cheaper techs to upgrade everything quickly and making them unpredictable, OP UU that is too cheap for what it does, great defenses, damn what haven’t Chinese?

Most pro players consider them too strong, esp Hera.


I think Chinese lost some strength recently because of meta changes. Chinese have always had problems against early rushes with the militia line. These are now so meta that everybody knows how to execute them. And as Chinese have this weakness they are drushed and maa rushed all the time.

I also think the small farm nerf in the early game had an impact.

Lastly I want to mention that Chinese always had been a high elo civ. I think their build is too tight and not everybody “knows chinese”. Which leads to a lot of players losing with them cause they get a lot of idle time in the early game with them-


You have to balance the civs when they have too much potential, and that’s the case with Chinese

I think this eco bonus is just silly. IMO they should just get 2 vills but some food, that way they don’t get that much idle time also for unexperienced players.

Won’t change nothing, look at the Mayans, +1 villager at start but -50 food, and still they always have one villager lead, and look how OP Mayans are too.

Just wanted to add (because it was asked in the reddit thread) that re-running the model using all data that I have access to at the moment, which is 8k games over 8 months for >2200 Elo players, results in a win rate of 53.2% [48.7%, 57.6%] for Chinese and 59.4% [55.1%, 63.7%] for Mayans. So yer some more tendency towards a higher win rate for higher Elos but still the CI overlaps zero and no where as convincing as that of the Mayans


Cause Mayans are just totally OP on arabia.
I think with the things mayans have going for them (early food eco bonus, extra vill, super cheap archers, super eagles, plumes, cheaper walls, more gold…) you could possibly design 3 solid civs.

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The real question is: if just 1% of people can fully utilize Chinese bonuses and their wide tech tree due to the different start and so on, can we really call that OP, if the majority of the player base can’t really say that they lost to “chinese OP civ” due to the fact that their opponent is not in the 1% blessed by the right skills to make Chinese OP at all?

Philosoraptor protects us.


I just think giving a single civ that of an uniques start which needs to be practiced to be executed well is a really silly idea.
And we the result of the idea: The civ sucks on most elos on the ladder but pros consider it to be OP.

And counter question, If the rest of the playerbase can’t play chinese well, hence lower WR for other ELO, the Chinese need a buff ?


It surprises me that the winrate is bad even at high elo, because I’d say they’re still very good.

I would have said 1600 is still not capable of consistently making use of the head start, because it’s just so easy to forget a house, missclick a forced drop off, not have a sheep in time under TC etc…

This is probably the best thing to mention.

It’s not just about the start (Chinese, as well as Mayans). That’s just a strong eco bonus, which alone isn’t enough (but a good start^^). Mayans stack a lot of good stuff together (1 vill lead, longer lasting ressources, cheaper archer, access to Eagles) and I also still think El Dorado is totally stupid and possibly the most broken thing in the game. Which other (already strong) unit gets +67% HP with a single tech? It just doesn’t get that much attention, because it only comes into play late into the game (therefore probably also doesn’t have the biggest effect on winrate).

That’s sounds more reasonable^^

trust me, the majority of the playerbase is very capable of saying that they lost to “chinese OP civ”, just as they’ll do with any other civ when they lose xD

I actually like that a lot. And I also think the judgement on both ends is too extreme. They’re still okay’ish at lower elo (unless you have no clue how to do the start) and they’re strong, but not totally oppressive at higher elo

No, bad idea^^
Rather have people learn the civ and appreciate that not everything has the same skill requirement.
Also it would totally break the game on the upper end of the ladder.

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Not OP doesn’t mean it needs a buff, but it might need a tweak.
Take melee Ratha arrows for instance, now they’re a bug, but let’s pretend they were a feature, would you keep them that way? Knowing that pro players could abuse that every time and regular players couldn’t?
I wouldn’t honestly.

I personally can’t play Chinese very well, but I believe they’re the civ with the biggest swing in win rate % between different ELOs, while it might be a good thing, I personally think it’s not.

But I don’t play Chinese often so it’s not like I’m concerned if they get nerfed or something, it was just a thought.

Another thought: where is the dividing line? I mean, let’s say 99% of the player base can’t play Chinese, but the Viper says they’re OP. Do we buff/nerf civs according to what the Viper says, even if it means 99% of people would have miserable experience playing the civ, do we have some middle ground? Where lies the balance?


I am also a bit surprised by the low win-rate. For me it is pretty powerful as players can support a hybrid of units so easily and its so difficult to counter that.

Instead of open maps, would it be possible to check arabia only win rate? Also would like to have the list of “open map”, as I think it may be the case that Chinese sucks on some open maps

(edit: sorry not meant to replying you)

I honestly dont know, but I would still nerf it (and tbh tweaking the Chinese opening is good enough)

Most matchup below a certain elo wont be decided if you nerf the technology bonus from lets just say 15% to 10%. Low to mid elo players seldom abuse every bonus to limit (heck not even high elo players sometimes) and a nerf / buff on numbers would have minimal effect - the one with simplier mechanical difficulty will always shine on lower elo I think

Chinese are the strongest civ in the game.

Apologies I don’t mean to be combative but why do you believe this when there isn’t any data at all to support it?


Regarding why I still think Chinese is OP, thats because I

  1. Would rather play against a lot of other civ (Franks, Slavs, Ethiopians…) then Chinese

  2. I actually run some data of myself (I can DM you the script if you want, just don’t want to expose my id lol). I think Chinese takes at least 50 games to be familiar with, in particular:

My all time Chinese winrate is below 50%, but if I take the recent 60 games it is 50%, and if I take the recent 30 games it is around 55%, for last 20 games it has been around 66%.

You may say that I get better and better at one particular civ, but still I think Chinese is OP that I will never get 66% win rate (at 2k elo level) with e.g. Japanese or Burmese.

(Also I think that defending MAA with Chinese is the hardest and takes a lot of game to be perfect on that part).