I recently tested SOTL's OP Civs against a few vanilla civs. Here are the results

Earlier this year, Spirit of the Law made a few videos that talked about creating the overpowered custom civilizations with existing bonuses and tech trees. Using the Advanced Genie Editor, I recently recreated those OP civs as a data mod and, in a series of 1v1 Extreme AI matches, pitted them against four different vanilla civilizations (Vietnamese, Japanese, Burmese and Cumans) on Arabia. Here is how they fared, from best to worst (W-L):

  • OP Gunpowder/Fast Imperial: 4-0
  • OP Cavalry: 3-1
  • OP Siege: 3-1
  • OP Cavalry Archers: 2-2
  • OP Infantry: 2-2
  • OP Monks: 2-2
  • OP Archers: 0-4

I chose Vietnamese and Cumans because they had the highest and lowest AI win rates respectively (see SOTL’s The AI’s Favourite Civilizations video). I also wanted to test these OP Civs against cavalry and infantry civs, so I chose the Franks and Japanese for the 3rd and 4th vanilla opponents. The Franks and Japanese also have around a ~50% win rate among AI players, so that was another reason for choosing them.

You can find more detailed breakdowns of these matchups in the links below:

I wasn’t surprised that the OP Civs would lose quite a lot to the vanilla civs; the AI cannot recruit UU that are from another civilization. What I was surprised by, though, was how well the Gunpowder/Fast Imperial civ did, given that their unit bonuses don’t seem to be as impressive as the other OP Civs. The Siege Civilization also did surprisingly well, given that the Ethiopian AI cannot recruit Genoese Crossbowmen, a unit that can effectively protect siege weapons from cavalry.

I’m currently testing these OP Civs on Arena. Hopefully I can post the results of those matches soon.


I think you’d get better results having pros play them against other pros with “normal” civs


Oh absolutely! Imagine what could be done if someone actually took advantage of Fast Imperial’s no-building advancement requirement. Or imagine actually using Mamelukes or Genoeses Crossbowmen to protect your focus units. I wonder if any pros would be interested in testing this out, though.


Just finished testing these units on Arena. Here are the standings, from best to worst (W-L):

  • Siege: 4-0
  • Cavalry Archers: 4-0
  • Cavalry: 3-1
  • Gunpowder: 3-1
  • Archers: 3-1
  • Infantry: 2-2
  • Monk: 0-4

And the overall standings from both Arabia and Arena:

  • Siege: 7-1
  • Gunpowder/Fast Imperial: 7-1
  • Cavalry: 6-2
  • Cavalry Archers: 6-2
  • Infantry: 4-4
  • Archers: 3-5
  • Monk: 2-6

You can find a detailed breakdown in the Google Docs spreadsheet linked to earlier, as well as in this Imgur album:

As I suspected, all these OP civilizations (except for Infantry and Monk) did better on Arena. I suspect that not engaging in Feudal Age rushes played a part in this. The Monk Civ, though, appeared have struggled catching up to their opponents and found themselves easily overwhelmed every match.

Overall, I was surprised how well the Siege and Fast Imperial civilizations performed in this test. Given how powerful Cataphracts were, and the fact that the Byzantine AI is obviously able to recruit that unit, I thought the OP Cavalry civilization was going to dominate these matches, but they still performed decently. On the other hand, I was pretty disappointed in the performance of the OP Infantry and OP Archer civs, given that the Inca and Mayan AIs have no issues being, well, infantry and archer focused civilizations respectively.


I think there is a lot of rng involved. Why should the fimp gunpowder civ lose against japanese in a closed map battle? That makes no sense imo.
Why does it look like the cav archer civ has the shortest matches on open maps? Shouldn’t this civ actually have among the longest ones? And why are the open map battles so long in comparison in general?

IDK, I just think the AI can’t really handle some of these OP civs well. And if the AI get’s confused it starts doing silly things.

That would be fun to watch :D. Every pro can make his own OP civ he wants to fight with the whole tournament. All these Pro civs would be put in a pool to pick from (whilst each pro gets his unique design every time he plays - to encourage pros trying to go different direction than pure archer civ design, which most pros would probably go for - as they should expect to have enough very strong archer civs to pick from the other pros).
Just waiting for the “OP revolution” civ to appear then. Just for the memes. :smiley:


Not what I meant.

I want to see hera make his own op cav civ and fight lierry using franks.

Or tatoh make his own op archer civ and fight viper with mayans

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Here’s a video I made showcasing the Fast Imperial/Gunpowder civilization:

I also came up with a build order for this civilization

Dark Age

  • 6 on Sheep
  • 4 on Wood
  • 1 lure Boar
  • 1 House then Berries
  • 2 more on Berries
  • 1 lure second Boar
  • 1 more to Berries (4 Foragers total)
  • 2 more on Wood
  • 4 more on Sheep/Boar/Deer. Chop straggler trees if you run out of animals because you’ll be low on wood. However, try to get those 12 non-Foragers farming ASAP.
  • 8 on Gold. At 30 Villagers, you should now have 6 on Wood, 16 on Food and 8 on Gold.
  • Click Feudal Age. You do not need to create any more Villagers until you reach Imperial.

As soon as you get to Feudal, you should immediately be able to click on Castle Age. While going up to Castle Age:

  • Get 1 Forager to build a Market. Sell all your Stones at the Market. Send that Forager to Wood
  • Use Market to get more Food.
  • Alternatively, if you don’t want to sell your Stones and build a Market, you can instead train 2 Lumberjacks (don’t forget to click Castle Age afterwards). Doing this will add 50 seconds to your build order.

As soon as you reach Castle Age, you should be able to click Imperial Age almost immediately. While going up to Imperial Age:

  • Send 2 more Farmers or Foragers to Wood
  • Use 3 more Food Villagers to build 2 Archery Range and 1 Siege Workshop

As soon as you reach Imperial Age, you will be able to train Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. Under a controlled test, I was able to reach Imperial Age in 16:33 and train 4 HCs and 1 BC in 17:34. For comparison, it took me 20:38 to reach Imperial and 21:34 to train 4 HCs and 1 BC using the Fast Imperial Turks build order.

Finally, I thought about how one would counter an OP Fast Imperial Civ. On a map such as Arabia, I think a Scout rush would easily defeat this civilization. On Arena, though, I think you would have to stop at Feudal, mass up a bunch of Scouts and Skirmishers and hold off the HCs and BCs long enough to reach Castle.

Extremely interesting.
I’d be down for playing such a datamod to get some real stats on the civs, but we’d need to be players of similar skill.
How did you make two AIs face eachother? I didn’t know there was such an option. Or, I did, I just don’t know how to do it.


What about this new civ Idea?
Folwark instead of Mill (Poles)
Farm Upgrades Free (Franks)
Eco Tech Upgrades available one age Earlier (Burgundians)
Farm Upgrades provide 100 % more Food (Sicilians)
Farms cost 40 % less (Teutons)

Whenever you need food you just can delete some farms around your folwark and build them new. Even in feudal you will get 57.5 food instantly for a 36 w (+ 15s) investment. In castle age it’s already 92.5 f.

Strat with this civ should be to build up an insane eco while making trash units to defend and herass the opponent (with scouts/light cav). Because Food is so insanely cheap with this civ it can be used to “buy the way up” in the opposite direction than usual. Only at later stages of the game it’s reasonable to go to gold to make a big push with the eco lead gained (Most likely just some siege + hussar. Siege mostly just to make some openings for the light cav to get in.)

Tech tree could be berbers: Crop rotation, all blacksmith upgrades, FU Hussar, FU Bombard Cannon. Also only missing parthian Tactics. Only thing that is “missing” ist the Halberdier but at this stage of the game the civ should have such a big eco lead that this doesn’t matter. Also the UU choice + techs makes up for missing that upgrade: Camel Archer. The only possible weaknesses of that civ could be halb, heavy cav and other cav archers. The Camel Archer as UU addition can deal with all of this.

UTs: Silk Armor + Recurve Bow

Silk Armor gives a bonus to both the scout line and the camel archers aswell, Recurve bow makes the camel archers just totally OP. They can stay out of danger while having insanely high damage output. Exactly what you want from these costly units. If you want to take any damage you want your trash to soak it, so everyting that keeps your gold unit out of danger is just ideal.

(Need to mention because of the type of comp you aim for in the end, you don’t want to overboom with that civ. About 100 vills can easily sustain all kind of production while you should try to keep the camel archer ball alive. Because of that insane endgame with that civ it’s better to make enough military at each stage of the game than beeing too greedy with the eco and possibly lose against some good raids of the opponent.)

How did you make two AIs face eachother? I didn’t know there was such an option. Or, I did, I just don’t know how to do it.

In the Skirmish menu, there’s a dropdown box next to the player number where you can choose what AI script you want to run with that player. To play AI vs. AI, change the dropdown option from your username to AI.

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Like was said already, you can replace player 1 with an AI in the skirmish menu. And then, if you want to, you can spend a game fighting with them over control of the shared units. It’s actually quite fun I find, but I do wish the AI wouldn’t immediately contradict your orders.

They are custom built civs originally designed by Spirit of the Law, each with a specific purpose and playstyle.

It’s a mod rgat let’s you design civs with whatever tech tree you want and whatever bonuses you want. Bloodlines + franks 20% hp? Sure.

Yes. And then cav armor upgrades free, Burgundians earlier cavalier and cheaper techs, full stable tech tree, chivalry, and a heap of other stuff that make a civ truly worthy.

I’d go
+20% hp.
Burgundians eco bonus.
Vikings eco bonus.
Sicilians-50% bonus damage.
Burgundians castle age cav + 50% tech reduction.
And Indians +1 pa in castle/imp or lithuanians relic bonus.

UT I’d go farimba + stirrups.

Team bonus would be faster stables.
Net result.
Dark age free wheelbarrow. Feudal free handcart.
Cavalier in castle age with 164 hp.
Paladins with 9 pa, 212 hp, and +5 extrs attack minimum and stirrups

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I don’t think you can make burgundians one eco bonus, they are 2 different ones.

And I think if you want a knight civ you need to chose szlachta privileges now. It’s just too good to be ignored if you can fully upgrade your knight line. Even monks aren’t that scary anymore if your knights cost 60 F 30 G only :wink:

True you’re right. I’d keep castle age cavalier and Ditch half price stable

I’m organizing and sponsoring a showmatch in the near future kind of like this. What do you think of this rough outline? (Google Doc) Also, if you were to pick any two pros/streamers to participate, who would you want to see in this and why? (Poll)

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Ineresting. Very funny Idea.
But I would think about the 9 civs each particiant has to create. That might be a bit too much affort for the pro players going into that tournament. You can probably make an “open pool” of civilisations they can already pick from.
But they can create their own civs they are the only ones allowed to pick.

I also want to talk about the civ points spend Because I think you overestimate the lategame techs. This can or maye even will lead to very one-sided civilisations that try to buff only one line of unit to it’s extreme. Depending on how much buffing potential the units have this could lead to very repetitive games that are already decided very early as the players wouldn’t have “fallback” strategies for a comeback.
That’s just my opinion on that, so idk if it will apply in gameplay. Maybe we need to make some test matches with very strong players first to see if my concerns are justified.

I think cause it’s a “fun” tournament we should try to get as diverse gameplay as possible. So if eg it turns out that under these settings infantry because of the insane stackable bonusses is OP, we could compensate that by making the militia line upgrades (or other techs) costing more civ points.

By designing these civ points it might probably be useful to add up all the points to “fully upgrade” some type of unit, cause there are some unit types that need much more techs. Then it could be useful to stagger the individual upgrades in a way that only the last few upgrades that give the unit the last extra bit of power cost a lot of civ points and techs that apply to multiple different unit types cost the least amount of civ points, while all “essential” upgrades that make the unit “viable” are somewhere in between. Also eco techs could (and maybe should) be very expensive in comparison so the civ designers really need to consider if they want to pick them up.
I hope my words from above are explanation anough why I would design the civ points like that. Otherwise feel free to ask questions.

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I agree that asking players to make 9 civilizations isn’t ideal, but the large number of civs created helps avoid most of the concerns you brought up. Players are essentially making pairs of civilizations that are as close to each other in power level as possible. If they make a pair of totally terrible civs, it doesn’t matter because their opponent will end up with the other terrible civ. There isn’t any incentive to create absolutely broken matchups because their opponent will always get first pick of the pairs they create. It allows the players a lot of freedom as to how the games play out, so there is a lot of trust in them to make it fun and competitive. That means that it will be of utmost importance to make sure they know how the match will play out.

So I’ve playtested the draft mode built into the civbuilder website quite a bit, and yes it is usually optimal to max out one area. However, a lot of the design principles you brought up have actually already been incorporated into the costs (e.g. enabling SO costs way more than HCA because there aren’t many cross-upgrades required; final blacksmith upgrades cost way more than first blacksmith upgrades). Also, I think that us being lower elo and playing the games in a FFA setting rewards stacking much more than it would in a pro-level 1v1 (take a look at Chinese performance at low level vs pro level – flexibility is highly valued there). From what I can read of your feedback, I presume you would make economic upgrades cost significantly more? Would you make the cost-scaling between ages even more drastic?