Ranking the Civs from best to worst

First of all, everyone has their own preferences, that’s for sure. But is there any way to measure which civilizations are good and bad?
In his YouTube video “All 43 Civilizations Ranked Best to Worst”, Hera explains that The Champions Invitational made it possible to create such a ranking, because it offers a wide variety of maps (Arabia + 40 maps in 10 different categories) and thus shows which civilizations are particularly flexible to use and powerful at the same time, and which civilizations are not among the best on any map, are outdated and may need buffs.
Since all 43 civs appeared in each draft (one was randomly banned, the remaining 42 were drafted), with a little analysis you can very quickly see which civs were considered useful and important and which ones were always left until the end of the draft, i.e. considered unimportant or simply bad.

So I opened Excel and all 10 TCI drafts and started entering the civilizations in draft order.
1 is the first overall pick, 42 is the last pick.

Tatoh-Vinch Hera-Yo Hera-Viper Tatoh-Yo Vinch-Viper Tatoh-Hera Vinch-Yo Tatoh-Viper Vinch-Hera Yo-Viper
Aztecs 11 14 12 4 20 16 12 22 22 3
Bengalis 41 35 26 38 29 34 21 25 39 37
Berbers 26 26 30 26 30 25 24 28 32 22
Bohemians 39 23 33 23 32 40 25 29 38 30
Britons 21 36 16 21 15 24 34 21 35 36
Bulgarians 28 42 37 32 27 27 23 40 23 42
Burgundians 8 6 25 22 34 22 32 20 20 10
Burmese 37 29 34 35 33 29 34 28 39
Byzantines 18 3 22 11 28 10 8 12 31 19
Celts 34 34 40 31 38 38 33 37 34 27
Chinese 1 25 31 33 3 6 22 38 12 21
Cumans 13 7 17 6 5 4 2 11
Dravidians 33 9 5 19 12 9 19 10 8 29
Ethiopians 31 21 9 27 25 17 31 27 24 33
Franks 23 12 20 18 13 20 20 26 11 6
Goths 38 39 34 35 33 36 41 30 27 32
Gurjaras 15 30 27 37 36 23 28 32 36 24
Hindustanis 35 38 39 24 39 35 40 35 33 38
Huns 25 19 41 31 42 39 42 42 34
Incas 3 15 10 14 9 11 13 6 18 5
Italians 12 22 24 13 14 18 18 11 30 28
Japanese 19 13 6 1 1 3 3 19 16 4
Khmer 4 5 8 8 6 1 10 3 5 13
Koreans 14 8 15 25 11 32 11 16 25 17
Lithuanians 19 17 18 14 16 13 19 14
Magyars 16 11 21 15 19 21 14 17 7 20
Malay 6 2 1 5 4 2 7 1 3 12
Malians 7 33 14 10 8 26 15 2 17 9
Mayans 2 16 7 16 7 5 17 7 10 7
Mongols 5 10 3 20 2 4 1 8 4 1
Persians 22 4 28 9 21 15 4 24 13 18
Poles 9 31 36 7 23 30 27 5 14 26
Portuguese 10 20 2 2 5 8 6 9 8
Romans 29 18 11 3 24 7 2 18 26 15
Saracens 32 28 32 40 41 31 36 33 37 35
Sicilians 36 40 42 36 42 39 38 41 40
Slavs 42 41 35 42 37 41 35 39 41 41
Spanish 17 37 18 39 26 28 30 9 6 23
Tatars 30 32 23 28 16 13 15 25
Teutons 27 27 38 30 22 29 37 36 29 31
Turks 40 24 29 41 40 37 42 31 21 40
Vietnamese 20 17 13 29 17 12 26 14 15 16
Vikings 24 1 4 12 10 19 9 23 1 2

In the next step I calculated the average position of each civilization in the draft and then got the civs in order.

1. Malay 4,30
2. Mongols 5,80
3. Khmer 6,30
4. Portuguese 7,78
5. Cumans 8,13
6. Japanese 8,50
7. Mayans 9,40
8. Incas 10,40
9. Vikings 10,50
10. Aztecs 13,60
11. Malians 14,10
12. Dravidians 15,30
12. Romans 15,30
14. Persians 15,80
15. Magyars 16,10
16. Byzantines 16,20
17. Lithuanians 16,25
18. Franks 16,90
19. Koreans 17,40
20. Vietnamese 17,90
21. Italians 19,00
22. Chinese 19,20
23. Burgundians 19,90
24. Poles 20,80
25. Tatars 22,75
26. Spanish 23,30
27. Ethiopians 24,50
28. Britons 25,90
29. Berbers 26,90
30. Gurjaras 28,80
31. Teutons 30,60
32. Bohemians 31,20
33. Bulgarians 32,10
34. Bengalis 32,50
35. Burmese 33,11
36. Goths 34,50
36. Saracens 34,50
36. Turks 34,50
39. Celts 34,60
40. Huns 35,00
41. Hindustanis 35,60
42. Sicilians 39,33
43. Slavs 39,40

The games were played on the July patch, so there were only minor changes since then.

What can we take from this? I think it is clear to see which civilizations are considered the strongest and most diverse at the moment.
Let’s have a look at the top 10. There are Malay, Mongols, Portuguese, Japanese and Vikings, all of them are very flexible on land and on water plus they all have an economic bonus in the early game. Then there are the 3 meso civs that are always liked by the pros. And then there are Khmer and Cumans, Khmer for their agressive playstyle or great eco and Cumans for the 2 tc boom on closed maps (only played on Hideout, Fortress and Arena).
At the bottom it’s shocking to see by how much Sicilians and Slavs are left behind. Sicilians got buffed in the latest patch and maybe would’ve been picked a little bit higher but Slavs still seem to be in desperate need of something.
I’m also pretty surprised to see Huns that low, but as some pros say they feel outdated, die hard to Camels and are trash on closed maps and water maps.
6 of the bottom 11 civs are Infantry civs (Bulgarians, Burmese, Goths, Celts, Sicilians, Slavs), so it’s pretty safe to say that another buff to the militia-line would help all of them.

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Very interesting, thanks for doing that.

one tiny critique of the methodology: I assume they drafted A BB AA BB AA… so in this case civs 2 and 3 should have the same rank, same for 4 and 5 etc, probably wouldn’t change the results much though

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Surprising how Turks are so low even though every set had 2 closed maps as a part of the draft. Probably they might not be the best on Hideout but they’re definitely very good on other closed maps of that event.

Same goes for Spanish, which are almost a free win on Nomadic maps. But that I can understand, Acropolis with a lake was not technically similar to a nomadic map. It was more structured similar to a regular hybrid.

Anyways these are some great insights. Appreciate and thanks for the effort you put in.

Spanish aren’t that strong or dominant anymore on nomad maps due to the nerfs made in the past, but they got a bit more competent on other maps du to the gold bonus.

Sicilians need Paladin imo. Or Donjon should cost the same as normal towers.

Paladin with 6/9 armor, conversion resistance and 33% less bonus damage is broken ## #####

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Yes, clearly the problem with Sicilians is their late game /s

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Just cheaper Donjons then

For slavs, I feel that their main problem is that they are supposed to be an infantry civ, but are geared toward late game. So they miss both the eco of infantry civs like Vikings and the bonus of power unit of non-infantry civs like Magyars.

I fully agree with this statement. I think back in the days, they were a civ with awful tech tree but stron and smooth eco.
However, recently other civs with better tech tree and worse eco got some eco buff (to fix their bad win rate).
So we end up wondering why would we want to pick them, as other civs have way better tech tree but do not lag so behind in eco.

Tournaments has always been around knights and archers, so I dont know how much it comes from pros habits and meta.

But I think it is hard to buff milicia line, because:

  • the milicia is designed to have no real trash weakness,
  • the game in open maps feels to be balanced around the fact that LS bot as good as archers or knights. Otherwise, infantry civs like Vikings with very good eco and/or very good infantry bonus may become oppressive. So a milicia buff must be carefully planned and some civs may need a nerf accordingly, or the buff should be targeted so that only the civs heavy on infantry have a very viable infantry. Devs probably do not want to deal wirh a “balance mess”.
  • People dont seem to agree on what would be a satisfactory place of the milicia line in the meta.

Many good ideas and bad ideas have been proposed.

I personally would love to watch a podcast between some pros, casters and devs, if possible with a couple mid to high elo players (there are some 1000 to 1800 elo players streaming or making content), talking about the topic the place they would like the milicia line to have in the balance.

The gambeson patch was funny because many people complained saying that it doesnt help the LS at all, but we still dont know what the devs think and wanted to achieve with the patch.
Maybe they look at it and think “skirms now are really awful against gambeson LS. Mission acomplished”. I hope they open up their ideas to well established peaceful players.

Very nice analysis. I do have to say though, this is not a civ strength tier list. This is a map-specific preference list. To explain this, let me take water/hybrid maps. There are certain civs like Japanese, Dravidians, Vikings, and Italians, who are extremely strong on those maps, but might be bottom tier otherwise. The way the map pool is set up, you are forced to pick these civs if you want to stand a good chance.

However, strong civs might be replaceable on other maps. Meaning, you can pick one of like 15 cavalry civs on arabia, and you’ll be fine. This forces you to allocate a higher preference based on how many civs there are for a specific map/map category.

This introduces a huge element of bias on this set of data, and you cannot directly interpret it as a representation of civ strength.

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