Civilization 6 Ranking of the Best Leaders | GAME3A

Civilization 6 Ranking of the Best Leaders

If you are in pursuit of the most comprehensive Civ 6 ranking, there is no need to search any further! We have meticulously analyzed the entire roster...

Claire Jackson Sept 06, 2023
Civilization 6 Ranking of the Best Leaders

If you are in pursuit of the most comprehensive Civ 6 ranking, there is no need to search any further! We have meticulously analyzed the entire roster in Sid Meier's Civilization 6 and compiled a collection of the most deserving rulers in the game. This list is fully up-to-date, encompassing all expansions, including the Leader Pass.

This list posed a challenge, given the multitude of leaders now present in Civ 6, and the majority of them being rather exceptional! Whether you play solo or with friends, on the Settler or Deity difficulty, this list will assist you in determining who will guide you to victory in the "Test of Time"!

Updated on May 1, 2023 by Matt Arnold: It is safe to say that the leader lineup of Civilization 6 will not change unless there are unexpected DLC packages. We have thoroughly revised our assessment to include all seventy-six leaders of Civ 6, including alternative personas. It is the most comprehensive ranking you will find!

S-Tier: Top Five

Civilization 6 Tier List The Best Civ 6 Leaders

The S-tier is reserved exclusively for the top five leaders in the game. Regardless of their specialties, these historical figures are the epitome of excellence in what they do, and beyond! In alphabetical order, they are:

Abraham Lincoln - America

Honest Abe transforms America into a formidable war machine. With industrial zones that produce state-of-the-art melee units every time a new building is constructed, Lincoln possesses the ability to engage in and triumph over nearly any war he chooses. If your aim is victory through dominance, there is no one better than the man in the top hat!

Amanitore - Nubia

The Queen of Nubia is the optimal choice for players who wish to meticulously plan their cities. Nubian Pyramids can accumulate astonishing tile bonuses when the surrounding region is appropriately developed. It is no wonder, then, that Nubia is often a popular selection.

Amanitore also possesses built-in defense mechanisms against early barbarians, thanks to the impressive Pitati Archers. By maintaining peace and constructing grand cities, Amanitore can easily pursue any victory condition, further solidifying her position among the top five.

Jayavarman - Khmer

There is no leader who can better nourish his population than Jayavarman. His ability to construct vast, populous cities, bolstered by his religion, makes him much more versatile than the other faith-focused leaders in the game.

The Khmer Domrey is a fantastic mid-game unit that enables Jayavarman to conquer or defend territories as he pleases. If you are playing on the Deity difficulty and Khmer is present on the map, you can always expect them to be among the top contenders, thanks to their remarkable combination of bonuses!

Victoria (Age of Steam) - England

Production is the most crucial element in the game, and the new version of Victoria, released in the "Ruler of England" pack, excels in that regard. Without production, one cannot achieve much, but as Victoria proves, when you have an abundance of production, you don't need much else!

As long as she allows her population to grow, Victoria can swiftly build and create everything she may need. In times of doubt, trust in the Queen.

Yongle - China

Food is vital, and production even more so. So why not receive bonuses for both? Yongle's ability, Lijia, allows him to build an economic powerhouse based on grand cities. It takes him a bit longer to get going compared to the other leaders in the S-tier, but once he does, caution should be exercised!

For the majority of Civ 6's lifecycle, China spent its time waiting for a leader who could better utilize the Great Wall and its other unique abilities. With Yongle, they have received more than anyone had expected.

A-Tier: Great

Civilization 6 Tier List The Best Civ 6

These leaders still rank among the most powerful in the game, although they haven't quite made it into the top five. Each of them is fully capable of reliably winning games, whether through a versatile approach or by focusing on a specific victory condition.


This Byzantine Emperor plays similarly to Lincoln, but places a much stronger emphasis on religion. Instead of producing infantry, he mass-produces cavalry, making him better suited for decisive battles rather than city sieges, which aligns perfectly with the Byzantine ability, Taxis.

Basil requires an aggressive playstyle that aims for a domination or religious victory, but his Tagma and tanks are more than capable of getting the job done.

Eleanor Of Aquitaine - England and France

As one of only three leaders capable of assuming leadership over two different civilizations, it is surprising that Eleanor is able to fully exploit two distinct playstyles. Whether you accumulate luxury goods as France or construct large, prosperous cities as England, Eleanor utilizes the pressure of loyalty to compel enemy cities to switch sides without firing a single shot.

Eleanor adds a unique twist to the regular Civilization game and does an excellent job at it. If you want to fully utilize her abilities, play with secret societies enabled - the Void Singers' cultist unit allows her to steal cities with almost comedic ease.

Elizabeth - England

Elizabeth is a fantastic leader in every aspect, thanks to her outstanding economy. If she is fortunate enough to be on a naval map, she also ensures that her lands are impregnable with a strong navy.

Gold is the ultimate problem solver in Civilization 6, and Elizabeth's Royal Navy Dockyards ensure that she always has an abundant supply of it.

Hammurabi - Babylon

If you're tired of waiting for that crucial, game-changing technology, give Hammurabi a try. In exchange for a significant science penalty, Hammurabi can instantly complete any technology by simply fulfilling its Eureka condition. With enough planning and foresight, you can progress through the technology tree faster than any other leader!

In the late game, Hammurabi has to rely on spies to stay ahead of the curve by stealing technology boosts from other civilizations, automatically unlocking the corresponding research. It's a very different—and very effective—way to play Civ.

Hojo Tokimune and Tokugawa - Japan

Japan is one of the most beginner-friendly civilizations in the game, mainly due to its ability to perform the Meiji Restoration. It encourages strategic gameplay by rewarding players who group their districts together for adjacent bonuses. The Samurai and the Electronics Factory are also excellent reasons to play Japan at any skill level.

As the default leader for Japan, Hojo is a great choice for your first game in Civ 6 or your hundredth. His ability, "Divine Wind," may not always come into play, but when it does, it can be exactly what you need for victory in naval battles. Alternatively, if you prefer to be left alone, Tokugawa allows you to build a thriving internal economy without disruptions from other civilizations.

Saladin (Vizier) - Arabia

A standout feature of Arabia is the Last Prophet, which guarantees that they will found a religion. This is especially useful when adapting to higher difficulty levels, as the AI is usually ruthless in surpassing you in acquiring a Great Prophet.

Among Saladin's two personas, his original version, the Vizier, makes the best use of Arabia's incredible faith production. His ability to combine faith and science is unique in Civ 6 and grants him a playstyle that cannot be achieved by anyone else.

Sejong and Seondeok - Korea

If you're planning to pursue a science victory, Korea is THE civilization you should choose. Their abilities, Seowon and Three Kingdoms, allow them to quickly build up a tremendous scientific output that only gets stronger as the game progresses.

Whether you're playing as Sejong to benefit from his significant culture bonuses or as Seondeok to maximize cities with high-ranking governors, you will always be at the forefront of the space race when playing as Korea.

Sundiata Keita - Mali

Sundiata's unique gameplay turns books into a resource! Great works of writing generate gold and production in Sundiata's empire, and he finds it much easier to hire Great Writers with gold.

Mali is already one of the most impressive gold producers in the game, but Sundiata allows them to build and grow with breathtaking efficiency.


The Dutch are often viewed solely as a gold-focused faction, but they have almost the same ability for city-building as Nubia or Japan. Wilhelmina excels at extracting value from international trade routes, but the Dutch truly win games through their cities.

Rivers provide significant adjacency bonuses to Dutch special districts, and they benefit from cheaper Dikes. This, in turn, leads to more hydroelectricity, and in the late game, as the world climate deteriorates, the Netherlands can quickly construct Flood Barriers to ensure that rising sea levels don't affect them in the slightest.

B-Tier: Good

Civilization 6 Tier List The Best Civ

The majority of leaders in Civilization 6 fall into this category. They are good, they win games, they just don't have the same wow factor as the leaders in the S and A tiers.





Ba Trieu




Frederick Barbarossa






John Curtin




Kublai Khan

China and Mongolia

Lady Six Sky




Mansa Musa




Nader Shah


Nzinga Mbande








Saladin (Sultan




Simon Bolivar

Gran Colombia

Suleiman (Lawgiver)

Ottoman Empire

Suleiman (Magnificent)

Ottoman Empire

Teddy Roosevelt (Bull Moose)




Victoria (Age of Empire)


Wilfrid Laurier


C Tier: Mediocre

Civilization 6 Tier List The Best

If you want to play these leaders, it's best to have a plan. They are in the lower half in terms of their strength, so you will have a tough fight - but one that you can win with skillful gameplay.





Catherine de Medici (Magnificence)




Cleopatra (Egyptian)


Cleopatra (Ptolemaic)




Genghis Khan










Matthias Corvinus






Qin Shi Huang (Mandate Of Heaven)




Teddy Roosevelt (Rough Rider)




Wu Zetian


D-Tier: Not So Good

Civilization 6 Tier List The

These leaders are not recommended unless you are trying to achieve a specific achievement or want a challenge with a leader that is not often played.

Gandhi - India

Gandhi has many great tools at his disposal, but his leader ability is based on maintaining world peace—a lofty goal but not particularly realistic. It's nearly impossible to prevent other civilizations from fighting if they want to. Focus on leveraging the benefits of Stepwells if you want to win as Mahatma Gandhi.

Gilgamesh - Sumeria

It is much better to have Gilgamesh as an AI ally rather than playing as him yourself. His focus is on aiding other civilizations, which unfortunately does not go far enough to ensure that he ends up as the winner.

Harald Hardrada (Last Viking King) - Norway

Raiding coastal areas with your Longships is fun and can be very profitable, but Norway's abilities are scattered all over the place. This makes it difficult for Harald to develop a strategy that can compete with more specialized civilizations.

Julius Caesar - Rome

Caesar can build an impressive treasury, but only if he consistently conquers cities... which likely costs more than it brings in. He can effectively exploit the "Barbarian Clans" mode, but otherwise, it's best to leave him on the other side of the Rubicon.

Montezuma - Aztec

The Aztecs can have a great early game, but at higher difficulty levels, an Eagle Warrior won't be enough against the multiple Warriors that your neighbors start with. Montezuma relies on controlling luxury resources to strengthen his troops, but by the time you reach the maximum bonus, you're likely already close to achieving world domination.

Philip - Spain

Philip could have a stronger religious game than he actually does - Missions are quite good, provided you can quickly establish settlements outside of your home continent. However, Philip's leader ability focuses on eliminating competing religions rather than spreading his own, which doesn't help him win games.

Qin Shi Huang (Unifier) - China

Warlord Qin is in the same boat as Caesar. He has an interesting ability that can be exploited in alternative game modes like Barbarian Clans and Zombies, but in a standard game, it's better to use the original version.

Robert The Bruce - Scotland

Thanks to Scotland's civilization abilities, Robert can produce worthy cities, but his leader ability is practically non-existent. There may be situations where you want to declare a war without grievances, but they are rare enough that you can't rely on "Flower of Scotland" in any given game.

F-Tier: Bottom Five

Civilization 6 Tier List

From good ideas that didn't work to consistently bad options - these leaders should be avoided at all costs.

Catherine de Medici (Black Queen) - France

Spies are great, but the Black Queen doesn't enhance them enough to be worth building a strategy around. Instead, play her alternative version - or even better, Eleanor - for a much better gaming experience than France.

Harald Hardrada (Varangian) - Norway

The summoning of your city-state vassals can mean a turning point in war, and the new version of Harald introduced in "Ruler of England" can accomplish this very cost-effectively. It's a fun trick, but relying on an emergency measure as a main strategy is not the best move.

Mvemba a Nzinga - Kongo

Although Kongo can build some of the largest cities in the game, Mvemba a Nzinga's inability to found a religion is a major weakness. The addition of Nzinga Mbande to the game renders the original Kongolese leader unnecessary.

Tamar - Georgia

Routinely mocked as the worst leader in Civ 6, Tamar's advantages are limited to slightly improved city walls and soldiers. Theoretically, she could utilize her religion with city-states to gain votes for a diplomatic victory, but she will quickly be overshadowed by better faith-based civilizations.

Tomyris - Scythia

Players were thrilled with Tomyris and her Scythian hordes when Civilization 6 was released, due to her ability to obtain two cavalry units for the price of one. However, that proved to be an insufficiently strong ability to conquer the world, and the feared Scythian queen ultimately turned out to be a one-dimensional, one-trick pony rider.