[LP] Basil II vs Theodora

Alex Vance

Basil II's Junior Emperor
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
17
Location
New York, USA
One of your resident Basil II fanatics back again with a quick question: which leader to you prefer, Theodora or Basil II? Obviously Basil II is more domination-focused, while Theodora is more culture-focused.

However, they both get Taxis - which in Theodora's case works well offensively early game, and defensively later on.
The real question is: do you want to mow down walls without siege, and get Tagma?
Or do you want to get massive culture gains with holy sites + farms giving them more faith and culture? (and hippodrome also getting a faith yield via farms)?

For me, Basil II is the "cooler" leader who has a rather distinctive look about him; I also love the way he synergizes faith with military and blows through walls.

Theodora can be a blast for converting faith into culture. Extreme potential with a holy site giving faith/culture/production (and even science at your best one!) but will run into problems - at least compared to Basil II - with walls. Also doesn't get Tagma. Also competes with other "faith/culture" civs like Menelik II and of course Peter the Great.

In my mind, Theodora works best on maps with a moderate-to-heavy water focus, to take full advantage of Dromon. Peter will often struggle without Taiga; Menelik will struggle without hills; Basil II will struggle without neighbors to conquer quickly. Theodora seems like a "safe" option who can adapt to both flat land (farms!) and water (Dromon!).

So what are your thoughts on Theodora? Is she as "S tier" as Basil II? Does she get edged out by Menelik II or Peter, or does her adaptability and potential make her the strongest faith/culture hybrid to date?
 
Basil is one of the very best leaders in the game, Theodora would be ok for culture I guess but personally I think religion is her best route to victory. She has easy Holy Site adjacency, on decent tiles unlike desert folklore or dance of the aurora, she can't kill cities like Basil but can still use her troops to spread religion.
 
I think Theodora is overall the better leader, because how damn strong and versatile those holy sites are.
Heck, you dont even need an adjacency Pantheon to set it up, which is very strong if you try not to "cheat" with restarting maps for that perfect start.
She is also very strong for an offensive push, which is very important on Deity, regardless if you are going domination or not.
That being said, Basil is absolutely the stronger domination civ, but he is very pigeonholed into that specific role and offers no real benefits for other victory types.

I find Theodora to be similar in power to Khmer, but easier to set up (doesnt rely on a particular Pantheon) and retains the most important abilities from Basil, which are already very strong.
 
I mean if you want to play a domination game Basil is your go to leader. Other than that, I think Theodora is the stronger one for other types of victories. Her Holy Sites will always have more faith than Basil, and she will even get faith for her Hippodromes.
 
I’m currently having a lot of fun with Theodora.

She is obviously not as straightforwardly good at conquest as Basil, but she is still very good at combining religious conversion with warfare. The Hippodrome is an excellent district, and you don’t need Tagma to benefit from it - Knights are an incredibly good unit for a timing push. And every unit you kill is helping push your religion.

Then on top of that you get some reliably excellent Holy Site adjacencies.

You will want to make sure you get your pick of religious beliefs - an adjacency pantheon (but you’ll be fine without one), work ethic and crusade. But you have a lot of bonuses to work with for a religious game (and religious games always benefit from some warmongering to remove rivals)
 
You will want to make sure you get your pick of religious beliefs - an adjacency pantheon (but you’ll be fine without one)
Adjacency pantheons are actively harmful for her aren't they - she wants to be putting farms round her Holy Sites!
 
Adjacency pantheons are actively harmful for her aren't they - she wants to be putting farms round her Holy Sites!
The pantheons potentially give you more options to boost adjacency. You can’t build farms on desert, tundra or hills (at least until Civil Engineering).

So they are not harmful, they just give you more flexibility, especially where mountains and natural wonders are involved as you will often want to build Holy Sites near them anyway.
 
Disagree, it’s better to settle cities wherever you can. Farm heavy flatlands also lack production, which will set you back even if you’ve got Work Ethic.

You will probably not find that the optimal HS placement allows for a complete circle of farms. In those cases it never hurts to be able to stack some extra adjacency from a pantheon, but of course it is not necessary.
 
In those cases it never hurts to be able to stack some extra adjacency from a pantheon, but of course it is not necessary.
Yeah that's fair, I just find for religious victories I only generally have 3 or 4 cities and not sure I want desert or tundra for her.
 
Her Faith economy is versatile. You can use it for buying districts via the religion governor, buying units via that government plaza building, buying great people for any number of purposes.

I would hate to pigeonhole her as a religious victory leader, although that is her strongest tendency.
 
Adjacency pantheons are actively harmful for her aren't they - she wants to be putting farms round her Holy Sites!
Wouldnt say harmful, just not necessary.
You can frontload that culture (and obviously production) a lot earlier with an adjacency pantheon, whereas without one you have to invest in several builders beforehand. Which can be somewhat detrimental in case you want to go for a timing push against the nearest neighbour.
The real strength of her ability is that she is not reliant on good RNG to get an early adjacency pantheon, unlike other leaders where you might have to restart a lot.
 
Her Faith economy is versatile. You can use it for buying districts via the religion governor, buying units via that government plaza building, buying great people for any number of purposes.
This seems like the more important point to me. GS India may struggle to convert those extra missionary spreads into a Science Victory, but faith from straightforward adjacencies plays right into the faith economy meta.

As I see it, there are consequences to the large footprint of Theodora's adjacencies. For instance, setting aside 7 tiles does not meld well with maritime cities that already struggle for land. Maybe they could throw in coastal adjacency as a nod to Byzantine geography and the Dromon. While it probably will provide a good deal of food to grow cities into the late game, the footprint would seem to put pressure on urban planning with a bit of a gamble on strategic resources.

Are people playing Theodora for Culture and Science Victories or mostly Domination and Religious?
 
As I see it, there are consequences to the large footprint of Theodora's adjacencies. For instance, setting aside 7 tiles does not meld well with maritime cities that already struggle for land. Maybe they could throw in coastal adjacency as a nod to Byzantine geography and the Dromon. While it probably will provide a good deal of food to grow cities into the late game, the footprint would seem to put pressure on urban planning with a bit of a gamble on strategic resources.
I don’t think they need to do this. It isn’t the Seowon — Theodora still gets all the normal adjacencies for Holy Sites, and those adjacencies are pretty easy to get anyway (contrast this with Commercial Hubs or Theatre Squares…). You don’t need to surround Theodora’s Holy Sites with farms. But farms are a very easy way to boost a mediocre adjacency from mountains into a very good district, or already good adjacency from a natural wonder into an incredible district.
 
That's a good point. With all the normal adjacencies, it is not a given Theodora will have much more of a footprint. I would still like some coastal synergy for the Byzantines all the same.
 
Basil is OP strong.

Theodora is more balanced.

I don't know. Theodora retains many of the abilities that make Basil powerful:
  1. She can print Heavy Cavalry units with the Hippodrome and its buildings.
  2. She can spread her Religion by killing enemy units.
  3. She enjoys +3 CS for each Holy City converted to her Religion.
Basically, she doesn't enjoy Tagma and the ability to ignore Walls of converted cities. She will need some Siege units or putting cities under Siege to continue her conquests, making her conquests slower. Meanwhile, she could have an earlier Knight rush (Stirrups vs Divine Right) as she will unlocks Hippodrome earlier (better Culture), therefore gaining the ability to print Knights earlier. Crusade synergies as well with her as her counterpart. The drawbacks are there, but I think she gains a lot more in comparison:
  1. Additional Faith adjacency to Holy Sites from Farms and Hippodromes now give Faith for each adjacent Farms.
  2. Holy Sites generate Culture equal to their Faith adjacency.
She has a better Faith economy, which gives her a more powerful Monumentality golden age, a better religious game, or military-wise: more land military units bought by Faith if she builds the appropriate building. One of the most potent strategy is all about the adjacency Pantheon + Work Ethic's belief + Scripture's policy. Adding Culture to the Faith / Production, and the ability to have more consistent high Faith Holy Site makes Theodora's Byzantium even more powerful at that strategy than the Khmers. This is where she shines. Apart from that, that bonus Culture is a very good Civic Tree climber for early Governors or Political Philosophy, therefore getting a classical Golden Age more easily.

In the end, I don't know. Basil snowballs to victory once launch, but Theodora is easier to launch even she snowballs less hard.
 
So this is how I view things, after reading all the responses:
Theodora is more consistent.
Basil II is more explosive and snowballs harder.

Theodora is better if you're on a map that has more water, or less Civs.
Basil II is better on a map with less water and plenty of Civs close together, so you can chain conquer Civs with the right timing and abusing Tagma aura.

Theodora is better at winning via Culture, and probably Science and Diplomacy.
Basil II is better at winning via Domination.
Religion is kind of a wash, as they both excel in their own ways.

Never underestimate the ability to generate Culture, Faith, and Production with consistency from the same building.
Never underestimate the yields that conquering 2-3 Civs by the end of the Medieval era can give, made possible by your Knights also being Great Generals and Siege weapons.

In the very late game, I think Basil II is stronger because his Death Robots (lol) benefit from Taxis, meaning the most powerful unit in the game has the highest bonuses in the game with Basil II.
That said, Theodora can sometimes end the game earlier thanks to her consistent yields.

Ultimately, I think most of us can agree they are both S Tier Civs.
And they're both leading Byzantium, so they're not going to be fighting each other the vast majority of the time. (Who plays with multiples of the same leader, anyway?!)
 
Basically, she doesn't enjoy Tagma and the ability to ignore Walls of converted cities. She will need some Siege units or putting cities under Siege to continue her conquests, making her conquests slower. Meanwhile, she could have an earlier Knight rush (Stirrups vs Divine Right) as she will unlocks Hippodrome earlier (better Culture), therefore gaining the ability to print Knights earlier.

You can march an army of (heavy) cavalry much quicker. Kill some of their units, converting a city (and assuming you have crusade) then bash the city walls and take it. Tagma gives Basil's army an extra +4 strength.
That ability alone makes Basil OP.

Combined with the Dromon, basically an early, light frigate (with 2 range) literally nobody is safe on the map 😏

Other military civs are either naval oriented or focused on armies.
Basil can take anyone out...just maybe not Qin with his zombie horde 😉
 
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