I am speaking in terms of good players of equal skill levels. If both players know how to utilize their civs properly and are of equal skill, the person with one of these civs will dominate the other equally skilled person. Having no trouble with a bad player who plays one of these civs is not evidence of them being balanced. This game is not balanced, the developers don't care very much if it is balanced. This is not Starcraft. Most competitive games require many rules to ensure a fair and balanced match. If the game were balanced competitive games would not require any rules such as no great wall, no terracotta, no _+100 gold faith, +4 faith from NW etc.. Spain is the most universally banned civ in competitive play.