Pantheon Playstyles

Stalker0

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So we often talk about the balance of the various pantheons, but I thought it was be fun to talk about how to use the various pantheons. This is part balance, as there are some pantheons I personally have never found a good use for, and I'll be curious what other people have come up with.

Ancestor Worship - Never use

Earth Mother - This is good off a pyramid rush if you have a mine based monopoly. The key is a strong expansion with lots of workers to get your mines up as soon as possible, with the extra monument bonus getting you city a leg up.

God of All Creation - Its a good early rush pantheon where you don't really care about founding. The goal is to dominate a neighboring civ early with your strong science and production bonus.

God of Commerce - Good to combine with trade focused civs like Morocco or Portugal (when going Progress). You want a quick early expand and then beeline for trade. Perfect scenario you have some desert to go Petra, which increases the value.

God of Craftsman - Takes a very precise play I found to make it work. I use it with quarry monopolies and generally a Tradition focused play, you beeline hard for the Mausoleum. I find the optimum play is then to go trade heavy. Use the power of your stone works to make production based ITRs, and turn your capital into an omega productive city. You can then produce whatever you want, whether its wonders or an army.

God of the Expanse - Good to take with Russia, also fun to use with the border blob strat (2 tradition + 2 authority, for fast expanding borders that give you yields).

God of the Open Sky - Rare one for me, I just don't find a lot of starts good with it.

God of the Sea - Tremendously strong on heavy water resource starts, and one of the few pantheons that can make a lot of island spots attractive. The trick is to use your main city to pump out fishing boats, so that your new cities instantly have water resources online when they settle, giving you that pantheon bonus as quick as possible.

God of the Stars and Skies - A solid pick on tundra, but the key is there has to be enough tundra to make this work.

God of the Sun - If you have a lot of farm resources, you can make unbelievably strong cities. I find this best with progress openers, and you often want to pack in your cities, as even 1 wheat resources can cover your city, and so you want to divide them up when you can. However, there is a big negative to Sun, and that's culture. You need granaries to get enough faith to found, but if you sacrifice your monument times your culture can tank. Even on heavy wheat starts I won't always choose sun unless I have some means of covering my culture, like a natural wonder or a cultural CS.

God of War - Frankly I don't like this pantheon much, as I think there are better war pantheons. Hammers and happiness are my limiting factors in the early rush, and the +10% military boost just isn't enough.

God-King - Never had much use for it, but I've been trying it out more lately, as the +2 hammers right off the bat can be useful if you can grow your faith quickly.

Goddess of Beauty - The default for a Stonehenge opener. Tradition + Stonehenge + Beauty is a rock solid opener. Your practically guaranteed to found, and then you'll get your first artist and engineer out early. The drawback is its usefulness falls off a cliff, so you want to get your bang for the buck early, generally by using the engineer for an early wonder.

Goddess of Festivals - Use to be the default for the Netherlands, now with luxs being harder to trade I'm not sure if it holds up.

Goddess of Nature - Great pantheon on mountain heavy starts, or if you get 2 natural wonders in close proximity. The key is that mountains can feed multiple cities, so you want to ring your cities around the mountains to maximize your bonus. Its often good to lead into aggression, as the nature bonus tends to fall away late game and your left with a lot of mountain spaces you can't use.

Goddess of Protection - Great with Japan or Persia, in some ways one of the best war pantheons. Forward settle an enemy, and then use your boosted healing to bring power you normally can't bring. Crazy good with Persian immortals. Also good to use with citadels, as you can pressed into your opponents borders and activate your healing. This is not a pantheon for yields, its for conquest.

Goddess of Purity - Best for a tradition start off a huge lake, you can very easily found with this one.

Goddess of Renewal - Its best for forest heavy places that has resources you won't kill trees for (like deer). Can turn another otherwise ho hum spot into a literal gold mine of resources. The key is the markets so you want to get trade, but its often a balance on whether to prioritize markets or herbalists first.

Goddess of Springtime - This is another one that works best off a strong expansion. While the plantations are important, its vital to get those herbalist up early for the faith, otherwise you will have trouble founding.

Goddess of the Home - This is best on a food poor start. You go progress left side to maximize building potential, and you go shrine first in your satellite cities. This lets you turn all those hammers into food. Its surprisingly tough to found with this one, but the reward is a growth bonus that will last you all game long.

Goddess of the Hunt - Deer = win, if you have a heavy deer start this is beautiful. This tends to be a strong pick on tundra starts, because they tend to have a lot of deer along with the extra food bonus you get.

Goddess of Wisdom - Best with a strong expansion play. Ironically I find the best way to utilize the specialist bonus is with markets (instead of libraries) because libraries often take too long. I can go markets and with my merchant specialist, now have a solid mix of gold, science, and faith.

Spirit of the Desert - Obviously great for deserts.

Tutelary Gods - This one is a niche one, I find the best use for it is off a Tradition play when I'm getting pressure from my neighbors. Instead of going right for culture, you go left for hammers...and you will have a really strong production start. You use this either expand quickly or build an army for war. Use your early great engineer to bag a good war wonder to continue the pressure.
 

feb

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Ancestor Worship is very strong. It turns councils into a 1:c5science:2:c5culture:2:c5faith:building. That is essentially the same as building a monument and shrine. And it does not even cost more than a monument. In my current game as France, councils were so good that I could not build Parthenon buffed amphitheatres until I realised they are locked behind monuments. council+shrine easily gets you a religion.

Goddess of Wisdom is best suited for authority plays as the tree lacks science until dominance. Like you mentioned, it pairs well with markets solving both authority's gold and science issues.
 

Hinin

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Goddess of Wisdom - Best with a strong expansion play. Ironically I find the best way to utilize the specialist bonus is with markets (instead of libraries) because libraries often take too long. I can go markets and with my merchant specialist, now have a solid mix of gold, science, and faith.
My favorite way to use Goddess of Wisdom is with wide Progress Korea. You gain to work specialists early anyway, and that offers a nice change of gameplay compared to the usual Tradition turtle Korea playstyle.
God of the Open Sky - Rare one for me, I just don't find a lot of starts good with it.
God of the Open Sky is the go to Hunnic pantheon for me. You do not benefit from God of the Expanse as much as other expansionist civs because of your UA, and you want as many pastures as possible anyway.
God of War - Frankly I don't like this pantheon much, as I think there are better war pantheons. Hammers and happiness are my limiting factors in the early rush, and the +10% military boost just isn't enough.
I agree with that. Aside from an Aztec rush, which is quite difficult these days, I haven't found a good opportunity to benefit from it. And in the long run I don't think it's worth it.

Also, some playstyles with the Bonus Pantheons :
- God of Storms (2 Faith in Cities with a Garrison ; Pillaging a tile provides 15 Faith and Production. Does not scale with Era.) : Of course has an excellent synergy with Denmark, but can also be used with civs that like to have a lot of mobile units early on, like the Mongols or the Huns (+ Nubia, since you want to garrison units anyway).
- Trickster-God (12 Faith and Science when you complete a non-road Improvement. Does not scale with Era.) : Can be very good for Progress civs that want to rush a specific wonder and need some extra push in the early game. Makes you want to go right side on Progress for the early Worker. With the Khmers, you can go all-in with the Worker Spearman and fill your lands with improvements at a very rapide pace. Not a very viable strategy in the long run (Tradition wonder-focused Khmer is the go-to gameplan), but still fun nonetheless.
 
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Ancestor Worship is good in my book if there are no other obvious options to me, and/or I have a gold-rich start that means I will instantly invest 80 gold into the Council in all my new cities.
Alternatively if my Pantheon was unlocked very early (Faith Ruins, Stonehenge...) and I'm not even close to being able to improve my luxuries (e.g Forest Dyes but I want to rush Sailing). Ancestor Worship allows me to ignore improvements and resources - meaning I can get away with delaying my Worker (can happen on Forest-rich starts)

Also, to add on what you've wrote about God of the Sea - It's also fairly good to play extremely wide (For instance if you're also going for 2x Religious Buildings with Sacred Sites) in my experience.
 

looorg

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I find most of them to be very situational and starting location bound. It's almost all about the starting location that decided which one I'll go for. Some are generic good. That said there are some that I just never take.

Ancestor Worship - I almost never take this. I guess if I was some early fast and high growth civ like India I could. But since I would be India I would always pick first and there is usually a better one then this.

Earth Mother - If I have lots of mine-able resources this is a good one.

God of All Creation - No. This is the fail pantheon when you are not getting a religion.

God of Commerce - No. To slow to be useful. Require to much building to give proper usage. That said with the merchant points one would think it would be better now that the trade/gold situation have changed.

God of Craftsman - This is like Earth mother, just somewhat worse since it requires a tier 2 tech to start to use. That said if there is a lot of quarry tiles in your starting location it could be a thing.

God of the Expanse - Not really something I ever take either. Even with civs that grow extra or get extra tiles or growth. It is just not worth it. Perhaps if I played on smaller maps with more civs it would be a thing.

God of the Open Sky - Not one I pick very often. I don't really like this one. It's very annoying in that you have to pair tiles to work and it's annoying and those tiles just are not the best in that regard. It could work and can work but I find it's a trap.

God of the Sea - If you have sea resources it's a golden. But it also forces you to go top of the tech tree early to activate it.

God of the Stars and Skies - Very undervalued. Even tho I kind of like the camp one better. Still it's a solid second pick to the camp one.

God of the Sun - It doesn't really work for me. I don't tend to farm early. It should be better now that it also works with rice and maize but I just don't prioritize farming early.

God of War - This is one that sounds more tempting then it is. I only really find this one to be good or decent if I play as Monty. Otherwise this is just pointless. It's just not going to pay out in the mid to late game.

God-King - This is just like All creation. A second tier pick when you are failing to get your own religion.

Goddess of Beauty - This is the 1CC pick. Otherwise I wouldn't bother.

Goddess of Festivals - This is that one that seems made of civs that trade a lot Dutch, Venice ... But it's a backup pick if all other good or decent things are taken. Not a first tier pick by any means.

Goddess of Nature - This is the GOD tier pick if you have the right staring location with heavy mountains. It's great passive bonus for doing nothing. It great forever. You don't even have to be Inca, even tho it helps.

Goddess of Protection - I think this is my default pick for most civs if there isn't a strong tiles yield pick around. It's solid and good. The extra healing keeps the aggression going. If anything this is the war pantheon, much more so then God of War. If you combine it with the fountain of youth you are just laughing.

Goddess of Purity - If you have lakes this is the pick. Nothing else matters then tile or yield wise. You don't even have to think about it. Got lakes? Get this.

Goddess of Renewal - Better if you are civ that don't want to cut down trees. If you have one of those treehugger civs next to you like Iroq you don't want this at all since you want to get rid of them. Also it's annoying since you have to pair woods and jungles in pairs for it to trigger. While usually good I don't tend to go for it very often.

Goddess of Springtime - Same issue as with Craftman that it requires a tier 2 tech to activate and it takes a long time to build it up. Not a good starter one. It becomes risky if you are getting a religion with it or not. Naturally better if you have a lot of plantation tiles or can create them like with Indo or Egypt etc. But it's not good pick if you have choices.

Goddess of the Home - I have not really played with this a lot. I would think that this would be great for India but then as noted previously you are India and you can pick anything so why would I pick this?

Goddess of the Hunt - Woods, tundra = deer = things are going to be great for you with this. I think this is very under valued as most people don't want to have tundra starts but with enough deer and other camps this just becomes fantastic. Your tundra camps just become amazing.

Goddess of Wisdom - I don't think I have really ever picked this. Can't see the point.

Spirit of the Desert - Got desert tiles with things on them? Get this. The end.

Tutelary Gods - This is a generic backup pick if my main pick somewhat got taken. I find it's always good and solid.


If I am the Celts I tend to usually go for Cernunnos or Morrigan (the early war/kill rush with the pictish warriors is just fantastic but you have to prioritize it early to secure your good start), sometimes Mannanan if I am coastal. Mostly thou they are a combination of several of the above once.
Bran, the sleeping guardian
Cernunnos, the horned stag
Dagda, the All-father
Epona, the great Mare
Lugh, the skilled one
Mannanan, son of the sea
Morrigan, the harbinger
Nuada, the silver-handed
Ogma, the learned
Rhiannon, the sovereign.
 

pineappledan

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Goddess of the Hunt - Deer = win, if you have a heavy deer start this is beautiful. This tends to be a strong pick on tundra starts, because they tend to have a lot of deer along with the extra food bonus you get.
:evil:
 
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tundra/desert/ancestor worship/sea/open sky, only those matter, in roughly that order. everything else is more or less garbage far weaker and far later than those
 

looorg

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tundra/desert/ancestor worship/sea/open sky, only those matter, in roughly that order. everything else is more or less garbage far weaker and far later than those
I don't agree with that they are garbage. They are just very situational. I guess one of the problems is that the "passive" once or the once that give you something for something you would do naturally anyway are just so much better then the once that require you to do specific things. The once that have something that you can do with the first tier or techs are basically always superior to the once that require something in the second tier of techs. There is nothing extra for the extra hoops you have to jump thru to make them work, as in there is no extra yields really for the extra work. So why would I take one that forces me to pair tiles or build something that is later tech but doesn't come with a better reward for it. Basically pantheons that require you to do more should be more rewarding then pantheons that are just passive yield boosters for nothing or for things that you would do anyway. Such as God of the Sea, which is still very good if you are coastal and have sea resources should give more since it requires you to get a second tier tech to unlock the workboats, then you have to build/buy the workboats and plop them down compared to say Open Sky or Renewal where you just pair tiles of the correct sort to get the reward. Hunt requires you to build a camp but that is a tier1 tech so it should probably give less (or not as much as Sea). Nature should probably be the lowest since it's just here have some extra yields cause you have mountains. Even tho that should probably perhaps give more as it removes useful tiles and replaces them with mountains that you can't do anything with unless you are the Inca. But you don't really have to do anything except be in range. So the more you have to do, the later the tech that it requires that you have to do it the higher the reward should be. If you just want passive rewards for owning tiles or doing nothing then the reward should be less.
 

black213

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I've noticed that Communitu likes to create big tundra regions and that's where Stars and Skies is absurdly powerful. Maybe the culture and faith should be +1 per 2 worked.
 

andersw

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I've noticed that Communitu likes to create big tundra regions and that's where Stars and Skies is absurdly powerful. Maybe the culture and faith should be +1 per 2 worked.
Tried to fish starts on pangea and the amount of tundra is very limited.
It doesnt feel right adjusting pantheons to a specific map script.
 
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Tried to fish starts on pangea and the amount of tundra is very limited.
It doesnt feel right adjusting pantheons to a specific map script.
And to add on that, I don't think it's healthy to have a starting biome to be tied to "Pick this Pantheon or you will suffer like hell". It removes agency (What if I want another Pantheon? What if I would've liked to warmonger with God of All Creation and delay Shrine?)
 

black213

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Tried to fish starts on pangea and the amount of tundra is very limited.
It doesnt feel right adjusting pantheons to a specific map script.
Ah yes, that's just the map I usually play so can't really comment on others.
 

Hinin

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And to add on that, I don't think it's healthy to have a starting biome to be tied to "Pick this Pantheon or you will suffer like hell". It removes agency (What if I want another Pantheon? What if I would've liked to warmonger with God of All Creation and delay Shrine?)
Hence why I made the Terrace Farm a normal improvement in my tweak mod (quite changed of course, since it would be too powerful otherwise). I dislike the idea that you need a specific pantheon or civilization to even be able to have viable cities in a specific biome (snow being the exception, of course) : any civ putting enough efforts in buildings and improvements should be able to have a good city in any biome, and civ / pantheon specialization should only be icing on the cake.
 

Rekk

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Hence why I made the Terrace Farm a normal improvement in my tweak mod (quite changed of course, since it would be too powerful otherwise). I dislike the idea that you need a specific pantheon or civilization to even be able to have viable cities in a specific biome (snow being the exception, of course) : any civ putting enough efforts in buildings and improvements should be able to have a good city in any biome, and civ / pantheon specialization should only be icing on the cake.
What did you do for tundra starts specifically?
 

Hinin

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What did you do for tundra starts specifically?
It has mostly been about the Mountain / hill biome for now, but ideas are in the box for the jungle and tundra biomes, which also are problematic (mostly jungle tbh).
 

abulafia77

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Agree with most of @Stalker0's statements, but (based on non-multiplayer King games):
Ancestor Worship - Never use
I use it quite often (for progress) - as @feb said, it makes for VERY strong councils (and I rush-build them as the first building) and gives a good boost to early culture per turn for Progress (plus plays into their culture for science policy).

May be difficult to found with - I usually beeline Stonehenge to get this pantheon (which also gives me the council immediately ...)
Tutelary Gods - This one is a niche one, I find the best use for it is off a Tradition play when I'm getting pressure from my neighbors. Instead of going right for culture, you go left for hammers...and you will have a really strong production start. You use this either expand quickly or build an army for war. Use your early great engineer to bag a good war wonder to continue the pressure.
Like this one too, esp. for Progress with China (maybe also Carthage and others) - if you can grow your cities to 3 pop quickly, you will get a very nice boost to early production. Helpful for wide play.
 
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