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Top 5 / Bottom 5 Pantheons

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005
    Thought I would try a different approach on a balance question, since there are so many pantheons. I wanted to see what people generally though were there top 5 pantheons, and bottom 5 ones. If we see any ones commonly at the bottom or top it might indicate a balance concern.

    My list:

    Top 5
    1) Commerce: Maybe my enjoyment of trade focused civs, but I generally find this very easy to found with on Progress starts, its a good solid pantheon that works in a lot of terrain and circumstances. Often a good secondary pantheon if my first pick gets taken.

    2) Sea: Completely transforms the power of coastal civs, very easy to found with once you understand how to prebuild work boats for your upcoming cities, and I find the AI doesn't snipe it too early most of the time.

    3) Beauty: Great Tradition belief that naturally follows a Stonehenge opener, always solid, usually easy to found.

    4) Spirit of the Desert: Can really turn a floodplain/desert start into a gem.

    5) Nature: Though nature requires a more focused terrain, its a beautiful pantheon in those conditions, netting you lots of bonus resources and practically guaranteed religion.

    Bottom 5
    1) Ancestor Worship: While decent for the AI, faith is garbage for the human, with weak secondary bonuses.

    2) God King: I just never know how to make this pantheon work for me. Its got such a weak early game that I never feel I can leverage the bonuses before my pantheon is overwritten.

    3) Springtime: Its a really tough one to found with, as it takes a lot of time and effort to get the bonuses online. Secondary bonuses aren't the greatest either.

    4) Home: Very weak early faith and generally I am so capped by happiness that growth bonuses do nothing for me until much later in the game.

    5) Tutelary Gods: I feel like the only time I can take this is going Tradition 2 on the engineer side, and often I have to commit that decision before I even know if I will get this pantheon. Its a great prod bonus early but weak faith and no scaling make it a really tough one to muster.
    Bromar1 likes this.
  2. lance14837

    lance14837 Chieftain

    Jan 20, 2021
    Top [no order]:
    1. Stars-Sky: More than makes up from poor tundra yields, w/ no pre-requisites? Hello founding. Edges out Goddess of Hunt in terms of quick yields, although Hunt better at expanding out of tundra.
    2. Nature: No requirements other than absorbing mountain tiles (a plus if planning Rationalism or playing w/ More Wonders)? Plus, for some reason, 2-3 natural wonders all seem w/in reasonable distance (perhaps More Wonders mod contributes to this).
    +1 to Sea; -1 to Home (makes up for poor food Progress/Authority starts)

    1. Ancestor Worship: Never picked, extremely low bonuses. Doesn't even scale quickly enough. What would be ideal: ultra-wide that can get to 4, then 8; or ultra-tall that can boost to 8 or 12? Probably the former, coupled w/ Events +1 to all Shrines (even then, low synergy). Doesn't raise Councils that much higher in build priority (even w/ +1 from Tradition).

    Question for more historically experienced: Over the years, how much has the religion race accelerated? Some pantheons seem great if accepting not founding (King, Springtime), and thus buying into initial faith much later. Sometimes I wish getting a pantheon was harder, so that it came a little later when slightly more developed, helping expand, w/ lower pressure, rather than the all-out race it currently is at Deity, requiring Shrine 1st/2nd.
  3. Ranslee

    Ranslee Chieftain

    Feb 16, 2021
    I'm rating pantheons based on how they fill various niches for an average civ. A bad pantheon is one that you never pick even when your circumstances are what it seems designed for, or a pantheon that is so good that you feel like you have to pick it. A good pantheon is something that turns a poor start into a good one, or just a safe-but-not-broken pick.

    - Commerce. Requires quite a commitment to make it work well (unless you're Carthage/Iroquois), but it scales good if you're going peaceful.
    - Sea. Not many coastal starts are great for it, but when you roll one with many islands or your 'designated lux' is maritime, it does wonders.
    - Expanse. A good all-round choice, especially with early sources of culture like dyes.
    - Home. The growth bonus is just great and scales throughout the entire game. It's not always easy to found with it, but I tend to pick this one for Tradition starts because of how much long-term benefit it provides.
    - All Creation. This is obviously not a strong for a religion game, but it's great to have a choice when you are going to steal a religion or just skip it.

    - Ancestor. It's bland - it offers mostly 'scaling' faith, but it's hard to found with it and the edge it gives in the late game is not enough. It would become reasonably better with 1fa/3citizen and 2fa1c/council, helping its scaling a bit and making it possible to found a religion with what seems to be the I-want-faith choice.
    - God-King. It's a tall-leaning pantheon that scales best off of going wide, and very unlikely to found with.
    - Start and Sky. It's a tundra-specific pantheon... but I find that usually it's better to go with the Hunt, so it fails at its purpose. Tundra sucks because of no farms and reduced food. Making this just give 1fo on all tundra and 1fa1c1g on tundra resources would make it better at its purpose, while still keeping tundra inferior (you still can't build farms). Changing the food on Hunt into something else would also make it a more competitive choice for tundra starts.
    - Tutelary. Decent and fast production boost, but there are just too few engineers early on to make it work. Making it give 2p2fa with any specialist (like Wisdom) would help a bit.
    - Festivals. It seems like it's something you only ever may pick as Dutch, and even then it's just ok - the problem is that it's very difficult to make use of it early and by the time you can improve/trade/ally cs, it's too late.

    (Also, hello everyone, first post but I've been lurking for a few years now.)
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 6:56 AM
  4. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian Prince

    Aug 21, 2019
    Welcome, Ranslee, nice to have you on board :)
    Ranslee and Chaste like this.
  5. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

    Oct 14, 2016
    My top 5 (as in the ones I pick most often) are probably
    • God of All Creation
    • Goddess of Beauty
    • God of the Open Sky
    • God of the Sea (I pick this like 90% of the time my starting luxury is a fishing boat)
    • Expanse
    I'd put God-King and Ancestor Worship at the bottom. I don't tutelary gods very often but I'll note that I've had great success with it before.
  6. andersw

    andersw Emperor

    Feb 11, 2008
    My Top (warmonger/wide, not in order):
    Open sky

    So thats 4 that I feel performs better than the others, I cant decide what to put as 5th maybe expanse or tutelary.
    Tutelary 3 hammers are very nice early on but its a bit insignificant later, I can see this struggle with founding on immortal-diety.
    Expanse is reliable and not too bad.

    Bottom: stuff that doesnt scale with wide.
  7. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005
    Aha you fell into my trap! I made this whole thread to draw you out of hidding, muhahaha! :)
    Chaste and Ranslee like this.
  8. DukeBrani

    DukeBrani Chieftain

    Jul 27, 2020
    I am a bit surprised that no one listed Earth Mother among their top 5 pantheons. +1 faith and production from Monuments, and +1 faith and culture from mines on improved resources look good to me :) What am I missing?
  9. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005
    It’s a nice middle tier for me. Not too amazing but nothing too bad. There are a lot of pantheons, so many of them will just be nicely in the middle
  10. stii

    stii King

    Oct 3, 2010
    I like

    Nature - natural wonders are good to great and this gives an extra boost. Yuo will often have a few mountains nearby too. At the other end sometimes you have a huge mountain range and can cluster cites around it for a pretty huge boost early without having to do anything.
    Sea - you need lots of costal cities and fishing boats but that is pretty easy to do.
    Open sky - I don't like this as much as others but it gives a good bonus to lots of titles
    Beauty - this will get you a religion if nothing else will, only really useful with tradition and not exciting but fine.
    All creation - this means giving up on religion but does give a pretty big bonus early on
  11. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

    Jul 17, 2018
    Terrain-dependent pantheons are always great when you have the correct starting position, and less so if you start in a mixed terrain.

    Regarding Stars and Sky vs Hunt, the former is better for mine/quarry resources and if your planned settle area is all tundra, and the latter is better for deer/furs area with not that much forest (I'd take Renewal otherwise) and if you plan to settle out of tundra.
  12. youngsteve

    youngsteve Warlord

    Sep 10, 2007
    No one seems to have mentioned God of War, which I used for the first time playing The Huns. I thought as I would be warring most of the game go for a Pantheon that fits that style, so picked this, thinking I might not get a relegion but at least help in my game type. How wrong I was, & was awesome how much much faith I picked up massacuring barbs & taking out Austria, easily gaining a releigion. Has helped me most of the game. Obviously only of use in a warlike game, but still good.
  13. Melchizedek

    Melchizedek Warlord

    Jun 26, 2007
    My top 5, in no particular order:
    • God of All Creation - a great catch all and useful for civs with a faith bonus that can still found, if none of the terrain bonuses are working for a particular map. I suspect that grabbing this for the cost of one shrine and otherwise investing nothing in faith is a great play in many cases even when I don't have the guts to do it. :)
    • Nature - often irrelevant, but very welcome when you have one of those maps, or you're just Inca!
    • God of the Sun - Another 'those maps' choice, but supergrainaries are a nice early boost even if you don't have a pile of wheat. I love floodplains wheat with India.
    • Wisdom - Strong but not terrain dependent, and science is always useful. I think it is kind of hard to found without early specialists, though, so I only consider it if I'm also considering Tradition -- although I know some players use it with Progress or Authority, I don't see how it would work.
    • Renewal - I like leaving jungle lux unimproved until I need the happiness or can sell them for > 3 gpt and this takes advantage of that. Building fewer workers opens up left-side-progress and more settlers/military/wonders, so I like that this pantheon can live that style.
    I don't think any of these are OP because I could write the above list in any order and it would be easy to keep going with Hunt/Purity/Commerce which I think are at about the same level.

    For my bottom 5, I'm not saying they're bad as much as I don't understand how to play them properly yet:
    • God-King - the yields seem low and unfocused, so that I cannot tell exactly how having this pantheon benefited me. It leaves me in serious danger of not founding but doesn't provide any other immediate boost. It may shine late game, if you have a strong religion, but how are you supposed to get one with so little early faith? Maybe Byzantium or India can utilize this, I'm curious, but doubtful.
    • Springtime - In situations where I'm in a hurry to get Herbalists, Renewal makes life easier. To get faith from Springtime you have to get Calendar and a worker and wait for the plantation, and it just doesn't come quite fast enough, perhaps do to my inefficiency in recognizing the situation.
    • Festivals - I need to buy luxuries to found? Unless I'm Dutch, no thanks! Settling disparate luxuries has antisynergy with getting my monopoly.
    • Craftsman - I just don't seem to be able to work many quarries fast enough to found. Unlike many pantheons it offers zero initial faith. It also seems that when I have several quarries I also have mountains or desert pretty often and this option seems less fruitful than those.
    • Beauty - I've had three or even four wonders and still failed to found, maybe just bad luck, and I should give it another shot.
    • Ancestor Worship - I had to edit this comment to add this sixth entry to my bottom five, because it's so bad I usually just forget about it.
    Note: I usually play on Emperor and had a rule of thumb to reach 25 ftp by turn 80 to get a good religion, but that was on older patches. I recently downloaded the new patch and a lot of the difficulties founding may have gotten less intense.

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