Hello everyone, Due to the quarantine I’ve played a lot, these are my top 5 choices to win a game on Deity. There’s been a lot of threads about trying to succeed on high difficulties, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the best civs to choose in detail. Feel free to disagree or discuss, but please note that just because a civ is in this list doesn’t mean it should be changed. I’m evaluating these civs in human hands, not AI. My specific settings are: Spoiler Settings : Deity Difficulty on Continents Standard Size, Standard Speed Standard resources Ancient Ruins off Events off Quick combat/movement Research agreements disabled Tech trading disabled I claim these are top tier only for these specific settings, they may not be true for others. Spoiler Byzantium : Theodora when executed well is a brutally unfair civ. The extra religious belief leads to some absurd combinations. You can get a situation where your missionaries earn like 4 culture for every point of faith you spend. I find her not that fun to play just because of how absurd these religions become. The missionary related ones also require a lot of micromanagement. Generally, I rush philosophy for temples, then either chivalry if I want to be aggressive with cataphracts. Theology to try Borobudur can lead to some really stupid stuff, but it's tough to beat the AI to it. Don’t use your extra belief on an extra follower, the founders or enhancers are better choices.Veneration is a good follower belief, you will be spending a lot of faith. I don’t buy many great people in the classical era but it’s a cool option to have. For social policies you want the Fealty opener for sure, but otherwise she's pretty flexible. Honestly a lot of your decisions don't matter much if your religion goes well. Don’t’ take a low faith pantheon just because you can. You get zero extra yields until your religion is founded. This means faith is still important, you want to get your religion running quickly. Byz has weak early game and you want to get your religion in play quickly. The biggest threat is starting next to someone like Persia and his aggression damaging you before your religion gets established. If you aren't at war consider rushing printing press to host the first congress, and remember you get votes for spreading religion. If you can quickly pass world religion you'll almost certainly win. Spoiler Ethiopia : You get 7 free techs throughout the game. Use them to claim a technology that the AI don't have and punish them. The easiest example is rushing military theory with your free pantheon tech. Or use a free tech to grab Theology to build Borobudur. Or get chivalry for fast knights. Plan ahead with what you want, don't just grab random techs. Mid-game you abuse strong religious beliefs or continue military aggression. I think an Ethiopian knight rush is better than a byzantine cataphract rush, because it can come much earlier. Similarly, with up to 3 free techs it’s a lot easier to build wonders, especially Borobudur. You can intentionally wait a turn to enhance or finish the reformation building, so that you can get a different tech for free. You have a lot of advantages over the typical warmongers even if your UU comes late and you have no direct combat bonuses. You can consistently get orders and set them up for a zealotry unit spam. 3 faith on monuments grants enormous freedom of pantheons and build orders. Pick something with high culture or science if you can. Your other beliefs are flexible, but I like veneration with orders and zealotry. Ethiopia is only top tier if you play aggressively and use the free techs wisely. Attack your neighbors, spam missionaries, and build risky wonders. Don’t pick tradition, sit on your hands all game, then complain the civ isn't top tier. Press advantages while you have them. Remember you get two free techs in a row when you finish your 3rd policy tree, but after that point you basically get no bonuses. Passing world religion on the first congress is usually GG. If only you could use a free tech to unlock Printing Press faster..... Spoiler Babylon : He isn't normally high on people's threat list, but Nebuchadnezzar comes with a great kit of flexible bonus. First, the investment thing explained. Normally investing a building drops the cost by 50%, but Babylon's drops it by 65%. That means gold into buildings is about 30% more efficient. For wonders, it drops the cost by 32.5% instead of 25%. That's often enough to finish 1 or 2 turns early. Basically Babylon has a bonus to science but also is good at infrastructure, which is a great combo. Civs like Korea or Maya struggle with production, but Babylon doesn't. He also has serious late game muscle to actually win (by spaceship), which is something other defensive civs like Shoshone lack. This patch because gold is really plentiful, and science is a good victory plan. AI are trading a ton of gold for strategic resources, they often rush writing and give 2 gold for embassies, and friendship isn’t that hard to get (get lump sums of gold instead of per turn). This means that your early game is strong. The strategy is to get a religion. You have no bonus faith but the investment bonus helps. You can go light on science in favor of faith or culture, don’t worry you’ll catch up later. For religion I recommend Apostolic Tradition, the mid game boost in culture and food makes a big difference. Don’t take both synagogues and scholarship, just one is enough. Extra culture, food, or gold from religion will help you more in the mid-game than extra science will. You want enough votes to be able to propose things in the world congress, particularly World’s Fair. You'll need the extra culture to meet the requirements for later wonders (the silver reward is enough, don’t worry if you miss gold). Bowmen are great and I sometimes conquer when they are available. Mass indirect fire units early can be game changing. Walls of Babylon are available early on but not always worth rushing immediately. The +2 gold per scientist is a hidden bonus with a big impact, they really shine in around the industrial era. Both progress and tradition are good. Authority isn't too bad either, but Babylon doesn't need to be played aggressively. Mid-game I like artistry but fealty and statecraft are good too. You definitely want rationalism. Spoiler England : Elizabeth just gets so much extra stuff. Tons of free techs over the course of the game from the spy. Line of sight in an enemies capital is pretty great too. It helps if you have knowledge of what the AI likes to research, for example civs with tradition usually rush writing, so you could research military theory and bronze working to maximize your gains. The white tower is crazy and provides stupid numbers of yields for spy actions. If you reach the Renaissance and your empire isn’t on fire the game becomes very easy. Take statecraft for the extra spy and strategics, then imperialism, and start conquering the world. I usually just conquer enough to get the upper hand, then win by votes or something. Ship of the line got nerfed hard but are still strong. Frigates are just a good unit and ship of the line are even better. A stronger navy is really nice as an answer to snowballing AI. If you get a religion, I recommend production, gold, or culture. The spy does provide early game science, which indirectly makes getting a religion easier (since you can spend less on science). You also have the option to rig elections in faith city states. Spoiler Siam : Siam is actually notably better on Pangea style maps because you can meet the city states faster. He's still strong on continents, though you have a small chance of getting really unlucky. The CS types aren't even, culture are crap early on while faith and military are amazing. Siam has a secret advantage. If you play Siam, the AI won’t be, which removes one of the biggest problem civs. The best CS early on are faith CS. If you meet one early enough you can delay the shrine to build a worker. Try to get a really fast religion, and in the midgame spend your gold on diplomatic units. Get writing early for the scrivener’s office. In the midgame, military CS are amazing, they give huge amounts of science. There isn’t too much strategy to Siam, you just get a great start and focus on city states. Your start depends a lot on what CS you meet. A Siam with a very good start can snowball very well with tradition, but the tree is light on gold. Progress and authority have an easier early game and better gold output. Remember not to chop jungle or forest because of your unique building. It’s a constabulary (weirdly) so it benefits from the science policy in statecraft (don’t take fealty or artistry). You should eventually be able to win by votes.