Age of Empires 4 Civilizations Tier List
Age of Empires IV has launched very recently and the meta has been evolving as every day goes by. The game is incredible and a very nice refresher from the previous installments even though it only has eight civilizations to pick from. Each of these AoE 4 civilizations offer specific units, bonuses, technologies and a focus on a set of unit upgrades to make them even stronger. For example, while the English excel in archery via the Longbowmen, the Delhi Sultanate is more focused around War Elephants as their key unit. Some civilizations are more powerful than others, especially for beginner players and those who are just starting out in Age of Empires 4. In this AoE4 Tier List we'll be going over each of the races available in the game and determining the strongest AoE4 Civs based on hundreds of ladder games and the recent pro tournament (Genesis). The list is mostly based around land maps, if you find yourself on a water map just go with the French and you'll be fine.
Civilization Tier List Descriptors
S Tier - Overpowered. Age of Empires 4 Civilizations which are incredible in the latest patch and these are mostly banned during pro player matches because how strong they are. Any of these civs are a great choice if you want to win a majority of your games.
A Tier - Powerful. Age of Empires 4 Civilizations which are very popular and will give you an advantage over other opponents, especially in ranked games. These Civilizations are strong and are very suitable for beginners because AoE 4 can be hard for new players at the very beginning.
B Tier - Balanced. Age of Empires 4 Civilizations which are balanced. These races will be alright for a casual playthrough where you enjoy playing the game and not focusing on rushing and winning. Though, in good hands any of these will be more than enough to score a victory.
C Tier - Underpowered. Age of Empires 4 Civilizations which are hard to play and not worth it if you want to win at all. These Civilizations will get steamrolled by any other race from the A and B tiers.
Civilization Tier List
This AoE 4 Civ Tier List is updated for the latest patch 7989 (November 15th)
Mongols perform really well right now and mostly because of the fact that they can easily relocate all of their buildings. This mechanic is incredible when paired with the Dark Age Ovoo upgrade called Superior Mobility (buildings can move, pack and unpack 50% faster) as it opens up a lot of strategies such as Dark Age Town Center rushing. Most people get a handful of villagers, unlock Ger to gather resources at home and pack up their Town Center & place it next to the enemy's Town Center. Along with that, they get a couple of Early Horseman units and at this point it's pretty much game over. Arguably one of the hardest strategies to counter right now, especially in soloQ ranked games. The Mongols also have a relatively strong mid-late game as well because their economic landmark, The Silver Tree acts as a market that can build traders 50% faster and at a 50% reduced cost & results in an incredible boom of resources.
The French are one of the most popular civilizations right now and there's a whole lot of reasons why. They're very easy to play as well as straightforward because there's no need to plan out building locations other than the Keep. If you place Archery Ranges or Stables next to Keeps the units produced within them will cost 20% less. They also have a whopping 30% discount to ALL economy-related technology, as well as faster Villager & Scout production per age— going up to 20% in Castle Age. Additionally, their Trade Ships return 20% more Gold and their resource drop-off buildings are 25 Wood cheaper. You might have noticed by now that the French are given a plethora of economical benefits without any downsides or skill acquired to achieve them and this is why they're incredible in the current meta for both beginners and high-elo players that are pushing the ranked ladder. Royal Knights are the strongest Feudal Age unit in the game right now, being an Age 2 cavalry unit that has the power of an Age 3 unit. They cost 140 Food and 100 Gold to make which is very cheap considering how powerful they are and they gain bonus damage for three seconds after charging on enemy units. As far as the late game goes, the French excel during the Imperial Age as well due to their powerful unit in the game, a unique siege weapon called the Cannon. Lastly, some of the additional strong French technologies, units and buildings include: College of Artillery, Red Palace, Enlistment Incentives— reduces all unit costs by 10%, Guild Hall— generates and stores resources that scale over time, Royal Institute— 20% cheaper French-specific technologies and lastly the Arbaletrier— high damage, ranged anti-armor units that have a defensive pavise shield that grants them melee armor. French definitely deserve the first place on the AoE4 Tier List.
The English are overall a solid civilization to play that is quite effective versus the French. During the early game, the English have access to Longbowman— a cheap long-ranged infantry with great damage and exceptional range. The King's Palace is a landmark that acts as a Town Center with all the behaviors, tech, units, bonuses and it's currently one of the strongest economic landmarks in the game as it allows the player to boom the economy while also focusing on technology and move up through Ages. Additionally, they also have the ability to get a Network of Castles bonus that increases the attack speed of nearby units which makes them great for defensive playstyles and turtling. English Villagers fight with bows instead of farm tools and their Town Centers fire twice as many arrows. Economy-wise, they construct Farms for 50% less wood and the Mill Farms gather 15% faster. The English civilization also has additional notable technologies and buildings worth mentioning: Abbey of Kings— heals all friendly units that are out of combat by +4 health every one and a half seconds, Council Hall— produces Longbowmen at double the speed and contains their upgrades, Shattering Projectiles— Trebuchet projectiles shatter on impact, increasing their area of effects and lastly, the Arrow Volley— a Longbowman ability that grants them 70% bonus attack speed upon activation.
The Delhi Sultanate civilization is one of the difficult factions to master as the build orders are primarily focused around finishing games in Castle Age (due to this civilization's inability of executing ram rushes and the lack of Dark Age special units). While their technology is free, it takes about 4 to 5 times longer to complete when we're comparing it with other civilizations. To counteract this, Delhi Sultanates require the player to build at least three Mosques and garrison them with nine Scholars in order to get research times similar to other civs. All of this requires a lot of time, Gold and Wood which at the current values just doesn't make the free technology worth it as it isn't even remotely free and it taxes your Dark & Feudal Age progression due to the lack of resources. This results in a much slower second Town Center and Castle Age upgrade. Their Garden Bounty civilization bonus allows them to cultivate Berry Bushes into Orchards which yield higher amounts of Food and they can also gather from them 25% faster. This means that they have a slightly better option for Food gathering in comparison with other civilizations which rely on Sheep. The main idea behind the Delhi Sultanate's free technology is to have a healthy economy that will later be used to build their unique units: War Elephants. While they're quite strong, they come with a high price tag of 600 Food and 400 Gold and sadly they get destroyed by any army composition that uses Bombards. Since the Delhi Sultanate don't have any special upgrades towards Siege Weaponry, Sprigalds can't counter enemy siege in time to protect the War Elephants. Some of the other notable Delhi-specific buildings and technology include: Zeal— grants 50% bonus attack speed to units that have been healed by a Scholar, Hisar Academy— Generates Food based on the number of technologies researched, Slow-Burning Defenses— Increases the fire armor of Towers, Keeps and Outposts, Village Fortresses— Keeps act like a Town Center (including all of the things a Town Center can do) and lastly the Forced March— Infantry units gain an ability that makes them move at double their movement speed for 10 seconds.
The Rus offer a very active playstyle and they're very powerful during both the early and late game. Their Scouts are used for killing Sheep, Wolves, Boars and Deer and every time they do so they gain Gold and increase their bounty score. Having a lot of Scouts on the map results with a lot of map vision and control at no additional cost. Increasing bounty to certain thresholds results in bonus gathering rates. Hunting Cabins are Rus-specific and act just like Mills, with an added benefit of infinitely generating Gold based on the number of trees available nearby which makes them a great economy boost throughout the entire game. The Rus High Armory reduces the cost of siege units by 20% while also unlocking four new siege technology that improve Ram damage, Trebuchet and Mangonel setup time, reload time of Bombards and the range of Springalds. Such a high amount of strong technology focused around siege units makes Rus incredibly powerful during the late game where everything mostly revolves around who's got better siege armies. Some of the additional Rus notables include: The Golden Gate— allows the exchange of resources at better rates and generates an additional one every sixty seconds and Kremlin— acts as a Wooden Fortress that comes with Castle Technologies.
Abbasid Dynasty features two iconic cavalry units that are incredible versus a lot of playstyles which makes them very versatile. The Camel Archers are a highly mobile cavalry ranged unit that is very effective versus spearmen and causes enemy cavalry to deal less damage. On the other hand, the Camel Riders are the melee alternatives and they also have the ability to cause enemy cavalry to deal less damage. Having one of these in your army just for the cavalry debuff is always worth it during Feudal and Castle Age versus cavalry-heavy armies. Just like the Delhi Sultanate, they also gain the 25% Berry Gathering speed with a downside that they cannot gather from Boars. Additionally, Abbasid Dynasty infantry units can construct Rams & Siege Towers without the need of Siege Engineering Tech. They also have the Culverin— a strong siege long-range cannon made for destroying other siege units. Lastly, the House of Wisdom unique building allows the Abbasid to advance in Ages and gain additional technology. Entering a Golden Age will speed up their resource gathering, as well as research speed and production. Overall, the Abbasid Dynasty can be very strong in the hands of an experienced player even though it's not as powerful as the French.
The Chinese excel in fast construction, with villagers making defenses 50% faster and all other buildings twice as fast. They also have a plethora of unique units, with the Nest of Bees being the most popular one as it's a Mangonel variant that fires a barrage of rockets that deal great area of effect damage even versus highly armored targets. Chinese's siege weaponry technologies are also incredible, with them being able to get Reload Drills (reduces reload time of Bombards by 33%), Reusable Barrels (reduces the cost of Nest of Bees by 25%) and Pyrotechnics (increase the range of all gunpowder units by 20%). All of these combined make the Chinese one of the great late-game powerhouses as good siege units and technology are a must-have. The Chinese also feature a lot of other notable things such as: free Chemistry tech at Age 4, Zhuge Nu— Repeater crossbowman unique unit, Fire Lancer— Light cavalry unique unit, Grenadier— unit that throws grenades which deal area of effect damage, 20% faster docks and the Dynasty mechanic that grants them special bonuses for building landmarks. One thing the Chinese lack in is early-game power, as their early-game units don't outperform others and this is why most players lose in the first half of the game.
Note - Chinese are currently somewhere in-between of the B and C tier in the AoE4 Tier List, mostly because of the fact that the Nest of Bees is not outperforming Mangonels the way it should, suspected due to a bug, you can read more about it here.
Holy Roman Empire is really good due to the Early Man-at-Arms that perform well versus enemy Archers and Spearmen in Feudal Age but overall they're lacking in a lot of places. They also have several Castle Age upgrades for Barracks units as well as a Landsknecht unique light melee infantry. These units have enormous two-handed swords that are effective in mixed armies due to the splash damage from their melee attacks. The Prelate are also one of the unique Holy Roman units and they can automatically inspire Villagers in order to improve their gathering rate by up to 50% as well as extract additional Gold from Relics. They can be made from the Dark Age and beyond for 100 Gold, meaning that they're an excellent way to boost the civilization's economy all the way throughout the entire game. Their buildings that get constructed near a Town Center or Keep gain the ability to repair themselves. Holy Roman Empire notable buildings and technology: Elzbach Palace— makes all buildings within its influence take 33% less damage, Palace of Swabia— Villagers are made 75% faster at only 35% of their initial cost, Devoutness— inspired Villagers gather resources 10% faster and Meinwerk Palace— acts as a Blacksmith that has 25% cheaper technology research.