Unlike the famous Arena map, the AOE 2 Arabia map is notorious for its open terrain and scarce resources, making it a challenging playground for even the most seasoned players.
Wood is found in medium-sized clusters, but sometimes, you’ll find yourself struggling to defend against an enemy rush due to the scattered nature of the resource.
Tier lists are mostly a matter of opinion, and it’s best to take them as conversation starters rather than a complete guide.
Hopefully, this Age of Empires 2 Arabia Civ tier list will help you figure out which are the best Civs for this map and why.
The Best Civs for Arabia
|Chinese, Mayan, Hindustani, Poles|
|Aztecs, Britons, Burgundians, Franks, Gurjaras, Khmer, Portuguese, Vietnamese|
|Bengalis, Berbers, Bohemians, Bulgarians, Burmese, Byzantine, Cumans, Ethiopians, Huns, Incas, Italians, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Magyar, Malay, Malians, Mongols, Saracens, Sicilians, Tatars, Turks|
|Celts, Dravidians, Goths, Persian, Slavs, Spanish, Teutons, Vikings|
Here’s how you should take the sections of this tier list:
- S Tier. Civilizations that have a significant power advantage over the others in this list.
- A Tier. These Civs are solid overall and also have something extra that makes them stand out from average options.
- B Tier. B Tier Civs are not necessarily bad, and they can deal with most of the challenges in the game. That being said, they struggle against the Civs in the A and S Tiers.
- C Tier. Civilizations in this tier aren’t great. They range from below average to terrible.
Below, we’ve given an explanation for every Civilization in alphabetical order.
Aztecs – A Tier
Aztecs are a very solid Civ overall and also rank high on Arena, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re ranking high on Arabia.
They have a good economy and good units, so it makes sense they’d be on the top of the tier list.
Bengalis – B Tier
The Bengalis may have limited unit options but possess a substantial eco bonus. They are a viable option thanks to their monks and elephant archers.
Still, their gameplay is challenging and requires a skilled hand to master.
Berbers – B Tier
The Berbers are a fun and straightforward Civilization with powerful knights in the Castle Age and fast-moving villagers.
They are great for hit-and-run tactics. Berbers can easily escape early pressure and have a solid late game with camel archers.
Their unique playstyle and versatility make them a decent choice.
Bohemians – B Tier
The Bohemians are a top-tier Civilization for Arena but are at most a solid mid-tier choice for Arabia.
They have a strong late game with arquebus hand cannoneers and halberdiers, as well as formidable monks.
While their cavalry is not amazing, they have some pretty good knights.
Britons – A Tier
Britons are a powerful anti-archer Civ with extra range.
Still, they are vulnerable early, so they excel in maps that are easier to wall.
Their unique longbowmen and strong economy bonuses make them a formidable force in the hands of a skilled player.
Bulgarians – B Tier
The Bulgarians have a solid infantry and decent siege, making them a force to be reckoned with in the late game.
They also have decent early-game options for aggressive play.
However, their predictability in early-game military strategy is a weakness that opponents can exploit.
Burgundians – A Tier
The Burgundians are a powerful Civilization.
They can fall behind if pressured early, which is why they don’t rank higher. Still, their overall strength more than makes up for it.
If Burgundians can survive early pressure, they become a huge problem for their foes.
Burmese – B Tier
The Burmese are not that bad, but they aren’t that great either. This Civilization possesses a good economy and can withstand archer attacks.
They can also play Knight-Skirmishers-Archers or Knight-Siege-Monk pushes, and their late game is particularly strong, thanks to their elephants.
Byzantines – B Tier
The Byzantines are a decent Civilization for closed maps, with a focus on defensive options and counters to their opponent’s army composition.
They have good matchups overall, but they lack offensive options like the Bulgarians.
Nonetheless, their unique playstyle and strong defensive capabilities make them a solid choice in the right hands.
Celts – C Tier
The Celts have a strong economy bonus and a solid late game. Their siege and infantry units are really strong once they get to that point.
Unfortunately, they can be a bit challenging to play. All the good units and bonuses might not be enough to make them worth picking.
To make Celts work, you might have to focus on their economy while being aggressive in the Castle Age.
Chinese – S Tier
Chinese are one of the most versatile Civilizations in the game.
With a great economy, a solid tech tree, and powerful late-game options, they dominate in three-wheel random maps.
That said, they can be difficult to play for those at lower elos due to their starting challenges.
Cumans – B Tier
Cumans are unique in that they have access to a second town center, which can be extremely powerful if played correctly.
However, if not handled properly, it can cost them the game. While Cumans offer many options in the feudal age, they may not find success in the hands of most players.
Dravidians – C Tier
Dravidians have decent elephant archers and bombard cannons, similar to Bengalis.
Their cavalry isn’t great, but their Urumi Swordsmen are decent. Their bonus of extra wood per age and cheaper meta arms and infantry upgrades can also be helpful.
Despite this, there’s nothing that makes them stand out in Arabia.
Ethiopians – B Tier
Ethiopians are a decent Civilization overall, with no significant advantages or disadvantages. They are predictable, and they may struggle in some situations.
Still, they are solid enough to be effective when used correctly.
Franks – A Tier
Franks are a formidable Civilization, often ranked high on open maps such as Arabia.
However, when facing some Civilizations, they might find themselves at a disadvantage due to their inability to effectively counter camels.
That being said, they still do well in most matchups. Although dealing with camels can be annoying, it isn’t nearly enough to consider Franks a bad pick.
Goths – C Tier
Although they can be decent if players get the composition they want, Goths are generally considered an easy Civ to play against.
Goths do have a decent late-game, but it feels like making them work is too much effort when compared to higher-tier Civilizations.
Gurjaras – A Tier
Gurjaras are a very powerful Civilization and don’t have many weaknesses. They have a bit of trouble countering crossbow camels and lack pikemen.
That being said, if you can handle those two issues, you are probably going to cause a lot of pain to your adversary.
Gurjaras have strong units, including the Shebangster riders, which are some of the strongest archers in the game, and powerful camels that can take on cavalry.
Additionally, they are one of the few Civilizations that can counter archers well.
Hindustani – S Tier
Hindustani is another amazing Civilization. They have a great economy and exceptional units, especially their camels, which are better than those of the Gurjaras.
They do not have any significant downsides, and their strength lies in their ability to counter other Civs effectively.
Hindustani camels are particularly strong and can easily take on those of other Civilizations, making them formidable opponents.
Huns – B Tier
Huns are a good Civilization, but they don’t really stand out. They have their advantages, but not enough of them to go to the top of the tier list.
They have a decent cavalry but lack housing for walling. It’s hard to rank them higher when other Civilizations seem to be able to do what they do better.
Incas – B Tier
The Incas have good options, and although they don’t have a great economy, they can manage most of their matchups decently enough.
They don’t particularly stand out, though, so they’re a natural fit for the B Tier.
Still, since they are not amazing and don’t really have anything that stands out considerably, they fall into the B Tier.
Italians – B Tier
Although their late game is decent, they overall lack something that makes picking them worth it.
Although they have decent power spikes and a very strong late game, surviving until you get to that point can be troubling.
Japanese – B Tier
The Japanese are a formidable Civilization with a strong early game that revolves around the use of meta arms and efficient resource management.
They excel in saving wood with their unique ability to build lumber camps and mining camps with extra capacity.
The only reason the Japanese don’t rank higher is because other Civs excel significantly in at least one thing.
Khmer – A Tier
The Khmer are probably one of the best Civs for this and most maps. They seem to have very few bad match-ups.
Their flexibility and versatility in gameplay make them an incredibly strong choice. However, they are hard to play, and using their power can take some work.
Overall, they have the tools to deal with pretty much everything. They are not broken but are far from being bad or even average.
Koreans – B Tier
The Koreans are an underrated Civilization that can play a variety of styles, including skirmishers, archers, war wagons, or siege.
While they are not the greatest civilization, they are pretty good and offer a good balance of offense and defense.
Lithuanians – B Tier
The Lithuanians are a Civ with a strong early game. However, they suffer in the mid-game and become predictable in the late game.
Despite this, they offer a great late game arsenal and are a good choice for beginners. Their predictable relic strategy makes them easier to play against, but they can still be a challenge to overcome.
The biggest problem Lithuanians face is surviving mid-game.
Magyars – B Tier
The Magyars are an offensive Civilization and a great choice for beginners, but their predictability makes them easy to defend against.
To make use of their bonus, they need to play a strong early game with scouts or men at arms to put pressure on their opponent.
Though not top-tier, they can still be a challenging opponent for those who underestimate them.
Malay – B Tier
Malay is a flexible Civilization that rewards players who can make it to their powerful late game units.
However, their early game can be quite weak, and getting to the mid-game can be a challenge.
They are a good and strong Civilization. That being said, it takes a lot of effort to make them work, so you won’t see Malay ranking high in most tier lists.
Malians – B Tier
Malians, like many other Civilizations in this list, are good but not amazing.
They can save wood on buildings and make gold last longer. Although they have their advantages, it doesn’t make up for their weaknesses.
Unfortunately, Malians lack a strong unit or bonus to make them worth using. Besides, their late game units can be somewhat underwhelming, too.
Mayans – A Tier
They are particularly good on open maps, such as Arabia.
Mayans are a solid Civilization that can deal with almost every match-up. They have powerful units, powerful, simple strategies, and can be oppressive in the right hands.
Mongols – B Tier
Mongols are a versatile Civilization.
Although both their early and late game is really strong, they unfortunately have a really bad mid-game.
Their scouts have an excellent line of sight in the early game, and they have great siege units, making them a good option for players who prefer a more aggressive playstyle.
Unfortunately, they can struggle against Civilizations that have a better mid-game.
Persians – C Tier
Persians are a difficult Civilization to play, with their only viable strategy being a one TC push.
Since there aren’t many strategies to make Persians viable, it can’t really compete fairly against solid civilizations.
Poles – S Tier
Poles currently have a double eco bonus, which allows them to gain a significant economic advantage early on.
They can be very strong if played well, but they are also a challenging Civilization to master.
The issue when playing Poles is the learning curve. It takes a while to understand and master them.
That said, once a player knows what to do, Poles have way too many options for pretty much any situation in the game. They are able to handle everything and counter everything as long as the player knows what to do.
Portuguese – A Tier
The Portuguese Civ seems quite strong thanks to their Organ Gun Rush.
Although this strategy is quite oppressive, it can be stopped.
However, this constant threat, combined with being a somewhat solid Civilization, makes the Portuguese quite powerful.
Saracens – B Tier
Saracens have a dangerous late game but are hard to master. Players must make good use of their Market structure in order to make the most out of this Civilization.
That said, they are decent overall but can struggle against Civilizations that are above average during all periods of the game.
Sicilians – B Tier
This Civilization is hard to play, but it is overall decent. Their sergeant unit is quite powerful and often underrated.
Like most Civilizations in this tier list, they struggle when put against Civilizations that have no significant weaknesses, which is why they are not in the A Tier.
Slavs – C Tier
Although they perform decently on Arena, Slavs don’t really have anything that makes them worth picking on Arabia.
The Slavs are outshined by most Civs in the game and have a lackluster farming bonus.
Spanish – C tier
The Spanish have a slow-paced, one-dimensional early game and a lot of bad matchups.
They do have a flexible late game, which can be advantageous, but overall they are not the strongest Civilization in Arabia.
Tatars – B tier
The Tatars are a decent Civilization with solid power spikes and solid Keshik units.
They have a great heavy cavalry archer lineup, making them a strong choice.
However, they have a poor win rate at higher levels. They’re good but not great.
Teutons – C tier
Teutons have decent ways to end the game early but have terrible late game power.
If you like rushing and high-risk strategies, you might find them fun. Unfortunately, they are likely to lose against Civs when the adversary knows how to stop their early pushes.
Turks – B tier
The Turks are an underrated Civilization with fun units to play with. They have free chemistry and resource-saving bonuses, which can be advantageous.
Although they are hard to play, they are decent on Arabia and are preferred over Behemoths.
Vietnamese – A tier
The Vietnamese are a great Civilization with a strong economy, units, and late game power. They are solid overall , but they seem to lack a bit of power to make them truly shine.
Although the Vietnamese are above B Tier Civs, they still struggle against Meso Civilizations and other high-tier Civilizations.
Vikings – C tier
The Vikings are a defensive Civilization. When it comes to power, economy, and units, they are slightly below average.
On top of that, the Vikings are somewhat easy to play against. Their predictability and underwhelming strategies make them fall to C Tier.