With limited resources and closed-off entrances, the Arena is a true test of a player’s strategic prowess.

Choosing the right Civilization can make all the difference in whether you emerge victorious or meet a swift defeat.

Here’s our Arena Civ tier list for Age of Empires 2 to help you reign supreme. We’ve put them in alphabetical order to help you find what you need quickly.

The Best Civs for Arena

S Tier
Bohemians, Burgundians, Poles, Turks
A Tier
Aztecs, Bengalis, Byzantines, Malay, Gurjara, Hindustanis, Khmer, Malay, Mongols,
B Tier
Bulgarians, Burmese, Ethiopians, Franks, Incas, Italians, Japanese, Koreans, Malians, Mayans, Persians, Portuguese, Slavs, Teutons, Spanish
C Tier
Berbers, Celts, Chinese, Cumans, Dravidians, Lithuanians, Saracens, Sicilians, Vietnamese
D Tier
Goths, Huns, Magyars, Tatars, Vikings

Aztecs – A Tier

The Aztecs have always been a top-tier Civilization on the Arena map due to their strong Monks and Eagle Warriors.

They used to be the best Civilization on the map but have fallen in strength since their heyday in 2016 somewhat.

Nowadays, they are still really good, but not as strong as before.

We’ve put them in the A Tier for their fast production, strong economy, and the importance of relics, which count even more for the Aztecs.

However, getting relics now is more challenging due to the light-cap Civilizations’ strength.

Despite this, they are still a force to be reckoned with, especially in the mid to late game, where they are carried by their Monks.

Bengalis – A Tier

Next, we have the Bengalis, a Civilization that also falls in the A Tier.

They may not have the best units in the game, but they have a fantastic economy, making them a viable option on the Arena map.

Their unique bonus of getting extra villagers per age on the Arena map means they start with a significant economic advantage.

With stonewalls as the starting point, they have an uncontested eco-advantage, making it tough for the opponent to pressure or kill any villagers. This makes them a great option for defensive gameplay.

They also have Monks with extra armor and a unique tech that allows their villagers to take up less population space, allowing for a more significant military presence.

While they may not be as powerful as the Aztecs, they are just as potent and interchangeable, depending on your playstyle.

Berbers – C Tier

Berbers lack a quick, powerful unit at the beginning of the game.

They do have the cavalry line, but it takes a while to get going. On top of that, cavalry units are not very effective in Arena. 

When you consider all that, you start to understand the problem that the Berbers face on this map.

If, for some reason, this Civilization can succeed in the early game and go for better units, they might have a chance to compete normally against their adversary. Unfortunately, that is usually not that common.

Although they are not the worst Civilization to use in Arena, they are also far from being the best, putting them squarely into the C tier.

Bohemians – S Tier

The Bohemians are a top-tier Civilization on the Arena map due to their strong late-game composition. 

If you let them get all they need, the Bohemian army will include Hoof Nees, Monks, Hand Cannoneers, and Bombard Cannons. 

What sets them apart from other Civilizations is the fact that they get chemistry in Castle Age, which allows them to get Hand Cannoneers early on and Bomber Cannons instantly once they reach Imperial Age. 

Their economy is not the best, but it’s decent enough to get their late game composition going, which is the perfect thing for Arena maps.

Overall, the Bohemians are a great choice for players who want to dominate the late game with a powerful composition.

Britons – A Tier

Once the best, now just very good, the Britons are still a viable option for players who enjoy a more defensive and economic playstyle. 

Their unique bonus of having cheap Town Centers and a sheep gathering bonus gives them a strong economic advantage in the early game. However, they often struggle in the late game against Civilizations with strong ranged units. 

Their main unit, the Longbowman, is a great archer unit, but it’s not enough to counter Civilizations with good siege and hand cannon units.

Britons also have a hard time fighting for relics due to their light cavalry not being anything special.

Despite these weaknesses, the Britons are still a solid choice.

Bulgarians – B Tier

The Bulgarians are a decent Civilization on the Arena map, with solid options in their strong cavalry and infantry. However, they lack in the range unit department, making them vulnerable to Civilizations with strong ranged units.

Their economy is decent but not exceptional, and their Siege Onagers are a great tool.

Still, sustaining their Town Centers’ production early on is challenging and doesn’t make up for their reduced cost.

In the end, although they might sound good in a few ways, it’s really hard for them to compete with their opponents.

Despite these weaknesses, the Bulgarians are still a solid choice for players who enjoy a balanced playstyle with a mix of cavalry, infantry, and siege units. They are not terrible, but it can be hard for them to handle a top-tier adversary.

Burgundians – S Tier

Due to their ability to generate gold quickly, this Civilization is able to assemble a formidable army quite early. This alone already makes this Civilization dangerous to deal with.

Their unique unit, the Coustillier, is a powerful cavalry unit that can inflict substantial damage.

Furthermore, the Burgundians have access to both powerful Monks and gunpowder units, allowing them to adapt to different situations on the Arena map with ease.

As if that weren’t enough, the Burgundians have a unique technology that enables their villagers to generate gold, further strengthening their economy.

Overall, the Burgundians are a fast-paced and aggressive Civilization that is well-suited to players who prefer an offensive approach.

With their impressive economic and military advantages, they’re an excellent choice for those who want to dominate their opponents early on.

Burmese – B Tier

The Burmese are not the greatest Civilization, but they do get to show off a bit more on the Arena map.

While they are at most upper mid-tier, they definitely have the tools and units to be viable.

Their economy is solid with free wood upgrades, and their Monks have exceptional abilities. Plus, they get a discount on all techs, which is always a nice perk. 

Their late-game is reliable with impressive infantry and passable siege and cavalry units. However, their range department is lacking.

Still, they have the Ramba, a unique and powerful range unit that can hold its own.

Overall, the Burmese have a lot going for them, with a good economy, strong Monks, and impressive military units. 

While they may not be strong enough to compete with the top-tier Civilizations, they are far from bad and worth considering for players who enjoy all-around balanced gameplay. 

Byzantines – A Tier

The Byzantines are a powerful Civilization that boasts numerous benefits.

They offer cheaper Imperials, cost-effective camels, formidable Monks with exceptional healing capabilities, cost-efficient Halberdiers, and dominant late-game units like the Cataphract and Bomber Cannons, in addition to their robust buildings.

With their versatility, the Byzantines pose a threat in all stages of the game, making them a formidable opponent.

However, while they are a tier above the rest, they are not strong enough to compete with top-tier Civilizations.

Celts – C Tier

Despite being a siege and infantry civilization, the Celts perform poorly against Monks on Arena, making them a questionable choice for high-level players.

While the Celts have a strong early game, their late-game units are subpar.

For most players, the Celts are a C-tier civilization.

In contrast, Berbers offer a clearer win condition and cheaper light cavalry, giving them a better chance of securing relics, something the Celts are not known for.

Chinese – B Tier

The Chinese are a classic B-tier civilization, occupying the middle ground and ranking below Bulgarians.

Although they have a strong economy in the early game, they tend to fall off in the late game.

This means that players who choose the Chinese Civilization must focus on winning the game early on in the match, which can be quite challenging to achieve on Arena.

Cumans – B Tier

The Cumans are decent in Arena, but mostly because they are a bit gimmicky. Unfortunately, an experienced player won’t fall for their tricks.

Their main strategy involves a 2 Town Center boom, which may seem overpowered but is only effective at lower levels of play.

This approach is most effective on the Arena map, where players can focus on building up their economy.

Once they’ve reached the Castle Age, they can choose to add two more Town Centers and push toward the late game, or they can rush to the Imperial Age.

The Cumans’ biggest weakness lies in their composition, which becomes weaker as the game goes on.

Dravidians – C Tier

Next up, we have the Dravidians. Although they may not appear to be a promising Civilization due to their weak late-game units, their composition can be advantageous.

However, they are not able to exert pressure on the opponent on the Arena map. We would rank them just behind the Kells.

The Ethiopians follow closely behind the Dravidians due to their strong units. However, their economy bonus is inconsistent and is only useful in open maps.

The Burgundians and the Bengalis are preferred over Civilizations like Ethiopians, Persians, and Lithuanians, as their consistent eco bonuses provide a more significant advantage in the long term.

Ethiopians – B Tier

The Ethiopians are a strong Civilization in terms of units, but their bonus is not consistent. They have a power spike bonus that is better suited for open maps.

On closed maps, consistent bonuses are more favorable, such as those provided by the Burgundians or the Bulgarians.

Both of these Civilizations give a consistent eco bonus that is much better than a power spike bonus like Ethiopians.

The difference between Ethiopians, Lithuanians, and Persians is that they all receive free resources, but Burgundians or Bulgarians get two extra villagers, which will gather more resources over time.

Franks – B Tier

The Franks are always a decent Civilization and are much stronger than the Bulgarians.

They offer a similar composition, but their heavy plow is an easier eco bonus to use, and they only require a three DC boom, which can easily be boosted with a hand card.

Their cheaper castles also act like Kreposts, making them an efficient Civilization. Their late-game Paladins could also be a threat, especially against Civilizations that lack Halberds.

Goths – D Tier

Goths are a strong Civilization at lower levels. They are especially good in maps where they get a free boom and can go for infantry spam.

However, they struggle against anti-infantry compositions such as Mangonels, Hand Cannoneers, and Monks.

They lack options beyond sniping Siege or Monk with Bomber Cannons and are heavily gated by anti-in compositions.

With a weak eco bonus, the Goths are not a strong Civilization. They’re arguably one of the worst if your opponent understands what they are fighting against.

Their lack of options and their reliance on infantry units do not help in Arena. Besides, the Goths don’t have a strong economy, and their late game is weak compared to other Civilizations.

Gurjara – A Tier

The Gurjara have good matchups versus many Civilizations because of their strong camels. Their Camel Scout is excellent for fighting over relics.

You can play both Scouts and camels to snipe Monks when playing Gurjara, which is a useful Arena strategy. It can also help you defend your own Monks.

This Civ might not be the most impressive one in this tier, but it is solid and better than most.

Hindustanis – A Tier

The Hindustanis are an A-tier Civilization due to their extremely powerful eco-bonus.

Although the Hindustanis don’t have access to Knights, it doesn’t affect them on Arena, which is why they end up being very good on this map.

Their strong late-game composition combined with their eco bonus makes them stand out as a very strong Civilization.

Besides, they also have good unique unity to fight armor infantry. The Ghulam is a fast infantry unit that can easily deal with armored enemies.

Huns – D Tier

The Huns are a low-tier Civilization in general, but they’re especially bad in Arena.  

As mentioned above, cavalry units don’t excel on this map. Unfortunately, the Huns’ most important feature is their strong cavalry.

The Huns also have bad Monks, no Bomber Cannons, and a weak economy. 

Generally speaking, there is no point in using the Huns on Arena since most Civilizations will be a significant pain to fight against.

Incas – B Tier

Incas are a solid B-tier civilization with many viable options to win games if played correctly. 

However, their strength does not translate well in Arena, as some of the top Civilizations can easily counter them. 

Despite this, Incas have a good mix of units, including Slingers to counter infantry, Eagle Warriors to counter Archers, Kamayuks for cavalry, and decent Monks and Skirmishers.

Their economy isn’t the best, but they are a decent Civilization overall. They are better in different contexts, but their balanced approach to the game is affected by the way Arena works.

Italians – B Tier

Italians are also a B-tier Civ, with early Age discounts and a powerful late-game composition with Arbalists, Bombard Cannons, and Genoese Crossbowmen.

They also have strong Monks and Condottierro units for fast attacks.

The Italians suffer a bit from having good units against the cavalry that nobody uses on Arena. Still, there is a lot that can be done with their Civilization bonuses.

For instance, advancing to the next Age costs 15% less to this Civilization, and they also have cheaper gunpowder units.

Not only are gunpowder units cheaper for the Italians, but they also have a unique anti-gun unit called Condottiero. So, they won’t dominate the game, but they do have the tools to fight back against stronger opponents.

Japanese – B Tier

Japanese are a strong B-tier Civilization, with good Monks, cheap army units like the Yumi Archers, and strong defenses with Yasama towers and traps.

However, they lack a Bombard Cannon, which can be a disadvantage in some situations.

To use the Japanese Civilization effectively, you’ll need to make sure that you understand how to play to their strengths and how their strengths apply to the Arena map.

If played correctly, the Japanese can be a better civilization than the Italians. Still, they have some weaknesses that can hold them back.

Khmer – A Tier

The Khmer civilization is an A-Tier civilization on Arena, primarily due to their Ballista Elephants, which are powerful units in the late game. 

They also have strong Scorpions and siege units.

You can also use the Khmer’s Hussars to back up your most powerful units, which makes the Khmer harder to deal with. 

Their Battle Elephants are also quite powerful. 

This Civilization’s biggest advantage in the Arena map is its excellent economy. They do not require a Market or Blacksmith, or any other building, to advance to the next Age. 

Koreans – B Tier

The Koreans are a decent Civilization on Arena, but they are not as strong as they seem. 

This Civilization has many things that seem great and should work, such as Guard Towers and siege units. However, most of them end up being a waste of resources on this map.

They have a bit of trouble fighting for relics, but their Guard Towers are a great advantage.

Their Monks are average, but their tech tree is decent.

That being said, they have good units such as War Wagons and cheap Halberdier Skirmishers. 

Lithuanians – C Tier

The Lithuanians are a C-Tier civilization for the Arena map.

Although they sound like a good Civilization with their extra attack on cavalry units obtained by collecting relics, they are not very effective in practice. 

Opponents can counter their cavalry with anti-cavalry units such as Halberdiers or Monks. 

The Lithuanians are then forced to play Skirmishers and other secondary units, but they do not have a consistent economic bonus to support them.

They are not a great Civilization for fighting against an anti-cavalry composition, and their scrims are their good secondary units. 

They can be effective if they manage to collect relics and make cavalry units, especially light cavalry, but this is a rare occurrence.

Magyars – D Tier

The Magyars are a weak Civilization on Arena. They have a better late game than the Huns, but they are still not strong enough to be considered higher than D Tier.

They are weak in terms of Monks, do not have Bomber Cannons, and have a weak economy.

Overall, there is not much reason to use the Magyars on Arena since they are not competitive against most Civilizations.

Malay – A Tier

The Malay Civilization is often underestimated due to their generally average or weak units, but they are actually incredibly strong on the Arena map.

They have a consistent economic bonus that allows them to advance to the next Age quickly, granting extra villagers.

They save two villagers in the Feudal Age, four in the Castle Age, and seven in the Imperial Age, depending on the map and the situation. This gives them a significant advantage early on, similar to the Bengalis.

Malians – B Tier

Malians are a Civilization that is hard to place on the Arena map. They have a good economy with their wood buildings, which can lead to a nice boom, but their units are not great.

Their cavalry is good, but it doesn’t help much in Arena, as mentioned before. On top of that, their Champions are not very threatening, even with extra pierce armor.

The Malian Champions are not effective against siege weapons or even basic units like the Arbalest.

Their siege is nothing special without Siege Engineers, and they don’t have any outstanding units to make up for it.

Overall, Malians are a decent Civilization with a little bit of everything, but they don’t excel in any particular area.

Mayans – B Tier

The Mayans are a decent Civilization on most maps, but not in Arena.

Their cavalry is weak, but this doesn’t matter much for Arena. However, although they have good Siege and Archers, their infantry is also weak.

Their Champions are not very threatening and can’t stand up to units like the Arbalest or the Mangonel. The Mayans are not well-suited to deal with units that are effective on the Arena map.

They do have a good economy with their wood buildings, and their Archers and Siege can be effective. Still, overall, they are a mediocre Civilization on the Arena map.

Mongols – B Tier

The Mongols are a Civilization that shares similar weaknesses with the Magyars. They have a solid late game but struggle in the early stages.

Their bonus for hunting provides a temporary power spike that helps them reach the Feudal Age faster.

Still, beyond that, they only have a few options. Compared to Civilizations like the Burgundians, who can get free eco upgrades, the Mongols’ hunting bonus isn’t great.

Persians – B Tier

The Persians are a decent choice for Arena, with a good boom and an easy time fighting for relics. They have a solid late game and can produce trash units like Halberdiers and Hussars.

However, their main weakness is their vulnerability to Monks since they lack the Heresy technology.

In light of this, they fall into the B Tier.

Poles – S Tier

The Poles are probably the best Civilization for Arena.

With their overpowered Four-Work Farm bonus, they have a fantastic economy and can put early-game pressure on their opponents.

They have a strong late game with options like Arbalests, Bombard Cannons with Siege Engineers, and Redemption and Sanctity-upgraded Monks. With Winged Hussars, they also have a unique trample damage bonus.

Overall, the Poles feel like the perfect Civilization. Their strong tech tree, excellent eco bonuses, and early-game pressure options make them nearly unstoppable.

If you know how to use their strengths, the Poles will have the upper hand against any other civilization.

Portuguese – A Tier

The Portuguese Civ has a bonus that allows them to gather wood from berry bushes, which gives them a significant early-game advantage.

By utilizing this bonus, they can forego the Lumber Camp and get an early Castle to rush with their unique unit, the Organ Gun.

This can be very oppressive for the opponent, making the Portuguese a force to be reckoned with in the early game due to their sudden power spike.

There’s more.

As they progress to the late game, they have access to the powerful and cost-effective Feitoria, which can produce resources at a faster rate than traditional villager units. With this, they can quickly get ahead of their opponent and produce a formidable army.

Although we are placing the Portuguese in the A Tier, not even the Poles can stop them if they fail to prevent them from going for an Organ Gun rush.

Saracens – C Tier

The Saracens have a good late game and have some bonuses to their Ships and trading.

Unfortunately, even though they have a pretty decent late game, their bonuses are not the most useful on this map.

If you can survive up to the late game, you might have a chance to win, but you will struggle all the way to the Imperial Age.

Generally speaking, this is just one of those Civilizations that only has one strength, and you would be better off playing a different one.

Sicilians – C Tier

The Sicilians have a strong economic boom, but their military options aren’t particularly impressive.

However, they do have a variety of different options available in the late game.

Their Town Center is built quickly, allowing them to get three or four up early, and they also get a bonus of 100 stone, similar to the Bulgarians.

Unfortunately, the Bulgarians have better units and options, making the Sicilians less appealing.

Slavs – B Tier

Slavs require a good economy to make the most of their units, but once established, they can spam cavalry, infantry, and siege.

They have good options for Arena, and for that reason, they belong in the B Tier, perhaps just above the Bulgarians and Persians.

The Slavs are a slow Civilization, but they have strong infantry and siege. Their Monks are pretty decent as well.

Spanish – B Tier

The Spanish are a solid choice for Arena, with the Conquistadors making them an annoying Civilization to have as an enemy.

They also have good late-game tech, nice flexibility, strong Monks, and eco bonuses that allow for faster building of Town Centers.

However, Conquistadors are costly in terms of food, which is a harder resource to gather in comparison to wood.

This can be a disadvantage when you have a lower economy. As a result, they fall behind the Portuguese and the Poles in terms of early-game power.

Tatars – D Tier

Tatars are a cavalry Civilization with no Bombard Cannon. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make use of their power spikes.

The free Thumbling only works in the late game, and it’s not that great of a bonus.

Frankly, this isn’t a great Civilization in the competitive scene, especially when you are playing on Arena.

Teutons – B Tier

Teutons are a solid Civilization for Arena with a strong late game.

They have access to all the critical upgrades for their units, making them a formidable force in the later stages of the game.

Their unique unit, the Teutonic Knight, is one of the most durable units in the game and can be an absolute nightmare to deal with if used correctly.

Although they lack mobility and are slow, their army is powerful enough to make up for it.

Turks – S Tier

Turks are a versatile Civilization that can excel in almost any situation. Their unique unit, the Janissary, is a formidable ranged unit that can destroy almost anything in its path.

They also have access to the fastest unit in the game, the Hussar, making them a force to be reckoned with in the early game.

Their economy is not as strong as some other Civilizations, but they can make up for it with their powerful army.

The Turks are an excellent choice for players who enjoy an aggressive playstyle, which can work well on this map.

Vietnamese – C Tier

The Vietnamese are not horrible, but they don’t really stand out at anything.

Their Rattan Archers are good but can be easily countered by Skirmishers or Huskarls.

The unique Vietnamese unit, the Paper Money, can also give them a boost in the late game by providing extra gold. However, it requires significant planning to make the most of it.

Still, playing Vietnamese is like playing a lesser version of other Civilizations.

Vikings – D Tier

The Vikings are often seen as weak due to their lack of key units like Monks with Redemption and Bomber Cannons. Their siege units also fall short compared to other Civilizations.

Despite being infantry-based like the Goths, the Vikings lack technologies that could give them an edge in combat.

Although their economy is robust, it’s not enough to secure victories against Civilizations with stronger units and power spikes.

As a result, many players regard the Vikings as one of the weakest Civilizations in Arena.