The Best Civilizations in Age of Empires 4

Image credit: Relic Entertainment, World's Edge

Competitive players will always be looking for advantages and consistent ways of achieving victory. The best build, the best counters, how to micro better, and more.

However, before all that, players have to make a choice that already impacts them competitively and demands a lot of dedication — their main civilization.

A game that has many options of characters, teams, and factions will always have elements that grant advantages to one that others do not have. Depending on the interactions within each game, such a choice gives players a head start.

In a game with eight different factions, such as Age of Empires 4, it is really hard to perfectly balance them all, making players gravitate towards those they consider to be better.

Although players might disagree on how strong some civilizations are, there are those that clearly cause more trouble to them, and there are those that they might refuse to pick when playing competitively.

If you play for fun, tier lists should not matter to you. Most advantages and disadvantages that some civilizations have will not make a difference to you unless you’re at the highest level.

However, if you are a hardcore real-time strategy player — or even if you are just curious — check our guide below to find out what are the best civilizations in Age of Empires 4.

Age of Empires 4 Civilization Tier List

It’s not easy to determine what makes a faction better than others in Real-Time Strategy games. New Age of Empires 4 strategies, builds, and tactics keep appearing in the competitive scene, along with new counters, techniques, and understanding of specific mechanics.

Still, there are some fundamental things that seem to give you an edge. For instance, how powerful the English Boom Build can be or how hard it is to deal with the Mongols Horsemen Rush.

So we are dividing the civilizations into four tiers.

S Tier: The best civilizations of the game. These have traits that grant them clear competitive advantages against the other civilizations while having no significant weaknesses.

A Tier: These civilizations are clearly strong, but not so strong that they have no weakness to be exploited.

B Tier: You can play these civilizations competitively, and they can perform well, but other players have a much better chance of exploring your weaknesses without any consequences if they play an A-Tier or S-Tier civilization.

C Tier: These are the civilizations that clearly suffer to keep up against the others when it comes to high-level competitive games.

French – S Tier

This is a civilization that is super strong across all ages. The French must be taken seriously from the beginning because they can do everything well.

The only thing that is bad about the French is the fact their villagers can’t really be used for combat. However, you can still use them to build Outposts and walls while producing the soldiers you need.

The French can build Villagers faster when you advance to the next Ages, which grants you an advantage in resource gathering that can snowball over time.

This civilization’s economic Tech is cheap, and their villagers come out faster, which causes their Economy to be stable and reliable overall.

When it comes to unique units, the French have the best armored cavalry in Age of Empires 4. Their royal knights make you question what are the counter units in Age of Empires 4.

French Royal Knights can charge into the enemy frontline and get a damage bonus that makes them trade surprisingly well against Spearmen.

The French have a combination of good units, a solid Economy, and a gameplay simplicity that makes them stand out as both easy to play and powerful, which is why they are in the S Tier.

Rus – S Tier

The Rus have access to the same sort of traditional Economy that most civilizations have, but they also have their Bounty System. Instead of a mill, they have Hunting Cabins.

The Bounty System provides Gold to the Rus player every time their Scout kills an animal, so they can go around killing deers to gain Gold and eventually advance to the next Age without ever mining.

The Hunting Cabins —buildings that substitute the Mills — also generate Gold over time and can produce scouts, so you don’t need to stop producing villagers to increase the number of riders killing animals on the map and increasing your Gold count.

Gold is not that easy to gather in Age of Empires 4. It can be pretty difficult to quickly accumulate a decent quantity of this resource, so it’s easy to see why the Rus have such an advantage over the other civilizations.

They have a strong economy with a lot of momentum from the early game, strong defensive buildings, access to Early Knights, and very durable wooden fortresses that can defend their villagers in case they are attacked during the early game.

On top of all that, the Rus have a Landmark that provides you Deer and have no significant weaknesses.

Some players argue that their late game is weak, but there is nothing wrong with it. It’s not that the Rus have more vulnerable units or lack critical late

game units; it’s just that they don’t have anything special once they get there.

However, they don’t need anything else. By snowballing since the beginning, not having special units will hardly affect the Rus. Also, being ahead in the Economy and knowing what are the unit counters in Age of Empires 4 should be enough to win.

Holy Roman Empire – A Tier

It is hard to place the Holy Roman Empire in the tier list because of how ambiguous some of this civilization’s features can be.

There are players who claim the Romans have the most robust Economy in the game, and if you want to know how to play as the Holy Roman Empire, you must take advantage of it.

This advantage comes from their unique unit, the Prelate. This unit Provides Holy Inspiration to Villagers, making them work 40% faster for 30 seconds.

Although this might be a significant bonus, it needs some micromanaging, and Prelates come from the Town Center, so producing a prelate means one less villager.

This religious unit is their only economic bonus, but it can be more than enough if you know what to do. Unfortunately, it can be a bit complicated to use Prelates effectively, especially if these units get in your way when you are trying to micro your villagers.

When it comes to military units, their Men-at-Arms will always be great as a frontline army, and the fact that you can produce them early will provide you a decent military advantage.

The Romans can actually do quite well against A Tier civilizations. Knowing their best builds and microing their units well can make their Economy superior to anything else in the game.

Still, there are too many variables and too much micromanaging to make everything work effectively, making them fall in the A Tier instead of in the S Tier.

English – A Tier

The English can access one of the game’s best units as soon as they build their first Landmark. The Longbowmen Rush is one of the most annoying tactics in the game.

This civilization also has Landmarks that incentivize them to expand and a passive mechanic that increases the attack speed of their units as long as they are close to certain English buildings.

Another important thing about this civilization is the fact that, unlike other units in the game, the Longbowmen never stop being relevant.

As you advance through the ages, they gain attack speed bonuses, an ability that helps them deal with cavalries, the ability to regenerate when they are stationary, and even more range.

This means that they can keep focusing on wood or Gold, depending on their strategy, when they reach the castle age. It also means that fighting them in their territory is extremely scary because their longbowmen can obliterate an army when they are close to many English structures.

Abbasid Dynasty – B Tier

This is an interesting civilization due to one of their traits, which is being anti-cavalry.

The Abbasids deal very well with the most effective units in Age of Empires 4, countering mighty civilizations such as Mongols, Rus, and French, who have noticeably effective cavalries.

Sadly, not even that makes them consistently effective, and there are ways to deal with their camels as well.

Although they are a 2 Star Difficulty civilization, learning how to play as the Abbasid Dynasty is deceptively hard. Keeping up with everything they must do is quite troubling when you have to constantly micro villagers and military units.

The Abbasid Dynasty feels like a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of civilization. They have all sorts of upgrades and units, but they might spend way too many resources to reach a point where they can compete with the adversary.

Their lack of consistency and the extra effort that goes into making them work causes them to fall behind, ending in the B Tier.

Mongols – B Tier

This civilization has many unique aspects, early game advantages, and several obnoxious builds such as the Town Center drop-off and the Horsemen Rush.

However, if their aggression doesn’t work, they lack the defensive capabilities to survive the mid game.

As time passes in a match, reaching the Imperial Age might cause the Mongols to have one of the most powerful late game Economy. Not only that, but they might also have one of the most powerful armies due to the many upgrades you will be getting. The Mongols’ upgrades are often better than those available to other civilizations.

Still, you won’t have strong defenses. It seems like all the advantages that this civilization has come with a severe downside, which is why they are in the B Tier.

Chinese – C Tier

The Chinese have too many different options to adapt and change. They have mechanics that unlock more technologies, a mighty late

game army, and some effective, unique buildings and units.

However, they are a really hard-to-play civilization, meaning that it takes much more effort to make them work than civilizations such as the English or the French, for instance.

On top of that, the Chinese rarely get to mount their powerful empire to start producing their best units. Other civilizations often leave the Chinese behind in the economic race for having much better bonuses.

This is another case of a civilization with noticeable potential that rarely has the opportunity to show it. Therefore, it lacks the needed efficiency to deal with the other factions.

Being left behind during the early game leads to a weaker mid-game, causing the Chinese to rarely achieve their late game power.

Delhi Sultanate – C Tier

The Delhi Sultanate is a 3 Stars difficulty civilization. Their overcomplicated mechanics become a weakness when Delhi players face easy-to-play, solid civilizations such as the French, the Rus, and even the English.

They lack early game bonuses that make them compete well in the early game. Their free research takes way too long to be finished, making them fall behind even with more resources.

The Delhi Sultanate might have the slowest start of the game, and their upgrades and technologies might not pay off until late game.

Making their “advantages” work in your favor is hard, risky, and depends on many variables. Much like the Chinese, by the time they can actually bully the enemy with their superior units, chances are the other civilization will be so far ahead that it won’t matter anymore.

Final Thoughts

Due to the complexity of Real Time Strategy games, the perception of which civilization is better might change entirely over time with new tactics, builds, and counter-plays that we might see in the future.

Not only that, but it’s also a matter of perception and opinion.

However, the placement of the civilizations in the tier list is not as important as the discussion behind why one thinks they are in each tier.

So you might want to check the information available on what makes each civilization stronger or weaker. It’s okay to disagree, but this sort of information might help you understand the characteristics of each faction that you didn’t see as a problem or a strength.

Also, do not feel like you must pick a high tier civilization to win or to have fun. If you are not a professional player, tier lists shouldn’t make any difference to you.

Besides, maybe you are the Delhi Sultanate player who will develop a new strategy that makes everyone fear their War Elephants.

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