How to pick the right Pantheon in civilization 6 Gathering Storm. I put together a pantheon guide that shows my thinking process that I hope will be valuable to you. I combined each pantheon into a priority tier.It does not mean that the Pantheon is good or bad, but rather an order I would pick, given normal starting conditions. The selection flows group to group in ascending number order. You can download the graphic along with other resources on my website comradekaine.com.
But first, what is a Pantheon and how to get it fast?
If you are an experienced player, then skip to the Pantheon Selection section.
A pantheon is an early religious belief that provides a bonus based on various factors, but most are map-related like the terrain and resources. In Civilization VI Gathering Storm a pantheon is founded automatically by each player, as long as the faith requirement is met. You would need to earn 25 Faith on standard speed to unlock a pantheon. Naturally, a player who saves 25 faith first will have the dibs on the best pantheon, then the second one, the third and so on. So to get a good quality pantheon, you’d need to get to it before other players. Every game is different, but in my experience, the turn range for selecting a pantheon can range from 16 to 50 depending on the game.
How do you get 25 faith faster?
Here is the list of the early faith sources:
- The most common source is God King government policy, which is unlocked with the Code of Laws civic (which costs 20 culture) and provides +1 Faith/turn. It means that earning early culture will help unlock this policy faster. Like meeting a culture city state first or playing as Trajan and starting with a free Monument that provides +2 culture right away. But +1 faith is not great.
- Unlocking a Tribal village could provide faith in two ways:
- As a one-time 20 Faith bonus.
- Or as A relic which generates +4 Faith/turn. Which is by far the strongest start for any victory. Because you can reach a pantheon much quicker, but also generate tourism right away or trade the relic for an insane amount of early gold.
- Next source is a Religious city-state. It provides +1 faith/turn with one envoy. If you meet a city state first then you earn one envoy right away automatically. Exploration is important.
- Then there are Tiles that provide faith:
- Tiles with Luxury resources like Dyes, Incense, Pearls and Tobacco. Try to settle a city right on one of these resources to get access to faith right away.
- Tiles with Natural Wonders: Crater Lake, Dead Sea, Delicate Arch, Mato Tipila, Mt Everest, Mt Roraima, Ubsunur Hollow, Uluru.
- The last, but not least is a Leader who starts with Faith as part of the trait or civ ability.
- Russia (+1 on tundra), Indonesia (+2 city center coast), or Mali (+1 city center desert).
What is the strongest pantheon?
Once you earn enough faith, the pantheon selection becomes available. The decision to pick the best pantheon is situational, like so many other things in the game. There could be a game for each pantheon. Nonetheless, here are my thoughts.
Religious Settlements pantheon is a strong and straightforward choice, especially if there is a solid second city location with access to more lucrative tiles and luxury resources. The more cities you have early, the more yields you can earn. AI does prioritize this pantheon, so your best chance to grab it comes between turn 10-16, which is not easy. Rome’s leader Trajan has a decent synergy with this pantheon, because of free monuments, meaning high early culture. honorable mention of other city center bonus civs like Mali or Indonesia. A weaker synergy for this pantheon is governor Reyna whose default promotion helps city borders expand 20% faster.
The first question I would ask is:
Are you playing as a Leader of any early domination Civ? If so, are your neighbors close by for an early conquest rush? If the answer is yes, then consider God of the Forge pantheon to produce units 25% faster. Coupled with the Agoge policy card, the ranged and melee unit production bonus adds up to 75%. Additionally, consider civs with cheaper production cost units or Nubia that has its own 30% production bonus toward the ranged units.
If the answer is no, then I would ask:
Are you planning on a religious or culture victory game? Then consider Monument to the Gods that provides a 15% boost to Ancient and Classical wonder production. There are 19 wonders between these two eras, and some of them can define your game. Corvee policy adds another 15% boost and Autocracy government an additional 10% – for a total of 40% wonder production boost. Additionally, you can get beautiful synergy playing as Qin of China (15% builder charge) or Cleopatra of Egypt (15% next to river). Suzerainty of Brussels city-state will give you another 15% production bonus. And don’t forget France that gets 100% tourism boost for all wonders built. So early wonders like Stonehenge and Mahabodhi Temple can give you an edge in a religious game. Whereas other wonders like Oracle and Apadana will prove useful for the culture push.
On to so-called adjacency Pantheons. Each requires a Holy Site district and is recommended to be coupled with the Work Ethic belief and Scripture policy to result in high faith and high production output.
- Dance of Aurora is the strongest choice of the three, provided you can build at least 3-4 holy sites in good cities. Tundra allows woods to be planted as well, increasing Faith adjacency of the holy sites even further. Add St. Basils’ cathedral to your tundra city and enjoy the giant yields. Pick Russia or try Canada for the best synergy.
- Desert Folklore is the second strongest adjacency pantheon. Similar to Aurora, but with no woods to increase adjacency bonus. Add Petra, Nazca lines improvement to boost the yields. Pick Mali as the strongest synergy civ, with Egypt or Nubia as runner-ups.
- Sacred Path drops to Tier 2 for two reasons: Rainforests are not as abundant as tundra or desert terrain making holy site placement limited. And rainforests often have to be chopped in favor of districts or production boost, reducing the adjacency bonus. Build Chichen Itza to boost the rainforest yields and pick Brazil for the highest synergy level. Consider Nzinga and Ba Triue as runner-ups.
Now one of the best pantheons outside of Tier 1 choice is Goddess of Festivals because of its culture synergy from the plantation resources. Culture is paramount to any victory type, especially on the early stages where you need to get to that first government, governor, government policies and envoys. So it is universally beneficial. All plantation resources, but bananas, are luxuries. Meaning they should be prioritized for improvement and cannot be harvested, so the culture yield stays for the rest of the game. I would look for at least 5 plantations in the immediate settling area to make this pantheon worthwhile. Gran Colombia and Maya should have direct synergy with this pantheon due to the starting bias.
God of the Sky pantheon is similar to the Goddess of Festivals in the way of culture, however pastures like the sheep and cattle can be harvested in favor of food to rush city growth. Australia and Scythia should have direct synergy due to the starting bias. Look for at least 5 pastures in the immediate settling area.
River Goddess is arguably one of the strongest pantheons. As long as you can build several holy site districts. It allows your cities to grow faster, therefore provide more yields. It works best with Khmer civilization that benefits from large population cities. Consider other civs biased to spawning on the rivers like Hungary and Babylon.
Divine Spark is very versatile and universal. It is a super early source for great people points and an easy strong choice for a culture, science or religion victory game even for a novice player. It is sort of hard to quantify the impact, but coupled with Oracle wonder and Pingala’s Grants promotion it provides a powerful combination.
We have looked at generally “the best pantheons” so far. Now let’s go in the weeds and look at the first one from “the best of the rest”
Goddess of the Hunt – provides extra food and production from Camps. This is the only Pantheon that provides extra food. A camp can be built on a bonus deer resource or luxury resources like Furs, Ivory, Truffles and Honey. Consider building the Temple of Artemis wonder that has a requirement to be built adjacent to a camp and provides amenities for each camp or pasture or plantation. Canada is one of the civs that can benefit from this Pantheon, because its Camps already provide +2 food. If the Dance of Aurora is not available, then this could be your choice. I would select this Pantheon, if I see at least 6-8 potential camps that could be built early. Research animal husbandry to be able to build a camp.
Fire Goddess has a strong +2 Faith yield from volcanic or geothermal tiles that dont need to be improved. Try a Primordial new age type map and play as Spain or Hungary as your civ, that both have a starting bias towards such terrain. Honorable mention is Kupe whose improvement gets +1 faith and +1 culture from passable features that include volcanic soil and geothermals. This Pantheon is a risky one, geothermals is one thing, but not every volcano erupts and you would need at least 3 Volcanoes to make it worthwhile. Spawning next to MT Kilimanjaro or Vesuvius might make this decision easier.
Lady of the Reeds and Marshes offers +2 production per Marsh, Oasis or Desert Flood Plains tiles. This is another terrain Pantheon that does not need tile improvement and early production can be very powerful indeed. But it is just as dependent on the map as Fire Goddess. How often do you spawn in the swamps with at least 4 tiles? You’d need to customize the map to primordial wet, but otherwise it’s relatively rare. Also keep in mind that clearing marshes provides a food boost to city population and raises the appeal of the surrounding tiles that might be used for a national park. Other synergies could be found with the desert civs like Egypt that benefit from desert flood plains and oasis terrain, because of the starting bias. Although Egypt needs tiles along the river to build districts and wonders to take full advantage of its traits. And dont forget Etemanaki wonder that adds science and production yields to them marches tiles.
Religious Idols – is another +2 faith Pantheon. But in this case the yield comes from a tile with a mine improvement over luxury and bonus resources like Copper, Amber, Diamonds, Jade, Mercury, Salt and Silver. The only resource you can harvest is copper, meaning that this pantheon does not have a high opportunity cost. Mining is an early tech and production early is necessary, so you could take advantage of it immediately. Keep in mind that strategic resources like iron do not produce the bonus yield. It’s a pretty straightforward choice with civs like Mali, Gaul and Nubia that can take advantage of their starting bias towards mining resources.
God of the Sea is a decent choice for any seafaring or coastal civ, like Portugal, Norway, Maori, Indonesia. Just remember that it is Fishing Boat improvement that provides the yield, not a sea resource by itself. I would select it when there are at least 6 tiles in the immediate settling area. But even then I would still look for a Pantheon that provides culture or faith first, because either one has a much stronger impact on the course of the game.
Earth Goddess only offers +1 faith per tile with Breathtaking appeal. The appeal of +4 is not easy to come by and this Pantheon works best when there is a Natural Wonder nearby or if you play as Teddy Bull Moose who has a starting bias towards high appeal tiles and his traits that directly benefit from the appeal. Inca is another civ that directly benefits from this Pantheon, because they can work mountain tiles that have breathtaking appeal by default, so you can generate faith quickly, but it’s still just +1 faith per tile.
Stone Circles pantheon is similar to religious idols, in that it gets +2 faith per improvement, but it is harder to execute because the improvement is a quarry. First, you need a higher level tech of masonry to be able to build one and second the quarry resources are very limited,. You have Stone, Marble and Gypsum only. And usually it is more efficient to harvest Stone in favor of rushing production than keeping a quarry, so I would even drop this pantheon lower on the list to be honest.
Fertility Rites pantheon might look like a great deal with the free builder and I am sure to get quite a bit of flak for ranking it so low on my choice list. However, I put it at the bottom of Group 4 because the 10% growth rate is applied to excess food only. Perhaps it could work better with Hanging Gardens wonder that provides another 10% growth and leaders like Nzinga or Lady Six Sky whose traits also provide boosts to all yields including food. And sure, you get eureka boosts through improving the land with that free builder, but I feel that the opportunity cost for picking this pantheon is just too high in favor of other pantheons that provide more impactful bonuses overall.
God of Craftsmen requires access to strategic resources and it has a lasting effect as you uncover new resources going through the tech tree. But I ranked it lower on my list because I value the Pantheon impact early in the game, the first 75-100 turns. The only strategic resources you get at that stage are iron and horses. And how often do we find just 1 source of iron and jump for joy. By the time Niter or Coal come online, we already have access to industrial zone’s district buildings, dam and aqueduct that can boost production. And +1 faith just does not seem like much later in the game as opposed to early game. England has the prime spot here with iron starting bias, as well as pasture civs like Scythia and Mongols that get access to horses.
City Patron Goddess provides district production boost to newer cities, meaning under size 7. It might work well with civs that have district production bonuses like Nubia or Egypt, or with Luang tier 2 title of Zoning Commissioner, but that’s quite a stretch. Overall, this pantheon sucks and there are just better and stronger pantheons that can boost culture, faith or production output overall and not limited to district production.
Initiation Rites earn some faith for clearing barb outposts. How many outposts do you clear early in the game – 5, If that? I can see Gilgabro or Caesar taking some advantage of this type of bonus, but beyond that it seems weak to me and would never be even my 3rd choice.
God of War now we are getting really in the shitter. This pantheon requires combat, and it requires combat to take place around Holy Sites. It is constructed for the fans of complexity. But if you are surrounded by faith driven civilizations that build holy sites and you dont mind going to war, then play as Tamar of Georgia and get another 50% of faith for each unit killed (thankfully holy site is not a requirement for her). Tamar seems to be the only leader that can make this Pantheon somewhat work. Otherwise, this is complete trash, it stinks.
God of Healing is again another Pantheon that requires a holy site to make it work. AND guess what this time it has to be your own holy site, meaning that it works best for a defensive war. How often would you use this bonus in your game? I have never picked this Pantheon before, because it is a piece of garbage. Don’t. Just dont.
Well you know that this so-called tier list is controversial, but it opens a dialogue and provides some food for thought. It is, just like any other tier list is an opinion and every game decision is situational. But I do encourage you to try new things and have fun playing. Thank you for watching and One. More. Turn.