Civ4 AI Survivor Season 5: Leader Previews


One of the small annoyances from the past few AI Survivor seasons was the leader profiles, which I had written for the first competition back in Season One. Although I had tinkered with a few of the profiles around the edges, they had become badly outdated as a group and were ripe for updating to reflect the greater knowledge that the community had gained over time. The driving force behind this update was Ghostpants, one of the community members who had the idea to update the format for these leader profiles. He came up with the new setup and wrote about 20 of the leader profiles while I filled in the remainder. This was a lot of work to put together and major thanks need to be sent to Ghostpants for helping to improve this part of the AI Survivor setup!

As of Season Four, the average AI leader has appeared in 6.5 games with an average of 10.13 total points scored. It's more accurate to look at the median score of 7 points, however, as the ranking list is very top-heavy with the strongest leaders monopolizing the bulk of the total points. As an example of this, the top 10 leaders have a combined 269 points and the bottom 42 leaders have a combined 268 points. The kills are similarly lopsided, with the average leader having scored 3.26 kills but the median leader only counting 2 kills to their name. There was a separate tier of the top six leaders going into Season Four, with the group of Justinian, Huayna Capac, Stalin, Mansa Musa, Julius Caesar, and Kublai Khan all having 29 or more points while no one else had more than 20 points. This group of half a dozen leaders could boast of nearly half of the first place finishes (24 out of 52 = 46%) and more than a third of all points scored over the first four seasons. The total list of all 52 leader profiles are listed below in alphabetical order as a reference, and each individual game preview will draw from this list as the leaders are filled into the bracket.

Leader List


Alexander of the Greeks
Traits: Aggressive, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Fishing, Hunting
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Playoffs
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 2 points, tied 40th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Alex is another of the “warmongers” in Civ 4. He plays with the Aggressive and Philosophical traits, a weak pairing that doesn’t offer much in the way of synergy or individual power. He also gets the phalanx, a powerful unit in the hands of a human but not especially useful in that of the AI (Alex will build plenty of spears anyway), and the Odeon, a nice happiness boost for the midgame. Lastly, Alex has a pair of average starting techs in Fishing and Hunting, and like all Fishing leaders is much stronger when he starts on the coast. With one of the highest aggression ratings in the game (8.6/10), a high unit build preference (8/10) and the military/growth flavour pairing, Alex is likely to go to war early and often. He’s also one of the leaders with the "demonic evil" peace weight of 0, which makes any cooperation with the "good" leaders essentially impossible. Like the other warmongers though, Alex is so aggressive that if there aren’t any good leaders around, he’s pretty likely to just attack one of his buddies anyway. Other than the key aggressive stats, Alex is a pretty generic leader. He has middling numbers in just about everything else, including tribute demands (4/10) and wonder building (4/10), and he cares an average amount about religion too. Look for Alex to be one of the driving forces of this game. He can’t get off the warpath until everyone else – or himself - is dead.

Past Performance: Alex is another of the sad warmongers with zero kills to his name after four seasons. Alex’s only notable placing so far was in Season One, where he placed an extremely distant – we’re talking lightyears here – second to Boudica in Game Three after fighting a series of unsuccessful wars; it wasn’t an impressive game. Since then, Alex has struggled mightily, the first player to die in both his Season Two and Three games. The closest Alex has come to success so far was in his Season Four Opening Game, where he played a genuinely strong first 250 turns. Alex’s downfall in that game was less his own incompetence and more Kublai’s determined defence (and then Tokugawa's lethal invasion) and having played a major part in the death of nearly every other leader and topping the scoreboard for ages, Alex was unlucky not to score at least a kill point or two. Despite this, it’s worth acknowledging that Alex has displayed incompetence more often than not, and his games are yet another pile of evidence that unadulterated aggression is just not the best strategy for this kind of setup.


Asoka of India
Traits: Spiritual, Organized
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish:Season Two and Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 5 points, 32nd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Asoka plays with Spiritual and Organized for his traits, a decent pairing with strong economic benefit but of no use militarily. As an Indian leader, Asoka gets the above average Fast Worker and Mausoleum combo, and his starting techs are Mining and Mysticism, a pair good for chasing religions and not much else; Asoka can struggle with improving his land in the early game, though the Fast Worker at least helps him catch up. Asoka is a generally peaceful leader, but is less polarised than his counterpart Gandhi. He’s got a pretty low aggression rating (3.7/10), unit build (2/10) and tribute demand (1/10) preferences, but a high wonder (8/10) build rate. With religion and science flavours, you can count on Asoka to consistently build up a strong economy as long as he’s left alone. Asoka places a strong emphasis on faith, but unlike a lot of the other religious zealots, he’s actually pretty easy to get along with, with a minor penalty for differing religion but a huge bonus for shared faith. In theory, Asoka should find it easy to make friends and he’s unlikely to get involved in too many wars unless he finds himself in a particularly hostile world.

Past Performance: Asoka has given us a good depiction of a middle-tier economic leader. Weirdly, in his best game so far Asoka scored zero points, in a rare case where the power rankings were pretty unfair. This was Season One Game Eight, in which Asoka used the Apostolic Palace to full effect, throwing Hannibal under the bus and forcing peace after peace to delay his own demise. Asoka was within a whisker of an underdog cultural victory that game despite being short on land, and was beaten to the punch by Mao’s diplomatic victory a mere five turns before he would have won. In the two following seasons, Asoka has drawn largely weak, peaceful fields, and proved himself proficient enough economically to at least draw second place both times, behind Big Brother Gandhi. Both seasons though, Asoka found himself in far more aggressive playoff games and collapsed to the aggression in rapid fashion, being first or second to die each game. Asoka’s most recent appearance, opening Game Four of Season Four, played out similarly, as Asoka made himself a bunch of religious enemies and was quickly wiped out. Overall, Asoka’s middling power ranking likely places him about where he should be, as when playing amongst a weak field he’s certainly competent enough to advance, but like many of the other peaceful leaders his main weakness is an inability to stand up for himself in conflicts. In an unfriendly environment, Asoka is historically very unlikely to make it out alive.


Augustus of Rome
Traits: Imperialistic, Industrious
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Playoffs
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 2 points, tied 40th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Augustus is one of the less noteworthy AIs in the game. His traits are Imperialistic and Industrious, which is a combination seriously lacking in synergy: Imperialistic wants you to get out there and claim the map, while Industrious wants to build wonders instead of settlers. He also gets the uber-swordsmen in praetorians and the less powerful forum, though the increased great people points do synergise with Industrious wonders. Lastly, Augustus starts with Fishing and Mining, a generally poor pair unless he starts on the coast. Augustus has a personality full of synergies and anti-synergies. To start with his synergies, the most notable thing about the Roman Emperor is his love of wonders (8/10), which works well with Industrious. He also gets the forum, which isn’t fantastic but does allow him to generate more great people with those wonders. Lastly, his low aggression rating (4.6/10) means he is generally in a position where tying up his cities on large projects isn’t a total disaster. However, because of that low aggression rating, Augustus typically doesn’t make use of the biggest reason to play the Romans: Praetorians. Sure, they can stabilise a defence if he’s attacked early, but Augustus is pretty unlikely to go on the offensive. He tends to ignore the Imperialistic half of his trait combination, and Augustus is unlikely to claim the lion’s share on the map. Other than that, Augustus’ numbers are in about the middle of the scale, and he has production and military flavours. He’s a generally run-of-the-mill AI with a particular penchant for wonders. Augustus has a strong and mediocre trait, and a strong and mediocre unique item. Unfortunately, he focuses on the wrong half of both.

Past Performance: Augustus has been less than successful in past years of AI Survivor. He tends not to settle very much of the map despite being Imperialistic, and generally sits in the corner not doing much until someone stronger comes along and bops him, as in Seasons Two (Roosevelt), Three (Stalin) and Four (Huayna Capac). The exception to this rule was in Season One Game Five, the only time Augustus was able to use praetorians to full effect. In that game, he first used them to stabilise an attack from Ragnar, then counterattack when the Viking leader foolishly returned for round two. From there, Augustus was able to coast to second place using his incorporated Viking lands, but it wasn’t a dominant showing, merely a competent one, and he was immediately torn apart in the playoffs for what is still the second fastest elimination as of Season Four (Turn 106). Suffice to say, Augustus has not been particularly impressive thus far, and he will have an uphill battle to make something of himself this season.


Bismarck of Germany
Traits: Expansive, Industrious
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: None, Eliminated in all four opening round games
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Bismarck has the Expansive and Industrious traits, a below average combination probably most useful for the half-cost granaries and forges. As a German leader he gets the Panzer and Assembly Plant unique items, both of which are fairly strong on paper but come so late in the game that they may as well not exist, excluding very fringe circumstances. Lastly, Bismarck gets Hunting and Mining, which can make him slow to improve his food resources early in the game. Bismarck’s main quirk is that he’s a rare leader with only a single flavour: Military. Unlike most of the other leaders with just one flavour though, Bismarck’s other preferences aren’t particularly geared around it; he’s otherwise a pretty standard AI. Bismarck has an average aggression rating (5.6/10), unit (6/10) and wonder (6/10) build preference, and a neutral peaceweight at 6. He’s basically a generic AI that’s more likely to be ahead instead of behind in military tech, but a little slower on the economic front.

Past Performance: Bismarck, along with Sitting Bull, shares the honour of statistically being the worst performing leader in AI Survivor history. At least the other leaders with zero points have made the Wildcard Game, and the German leader hasn’t just died in all his games; he’s been first or second to die in every single appearance! While it’s easy to deduce Sitting Bull’s weaknesses, Bismarck is a little more inexplicable on the surface. Part of it is likely due to a high preference on military; while Bismarck is often ahead in military tech early on, he tends to fall behind in most other areas in the game. For example, Bismarck is a rare leader that will sometimes research archery tech first, despite being unable to connect any food resources, putting him in the same slow-start category as religious leaders without the upside of founding a religion. He’s also been surprisingly feeble in military conflict, usually rolling up to die underneath a stronger neighbour. For whatever reason, Bismarck has been utterly incapable thus far in AI Survivor, and even optimistically he’d be described as “only the second-worst leader.” Try to expect nothing from the Chancellor; you’re likely to be disappointed.


Boudica of the Celts
Traits: Aggressive, Charismatic
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One, Two, and Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 4
Overall Power Ranking: 13 points, tied 16th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Boudica has the second most combat oriented trait combination in the game, with Aggressive and Charismatic. Her units will acquire promotions faster than any other AI’s in the game, and it’s a good thing too, because Boudica means to use them. A lot. She gets the mediocre Gallic Warrior and Dun for unique items, and lastly starts with Hunting and Mysticism. Boudica is one of the serious warmongers in Civ 4. She has an extremely high aggression rating (8.8/10), and Boudica is one of the AIs that uses their traits to full effect. She has a middling build unit preference (6/10) and a low wonder build rate (2/10), and Boudica will often build a more balanced mix of units and buildings than most of the warlike AIs. Her flavours are also a little more balanced, with military and growth, and for one of the serious aggressors, Boudica can build a surprisingly competent economy in her downtime. Lastly, Boudica is less likely to waste her time on a religion than a lot of the other Mysticism-start leaders; it happens sometimes, but usually she’ll move straight onto the key worker techs thanks to not having a religious flavour.

Past Performance: Alongside Shaka, Boudica is the other best-performing warmonger, with the two of them sitting in the top third of leaders. Boudica scored a dominant win in her opening game of Season One (admittedly, the weakest opening game that season) after crushing game-rival Isabella. She’s also scored two strong second-place finishes in Seasons Two and Four, interestingly both behind Huayna Capac. Boudica’s often been successful at running over her early neighbours in a way that most of the warmongers seem unable to do (see Season One Louis or Season Four Napoleon), probably as a result of her extremely aggressive traits. Both of her second-place finishes have been far from distant, and Boudica has performed consistently well in the opening round. However, she’s struggled far more in the playoff games, dying in all three seasons she’s got there. Again like Shaka, Boudica seems unable to compete against the stiffer competition of more balanced leaders. Expect her to attack early and often, and don’t be surprised if those early attacks succeed where most would fail.


Brennus of the Celts
Traits: Spiritual, Charismatic
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Two Playoffs
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 7 points, tied 27th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Brennus gets the Charismatic and Spiritual traits, a middle-tier economic pairing. He gets the less decent Gallic Warrior and Dun unique items, both well below average, and starts with Hunting and Mysticism techs, one of the “religion-or-bust” combinations. Brennus is less suicidally aggressive than his female counterpart, with only a moderately high aggression rating (7/10). Other than that, his preferences are pretty similar, with a moderate unit build rating (6/10) and a low wonder build rating (2/10), and Brennus is also highly unlikely to demand tribute (1/10). The other noteworthy difference between the two are their flavours, with Brennus’ being military and religion. The male Celtic leader is far more likely to actually use his Mysticism start and research a religion out of the gate. He also cares a lot more about religion, with a high bonus and malus for sharing or not sharing faith with his neighbours. Brennus is basically one of the moderately aggressive, religious AIs, with an extremely low peace weight to boot (0/10).

Past Performance: Brennus is a middle-tier leader as far as past performance goes. He’s scored two distant second-place finishes in the first two seasons, though neither were particularly impressive, and has never performed well in the playoffs, dying in his first game and coming very close to death in his second game. Otherwise, he played an unimpressive opening game and Wildcard game in Season Three, failing to advance further, and while he opened strongly in his Season Four game, he failed to keep up the momentum, throwing away a significant lead to a Darius/Gilgamesh combination later on. Brennus has so far been a substantially average leader, sometimes able to get a kill or two, sometimes falling flat on his face, but at this point it seems safe to say he’s unlikely to run away with a game without some serious luck on his side.


Catherine of the Russians
Traits: Creative, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Two Playoffs
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 15 points, tied 13th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Catherine has arguably the best traits for rapid expansion in the game, with Imperialistic for building settlers quickly, and Creative for popping borders of all her cities. She also gets the powerful Cossack, and the too-late-to-matter Research Institute for her unique items. Lastly, Catherine gets the weak combination of Hunting and Mining for her starting techs, meaning she’ll have to research a few techs before she can get any of her food resources up and running. Catherine is one of the more unique personalities in the game. She has a unique change to her diplomacy in that refusing one of Cathy’s demands will give a -2 malus as opposed to the usual -1. This applies to other AI leaders too, and Cathy often ends up hating nearly everybody else in the game because of it. Naturally, she has high likelihood to demand all kinds of tribute, with numbers like 8/10 and 10/10 for various types of demands. Catherine is the only AI leader in the game who can be bribed to join a war at "Friendly" relations. She is also moderately aggressive (6.7/10), and other than that most of her numbers are fairly average, including unit (4/10) and wonder build (6/10) ratings. She also has a fairly unusual flavour combination, with Cultural and Military flavours. Thanks to her traits, Catherine is one of the most likely AIs to claim a large portion of the map peacefully, and her moderate aggression rating means she can sometimes get the snowball rolling. However, the lack of economic benefit from her traits means that if she fails to do this, she will often fall behind technologically, the kiss of death in these games.

Past Performance: Catherine has played a couple of dominant games, and a few disappointing ones. Her opening game in Season One was a dominant romp, but she was beaten down by Justinian after a long duel in their playoff game. Then, in Season Two, Catherine came out on top of a host of aggressive AIs, leveraging her strong landgrab to slowly crush the rest of the competition (including a revenge kill on Justinian), before playing a mediocre playoff game, again staying alive without advancing. Season Three was Catherine’s first year to not advance beyond the opening round, as she was killed by, you guessed it, Justinian, in another game where those two topped the scoreboard. Lastly, Catherine played a strong opening in her Season Four game, but played the diplomatic side horribly, declaring war on anyone and everyone before being deservedly crushed by Isabella. In her Season Two playoff game, Catherine didn’t have a particularly strong landgrab, and she played a pretty average game. The reason that’s noteworthy is that in every single other game that Catherine’s appeared in, she’s done the opposite. Win or lose, Catherine has consistently topped the scoreboard in the early and midgame, and it’s clear by now that she puts her landgrab traits to effective use. The mark of a strong Cathy game is instead whether or not she can convert those early leads into tangible victories before her difficult personality catches up with her. Another feast-or-famine leader, Catherine’s high-maintenance personality tends to make a lot of enemies, and her games usually end either when she kills all of them, or they kill her first.


Charlemagne of the Holy Roman Empire
Traits: Imperialistic, Protective
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Four "Champion"
Total Kills: 6
Overall Power Ranking: 20 points, 7th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Charlemagne (aka The Burger King) gets Imperialistic and Protective, the best and worst trait respectively in AI Survivor. He also gets the mediocre Landsknecht and the amazing Rathaus, and starts with Hunting and Mysticism techs. He’s able to found a religion straight away, if not much else. Charlemagne is a pretty good template of the average aggression/religion focused leader. He gets military and religion flavours, like the rest of his bunch. He has a higher than average aggression rating (7/10) and a neutral peace weight of 6, so his diplomacy tends to fall along the line of religious spread. His unit build preference (6/10) is slightly above average, while his wonder build preference (3/10) is below average. Other than that, Charlemagne has average numbers in basically every other category, and he’s actually a fairly bland AI.

Past Performance: While Charlemagne has one of the shorter personality sections, the past performance of the Season Four Champion is a real doozy. Charlie achieved literally nothing in the first two Seasons of AI Survivor, and looked to be just another stupid religious leader. In Season Three, that didn’t change much, as his only real achievement was throwing away a certain victory in the last minute of Game Seven, before dying quickly in the playoffs. However, everything changed in Season Four. In his opening game, Charlemagne played a solid, if not spectacular, game which largely involved him riding Justinian’s coattails on the right side of a religious coalition. The playoff game was the closest thing Charlemagne had to an actual dominant game, where he scored three kills following an extremely early conquest of Suryavarman. Even then, he only won because game-leader Darius decided to pursue a faraway cultural victory instead of, you know, win the game. Then, in the Championship, Charlemagne won even less deservedly, as he spent most of the game in third or fourth place before runaway Kublai Khan did the exact same thing as Darius! That’s right, both of Charlie’s victories, including the Championship, weren’t from actually playing the game well; they were from other, better AIs screwing up even worse! Needless to say, Charlemagne is one of the less popular leaders among the viewers these days. Yet to score a victory off of his own merit, Charlemagne is probably the best case of a leader having a far better Power Ranking than they actually deserve. The other AIs in this game have caught a huge break; instead of Justinian, Mansa, or Huayna Capac as their game’s protected seed, they get this joker. Expect Charlemagne’s outcome to fall closely in line with religious diplomacy, and to hear a chorus of satisfaction from the Livestream if that goes badly. Sullla thinks that this guy is a total fraud and doubts he'll be able to repeat his flukish Season Four result.


Churchill of England
Traits: Charismatic, Protective
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Four Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 1 point, tied 44th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Churchill has arguably the second-worst trait pairing in the game, with the below-average Charismatic and the terrible Protective. His English civilization is much nicer though, with the powerful Redcoat and Stock Exchange, which might help to make up for his traits. Lastly, he starts with Fishing and Mining, a weak pairing unless his capital is on the coast. Churchill is a little interesting in the sense that he has a low score in basically every category. He doesn’t build a lot of wonders (2/10) or units (4/10). He doesn’t demand tribute (1/10) and he has a pretty low aggression rating (4.3/10) too. In fact, the only thing this guy does is spend espionage (7/10); that’s literally the only number above a 5/10 in his personality. He also has a neutral peaceweight, so Churchill is fair game for attack from the good or evil leaders. Lastly, his flavours are Military and Gold. It all makes for an uninteresting personality that’s more likely to sit in a corner plotting than anything else.

Past Performance: Churchill has so far been unable to overcome his weak traits and bland personality. Churchill died in his opening game during the first three seasons of AI Survivor, and was first-to-die twice to boot. Then in Season Four, Churchill played his best game yet: he hid in a corner and got his butt saved by the Apostolic Palace numerous times, until he got to the Wildcard Game and, err, died miserably. Yikes. Yeah, this guy hasn’t just failed to score many points on the power rankings. He’s also just boring, and more than almost any other leader, you should probably expect Churchill to do nothing at all; he never has before.


Cyrus of Persia
Traits: Charismatic, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Hunting
Peace Weight: 3
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 3 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Championship Runner-Up
Total Kills: 6
Overall Power Ranking: 17 points, tied 10th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Cyrus has Charismatic and Imperialistic for his traits, with Imperialistic being so good that it makes this a pretty good combination. There’s also some synergy there, as Charismatic happiness is a bigger deal with more cities to use it in. He gets the notably less useful Immortal and Apothecary unique items, but he has very good starting techs with Agriculture and Hunting; Cyrus will quickly be able to improve basically any food resource he has. Cyrus has a pretty high aggression rating (7/10), builds a fair number of units (6/10) and loves wonders (8/10); this guy does it all. He cares an average amount about religion (big bonus for sharing, small malus for difference), and his flavours are Military and Growth. It creates the image of another of the snowball leaders, and Cyrus’ game plan seems to be building a lot of cities with Imperialistic, getting them tall with Charismatic and his Growth flavour, and then crushing a neighbour or two once he has an advantage in food and production.

Past Performance: Well, if that’s Cyrus’ game plan, it’s worked out pretty well so far. Cyrus has only won a single game, but he’s placed a strong second three times as well, never too far from the game’s victor. Cyrus was runner-up to Mao in his Season One opening game, and was almost able to pull away from his neighbours before getting dogpiled in Playoff Game One. Then, in Season Two, Cyrus had his best year, again getting a strong second in his opening match, before a deserved first place in his playoff game. He was even nearly crowned champion that year; stupid Huayna Capac and his upset Cultural Victory. Several longtime AI Survivor fans still refer to Cyrus as the "True Season Two Champion." Still, the point remains that Cyrus tore up the competition in his first two years, and we were expecting big things from him in Seasons Three and Four. Unfortunately, Cyrus failed to deliver on those expectations. He hasn’t survived an opening game since Season Two, though he’s been pretty unlucky. In Season Three, Cyrus was afflicted with constant attacks from both sides, first in sensible wars by Brennus, then nonsensical sabotage from across the map by Zara, in a game any leader would have struggled in. Then, in Season Four, Cyrus expanded out to a strong size and was one of the "Big Three" in the midgame, before a couple of unlikely attacks by fellow Big Three member Catherine set both of them back. This resulted in both of their eventual deaths at the hands of Isabella, who they should have been working together against in the first place! The pattern here is that in the last two seasons, Cyrus has lost not because of his own stupidity, but that of other leaders. When he’s allowed to actually play the game, Cyrus has put out some very consistent results, and he’s definitely not a leader to underestimate.


Darius of Persia
Traits: Financial, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Hunting
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Four Championship Game
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 12 points, tied 18th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Darius has arguably the best pure economic traits in the game, with Financial and Organized. While he’s stuck with the weak Immortal and Apothecary, he also gets fantastic starting techs in Agriculture and Hunting, allowing him to improve his food resources quickly. Darius has one of the better set-ups overall, and thanks to his traits and starting techs, begins the game already slightly ahead of the field. Darius is clearly an economic leader in most ways. He has Gold and Growth flavours, and those combined with his traits mean Darius should almost always be able to construct a good economy. He loves building wonders (8/10), and unlike many of the other peaceful leaders, he builds enough units to defend himself too (6/10). That’s lucky, because he also has a high peaceweight of 8, and will often be target for attack from the more aggressive leaders. Lastly, Darius himself isn’t necessarily going to build in peace, he actually has an average aggression rating (5.2/10), and he can and will claim more land by the sword if necessary. On paper, Darius probably has one of the best setups in the game; he’s a peaceful leader with amazing economic traits, but he’s also willing to defend himself and fight for more land.

Past Performance: Alongside Victoria, Darius is one of the biggest puzzles of AI Survivor. Theoretically he’s undoubtedly one of the strongest leaders in the vein of Mansa Musa or Huayna Capac, and yet the victories just haven’t materialised for him in the same way. Darius made it to the Wildcard Game in Seasons One and Two, and came second in the latter year, but fell quickly in the playoffs afterwards. He was even worse in Season Three, failing to expand and quickly being dogpiled by the other AIs. Finally, in Season Four, we saw some success from Darius, as he outteched the competition for his first victory in his opening game, before nearly winning his playoff game as well, stupidly tossing Charlemagne the win after dominating the entire game. However, Darius then got an unlucky field in the Championship, being the only high peaceweight leader, and was quickly torn apart. So why hasn’t it all worked out for Darius like it has for Mansa? It seems like there is, at least, an easy answer. Time after time, Darius is slow to expand. His strong games come when there is lots of land around him, and it matters less, and his early losses come on the smaller maps where the other AIs claim it first. Darius’ traits mean that with even land, he can out-research almost any other AI; he just struggles to get to that point! Look at the map carefully when evaluating Darius’ performance; on the larger maps, he’s got a pretty good chance of an upset victory thanks to his traits. On the smaller maps though, it seems Darius’ starting techs aren’t good enough to boost his expansion; he just doesn’t build enough settlers, and gets outproduced (and eventually wiped out) by the AIs that do.


De Gaulle of France
Traits: Charismatic, Industrious
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 4
Overall Power Ranking: 9 points, tied 22nd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: De Gaulle's AI personality seems to have been created by a designer who was poking fun at various different French sterotypes. De Gaulle's trait combination of Charismatic and Industrious is underwhelming for AI Survivor purposes and doesn't appear to have much in the way of synergy. He does get to take advantage of France's excellent starting techs and solid Musketeer unique unit but that's about all that this leader has working in his favor. De Gaulle has a very low wonder-building preference (2/10), which largely serves to waste his Industrious trait, and mixes this together with obnoxious behavior towards his neighbors. He will make constant tribute demands (10/10) and civic change requests (8/10) that tend to make him unpopular with the other AI leaders. De Gaulle also infamously has the lowest resistance to capitulation in the game (0/10), and while that doesn't matter as much in a game without vassal states, he still makes few friends thanks to his peace weight score of zero. It's a confusing and incoherent AI personality that combines annoying behavior with a lack of the requisite ruthlessness needed to be a true conquerer.

Past Performance: De Gaulle had a terrible performance over the first two seasons of AI Survivor, suffering a quick elimination as First to Die in both of his opening round matches. He was ranked dead last, 52nd out of 52 leaders, following the conclusion of Season Two. Thus it was a gigantic shock to everyone when De Gaulle played a dominant match in the opening round of Season Three, scoring a first place finish and racking up three kills in the process. It was a game where De Gaulle devoured perennial doormat Frederick and then snowballed into runaway AI status with no one else even close at the end. He had no such luck in the playoff round as De Gaulle ended up being a speedbump to another impressive Mansa Musa win, and then in Season Four he couldn't manage to overcome stronger, better warmongers in the form of Caesar and Shaka. De Gaulle has therefore been outright eliminated in three of his four opening round games, scoring 8 of his 9 total points in his one strong performance. De Gaulle is far from the worst AI but he's probably not as strong as his ranking might suggest.


Elizabeth of England
Traits: Financial, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 9
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Championship Game
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 6 points, tied 29th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Elizabeth is an easy AI personality to understand, a pacifistic economic leader who will always seek out some kind of non-military victory condition. Elizabeth has one of the best trait combinations for teching in the Financial/Philosophical pairing, and while it's true that there's some anti-synergy there between running cottages and running specialists, there's little doubt that this setup will output a lot of beakers. If Elizabeth ends up getting a solid portion of the map under her control, she's one of the toughest leaders in the game to stop. She ranks no better than a mediocre leader for AI Survivor purposes precisely because this happens so rarely; Elizabeth has an exceedingly low aggression rating (1.9/10) and a low build unit preference (2/10). Surprisingly, she will indeed plot war at "Pleased" relations, but in most game you're more likely to see someone else invading England as Elizabeth frantically researches everything except the military technology which would save her. Elizabeth's Gold and Culture research preferences often cause her to ignore the Redcoats that she desperately needs for safety. In summary, Elizabeth performs far better in games with other high peace weight leaders where she's left alone to build in peace. She's a better version of Frederick and a weaker version of Mansa Musa.

Past Performance: Elizabeth had her most successful outing in the first season of AI Survivor, where she took two second place finishes and made it all the way to the Season One Championship before being eliminated. Her opening round performance was especially strong that year, narrowly losing to Pericles in the United Nations shortly before taking a victory via Spaceship or Culture. She was also the score leader when Mansa Musa won by Culture in her playoff game, reflecting another excellent showing. Elizabeth has hit a rough patch since then, however, eliminated in the opening round of Seasons Two, Three, and Four. Her loss was particularly cruel in Season Three, as Elizabeth was drawn into the "group of death" match and she was less than ten turns away from a Cultural win when Caesar captured one of her three Legendary cities. The Romans kept right on marching until they conquered Elizabeth completely, handing her a defeat which did not reflect how strong her performance had been. This is another leader who can be dangerous if she draws the right neighbors, or alternately wind up as a helpless victim if surrounded by low peace weight aggressors.


Frederick of Germany
Traits: Philosophical, Organized
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Frederick is another peaceful AI leader, albeit one lacking most of the tools necessary to be effective. His trait pairing of Philosophical and Organized comes off as underwhelming for a builder game, lacking Financial or Expansive or Creative or even the likes of Spiritual. There's nothing here to help Frederick to get off to a fast start and also nothing to allow him to max out at a higher economic tier after the expansion portion of the game has finished. All of Germany's unique stuff comes far too late in the game to matter and the German starting tech pairing of Hunting + Mining is only mediocre. Frederick's AI ratings are generally average across the board, with scores of 4/10 in seemingly every category. He has a high peace weight, he doesn't train a lot of units (2/10), and he doesn't start many wars (4/10 aggression rating). Frederick is probably most notable for having only one research flavor, Production, a choice which hasn't fared particularly well in practice. He's generally a pretty boring AI overall, trying to pull off one of those pacifistic "sit in the corner and tech to a victory" strategies but without the traits or civ choice to pull it off.

Past Performance: Frederick is one of the unfortunate half dozen leaders to remain completely locked out of the scoring after four seasons of competition. His best showing was in Season One where he managed to draw a game full of other high peace weight leaders and survived to reach the Wildcard game. Frederick didn't do anything particularly impressive in that game, mind you, and he was decisively outbuilt by Pericles and Elizabeth when it came down to a purely peaceful competition. However, this was far better than the other three seasons of AI Survivor that followed, as Frederick was eliminated in game after game, claiming the dubious First to Die distinction on multiple occasions. In his defense, Frederick has drawn a brutal set of low peace weight neighbors on multiple occasions, but he's also never shown any signs of contending for a victory even in the game where he had a friendlier starting environment. Eternally saddled with the weak German civilization, Frederick shows every sign of being one of the weakest AI leaders in the competition.


Gandhi of India
Traits: Spiritual, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 10
Past Finishes: 3 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two, Three, and Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 17 points, tied 10th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Gandhi is without a doubt one of the most unique leaders in Civ4. For traits, he plays with the powerful Spiritual, and the terrible (for AI Survivor) Philosophical, an overall unremarkable pair that lands at about average, the most important point being that Gandhi gets several half-cost cultural buildings. He also has access to the above average Fast Worker and Mausoleum. Lastly, his starting techs are Mysticism and Mining, a generally weak pair useful for pursuing an early religion and not much else; like many religious leaders, Gandhi often takes a long time to improve his tiles and connect his resources. Gandhi is the leader least likely to declare war in the entire game, with an aggression rating of 0/10. He also has the lowest possible rating for building units (0/10) and demanding tribute (0/10), essentially making Gandhi a hyper pacifist who entirely neglects his military and prays it won’t come back to bite him in the rear. Surprisingly, Gandhi is also quite unlikely to build wonders (2/10); he doesn’t waste time with those either. Rather than units and wonders, Gandhi spends the entire game laser-focused on one thing: cultural buildings. Gandhi is a rare leader with only one flavour in Civ 4: CULTURE. He pursues religions like a man possessed and puts his production bonuses to extremely effective use. It’s not uncommon to see Gandhi desperately fighting wars of survival whilst simultaneously building his third or fourth temple in each city. It usually doesn’t end well. Gandhi is probably the most feast-or-famine type leader in AI Survivor. If he is not attacked by his neighbours, he can rush out a cultural victory like nobody’s business, but if he is, he collapses faster than any other leader in the game. An early war declaration from a neighbour can often ruin any chance of a Gandhi victory on the spot.

Past Performance: Gandhi’s all-or-nothing playstyle has been surprisingly effective, and Gandhi has won almost every opening round he’s played in thus far. Season One showed the nothing side, as Gandhi rolled a hostile group of neighbours and was devoured early on, attacked by 4/5 of the other players. However, in Seasons Two, Three, and Four, Gandhi has rolled low-skilled, high peaceweight games; in other words, his perfect field. Gandhi won all of these games and it usually wasn't very close. He’s even scored a couple of kills! Gandhi has struggled in the playoffs so far, always drawing aggressive fields and being savaged early on, being First to Die in three of his four losses. Gandhi’s success thus far should likely be viewed skeptically, as his three wins have been against some of the weakest fields in AI Survivor history, and when he goes up against stronger competitors Gandhi has been thoroughly unable keep up. Pay particular attention to which other leaders are in Gandhi’s games when predicting his performance; it’s especially important for him.


Genghis Khan Temujin of the Mongols
Traits: Aggressive, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Hunting, Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 2 points, tied 40th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Temujin is a comically over-aggressive leader who routinely self-destructs with ill-advised military ventures. His Imperialistic trait is good for expansion but the pairing with Aggressive carries no economic benefits at all, leaving Temujin to crash his economy in game after game. The great khan is routinely one of the most technologically backwards leaders, inevitably causing him to flame out and lose to more advanced neighbors in the later stages of each match. The Mongolian civ is well above average thanks to the Keshik and Ger unique items, and Kublai Khan has been able to use them to good effect in his appearances. However, Genghis Khan is fatally undercut by his obsession with all things involving war. He has an exceedingly high aggression rating (9.5/10), he builds tons of units (8/10), he will demand tribute constantly (10/10), and he has the lowest peace weight in the game. Temujin only has a single flavor for his tech research, Military, and he'll go to great lengths to beeline Military Science for his grenadiers while still lacking Aesthetics. This is not a complicated leader to understand: Temujin is going to attack his neighbors early and often.

Past Performance: Like many of the other obsessive warmongers, Temujin has also struggled in his AI Survivor history. His most impressive performance came in Season One where he was handed an unfairly weak starting position and managed to survive against adversity into the Wildcard game. This was the Mongol leader at his best, churning out endless units to keep himself alive in the wake of repeated invasions. However, Temujin was never close to competing for a win in that game, and he's never been in contention in any of his other games either. The Wildcard game from Season One served as a perfect example of Temujin's self-destructive tendencies, as he picked a fight with a much stronger Zara Yacob and found himself booted out of the competition. The same result played out repeatedly in the following seasons, with Temujin attacking his neighbors again and again, stunting his economic development through endless wars, only to be rolled up and eliminated sometime towards the end of each game. Mindless aggression rarely works well in the long run, and Temujin only has two kills to his name despite all of those many invasions.


Gilgamesh of Sumeria
Traits: Creative, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Championship Game
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 12 points, tied 18th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Gilgamesh is a highly aggressive warmonger who finds himself bizarrely paired with defensive leader traits and an economic civilization. His trait combination of Creative + Protective is an odd grouping with no clear direction in mind. Faster border pops joined together with extra defensive promotions - huh? I suppose they're using for Pink Dotting a neighbor with a forward city plant but that's about it. The Sumerian civilization is quite a bit better, with excellent starting techs and a useful building in the Ziggurat. The Vulture doesn't grade out much better than a standard axe and definitely serves as the weakest part of this civilization's package. Gilgamesh has a strangely high wonder building preference (8/10) and an above average interest in religion. He's also one of the most likely leaders to launch new wars (8/10 aggression rating) and he emphasizes military techs in his research. He also has Culture as his other flavor alongside that Military preference, so again, this is kind of a confused individual. Gilgamesh can't seem to decide if he wants to be a culture/wonder leader or a military leader and often struggles to reconcile these competing impulses. He can be quite successful sometimes when it all comes together but we've also seen a lot of helpless flailing in multiple directions at once.

Past Performance: Gilgamesh struggled for the first three years of AI Survivor before finally assembling a strong run to the Championship game in Season Four. Gilgamesh had a genuinely unfair starting position in Season One, the sort that we wouldn't use in our current setup, and he was predictably eliminated in that contest. He also had the bad luck to draw a field of exclusively high peace weight leaders in Season Two, and then found himself the victim of an Apostolic Palace mass war declaration in Season Three. But in his opening round match of Season Four Gilgamesh finished in a strong second place behind Darius, and then he had his best performance to date with a wire-to-wire stomping of his playoff opponents. Overaggression foiled Gilgamesh in the Season Four Championship but he's shown that he can put up a good showing when given a fair opportunity to compete.


Hammurabi of Babylon
Traits: Aggressive, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 3 points, tied 37th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Hammurabi is another leader who has traits pulling him in multiple different directions. His profile includes the ill-fitting Aggressive trait paired together with a setup that otherwise leans heavily in the peaceful builder direction with Organized. This Aggressive trait is largely wasted on a leader who loves to build wonders (8/10), features a defensive archer unique unit in the Bowman, and has only one research flavor: Culture. Hammurabi will obsess over anything associated with cultural output and stands a good chance of founding an early religion despite not starting with Mysticism tech. His own Agriculture/Wheel starting techs are excellent and that's one of the best things that he has going for him. Generally speaking though, Hammurabi ends up having a wasted leader trait as he sits in a corner of the map trying to develop his culture. He has a high peace weight, a low aggression rating (5.5), and won't plot war at "Pleased" relations. Unless Hammurabi gets involved in a religious dispute, he tends to be somewhat of an inert AI leader. Not one of the more interesting AI personalities in the competition.

Past Performance: Hammurabi has achieved little to date in past seasons of AI Survivor. He was First to Die in his initial match in Season One after starting in the middle of the map and running afoul of Kublai Khan. A peaceful field in Season Two led to an appearance in the Wildcard game but nothing else of particular note. Hammurabi's most successful appearance took place in Season Three where he found himself in another high peace weight group of leaders and took a distant second place finish behind Mansa Musa before getting steamrolled in his playoff match. Season Four saw another quick elimination in a game where Hammurabi was never one of the leaders. All indications are that Hammurabi is a third or fourth tier leader for AI Survivor purposes, an unlikely candidate to emerge as a top contender unless conditions line up just right.


Hannibal of Carthage
Traits: Financial, Charismatic
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three and Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 12 points, tied 18th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Hannibal has one of the better trait combinations and can be a highly dangerous contestant if he successfully balances his military and economic strengths. Hannibal has the always-useful Financial trait and combines it together with Charismatic, which can often come in handy given how the AI struggles to manage happiness in its cities. In the rare case where Hannibal manages to build Stonehenge, he'll be off and running against the rest of the field. Carthage as a civilization is notably weaker, with subpar starting techs for anything other than a coastal start and a horse archer unique unit that takes a strength hit compared to the base unit. Hannibal is a militaristic leader in terms of personality, with a fairly high aggression rating (7/10), low peace weight, and Military for his research flavor (paired together with a lesser Gold preference). His build unit rating isn't quite as high (6/10) and Hannibal is undercut to some degree by failing to plot war at "Pleased" relations. When Hannibal does well, he's able to conquer additional territory and then make it economically profitable through use of his Financial trait. However, he will also sometimes pick foolish conflicts and stall out his economy with too much warring in a way that even Financial cottage cheese can't rectify.

Past Performance: Hannibal underperformed during the first two seasons of AI Survivor before finding his footing in his more recent efforts. He was a popular pick to win his opening round match in both Seasons One and Two, then ended up disapponting the Carthaginian backers by suffering an early exit followed by a trip to the Wildcard game and another elimination in Season Two. Hannibal had his best showing in Season Three with a dominant victory in his first match against the pregame favorite Mao Zedong, but was unable to avoid a thorough beating at the hands of Caesar in the playoffs. Season Four featured a thoroughly confusing opening round match with both Hannibal and Hammurabi, which turned into a close second place finish behind a culturally-dominant Stalin. Hannibal then found himself in the "group of death" playoff match and wasn't able to advance through a field stacked with several of the top leaders in AI Survivor history. He's shown that he can compete with the best leaders at least some of the time, needing next to demonstrate more consistent results instead of flashes of potential.


Hatshepsut of Egypt
Traits: Creative, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 9
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Hatshepsut is a great leader for a Single Player game of Civ4 and a horrible leader for AI Survivor purposes. She has good traits in the Creative/Spiritual combo and a great civ in Egypt with Agriculture/Wheel starting techs and the War Chariot unique unit. The problem comes in the form of Hatshepsut's AI personality which is little short of suicidal for these matches. Hatty is almost as pacifistic as Gandhi, with a low aggression rating (3.7/10), a high peace weight, and a dangerously low build unit preference (2/10). She loves to build wonders (8/10) and heavily emphasizes religion in her diplomacy, with a big shared faith bonus and a major differing religions malus. Hatshepsut favors Culture and Religion for her research flavors, neither of which tends to contain much in the way of units, and Hatshepsut often finds herself an era behind in military tech despite good overall research. She will typically find herself serving as the "worst enemy" of all the low peace weight leaders and overrun with invasions from hostile neighbors. Hatshepsut needs to draw a field of high peace weight leaders where she can leverage her religious and cultural sensibilities to good effect.

Past Performance: In a word: terrible. Hatshepsut does little to defend herself against attackers and she's been punished for that weakness in game after game. Hatshepsut has been eliminated in her opening round match in three out of four seasons of AI Survivor, and the one time that she survived to reach the Wildcard game in Season Two, it was due to a situation that bordered on the absurd. Two different competitors were at war with Hatshepsut and she was down to a single city remaining, but that city was surrounded by the culture of Augustus and he wouldn't sign Open Borders with those leaders. Thus Hatty lived on to the Wildcard game with a single city, where she once again survived to the finish without ever being in contention for one of the top spots. Hatshepsut's only realistic options for a victory are through the Culture or Diplomatic options, and unfortunately there are other leaders who are simply better at the economic side of the gameplay.


Huayna Capac of the Incas
Traits: Financial, Industrious
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 5 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Champion
Total Kills: 10
Overall Power Ranking: 35 points, tied 1st place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Huyna Capac is one of the strongest leaders in Civ4 and brings a frighteningly powerful total package to the competition. He has the always-excellent Financial trait and hasn't seemed to suffer overmuch despite having to pair it with the typically weak Industious trait. More importantly, Huayna Capac is the only leader who gets to take advantage of the overpowered Incan civilization, with the single best building in the game coming in the form of the "granary that also produces culture" Terrace. The unique unit Quechua is also surprisingly useful for AI Survivor purposes, as the AI leaders often struggle with barbarian archers and this unit allows Huayna Capac to roll over them without issue. Huyna is one of the rare AI leaders who joins together outstanding economic abilities with an aggressive streak, and that tends to be the most dangerous setup possible for these games. Huayna has a fairly high aggression rating (6.7/10), a low peace weight, and he's willing to plot war at "Pleased" relations. His weaknesses are an excessive love of wonder-building (8/10), although he's better able to afford this thanks to the Industrious trait, and a heavy emphasis on religion. On the rare occasions where Huayna falters, it's due to tieing up too many cities on wonders and getting stuck in destructive religious conflicts. More often than not though, Huayna Capac will found his own religion and use it to dominate the diplomacy while scoring every wonder on the map and running over a series of poor fools who can't keep up with his teching prowess.

Past Performance: There's a strong argument to be made that Huayna Capac has been the most consistent and overall best performing AI leader over the first four seasons. He has appeared in eight total matches thus far and won five of them, also scoring at least one victory in every season other than Season Three. Huayna Capac has shown the capability of winning in multiple different fashions, with Spaceship, Domination, and even a Cultural victory under his belt. He was also the overall winner of the whole competition in Season Two, and while it's true that this was somewhat of a flukish result, the victory was dramatic in the extreme and an impressive way of pulling out a win despite being far behind in land and technology. Huayna Capac has also scored an impressive ten kills to date and remains one of the most ruthless individuals in the competition. There's basically nothing that Huayna Capac has failed to accomplish at this point, smashing his rivals again and again with seeming ease. He will be a favorite to win in every single match in which he appears.


Isabella of Spain
Traits: Expansive, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 8 points, 26th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Religion, religion, religion. Isabella is a religious zealot and cares more about her faith than just about any other AI leader in the game. Her "Spain on a Lake" techs are good for founding one of the first two religions and pretty much nothing else, but they will ensure that she'll get some kind of religion and then defend it to the death. Either you are a treasured practitioner of the one true path or you are heathen scum that must be wiped from the earth; there's little subtlety or nuance to Isabella's diplomacy. Her Expansive/Spiritual traits are decent without being spectacular, although it must be said that the AI doesn't do a great job of leveraging the Expansive trait properly. Spain's Conquistador and Citadel unique items are similarly "OK" without having any sort of game-breaking potential. Isabella can be a difficult neighbor to live alongside since she will constantly demand tribute (8/10), and to no one's surprise, demand that others adopt her religion (10/10). Isabella has exactly one research flavor: Religion. Starting to sense a trend here? This obsessive emphasis on religion tends to lead Isabella into founding more religions than she needs and launching ill-advised crusades against rival faiths. She's a one-dimensional cartoon character who only cares about one thing.

Past Performance: Isabella's religious mania has fared poorly in four out of the five games in which she's appeared. Most of the time Isabella will hog a whole bunch of religions and then self-destruct in spectacular fashion with a series of pointless wars. She's not quite as insane as Montezuma but she's not that far off either. Her cities will spend far too much time building temples and monasteries and more missionaries rather than the infrastructure which would actually be helpful in winning the game. The one exception to this pattern was Isabella's opening round game in Season Four, where she shocked everyone by winning a Domination victory in impressive fashion. This seems to have been a highly unlikely result, with Cyrus and Catherine knocking one another out of contention and allowing Isabella to sweep in and claim the win. It certainly wasn't repeated in the playoff round when Isabella clung to her own unpopular self-founded faith and was eliminated. She seems to have had one lucky game in which she scored all eight of her points, and it's dubious as to whether she can repeat that performance again.


Joao of Portugal
Traits: Expansive, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 6 points, tied 29th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Joao is supposed to be the best leader at rapid expansion in the game, with his combination of Expansive (cheap workers) and Imperialistic (cheap settlers) traits. However, in practice the Deity AIs tend to be more limited by their economies as opposed to their capacity to train more settlers, and Joao hasn't stood out as being especially good at expansion. He hasn't really stood out at all, aside from having a name that's difficult for non-Portuguese speakers to pronounce, and Joao mostly sits in the middling portion of the AI category ratings. He trains units at an average rate, builds wonders at an average rate, cares about religion at an average rate, declares wars at an average rate, and so on. He even has a peace weight right in the middle of the scale. About the only semi-interesting thing about Joao is that he makes a lot of demands, both for tribute (8/10) and to switch to his religion (10/10). This is a boring leader overall with little in the way of a distinct personality.

Past Performance: Joao has similarly failed to distinguish himself as either a strong performer or a memorably bad leader. He was eliminated in a notably weak field in his Season One match, then went on to score his only victory in Season Two with an uninspired effort in the Wildcard game. It was an unusual 11 player setup where Joao didn't pull off any particularly impressive moves, instead largely teching along in a corner of the map until reaching the end of the tree. He made a repeat showing in the Wildcard game in Season Three with less successful results and suffered the fate of being First to Die in his only Season Four appearance. Joao's single kill in seven overall matches is a sign of his passive and generally unsuccessful gameplay style. He's never emerged as a dominant force in any of his games and it's easy to forget that he's even present sometimes. Out of all of the leaders who have won a game, Joao is potentially the most uninteresting.


Julius Caesar of the Romans
Traits: Imperialistic, Organized
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 4
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Championship Game
Total Kills: 11
Overall Power Ranking: 31 points, tied 4th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Caesar gets access to the Imperialistic and Organized traits, the former being top-tier and the latter being below average. Imperialistic is so strong that it makes this pair powerful, however, as more land = more everything in AI Survivor. His unique items are the busted Praetorian unique unit, as well as the significantly less useful Forum, again the praetorian being so good that this pair is still well above average. Lastly, Caesar has the Fishing and Mining starting techs, a generally weak pair that becomes significantly stronger with seafood at the capital, as with all fishing starts. Caesar, more than most leaders, depends on having the right starting resources, as seafood, iron, and metal luxuries all greatly speed up his snowball, as in his dominant opening game of Season Four. And make no mistake, Caesar’s game plan is to snowball. With an above average aggression rating (7.6/10), unit preference (6/10) and military/production flavours, Caesar is far more likely than not to start an early war, and with a neutral peaceweight (4), all opponents are fair game for an attack. However, in early wars Caesar has a serious ace up his sleeve: praetorians. These guys are so strong that they almost break the game, often barging their way through city walls like no other unit can. Caesar depends heavily on an extremely successful landgrab using Imperialistic, an early conquest using praetorians, or both. From there, Caesar’s gameplay looks similar to many other militaristic AI’s, using his extra land to out-produce everyone else. If Caesar is unable to get his snowball rolling, his poor economic traits and aggressive personality usually mean he will fall behind and get himself killed, making him another feast-or-famine type leader.

Past Performance: Caesar has achieved a high level of success thus far in AI Survivor. In Season One, he successfully managed to murder De Gaulle, but instead of pausing for breath, immediately declared war on a stronger and more advanced Pericles. He did not make it out alive. This was the first of a series of displays of Caesar’s biggest weakness: he is bad at building an economy. Like, really bad. In Season Two, Caesar was able to come out on top of an extremely close game, before floundering in the playoffs in an unremarkable performance. Season Three was Caesar’s big year, as he won an opening “game of death” and displayed his ideal game, using praetorians to outmuscle Pericles early in the game (vengeance for Season One?), fighting a series of wars to annex Ethiopia, and preventing Elizabeth’s cultural win in an extremely climactic showdown. He was also able to win his playoff game in similar snowball fashion, before finally placing third in the championship. In Season Four, Caesar was able to repeat the magic in his opening game, but performed miserably in his playoff game, stuck in a jungle heavy start and eliminated by Charlemagne. Overall, Caesar is another leader likely to either win a game or perform miserably, with a second-place finish yet to occur. Thus far, with four victories and 11 kills to his name, Caesar has been one of the leaders most likely to feast rather than starve.


Justinian of the Byzantines
Traits: Imperialistic, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Wheel
Peace Weight: 4
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes, 3 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Champion
Total Kills: 9
Overall Power Ranking: 35 points, tied 1st place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Justinian is the Civ4 leader that best combines religious and military pursuits together into a dominant total package. Justinian benefits from a strong trait pairing in the Spiritual + Imperialistic combination, routinely securing a larger-than-average share of the available land. He is tied to the Byzantine civilization, which suffers from terrible starting techs but benefits from one of the game's most overpowered units in the form of the Cataphract. Knights with 12 strength are enough to win many games of their own accord and Justinian has put them to good use in many of his victories. (He's also sometimes refused to research Guilds until a very late date, as it doesn't correspond with his Religious + Military tech flavors.) There's no question that Justinian is an aggressive leader who leans towards conquest, with a high aggression rating (7.6/10), heavy unit emphasis (8/10), and a somewhat low peace weight. Unlike the game's most insane warmongers, however, Justinian largely limits his aggression to competitors outside of his religious bloc. He will strongly favor leaders who share his religion and hate those who don't. Justinian also will not plot war at "Pleased" relations, which simultaneously keeps him from backstabbing his allies but also sometimes limits the gains that the Byzantines could be making with more decisive action. Justinian will typically found an early religion and use it to make some friends, then go on the attack against those who are outside his religious bloc. He does this well enough to make up for his lackluster performance on the economic side of the game. Research doesn't matter if everyone else has been crushed to death beneath cataphract hooves.

Past Performance: Justinian has more combined first and second place finishes than anyone else through four seasons of AI Survivor. He's taken part in a ton of AI Survivor games as well, appearing in ten different matches while scoring four victories and three runner-up finishes. Justinian's best season was his initial foray, as he took a second place finish in a difficult opening round game and then won his playoff game and the eventual championship. This was seen as an unusual result at the time since Justinian is not a popular choice for human Multiplayer matches. However, additional seasons have proven that Justinian's victory was no accident and his traits are well suited to AI Survivor. Justinian had a poor showing in Season Two but then bounced back in Season Three by making it all the way back to the championship game. He came close to taking home a second crown before finishing in second place behind Stalin. Even though Season Four was less kind to Justinian, he still won his opening round game in runaway fashion via religious diplomacy before bowing out in the playoff round. Justinian is another top AI leader who always poses a threat to add to his immpressive medal collection.


Kublai Khan of the Mongols
Traits: Aggressive, Creative
Starting Techs: Hunting, Wheel
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 5 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Four Championship Runner-Up
Total Kills: 9
Overall Power Ranking: 29 points, 6th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Kublai Khan is a much more successful version of a Mongolian leader. His warmongering benefits from the Aggressive trait while the Creative trait helps to push out early game borders and provide at least some degree of research support with cheap libraries. This is an early game setup but those are the most important turns in any Civilization game. Kublai's Mongolian civ is well above average, with strong unique features in the Keshik and Ger paired with subpar starting techs. As an AI leader Kublai Khan tries to balance cultural and military goals, generally doing a pretty good job at both of them. He has average ratings for training units, building wonders, and an average aggression rating (6.4/10). Kublai does have a low peace weight and he has an additional diplomatic penalty for anyone who refuses his demands. He doesn't make those demands very often though, and he doesn't care very much about religion in general. Kublai's tech preferences are expectedly Military and Culture in nature, and he lives up to his Mongol heritage by plotting war at "Pleased" relations. Long story short, Kublai Khan is the military + culture leader done correctly, unlike several others who try and fail at this combination.

Past Performance: Kublai Khan is the unquestioned winner of the runner-up award, taking home five different second place finishes including coming in second place in all three of his Season Four appearances. There's a reason for this, as Kublai often isn't dominant enough to win outright but successfully manages to ride the coattails of a low peace weight ally. Kublai has appeared in eleven different games in all, the most of anyone in AI Survivor, and has taken home a medal of some kind in seven of them. He's also been a scrappy fighter that rarely gets eliminated outright, including battling back from the Wildcard game in Season Three. Kublai's most impressive achievement has been making the championship game on three separate occasions in Seasons Two, Three, and Four, the only AI leader to pull off that accomplishment. He had an overall victory in hand in Season Four and should have been the season's champion before bizarrely throwing away his win by chasing after a longshot Cultural victory. While Kublai tends to sneak under the radar a bit, he has a consistent track record of success that exceeds almost everyone else in the field.


Lincoln of the Americans
Traits: Charismatic, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 9
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 7 points, tied 27th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Lincoln can essentially be thought of as a slightly less extreme clone of Gandhi. He's almost as pacifistic in nature without taking things to quite as ridiculous of a degree. Lincoln's trait combination is pretty lackluster, depriving this peaceful leader of much of an economic foundation to work with. Philosophical in particular doesn't seem to do much for AI leaders who always run a gazillion specialists at all times. Lincoln is not helped either by his American civ with all of its uselessly-late unique features. Lincoln as a leader is extremely peaceful in nature with an exceedingly low aggression rating (0.8/10). He won't declare war at "Pleased" either so Lincoln rarely winds up initiating much in the way of conflict. Unlike Gandhi, he will at least train an average number of units (4/10) and therefore doesn't collapse instantly when attacked. Lincoln's an easy neighbor to get along with, as he rarely makes demands and doesn't hold much interest in religion. Unfortunately he also doesn't have any clear path to winning a victory, as his traits aren't great for pure economy and he doesn't have anything beyond half-cost universities to help with culture. It all adds up to a mixed bag, a nice guy leader who's too friendly to attack anyone while also lacking the tools to run the Mansa Musa or Darius playbook.

Past Performance: Lincoln won his very first game in the debut season of AI Survivor and has done essentially nothing since then. His Season One match held an atypical field of mostly high peace weight leaders, and once Ragnar + Kublai Khan were gone, Lincoln was able to sit back and win a big peaceful lovefest. All seven of Lincoln's points were scored in this initial game and he's been unable to muster anything since. He did come close to making the Season One Championship in another high peace weight playoff grouping but mostly it's been a series of early exits at the hands of more militaristic neighbors. Lincoln was First to Die in his opening round match in Season Two and saw another early exit in Season Four. The best he's managed was a Wildcard appearance in Season Three, where he again suffered a quick defeat. It's become clear that Lincoln's win in Season One was an unlikely result and he's an underwhelming choice for AI Survivor. Only in very specific circumstances can he emerge on top and claim a victory.


Louis XIV of France
Traits: Creative, Industrious
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 4 points, tied 33rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Louis XIV has a strange AI personality that mixes together a heavy emphasis on wonders together with military aggression. It's not a winning combination. Louis has the Creative and Industrious pairing of traits, a setup that's good for claiming land and then developing cities upwards with additional infrastructure. He also gets to benefit from the strong French civilization, with its excellent starting techs and the useful Musketeer unique unit. However, Louis largely wastes these positive features with a destructive AI personality that pulls in too many directions at once. He's obsessed with building wonders, sporting the rare 10/10 rating in that category, and too often ties up his cities on world wonders with questionable benefits. Louis also has a Culture flavor for his research and tends to spend a lot of time at the top of the tech tree grabbing stuff along the Aesthetics line. These are poor choices for a leader who also has a Military tech flavor, a fairly high aggression rating (6.3/10), and a very low peace weight. Louis tends to make for a bad neighbor as his borders are always intruding on the other empires and he demands tribute constantly (8/10). Needless to say, the guy who likes to pick fights with his rivals while simultaneously locking up his cities on long wonder builds hasn't had a ton of success to date.

Past Performance: Louis has only managed a single second place finish thus far but he's been surprisingly competitive in many of his appearances. His true performance level is likely stronger than what these numbers suggest. With that said, Louis was quickly eliminated in each of the first two seasons of AI Survivor without serving as much more than a speedbump. And in his sole runner-up finish, he was an extremely distant finisher with less than half of the score of a runaway Justinian. However, Louis was leading his playoff game for much of the match before running afoul of a distastrous two-front war against Caesar and Kublai, and he was similarly the leader for the first 200 turns of his opening round game in Season Four. Louis probably would have won that contest if Wang Kon hadn't built the Statue of Zeus to troll him in their lengthy war. In other words, it's clear that there's some potential here even if Louis has a bizarre personality pulling at culture + military cross-purposes.


Mansa Musa of Mali
Traits: Financial, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Mining, Wheel
Peace Weight: 9
Past Finishes: 5 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Three Championship Game
Total Kills: 6
Overall Power Ranking: 31 points, tied 4th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Mansa Moneybags is the best AI leader in the game when it comes to pure economy and it's not a close comparison. He is an absolute fiend when it comes to research, even under our settings where Mansa's well known propensity to engage in tech trading gets disabled. Mansa Musa benefits from an amazing pair of economic traits, Financial for endless cottage cheese and Spiritual to avoid ever wasting turns with the AI's frequent civics shifts. The Malinese civ has an excellent unique unit in the Skirmisher and a passable unique building in the Mint. The biggest downside here comes from the poor starting techs, and if Mansa chooses to chase after an early religion, he can lock himself out of connecting early food bonuses for quite some time. On that note, Mansa has a surprisingly heavy religious preference including a lesser Religion tech preference paired along with his dominant Gold flavor. He's one of the most likely leaders to found a religion despite not starting with Mysticism tech. Mansa's strategy otherwise tends to be predictable: blanket the landscape in cottages and tech like a banshee. He's extraordinarily good at doing this even on a limited number of cities; we've repeatedly seen a Malinese empire with five cities still leading the pack in tech. If Mansa ever manages to amass a large amount of territory, may god have mercy on your soul, because he will plot war at "Pleased" and isn't afraid to lay the smack down despite his 1.6/10 aggression rating. Mansa Musa is always a dangerous opponent and will usually win the game if he doesn't get roughed up by his neighbors.

Past Performance: Mansa Musa has been dominant in game after game, repeatedly teching out in front of the rest of the field and then ruthlessly crushing all challengers. He's won five times in nine total matches, all of them first place finishes. Mansa won his opening round match each of the first three years before finally breaking his streak in Season Four with a poor showing. It was the rare game where Mansa failed to connect his resources and found himself caught off-guard by an enemy attack. Most of the time, however, Mansa has been able to secure enough breathing space to open up a tech lead and swat away his opponents. His performance in Season Three's opening round match is one of the most dominant that we've ever seen, winning by Spaceship as early as Turn 282 while also being within one or two cities of triggering Domination. Mansa has made it to the championship game twice at the end of Seasons One and Three, only to run into low peace weight fields of opponents and find himself the odd man out each time. All of the other AI leaders with extremely high peace weights have fared far worse in AI Survivor, a testament to the strength of Mansa. Sullla long ago wrote that he had the "winner" AI personality and results have certainly backed that up.


Mao Zedong of China
Traits: Expansive, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mining
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 3 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Championship Game
Total Kills: 7
Overall Power Ranking: 18 points, 9th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Mao Zedong has been surprisingly successful at AI Survivor despite working with relatively few resources. His trait combination is simply bad, with the terrible Protective trait combined together with the AI's poor handling of the Expansive trait. Mao does get to take advantage of the Chinese civilization though, with the best starting techs in the game (Agriculture/Mining) and the strong Cho-Ko-Nu unique crossbow. Mao's AI personality is best known for placing very little emphasis on religion. He doesn't gain much of a benefit from shared religion and attaches little penalty to practicing a different faith. Mao will almost never demand that someone convert to his religion (0/10) but he will make civics-based demands on a frequent basis (10/10). Most of Mao's ratings are fairly average aside from his hefty emphasis on espionage spending (8/10). He's only average in terms of aggression but has a low peace weight and will happily plot war at "Pleased" relations. Mao's middle-of-the-road ratings reflect a leader who often seems to lurk under the radar until catching others by surprise.

Past Performance: Mao Zedong has been a sneaky-good AI leader, reaching the playoffs in three out of four seasons and making it to the championship game at the end of Season Two. He only has a single first place finish to his name but has stuck around to score a series of runner-up finishes. Mao's single best result was his opening round match in Season One, where he won a Diplomatic victory at the ridiculously late date of Turn 433. That's one of the slowest-finishing games that we've ever had and it reflected the fact that Mao isn't much of a researcher. He managed to sneak into the championship the next season with a pair of runner-up finishes, only to find that he couldn't keep pace with Huayna Capac and Pacal and Cyrus in the finals. Mao then suckered everyone into overrating him in Season Three, when he was heavily favored to win his opening round match and instead found himself taken out by Hannibal. Mao isn't one of the best leaders but he's good at hanging around and finding a way to make something out of nothing.


Mehmed of the Ottomans
Traits: Expansive, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 3 points, tied 37th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Mehmed is a typical member from the group of militaristic AI leaders. He's not quite as crazy as some of his shared rivals in the Montezuma or Shaka mold, but he still acts predictably and starts a lot of trouble for his neighbors. Mehmed does have a pair of good economic traits in the Expansive/Organized combo, albeit both of them traits that the AI doesn't leverage particularly well. His Ottoman civilization also benefits from having excellent starting techs and decent unique features in the Janissary and Hamman. Mehmed's biggest problem is that he's too militaristic for his own good, endlessly picking wars and failing to leverage those economic traits to good effect. He has a maxed out preference for training units (10/10) and a high aggression rating (7.8/10) to go along with his low peace weight. And yet Mehmed also won't plot war at "Pleased" relations for some reason, often causing him to stack up units endlessly to no effect whatsoever. His research flavors are Military and an odd Culture, once again reinforcing how Mehmed tends to neglect economy in favor of more and more units. Mehmed has often been a popular pick from the community because he looks like he should be strong on paper, and yet he's let everyone down over and over again.

Past Performance: Mehmed has done a lot of fighting through the first four seasons but without translating those conflicts into a top two finish. He's often been a leading figure at various points in time before falling apart and collapsing in the later stages of the gameplay. Mehmed's experience in Season One was typical, as he conquered multiple rivals before getting chopped to bits by a more advanced Mansa Musa. He came close to taking second place in his Season Two match, and eliminated Bismarck in Season Three only to fall apart in a two front war afterwards. Mehmed does have the somewhat impressive feat of scoring three kills without manging a first or second place finish, tied with Napoleon for the most kills without ever sniffing the playoff round. This continues to feel like a leader who should be performing better and fails to do so through repeated self-sabotage.


Montezuma of the Aztecs
Traits: Aggressive, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 1 point, tied 44th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Anyone who’s played much Civ 4 probably already has a pretty good idea of the Montezuma AI. He tends to... stand out. To start with, Montezuma gets the Aggressive and Spiritual traits, a strong, if not top-tier, combination for these games. His unique items are the Jaguar Warrior and the Sacrificial Altar, both useful in the hands of a human, but relatively worthless in those of the AI. Lastly, Montezuma starts with Hunting and Mysticism, which allows him to found a religion right off the bat. Make no mistake, Montezuma likes himself some religion. But it’s not the traits or unique stuff that makes Montezuma so well-known in Civ 4; it’s the man himself. Sullla described Montezuma as a “rabid dog let loose in the streets to cause as much trouble as possible before being put down,” and considering that Montezuma is still a strategy game AI, that’s surprisingly accurate. Montezuma has polarizing numbers all over the place. He has the highest aggression rating in the game (10/10), and Montezuma is actually the benchmark for the normalized system we use to judge the rest of this bunch. His unit build (8/10) and tribute demand (10/10) ratings are both very high, which is lucky because there is rarely a time when Montezuma isn’t fighting at least one other player. Montezuma won’t bother with building wonders (0/10); he takes them instead. He doesn’t ask other AIs for help either (0/10); he wants to do all the fighting himself. Monty’s peace weight (0) is also the lowest possible in the game, and any cooperation between him and a "good" AI should be virtually impossible. Montezuma’s flavours are Military and Religion, and his "strategy" is almost universally to found a religion, and then psychotically defend it to the death. Or just attack the other true believers anyway during his downtime. There’s no way that could possibly go wrong...

Past Performance: Well, it turns out that pure insanity tends not to work so well for these games, and it’s a sad sign that while Gandhi the ultra-pacifist has picked up two kills, Monty’s only scored one. Montezuma has yet to win a game or place second so far, and his most successful game was the Wildcard Round in Season Three. That’s the game where he picked up his only kill, on a weak, barbarian-infested America, and then celebrated the only way Montezuma knows how: attacking a friendly Mongolian Empire larger and stronger than himself. That ended his short, sweet chance of victory on the spot, and the fact that it’s his best game is kind of hilarious. Montezuma’s appearances in AI Survivor usually go one of two ways. The first is that he stupidly attacks someone far larger and stronger than himself, in which case he promptly gets himself killed, as in that Wildcard Game. The second and more common way that Montezuma screws himself has been to indiscriminately (and unsuccessfully) attack anyone and everyone, until the entire world dogpiles him in a collective fury (for examples of this, see Monty’s opening games in Seasons One, Two and Four). While Montezuma’s absurd playstyle makes him unlikely to win a game, he’s one of the AIs most likely to shake things up, and the Aztec leader has become a fan favourite. Any game featuring Montezuma is likely to see some fun twists and turns before its end.


Napoleon of France
Traits: Charismatic, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 3 points, tied 37th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Napoleon is a deeply militaristic leader who will emphasize unit production over everything else. His traits are a bit of a mismatch for this setup, and it's unfortunate that he doesn't have the Aggresive trait given how many units that Napoleon churns out. Organized is a misplaced trait for this guy's personality. France is a great civ choice as usual, with excellent starting techs and a useful unique unit in the Musketeer. Napoleon himself has a one-track mind as an AI leader: he loves to start new wars (9.1/10 aggression rating), he will train oodles of units (10/10), and he has the lowest peace weight possible to cause him to hate the "Good" leaders. Napoleon doesn't care about religion and he doesn't waste time building wonders. He does make for an obnoxious neighbor since he will constantly be demanding tribute (10/10) and civics changes (8/10). It should come as no surprise that Napoleon has Military as his primary research flavor along with a lesser Gold emphasis, and of course he will plot war at "Pleased" relations. Overall then Napoleon is pretty similar to Shaka and Ragnar and Boudica, if somewhat less memorable than any of those rivals.

Past Performance: Napoleon has stirred up plenty of trouble in his prior AI Survivor appearances but without having much in the way of success. The best that can be said about Napoleon is that he's managed to score three kills without ever taking a first or second place finish, something that's pretty hard to accomplish. The winning leaders usually monopolize the eliminations in each game and for a weaker individual like Napoleon to score several kills is an impressive feat. On the other hand, Napoleon has appeared in five total games of AI Survivor and found himself getting eliminated in four of them without ever coming close to taking home a victory. He repeatedly crashes his economy with excessive warring only to be taken out by more advanced empires that have reached superior levels of military technology. Napoleon is therefore another example of the "suicidally aggressive" club that approaches every problem by hitting it with an axe. Like Genghis Khan and Montezuma, he's simply too militaristic for his own good. That's not to say that Napoleon can't have a successful game if he manages to snowball ahead off of an early conquest, only that he needs the right conditions to avoid flaming out with pointless invasions.


Pacal of the Mayans
Traits: Financial, Expansive
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 3 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two and Three Championship Game
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 16 points, 12th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Pacal has a top tier trait combination, with the amazing Financial and the good Expansive, allowing him to get those Financial cottages up and running even faster. He also gets the bad Holkan unique unit and the good Ball Court, which adds a nice boost to happiness in the midgame. Lastly, Pacal gets Mysticism and Mining for his starting techs, a pretty crappy pair only useful for chasing a religion out of the gate. Pacal is a pretty standard economic AI in most ways, with a low aggression rating (2.8/10), though his unit preference (4/10) isn’t as suicidally low as some of the leaders like him. His flavours are Culture and Growth, and you can usually expect Pacal to pursue an early religion right out of the gate. Pacal is one of the two leaders who combine a low peaceweight with a heavily economic style of play. With a peaceweight of 2, an ideal Pacal game probably sees the warmongers and peaceniks fight it out amongst each other while he sits back and builds an insurmountable tech lead.

Past Performance: Pacal’s previous performances have been a real mixed bag, and he’s a difficult AI to figure out. In Season One, Pacal played one of the worst games of the season, executing a poor landgrab and successfully aggravating nearly everyone else in the game until his final, inevitable, thankful demise at the hands of Elizabeth in the closing stages. Then, in Season Two, Pacal played a strong opening round game, followed by a near disastrous Playoff Game where he just squeezed into second place, and then a championship where he scored a strong third. Whew, bit of a mixed bag there. Next, Pacal again barely eked out a second place in the Wildcard Game of Season Three, narrowly beating out Suleiman of all people, and again he made it past the Playoffs in second place, largely by screwing up less than the leaders not named “Mansa Musa.” He finished Season Three with an unremarkable championship showing in which he was torn apart late in the game after not really doing anything. Lastly, Pacal one-upped his performance in Season One by scoring the earliest elimination ever in AI Survivor during his Season Four game. Though this was admittedly an unlucky tactical situation, Pacal didn’t lose because he didn’t have strategic resources: he lost because he refused to research the techs necessary to connect the damn things! With two terrible seasons and two Championship appearances, Pacal is one of the hardest leaders to judge. One thing is worth noting though: Pacal has only had one truly dominant game, and even then, Cyrus was a strong second place finisher. Meanwhile, all three of his second-place finishes were distant at best, near-death at worst, and in particular his successive failures to conquer Peter during his Season Three playoff game were a true display of incompetence. His non-playoff seasons have both been disasters of the highest order, and it’s possible Pacal has somehow lucked his way into a higher power ranking than he deserves. Something to keep in mind, at least.


Pericles of Greece
Traits: Creative, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Fishing, Hunting
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Two Championship Game
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 14 points, 15th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Pericles is one of the best leaders at pursuing a Cultural victory and he's had a good bit of success with that strategy in past seasons. Pericles has the ideal trait combination for chasing after cultural pursuits with the Creative + Philosophical pairing, providing cheap libraries and universities and theatres. The Greek civ doesn't offer too much in this regard, with subpar starting techs and an unrelated Phalanx unique unit, although I suppose that the Odeon unique building comes at half cost and can provide more Artist specialist slots. Pericles the AI leader has a peaceful bent in general, with a low aggression rating (3.3/10) and a modest build unit preference (4/10). Pericles would clearly much rather spend his time building wonders instead (8/10), which he'll do with great frequency in each game. Unlike many of the other peaceful leaders, Pericles doesn't place much of an emphasis on religion and rarely founds one of his own faiths. His research flavors are Production and Science, which also makes him a bit of a strange bird since he doesn't have a Culture or Religion tech preference in there. Overall Pericles is an easy neighbor to live with, as he almost never makes demands and has a middling peace weight that avoids either end of the spectrum. He's a leader who wants to be left alone and can become very dangerous if he gets that wish.

Past Performance: Pericles has typically done well when he's managed to roll a field of high peace weight AIs and not so well when he hasn't. In Season One, Pericles found himself sharing a game with Elizabeth and Frederick and Darius, and once the low peace weight leaders were gone, it turned into a lovefest where he took home a Diplomatic victory via the United Nations. The playoff round was another story entirely, as Pericles was boxed in by a hostile Suleiman and ruthlessly eliminated in the midgame. He had his best outing in Season Two, with a Cultural victory in the opening round thanks to another group of high peace weight opponents, followed by a surprising second place finish in the playoffs despite starting next to Catherine and Tokugawa. Everyone expected Pericles to die quickly in that one and instead he survived and propsered. It wasn't enough to avoid elimination in the Season Two Championship game, however, as Pericles faced some very tough competition from a group of low peace weight opponents. Pericles has been unable to advance in the most recent seasons of AI Survivor, falling afoul of the "group of death" in Season Three and then sabotaging his chances in Season Four by launching a war against Lincoln (!) instead of a militaristic neighbor. That went as poorly as expected and resulted in another elimination. Anyway, Pericles plays the cultural game well enough to have a real short of victory if he can draw a suitable field of opponents and avoid obviously destructive moves.


Peter of Russia
Traits: Expansive, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 4 points, tied 33rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Peter the Great is an AI leader who seems to be pulling in six different directions at once, leaving a bit of a confusing mess as the result. Peter has two traits that lack any clear synergy, with Expansive theoretically being useful for growing outwards while Philosophical develops upwards. Neither of these traits is particularly strong in the hands of the AI and Peter ends up weaker in this setup as compared to when played by a skillful human. Fortunately the Russian civilization is a good choice to have available, with decent starting techs and a powerful unique unit in the form of the Cossack. As for the leader himself, Peter's AI personality is all over the place in terms of what it emphasizes. He has a higher than average unit training preference (6/10) but also an above average desire to build wonders (6/10) and spend on espionage (7/10). This is a leader who doesn't care too much about religion, for whatever that's worth. Peter would appear to be your standard militaristic AI, with a high aggression rating (8/10) and low peace weight and willingness to declare war at "Pleased" relations. However, Peter has tech preference that don't match a conquest gameplan at all, instead using Science and Growth flavors for his research. He also rarely if ever makes any demands of his neighbors: no tribute demands (2/10), no civics changes (1/10), no asking other AI leaders to convert religions (2/10). It's not particularly clear what goal Peter has in mind for any particular game and the AI often seems confused as well.

Past Performance: Peter's performance has been somewhere between mediocre and poor in past seasons of AI Survivor. He's frequently been a popular pick in the viewer contest only to disappoint his backers with aimless, lackluster showings. Peter appeared in the first ever game of AI Survivor and couldn't manage a result better than a third place finish followed by a near-elimination in the subsequent Wildcard game. Peter found his way back to the Wildcard game again in Season Two after another distant last place finish only to suffer the humiliation of being the first leader eliminated in an eleven-nation field. Ouch. Peter's best result was a second-place finish in the opening round of Season Three, although he was again nowhere close to first place as he trailed a long distance behind the winning Hannibal. He was killed in both his playoff round match and his Season Four opening round game, albeit with a much better performance in the latter game that topped the field for the first 200 turns. Thanks to his repeated Wildcard game appearances Peter has been in a lot of total games, seven matches in full. However, he's scored only the single second place finish and never come in first in those seven games. Along with his paltry two kills, Peter has a clear track record of mostly ineffective performances.


Qin Shi Huang
Traits: Industrious, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mining
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 6 points, tied 29th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Qin Shi Huang has the unfortunate penalty of being saddled with the worst trait combination in Civ4 for AI Survivor purposes. The Industrious trait seems to cause the AI leaders to tie up their cities on wonders in lieu of expanding out across the map, while the Protective trait is well-known for being the weakest of the bunch. Defensive promotions and cheaper walls can help string out a losing game but won't do much of anything to help win a game. Qin's saving grace is the Chinese civilization, with its amazing starting tech combination and powerful Cho-Ko-Nu unique unit. The extra promotions on this unit are about the only useful thing that Qin gets from his traits. Qin's AI personality is mostly that of a peaceful builder, as he has a low aggression rating (3.9/10) and a fairly high wonder emphasis (6/10). Qin generally won't pick a lot of fights as he doesn't make a lot of demands and he has a low train unit emphasis (2/10). This economic setup is oddly paired with a low peace weight and the ability to plot war at "Pleased" relations. This is likely the reason why Qin has outperformed his terrible trait combination, as low peace weight leaders who can successfully pull off economic development tend to be some of the strongest competitors in AI Survivor. It's too bad for Qin that he doesn't get more useful traits to pair with his otherwise promising setup.

Past Performance: Qin has consistently exceeded expectations in past seasons, managing a pair of trips to the playoffs despite often unpromising circumstances. He's made a living in the Wildcard game in particular, advancing to the playoffs in Season One by taking home a silver medal in that last chance effort. This wasn't enough to overcome a field of mostly high peace weight leaders in the playoffs, losing out to Mansa Musa and Elizabeth in a tight contest. Qin's best outing took place in Season Three, where he finished in second place behind Julius Caesar and nearly advanced to the Championship game before a late era stomping at the hands of Mansa Musa again intervened. On the other hand, Qin has also struggled mightily in other outings, suffering early eliminations in both Season Two and Season Four without accomplishing much of anything. While he's done a good job of punching above his weight, he also doesn't have that much weight to be punching with. There are other leaders who are much better at the economic side of the game and Qin often can't keep pace with them.


Ragnar of the Vikings
Traits: Financial, Aggressive
Starting Techs: Fishing, Hunting
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Two Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 4 points, tied 33rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: If you like insane seaborne invaders with funny hats, Ragnar is the guy for you! This lunatic has never met a war that he didn't like and any game with Ragnar present is sure to have some spicy moments. Ragnar combines together the Financial and Aggressive traits, which theoretically should make him better than the average warmonger in terms of managing his economy. That largely doesn't happen in practice though, as Ragnar takes every single lever available for managing his civ and turns it to the military setting, then dials the strength up to 11. His Viking civilization is pretty decent between its starting techs and Berserker unique unit and Trading Post unique building, although a lot of the benefits get wasted on the Pangaea maps used for AI Survivor. Ragnar's AI personality is a complete one-hit wonder: all military all the time. His aggression rating is absurdly overtuned (9.9/10), his train unit emphasis is maxed out (10/10), and he only has one tech flavor which, of course, is Military. Ragnar will fight war after war after war and neglect the building of infrastructure in his cities, which typically leaves him far behind in tech by the latter stages of each match. This often causes him to get eliminated at the hands of more advanced rivals, although sometimes he can ride the coattails of other low peace weight leaders and survive to the finish. Perhaps someday we'll see Ragnar snowball out in front of the rest of the field and then ride his Financial trait to a position of tech dominance but that hasn't happened thus far. Instead, Ragnar has mostly been a ticking time bomb that's gone off and ruined someone else's game... along with his own game at the same time.

Past Performance: Like most of the other crazed warmongers, Ragnar has been too aggressive for his own good and achieved little of substance. He has failed to win a single game and scored only two kills despite stirring up repeated conflicts in game after game. Ragnar's single runner-up finish is similarly deceptive, as he finished extremely far behind a dominant Catherine and made it to the playoffs by virtue of the fact that almost everyone else was dead. Sometimes an AI leader can luck into a second place spot without doing much of anything to deserve it. Far more often have been performances like Ragnar's outing in Season Three, where he inexplicably picked a fight with low peace weight neighbor Stalin only to be taken apart by Ramesses (!) of all people. Or alternately Ragnar has wasted golden opportunities, such as in Season Four where he drew a field of mostly low peace weight opponents and couldn't capitalize on easy prey neighbors in Lincoln and Pericles. This is a self-destructive leader who obsesses far too much over his army and fails to balance the economic, cultural, and diplomatic aspects of nation-building required to be successful in Civ4.


Ramesses II of Egypt
Traits: Industrious, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 2 points, tied 40th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Ramesses is best summarized as a peaceful leader who loves to build wonders. His traits are well suited for this, with the Industrious trait granting additional production for wonders and Spiritual serving as a useful all-around development trait. The AI loves to waste turns in Anarchy flipping civics and it helps save them from their own follies. Ramesses is further helped by the presence of the powerful Egyptian civilization, which has excellent starting techs along with one of the game's best unique units in the form of the War Chariot. Unfortunately the whole is less than the sum of its parts as far as Ramesses is concerned, as his traits and AI personality contribute to one of the worst expansion rates in the competition. Ramesses is so busy building his wonders (10/10) that he forgets to train units (2/10) and struggles to get settlers out on the map to claim territory. He's helped here by a peace weight in the middle of the spectrum to prevent him from being quite as much of a sitting duck as Hatshepsut but the low aggression rating on Ramesses (3.7/10) makes it unlikely that he'll be able to snowball ahead from conquering territory. Ramesses also heavily emphasizes religion, strongly favoring his religious compatriots and disliking his rivals. With his Culture and Production tech flavors, he's another leader who's likely to found a religion despite not starting with Mysticism tech. Only in the rare situation where Ramesses is somehow able to acquire additional territory does he start to become a threat to win the game. His wonder-heavy gameplan simply doesn't work very well for AI Survivor purposes.

Past Performance: Ramesses has been one of the worst-performing leaders in AI Survivor, with zero kills to his name and frequent early eliminations. He was the First to Die in the first ever game of AI Survivor and things generally haven't improved a lot since then. Season Two was going a bit better for Ramesses until he picked a fight with Mansa Musa and was knocked out the competition for his impunity. Season Four's opening round game had an unfortunate field of mostly low peace weight leaders and that meant another First to Die outing for Ramesses. Only in Season Three did he have one solid game, stunning everyone who expected an early demise by triumphing over Ragnar and riding that conquest to a second place finish. This had less to do with Ramesses and more to do with Ragnar inexplicably deciding to attack his low peace weight neighbor Stalin, an invasion which was unusually suicidal even for Ragnar. Order was restored in the playoff round as Ramesses once again suffered an early exit. He's appeared in five total matches and suffered four eliminations without ever managing a kill, not exactly a successful track record from past years.


Roosevelt of America
Traits: Industrious, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 4 points, tied 33rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Roosevelt is a classic example of a peaceful builder that largely wants to stay out of conflicts. He has a solid economic trait pairing with Industrious and Organized, although lacking any of the top-tier grouping of Financial or Creative or Expansive. Roosevelt often tends to struggle with expansion since he lacks any traits or abilities to speed up his early game. The American civilization is doing him no favors here, with decent starting techs but unique features that both come far too late to make a difference. Roosevelt the AI is not very militaristic at all, with an aggression rating of 2.6/10 and a dangerously low train unit emphasis (2/10). Despite his Industrious trait, Roosevelt doesn't particularly emphasize wonder building (4/10) and prefers to focus on espionage spending (7/10). He also has little interest in religion and doesn't stack up much of a shared faith bonus or differing faiths penalty. Roosevelt has unusual tech preferences for his research, emphasizing Production and Gold flavors, and the expected high peace weight for a "good" leader. He will plot war at "Pleased" relations though in a bit of a twist. Generally speaking what you see is what you get with Roosevelt. He's going to try and play the builder game but he lacks the traits and the civ to make him a top competitor for that gameplan.

Past Performance: Roosevelt has been fairly mediocre overall, managing one trip to the playoffs without achieving anything too memorable or interesting. His theoretical best game took place in the opening round of Season Four, where he had a difficult corner start and was widely expected to be the First to Die. Instead, he managed to slip into the playoffs in second place behind Isabella. It wasn't a very impressive finish, mind you, as Roosevelt was 6000 points behind on the scorebord, but he did survive and that was more than the rest of the field could say. Outside of that single game, Roosevelt has typically been a speed bump on the road to victory for other stronger leaders. He was eliminated in the opening round of Season One, then survived to the Wildcard game in Season Two without accomplishing much. Roosevelt made a truly bad decision in Season Three by converting to a self-founded religion that put him outside Justinian's religious alliance, resulting in a deserved elimination. His playoff game in Season Four also ended in self-inflicted disaster, committing suicide with an invasion of a much stronger Darius (an example of the "plot war at Pleased relations" backfiring). While Roosevelt is a decent enough leader in overall terms, he's demonstrated some truly awful decision-making in recent years of the competition.


Saladin of Arabia
Traits: Spiritual, Protective
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Wheel
Peace Weight: 4
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two and Four Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 1 point, tied 44th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Saladin is one of the leaders that focuses on religion and military; unlike most of the other leaders with this combination, he's only middle of the spectrum in terms of aggression and peace weight. Saladin is hurt badly by his leader traits and Arabian civilization, with the useless Protective trait handicapping his performance. He is also penalized by having to start with arguably the worst starting tech pairing in the game in Mysticism and Wheel. Saladin's free starting Deity worker cannot hook up any food resources or build mines, while being stuck two techs away from both Bronze Working and Animal Husbandry. Saladin heavily emphasizes religion and he will therefore always try to found one of the Meditation/Polytheism faiths, leaving him even further in the hole compared to his rivals. This poor starting situation typically leaves Saladin significantly behind the other leaders and makes it hard for him to keep pace with their expansion. Most of his AI ratings are in the middle of the range of available values, such as his aggression rating (5.5/10) and peace weight. Saladin rarely makes demands of his neighbors and will be a good friend when sharing the same faith, though his preferred civic of Theocracy makes it almost impossible for rival religions to get any kind of footing. This is a straightforward AI personality: he's going to try to found a religion and then attack those who don't share it, although not nearly to the same degree as someone like Montezuma or Isabella.

Past Performance: Saladin's been somewhat unfortunate in his past games but has not managed to finish first or second thus far. His best showings have been two trips to the Wildcard game. For all of his weaknesses at the start of the game, Saladin has been in a solid position on multiple occasions coming out of the landgrab phase. Unfortunately he has often found himself on the wrong side of the religious diplomacy and suffered as a result. This was the problem in Season One, as Saladin had a self-founded Hinduism that no one else practiced and it led to his eventual elimination by Catherine. He hung on to the Wildcard game in a very peaceful Season Two opening round match only to finish in the middle of the pack in a large field. Season Three was a replay of Season One for Saladin, with his own self-founded religion that Justinian opposed and eventually stomped out. And in Season Four, Saladin clung to life in both his opening round game and the Wildcard match without ever coming close to a victory. To his credit, Saladin has been in six total matches thus far and was only eliminated twice. On the other hand, he's never been particularly close to winning or scored more than a single kill. This is the Protective trait at its finest: stalling out losing games while doing nothing to help achieve a win.


Shaka of the Zulus
Traits: Aggressive, Expansive
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Hunting
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two, Three, and Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 4
Overall Power Ranking: 13 points, tied 16th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Shaka gets the Aggressive and Expansive traits to play around with, two middling traits that create a roughly average combination, if well-fitted for conquest. He also has the below average (in AI hands) Impi, and the extremely strong Ikhanda for his unique items, an above average pairing that, again, works well for militaristic play. Lastly, Shaka has the Agriculture and Hunting pair for his starting techs, which allow him to get out to a fast start. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, Shaka is all about the military. He’s one of the "Crazies" who cross the threshold from "aggressive" to "nuts", and his aggression rating (9.2/10) is the fourth highest in the game. Like most of the other Crazies, Shaka’s only flavour is Military, and he builds units at a frenetic pace (10/10) while ignoring wonders (2/10). Surprisingly, Shaka is quite unlikely to demand tribute (1/10), but other than that, he’s a fairly standard hyper-aggressive leader. Shaka’s traits, unique items and flavour are all pretty unhelpful in constructing an economy, and usually he doesn’t even try. Expect Shaka to spend his entire game warring on the high peace weight pacifists (or anyone else, for that matter!), and his success to largely depend on whether those wars are successful or stall out.

Past Performance: So far, Shaka is undeniably the most successful of the Crazies in AI Survivor, ranked nearly within the top quartile of all AIs (for reference, Ragnar, Temujin and Montezuma are all within the bottom third). Perhaps his lack of demands helps after all, making him less likely to become a global pariah, or maybe the Ikhanda is just that good. After a terrible first season, Shaka has made the playoffs every season since. His most successful game was a Season Two romp in, admittedly, a below average field, but Shaka has achieved second place in two more games since. In Season Three, Shaka did this by largely staying out of the way of De Gaulle, but in Season Four he played another strong game, scoring himself three kills to boot, following an impressive zerg rush of Joao. Like many other middle-tier leaders however, Shaka has consistently struggled against the stiffer competition of the playoffs, where he typically gets outteched by more balanced (i.e less insane) leaders, probably best displayed in his Season Three Playoff Game, where he ballooned to an enormous size, but was so far behind in tech that he also popped like a balloon when confronted by Stalin and Justinian. Shaka is a complete lunatic but he's actually going to be a seeded leader for Season Five - there must be a method to the madness.


Sitting Bull of the Native Americans
Traits: Philosophical, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: None, Eliminated in all four opening round games
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Sitting Bull is stuck with the Philosophical and Protective traits; in other words, the two worst performing traits in the entirety of AI Survivor. This immediately puts him in a bit of a hole. Sitting Bull also gets the unimpressive Dog Soldier and Totem Pole for his unique items, neither of which help matters. His only redemptive feature is his starting techs of Agriculture and Fishing, yet even they are merely above average, meaning that Sitting Bull plays the game at a serious disadvantage. As a personality, Sitting Bull the AI is a series of contradictions. He builds a lot of units (8/10) and doesn’t bother with wonders (0/10). He is the most likely leader in the game to demand tribute (10/10), and his flavours are Military and Growth. This all sounds like the makings of an aggressive leader in the vein of Ragnar or Alex, and yet, Sitting Bull has a lower than average aggression rating (4.3/10). He simply doesn’t attack very often. He also has a high peace weight, preferring the likes of Gandhi and Elizabeth to Montezuma and Shaka. This, along with his traits, largely leads to an AI that constructs a strong military that he doesn’t use, and a weak economy to boot, with Sitting Bull struggling to keep up in tech with even the rabid warmongers. It doesn’t paint an impressive picture, and as a general rule Sitting Bull doesn’t just start in a deep hole; he’s unwilling to dig himself out.

Past Performance: Sitting Bull is one of six remaining leaders that have yet to claim a single point, either through kills or placements. In fact, Sitting Bull hasn’t even made the Wildcard Game, dying in every single game he’s played, and there is a strong argument to be made for him being the worst performing leader in AI Survivor history. Even Frederick made it to the Season One Wildcard Game! Sitting Bull’s traits have done him no favours, and although he usually doesn’t collapse fast like some of the other peaceniks, instead he always seems to die by a thousand cuts, as aggressive AIs slowly wear him down time after time. To paraphrase Sullla, Sitting Bull is certainly capable of sabotaging someone else’s game through a determined defence, but he’s probably the least likely leader to actually pull a victory from one of these games. Expect nothing from Sitting Bull, and you’re unlikely to be surprised.


Stalin of Russia
Traits: Aggressive, Industrious
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Champion
Total Kills: 10
Overall Power Ranking: 34 points, 3rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Stalin has unexpectedly been one of the most dominant leaders in AI Survivor history, compiling a staggering track record of success that we're still not entirely sure how to explain. His traits are nothing special, with the Industrious trait largely acting as a detriment to AI performance and Aggressive never grading out as anything better than average. Stalin has undoubtedly been helped by his Russian civilization, with its decent starting techs and powerful Cossack unique unit. Understanding why Stalin has repeatedly crushed his opponents requires a deeper dive into his AI personality. He has a low peace weight and an above average aggression rating (7.6/10) while avoiding the truly nutty behavior of someone like Montezuma or Genghis Khan. Aside from a somewhat high build wonder rating (6/10), most of Stalin's AI ratings are in the middle of the spectrum and don't stand out one way or another. He loves espionage spending (10/10) but that's about it. What's unusual about Stalin is the fact that he doesn't care about religion at all, showing as little interest as Mao with miniscule shared faith bonuses and differing religion penalties. This may be a factor in his repeated victories as Stalin doesn't get hung up on the religious diplomacy and can act as he sees fit. He otherwise has Military and Production tech flavors and, of course, can plot war at "Pleased" relations. For whatever reason, this overall package has been extremely successful in prior seasons of AI Survivor.

Past Performance: Stalin didn't accomplish much during the first two seasons of AI Survivor, then exploded out of nowhere during the following two seasons and completely owned the competition. He scored 31 of his 34 points in Seasons Three and Four, taking home four first place finishes, nine kills, two repeat appearances in the championship game, and the overall title of Season Three Champion. No one was more successful over those two seasons, and Stalin's Season Three outing was a total stomp from start to finish. He took part in three games, all of them first place finishes, and also set the record for most kills in a single season with seven. Stalin has furthermore shown the ability to win in multiple different fashions, scoring Domination and Spaceship victories and even one Cultural victory. He has been completely ruthless at destroying his rivals, pouncing again and again on moments of weakness in the other leaders. At times it's felt as though a human was playing as Stalin against a bunch of AI turkeys. Thanks to making the championship game two seasons in a row, we actually haven't seen Stalin get eliminated in a match since his opening round game of Season Two! Whether he can keep this streak going is an open question but it's been a wild ride over the previous few years.


Suleiman of the Ottomans
Traits: Imperialistic, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 4
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Championship Game
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 9 points, tied 22nd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Suleiman is a fairly standard militaristic AI leader tied to a good civilization and a bizarre pairing of traits. This might be the least synergistic pairing of traits in Civ4, with Imperialistic favoring rapid expansion across the map while Philosophical works at cross-purposes through the running of specialists. At least Suleiman does get to take advantage of Imperialistic, a consistently successful trait for AI Survivor purposes. He also benefits from the Ottoman civ, which features excellent starting techs and two useful (if not overpowered) unique features in the Janissary and Hamman. Suleiman's AI personality emphasizes military aspects but not to an overwhelming degree. He has a high aggression rating (7/10) and does like to train units (6/10). On the other hand, his peace weight is in the middle of the scale, he doesn't make a lot of demands against other leaders, and he won't declare war at "Pleased" relations. Suleiman surprisingly doesn't care much about religion at all, although he has decent odds to found a later religion because his tech flavors are Culture and Military. His setup is a mixed bag overall, with conflicting leader traits and several different points of emphasis in Suleiman's personality. The various parts can occasionally come together into a larger whole but not on a consistent basis.

Past Performance: Suleiman had by far his best outing in Season One when he made it all the way to the championship game. This was a lucky turn of events since Suleiman was a distant runner-up in both his opening round game (behind Huayna Capac) and his playoff game (trailing Zara). He was the First to Die in the Season One Championship and we speculated at the time that Suleiman might have been fortunate to make it that far. Subsequent seasons have proven that to be true with Suleiman failing to advance back to the playoffs again. He was eliminated in the opening round of both Season Two and Season Four, while in Season Three Suleiman survived long enough to make the Wildcard game. He came within a whisker of taking second place in that matchup before falling just short on the scoreboard to Pacal. Suleiman also did manage to pick up two kills in those seasons despite not advancing, a sign that he was at least somewhat competitive in those matches. Overall Suleiman is a decent AI that falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, just not an individual likely to appear again in the championship round.


Suryavarman of the Khmer
Traits: Creative, Expansive
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Championship Game
Total Kills: 7
Overall Power Ranking: 19 points, 8th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Suryavarman has a lot of power packed into his kit even if it sometimes seems to be pulling in six different directions at once. He has the quintessential early game trait pairing of Creative and Expansive, two traits that help to drive expansion and to claim land quickly. This was a popular trait pairing for a long time in unmodded Civ4 Multiplayer games, often chosen ahead of Financial leaders to get off to a roaring start. Suryavarman's Khmer civ is a bit weaker, with decent starting techs and adequate unique features in the Ballista Elephant and Baray without having anything of game-breaking strength. As far as Suryavarman's AI personality goes, he has a surprisingly aggressive setup for someone with good economic traits. Suryavarman has a high aggression rating (7.6/10), a very low peace weight, and a fairly high emphasis on training units (6/10). However, Suryavarman also positively loves building wonders (8/10), an odd fit for someone with his militaristic bent and expansion-focused traits. He will heavily emphasize religion in his diplomacy and carries a special penalty for anyone who refuses his demands. Along with the Creative border pops, this is not an easy neighbor to live alongside. Suryavarman's tech preferences are Gold and Culture, and he will indeed plot war at "Pleased" relations. He can be a highly unpredictable leader, either charging into multiple wars or sitting back to construct wonders in peace.

Past Performance: Suryavarman's previous appearances have reflected his somewhat erratic nature as an AI leader. He was the winner of the first ever game of AI Survivor in Season One, via the United Nations of all things, and took second place in a very difficult field from a tough starting position in the playoffs. Suryavarman had a weaker performance in the following championship game, suffering elimination while still taking a respectable third place. Since then he's been all over the map, everything from an elimination at the hands of Pacal in Season Two to an elimination in the Wildcard game in Season Three to an outright victory in the Wildcard game in Season Four. These repeated trips to the Wildcard round mean that Suryavarman has shown up in a lot of games, nine of them in total thus far. Any leader with the rare combination of low peace weight together with good economic development makes for a dangerous opponent, and even if Suryavarman has been somewhat scattershot in recent seasons, he always has that potential to become a major threat.


Tokugawa of Japan
Traits: Aggressive, Protective
Starting Techs: Fishing, Wheel
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Two and Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 4
Overall Power Ranking: 11 points, 21st place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Tokugawa is infamous for being the most isolationist leader in Civ4. He won't sign Open Borders with anyone else unless relations warm up to "Pleased", and he generally refuses to trade or interact with anyone else unless they share a mutual military struggle. Tokugawa suffers from one of the worst leader trait combinations in the game, with lots of unit promotions but little else to recommend it. He's also saddled with a weak civilization in Japan, which suffers from poor starting techs and the uselessly-late Shale Plant. Unfortunately the Samurai unit is nothing special in Civ4. Tokugawa's AI personality reflects his generally militaristic bent, with an above average aggression rating (7.3/10) and train unit emphasis. He makes it clear that he wants to be left alone by never asking for help (0/10) or demanding tribute (1/10) or making religious conversion demands (2/10). Tokugawa's best feature is probably his tech flavor, where he has the rare Science preference to go along with a lesser Military emphasis. This is likely the reason why Tokugawa has been somewhat decent at building an economy despite his atrocious leader traits. Long story short, this guy is basically an old man telling everyone to stay out of his yard while shaking a rolled-up newspaper.

Past Performance: Tokugawa is widely viewed as one of the worst possible choices for a Single Player game of Civ4, and he's exceeded expectations to date with two different trips to the playoffs. Tokugawa scored a runner up finish behind Shaka back in Season Two, and when we did some repeated playthroughs of that same setup, it emerged that he was clearly a top pick in that specific circumstance. In a very weak field of competitors, Tokugawa and Shaka repeatedly proved to be stronger than their peers. Tokugawa's best performance took place in Season Four where he stunned everyone by winning a dominant runaway victory. Again, this was another group of generally weak opponents but Tokugawa nonetheless smoked them well and good. Of course this doesn't mean that Tokugawa is one of the better AI leaders, as he's also had multiple opening round games where he stewed around not achieving anything with his isolationist ways, and Tokugawa actually managed to die to the Apostolic Palace (!) during his second playoff appearance. Still, this is a leader that has shown at least basic competency in past seasons, which is more than many of the other AI leaders can claim.


Victoria of England
Traits: Financial, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Victoria gets the privilege of having the two best-performing traits in AI Survivor history: Financial and Imperialistic. This should allow her to get out to a fast start and have the economy to support it. She also gets the powerful Redcoat unique unit and Stock Exchange, both well above average in their own right. Victoria’s only weakness on paper is her combination of starting techs, Fishing and Mining, which aren’t garbage tier but are definitely in the bottom half of potential combinations. Other than her amazing traits and unique items, Victoria is a relatively standard AI. Her flavours are Gold and Growth. Her ratings are about average across the board with few exceptions, including aggression (5.1/10), wonder (6/10) and unit (4/10) build preferences. The main exception to this is her low likelihood to demand tribute (2/10). She has a high peace weight, and is likely to fight warmongers and befriend peaceniks, though unlike most high peace weight leaders she can declare war at "Pleased" relations. Victoria is essentially the quintessential average personality gifted with god-tier traits.

Past Performance: Victoria is one of the biggest puzzles of AI Survivor, and after four seasons it’s becoming difficult to blame her unimpressive games on chance. She has performed remarkably poorly thus far considering her traits and unique items, and has yet to score a single point in the power rankings. Her only real game of note was the Season Three Wildcard Game, the only time Victoria effectively leveraged her Imperialistic trait to claim a large portion of the map. In that game, she threw away a certain spaceship victory for a faraway cultural attempt, making her most notable action... a throw. On the other end of the spectrum, Victoria suffered the third earliest elimination ever during her Season Four opening game, failing to expand and dying 1 vs 1 to a hungry Louis, a performance nearly rivalled by her disastrous game in Season Two. Like most of the "average" AIs, such as Joao and Washington, Victoria seems too indecisive to chase any game plan effectively, choosing instead to pursue a few poorly, and so far her traits have not meant the difference, leading to the bizarre situation where the leader with the best traits in the game is tied for last place. No one else has done a better job of turning something into nothing.


Wang Kon of Korea
Traits: Financial, Protective
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 4
Overall Power Ranking: 9 points, tied 22nd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Wang Kon is infamous in AI Survivor circles for acting as the "Troll King", the one leader who will do the most obnoxious thing possible to screw with the rest of the field as well as the viewers watching the game. He has one amazing trait in the form of Financial and one terrible trait in the form of Protective, the two polar opposite traits in terms of overall usefulness in Civ4. Wang Kon's Korean civilization has a subpar set of starting techs combined together with the decent Hwacha and the excellent (if late-arriving) Seowon. As far as AI personalities run, Wang Kon is a pretty basic peaceful builder. While he has a somwhat high aggression rating (6.1/10), his build unit rating is low (4/10) and he doesn't make a lot of demands on his neighbors. With Gold and Science research flavor, a high peace weight, and an inability to declare war at "Pleased" relations, this would seem to be a standard economic leader in the Elizabeth or Frederick or Roosevelt mold, someone who's mostly going to stay out of the way and tech away in peace.

Past Performance: Appearances can be deceiving. Wang Kon has acted in bizarre patterns again and again, defying all logic with both brilliant and braindead actions that trolled everyone in sight. It started in Season One, where Wang Kon spent the latter turns of the game hiding from Mao Zedong's armies behind Asoka's closed borders before the Chinese leader finally found a pathway through and eliminated Korea. Wang Kon's single appearance in Season Two was played out as if controlled by a drunken sailor, pointlessly marched his army halfway across the map to Russia again and again to troll Stalin. Two foolish civic switches by Wang Kon removed his shared religion and shared civic bonus with Huayna Capac, resulting in a stomping by the great yellow Incan menace. The trolling reached its height in Season Three, however, as Wang Kon lost his capital and half his empire to Mehmed, only to rally back after being saved by Charlemagne. He slowly re-acquired most of his territory via the "liberation" mechanic, and then won an extreme lategame Spaceship victory by virtue of Charlemagne stupidly launching without a full set of engines in place and tying on the victory date. A tie apparently goes to the leader who has a more complete spaceship - unbelievable. Korea's following appearances were less memorable, with a fast elimination in the Season Three playoffs followed by a Wildcard appearance in Season Four where Wang Kon was again the First to Die. He did thoroughly ruin the game of Louis in the opening match of Season Four though, fighting an endless war that saved Gandhi and allowed the Indians to take home a Cultural victory. Long story short, Wang Kon should be a pretty unremarkable leader but has proven to be nothing of the sort. He will do something weird just to screw around with everyone else, the AI Survivor equivalent of the Twitch Plays Pokemon livestream chat.


Washington of America
Traits: Charismatic, Expansive
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Three Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Washington has a pacifistic AI personality combined with traits that lend themselves towards combat, leaving him stuck in an ineffectual spot that has achieved basically nothing to date. He has the combination of Expansive and Charismatic leader traits, a setup that theoretically leads to highly promoted units and faster expansion through cheap workers and granaries. Unfortunately Washington's personality is designed to play a peaceful builder game, and these traits simply aren't as useful as what other economy-focused leaders get to play around with. Extra happiness and health in each city is OK and all that but they're nowhere near as good as being Financial or getting the free culture from Creative or the free civic swaps from Spiritual. Washington certainly isn't helped by hauling around the American civilization, with its incredibly late-arriving unique features and only decent starting techs. Washington the AI has a low aggression rating (4.3/10), a high peace weight, and won't declare war at "Pleased" relations. He doesn't make many demands and typically acts as a great neighbor aside from a penchant for espionage spending (7/10). However, Washington inexplicably has Military and Growth tech preferences, causing him to prioritize military techs that he won't use and ignore development-focused research. It's a bizarre tech prioritization system that badly undercuts his performance. When combined with mediocre traits and the weak American civilization, it's easy to understand why Washington has struggled in past seasons.

Past Performance: Washington has a record of failure in AI Survivor, much like the early stages of his real-life military career. Washington has repeatedly been eliminated without ever scoring a single kill or coming close to taking home a victory. His best showings were two appearances in the Wildcard game during Season One and Season Three, both times following sluggish "sit in the corner and do nothing" opening round games. Washington was eliminated in both of those Wildcard matches despite the generally low level of competition that prevails in them, as well as being eliminated in his opening round matches in Season Two and Season Four. Washington's Season Four appearance was typical of his past showings, with a decent early game but with no efforts to increase American territory by snowballing ahead through conquest, leading inevitably to being swallowed up by a rampaging Huayna Capac later on. Wahington favors a passive style of gameplay and his associated leader traits and civilization simply aren't strong enough to win via that route.


Willem of the Dutch
Traits: Financial, Creative
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 4
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Championship Game
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 9 points, tied 22nd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Willem has one of the strongest economic setups in the game and he's been held back thus far only by his poorly-chosen set of research priorities. Willem has one of the best possible combinations of leader traits in the Financial + Creative pairing. Not only does Willem benefit from the free border pops and the Financial commerce bonus, there's even some basic synergy between the two in the form of cheap libraries. Willem's Dutch civilization is significantly less powerful, though it does have decent starting techs and can become strong if the Dikes ever show up in time to matter. As an AI leader Willem has middling scores in almost every category, lots of 4/10 and 5/10 ratings across the board. His aggression rating is about average at 6.7/10 and his peace weight also sits in the middle of the scale. Willem has a very low religious emphasis and he won't found his own faith very often despite his strong economic abilities. The single biggest weakness for Willem comes in the form of his tech preferences: he has Gold and Science flavors, which turn out to be one of the worst possible combinations for military tech. Willem has repeatedly refused to research Rifling technology to a ludicrous degree, in some games finishing Assembly Line and Flight (!) techs before picking up Rifling. This has led to his elimination at the hands of much less advanced civilizations as he needlessly fights with muskets against rifles. We have a general rule for Willem: if he makes it to Rifling tech then he wins the game; otherwise, he finds himself getting eliminated.

Past Performance: Willem has everything needed to be a strong leader for AI Survivor purposes and it was perplexing why his performance was so bad during the first few seasons. He successfully combines together great economic traits with a low peace weight and willingness to declare war at "Pleased" relations - this guy should be the second coming of Huayna Capac! Instead, he suffered early eliminations again and again during the first few seasons. Some of this was bad luck, as he drew a tough field of opponents in Season One and then a starting position crammed between Hannibal and Tokugawa in Season Two. Still, there's no avoiding the fact that Willem was underperforming his fundamentals, and when he was eliminated again in the opening round of Season Three, everyone was ready to write him off as a failure. This narrative flipped around in Season Four, however, with Willem finally living up to his potential by taking second place in the opening round (a game where he finished with the highest score) followed by a Cultural victory in the playoffs. He was on track to win the outright title in the Season Four Championship before a stubborn refusal to research Rifling tech doomed his efforts. It's clear by now that Willem is a serious threat to win any game in which he appears if he actually bothers to research military techs. It's his constant Achilles Heel and it will dictate how far he makes it in any match.


Zara Yacob of Ethiopia
Traits: Creative, Organized
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Championship Runner-Up
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 15 points, tied 13th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Zara plays with the Creative and Organized traits, combining to push a landgrab style of play and giving production discounts on a huge variety of buildings. For his unique items Zara plays with the Oromo Warrior, a slightly better musketman, and the Stele, useful for a cultural victory and not much else. Lastly, Zara gets the Hunting/Mining combo for his starting techs, which means he can be slow to connect his food resources, especially if he goes for a religion. Zara’s numbers tend to be in roughly the middle of the board, including his aggression rating (5.6/10), unit build preference (6/10), wonder build preference (4/10) and even his peace weight, at a neutral 6. His flavours are Growth and Religion, an unusual combination that could lead to healthy and happy cities, while the last unusual thing about Zara is the huge diplomatic emphasis he places on faith. The diplomatic bonus for sharing a religion with Zara can go up to +8, and the penalty for religious differences is nothing to sneeze at either. Expect Zara’s diplomacy to follow religious alignment to a tee, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of a coalition, Zara had better watch out.

Past Performance: Zara is one of the AIs with a pile of laurels for one season and literally nothing to show for himself since. All 15 of Zara’s points were scored in Season One, as he clawed his way from the Wildcard Game all the way to second place in the Championship, in true underdog fashion. His path to victory usually involved staying out of fights pre-catapults, gobbling up a religious rival or two once they were unlocked, and then using the extra land to launch a spaceship (or straight up claim domination) before his allies. It proved to be a very effective strategy. However, since then Zara has struggled to make anything of himself. He played a weak opening game in Season Two and was unable to advance in another Wildcard game, and then in Seasons Three and Four Zara was outright eliminated by more aggressive AIs, first Caesar, then Kublai Khan. Each of these games displayed the downside of a heavily religious gameplan, as Zara threw away a midgame lead with a few unsuccessful cross-map crusades in Season Three, and in Season Four he ardently practiced a minority Christianity in a very angry, very Buddhist world. You can probably guess how that ended. To find more success and repeat his Season One magic, Zara will need to be a lot smarter about both which faith he chooses to follow, and also which religious enemies he decides to attack.