The early game in Civilization VI amounts to about the first 150 turns of a game, during which you’ll play through the Ancient, Classical, and Medieval eras. Civilization 6 players going for the Domination Victory condition will certainly need to mobilize their armies during the early game. Even players who aren’t will still need to recruit some military units to deal with rampaging barbarians in the early eras. These are some of the best early game units in Civilization VI to smash enemies with sooner rather than later.
The Legion is a unique unit for the Roman civilization you can recruit with a supply of iron. Legion’s 40 melee attack rating is the highest of any Ancient and Classical era unit. It also gets a +5 combat strength bonus when fighting anti-cavalry units, such as Pikeman. Therefore, the Legion is the strongest unit for early game expansion during the Classical period.
Furthermore, the Roman Legion unit also comes with a build charge. With that charge, Legion units can build Roman Forts or clear terrain for captured cities. So, players can establish fort defenses at cities immediately after capturing them with Legion units.
Swordsman isn’t as tough as the Legion unit, but it’s the next best thing for players who aren’t playing with the Roman civilization. With a melee attack of 36, Swordsman will trounce anything from the Ancient era and beats many Classical units. Like the Legion, this unit has a +5 combat strength bonus against anti-cavalry enemies, which makes it a match for the Medieval Pikeman.
Knight is a Medieval heavy cavalry that will mow down most units from the first three historical eras in Civilization VI. With a melee attack of 48, this is the strongest unit in the early game that only the anti-cavalry Pikeman unit can really stand up to. This is also a fast unit that can move across four tiles in a turn, which makes it good for map exploration. Overall, Knight is the big-hitter of the early game that will dominate wars against civilizations that lack Medieval units.
4. Eagle Warrior
The Eagle Warrior is a unique Ancient era unit exclusively for the Aztec civilization that replaces Warrior. It boasts a melee attack rating of 28, which makes it one of the strongest units of the Ancient era. Eagle Warrior’s attack is further enhanced by its +5 combat strength bonus against anti-cavalry units. As you can also recruit this unit from the very outset, with no technology required, Eagle Warrior is ideal for very early wars against the first civilizations you discover.
Another good thing about this unit is that it can capture enemy ones and convert them into Builders. Thus, you can get free Builder units with Eagle Warrior to upgrade your cities’ tiles, which is a good early game bonus.
War-Cart is a heavy cavalry unit that’s only available for the Sumerian civilization. With a melee attack rating of 30, this is the strongest Ancient era starting unit in Civilization VI. War-Cart is available from the very start, and, unlike other cavalry units, it has no combat penalty disadvantage against anti-cavalry foes.
As such, War-Cart will trounce Spearman units that get in its way. Furthermore, recruiting lots of War-Carts won’t have any economic impact because it doesn’t have a maintenance cost. With a good number of these, you can trample over the first civilization you make contact with!
This one is a bit of a no-brainer because there aren’t any alternative siege units to Catapult during the three historical eras of Civilization VI’s early game. Not until you unlock the Metal Casting technology and grab some niter in the Renaissance period will you be able to add a more advanced siege unit to your army.
Therefore, Catapult is a pretty essential siege unit for early game armies that start attacking cities defended with walls. You’ll certainly find it somewhat easier to capture cities during the early game with a few Catapult units to bombard them with.
Those are six of the best early game units in Civilization 6 to start your games with. You can dominate early game wars against other civilizations with those units. Even when you’re not at war, those units will come in handy for crushing barbarian outposts.