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Stellaris: Best Civics

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Highlights

  • Citizenship Service increases military Unity and Naval capacity, crucial for a strong military focus in Stellaris gameplay.
  • Feudal Society provides leader advantages and loyalty benefits, making it a powerful choice for empire development.
  • Distinguished Admiralty boosts fleet power with higher Admiral levels and ship fire rate, ensuring naval superiority.

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With technologies, worlds, trade routes, resources, ships, weapons, alliances, spy networks, hostile aliens, and a thousand other factors to manage, Stellaris can be overwhelming at times. Numerous factors contribute to a successful game of this 4x space sim, and one of the most vital is the proper selection of Civics.

Civics represent the principles of an empire, and they are in part shaped by the authority and ethics of that empire. Dictatorships, democracies, and meritocracies all look and act quite differently. The choice of Civics affects not only the player’s strategy when it comes to warfare, expansion, and resource acquisition, but also their opportunities to roleplay. Whether looking to start a space cult or push science to its limits, here are the best Civics in Stellaris.

Updated February 29, 2024, by Evan Arnoldi: As one of the most important aspects of an empire, Civics are crucial in deciding whether an empire can survive the hostile galaxy and its unpredictable denizens. A poor selection of Civics or choosing one of the weaker ones can slow the growth, or worse, result in an untimely demise of an empire. With weak Civics, a empire will not be able to keep up with other empires. Therefore, it is crucial for players to keep up with the recent changes and updates to the game. These changes can make a previously obsolete Civic viable, and weaken a previously strong Civic to the point where it is no longer ‘meta.’

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14 Citizen Service

Military Focus Rewards with Extra Unity and Naval Capacity

Image of Stellaris: Citizen Service

  • +2
    Unity from Soldiers
  • +15%
    Naval capacity
  • Can construct Recruitment Office holdings.
  • Full Citizenship pops must have Full Military Service and vice versa.

Unity is one of Stellaris’s most powerful resources. It allows players to progress further into a Tradition path, and hire a Leader to help with either governance, military, or science. Finally, it also allows players to earn Ascension perks to progress the empire further.

With extra Unity from each Soldier, an empire with this Civic can focus on the military aspect of the game without getting too backward in their Unity generation to progress as an empire. Moreover, the extra naval capacity can provide a larger military presence, should an empire be at risk of being attacked or planning to assault a neighboring empire.

13 Feudal Society

Gain Leaders for an Advantage Against Other Empires

An image of Stellaris: Feudal Society

  • +1
    Unity per Governor level
  • -50%
    Leader cost
  • +1
    Monthly loyalty from subjects
  • Leaders have no upkeep.
  • No loyalty loss from multiple subjects.
  • Cannot use Expansion Prohibited terms of agreement.
  • Cannot use Limited Diplomacy terms of agreement.
  • Cannot dismiss Leaders.

With the Galactic Paragon DLC and recent updates, Leaders have risen to become the game’s one of the most important features. With additional positive traits and the feature to specify a leader’s progression with Veteran classes, Feudal Society becomes one of the most powerful Civics.

With this Civic, it is easy to stockpile leaders with either the Eager trait or a passive resource generation trait. With it, players can become the galaxy’s most powerful empire, with a huge economic advantage.

12 Distinguished Admiralty

Gain Naval Superiority Faster

Stellaris - Distinguished Admiralty

  • +2
    Admiral and General starting level
  • +20%
    Admiral experience gain
  • +10%
    Ship fire rate
  • +10
    Fleet command limit

One isn’t alone in the endless black expanse of space. Machines, ravenous swarms, and fanatical death cults are just a few of the dangers players face. While a single enemy ship may not pose much of a threat, it is often only the tip of the spear, behind which there stands an entire imperial military eager to dominate or destroy anything in its path.

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The Distinguished Admiralty Civic is all about meeting force with force, doubling down on everything having to do with fleets and the officers who lead them. Distinguished Admiralty raises the fleet command limit and Admiral cap level, allowing fleets to be larger and better let. It also increases the rate at which ships fire, giving the player an edge in combat. Last, it raises the levels of the player’s Admirals and generals, ensuring that the player’s military is in a good position to confront whatever the game throws at them.

11 Slaver Guilds

Use Enslaved Species To Maintain Production

An image of Stellaris: Slaver Guilds

  • +10%
    increased resource output from Slave pops
  • Enslaved pop ratio will be
    35%

As dystopian as it sounds, having slaves for a spacefaring empire can be a huge advantage. They consume fewer resources while being able to produce more resources down the line. The efficiency of this particular policy can be enhanced further by picking the Slaver Guilds civic.

This particular civic allows an empire to increase its slaves’ productivity by 10%. This can translate to more alloys to build the best ship components and energy credit to both conquer the galaxy and survive any attempts to ‘liberate’ the enslaved population. However, this civic comes with the downside of having a new pop automatically become a slave with a chance of 35%. This can either be damaging or beneficial, depending on the empire’s policy and the leader’s conscience.

10 Beacon Of Liberty

Receive Bonus Unity and Reduce Empire Size

An image of Stellaris: Beacon Of Liberty

  • +15%
    Increased monthly Unity
  • Reduced Empire Size from pops by
    -15%

In the vast galaxy, various spacefaring empires exist believing themselves to be the best, as they try to survive among other sentient species that might either be a galactic fanatical purifier or a simple friendly space neighbor. One of the best ideologies to adopt also exists in the form of a Civic called Beacon of Liberty.

This particular Civic will grant an empire an increased monthly unity gain and a reduced Empire Size gain from the number of pops by 15%. These bonuses enable an empire to grow rapidly, as long as they adhere to the Democratic governing stance that they adopted while facing the galaxy.

9 Inward Perfection

Focus Internally To Achieve Victory

Stellaris - Inward Perfection

  • Cannot be added or removed after the game starts.
  • +20%
    Monthly unity
  • +10%
    Pop growth speed
  • +5%
    Citizen pop happiness
  • +50
    Edict fund
  • +1
    Encryption

  • 1
    Codebreaking
  • -1
    Available envoys
  • Cannot infiltrate Pre-FTL civilizations.
  • Various Diplomatic restrictions.

Exploration is, by definition, a major factor in any 4X game. Just because it’s something the player can do doesn’t mean it’s something they have to do, however. Whether the player is defense-minded or just hates meeting new people, Inward Perfection is a rewarding Civic since it encourages the player to stay within their galactic borders.

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The tradeoff is a painful one. The player must effectively abandon diplomacy as a means of advancement. In exchange for cutting their social ties to other groups; however, the player receives significant bonuses in return. Playing as an isolationist government with no access to unrestricted war, treaties, or other key social mechanics is a very different way of playing Stellaris, but it can be as fun as it is effective.

8 Barbaric Despoilers

Become A Barbaric Empire To Gain Superiority

Image of Stellaris: Barbaric Despoilers

  • Cannot be added or removed after the game starts.
  • +1
    Mercenary Enclave capacity
  • Can use the Despoliation casus belli.
  • Can use the
    Raiding
    orbital bombardment stance.
  • Cannot form Migration Treaties.
  • Can only create
    Martial Alliance
    and
    Hegemony
    federations.
  • Reduced opinion from other space empires.

One might not think that becoming a barbarian in the galaxy is the wisest choice for an empire, but in Stellaris, it can be an optimal way of living compared to others. With its extra Mercenary Enclave capacity, the empire will have a strong fleet available for hire every time they try to raid other empires with their Despoilation casus belli.

Moreover, population problems can be quickly solved with its special Raiding orbital bombardment, as the empire will be able to kidnap other empires’ populations and resettle them onto their worlds. Overall, it is a solid Civic for an empire that wishes to be dominant over others.

7 Pompous Purist

Engage In Advanced Diplomacy By Simply Being ‘Non-Diplomatic’

An image of Stellaris: Pompous Purists-1

  • Cannot receive diplomatic propositions, but can send them to other empires.
  • +1
    maximum Envoy
  • Envoy’s Improve Relations action is more efficient by
    +25%
  • Diplomatic Weight
    is increased by
    +15%
    when opposing
    Resolutions
    in Galactic Community
  • External leader pool size is reduced by
    1

A Xenophobic empire playstyle can be limited in terms of diplomacy, as it tries not to interact peacefully too much with the neighbors. However, having Pompous Purists as one of the Civic of a Xenophobic empire can translate into a unique playstyle of exploiting other empires diplomatically without causing unnecessary casualties via war. One unique bonus will be the fact that other empires will not be able to close their borders to an empire with this specific Civic, making it necessary for them to declare war to prevent any border incursion.

When done correctly, an empire with the Pompous Purists Civic can be quite dangerous as they try to impose their selfish desire on the galaxy by sending one-sided diplomatic propositions. The only way of stopping them is a war, which they might be capable of winning handily due to their Xenophobe ideology bonuses.

6 Death Cults

Offer Sacrifices To Keep An Empire Safe

The Death Cults Civic from Stellaris

  • Can construct
    Sacrificial Temple
    buildings.
  • Can construct
    Sacrificial Shrine
    holdings.
  • Can use
    Sacrifice
    edicts.

Worshiping death might not seem like the ideal attitude when one is doing one’s best not to be wiped out by space pirates, crime syndicates, fascist lizard people, and all-consuming alien swarms. But surprisingly, the Death Cults Civic can be just the thing to keep one’s evil empire alive and well, as the rest of the universe goes up in flames.

This Civic allows the player to perform sacrifices in the name of granting the empire substantial buffs. The only real downside is that the population cost for sacrifices increases as one’s empire expands, meaning the player must always search for new victims to activate the Death Cults’ powers.

5 Reanimators

Call on Undead Armies

The Reanimators Civic from Stellaris

  • Military Academy
    buildings are replaced by
    Dread Encampment
    buildings.
  • 33% chance of gaining an
    Undead Army
    per killed organic army.
  • Defeated
    organic Leviathans
    can be resurrected.

The tagline for the Reanimators Civic might as well read, “Necromancers: in space!” What makes Reanimators so powerful is its trademark necromantic ability to transform slain enemies into ground armies. This ability makes Reanimators one of the strongest defensive Civics in the game, as dead foes simply swell an army’s numbers.

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The Reanimators Civic offers a smattering of other bonuses, but the most interesting secondary effect is that the Civic grants the player a chance to resurrect dead Leviathans, as long as it is organic. The opportunity to conscript the corpses of gigantic space monsters into one’s necromantic crusade is worth the price of admission alone. There might be more efficient strategies, but there’s nothing quite as terrifyingly cool.

4 Fanatic Purifiers

For Those Who Do Not Want To Share The Galaxy

The Fanatic Purifiers Civic from Stellaris

  • Cannot be added or removed after the game starts.
  • +33%
    Fire rate
  • +33%
    Army damage
  • +33%
    Naval capacity
  • -15%
    Ship cost
  • Genocidal:

    • Can’t engage in diplomacy
    • Can’t use Galactic Market
    • -1000
      opinion with every empire
    • +200
      opinion with same-species
      Fanatic Purifiers
    • Always purge different species

The Fanatic Purifier Civic is for the purest of xenophobe empires. There will be no diplomacy, no friendly relationships, and no cultural exchange. Fanatic Purifiers believe in one thing and one thing only, and that’s the obliteration of all species except their own.

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The chief disadvantage of this Civic is that it railroads the player’s strategy: extermination is all that is acceptable. For aggressive players that want total war, it rewards them with massive navy and army bonuses, making the player’s military the strongest around. Unsurprisingly, it also gives the player the power to start wars pretty much whenever and wherever they choose.

3 Masterful Crafters

Massively Boost Economy

The Master Crafters Civic from Stellaris

  • Replaces Artisan jobs with
    Artificer
    jobs (Artificer provides
    7
    Consumer Goods and
    2
    Trade Value)
  • +1
    Building slot per 3 Industrial districts (except on Habitats) (
    +0.34
    each)

Widely regarded as one of the best Civics, Masterful Crafters provides access to Artificers. These specialty artisans are much more effective than the regular breed, providing the empire with an array of bonuses that remain useful well into the late game.

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The bonus to both trade value and consumer goods is invaluable, and Masterful Crafters also grants the player an additional building slot for every three industrial districts already on the planet. This Civic is perfect for those who want a much-needed injection of resources, superior industrial capacity, and a cheap workaround for the Wartime Economy policy.

2 Parliamentary System

Massive Unity Gain & Quick Factions

Image of Stellaris: Parliamentary System

  • +40%
    Faction unity gain
  • Factions will form within 3 months.

With the recent rework for Leaders, Unity has become more important than ever. It allows the player to hire more leaders than before, provided that the leaders come with positive traits. Faster Unity gain will also translate to quicker Ascension Perks, which will be crucial for the progress of their empire.

Quicker Faction forming will also boost stability and happiness across the empire’s planets, increasing the productivity of both workers and specialists. Therefore, this Civic is undoubtedly one of the most powerful in the game, and a player can pair it with other bonuses as well.

1 Meritocracy

Additional Leader Traits with Specialist Pops Guarantee Domination

The Meritocracy Civic from Stellaris

  • +1
    Additional leader trait options
  • +10%
    Specialist pop resource output

For democracies and oligarchies, the Meritocracy Civic is one of the best. It may not be unique, but its benefits are simple, reliable, and easy to incorporate into other strategies, making the Civic a solid, dependable choice.

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Meritocracy provides a bonus to specialist production, including consumer goods, research, and alloys. This combination of buffs can easily put the empire’s economy ahead of that of its rivals, however hard its enemies may be working to outrace it. As a bonus, this Civic increases the leader trait options. In this leader-oriented patch, this bonus is more than welcome as it guarantees the earned leaders at least have beneficial positive traits, such as resource generation traits.

StellarisTagPage

Stellaris

Released
May 9, 2016

Genre(s)
4X , Grand Strategy

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