Author: ThyReformer
Published: 2019-07-29
Doom: Nothing really changed for Canada this week, including their rank. Giving away Winnipeg was of course completely pointless but ultimately didn't benefit the Iroquois. Metis on the other hand, get a free city which will speed up any future invasion of Canada if they choose to act.
Scissor: The Murri drop a rank and its honestly for the better. They must have known that they were gonna get creamed so they used themselves as a meatshield to protect Papuan forces up North. When they gave up Gunnedah to NZ, it was an A+ strategic move to stop Australia and cause them to get into conflict... Until NZ decided that they liked Gunnedah better as a ruin. With that, Australia is free to settle in the gap and trap Murri even further.
Jmangelo: A small uptick in the rankings, but not for extreme effort. Minoa enjoy a good military for its size, but is otherwise a failure as we all expected. Is there anything more to say?
Andy: Thus far, Mehmed the "Conqueror" 's performance has been nothing short of a joke. However, this part takes the cake, and the Ottoman rank comes crashing down, falling five places. Failing to take Ostrava two wars in a row was bad enough. Failing to take out the Cretan settlement of Malia, letting it grow to 10 pop, was worse. Failing to do anything about Venetian Lido exposed the lack of Ottoman ambition. However, the Turks' settlement and subsequent surrender of Izmir dooms the Ottomans to be a 3-city buffer state separating the various factions east and west of the Bosphorus. By surrendering Izmir, Mehmet has doomed himself to having about as much relevance as Alexios Palailogos last mark.
Thy: Hong Kong is back baby! Hong Kong will be made great again by...uh...letting Taungoo capture Sum letting Qin settle two tiles away from Hong settling Hong Kong a tile away from the ruins of old Hong Kong! Yeah, that's it. Without missing a beat, our worst-performing pirates lose more and more ground to their neighbors. Even Qing is trying to forward settle them, but I guess that shouldn't be a surprise considering Qing tried to forward settle Yup'ik, too. But hey, if it's any consolation, maybe this iteration of Hong Kong won't burn down.
Techno: Another part comes another round of inaction from this tropical paradise. Unsurprisingly, Tonga has yet to figure out the art of empire-building and is consequently stuck at 3 cities in the middle of the ocean. However, Tonga's rank has risen, mostly as a result of New Zealand making some poor city-capturing decisions.
Andy: At long, long last, the war with the Kazakhs is over. While Vauli Piettomin can certainly lay claim to being the invisible hand that sold the Kazakhs to a crash, he certainly cannot claim to be in a good position. While the Nenets celebrated peace by building a settler, said settler has yet to be used, and is still hanging around Nadym. Meanwhile, the Nenetsi position grows more and more remote. The Nenets are survivors, and we've given them their just due with a one-rank raise, but they are not fighters. They may live on, longer than the Tupi, but eventually, as soon as someone invents the GPS, it's game over.
Homusubi: After drawing level-ish last week, Algeria are now comfortably behind their arch-rivals Libya in the rankings. Abdelkader trails Mukhtar in both army size and production, not to mention settlable areas connected to the core, and has all but run out of war expansion opportunities anyway. Even the lightly-defended Moor core is largely comprised of cities inland or at the ends of mini-gulfs, making a naval attack difficult even without the threat of reinforcements. As for Libya and Songhai, well, we already know that Algeria loses to them, because it already has done. The only remaining way out for Abdelkader and his Alge-bros now is to use that settler to expand northeast onto the Mediterranean islands, and then act as an opportunistic sniper. So far he has proven that he has what it takes to do the first half of that, but I am much less confident about that crucial second bit.
Lordie: Well, Ivan got himself off the hook a bit there, making peace with Fred before he lost Vladimir, following his failure to keep hold of Danzig. However, despite this reprieve, he's still in a real spot of bother: both the Goths and Prussians are making moves to encircle him, and despite being the freest civ in Europe, he could easily be the second to be full encircled. This accounts for him falling wholly into the bottom ten. Hopefully for Russia fans he's able to drop a miracle play, but everything seems to be set against him right now.
Lordie: Oh, how the Seljuk turks have fallen. Once they were to me, a potential top 10 civ, but alas, in recent parts they have been all but relegated to yet another CBR Persia, trapped between two major civs (here, Palmyra and Parthia) to be eventually snuffed out. All is not yet lost, though, as Alp Arslan could take advantage of the renewed Indian Wars to perhaps, make headway east, under the Parthian belly. Hopefully he doesn't get squashed.
Msurdej: This week, the Settler went to Cascadia
Warrior Escort: Should we settle here?
Settler: No, let's keep searching
Msurdej: We get a clear shot of the Scots this week, and at first things look good. They have a respectable army, and a settle that can use Optics to escape Scottania for Iceland or even Greenland. But when you look at the Manx, who have an even larger army and the production to back it up, Robert starts to lose his luster. While the terrain is with him for now, If Dhone continues to ramp up his military, all the hills of Scotland won't save Robert from the Triskelions.
Thy: Venice, Venice, Venice. That was a good part for Venice. Murano stands, and Enrico has gone and produced two more settlers, ready to lock down rest of Italy now that he has successfully defended northward. But even with all this success, Venice is still walled in between powers that, if not immediately threatening, are at least capable of holding on against Enrico's meager army. Indeed, Enrico might benefit greatly from building a navy and attacking one of his squishier neighbors. Libya's coastal holdings are looking especially juicy right about now, and Libyan allies in Songhai would hardly be able to help if it came to it. All this looks uncertain, however, but such is life in Europe.
Andy: As a second war with Shikoku begins, Korea doesn't plan to find itself caught flatfooted like last time. Already, Korean troops are shooting at Shikoku boats, taking up key positions on Jeju and Pyongyang, and constructing a navy for repelling the Shikokoof forces. That being said,, if this war goes the same way the first one does, Korea will find its progress hampered further. What Seonjo needs to win, grow, and survive the inevitable Qing invasion isn't giving Japan sufficient attrition to call it a loss and go away, but to throw so many settlers in Manchuria that the borders start resembling mega-Goguryeo. Every bit of production sunk into another trireme for the war against Japan is less production for settlers. Every unit lost is a unit that cannot be used against the Qing. Every turn flipping a city is a turn wasted in a stalemate. While Korea should certainly be able to hold off their Shikokuan counterparts, the part to victory for Korea looks uncertain.
Techno: It's hard to deny that Libya is in a tough spot. While most of their neighbors are rather weak, it's hard to envision Libya capitalizing on their misfortunes, as Libya's fortunes are also mediocre. Of course, the looming threat of Songhai does not help in the slightest. If there's any consolation for Libya, they now have four cities, giving them an advantage over where they were not too long ago.
Msurdej: Vaclav stays in pretty much the same place this week in the bottom third of the civs. His lands are almost fully carpeted from what we've seen, but he's still cramped in Central/Eastern Europe. the Prussians and Hre both have more men and resources over Pavel, and while the Ottomans are weaker, they certainly won't go down without a fight. Pavel's AI has been rumored to be able to do great things, but unless it starts pulling some insane plays, the walls will continue to close in and clamp around Czechia.
Msurdej: Oman continues to fall as everyone around them contineus to do better. Palmyra continues to look strong, the Nubians have settled the southwest part of the penninsula, and their navy is either scarce or non-existent. While they might be able to take Pedeme off of Piye with their middling military, any attack against Palmyra would be disastrous since their abyssmal production wouldnt be able to meet the demands of war.
Doom: Another part of nothing for the Haida as they continue to disappoint. Although their rank holds steady this part they can't hope to maintain it without doing anything. The equally uninspiring performance from the Yupik is the only thing currently saving the Haida from a bottom ten rank.
Jmangelo: 42nd place? Amazing! You know what that means? The Kuikuro won a war through no effort on their part! The Kuikuro Konundrum, where they are terrible enough to never do well or put up a fight but are also in such a stupidly defensible spot where they will be even harder to kill than Tibet, lives on.
Msurdej: Great Ceasar's Ghost! Haiti actually took a city. Yes, Toussaint's flag flys over Teiaiagon now, and with a quick peace deal , its sceurely in Haiti's hands. Does this make up for the failure to take Caracas? No. But it is a good start.
Msurdej: Of all the island civs, Madagascar was one of the few that seemed to have a decent start, due to starting on the largest inhabited island. This strong start has allowed Madagascar to establish a strong core, with top 20 stats almost across the board. Their grace period is running out, however, as land is quickly getting grabbed up and only islands are left for Ranavalona to settle. This means that Madagascar needs to start building a military, and fast, otherwise their ambitions of a strong placing will be crushed. Sound familiar? That's because it was said last PR and still rings true. Only difference is time's keeps running out for Ranavalona for her to be relevant.
Adm. Cloudberg: A funny thing happened this part: the Isle of Man has the strongest military in Europe. Period. (ssshhh Goths don’t count). This gives them options™, but only if they use them right. At the moment, they aren’t in a great position to attack Scotland, since their ships won’t easily reach Scottish cities—which are all on the east coast—and a wall of blue and white composite bowman stands between Illiam Dhone and Edinburgh. Instead, the Isle of Man might be better off attacking the Moors, whose have a smaller army than Scotland and several lightly defended cities on the French coast just waiting for Manx triremes to swoop in and seize them.
Thy: If you don't at first succeed, try again. Or would "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result" be a more apt description? Either way, the reality of the situation is clear-cut: Shikoku is at war with Korea again. The odds are fairly similar, with Korea's land army once again limited by the amount of tiles on the peninsula, and their navy consisting of two whole ships seemingly more interested in bothering the coastal Qin city. The difference is that this time the Korean army is mostly melee units, meaning that Sakamoto Ryoma cannot repeat the strategy of "kill their melee units so they can't take back the city". Said melee units are spearmen, too, meaning that the horsemen about to land are going to have a bad time. All in all, Shikoku's odds seem slightly worse - and knowing how the war went last time, that is not a good sign.
Jmangelo: So these guys are still just piddling about in the Caucasus. What everyone expected Armenia to be in MK2's onset is what the Horde actually is now. They decided to attack the Levant superpower of Palmyra in a coalition, but have failed to even come near Palmyran borders. This seems to be a sign of the Horde's future failures as a military power, especially with the ever looming Gothic presence.
Thy: Well, that was uneventful. But uneventful does not mean unproductive, as Beta Israel has proven to us this part. Beta Israel continues to settle semi-competently this part, and has now reached its UU - the Agaw Archer - which is a composite bowman replacement. While weaker, it has longer range, meaning it may come in handy against any naval invasion on the Horn of Africa, or against Nubia's flat deserts to the north. In the rough terrain between her and Zimbabwe, though, these units might not be worth the trouble. Indeed, the Horn of Africa and its deserts are a harsh mistress, and only time will tell if Beta Israel can break out.
Msurdej: So the Murri decided to get New Zealand off of their back, and decided to give them Gunnedah as a bribe. And what does Richard Seddon do?
This is perhaps one of the dumbest moves we've seen so far, and its given a lot of the PRs pause on how New Zealand will do in the long run. If this keeps up, they'll join Atilla in the group of "civs who could've done good if they didn't burn the pants of everything."
Scissor: Tahera takes a tumble. Her war with the Iroquois seems to have fizzled out and the Apache are settling all around. She stikll has not used that one settler near Shis-Inday to make a fourth city. The PRs have surmised that Poverty Point are quickly becoming trapped and without an effort to break out soon, they will become the Souix of this royale.
Thy: A questionable part of nothing for the Sulu once more, as they keep their city count at 4 and tech rate high. To their west, Taungoo begins to spam settlers, with three out and ready to settle the rest of South East Asia, while to their east Papua makes their bid for relevance, capturing two Australian cities. Between these two, Sulu's stagnancy seems quite risky. A ray of hope exists for Sulu, however. With the majority of the Papuan army distracted, Sulu could very well take a page out of Rajapapua's book and apply it to the Papuan capital. Notably, Sulu is one of the few civs with swordsmen, Sulu's trireme replacement is still relevant, and an important portion of Sulu's UA has kicked in now that Papua conquered two cities: "Gain a 25% combat bonus against larger Civilizations." Jamalul might not get a better opportunity than this. Next part will show if they're capable of more than just sitting around and playing with their religion.
Lordie: In the three way struggle for Indian Ascendancy, Nepal appear to be flagging behind. Whilst India proper and Maratha are militarizing and expanding, it seems that Prithvi has decided to take a breather, and now that he's once again at war with Indira, it doesn't seem like he'll be offered the chance to catch up. All is not lost, however, and it's certain he'll be able to get back if he plays smart. Unfortunately the fact is that both his neighbours, now, anyway, are better off. How could he do it? Well, a helping hand to the west wouldn't go amiss, and would allow him to focus on trying to take something, anything from Shivaji. Or even go east, whilst Taungoo are still looking at Canton. They're nowhere near as isolated as Tibet were, so here's hoping they can bounce back.
Jmangelo: Papua enjoys a leapfrog out of the bottom tier into the middle of the pack. By taking the Northeast of Australia by storm, they have proved that this can STILL be anyone's game! Whilst Papua's settling game has been slow, taking mainland continental territory is an incredible push, especially since the cities are not surrounded like the Murri have been.

Papua is not out of the woods yet, though. If the Sleepy Sulu decide to awake from their slumber, Papua could see a sudden collapse.
Doom: Another bad but by no means fatal part for the Vikings. The Prussian foothold isn't good but much easier to deal with than the Sami. Really the uncharacteristic lack of any kind of navy has damaged both their ability to wage war and our confidence in the vikings. The harsh terrain to the north will keep the Sami at bay, giving the Vikings a respite. The path forward should be to build a navy and cut through the mainland European civs before they can take on the Sami. The Vikings are however one of the few European civs that's currently underperforming so it will be an uphill battle wherever they look.
Thy: A quiet part for the Empire, even as Europe rages around her. Statistically still in the upper half, the HRE faces the same troubles as most other European nations, in the sense that space runs out quickly. While HRE has declared its fair share of wars - Czechia, Prussia, and now Vikings - none of them have resulted in gains for the HRE. In fact, both the Czech and Viking wars resulted in Prussia making gains instead. A worrying trend indeed, but perhaps William can break out of the cycle. For the time being, William would do well to end his pointless wars, and to pick a better target...of course, a bigger problem might be finding a good target in the first place. Perhaps the Moors?
Doom: An interesting part for the Nazca but not a good one. They made the same mistake as Venezuela and attempted to invade the Kuikuro. The Kuikuro UA allows them to build improvements without removing jungle tiles which slows any possible invasion to a crawl. The Nazca managed to botch their attack so completely they almost lost a city. Cahuachis diplomatic prowess saved the city at the last moment but it's hard to believe that the nazca will be this lucky the next time.
Homusubi: The Evenks are perhaps the trickiest civ on the cylinder to have. Tons of space, uniques geared perfectly to their TSL, and yet... will they do anything at all? Will they make the most of their unique Siberian potential, or will they just act as an occasional punchbag for the Khamugs? It's true that they have less military strength and production than their neighbours, particularly the menace to the south, but Jamukha seems more focused on China, if indeed he is focused on anything at all. Bombie, for his part, is trying to use Khamug tactics on their inventors by encircling his blue and grey rivals to the west. Then again, he could be settling those cities as part of a longer-term strategy to escape the Khamug feud by annexing the Kazakhs. Not sure I'd rate his chances, but given Ablai's recent incompetence, at least said chances theoretically exist. Plus, it'd be pretty fun, you have to admit.
Thy: Another part passes, and the Nubian coalition disperses at last, having achieved nothing of note, meaning that the two Minoan cities were gained at no extra cost. Entering the Classical era properly with the discoveries of Iron Working and Construction, Nubia still stands as one of the most militarily advanced civ in their region. Now that peace is finally on their to-do list, they would do well to consolidate their position a bit - with Palmyra gaining more and more power, Nubia will need to put in more work than this to remain competitive.
Thy: Did anything happen in Africa south of Benin this part? No? Well, alright. Ndongo remains in largely the same position this part, participating in the settler craze that so many other civs - including Zimbabwe - are participating in. A crucial difference to last part however is that Ndongo has noticeably militarized, to the point where they now stand on equal footing with Zimbabwe. And for a civ whose rank is often decided based on their neighbor's performance, this is a great boon. Statistically otherwise just fine, Ndongo will still need to up their production to be competitive in the long-term, but this is a good start, and a good sign of things to come.
Thy: ...Victory? Without much fanfare, the war between Benin and Songhai ends, without a single city exchanging hands. If we consider the stalemate to be due to half of Songhai's army vacationing away somewhere, one could say that Ewuare got lucky. And, you know, sometimes luck is needed in this game. Perhaps this is the event that turns the tide of? Perhaps future viewers can look upon this part as the day when Songhai started to lose? Or is Benin simply delaying the inevitable? Either way, settling Owo was more titillating than the war that just ended, and I'm not sure if that says more about Songhai than Benin, so...
Techno: It's not often that you lose a war to one of the most notoriously incompetent civs on the cylinder. And yet, such an event happened twice this part. Once in the land down under, and once in Florida. To be fair, anything Florida-related is bound to be unusual, but the Iroquois losing a city to Haiti is simply an embarrassment. Even worse, the Iroquois have also incurred the wrath of both the Metis and Poverty Point, turning the Iroquois' position from that of a regional power to that of a middling one.
Jmangelo: Dropping below the top 20 once again, Indira is starting tto show holes in their settling pattern. Aside from Nepal citadeling their capital, India has a snakey, thin core of borders. That makes EVERY city vulnerable to attack, it just seems to be a waiting game to see if that will matter in the long run.
Adm. Cloudberg: Australia plunges 15 places this part, and it’s hard to argue it’s not deserved. Bob Hawke was ranked in the top 10 because he looked set to control the Australian continent, but he was always vulnerable due to his far flung, undefended colonies. He stayed high on the assumption that the worst case scenario, a naval invasion of those colonies, wouldn’t occur. But it did, and Papua’s unexpected conquest of Darwin and Perth has introduced a new dynamic in Australia that could shape the rest of the game. Can Hawke recover? Absolutely. But at least for now, he will struggle to quickly get back on his feet.
Scissor: So the Aztecs didn't have a great part. Their ways of expansion into California and Central America have been cut off. Montezuma must be feeling ensnared. But all is not lost, the Aztecs have a decent military and if they use it to take the lightly defended Venezuelan Central American cities, they could walk away with new gains and new avenues of expansion.
Scissor: This part was great for Frederick! He not only took a Viking city, he actually settled one in Scandinavia as well. Ignoring the fumble of the war with Muscovy by failing to capture Vladimir, Prussia is in a dominant position to its immediate neighbors. With this, Prussia, along with the Goths, have relegated Muscovy to a weak, ineffectual empire. Prussia should focus on consolidating their gains and make another go at their eastern friends.
Thy: Such a disgrace! Such an embarrassment! The generals responsible for this, they should be fired- no, they should be executed. Or, at least I'm hoping Abd-ar Rahman III is executing his incompetent generals as we speak. The defeat at Murano is unacceptable, and sets a worrisome precedent for the future. The Moors are settling all the land they can - as they should - but if war turns out to be needlessly difficult, this orange-yellow civ might be in more trouble than we anticipated.
Jmangelo: The Burmese Pythons return to tjeir rightful place in the top 20, chewing into Canton and locking down Southeast Asia. The Taungoo have a long ways to go before they becomea true powerhouse, but joining the rest of the Asian superpowers with their ridiculous amount of cities is a great start, and their strong military is even better.
Adm. Cloudberg: The Kazakhs hold steady in 15th yet again (Editor's note: they didn't) as the power rankers wait for Ablai Khan’s next move. In fact, he doesn’t seem to have been seriously affected by the loss of two of his cities, and the Kazakhs are still expanding rapidly into the large area available to them. The Nenets have a settler finally, but they’re sending it north, so they won’t need to worry about their non-existent northern neighbours stealing any land. In short, while many Kazakh naysayers declared that they were done for when Parthia took Otrar and Almaty, it doesn’t look like Ablai Khan noticed or cared, and he’ll probably be fine.
Andy: Notably, Geronimo rises six ranks. This is in part due to his overall strong statistics, large army, and propensity to make settlers. However, a more notable part of his rank rising is where he places his settlers. By seizing California, the Apache cut the Aztec off, trapping them in a box between the Apache and the Venezuelans. In addition to cutting off Aztec northward expansion, such a move also secures the entirety of the Californian coastline, through Oregon and Washington states, up to British Columbia for the Apache. The Haida are slow as ever to settle, while the Metis seem to be drawn eastward rather than south, meaning that Geronimo has vast tracts of land now to settle at his leisure, rather than finding themselves stuck fighting their neighbours for the good settling spots.
Thy: Selk'nam trip up the rankings a bit as they declare a sudden war against Uruguay. Certainly ambitious of Xo'on Uhan-Té, but to be fair, it is not like Selk'nam has any other neighbors. Indeed, an early successful war will increase their chances of success in the future. For now, Paysandú looks to be the only Uruguayan city in risk of falling, but even one city can help gap the difference between the two civs. All the right moves, all the right moves.
Thy: The subcontinent can never truly be peaceful, can it? With the war between Nepal and India barely over, Maratha charges in once more, ready to be on the offense this time around. With India indeed just exiting a grinding albeit quick war, Maratha might very well stand to have a chance at actually making gains. And as has been said a multitude of times by now, a successful war northward is something that Shivaji absolutely needs to have a chance in the midgame. Outside of matters pertaining to foreign diplomacy, Marathan expansion has continued well indeed: 8 cities is nothing to thumb your nose at. Even as we speak, Shivaji has a settler out - but where is it going? On turn 95, it was seen near the Andaman Sea, seemingly journeying to reach Malaysia, or even further beyond. Maybe Qing and Yup'ik are good role models?
Thy: What came of the Goth war on the Golden Horde? Nothing. What came of the Goth war on Prussia? Nada. Nil. Zero. Zilch. So what are the Goths doing right? Well, for one, they are settling competently. And two, they have more than the necessary army to ensure that their fresh settles cannot be threatened. As has been said before: this is a fine way of expanding. But in truth, viewing a civ in this way is akin to viewing them in a vacuum. In reality, the time spent peacefully expanding is time that their neighbors can spend peacefully expanding just as well. Or worse, their neighbors get conquered before Alaric can get off his lazy ass. Peaceful expansion will never be on equal footing to conquest: a decisive crippling attack will always herald better success. And that is why the likes of Qin, Palmyra and Songhai are above the Goths. Because bad diplomacy ruins even the most expansive leader.
Msurdej: After a brief stint in the 20s, Venezuela decides to get his rear in gear. Central America has been overrun with Venezulean ciites, and there's still room in South America to put down few more if he so desires. Soon those cities will be able to produce a good carpet for Chavez, letting him either march up Central America to beat the Aztecs, build a navy and attack Haiti, or go back into the jungle to fight the Nazca/Kuikuro. While the last one may not be fruitful, Chavez is back to looking like a force to be reckoned with in South America.
Adm. Cloudberg: The Sami continue their very slow downward slide, falling to 10th this part after an underwhelming war against the Vikings. Eadni maintains a large army, plenty of land and cities, and good production, but too many forests and mountains make it difficult for her to expand militarily at this stage. The only problem is that the Sami can’t wait forever—they will have to break out sooner rather than later. If they can’t, their days in the top 10 may be over, at least for the foreseeable future.
Thy: At last, there is peace on the steppe. With a net gain of two cities, Parthia enters an era of peace and prosperity - but it is tenuous. Parthia's stats are mediocre, and likewise 8 cities is starting to be mediocre, especially for a top 15 civ. While consolidation of gains should definitely be next on Mithridates' to-do list, he should be ready to take the offense once more in quick order. Perhaps join Maratha in attacking India?
Techno: Usually, when a civ is targeted by a coalition, things do not end well. But Palmyra is not like those civs. Despite being attacked by nearly all of their neighbors, Palmyra won, capturing a city from the Turks before making peace. Palmyra now sits comfortably in the 10-city club and fields one of the cylinder's largest armies, placing them firmly above all their relevant neighbors (as the Goths sit behind the wall-like Caucasus mountains). If there is one civilization to rise from the chaos that usually engulfs the Middle East, Palmyra is that civ.
Thy: Not much has changed in Northern China. Sure, the Khamugs are at war with India, and the Koreans and the Japanese are at each others' throats again, but the Qin-Qing-Khamug border has seen no real change. All three retain high stats and field large armies. In fact, I could probably repeat last week's writeup here and it'd make sense. Though, there is something to add: Qing's tendency to send her settlers far, far away might be the worst move a North Chinese civ has made. If we forget Xia existed, that is. I mean, have you seen the Qing settler east of Taiwan?
Msurdej: Oh hey look, the Metis are doing things! Their war with Hiawatha actually went somewhere, and now they have another city. However, it would behoove Riel to start getting some settlers westward. Not only would it would it give him more room for a carpet, but it would cut Haida off at the knees.
Homusubi: Yes, Songhai have so far failed to capitalise on their fight with a weaker Benin, and the situation along that border looks pretty even so far. However, that is pretty much the only thing that Askia has done wrong so far. However many Beninese wars he's getting into, unlike some warlike leaders (looking at you Sakamoto) he has remembered to build settlers at the same time as fighting. He's giving Abdelkader a run for his money in the egregious forward settle of the year competition, and it looks like it's only the beginning, with at least three more settlers on the go. Could we even be seeing a weirdly early Sahara settle beginning? Who knows? Does Askia even know? Does he just build settlers and push them out the door, telling them “you're settlers, damn well settle”, and hoping something good comes of it?
Lordie: Qins should be kept up for this part, as there's no reason Ying Zheng can't hold his head high. A solid showing all ways round, albeit not flashy or hyperdecisive, keeps him well in the running to be best China. However, with even Taungoo making inroads into Canton, it's possible he will have to move soon or face being boxed in by the Khamugs and the Qing, both of whom have oodles of unclaimed land to the north. Qin are most certainly still a major contender, especially as they're coming into their insanely fast crossbows, the Qin Nu (or Qin Nude, goddamnit SilentForza). Watch this space, basically.
Doom: Uruguay faces their first real challenge so far and look certain to lose a city. An unimportant city, but a city nonetheless which makes their rank increase strange.
They currently aren't in any trouble but an attack from the Kuikuro could seriously hurt them at the moment. Fortunately for Uruguay the Kuikuro are infamous for their passive nature and the other civs are too far away to actually reach Uruguay. A quick peace treaty with the Selk'nam could let Uruguay return to it's previous peaceful state of expansion or get revenge for the Kuikuro citadel.
Msurdej: The Khanate ends its long running fued with Zimbabwe for the top spot, and remain in second this week. His position as the true third Kingdom of China apparent with the death of Xia, Jamukha's armies stand strong as he keeps trying to box in the Qin, but without any moves of aggression on his part, it remains to be seen if the Khanate will go the way of Sibir, or Mongolia and Yakutia.
Homusubi: And so, for the second week running, the big Z has retained its position at the final spot in the power rankings, just as it has in the alphabet. The old great leaders have so far tended to make slip-ups along the way to this point. Louis Riel has only just found the war button. Eadni hasn't really found it in the first place, forgetful grandma that she is. Bob Hawke has somehow managed to lose a war to a civ which for two parts in a row was ranked sixtieth. Juan Antonio Lavalleja has been sufficiently creeped out by the Eldritch Horror for him to forget to keep an eye on Paysandú. And let's not mention Ablai Khan for the time being. But Mutota, he just keeps chugging along, the Khaki Menace creeping up from the Cape ever closer to Cairo, managing to be significantly less error-prone than his main rival. That's CBR, I suppose. Don't mess it up, and you might just get first place by process of – dare I say it – elimination.

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