Civilization 6 has a new favorite leader

The Civilization 6 Leader Pass introduces a wealth of new leaders from across history with unique traits and abilities, and Firaxis tells us the most popular.

Civilization 6 most-played characters - a close-up of Chinese Yongle Emperor Zhu Di, best known simply as Yongle

The Civilization 6 Leader Pass has now run its course, bringing a ton of new historical leaders to one of the best 4X games. With some of history’s most famous faces joining the Civilization 6 roster in recent months, you might be wondering which among them has proven the most popular. Shockingly, it might not be who you expect.

With a number of returning faces and favorites such as America’s Abraham Lincoln, Egypt’s Ramses the Great, and England’s Elizabeth I among the newest members of the Civ 6 roster, you’d probably not expect Yongle Emperor Zhu Di to top the pile. Yet there he is – developer Firaxis reveals on Twitter that the leader, best known simply as Yongle in-game – sits atop the fan favorite list across all of the leaders in the Leader Pass.

Yongle manages to beat runners-up Lincoln and Tokugawa into second and third place respectively, taking the trophy as the most-played new Civilization 6 leader since the arrival of the Leader Pass. While that might surprise you if you’re someone who just plays the game and doesn’t spend too long talking about it online, those of you who frequent the game’s Reddit or its various social channels might be less shocked.

Yongle has some pretty nice bonuses, with his unique Lijia projects allowing some really handy resource conversion options, and he gains additional gold, science, and culture as he builds up larger, more populated cities. As someone who loves to really expand city size, he certainly fits my preferred play style. However, his real popularity online comes from his cheerful expression and just how satisfying it is to say ‘Yongle.’

Civilization 6 favorite leaders - chart showing the three most-played leaders from the Civ VI Leader Pass. 1st - Yongle. 2nd - Lincoln. 3rd - Tokugawa.

Many of the comments replying to the social posts or discussing the news on the Civ Reddit simply say “Yongle.” His beaming face is frequently seen as a response to posts about the game (‘Live Yongle reaction’ alongside a stretched-out, extra-wide image of him is a common sight in discussions between Civ fans). It just goes to show – a little personality goes a long way. After all, what better befits a great leader quite like boundless charisma?

If you’re not all-in on Yongle, check out the best Civ 6 civilizations to see who else is looking strong. You might also want to browse the best Civ 6 mods to improve your game, or check out more of the best strategy games to keep your brain ticking over.