Is there a chart showing the upgrade paths for the units? Something like


for all of the units.

  • 1
    Note: the below charts may now be out of date based on the recent expansions (for example, I believe the Crossbowman now upgrades to the Gatling Gun, which I don't see listed anywhere).
    – Adam V
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 21:03

3 Answers 3


Here, I just made one for you, based on information available from the actual game files.

Click the image to see a larger version!

unit upgrade chart


  • This is updated up to the June 2011 patch and DLCs; however, unique units always upgrade in exactly the same way as the units they replace, so if some unique unit is missing from the chart above you can just find out what it replaces to see how it upgrades.
  • Gun units and melee units are not the same - in particular, they differ in some promotions, you can check my promotion chart which uses the same icons.
  • The Giant Death Robot is indeed considered an armor unit.
  • Missiles, bombs and SS parts are non-upgradable (and removed from the chart for brevity).
  • 5
    Interesting to note -- a warrior who visits ruins and gets "more advanced weapons" will in fact turn into a spearman, not a swordsman. Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 17:18
  • 1
    Another note on ruins upgrades - a scout upgraded into an archer can get a second upgrade from ruins and turn into a crossbowman. So @Oak, there's apparently no restriction on era.
    – Larry Wang
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 20:06
  • 1
    @C.Ross - I only listed the units that are part of an upgrade path. My first draft contained all the units in the game, but it was needlessly long and not really relevant to the question.
    – Oak
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 20:49
  • 3
    @therefromhere a scout being upgraded to an archer still retains its special movement ability, so there's no downside. And an archer can be really powerful in the early game.
    – Oak
    Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 15:31
  • 1
    @GoatRider I personally tested that the submarine, ironclad and bomber do not upgrade.
    – Oak
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 22:42

Here's a better chart I just made, showing the era each unit is in. Civ-5 unit upgrades

PDF version mirror

  • 2
    Wait, is the Giant Death Robot real? Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 22:22
  • 1
    @David Oh yeah, and they're strong! >:-D Very weak on the defense though, can be taken out rather easily. BTW, they're basically mechs, "giant death robot" sounds like too much, IMO.
    – deceze
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 22:34
  • Man this looks great, what program did you use? Or is it hand-crafted?
    – Oak
    Commented Oct 12, 2010 at 6:48
  • Thanks! I used ConceptDraw on the Mac. I think it's available on PC too.
    – GoatRider
    Commented Oct 12, 2010 at 10:09
  • Forgot Great War Bomber -> Bomber -> Stealth Bomber. Worth noting that that final upgrade loses the ability to use Carriers, which can be a huge loss in some maps. Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 2:39

The Civilization 5 manual does not have such a chart, and neither is there one in the game like the tech tree. (I do not know if the physical copy of the game comes with any charts.)

However, you can use the Civilpedia to build one. Look up whichever unit you are concerned about. The Civilpedia will show what it upgrades to, which you can click on to get to that unit, and follow that unit in turn.

General trends

  • Units can usually upgrade within their type: Melee to Melee, Range to Ranged, Mounted to Mounted, Siege to Siege... Except that Melee and Ranged eventually upgrade to the same Gunpowder track.
  • Melee is split into (at least?) two upgrade paths: one for the anti-mounted Spearmen->Pikemen, and the other for the general units.
  • I believe missiles do not upgrade?
  • FWIW, I just checked my physical copy of the collector's edition and the poster/chart that came with it does not list the upgrade paths for units. The only thing it has relating to units is the Promotion track for them.
    – FAE
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:21
  • Actually it doesn't always make that much sense. Bombers do not upgrade to stealth bombers, and neither do submarines to nuclear submarines.
    – Oak
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 15:46
  • @Oak You keep catching me when I don't fully research the details of Civ 5, and assume they are like the details in Civ 4. I'll just have to stop doing that, in the name of better answers for everyone. Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 17:19

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