Pantheons precede established religions, and are founded automatically as Faith is accumulated. In Civilization VI, all Pantheons require 25 Faith (at Standard speed), regardless of how many other Pantheons have been created already.
Unlike in Civilization V, a civilization's Pantheon will not get overwritten by foreign religions converting its cities. This means that a player will be able to use his or her Pantheon bonus even without managing to found a full religion, or after founding a religion that gets wiped out. However, despite staying with you through the whole game this time, Pantheons are still seen as just a stepping stone towards creating a religion, and thus it is encouraged to not just settle with a pantheon if you are hoping to gain power from faith.
Pantheons worship a number of minor gods, usually related to nature and natural phenomena, and provide minor bonuses, usually based on terrain.
|Dance of the Aurora||Holy Site districts get +1 Faith from adjacent Tundra tiles.|
|Sacred Path||Holy Site districts get +1 Faith from adjacent Rainforest tiles.|
|Monument of the Gods||+15% Production to Ancient and Classical era Wonders.|
|Lady of the Reeds and Marshes||+1 Production from Marsh, Oasis, and Floodplains.|
|God of the Open Sky||+1 Culture from Pastures.|
|Desert Folklore||Holy Site districts get +1 Faith from adjacent Desert tiles.|
|River Goddess||+1 Amenity to cities if they have a Holy Site district adjacent to a River.|
|Divine Spark||+1 Great Person point from Holy Site (Prophet), Campus (Scientist), and Theater Square (Writer) districts.|
|God of the Sea||+1 Production from Fishing Boats.|
|Goddess of the Hunt||+1 Food from Camps.|
|Fertility Rites||City growth rate is 10% higher.|
|Religious Idols||+1 Faith from Mines over Luxury and Bonus resources.|
|God of the Craftsmen||+1 Production from Mines over Strategic resources.|
|Goddess of Festivals||+1 Food from Wine, Incense, Cocoa, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea Plantations.|
|Oral Tradition||+1 Culture from Banana, Citrus, Cotton, Dyes, Silk, Spices, and Sugar Plantations.|
|God of the Forge||+25% Production toward Ancient and Classical military units.|
|Initiation Rites||+50 Faith for each Barbarian Outpost cleared.|
|God of Healing||Increases Healing by +30 in your Holy Site district, or any adjacent tiles.|
|Religious Settlements||Border expansion rate is 15% faster.|
|Goddess of the Harvest||Harvesting a resource or removing a feature receives Faith equal to the other yield's quantity.|
|Stone Circles||+2 Faith from Quarries.|
|God of War||Bonus Faith equal to 50% of the strength of each enemy unit killed within 8 tiles of a Holy Site district you own.|
Note that adjacency bonuses from Mountain and Tundra don't stack, so for instance with Dance of the Aurora a mountain tile that's also tundra provides only +1 Faith to an adjacent Holy Site. However, the effect of Woods and Natural Wonders do stack with Tundra.
Overall, if there's nothing obvious (for instance 4 related tiles) to give you a solid push in a particular direction when you found your pantheon, there are some things to bear in mind:
|Dance of the Aurora|| This is one of the Pantheons that rely solely on terrain, and could potentially turn out to be a really powerful Faith generator. A Holy Site gets a +2 adjacency bonus on average, and even that requires some luck - mountains do tend to form chains, but you can rarely find a spot circled by more than 3 mountain tiles; woods are even worse, and Natural Wonder tiles are rare. With Dance of the Aurora and a suitable location, you can get up to a +6 adjacency bonus!|
Needless to say, however, you need to found your cities next to or on tundra. Tundra tiles are not uncommon in the game, but they make really poor city locations. So, unless you're playing as Russia or you get a really crappy starting location, you may be unable to use this Pantheon unless you want to ruin your general game completely just so you can get Faith. Of course, there will be a couple of good spots with lots of other resources nearby which will warrant the foundation of a city, but you can't rely on that when choosing a Pantheon.
|Sacred Path||Another terrain-related Pantheon, Sacred Path is in fact much more usable than Dance of the Aurora. Rainforests form a logical "belt" around the equator of the map, and if you happen to start next to it you can reliably forecast that you'll have access to numerous jungle tiles, and will indeed be able to use Sacred Path's bonus to the max. If that's the case, go for it and prepare to reap rich Faith yields. But remember not to cut down the rainforests, and to build your Holy Sites right in their midst.|
|Desert Folklore||The last terrain-related Pantheon is potentially the most powerful one. There are usually many deserts in the game, which are sprinkled in a wide variety of locations (unlike tundra, which is always found in polar regions at the edge of the completely uninhabitable snow). So, you may expect to find numerous good spots for founding cities in the desert, even if you're not playing a civ which specializes in deserts. Then, just pop that Holy Site in the middle of the waste where nothing else can be built anyway, and you can start converting!|
|Stone Circles|| Stone is all over the place. You'll probably find a lot of it, even if you can't see any at the start of the game. Expect to average more than one per city even if you aren't founding your cities to take advantage of this. So as it's +2 Faith (not +1 like a slew of other Pantheons), it roughly doubles the worth of every Stone, Marble, or Gypsum resource (remembering that we need to compare each not to nothing, but to random resource-free terrain). This should be your go-to Pantheon when you have no idea which one to choose, but there are some good backup choices if another civ takes it first.|
However, if you're not interested in pushing a religion, the Faith generation isn't a particularly valuable resource. Yes, it can be used for patronage of Great People and some other non-religious uses, but by and large you'd benefit more from something else. For non-religious civs, see the comments on Religious Settlements below.
|God of the Open Sky||This Pantheon is a fairly good pick if Stone Circles has already been taken. It's safe to assume that you'll find Cattle, Sheep, and Horses as you explore the map, though they may not be common enough to justify choosing this unless you already have at least two or three of them available. It can be useful to get early Culture to spend less Gold on tiles, and to get Temples in time to get your pick of the third and fourth faiths or acquire more policies.|
|God of the Sea||Even on an island-heavy map with high sea levels you won't get as many sea resources as you'd like. You'll probably get less than one per city on average, which could be a shock to you if you've played a lot of Civilization V. This isn't to say that there won't be starting positions that favor it, but if you get one you probably don't have enough land for districts. Of course, if you're using a maritime civ such as England or Spain and the map layout offers you lots of options, you should consider it.|
|God of the Forge||This can be a solid choice if you're going for a fast aggressive start, especially if your unique unit is available in the Ancient or Classical Era. If not, it is doubtful that this will provide enough of an edge to make it worthwhile.|
|Divine Spark||The headline is probably the Great Prophet points, but if you can take something that provides Faith instead you'll get your two Apostles sooner and continue to reap the benefits throughout the game, so it's probably better to go that way and just lean on the more mundane ways of getting Great Prophet points. The other Great People points are mediocre - Great People aren't that great, because they come along too infrequently, even with this. Still, if you really want to found a Religion and you've had a late start (or are being outpaced by other civs), then you may choose this to have an additional edge in the Great Prophet race.|
|Initiation Rites||In a best-case scenario - clearing one outpost every 4 turns - you'll be averaging 12.5 Faith per turn. Not a scratch on what you'll probably get from Stone Circles eventually because it won't scale well - as the territory is taken up, the barbarian outposts stop appearing. Again, it could prove useful in an early race for some Great Person, and if you don't see other viable Pantheons.|
|Fertility Rites||Really poor because it's based on modified Food per turn. Take only as a last resort.|
|Religious Settlements|| Probably the worst of all choices: you may have to buy 13% ((1 - 1 / 1.15) * 100) fewer tiles. Taking this would be worse than taking Fertility Rites, because population provides Culture, so you'd gain more border expansion (and the Culture, Science, etc.) from that over time.|
However, the value of this Pantheon extends beyond it being treated as a replacement for purchasing tiles - specifically, EVERY civ and EVERY city can benefit from it. Instead of needing 10 turns to claim the next tile, you only need 9. It can offset poor Culture generation for militaristic civs or maximize border growth for other civs. Yes, every tile claimed automatically is a tile that you didn't have to buy, but every tile claimed automatically will usually open up new tiles for purchase. It helps you reach key resources faster, and again, is passively applied to every city you've got. Moreover, this is a GREAT choice for any civ that doesn't really care much about pushing their own religion, as the primary (but not the only) purpose of Faith is to purchase religious units. Unlike so many Pantheon beliefs which rely on having specific resources nearby (which you now shouldn't harvest or you lose the bonus), this is one that any civ and any victory type can benefit from at every stage of the game.
|Civilization VI |