This is the start of the Aztec guide to help you understand the ins and outs of the Aztec civilization, this guide will cover all of the ages and give information suited to keep in mind for each age.
Villagers carry +5 resources
Military units created 11.1% faster
Start with +50 gold
Starting Scout Cavalry replaced with Eagle Scout
Monks gain 5hp per technology researched
Relices generate 33% extra gold
Jaguar Warrior – Infantry unit that does bonus damage to other Infantry
Atlatl – additional attack and range to Skirmisher-line
Garland Wars – additional attack to Infantry
Full Monk technology tree
No Halberdier upgrade
Siege Ram & Siege Onager
Weak on water
Weak buildings – no Architecture, Masonry or Hoardings
Only missing ‘Two-Man Saw’ from the economy upgrades
Missing Thumb Ring and Ring Archer Armour
No access to Stables or Cavalry (except the Xolotl Warrior if an enemy stable is converted)
Aztecs start the game with an Eagle Scout instead of a Scout Cavalry and an additional 50 gold.
Throughout Dark Age, it is important to remember that the villagers carry +5 extra resources. As a result, you will need to ‘force drop’ food from your villagers under the Town Centre in order to maintain constant production. This makes them very difficult for newer players to use and continue Villager production.
The Eagle Scout has additional line of sight in comparison to a Scout Cavalry and will win in a 1v1 fight in Dark Age due to higher base statistics. They are however slower moving and so need to be kept away from the opponent if they are likely to reach the Feudal Age with a full health Scout Cavalry in the near future as this gains an attack bonus and will win in a straight fight.
The additional gold is a big advantage to the Aztec start as it allows for the production of 5 militia in Dark Age and to research loom without taking any additional gold. A normal ‘drush’ will involve 3 militia, therefore giving the Aztec player an advantage.
While a Militia or Men-at-Arms rush are regular strategies for Aztecs, they become easily countered by Archers, meaning that the Militia-line should not be invested into too heavily in the Feudal Age. A more common approach for Aztecs is to transition into Archers in Feudal. The Aztecs have a strong Archer-line which provides a good option for early-game aggression. However, Aztecs are missing two key upgrades for the Archer-line, Thumb Ring and Ring Archer Armour but they still can serve a purpose in the military composition for the Aztecs. The Crossbow upgrade can provide a big power spike when reaching Castle Age so for much of a game, the Archer-line can provide a very viable strategy. The increased creation speed of military units for Aztecs allows them to mass these units faster and will allow them a slight military advantage throughout the game.
Aztecs don’t have access to a Stable but in Feudal age are able to produce the Eagle Scout from the Barracks instead. This unit has pierce armour so work well in an anti-Archer role. Be careful with the Eagle-line as they receive bonus damage from the Militia-line (from Men-at-Arms onwards). The other downside to massing Eagle Scouts is their creation time. In Feudal Age, it takes approximately 60 seconds of in game time to train an Eagle Scout but this drops in Castle Age to just 35 seconds. This makes the Fast Castle into Eagles a viable strategy for Aztecs as they can begin slowly producing them after clicking to advance to the Castle Age. This should only be attempted if the player has a map that is easily wall-able and may require towers to prevent the opponent from breaking in.
During the Feudal Age, the Aztec economy is greatly helped by their civilization bonus. The additional carry capacity of their villagers’ means that more resources are collected with time spent moving to the drop-off building minimised.
Reaching Castle Age unlocks the Siege Workshop and Monastery, allowing the creation of Monks and siege units. The Aztecs have a very strong Siege and Monk push as they have access to the full Monk technology tree and on top of that, their Monks gain 5hp for each technology researched. Pushing the opponent’s base with Mangonels is such a strong tactic because Mangonels can outrange Town Centres. Monks are attached to this to convert any Knights that may be used to snipe the Mangonels or, after researching Redemption, to convert the defensive Mangonels. If going for this approach, it is sensible to be prepared to invest into Spearmen as your opponent is likely to use Scout or Light Cavalry to counter the Mangonels and Monks. Particularly on closed maps, the Siege and Monk rush can be a great way to ensure your opponent is under pressure early, while the Monastery addition should give you the opportunity to collect the Relics – especially helpful for Aztecs as they benefit from a faster gold collection rate from Relics.
On reaching Castle Age, the Crossbow upgrade can be well worth the investment during the mid-game if you still have a fairly big group of Archers. If that’s the case, you can continue to spend your resources on Crossbows but be careful if you are playing against a civilization with fully upgradeable Archer-line as their Thumb Ring upgrade will give them greater accuracy.
Instead of investing heavily into archers, the Aztecs can instead focus on the Eagle Warriors. These units are fast-moving, anti-Archer infantry. They are excellent for raiding the opponent’s base as they can fight for a short time around the Town Centres if needed. The Eagle Warriors are likely to be the main focus of the Imperial Age army for the Aztecs so can be worth developing during the Castle Age. That being said, Aztecs can struggle against a civilization with Supplies (technology to reduce the cost of the Militia-line units) as the Eagle-line is countered by the Militia-line. If your opponent is investing in the Militia-line, it may be worth mixing in some Crossbows for the Aztec player to help protect your Eagle Warriors. However, going fully into Longswordsmen in Castle Age is a heavy investment for your opponent as it will delay their Imperial Age time.
If the game lasts into the Imperial Age, Aztecs do have access to the Arbalester upgrade, another power spike for their Crossbowmen. This is worth investing in if the player still has a reasonable mass of Crossbowmen to gain the benefit of the upgrade or to counter the Militia-line if the opponent commits to this.
It is in Imperial Age that the Eagle-line really reaches its full potential. The upgrade from Eagle Warrior to Elite reduces the training time from 35 seconds to 21 seconds. Combine this with the Conscription research from the Castle and Elite Eagle Warriors can easily be spammed into the opponent’s economy for raiding. This is only possible if you have a strong economy yourself as the Eagle-line is particularly gold intensive (securing extra gold piles around the map will be vital in order to continue this long term). Garland Wars would be an important upgrade to add for the Eagles as this gives them (and all infantry) +4 attack.
If your opponent has committed to Champions to counter your Eagles, the Aztecs can shift into producing their unique unit, Jaguar Warriors. Jaguar Warriors do bonus damage versus infantry and therefore provide a good counter to Champions. With full access to the Infantry Blacksmith upgrades and Garland Wars, Jaguar Warriors are the natural unit for Aztecs to use in an anti-Infantry role. The main limitation here is that Jaguar Warriors can only be produced from a Castle. Alternatively, the Aztec player with a combination of Arbalester and Elite Eagle Warriors should be able to compete against Champions and a ranged unit due to the Eagle-line’s high pierce armour. This is gold-heavy so should not be seen as a long-term composition.
In turn, with the rock-paper-scissors nature of Age of Empires 2, Jaguar Warriors are countered by the Archer-line. Aztecs can cope well with this switch as their Skirmishers are affected by the unique technology Atlatl which provides +1 attack and +1 range. This additional damage output also helps Aztecs in a ‘trash’ war as they do not get the Halberdier upgrade.
A late game composition of Pikemen with Garland Wars and Elite Skirmishers with Atlatl can hold their own against the fully upgraded equivalents. These can be complimented with Siege Ram and Siege Onager but not Bombard Cannon. Any pushes against fortification will be reliant on Siege Ram or Trebuchets. Aztecs shouldn’t rely upon their own fortifications to hold long term as they do not have access to Masonry, Architecture or Hoardings.
Victory for Aztecs in the late game is likely to be gained through holding using their Pikemen and Elite Skirmishers, with Siege Ram attempting to push through the middle and Eagles raiding their opponent’s eco.