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United States of America Durokan
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12 Jan 2016, 00:48

I am just re-adding this to the site, I played absolutely zero part in the production of Garja's guide. I can delete this thread if Garja doesn't want it on this site for whatever reason.

Source: ... pic=219301

Aztecs comprehensive guide

Garja - PR ~40 - ELO 2600+


Aztecs are a rather strong but not very used civilization. That's mostly because of their uniqueness and complexity when it comes to play them properly. The aim of this guide is to provide some strategies and hopefully some comprehensive knowledge to help in mastering the Aztecs.
To begin, I'd like to highlight some features about the civilization. This will make easier to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses and therefore what I consider the best way(s) to use the Aztecs.

What makes Aztecs so unique is in the first place the wide range of strategies they can perform. I cannot think about a civilization that has more strategy options than Aztecs, except maybe for India. They can indeed rush with various degree of aggressiveness but they can also play some economic-heavy strategies both on land and water, with or without TPs. They can also profitably do some FF based strategies.

In the second place, Aztecs have an extreme variety of unique units. In fact almost every unit is quite different from all the other units in the game for range, speed, ROF, bonus, etc. But most importantly each of them has a very specific role and can thus be defined an hard counter. For this reason, in most of cases the units should be combined with each other to gain usefulness. Composing a well balanced army is thus very important with Aztecs, even more than with other civs. A feature that comes in handy to achieve army balance is having only 1 building for multiple units, so that you can quickly switch the production between them.

Another important feature is the passive ability of the Warchief to grant extra experience points for every unit killed within his aura. This bonus is not casual: Aztecs early development is in fact based on cards more than any other civ (even more than spain). The reason for this is that you don't get much from any age up option you have, atleast in terms of resources. Neither you have any kind of direct eco boom that instead most of the other civs have.

In addition to this, Aztecs start with a Warrior Priest and an extra 100w crate to make the firepit. This building is the core of the civilization and makes the difference between a win and a loss in many cases.
It's important to build it straight from the beginning, since it boosts your start more than saving the 100w and using the warrior priest for treasures/scouting.

Finally, the above mentioned poor age-up options raise some problems regarding the choice of the best opening and the relative play style to adopt. Unlikely the other civs Aztecs have 3 viable age up options in colonial and each of them is very linked with the respective strategy (no wonder that I called the strategies with the age up to choose).

In conclusion we can say that Aztecs have a rather low-starting booming curve that is mostly fueled by the homecity shipments and that grows exponentially with the development of the upgrades (especially the number of priests on the firepit).

Despite the wide range of options for every situation, Aztecs aren't a very flexible civ because in many cases it is required to commit into a strategy that cut off the possibility to completely change your plan. That's why it's essential to chose the opening carefully, paying particular attention to its flexibility and also planning the next moves accordingly.

Brief summary of strengths and weaknesses

- good income of exp points and thus good shipment rate;
- hard-counter as well as cost efficient units if used properly; they can be trained from the same building;
- wide range of strategies, including sea boom, offensive or defensive play. Some FF based strategies are possible too.

- poor age up boosts and no direct eco boom that lead to a low-starting booming curve;
- weak units if not massed and combined, highly affected by diminishing returns.
- not great flexibility in changing the strategy, especially when the opponent civ is suitable to exploit Aztecs weaknesses.

Some additional details

Before explaining the actual strategies I'd like to spend few words on 2 aspects which by themselves can make a huge difference.

Firepit managing

Aztecs can produce a limit of 10 warrior priests that count as 2 villagers when they dance on the firepit. This is a relevant bonus that other TWC civs don't have. The main uses of the firepit are:
- gift dance (exp income); it is the most common used one especially because it is effective since the very beginning; when you reach the number of 10 WPs the amount of exp generated is simply huge;
- fertility dance (faster unit training time); this type of dance can be very useful to outboom your opponent rapidly. In the midgame can effectively replace a second TC being worth itself the cost of 600w. Since it reduces the duration of the production cycle of all units it is only recommended when you actually have enough resources to complete every batch of units while keeping your villager production;
- attack dance (attack boost); that's another great feature commonly considered as overpowered. Dancing with 10 WPs you obtain a nice 21% attack boost for all the land units, whereas with 10 WPs and 15 villagers you obtain an insane 38% attack boost. This is kind of game winning in late game situations. On the other hand, the bonus you receive with less than 5 WPs is almost irrelevant, since it is less than 10% and the base damage of your units is generally low.
- healer dance (heal idle units); available from the fortress age it is a unique and very useful function that Aztecs have. It indirectly makes you save lot of resources by healing your remaining units after an engagement. Since the healing rate is quite high (assuming enough WPs) and it is almost cost-free it is totally recommended whenever you need it.
- alarm dance (spawns warriors); this is an emergency dance that works as the minutemen feature for the european civilizations. Since there is not limit in the number of warriors you can spam from the firepit (except that you can only have 6 of them at the same time) it is a very useful dance that may allows to repel the opponent army with an inferior number of actual units.

I highly suggest to hotkey all these main functions in order to quickly select them during the game.

The firepit trick

There is a trick I like to do in certain cases. It allows to get an extra villager in the discover age, while not cutting the whole exp income and also having a decent age up time. Basically I set the firepit on the gift dance (exp income) at the beginning to get the first card ASAP and then switch it to the fertility dance (faster training time) when the exp bar is at about 4/5 of its length. This will grant an extra villager while losing about 100-110 exp. You may ask why to trade precious exp points for just an extra villager. The reason is twofold: on one hand your first cards in the Colonial age will be consecutive anyway (thanks to exp from killings), while on the other hand it indirectly address a very common housing problem by giving some extra wood gathered. This translates in smoother production (no idle times) and snowballs in a better progression. For this reason "the firepit trick" ends up being a good trade off in many cases. By doing everything correct your age up time will be almost the same of a 15 villagers age up and in any case not later than 4.50 minutes.
Remember to put the firepit on the gift dance again once the last villager has been produced.

Treasures gathering

TWC civs have strong war chiefs and hence good treasure gathering. It is important to optimize the use of such important unit to get the most out of it. Here some good habits you should follow:
- use the special ability to convert treasure guardians only on big treasures. Its cooldown time is rather long so don't waste this ability;
- always micro the War Chief so that the last hit is given by your pet. This grants you double the exp reward;
- alternate the use of your War Chief and your pets for the first hit at the treasure guardians so that neither of them will completely die. Use strongest pets for this purpose;
- don't be afraid to come back to the firepit and use the warrior priest to heal your warchief when the HP amount is dangerously low. Keep in mind that you want the opponent base scouted and your war chief alive.

Aztecs 2 skulls flexible opening - RE patch

Introduction to the strategy

The 2 skull warriors age up option is quite popular when a player want to execute a rush strategy.
However, the main aim of this strategy is to put some pressure on the opponent, exploiting the offensive peculiarities of Aztecs, while keeping an eye on your own eco and taking advantage of the nice set of cards that Aztecs have.
With that in mind, the basic "line" of this strategy is devised as a compromise between a rush and a boom in order to grants some versatility. It provides some units in the early game allowing to continue with a containing-based play but it doesn't force you to play like if you have to win the game on the spot.
Of course this doesn't imply you are stuck in the middle with a strategy that is neither effective as a rush nor as a booming strategy. Instead, it just leave open the possibility to chose the most appropriate "line" to face your opponents moves, including the option to quickly age up to counter FF-kind strategies.
In the basic line of this strategy I'll assume you are going to start producing coyote runners as your first unit and try to raid your opponent. The necessary changes for other strategies will be indicated in the "Variations" section.

The Deck


The deck is rather basic. Some remarkable choices are the 3 TP card and the lack of the 5 coyote runners card. The reason why I chose the trade post card is to have an additional eco source when I already sent the 4 vill card or simply on those maps which have a good trade route. Also additional exp points help Aztecs a lot. The reason behind the exclusion of the 5 coyomen card is that it is weak itself (worth only 550 resources) and also not very useful in most cases.
The 3 TP card is replaceable with another card you may find more useful. I suggest the "Grain Market" card (20% boost for farms gathering), which is my replacement for no-TP maps.
Other interesting choices regard the cards of the fortress age. Unlikely most of the Aztec players I prefer a compromise between long term and short term cards, including as many long term cards as I can, while keeping those unit cards that I know are necessary to address some situations (e.g. 6 arrows knight to kill enemy cannons). Depending on the opponent civ you can may chose to substitute the maces card with the 6 jags card. This is mostly against civs that have musketeer based armies rather than dragoon based (e.g. ottomans)

You also want a deck for water maps. In this case just replace some cards (mostly upgrades card or a unit card in the fortress age, or the only industrial age card) with "Schooners", "Water dance" and "2 Tlaloc canoes". Against schooner civs you may also need the "Offshore support" card and the card that reduces the cost of all canoes.

The Build Order

Discovery age
Gather the crates and build the firepit ASAP. In the meanwhile use your warrior priest to scout a little portion of the map near your base until the firepit has been built. Mind to hunt the first animal with just one shot to increase the efficiency. If it takes 3 vills and it is little far, just use one and directly bring the herd closer to the TC. Remember to perform the firepit trick (refer to the "firepit managing" part for explanation) to increase the efficiency of the build.
The first card is 3 villagers.
Once reached 800 food click on the age up that gives you the 2 skull knights.

Transition to colonial age
Once your last villager has been produced it's time to balance the vill allocation accordingly depending on the starting crates and the treasures gathered. Send atleast 12 vills to chop wood (more frequently 13 or even more) and then move 4 of them to buid the forward warhut. Move less villagers if you gathered 250 wood fast enough. In any case you want the warhut done before you reach the colonial age and possibly it should be place near a herd of hunts. Gather an extra 100 wood for a house then move all vills on food except 6-7 who remain on wood. Once the warhut has been built put the HC delivery point on it for your 2 skull knights.

Colonial age
Send 700 wood* as your first card in Colonial age. Set the HC delivery point on the TC.
Queue 1 coyote runner, in the meanwhile use the skull knights and the Warchief to siege some buildings or kill any unprotected villager. Retreat if attacked with the TC fire, minutemen or anything else. These 2 units can be very useful in the continuation of the game so better save them.
When the first batch of coyos is almost complete queue as many as you can, while caring to have 100f to queue the next vill (no idle TC time is primary). Use the coyos to raid but avoid any engage that you aren't completely sure to win. Make a market and research hunting dogs if you didn't already.
The second card is the 5 villagers one. Send this card only when you have already started building your second house (40 pop) or you will get housed.
Pay attention at your food count to queue vills continuously. This is critical and make a big difference in your eco progression as well as in the army production.
Once you have 10+ coyos you can start splitting them in 2 groups to either raid from more angles or to defend opponent's raid while performing your own. I suggest to keep them in 1 group if the opponent started with a stable since you need on average 2 coyotes for each cavalry unit the opponent makes.
The third card is 3 warrior priests. Once they arrive you can chose to either make them perform the gift dance to generate more exp or the holy dance to start producing more priests. The second option is of course more profitable in the long term while the first option increase the shipment ratio in the short term so it increase the flexibility.
From here you have many option in terms of cards to be sent. Unit cards, coyotes upgrade, 4 villagers, are all available cards depending on the situation. The 600 gold card is also a very nice option since it permits to age up, assumed you already reallocated the villagers accordingly. I will spend some additional words about each option in the Variations section.


Variations are possible to rush harder. In this case just send 700w 10 maces while making the first batch of pumas (build 1 house in the transition and then move all vills to food except 5-6 to gold), or simply send 10 maces as first card and continue spamming unit cards (mind houses in this case).
Variations are also possible to sea boom or TP boom. Send 700w schooners or 700w 3TPs and move around 5 vills on wood once the second card arrives. You can then continue with 3WPs as the main line or proceed booming even further with 5 vills or just send the unit cards to prepare an attack.
As mentioned above you can play this strategy in a semi FF style by sending 600g as fourth card. Against straight FFs you may even skip the 3WPs card and directly send the gold to improve your age up time. Remember to research the placer mines upgrade when you move some vills to gold.

Recorded games ... ic=216563# aggressive variation ... ic=219320# semi FF variation ... ic=219321# TP variation

*One may ask why exactly this card and not a military card or 5 vills card. The reason is twofold:
- the card itself is worth more than its nominal value in the case of Aztecs. This has to do with the poorness of the age up options and the fact that they suffer badly of housing problems in the early stage of the game. In this sense the 700w card gives houses, market and res for early unit spam all in one.
- this card is what makes the strategy flexible. All the other available cards force you to commit in a direction or in the other: the 5 villager card or the 3 WPs card are simply too much of long term cards for the purpose of producing the units early on; on the other hand any military card would simply force you to attack and commit into a rush which isn't the best option in many cases.

Aztecs dual war hut - RE patch

Introduction to the strategy

This strategy is an idea of mine and was originally designed as a counter-strat for Ottomans. It can actually be used against many civs and in various way, including the option to age up like a semi FF.
The key factor of the strategy is to have 2 war huts from the beginning of the colonial age which means a greater (re)spam of units in a way similar to a dual rax bow/pike strat.
The advantages of this strat are various:
- it provides the highest unit count peak at the 8-9 minute mark without necessarily sending all your unit cards;
- it allows to heavily switch from the production of a unit to another;
- it grants some additional map control (useful to better control the sea or reinforce your forward base);
- it saves the fast age up option for the fortress age.
- the build order is quite simple, atleast in its main line.

The Deck


The deck is the basic one with 600w substituting another card. On TP maps I remove the 4 villagers, while on no TP maps I remove the farm upgrade. For water maps just refer to the previous considerations.

The Build Order

Discovery age
The starting part of the build order is the same of the previous strategy. Once again perform the "firepit trick" to increase the efficiency. Make an early market if you start with 300w and get some wood/gold treasures. Age up with the free warhut option.

Transition to colonial age
Gather 350w to make a first warhut and a house. Make sure to build the warhut before reaching colonial. 12-13 villagers on wood should be enough for this purpose. After that move all villagers to food and set the shipment delivery point to the warhut.

Colonial age
From now I assume you are trying to have the biggest mass of coyos/maces by the 8-9 minute mark. For possible variations see the relative section.
Send 700w. Use the travois to build the warhut next to the other one. Once arrived gather the crates with 3 villagers and start queuing coyomen. Build 2 houses and a market (if you didn't already) and research hunting dogs.
The second shipment is 600w. While this shipment is coming queue as many maces as you can with your spare wood (generally 8 maces).
The third batch of units is coyos again. You can think about switching coyos and maces in the 2nd and 3rd batch depending on your food count. Build 2-3 additional houses with the 600w.
As third shipment send 10 maces, and 9 maces as fourth one. Keep on queuing coyomen. By the time your fourth shipments arrives you should have around 40-50 units.
From here you can send several cards like 5vills or 3WPs for an eco boost or 600g or 6 puma in case of many enemy cavalry. The Coyomen upgrade card is also a good card as long as you have many of them left.


The most important variation is replacing the 600w shipment with another one. In this way it is possible to completely change the strategy while still having the 2 warhuts for later. The most common cards at this point are 5 vills, 3WPs or 3 TPs travois for eco purpose (700w 5v 600g is an ok BO for a semi FF). To face early offensives you may instead send any of the unit cards or 600g to make more puma lancers. You can also send 600g as first card in colonial if you want to start with them instead of coyomen. In this case gather an additional 100w for a second house.
An important variation you must know in case of very early rushes (such as nooby jan rush) is to send 10 maces as your first card and use your spare food for the 3 jaguar prowlers from the TC big button. You need to quickly gather lot of wood for houses and maces in this case (basically move all your vills to wood).

Lastly, another variation is simply to not build a warhut during the transition. Obviously this isn't a dual warhut opening anymore, however you can add the second rax with 700w or 600w. Such variation improve the flexibility because doesn't make you commit on 2 military building you maybe don't need. However it is a more complex build order and a bit less efficient if you aim to have the biggest unit mass. Also it leaves more exposed to those strategies that requires you to quickly have 2 type of units.

Recorded games ... ic=219323# vs ottoman jan/abus ... ic=219324# with TP variation vs Russia ... ic=219325# semi FF vs Spanish FF

(to be continued)
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No Flag thebritish
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12 Jan 2016, 01:21

great quide.
btw, the link for the recorded game vs otto jan/abus doesn't work..
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Netherlands Jerom
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12 Jan 2016, 01:25

Good guide, but where does he eloborate how he created the world in 7 days. Is that part 2 of this guide or did I miss an earlier post?

"When life give you incompetence, participate in the betting" - Jerom, winner of autumn betting, 2016
"but wer eyiu playig a gainst someone as magnificent as jerom? thats wha ti thogutb jerom is a beaaitful human being"- Mr_Bramboy
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United States of America Durokan
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12 Jan 2016, 02:15

@Jerom "(to be continued)"
@thebritish all links were fixed, it was because I had copied the entire page directly from rts sanc which uses a link shortener, so i just had the short links. I posted this nearly a year ago originally, i'm surprised nobody mentioned it.
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Great Britain Hazza54321
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12 Jan 2016, 12:12

PutThePastInACasket : some say the universe is even bigger than the space between the starting TC and second hunt on fertile crescent
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United States of America Papist
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12 Jan 2016, 12:17

Imo, all the good guides should be permanently posted under the community links section. The biggest issue for many players is nailing down and executing a solid BO, and it would greatly help if they didn't have to stumble around the internet collecting weird strats (many of which are outdated) before they did so.
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