Aztec needs midgame/lategame options

It’s a different Topic since, it’s after the previous buff Aztecs received.

I will first explain what I think Aztecs are with their current Game Design, what they’re great at, and what they’re weak at.

Aztecs are seen as a “Aggressive, Rush & All-in” civilization, just like Spanish, Ottomans, or the original other native civilizations.

That was on purpose at the release of “The War Chiefs”, but since Asian Dynasty, since DE, the meta has shifted, and I think they’re getting out of touch, and the original design needs to change.

Aztecs usually commit at one thing, and if it works, fine they win, but if that doesn’t, they lose. And it’s not that much seen in pro plays since, Aztecs are predictables. Being able to All-In when the options are limited isn’t very great. Being able to All-In, but having something close to 50/50 of winning is not great either.

Aztecs are greats at :

  • All-in rushes : low pop cost units, easy to mass, strong shipments
  • Early-pressure : related as well to shipments, and where having early “skirm” unit is strong in age2
  • Delayed Age2 Pressure : same as above, still strong.

Aztecs are weak at :

  • Age2 Booming : they need 10wp in order to boom, and if they commit to that, they can’t pressure. Don’t get me wrong there, they’re strong at booming in treaty, but in 1v1 or TG, if there is early pressure, you can’t afford doing that. It’s more of a Age3 strength, or further away.
  • Water Booming : same as above, but on water, even if they got buffed this way, they can’t commit to both, unlike all other europeans/asians civs.
  • Aggressive Fast Fortress : Aztecs don’t have access to canon, or a unit equivalent to Canons. SkullKnights could be seen there, but they’re not avaiable until age4. And they’re HeavyInfantry, which means they take bonus damage from Skirms & Canons. There is no reasons to do a FF or semi-FF with them.
  • Passive Fast Fortress : again if you go to a “boom” option with Aztecs, due to non access to Canons, you might have a lot of ecos, but with no real strength behind. Europeans & Asians civs outclass all unit composition Aztecs could have.
  • Fast Industrial : this is cost heavy, and with SkullKnights ’ power spike, completed with Macehuatlins, give them a real strong pressure. But with the current meta, it’s almost impossible to commit to that, it’s too weak if you get rushed, if you get anticipated, at least at higher elo.

Now why would I go for Aztecs if I can do better with other Europeans/Asians civilizations ?

How to solve those problems, if they are ?

1 - Give them more options :

  • New Techs : new techs would make them also less predictable.
  • Rework Big Buttons : most of their big buttons are a meme at this state, and pretty unusable. It would be better if it was something like any other Native Civs, including buff, effects, or even something new.
  • Rework Shipments : shipments were set back from TWC, and almost never touched. Puma’s Temple shipment for example could totally fit in age2 for 500golds, but with 6 pumas delivered instead of 12.
  • New Building : I think Aztecs need a new building, a Temple where you could train SkullKnights, Warrior Priest, and where you could research those new Techs. They were very religious, and that doesn’t really reflect in the game. It would make sense to do a FF or semi-FF if the temple comes to reality, and would make them way more flexible after an “all-in” strategy. It would also brings equivalent to the Incas’ Stronghold & the Incas’ Kallankas.
  • Rework Age-up Tribal Concil : they’re so underwhelming and feel not that great to use. In game-design, I see often the “double line” used to solve this problem : adding two facts when you research something, if that one line is not strong enough. Usually it gives way more satisfaction to the player :slight_smile: .

2 - Coyote, master piece in the Aztec’s army, need buff, but not many :

  • One less shipment : they require too many shipment, just moving one of the actual shipment to a tech would be a great buff
  • Through a tech, make them unsnarable, like chimus : they can all in and they’re great at it, but they fade out in lategame, making them weaker and weaker to use as the game goes on. They also cost wood so it makes them even harder to use in lategame, when wood is key.

3 - Arrow Knight : a unit that isn’t that great :

  • Buff/Rework their shipment Temple : currently them having 25% more damage isn’t a big deal, this is why the card is almost never seen. They’re great at sieging, they’re not that great vs Canons, and their damage is low enough to not be a threat to normal unit.
  • Buff/Rework the unit : so far nothing really justify their 2pop cost. Either make it 1 with slight stats change (siege damage), as suggested @LukasL993331, or justify their 2 pop cost.
    If the Balance Team wants the unit to be usable against other units & not only building/canons ? => give them AoE, i.e. through a fire field & dot when an arrow lands after a tech, or just poison damage which has been proven great against Canons & Cavalry.

4 - Jaguar Prowl Knight :

  • Stealth speed malus : 50% slow speed is too strong for a their based speed, this is why unless in very specific situations (aka a bait, anticipating an army by camping an area ?), I don’t see reasons to use this ability. Maybe adding a tech that reduce the speed by 20% only would be great ?

5 - SkullKnights :

  • Remove or justify Heavy Infantry tag : Aztecs have already too much Heavy Infantry, and for being an “Elite” unit, I think it make the unit very niche to use. Either remove it or increase their stats to justify that unit to be classified as Heavy Infantry.
  • Diversify its accessibility : their available in age4 and yet I don’t see the dance that usable. If you go for their production, that means you can’t attack with War Dance, or can’t produce with Fertility Dance. This is why I insist with a new building to produce them ! :smiley:

If you’re curious about how could be seen that Temple, I made a “fan” mod here, or if you’re just curious about the balance details here.
I’ve “imagined” a new “Choice Technology” that could be a nice touch to Age of Mythology with the deity choices at each age, and maybe could fit in Age of Empires 3 ?

Early has already been fixed by giving them one of the strongest Treasure Hunt civilization, and they have 1 or 2 more shipment than most of other civs.

But I think there is still more to see with the Aztecs, and probably the 2 other original Native Civilization. They were designed to have “strong early” but “weak lategame”, wich they don’t really fit anymore, due to the meta.

Proof is, Incas haven’t been designed this way, and they’re way better than those 3. Incas are fine in all the way, since they have a building variety, card variety, Tribal Council variety, Untis Variety, etc etc.

So I hope the balance/design team will take again a look at the Aztecs <3.

Would you like to see a new “Temple” building ?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Neutral

0 voters

Would you like to see a buff/rework on Big Buttons ?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Neutral

0 voters

Would you like to see some buff/rework of the Tribal Council ?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Neutral

0 voters


Azzy midgame is alright with ERK and the buffed mace/coyote cards for 1k coin I feel.
For lategame maybe Arrow Knights should cost 1 pop.


The problem I have with ERK in midgame is, if you lose them, they’re hard to replace, since your eco isn’t fully up yet (and that’s normal). But unlike any other Asians/Europeans civs that can affort a loss of “dragoon”-type unit, Aztecs can’t. They don’t have Canons :confused:

But yeah ERK is definitely one of their strongest unit, that trades very well against skirms, which is supposed to be their counter :).

And yeah, a slight buff to the Arrow Knight has to be made !

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As an aztec main the biggest issue i come accros mid and late game are the 2 falconet push from europeans, aztecs have very little to counter this. most arrowknight damage is blocked by the ranged resistance even with a 5x multiplier against artillery. on top of that arrowknights are expensive, cost 2 pop and you need to make a special and expensive building before you can train them. before you even have the building up theres already 2 falconets in your base.

the second issue is train time. yes aztecs have fertility dance but then you arent using your other buffs.
Coyote runners and eagle knights are super slow to train because aztecs dont get a card or church tech for cavalry training, even infantry training is slower than europeans because they dont get a church tech for them. there is the warhut training card but thats 2 cards just to get your early game units trained at the same rate as europeans. Eagleknights have no way to boost train time besides fertility dance. This is a huge issue because aztecs only have 90 militairy population to work with.

ERK are very good units, but as mentioned theyre very expensive.
another issue not very many people know about is that they take a much bigger multiplier from skirmishers than other dragoon type units take. its been this way since TAD or maybe even the warchiefs expansion.

i made a post about this issue in october:


I think I’ve read (maybe in release patch ?) somewhere that it was intentional, because they were “too strong”, which I agree of. The only issue I think we have as a Aztecs’ mains, it’s our only viable option for now, since we’re too weak against Canons, and so we’re more hurt when our ERK takes way more damage than expected.

Maybe also because aside from mining with a card, our gold eco isn’t great either :confused: .

I think just nerfing their stats would be a much better answer than making aztecs exeptionally weak to skirmishers. Aztecs lack artillery to deal with skirmishers, macehualtin get outranged and every other aztec unit takes 2x damage from them.

One big issue with ERK in terms of balance is that all their cards and upgrades go of age3 base stats. this gives them insane stats age 4-5. the same is true for gendarmes, cassadors, halberdiers, lancers and a couple mode. All other units like skirmishers, musketeers etc have age 2 stats so all cards and upgrades are ~20% less effective on them.

Multiplying the stats of all these OP units by 0.833x (0.8x for warchiefs), then give them a +20% (+25% for warchiefs) upgrade that gets researched for free once you reach fortress age. thats how skirmishers and dragoons work currently.
it would lower the age 5 stats of ERK, gendarmes etc by ~10% while keeping the age 3 stats the same.
I never had a problem killing gendarmes age 3, its late game that they become overwhelming.

ERK get +75% stats from technologise and +30% from cards. lower their base stats from 180 health and 15 attack to 145 health and 12 attack. with the +25% free tech in fortress they still have 180 health and 15 attack. But their fully upgraded stats go from 369 health and 30.75 attack down to 345 health and 27.6 attack. (which is still quite high for a 1 pop unit lmao)

At the same time Gendarme health should go from 500 down to 415, and their attack from 30 to 25. After the +20% in age 3 they will have 498 health and 30 attack which is close enough to their original stats. but Their fully upgraded stats drop from 1150 health and 66 attack down to 1037 health and 60 attack.

ERK don’t need nerf as long as aztec is bottom tier…

The only buff they need is their godawful garbage politician… They are all gimmicky and doesn’t help to stream line the gameplay nor define the civ.

And maybe a free WP for each age. It would let you to seed up the early WP boom or strenghten the XP generation early game and it is about as effective as the iroquois travois which is kinda a good balanced civ atm.


Tezcatlipoca card should be crafted to upgrade eagle scouts.

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Aztec lategame is garbage. They can’t boom like other civs and they can’t compete in terms of economy.
The 15% bonus to farms/plantations from Age IV is laughable. Meanwhile, Inca get 20% bonus output on farms+ plantations from a single Age IV card, whereas Aztec needs to spend an Age 2 and Age 3 card for a combined bonus of 25%. Inca also get constant food trickle equal of roughly 13 villagers with 13 houses. Inca get 1200 wood endlessly from Age IV shipment, while Aztec only get 1000 coin. Inca get 2 War Huts when Aging from Age I to Age II, Aztec get only 1. This has got to be a joke, right? There is no reason to play Aztec, Inca does everything better.

Aztec need the following: Increased base gather rate on farms and plantations, so that their eco % bonuses matter more.
Portual also has a bonus like that on gathering hunts and it works well. This will ensure that Aztec can keep up lategame.

Skull Knights need to be useful like Urumi. Give them 30% ranged resist instead of 20% melee resist. Give them 4.75 speed.

Same thing for Jaguar Knights: they have a pitiful 10% melee resist and get countered by Skirms even though they are supposed to counter Skirms. They need more speed and armor.

The solution:
Replace some of the big buttons with tech, increasing the speed and/ or Armor of melee units. Lakota has tech to make their rifle riders more powerful as big button, do the same for Aztec. Consider changing the bonus granted from the Age IV temple cards to bonus speed/armor. It is paramount that the Aztec melee units get both ranged resistance and speed bonus. It is so obvious how terrible they are compared to Urumi. Atleast Skull Knights should be as effective to Urumi, but they are not because they are 4.00 speed and have no ranged resist.

4.00 speed is the nail in the coffin for melee units. Any european civ gets arsenal upgrade, gets their heavy infantry to 4.40 speed and both Aztec melee units are immediately worthless because they have 0 ranged resist.


As an aztec user i feel that if i commit to a Rush or heavy pressure i have a Hard time to age UP, as the bonus for food and gold are in plantations and farms.

One slight improvement could BE the farm bónus could apply to plantations and could deliver 1 farm and one estate (in colonial to fortress)

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I hope Skull Knights can become assault infantry, Speed is at least 6


Skull knight changed to shock infantry also didn’t help much if they still have the heavy infantry tag and miserable move speed. The problem with Aztecs is their unit is easily countered by skirmishers type unit since most of their units are Heavy Infantry and the only way to fight against skirmishers is by using Coyote runner, which in the late game are harder to produce since the limited number of available wood. Meanwhile, Skirmisher is a counter to Puma, Jaguar, Eagle Runner, and Skull Knight basically half of the Aztec unit. Both Arrow Knight and Slinger only do tickle at skirmisher.


I didn’t specified, or maybe was too confusing, but for now devs want the SkullKnight to be a “DoppelSoldner” like.

So either they keep the “HeavyInfantry” tag, which sucks because as you said, already too many of the aztec’s unit type are weak to skirms/canons, by justfiying its tag, making it way stronger like an Incas Maceman.

Or either they remove the “HeavyInfantry” tag, and put it as a “ShockInfantry” (like the coyote Runner) with ranged armor.

I think it would be the best way indeed, but not necessarly to be “high speed high damage/area of effect” unit. It could still be “slow/medium speed”, and just with such a tag, only fights with Heavy Infantry in melee would be the counter. And not that of a counter, since we know how powerful are french Gendarms even against Heavy Infantry. Their JPK would make more sense also with this changement :slight_smile:


Yes, exactly my thoughts aswell. Skull Knights should become similar to Curassiers or maybe Lancers. Basically do a ton of damage if they get to close the gap without being countered by Skirmishers and kited by all ranged units. Right now they have intimidating stats but in practice they don’t work because they get kited too hard and all ranged infantry moves faster than them.

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Good post.
Regarding Skull Knight it is good to compare him to Japanese Samurai or German Doppelsoldner. They are all very similar to each other but Samurai and Doppelsoldner are accessible easily in II age in Barracks while Skull Knight can be trained in IV age (sic!) only in Community Plaza.
He should be definitely accessible for normal training.

To makes Skull Knight worse it is slower than both Samurai and Doppelsoldner while speed is crucial for melee units. Pretty much any range unit can kite him. Maybe sprint ability would at least partially solve his problems?


Imo, the big buttons should be made infinite. That way, Aztec will get power spikes every 15 minutes and could help their late game. Age up should be changed from 1 warhut > 2 warhuts, 2 farms travois > farm + estate travois. The warchief card should enable the explorer to build the Nobles hut.

I would like to see a new Temple (Shrine) building for all native civs, and a way to have them hire Mercenaries.


Haudenosaunee a new building where they can hire Renegade Europeans
Lakota just get a Saloon. For them the high pop Outlaws might actually be worth it because they should have enough free pop in Age 2.
Aztecs Temple like described here.
Inca I think they are already relatively well rounded but maybe some kind of Temple too.

The Temple could also function like the Capitol and research the Imperial Age Technologies. The Natives also might need some new ones because they suck in late Imperial.
Maybe: Estate and Farm workers produce a small Wood trickle.


You can try the mod I made, “Show time patch”
I added a temple to produce skeleton knights and battle priests, and I changed the skeleton knights into assault infantry,. You can actually verify your theory.

I also added Saloon to the Sioux. added the temple to the Incas , and the indigenous countries can call their own warriors in the main program to replace mercenaries.

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No matter how you buff them, they are way too close to Inca’s. There is just no reason to play Aztecs when nearly all they can, does the Inca better.