[Suggestion] Aztec Options Buff

Hello there. In this post I will be going over my suggestions to lift Aztec into a better state. From a design perspective, I am not going to suggest radical redesigns. I won’t be suggesting new buildings and I will keep new mechanics to a minimum.

Additionally, I will be avoiding a buff to their Age 2 rush. The developers of the game have indicated that having a strong Age 2 rush for Aztec is unhealthy for the game. So I will be intentional in not speeding up the rush or making units stronger that are involved in the rush.

Table of Contents:

  • Why buff Aztecs?

  • What are the Aztecs missing?

  • Addressing Aztec booming weakness with the Alarm Ceremony

  • Adding an Age 3 economy option

  • Retuning the Arrow Knight

  • Final Thoughts

Why buff Aztecs?

Major consensus among top players in the game put Aztecs as one of the weakest civilizations. This seems to be mainly due to the fact that they are so one dimension. They are going to be in your base slowing you down with unit shipments in Age 2.

There are a few exceptions to this rule

  1. The ‘lame’ town ceremony turtle build. This one is almost seen as bad manners and leads to a not very fun time for the opponent

  2. The Aztec Fast Industrial (FI). This was more popular on Legacy with some bugs surrounding the WC. It doesn’t seem very powerful in the current meta.

  3. The skull knight build. This build is seen more as a meme, going full skull knights. Walls + light infantry can instantly stop it, and it is seen as lame

Standard Aztec needs to be in their opponent’s base in Age 2 because they do not have good booming options. The warrior priest boom can work, but this puts the Aztec player at a much higher risk than other civilizations for a worse pay off. Compare the British Virginia Company (VC) boom to the Aztec 10 warrior priest boom. From an economic standpoint, the VC will have a larger payoff, provides line of sight, and has the ability to call militiamen. The Aztec player can compete in these different areas, but falls short on all of them.

Here are some more viewpoints on Aztec

Aussie Drongo Tier List:

Haitch/Hazza Tierlist

What are the Aztecs missing?

I think there are a few items that the Aztecs need to become less one-dimensional

  1. Ability to do the defensive pop. This is popping out militiamen + a military shipment + a batch of units from a military production facility. Aussie Drongo goes into more detail in this video. Missing the ability to do this makes the Aztec less flexible and makes booming a lot more risky.
  • I will be suggesting a few changes related to the Alarm Ceremony and the Warrior unit to address this
  1. A booming option that can perform as well as other civilizations. The Aztec do have a build order to pump out warrior priests, but this risks being out-boomed by civilizations that are not focused on it.
  • I will suggest a change to the Agrarian Ways card to enable a strong Age 3 booming option
  1. A unit that hard counters artillery. Falconets counter 5 out of the Aztecs primary 7 units (Arrow Knights, Jaguar Prowl Knights, Skull Knights, Otontin Slingers, Puma Spearmen). You will notice that Arrow Knights are listed there despite being the unit that should be the anti-artillery unit.
  • I will suggest a retuning for the Arrow Knight. Currently, the Arrow Knight is a unit that is supposed to counter artillery. However, they also are countered by Falconets. Arrow Knights cannot perform population effective against these units and need to do better to perform as a counter.

Addressing Aztec booming weakness with the Alarm Ceremony

As I have addressed above, I believe that missing the defensive pop limits the Aztecs defenses and ability to boom. I am defining the defensive pop as a military shipment coming in, a production batch being finished, and militiamen popping out of the Town Center all at the same time. This rapid increase in units allows a defending player to have a localized superior force that is typically able to snare some of the enemy.

Aztecs lack the ability to do this because of their equivalent to the militiamen - Warriors. Aztecs spawn Warriors at the Community plaza by participating in the Alarm Ceremony. They spawn one at a time, and have the same statistics as militiamen, except for their firing animation. It takes ~50 villager seconds to spawn 1 warrior compared to ~71 villager seconds it takes per militiaman.

But what about the Scouting Party Big Button that delivers 3 Jaguar Prowl Knights?

Aztec scouting party is a good counterpoint. But it takes 150 more resources compared to militiamen levy (or 90 more food when converting gold vs to food vs), brings 37% of the DPS, locked to melee, and has 60% of the total HP.

These might seem like inconsequential differences, but let m break them down.

  1. Since the warriors spawn 1 at a time, they will lose HP while the other warriors are trained

  2. Since they are trained one at a time, they can be quickly focus fired without posing a threat

  3. While they cost fewer villager seconds, the Europeans aren’t investing their resources directly into militiamen like the Aztec have to. Europeans can keep 150 food and 150 gold in their bank and use it to age up or make more units if they aren’t attacked. Aztecs cannot translate the villager seconds into anything else

  4. The slower attack animation makes them strictly worse at fighting. They need some statistical boost for parity.

My suggestions:

  1. Update the firing animation of the Warrior to be similar to a Yumi archer. This would bring parity in statistics

  2. Have the Warriors spawn garrisoned in the Community Plaza. This will keep them from being picked off and allow them to do the defensive pop. Do not permit warriors to garrison back into the Community Plaza after being expelled.

  3. Make it so that Warriors do not lose any HP while garrisoned in the Community Plaza. This will allow the Aztec player to have useful Warriors, instead of warriors at 1 HP.

  4. Garrisoned Warriors do not cost population space

Considerations: With these changes, Aztec would still have the disadvantage of having to train warriors while other civilizations can just have resources in the bank. I think the changes above will be adequate and provide a nice flavor to the European standard. However, if this is still too weak, a tweak to the limit of trainable Warriors (such as from 6 to 8) could be considered.

Adding an Age 3 economy option

The Aztec economy lacks Steel Traps and Amalgamation. This was originally designed to be made up for with the Farm and Estate upgrades also effecting the natural resources gathering rates. This was further amplified by Agrarian Ways, which was a little over tuned initially and nerfed into the ground during The War Chiefs expansion.

My suggestion:

Give the Aztecs a way to compete with other civilizations’ full boom. My proposal is to update the Agrarian Ways card as follows:

  1. All Farm and Estate upgrades are free, except for Big Buttons and Age 5 technologies

  2. All Farm and Estate upgrades research 80% faster, except for Big Buttons and Age 5 technologies

  3. A Homestead Travois will be delivered to the Home City shipment location

A Homestead Travois is similar to a Homestead wagon, except it can build a Farm or an Estate

Considerations: Baseline, the card will allow the player to choose between increased food or gold gather speed. The Aztec player can then invest into the other building to continue their boom. The 80% research speed improvement will take the technologies down from 30 seconds to 6 seconds. It will still take a while for this to fully pay off since it will take 40 seconds for the card to ship, ~10 seconds for the building to complete, and 6 seconds per technology researched. This leaves a reasonable amount of time to punish the Aztec for focusing on economy.

Retuning the Arrow Knight

Currently, most of the Aztec military is countered by Falconets and similar artillery. The only ranged option the Aztec have to counter them is the Arrow Knight. Currently, the Arrow Knight is very pop inefficient AND is also countered by Falconets. Due to this, it is very difficult for the Aztec to use infantry units, which they’re supposed to be known for.

Ideally, Arrow Knights should perform similarly to Yabusame. Yabusame are an example of a ranged anti-artillery unit that does it right. This would mean increasing their stats and also increasing their cost. I think its fair to assume that longer range and higher siege damage is a fair trade for mobility and countering cavalry.

Comparison of Discipline Yabusame and Arrow Knights:

  • Yabusame: survives 2 cannon ball shots (240 hp), 84 ranged damage when attacking artillery @ 1.5 attack speed, costs 60 food and 150 coin (321 villager seconds)

  • Arrow Knight: dies to 1 cannon ball shot (150 HP), 50 ranged damage when attacking artillery @ 1.5 attack speed, costs 50 food and 75 coin (184 villager seconds)

My Suggestion:

Change the Arrow Knight as follows:

  1. Change the Arrow Knight modifier on all relevant artillery from x0.5 to x0.2

  2. Increase the attack multiplier towards artillery from x5 to x8

  3. Increase the cost from 50 food and 75 coin to 87 food and 131 coin (321 villager seconds)

Considerations: the changes would make arrow knights 74% more expensive and will make them just as effective against artillery as Yabusame. Importantly, the Arrow Knight will be just as frail versus cavalry and infantry which would prevent it form being overpowered. This will enable Aztec players to have more variety in their army compositions such as using Jaguar Prowl Knights and Skull Knights.

Final Thoughts

I personally believe the above buffs will not put Aztec in a bad space in the meta. I think the updates I provided above stay within the constraints of the game and won’t make the Aztec overpowered. At the end of the day, the Age 2 rush is unaffected and this will ideally give Aztec a few more options when playing.

Thank you for making it through my rambling post. I’m glad you got to waste your time with me. I look forward to the spirited discussion in the comments.


I agree with everything, but I warn you, all those buffs should be applied not only to the Aztecs, but to all native civilizations, they all have the same problem. Some of course, they can alleviate it better, the Lakotas do not have much trouble destroying artillery, the Incas have a very good echo and the Haudenosaunee defend themselves very well from most rushs.
My only suggestion is that the archer knight must remain the same as this, the only thing that must be changed is to provide him with special armor against artillery, similar to Somali Darood Militia, this benefit, of course, must be undoubtedly also delivered to the Huaraca (inca), musket rider (haudenosaunee) and rifle rider (lakota)

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I understand your position, but I don’t think this is the way to go. The main reason to buff Arrow Knights is so that you can use units like JPKs/Skull Knights/Otontin slingers. If Arrow Knights still kill artillery at the same slow rate, then we will still be in the same situation. I think modeling them off of Yabusame is fair.

I can’t really speak to the other native civilizations. But I’d assume that the warrior buff would be good for all of them.

Yes, the archer knights need the buff, but what happens is that the other native civilians need it too! The huaracas die easily from two cannons of falconets, the musket rider now that they have less resistance at a distance, they have no opportunity to reach the falcs, they need more multipliers, and the rifle rides are the only ones that do their job well. You take 2 falconets from a native, and unless the other is a little careless and you can kill him with artillery, it is impossible without taking a lot of damage in the process.

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Very nice post :wink:

  1. Arrow Knights needs to be a strong counter to artillery, currently they are too weak to do their main job. And weak AK makes the whole Aztec army exposed to artillery. Making AKs similar to Yabusame is a good idea. Additional small suggestion for AKs is to make their projectiles fly faster to reach target earlier.
    I think AK cost can be increased to 150 resources in total (the same as other Noble Huts units) but they should have bigger multiplier agains artillery and siege resist or just smaller negative multiplier from siege enemies.

  2. Warriors in my opinion just need a quick setup animation. They are free and can be called multiple times which makes them different from Minutemans and I think it is ok.

  3. Great idea with Agrarian Ways card. The only concern I have is that card would be a little bit too strong (lots of upgrades for free and free Farm/Estate wagon).
    If this is too much, I think that more “light” idea for thst card would be to decrease research time to 6s as you said but without Farm/Estate wagon. But a little change to The Wise Woman Council Member would be required. If aging up to the III age this Politician would give 2 Homestead Travois instead of 2 Farm Wagon. That would synergize well with Agrarian Ways card. Player would build Estate and Farm from wagons and research all Farm & Estate technologies for faster gathering from Agrarian Ways card.
    That would require a big economic commitment from the player but I guess it might be doable.

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Thanks for reading it all!

  1. Arrow Knights - I would still say they should be more expensive and kill artillery faster. My proposed 218 resources might seem a bit high, but falconets are 500 resources. Making them cheaper might be too much of a buff. I’m willing to make them cheaper if cost makes it a little prohibitive to make
  2. Warriors - Yes they can be retrained, but Europeans get to retrain them at every TC and have access to the Town Militia card. I feel that the defensive pop is the biggest part for my argument since that will allow Aztecs to play more boomy
  3. Agrarian Ways - I like your suggestion, but now you have to invest an age up and a card to match other civilizations booms that only required 1 card. If my suggestion does end up a bit too strong, I think your approach makes sense.

I understand your view regarding Arrow Knights. I suggested a little smaller cost than you and smaller buff because it would be quite stupid if 2 tiny bowmen be able to kill mighty artillery piece from distance :wink:
But anyway I think AK base stats could be even buffed slightly without cost upgrade. This unit is currently just too weak for 2 population.

Regarding Agrarian Ways card I’m not entirely convinced it is a best idea, maybe somebody will have a better one or just tweak ours.

Regarding Warriors I don’t think that defensive pop are that important but I’m not against that change. It is not a bad one.

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Agrarian ways I would keep it like its now, maybe with speed boost to research. I would make the 1st farm cheaper for aztecs (they are very farm focused) by default, it could be for estates too. That lack of age 2 upgrades for natural res is weird for natives but Hauds get travois, lakotas have hunting cards and inca kanchas.
I have other 2 options:
-Farms are cheaper for them. (Not only 1st)
-Bigger base gather rate on farms.


As I said, if they decide to buff agrarian measures, it would also be a very good benefit for the other native civilians. Mostly Iroquois, who have free buildings with the founding ceremony, making improvements early is fine for them.

I think the Aztecs need a religious temple and the natives in general. The Aztecs worshiped jaguars. They could be implemented in a similar way to how the Incas use the llamas.

I understand that this will make a more complete civilization with more buildings, cards, etc. However, the scope of my suggestion is to try to change as little structurally as possible. Adding a new building, with new technologies, new units, etc. would be like introducing a new civilization. And I’m just trying to fine tune the civilization we have.

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Even so, I think a unique building would be good to give them more life and identity.

So I suggest that for the late game they need fewer units in the plaza to take advantage of their full potential and so the villagers could only consent to the economy. Or increase the limit of creation of priests and that these do not count as a population.

or you know, maybe not have 4 anticav units (3 of which are literally just melee heavy inf) in a roster of 7 units

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Can you further explain what you mean? Perhaps give an example of what can constructively be changed?

Not sure if you are referring to a light infantry weakness or cannon weakness. At a face value, they could change JPKs to be basically Urumi, but that doesn’t solve the cannon weakness that I’m attempting to address with the arrow knights

i guess what I mean is you have 7 units in the aztec roster, (ignoring advanced scouts and janeys) and 3 of em are just hand infantry. A pike, a halb and a dopp style.

Jpk wanna be interesting but they’re just not. except against a halb, samurai or tercio spam, they’re fairly useless. they’re worse than erks vs cav, worse than puma vs cav, worse than skulls vs cav. they have an extraordinary amount of hp but are otherwise rather subpar. They are fairly poor vs muskets because they get kited, have no range resistance, and musks have melee resistance so the jpk is even less effective. Their stealth is gimmicky and because the unit has such slow base speed, the stealth speed is absolutely awful. Their one saving grace is their very high siege (slightly less than pumas, but more upgradeable and obviously the hp is an advantage if you’re tanking fort fire- it used to be the siege trooper let puma survive better vs fort fire but that is no longer the case). JPK seem an obvious choice for reworking. I’d like to see them classed skirm type and do ranged damage in melee, then get a penalty vs cav like urumi, etc.

Coyote have abysmal performance vs artillery and it needs to be fixed. The other nat civs have Every single cav unit do extra damage to artillery (musket riders and kanya do significantly more damage than their euro equivs, rifle riders are obviously insane and of course Bonepipe Armour gives abstractCav including even native cav a bonus vs artillery- so axe riders do 2x, etc. etc.) Then aztec shows up and the TWC devs are like NO YOU USE ARROW KNIGHTS YOU DON’T GET TO USE YOUR CAV

Seriously, I would absolutely love to see coyote get a bonus vs artillery. They are pop effective damage but an 18 damage melee unit that doesnt have the hp to tank 2 falc shots is really, really disappointing. Probably 1.5x vs arty would be sufficient. I would say the same for eagle runners, they deserve 1.5x vs artillery as well. They do a lot of dps but they still are so weak vs heavy cannons or bombards and its just silly to have the ranged cav be so conically bad.

Arrow Knights should be more specialized. A +10 hp default (160 hp at base) would let them survive a falc hit (150 damage default) and would be an easy fix for 1v1 balance. I think a better solution is making them actually have a usable amount of siege, and drastically shorten the drawback time on them. Additionally I would like to see 30 or 40 siege resistance, and then more expensive. Probably like 50 siege would be a good baseline. 36 siege on a specialized siege unit is also embarrassing. Especially when you compare hand mortars, which are 1 pop and do massive siege in age 3. 50 base siege would greatly increase their scaling making them much more useful in lategame. I’m of the opinion their damage is currently fine vs artillery, they just don’t survive artillery fire, which is the aspect that needs adjusting.

I’d also love to see “War Hut Training” the coyote/mace/puma training card also give like a 10% hp to the 3 units, to fill the void of “infantry breastplate” which, incidentally listed Macehualtin on TWC/TAD as an affected archer so it would be absolutely within reason to add that extra 10% hp to the 3 basic units. It might need to be age 3 to prevent age 2 being even stronger but those 3 need a tiny buff.


This is exactly what Aztec army needs to be balanced! Very good summary. I hope devs see it.
These changes combined with some booming buffs would finally fix the Aztecs.

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Another possible good balance for the Aztecs would be to redesign all the Big Buttons, almost all of them only give you units after minute 30. I don’t know if it is very useful, I hardly use it, unlike the other natives in which I use 2 -3 BB, with Aztecs I don’t use any (sometimes the WC XP buff)


I agree. The breakeven point with most of the Big Buttons is at 20 minutes. And most of them have a limit of 30 minutes. This gives a very small window for usefulness that doesn’t mesh well with most game modes. It would be nice to get upgrades like Lacrosse or War Drums instead.

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I also think they could add a bonus to the coyote soldier against artillery with some card, even against guerrillas and archers. In the treated mode, civilizations with artillery and firearms are too powerful.

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