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Civilization 5 Aztec - Leader: Montezuma

Civ Bonuses, Strategies, Unique Units and Buildings

Civilization Name:  Civilization 5: Aztec LeaderAztec

Civ Leader: Montezuma

Civ Bonus: Sacrificial Captives:
Gives culture for each enemy unit killed.

Unique Unit: Jaguar
Obsolete with Metal Casting, Upgrades to Swordsman
Since it replaces the Warrior, it has no prerequisite tech. Jaguars receive a huge combat bonus (33%) in Jungle and Forest tiles and move through those at double speed. This even applies to tiles with hills. It makes the Jaguar an effective scout. The only things that can reduce them to one move are hill with no forest/jungle, crossing a river, or a marsh. Jaguars also heal 25 damage when they kill an enemy unit, a play off the Aztec's Sacrificial Captives.

Unique Building: Floating Gardens
Requires The Wheel Tech
Replacing the Water Mill, it only works in cities with a river, but additionally works next to lakes. This building will give +2 additional food to a city working lake tiles. Even without a lake nearby, you'll get +15% food for the city, along with the usual stats of a Water Mill (+2 food, +1 production). Its upkeep is slightly higher, but +15% food is a huge bonus. If you can find a large lake made up of three or more tiles this will help a ton. Playing as an Aztec, it will help enough that you should try to make sure your settlements are placed to take advantage of this building, if possible.

Aztec Jaguar Unique Unit
The Jaguar Unique Unit gains movement and combat bonuses in forest/jungle and heals on kill

Sacrificial Captives is one of the more interesting Civilization's specials available in Civ 5. The amount of culture per kill will go up throughout the ages, so it never truly becomes obsolete unless you settle down and stop killing. Due to the Aztec Unique Unit, you will do well to begin exploiting this early against Barbarians. You may want to adopt Honor to get a 33% Combat Bonus vs Barbarians in addition to your difficulty bonus, while also getting culture for each Barbarian killed. Going this route guarantees you'll want to be warlike. You have much incentive to build up straight military while the rest of the world seeks research and population growth. You can catch up later. The Aztec are suitable for multiple playstyles and starts, but all of them should focus on the Jaguar - otherwise you might as well be playing another Civ.

Since the Jaguar functions almost as well as any Scout, build the Jaguar instead and use them for both scouting and your early defense and offense. They'll gain several levels as you clear Barbarians and be stronger for any early War you may wage. You may even elect not to clear Barbarians, but let them keep spawning so that you can gain the culture for your Civilization and experience for your Jaguars. Because of their fighting strength in Jungle/Forest, you can go with the Shock promotions to get a later Swordsman that retains these upgrades.

If you want to do early conquest and grab land from other Civs or City-States, go Honor to score a free Great General and make it cheaper to later upgrade your units, while giving them increased experience from combat. It's unlikely you'd want the Statue of Zeus because of the Jaguar's immediate availability and the time it would take to build the Wonder. Use Archers along with the Jaguar to conquer Cities early in a game and avoid things like catapults. The Jaguar can approach through Jungle/Forest and try to park there, to possibly absorb some fire from the city before sneaking back to heal. Where others would be slowed, the Jaguar can be swift - so use their mobility to your advantage and avoid losing Units. Get the Discipline Social Policy from Honor and keep your units in pairs to get the +15% combat bonus for having an adjacent unit nearby. Don't waste lives and throw Jaguars at the City. Use them instead to clear surrounding units, pillage and heal. You want Jaguars to later upgrade to Swordsmen and beyond, because they make awesome units as you approach the mid-game because they do keep their heal on kill. You will need 4-6 Archers in addition to a few Jaguars to take a city early-game.

Just because the Aztec start with such huge reason to be warlike, they can eventually settle down into a much gentler play style. Certainly Cultural and Scientific, particularly because of their affinity for Jungle and the Floating Gardens' bonus allowing you to get a lot of growth out of just a few cities, particularly if you can manage some early conquest and get luxuries and lands with plentiful food. Diplomacy is even possible because the AI will eventually forgive your misdeeds if they are done early enough, though you do not really need them but the City-States' votes, you will be angering them by taking Alliances that they covet. You will find their Civilization special helpful to your Civ's early development then drop it, or you can make it a part of your entire game and go for Domination, not caring who you piss off. Just remember the AI can and will join a league against you if you go completely out of control. It's better to pace yourself in the land-grabbing and enjoy some peace to build up your Civilization at times, else you begin to fall behind and build up enemies. The AI is much less tolerant of Warmongering than it was when Civ 5 first released.

Civilization Bonuses, Unique Units, Strategies and Openings
Sid Meier's Civ 5 is a deep strategy game. I created these individual Civilization Guides to highlight the strengths of their specials and unique units. If you have an opener or tip for playing this Civ that you would like to share with other readers, please use the comments form below. Some Guides are in need of update and will be improved to a new standard of quality or altered to reflect gameplay changes in G&K and Brave New World.
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Comments (1)

GPuzzle says...
Aztecs are really fun. First, they can go ultra-tall with cities with populations in their 40s, while they can also have extra large empires with cities with 20 pop.

The Floating Gardens' sheer power means that you'll often settle near Lakes or Rivers, who count as fresh water, meaning that if you get a religion, Peace Gardens isn't useless.

A simple and interesting Civ.
17th September 2014 10:31pm
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This site and all original strategy guides created by and © Carl Ratcliff. This is an unofficial Civilization V fansite and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis Games, Developer of Civ 5 Brave New World and Gods and Kings.