Montezuma I (1398-1469) was largely responsible for solidifying and expanding the Aztec empire. He forged a triple alliance between neighbouring peoples, built an aqueduct that supplied his city with fresh water and led campaigns in to greater Mexico. Keeping his historically aggressive mindset is invaluable towards domination in Civilization 5.
The Honor policy tree is often misused and under-appreciated by players who like to grow their own civilization before destroying someone else’s. Players will choose between the Tradition and Liberty Social Policy’s, and rightfully so. Both trees provide great early game buffs such as extra growth, faster expansion and easy culture. I’ve come up with a strategy to threaten the very existence of such empires and make them worry more about their own survival than how soon they can produce a settler.
The Aztecs have my favourite ability in the game – Sacrificial Captives. This means that for every enemy (or barbarian) unit killed, you get culture, which turns barbarians from predator to prey. As well as this, the unique Jaguar Warrior has a great ability of its own, healing 25 damage if it kills a unit and a lovely combat a movement bonus in forest and jungle. This opens up so many military strategies, with a nice culture bonus as a reward.
The unique building of the Aztecs shouldn’t be underestimated either. Based on Montezuma’s building of his aqueduct, The Floating Gardens are great for food production if your city is built next to a river or lake. This can be combined nicely with the Sacred Waters pantheon, providing extra happiness for each city built on a river.
I’ve broken my strategy down in to seven steps for you to try for yourself, shown in the infographic below, and gone in to further detail on each step.
1. Build an extra Jaguar Warrior and a Monument.
The first thing we do is build another Jaguar Warrior to work alongside the initial Jaguar in scouting nearby territory and finding Ruins. With every Barbarian killed we gain culture, giving us more combat bonuses. Upon adopting Honor, we gain a 33% combat bonus against Barbarians and notifications of where new encampments spawn. We then build a Monument for constant cultural growth before we build our Shrine. Once we have our Pantheon we can choose Sacred Waters, which provides happiness for cities built on rivers, which we’ll be doing anyway in order to build Floating Gardens later. We’ll want to research the technologies that allow us to farm our luxury resources and look towards Pottery and Mining.
2. Farm culture through killing Barbarians, while building as many Jaguars as you can maintain.
It’s important that we keep killing Barbarians to gain culture and level up our Jaguar Warriors. This gets easier with each Honor policy we get, including an early Great General via the unlocking of Warrior Code, which also speeds up our troop production. Policies such as Discipline help our warriors work together alongside our movement bonus through wooded terrain. We’ll keep building as many Jaguar Warriors as we can while keeping our city growing and making money. To do this we build a caravan and trade what we can with other civilizations around us. To gain luxury resources we can steal a worker from a city state or simply build or buy one, preferably the former since our gold reserves may come in handy once we have a larger army.
3. Research Bronze Working and build the Statue of Zeus.
Once Bronze Working has been researched we can build the Statue of Zeus, giving us a combat bonus when attacking cities. This will come in handy later and really sets the tone of what we’re attempting to do.
4. Build an Archer and a Spearman.
In preparation for our next wonder, we should add a bit of variety to our army and get at least an Archer. We’ll be killing a lot of barbarians at this point which will endear us to nearby city states, providing us with a few extra resources as we go at no cost.
5. Research Construction and build the Terracotta Army.
Once we’ve researched Construction we’re able to build the Terracotta Army, which gives us an extra troop of each type of military unit we have, hence adding variety to our army. Our worker should have built or be building an iron mine at this point while we move towards the technology to unlock Swordsmen.
6. Upgrade Jaguar Warriors to Swordsmen.
Once we’ve unlocked Professional Army, the last Honor Social Policy, we can upgrade our troops at a lower cost, and we should take the opportunity to do so. This should coincide within the same few turns as our Terracotta army was built.
7. Pick on your closest rival and attack them quickly.
At this moment in time, our army is undoubtedly strong, with extra units, veterancy and Swordsmen with Jaguar-like abilities. This is the perfect time to attack our neighbouring civilization and undo all their hard work, taking it for ourselves. Do it quickly before they can catch up. The Honor tree should be completed by now, providing us with a gold bonus for each enemy unit killed – very good for troop maintenance.
Once you’ve destroyed one Civilization the world is your oyster. Press on and attack those nearby with your hardened military and unrelenting aggression that would make Montezuma proud. Share your progress in the comments below!
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