Civilization VI Montezuma guide

Aztecs led by Montezuma are a powerful early game civilization. Montezuma doesn't run away from Deity AI's, he goes looking for them, on a hunt. Cities are not productive? doesn't matter, you can use build charges to complete districts. Don't have builders? Kill a unit with your Eagle Warrior and a builder might pop up -coughs in slavery-.

How to win Civilization VI as Aztecs?

To win a Civilization VI game as Montezuma's Aztecs you need to strike first. Start the game looking for barbarians and enemy civs to fight with. Your mission is killing units with your Eagle warriors in order to get builders from them, and then using those builder charges in the construction of your districts -ideally a well placed Campus-. Aztecs have a huge advantage as long as Eagle warriors are relevant, therefore they benefit from slower game speeds, such as epic or marathon.

Aztecs Overview

Aztecs own one of the most powerful early game units, benefiting a lot from wars. They also gain additional bonuses from luxury resources, and can use builder charges to helpt in the construction of districts. All of this leads to an expansive/warmongering type of gameplay.


Civilization Ability: Legend of the Five Suns

Can spend Builder charges to complete 20% of district's Production cost.


Montezuma's Leader Ability: Gifts for the Tlatoani

"The sun is not hot when it has risen; after it has been traveling its course a while, then it becomes hot"

Improved Luxury resources provide an Amenity to 2 extra cities. +1 Combat Strength for all units for each different improved luxury in Aztec territory.

Aztecs unique building: Tlachtli

Aztec unique building, it replaces the Arena. The Tlachtli also provides Faith and Great General points.

  • Effects:
    • +4 Faith
    • +1 Great General point per turn
    • +2 Amenity from Entertainment
    • +1 Culture
    • Lower Production cost (135 vs 150)

Civic requirement


Base Cost


City requirements

Games and recreation


135 Production

1Civ6 gold

Entertainment Complex


Aztecs unique unit: Eagle warrior

Aztecs replacement of the Warrior. The Eagle warrior has way higher Combat strength (28 vs 20), high production cost (65 vs 40) and can capture defeated units, turning them into builders. Making this a great early game unit, but even after that, it keeps being relevant in the Classical Era against Swordsmans.





Resources needed

Melee Strength




65 Production or 130 faith civ 6 or 260 Civ6 gold




28 Civ6StrengthIcon



Additional information

  • +5 Combat Strength against Anti-cavalry units
  • Higher combat strength (28 vs 20)
  • High production cost (65 vs 40)
  • Can capture defeated units, turning them into Builders for the Aztecs


The Eagle warrior is the core of the Aztecs strategy, which is, basically capturing enemy units, turning them into builders, and then use those units to boost your own empire, mainly to construct districts very quickly or to improve your lands, with special emphasis on improving luxury resources.

Start Bias

No start bias.

Types of victories

Aztecs are a pretty straightforward civilization in the sense that the clear path to victory is Domination, although you sure can go for other types, but most likely you will do it by making everyone else bite the dust in the early game.

Domination victory:

Domination is THE PATH for Aztecs. Unlike while playing most civs, that have to run from deity AIs, Montezuma has to go on a hunt for them. But they start with more settlers? Doesn't matter, try and snipe one. Hefty deity early bonuses? Again, doesn't matter, Eagle warriors have a huge 8 combat strength against warriors. Montezuma doesn't care and must convert as many units into builders as possible. Expand

  • Look for a good placement for a Campus (3+ adjacency bonus), your captured builders will construct it in no time, in this way you will be able to keep up with the AI in terms of science.
  • Use your Slingers or Scouts to cheese an AIs unprotected settler. Denounce and go to war early on if you see the opportunity of catching the settler, grievances will be forgotten later in the game.
  • Make 1 or 2 Slingers/Archers early game. Eagle warriors are strong but they still need support.
  • Finishing enemy units using your Eagle warriors, this might be a bit cumbersome sometimes, but getting a free builder is too good of an opportunity and must not be overlooked.
  • Most important early districts are Campus and Encampment. However, you still can get a Holy Site or a Commercial Hub, since each builder charge gives 20% of the production cost towards a district, making it easier to spam them. To prioritize districts follow this rule: Campuses, then Encampment. Then whatever has the better adjacency bonuses.
  • If you want an easier game, play on Epic or Marathon speed. This way your Eagle Warriors will be relevant for longer. However, it is perfectly possible to play at faster speeds if you are aggressive and lucky enough.


Science victory:

Science is a good path, getting some legendary campuses early games will make you gain an advantage over the AI. Nevertheless, science is not the most suitable path as the Aztecs don't have direct bonuses in this regard.

  • Ancestral Hall (+50% settler production and new cities receive a free builder) is recommended in the Government Plaza district -unless you're doing a 1-city challenge-. Exploring and having more cities with good Campuses is ideal
  • Make a Research Alliance as soon as it is available, but make it with a Civilization that won't take the Science victory from you
  • Have 2 or more cities with good Production output, these cities should have an Industrial zone and a tile reserved for a Space Port
  • Gold must be spent buying buildings and Great Scientists


Culture Victory:

Culture is not a really suitable path, although any path is suitable if you leave your opponents on the verge of death (?). Furthermore, having a lot of cities will naturally help you in getting a culture victory, adding to it the construction of Theater Squares through the use of slave labor a Culture victory is perfectly achievable for the Aztecs, but again, not the best path.


Religious Victory:

Religion is kind of a difficult path since in order to get an early prophet you need to sacrifice some early production (which should all go to units at that stage of the game). Nevertheless, if you do get a prophet and decide to pursue a religious victory, you will find that the Aztecs don't have direct bonuses in this regard, besides some faith from Tlatchtli, and the ability to construct Holy Sites faster through spending builder charges. If you're playing at marathon speed then a religious victory is perfectly attainable, as the AI won't snatch all prophets as fast as it would while playing at faster speeds.


Diplomatic Victory:

Diplomacy? Does my Eagle warrior look like he wants to talk?


Test Secret Society for the Aztecs: The Sanguine Pact

the sanguine pact civ 6

The Sanguine Pact and the Aztecs are a perfect match. The Vampire has the same strength as the strongest unit you have made, and in this case, the Eagle Warrior is way stronger than everything else in the early game.


The Sanguine Pact Governor promotions

Promotion title

Unlocked by


Initiation Destroy a barbarian camp (70% chance) Grants a Vampire unit in your capital.

Reach the Medieval Era

Grants a Vampire unit in your capital, and allows your Vampires to construct Vampire Castles (maximum two per empire).


Reach the Industrial Era

Grants a Vampires unit in your capital. Increases maximum Vampire Castle build to three. Your vampires now intimidate adjacent enemy units, reducing their combat strength by 5. Pillaging now costs Vampires 1 movement.

Master Plan

Reach the Atomic Era

Grants a Vampire unit in your capital. Increase maximum Vampire Castle builds to four. Units can teleport between Vampire Castles.


The Vampire

Vampires civ6

The problem with Vampires and Eagle warriors is that they have low mobility, therefore you have to go looking for your enemies and fight inside their territory, which is entirely possible due to the huge strength advantage.

In order to get those vampires up and going immediately you do need to make an early Eagle warrior, in this way the vampire's base strength will be 28.

Vampires and Eagle warriors have great synergy since the vampire gains +1 combat strength when an adjacent enemy dies, and the Eagle Warrior has a chance of capturing a builder when they finish an enemy unit. The strategy is weakening units using your Vampire+Slinger and then finishing them off with your Eagle warrior.




Aztecs throughout the game

I played a deity game with the settings above. Secret societies and Monopolies and Corporations games modes on and Marathon game speed -I changed it after taking this screenshot-.



I had to restart a handful of times, I think not all deity aztec seeds are winnable in a timely manner. You need to be lucky enough in order for the followings thing to happen:

  • Get a decent start location, maybe a luxury resource to settle on
  • There is a nearby barbarian encampment, so you can clear it and met the Sanguine pact
  • Opponent AI is nearby, so you can declare war on them as soon as possible


Early game

Your mission early game is finding and clearing a nearby barbarian encampment, meeting the Sanguine Pact, denouncing and declaring war on a nearby enemy AI, killing their units with your Eagle warriors to get builders, and then constructing Campuses and stuff with those builders. Keep spamming units and capture as many cities as you can.


Starting location

I got 2 luxury resources and decided to settle on the Oranges 1 hex to the left of my settler. This location gives me oranges, marbles and a possible decent location for a Campus adjacent to mountains.


Build Order

Slinger -> Eagle Warrior. Then either keep spamming units or make a settler. If you do fine you won't need to make a builder because you will get them from your Eagle warriors.


Slinger+Vampire+Eagle Warrior combo

After clearing a barbarian encampment I denounced and declared war on Saladin, for some reason deity Saladin hides his units, so I threatened his capital in order for him to come out and give me some builders.

Notice the Vampire's 30 combat strength: 28 base from the Eagle Warrior I made in my capital, +1 from adjacent units that died and +1 from luxury resources.

Some spammed and captured units later and Istanbul fell. However, I won't be able to hold it because deity Saladin has 2 more cities pressuring for loyalty, and there are also other civilizations pressuring too, but this is not all bad, because I will be able to capture the units from the "Free cities", which the game counts as a civilization, and therefore Eagle warriors have a chance of getting a builder out of them.


Improving my cities using the captured builders

At this point of the game I'm behind in science and culture, but I do have some captured builders, 2 luxury resources and I'm on my way to capturing a capital and another city.


Finally constructing some Campuses

Those captured builders will help accelerate the construction of the +4 Tenochtitlan Campus and the +4 Teayo Campus. At this point I'm way behind in science but I will quickly catch up and surpass the AI.


Free Cities loyalty exploit (?)

Usually not being able to hold a city to keep advancing in your quest of conquering the world is a big problem. However, you can use this situation to your advantage in various ways:

  • Pillage and repair your own improvements: Once a city rebels improvements can be pillaged for huge gains in faith, gold, science, culture and health; then you can recapture the city and repair the improvements at no cost -besides having a builder as permanent repairman-. Repeat for perpetual gains
  • Unlimited source of builders in the early game: Free cities are considered a civilization by the game, therefore Eagle warriors are able to get builders from killing Free cities units
  • Training units: Around the fifth rebelion in a city your units will be so good at fighting that they are going to be fully trained. Archers and Eagles being able to attack twice per turn
  • Infinite strength for Vampires: Again, Free cities count as a civilization, therefore Vampire's strength bonus from dying adjacent units is not capped, unlike adjacent barbarian units that die, which is capped at 10.

As you can see in the image above, the Vampire has 58 Combat strength: 28 base + 10 from barbarians (capped) + 11 from other units (uncapped). This is a great exploit. However, I can't keep this up forever because I have to keep expanding the Aztec empire. I will get Victor (the governor) with his Garrison Commander title (+4 Loyalty among other bonuses) in the city, and then continue expanding. In the meantime I will exploit the unlimited source of yields, builders, experience and combat strength.



Aztecs districts 

Campus and Encampment are essential, but due to builders being able to accelerate the construction of districts you can do whatever is more convenient at the moment.


Holy Sites

Unless you're really forcing a religious victory, I'd recommend constructing a Holy Site under the following conditions;

  • There is a really good spot for it, and you don't a Campus in the city
  • You have a builder to spare and help accelerate the construction
  • You will be able to or already have a religion founded



Campus is simply the most important district while playing aztecs, you don't want to fight those enemy Crossbows using Archers. Look for legendary spots adjacent to mountains or Geothermal Fissures. Prioritize your builder charges on constructing Campuses whenever you can.



Encampments are not only necessary, but also constructing them is really easy when you get builders from the city you just captured. The encampment will help you accelerate the production of Eagle warriors or future units.


Government plaza

The Government Plaza should be constructed immediately when it is available. While playing aztecs domination victory your building choices should be something like:

  • Warlord's Throne: Capturing a city grants +20% production to all cities for 5 turns
  • Intelligence Agency: +1 Spy and Spy capacity (Grand Master's Chapel is also a good option, but if I had a high faith output I'd prefer spending it on Great People)
  • War Department: All units heal up to 20 hp when they eliminate a unit 


Other districts

Construct them according to adjacency bonuses and availability of builders. Having at least 1 good Harbor is necessary if you're playing with the Sanguine Pact, because Vampires gain their base strength from the strongest unit you have made, and naval units are very strong.

How to counter Aztecs

Aztecs as neightbors in the early game are not very nice, they will like you if you have access to luxury resources and share them with them. Otherwise Montezuma will surely declare war on you, in this case you will need to do the following:

  • Ranged units: Wait inside your territory and use chokepoints and cities to your advantage, the idea is not to fight Eagle warriors on melee combat
  • Pillage luxury resources: Whenever possible pillage luxury improvements, this will decrease Montezuma's unit strength by 1
  • Use cavalry units: Avoid making anti-cavalry, as they get hard countered by Eagle warriors. Instead rely on ranged+high mobility units in order to raid and defend