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-.
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 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.
Can spend Builder charges to complete 20% of district's Production cost.
"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.
Aztec unique building, it replaces the Arena. The Tlachtli also provides Faith and Great General points.
Games and recreation
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.
65 or 130 or 260
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.
No start bias.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
Diplomacy? Does my Eagle warrior look like he wants to talk?
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Unless you're really forcing a religious victory, I'd recommend constructing a Holy Site under the following conditions;
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.
The Government Plaza should be constructed immediately when it is available. While playing aztecs domination victory your building choices should be something like:
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.
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: