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This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. For other appearances of the faction in the series, see Aztecs.
Civilization Technology tree Strategy

Wage Garland Wars against your neighbors, rule a vast empire from a floating city, and defend it from the Spanish conquistadors with droves of experienced infantry. Harness the power of the gods through austere priests with a thirst for human sacrifice! Backed by a thriving economy, unstoppable hordes of Jaguar Warriors and Eagle Warriors will tear your enemies to shreds!

The Aztecs are a Native American civilization introduced in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors based on the empire of the same name in modern day Mexico. They focus on infantry and Monks.

The Aztecs also appear as a playable civilization in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs.


Unique unit[]

JaguarWarriorIcon-DE Jaguar Warrior: Anti-infantry infantry

Unique technologies[]

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Relics generate +33% gold.


The greatest strength of the Aztecs is their ability to produce military units faster than their opponents. This is partially thanks to their faster production rate for all military buildings, but also thanks to their economy. The Aztec economy is one of the strongest in the game, and was especially so on release. Their Villagers carry +3 resources, which gives them an all-around solid boost to their collection rate, especially when farming. The 33% faster Relic gold production is a great bonus for the late game. The extra 50 gold at the start makes them one of the strongest civilizations for Militia rushes. Both their economy and military production boost makes them an aggressive civilization that has strong rushing capacity.

Aztecs possess some of the strongest infantry options in the game. In addition to their access to Eagle Warriors, Garland Wars gives all Aztec infantry +4 attack, which gives them an edge in melee fights. The unique unit Jaguar Warrior is a very potent infantry counter, thanks to its bonus attack. Atlatl gives their Skirmishers an extra +1 attack and +1 range, albeit lacking the last armor upgrade. The Aztecs are strong in the siege weapon department with Siege Rams, Siege Onagers, and Siege Engineers. Their Monks are the best in the game with access to all religious technologies and a stacking +5 hit points with every one researched, eventually gaining a monstrous 100 hit points when fully upgraded, though some of the technologies are very pricey (notably, Faith and Heresy).

Being a Native American civilization, they lack any access to the Stable (as well as every Stable unit apart from the Xolotl Warrior), Cavalry Archers (and its alternatives), and gunpowder units. The lack of the Halberdiers means that they are reliant on their Monks against enemy heavy cavalry. While their foot archers benefit from the Aztecs' economy, the lack of Thumb Ring and Ring Archer Armor hurts it overall. Their navy is weak, lacking the Galleon and Cannon Galleon. Their defensive structures are below average, lacking all building hit point technologies and Keeps.

Overall, the Aztecs are great both on open and closed maps, thanks to a combination of strong military production and powerful options.


AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Free Loom removed, start with +50 gold from the start instead.
  • Now start with an Eagle Scout instead of an Eagle Warrior.
  • Jaguar Warriors have more base pierce armor (0 → 1).
  • Elite Jaguar Warriors anti-infantry bonus increased (+10 → +11).

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

  • With update 37650, military unit creation speed bonus decreased (18% → 11%).
  • With update 42848:
    • Villagers carry extra resource carry capacity decreased (+5 → +3).
    • Jaguar Warriors train faster (20 → 12 seconds).

Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes[]

  • With update 56005, Standard Jaguar Warriors have more hit points (50 → 65).

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 81058:
    • (Elite) Jaguar Warriors have more base pierce armor (1 → 2).
    • Their 50 extra starting gold is received only after completing the first Town Center.

AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals[]

Campaign appearances[]

The Aztecs have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Montezuma. They also make appearances as AI players in:

CampaignIcon-MontezumaDE Montezuma[]

This campaign is played as the Aztecs.

Battles of the Forgotten Icon Battles of the Forgotten[]

  • Scn 10 dos pilas normal Dos Pilas
    • Uaxactun - Ally or Enemy
    • Raiders - Enemy

In-game dialogue language[]

Historically, the Aztecs spoke Classical Nahuatl, an Uto-Aztecan language related to Comanche among others. In-game, however, Aztec units seem to speak an unrelated Mayan language, though not the one spoken by the Mayans (Kʼicheʼ).

For example, female lumberjacks say ajsi, which means "wood worker" in some Mayan languages like Yucatec (si means "wood", aj- is a prefix denoting profession). Fisherwomen say ajkix, formed by the same prefix aj- and kix, the word for "fish" in another Mayan language, Mam. Finally, builders say ajtsaq, which means "bricklayer" in several Mayan languages including Kaqchikel.

The language used could be an unidentified Mayan language, or possibly a mix of Yucatec, Kaqchikel, Kʼicheʼ, Mam and others.

Note: Spelling speculative


AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the AI, the player may encounter any of the following Aztec AI characters:

  • Acamapichtli ("Handful of Reeds", 1356-1395): First tlatoani of the city-state of Tenochtitlan, ruling from 1376 as a vassal of the Tepanecs. He expanded Tenochtitlan's island, enacted the first Aztec laws, and built the first temple on the site of the Great Pyramid. He favored diplomacy and there were only two or three wars during his reign: first in support of the Tepanecs, and after he won the right to wage war on his own, mostly against Xochimilco for the purpose of collecting chinampas to add to Tenochtitlan's.
  • Ahuitzotol ("Water Thorny", r. 1486-1502): Eighth ruler of Tenochtitlan. Greatly expanded Aztec territory by defeating the Huastecs, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and other Pacific coastal peoples up to Guatemala. Further developed Tenochtitlan and its Great Pyramid.
  • Axayacatl ("Face of Water", 1449-1481): Sixth ruled of Tenochtilan, reigned from 1469. Defeated the Tlatelolcans and Matlatzincans before being bested by the Tarascans, which marred his image as this was the first major defeat of the Aztecs. Preceded his brothers Ahuitzotl and Tizoc on the throne despite being the youngest.
  • Chimalpopoca ("Smoking Shield", 1397-1427): Third ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigned from 1417. Supposedly died in Tepanec custody for supporting a Tepanec emperor overthrown in a coup d'état, but it's been suggested he was actually killed in an Aztec coup d'état by Itzcoatl and history rewritten to blame the Tepanecs.
  • Cuauhtemoc ("Falling Eagle", 1497-1525): Eleventh and last independent Aztec ruler, reigned from 1520. Taken prisoner after the Siege of Tenochtitlan, was later tortured and hanged by Cortés after being accused of plotting a rebellion against the Spanish. Serves as narrator of the Montezuma campaign where he rises from Eagle Warrior to Emperor, and also appears as the AI personality of the Aztecs in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs.
  • Cuitlauac ("Carer", c. 1476-1520): Tenth ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigned for 80 days in 1520 before he died in a smallpox epidemic. Led the Aztec rebellion against his brother Montezuma II and the Spanish occupation of Tenochtitlan.
  • Huitzilihuitl ("Hummingbird Feather", c. 1379-1417): Second ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigned from 1396. Continued the diplomatic approach of his father Acamapichtli and created the Royal Council to advice him due to his young age. Only fought one war around the time of his death, supporting the Tepanecs against Texcoco.
  • Itzcoatl ("Obsidian Serpent", 1380-1440): Fourth ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigned from 1428. Illegitimate son of Acamapichtli and uncle of Chimalpopoca, whom he possibly overthrew. Threw off the domination of the Tepanecs and forged the Triple Alliance with Texcoco and Tlacopan, which became the basis of the Aztec Empire. Also burned the historical codices and replaced them with a state-sanctioned history and mythos that venerated Huitzilopochtli, the god of war.
  • Maxixca (a.k.a. Maxixcatl or Maxixcatzin, "Lord Maxixca", ?-1520): Lord of Ocotelulco, one of four components of Tlaxcala, and instrumental agent in establishing the Tlaxcala-Spanish alliance. Died of smallpox.
  • Montezuma (a.k.a. Moctezuma, "Angry Ruler"): Two Aztec emperors were named Montezuma - the fifth, Montezuma I (1398-1469, r. from 1440); and the ninth, Montezuma II (1466-1520, r. from 1502). Montezuma I truly created the Aztec Empire by conquering the Tepanecs and Tlatelolcans and expanding to the Caribbean coast, while Montezuma II expanded into the south and pushed centralization and aristocratic rule as a way to consolidate the conquests of his predecessors. Montezuma II welcomed the Spanish into Tenochtitlan before he was killed in the lead up to the Noche Triste.
  • Tizoc ("He who makes sacrifices/penance", r. 1481-1486): Seventh ruler of Tenochtitlan, brother of Axayacatl and Ahuitzotl. Conquered the Maya-speaking Huastecs before dying of illness or poison.
  • Xicotencatl : Refer either Xicotencatl I or Xicotencatl II.


Political control of the populous and agriculturally rich central valley of Mexico fell into confusion after 1100. Gradually assuming ever-greater power were the Aztecs, probably a northern tribe that had migrated to the valley and occupied a minor town on the shore of the great central lake. They were a society that valued the skills of warriors above all others, and this emphasis gave them an advantage against rival tribes in the region. By the end of the 15th century, the Aztecs controlled all of central Mexico as a military empire that collected tribute from rivals.

The Aztec culture drew upon the experience of those that came before it and invented little that was new. They had an advanced agriculture that supported a very large population. They built immense buildings of grand design and flourished in many arts. They were adept metal workers, but had no iron. Lacking any suitable draft animal, they made no motive use of the wheel.

One of the distinctive features of the Aztec culture was its penchant for sacrifice. Aztec myths dictated that human blood be fed to the Sun to give it the strength to rise each day. Human sacrifices were conducted on a grand scale; several thousand in a single day were not uncommon. Victims were often decapitated or flayed, and hearts were cut from living victims. Sacrifices were conducted at the top of tall pyramids to be close to the sun and blood flowed down the steps. Although the Aztec economy was based primarily on corn (or maize), the people believed that crops depended on the regular provision of sacrificial blood.

The incessant demand for sacrificial victims meant that the Aztecs tolerated loose control over satellite cities because frequent revolts offered opportunities for capturing new victims. During times of peace, "garland wars" were arranged strictly as contests of courage and warrior skill, and for the purpose of capturing victims. They fought with wooden clubs to maim and stun, rather than kill. When fighting to kill, the clubs were studded with obsidian blades.

Despite their great agriculture and arts, the Aztecs appear in retrospect to have been a waning society. They passed on no significant technology or ideas of religion or political theory. Their civilization was brought to an abrupt end by the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century. Already devastated by European disease passed by early traders, they fell to a small Spanish army armed with steel weapons, firearms, and riding a few horses. The cruelty of the Aztecs contributed to their downfall by making it easy for the Spanish to enlist allies among the non-Aztecs in Mexico.


  • The Aztec civilization's icon is modeled on an Aztec shield design depicted several times in the Codex Mendoza (1541), which was the Jaguar Warrior's shield design before the Definitive Edition.
  • The user interface image in the Definitive Edition displays the Aztec sun stone. The earlier artwork also depicts the same artifact, zooming in on the head.
  • Jaguar Warriors wear a different shield in the Definitive Edition, having a design similar to the Eagle Warrior's but with the background in the player's color instead of the foreground. These two designs also appear in the Codex Mendoza.
  • The presence of siege weaponry is anachronistic, but was intentionally left in due to the designers' limited time and other resources.[2]
  • For years, the Aztecs were one of the strongest civilizations on both Arabia and Arena as well as many other land maps because of their significant early bonuses which allowed them to be very flexible in the early game with a large military lead, which also lead them to be highly picked in most tournaments in the competitive scene or banned in the draft stage. This possibly explains the nerfs of their faster creation of military units, free Loom changed to +50 gold (thus removing their extra Villager lead), and the extra resources carried by Villagers. However, their unique unit, the Jaguar Warrior, was among the least used unique units, which also explains the big training time reduction introduced in update 42848, and the hit points for non-elite Jaguar Warriors and pierce armor increased in later updates.
  • Despite the Aztecs being very powerful in land maps in 1 vs 1, they do not perform very well in team games, due to focus on infantry, Monks and siege, neither of which are popular in team games.
  • The following heroes available in the Scenario Editor are themed on the Aztecs: Cuauhtemoc and Itzcoatl.
  • With a Briton (providing 10% faster working Archery Ranges), a Celtic (providing 20% faster working Siege Workshops) and a Gothic (providing 20% faster working Barracks) or a Berber ally (providing 25% faster working Castles researching the Kasbah technology), the Aztecs might be the civilization that can deploy their military units the fastest.
  • The Aztecs are the only Native American civilization that lack access to Halberdiers, Thumb Ring, and Ring Archer Armor, as well the only one that has access to every technology at the Monastery.
  • Since update 81058, the Aztecs are now the civilization closest to having access to all Barracks units and technologies (despite lacking the Halberdier, with Garland Wars, Aztec Pikemen can beat most Halberdiers from other civilizations, though being much worse against cavalry than Halberdiers).
  • According to Sandy Petersen, the team at Ensemble Studio did indeed hire a Nahuatl expert to assist with the Aztec unit dialogue. It is unknown why the dialogue is wrong despite said expert being present; Petersen made an offhand comment suggesting that the expert may have ripped them off.



  1. This is internally handled by the units, instead of the buildings. This means that this bonus applies to any buildings converted by the Aztecs, but not any buildings converted from the Aztecs (the opposite of standard behavior).


Civilizations in Age of Empires II
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AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsBritons AoE2 Britons · Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines · Celts AoE2 Celts · Chinese AoE2 Chinese · Franks AoE2 Franks · Goths AoE2 Goths · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Persians AoE2 Persians · Saracens AoE2 Saracens · Teutons AoE2 Teutons · Turks AoE2 Turks · Vikings AoE2 Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsAztecs AoE2 Aztecs · Huns AoE2 Huns · Koreans AoE2 Koreans · Mayans AoE2 Mayans · Spanish AoE2 Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenIncas AoE2 Incas · Indians AoE2 Indians (removed) · Italians AoE2 Italians · Magyars AoE2 Magyars · Slavs AoE2 Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsBerbers AoE2 Berbers · Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasBurmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansBulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Cumans AoE2 Cumans · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the WestBurgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesBohemians AoE2 Bohemians · Poles AoE2 Poles
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AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain RoyalsArmenians AoE2 Armenians · Georgians AoE2 Georgians