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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » Strategy Central » How to play with Aztecs against artillery massing civilizations?
Topic Subject:How to play with Aztecs against artillery massing civilizations?
The Lost Elixir
posted 01-25-16 09:38 AM EDT (US)         
In late games, particularly in >30 min treaty/no rush games, many people complain that it is difficult to play with Aztecs, because of two reasons.

1)Aztec units are vulnerable to massed artillery. Even Coyote runners and Arrow knights who have bonus against artillery are fodder to massed cannons.
2)Late game economy of Aztecs is poor.

I agree with the first part. Even though

Coyote runners -> Melee cavalry
Eagle runner Knight -> Ranged cavalry
Arrow Knight -> anti artillery/mortar.

They still are infantry. They have less HP when compared to actual cavalry. So Massed cannons still easily beat them.

This is because most of them don't know how to handle Aztec infantry. In this topic, I'll show you how to do so.

This guide is not only useful for people who play Aztecs, it is general guide on micro-ing infantry.

PHASE-1 : Playing with formations

Ever heard of Cover mode?Stagger mode?
If you didn't then kindly enable advanced formations in game settings.

This mode is available to melee infantry units. It makes your unit twice as hard to kill but halves its siege and halves its speed.

Seems useless. Isn't it?

No. If used correctly it is the one of the BEST tactic.
Works like a charm for Aztecs. Lets see an example.

Suppose, you didn't have advanced formations enabled. And you're playing against France.

Obviously most of the rookies spam Gendarmes(cuirs). Somewhat decent players add Voltigeur and some cannons as support.

Once they take a sneak peek at your infantry, they have nice shots at your infantry. Almost half of the infantry die before they reach enemy cannons. The remaining will be taken care by their cavalry and skirms(I mean any ranged infantry unit like skirms).

That's why most of Aztec players stand top in 'units lost' along with 'largest army'.

Aztec Infantry are NOT meant to be thrown away, they CANNOT act as meat shield.

So the main problem is cannons having shot at your infantry before you can even respond.

Most of the infantry die just with first shot of cannons. That's because by default,

Ranged infantry -> volley fire mode
Melee infantry -> melee mode

In both modes, units are tightly packed. That's why units with damage area like cuirs, cannons, tashunke prowlers, mahouts etc., will have slaughter fest with infantry, forget light or heavy.

Ranged infantry have 'stagger mode'. The name itself indicates that ranged units will spread themselves. This minimises damage due to cannon fire.

Melee infantry have 'Cover mode'. It makes your units twice as hard to kill but halves its siege and halves its speed.

So when your enemy launches surprise attack on your infantry with cannons your infantry will not die just with first shot.

Some units like jaguar prowls, coyotes(with card)have stealth. Use it to the fullest.

Just stealth your jaguars and coyotes. Put them front and behind them should be 30-40 erks and slightly infront of them should be arrow knights. Enemy cannot attack with artillery now because you have arrow knights in front which outrange artillery. So the only choice is he will immediately rush near you to attack them. Now when they are sufficiently close, 'attack move' them. Unleash hell on those motha faqars.

There's no need to change to attack mode to disable stealth. You can directly press attack move button or z hotkey(default).

If you directly use right click your 15-20 coyotes/jaguars cannot attack one person at once. So only three or four of them actually attack while the remaining 'stall' trying to reach that person. The enemy will have slaughter fest with 'stalling' units

If you use 'attack move' button instead.....

coyote will attack enemy evenly. This is because when you press 'attack move' button each of your unit attacks the enemy unit nearest to it.

But use attack move with caution. Only use it if you bring all your melee infantry near enemy or all your ranged infantry in range with enemy. Don't use attack move when your're near stragglers(enemy's). While your army shoots stragglers enemy's main army will shoot you.

Points to Ponder:

1)If you use melee units and if the enemy group you intend to attack is nearest to your melee units, then use 'attack move' button.

2)Simple. Bring(slip) your stealthed units near enemy units and press 'attack move' button anywhere on ground. They'll take care of enemy units. But use attack move with caution.

3)When your infantry is Idle, always use cover mode (or stealth mode if available) for melee units and stagger mode for ranged units. If you press cover mode/stealth mode, you have to actually move your units to change formation. Similar for all formations. Don't use stagger mode vs Hussars.

4)If you have stealth, then (ab)use it dammit!!!

5)Better remember hotkeys. It makes your gameplay easier.

PHASE-2 : Aztec Attack style

I'll explain the attack style of Aztecs with an example.

Q)Suppose you have 30 jaguar prowls, 30 coyote runners, 10 arrow knights and 40 eagle knights(total 120 pop). Your enemy has 20 voltigeurs 20 gendarmes, 20 musketeers and 10 cannons(total 150 pop). So who will win?

Ans) If you attack them directly with out any strategy, his voltigeurs and cannons will decimate most of your infantry even before you reach them. Remaining infantry if any is taken care by gendarmes, cannons and voltigeurs combo. Just a little micro is needed for enemy to win against you.

Obviously the odds are against you. So you need a good strategy. Remember, don't directly attack with Aztecs. Lure the enemy in.

Here's how I deal with them:

Keep your jaguars and coyotes in stealth.

Voltigeurs obviously has bonus against prowl knights(HI) and eagles(RC). But on one condition. They should hit and run. More precisely they should out range HI. Because jaguar has more attack(around 50+) and HP when compared to LI. Also they have bonus vs HI and cavalry. So once jaguar is close, no ne can beat it!!!

In addition, erk has around 35 attack 0.3 ranged resistance that too with 1.5 rate of fire!!! So they spare vs skirms better. They level any cavalry pretty fast. So you need more numbers of these(around 40).

While your erks dish out ranged damage, when enemy approaches you, unleash the hell by suddenly attacking with jaguars and coyotes.

So, catching enemy off guard is main strategy of aztecs. Lure him in and unleash the hell!!!

BUT remember!!! You should never let your enemy out range you.

If you see enemy cannon approaching, then instantly use arrow knights. When fully upgraded they have more range(32) than Imperial field gun(26) or horse gun(26) or heavy cannon(28). So attack them before they attack you.(However you CANNOT out range Iroquois light cannon.)

They will obviously send their gendarmes against your arrow knights.

wait for it.....wait....wait....when they are almost hell upon them again!!!

Even skirms are fodder to this stealth trap. Skirms may have bonus against HI. But jaguars has more attack and HP. Also it has 3x bonus against HI and 2.5x against cavalry. Besides with coyotes mixed in, they don't stand a chance!!! And add erks ranged attack! It adds icing to the cake!!

Don't forget to separate his army and artillery. Your coyotes and arrow knights take care of artillery. Your jaguars and erks will take care fo remaining.

Be careful. This 'stealth trap' fails on massed Urumi. The only choice you have is coyotes with stealth!!!

vs. mahouts, since they have placing problems, they frequenty collide with each other, so use erk's to take them out before they come close. Once they are close, kiss goodbye!!!

Any good player won't forget to bring explorer plus one or two spies to counter stealth. So you need to kill his explorer or spies before he reveals your stealth units

Points to Ponder:

1) Never attack directly without any plans. Aztec units are not to be thrown away. Its all about strategy and micro management.

2) Simple steps to attack

->Lure the enemy in
->Separate the enemy's army and artillery
->'Stealth trap' to beat his army.

3) Kill his explorer/spies before he reveals your stealth units

4) Don't use maces in late game. They are very fragile. Use pumas only for torching buildings. Jaguars are better and more versatile.


So its all about micromanagement and changing formations. I successfully implemented this strategy against expert AI(dragur's AI) in treaty games. It worked against almost all civ's and units except Urumi.

I only played five or six multiplayer games with Aztecs on gameranger, however this strategy still worked!!!.

Unfortunately I don't have recorded games. I'll upload it in future when I play again with aztecs.

PHASE-3 : Compensating late game economy.

European civs have factories that can produce wood/gold/coin
7.15/sec. So they have late game advantage.

But Aztecs can gather more XP in firepit. So why don't we put resource crates cards in the deck that can be send infinite times.

Also units you will get more xp when your units kill enemy's in the presence of your warchief.

Aztecs has "aztec mining" card that can be send in fortress age which improves gathering from mines by +40%.

So build plantation, but never gather coin from plantation unless all mines are exhausted. Use the extra +40 % mining to your advantage.

Don't hesitate to mine near enemy in treaty games.

Put some gathering cards in deck. If you have lousy late game economy, then gather resources as early as possibile and faster than others!!!

If you play in maps like yucatan , rain forest or africa(the later two are custom maps). Wood will not be exhausted that easily.

So there will not be that much problem in late game economy.

Even if wood gets exhausted, then 'gift dance' in fire pit to gain XP and send (infinite times)resource cards.

Unlike, Iroquois or Sioux all 99 villagers can be used to gather resources in Aztecs case as warrior priests dance in fire pit. So there will not be appreciable lag in economy.

In a map, luckily if you have sufi/cree natives then you can have extra villagers. Sufi's increase villager limit where as cree can create 5 Coureur des Bois(french villager).

If you are not playing treaty, then you can rush. Aztecs are good for rushing too.

Well, this is my strategy. Please don't hesitate to point out flaws.

[This message has been edited by The Lost Elixir (edited 02-13-2017 @ 03:28 AM).]

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