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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.12.

Kingdom rankAztec
Primary culture
Aztec (Central American)

Capital province
Mexico (852)

Despotic MonarchyGovernment monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
MesoamericanMesoamerican technology group
Ideas and traditions
Traditions.png Traditions:
+10% Infantry combat ability
-10% Idea cost

War exhaustion cost.png Flower Wars

-10% Cost of reducing war exhaustion

Legitimacy.png Sustaining the Gods

+1 Yearly legitimacy

Manpower recovery speed.png Telpochcalli

+10% Manpower recovery speed

Morale of armies.png Eagles and Jaguars

+10% Morale of armies

National tax modifier.png Imperial Tribute

+10% National tax modifier

Production efficiency.png Floating Gardens

+10% Production efficiency

Spy offense.png Pochtecayotl

+20% Spy offense

Idea bonus.png Ambitions:

+25% National manpower modifier

The Aztec are a country located in Central Mexico. It is also the primary nation of the Aztec culture.

Note: If converted from a CK2 game where Sunset Invasion DLC is active, they will have special national ideas and the High American technology group High American technology group, which is equivalent to Western technology.


Main article: Aztec events

There is a group of events dealing with Altepetls revolts that fires cyclically and forces the player to deal with the danger of revolts. Other events concern some flavour aspects of Aztec nations, granting four permanent modifiers (first one is mandatory, others are optional):

  • Great Temple of Tenochtitlan:
    • +1 Prestige.png yearly prestige.
  • Sumptuary Laws:
    • +2.5% Discipline.png discipline,
    • -5% War exhaustion cost.png cost of reducing war exhaustion .
  • Influence of Texcoco:
    • -5% Administrative technology cost administrative technology cost,
    • +0.02 Autonomy.png monthly autonomy change.
  • Laws of Nezahualcoyotl:
    • -0.03 Autonomy.png monthly autonomy change.


Idea groups[edit]

The Aztecs have as traditions positive modifiers in the infantry combat ability and idea cost. But as many Mesoamerican nations they have Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican technology group which has a penalty of +150% technology cost making very difficult to get any kind of technology. The only thing that helps to the Aztecs in this situation (before Westernisation) are the great skills of its rulers that generate tons and tons of monarch points.

Even though this little advantages the penalty of technology cost makes only possible for a primitive civilization like this to get at the level 10 of each technology group. In the case of the Administrative technology, the Aztecs only could unlock three Ideas slots. The recommended ideas are listed below:

  • Expansion: This will help to expand faster in the American continent and will grant permanent Casus Belli against Chinese, Indian and African civilizations once Westernized, aiding conquest outside the Americas.
  • Administrative: The core-creation is useful when its trying to expand the territory by conquests or colonization. Also the boni in the maintenance and recruitment of mercenaries are useful in cases, just like in the process of westernisation and European invasions.
  • Exploration: Useful to discover the rest of American civilizations or Europeans colonies in the continent. Also lets another opportunity for expanding in the country and will grant permanent Casus Belli against primitives. Unlike the Overseas Expansion Casus Belli unlocked by Expansion ideas, Colonial Conquest is available even to Primitive technology group nations.
  • Aristocratic: Its useful before and after the arrival of the Europeans. First because in case of a European victory in Aztecs territory would be difficult for them create cores in the lost territory. Also the manpower modifier is useful for the creation of bigger armies against the technological advantage of the foreigners. And reduces the military technology cost.
  • Defensive: At the arrival of the Europeans, the fort defense modifier, reinforce speed, land maintenance modifier and more attrition for enemies are the greatest options to resist their invasion.
  • Quantity: In combat with a more advanced army the best option is to have a larger army. The manpower modifier and recovery speed increased will make easier to fight against the Europeans.

Reformation of the religion[edit]

With El Dorado the Nahuatl religion has the Doom mechanic whose effects results in total chaos for the country if it reaches 100. The only ways to reduce Doom are waging Flower Wars (winning battles and occupying provinces) or sacrificing rulers and heirs of subject nations. Events also have a major role to play in reducing doom. To start reforming the religion the country needs to enact reforms. The Nahuatl can enact them by having 5 vassals, no rebels, positive stability and less than 50 Doom.

The first thing to do is to start vassalizing the closest nations. Using their military advantage start the conquest with their closest enemies, such as Tlaxcala, Zapotec, Mixtec, Tarascan and Tlapanec. Also the Aztecs can ally with other countries like Itza, Colima and Kiche. The perfect Casus Belli for starting the conquest is the Flower Wars which not only helps to reduce Doom but also makes demanding vassalisation easier. On the downside it makes annexing enemy provinces more difficult.

In each vassalization war, it is good for Aztec to take some territory for itself, but not so much that its neighbours will be able to conquer each other - or Aztec itself! - when they break free. This way, each cycle of vassalization and reform should be easier than the last. That said, Aztec should be careful not to expand too fast, since they gain a base 1 doom per year per province, which adds up quickly; they can however grow further after a reform since each reduces doom gain by 20%. The limiting factors to expansion are manpower and money (the latter for mercenaries, reinforcements and maybe a "better relations over time" or "national unrest" advisor), both of which require time to replenish, and Aztec will not want to wait too long to make war in order to reduce doom. After each reform, warnings should be used to discourage neighbours from conquering each other; refusing a call to arms from a warning costs no prestige.

With the Mesoamerican tech group, not only does tech take decades to improve, the country can't build any ships. The only real benefit of diplomatic tech is that being less advanced than a vassal increases their liberty desire. With that in mind, the only tech Aztec really care about is military, which in combination with the infantry combat ability tradition will give them a decisive edge over their neighbours. The player shouldn't worry about being over the relations limit until they westernize.

The benefits of the reforms are listed below:

  • War exhaustion.pngMonthly war exhaustion: -0.05
  • Diplomatic upkeep.pngDiplomatic relations: +1
  • Discipline.pngDiscipline: +5%
  • Colonists.pngColonist: +1
  • Stability cost modifier.pngStability cost modifier: -20%

Expansion and Colonization in America[edit]

While the reformation of the Nahuatl religion happens, the expansion of the glorious Aztec empire into all the American continent can begin. It can be done by conquering and annexing all the Mesoamerican countries that are around the Aztecs. But also, thanks to one of the reforms, they have access to a Colonist that can be used for expanding the empire to the north or the south. The south is only available for colonization when the conquest of the southern nations in Mesoamerica has finished.

The north has many opportunities such as the rest of the Mexican territory, the Californian region or Florida. All of these are good in their way but the south has its own advantages. While the north has lots of useful land and many weak, or at least small, native nations to conquer or if starting westernisation is a priority, is easier to colonize the south because the Portuguese and Spanish powers are the first to colonize the New World by starting with the southern part of the continent. The main problem is that some of the southern nations are much more powerful than the Aztecs.


One strategy is to save as many monarch points as possible, but at the same time invest them in Administrative and Military technology and get the Idea Groups and have a technology advantage against the rest of the native nations. Colonization is a useful tactic because it helps to find European colonies faster in order to start westernizing.

The player should be careful when the process starts because when it begins it not only makes Icon stability.png stability drop to -3 it also increases National unrest.png national unrest and it will trigger many events, such as rebels, which can drive the country into chaos if the correct decisions are not made. The problem is that if westernisation begins in a bad moment or too late other countries will use this as an opportunity to break the territory and conquer many provinces with relative ease. The best moment to start westernizing is when the colonial territories are very small and the country is distracted by a war in their home continent. After westernisation has finished, invest all the monarch points in improving Military and Diplomatic technology.

Dealing with the Europeans[edit]

Before Westernisation[edit]

If a war with the Europeans is inevitable before starting or finishing Westernisation, these tips can help the player survive:

  • Have full manpower.
  • Stockpile money for mercenaries in case they are required.
  • Take loans if necessary
  • Choose Defensive ideas (army tradition, morale, cheaper maintenance, faster reinforcement, less attrition for you and more for them) or Aristocratic ideas (cavalry ideas are useless since you can't build them, but 25% extra manpower is very significant when you'll be taking a lot of losses, and the increased coring cost makes the AI less eager to conquer your cores).
  • Ally with other powerful native nations or with European nations that are rivals or enemies of those who are more likely to attack first.
  • Construct defensive buildings in strategic locations.

If the war is going badly and the enemy has occupied many provinces the only thing that can be done is to negotiate with them. The best offer is to accept defeat, give all the money that they want and only give them two or three minor provinces (or whatever is necessary).

After Westernisation[edit]

Once the process has finished the first thing to do is to invest all monarch points in technology and ideas and fight on an equal footing against the European nations. Even after westernisation, several great powers will try to conquer the Aztec's territories. The best way to protect from the colonizing nations is to ally with another great European power that is not interested in colonization, for example Austria, Ottomans or Burgundy.

Domination of Asia[edit]

After westernization has finished and ships can be built, it is possible to start a trade empire in the East. The Aztecs are in a very favorable situation by being in the American continent because Asia is just an ocean of distance. With full Expansion Ideas the causus belli against the Chinese, Indian and African countries will be granted and that will make it so much easier to start conquering those inferior nations. But first it is more reasonable to start the colonization of the nearest island, an obvious option: the Philippines.

After the colonization of the Philippines there are many other valid options. For example: many other minor islands in the Pacific, the Polynesian islands and even the colonization of Australia. Which route is taken doesn't really matter, but the idea is to be able to fabricate claims in all the coast of the Asian region. By this point there would be many major powers in Asia. For example: Ming, Dai Vet, even Korea or Japan are included.

After Asia has been mostly conquered, the conquest of the Indian peninsula can be considered as an option.

Country guides
Western technology group Western.png United States of America.png USA
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Aztec.png Aztec Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Cherokee.png Cherokee Creek.png Creek Huron.png Huron Iroquois.png Iroquois
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Ethiopia.png EthiopiaThe Mamluks.png The MamluksTunis.png Tunis
Indian technology group Indian.png Mutapa.png Mutapa
Sub-Saharan technology group Sub-Saharan.png Kongo.png Kongo Mali.png Mali Mossi.png Mossi
Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Arabia.png Arabia Hejaz.png Hejaz Khiva.png Khiva Mughals.png Mughals Oman.png Oman Persia.png Persia Shammar.png Shammar
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Ceylon.png Ceylon Gujarat.png Gujarat Jaunpur.png Jaunpur Nepal.png Nepal Orissa.png Orissa Vijayanagar.png Vijayanagar
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Ayutthaya.png Ayutthaya Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Lan Xang.png Lan Xang Malaya.png Malaya Ming.png Ming Qing.png Qing Ryukyu.png Ryukyu Sulu.png Sulu Sunda.png Sunda
Nomad technology group Nomad.png Manchu.png Manchu Timurids.png Timurids Uzbek.png Uzbek
Andean technology group Andean.png Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Charrua.png Charrua Guarani.png Guarani