I know that Aztecs are vicious in first 10-15 min and you should not go late game with them, you usually don't go late game with them.
However. they have really good late game gathering bonuses (except wood) and 10 war priests + 15 villagers on fire pit with attack dance gives +40% attack, which is quite a sweet deal. So I thought why not try a late game?
But the thing is, they suck at late game, I mean after their first 350+ pop surge. It is because of the fact that they have almost all slow and weaker melee units in a game dominated by strong ranged units.
These are some main issues I have found with Aztecs in late game.
Problem 1: Coyote runner, their only counter to massed skirmishers and artillery, costs wood and are weak in late game.
Compare coyote runner with Cossack.
Even a full upgraded Coyote runner gets only around 39 attack and 350 HP and with fire pit attack dance they get around 56 attack.
This is way too low for 0.1 ranged armour. And that too they cost wood, which is a big no in the late game. That is why they easily fall to massed artillery.
Possible Solution: Make Coyote runner stats closer to Cossack (but slightly lesser). Increase their cost (Ex: 95F 45G) to balance this, but make them cost food and gold, not wood. Aztecs already have two cost effective units, viz. Macehualtin and Puma spearmen. They don’t need three.
Problem 2: Jaguar knights get easily beaten by ranged HI like Musketeers/Dorobants/Rifle Men etc. when they are supposed to be good vs. them, as they (jaguar knights) are slow.
This is because they have only 4.5 speed which is not sufficient to cover the range. And the only way to use them and win is to put them in stealth mode, which again is not plausible in high level games.
Also units in stealth mode are 50% slower, which makes it useless.
Possible Solution: Instead of 50%, reduce the speed penalty in stealth mode for all units to 20% or 30%. This makes stealth mode usable not only for Aztecs, but for all civilisations.
For example if a unit speed Is 5, its speed should be 4 or 3.5 in stealth mode, not 2.5.
Increase the speed of Jaguar knights to 5.5. Increase their cost by 15% to balance this.
Problem 3: Arrow knights resist ranged damage, which again is useless as we use them only against artillery. That is why they easily fall to massed artillery when they are supposed to counter them.
Possible Solution: Put 0.4 siege armour (I mean siege damage resist) instead of ranged armour. Increase their range to 32, so that they can match Iroquois light cannons. Increase their cost by 20% to balance this.
Please comment and don't hesitate to point out errors.