The Mayans are an archer oriented civilization.
StrengthsEditTheir archers decrease in cost every single age, making them the cheapest of any civilization. Their unique unit is the Plumed Archer, an archer with better hitpoints, armor, speed but lower attack. These units are very cost effective due to their considerable durability. In groups their lower attack is mostly negated and if outmatched can easily escape due to their high speed. Plumed Archers work well when used in conjunction with Eagle Warriors, who can knock out cavalry units and siege weapons that can easily kill the Plumed Archers. Their Eagle Warriors gain an extra forty hitpoints with the Mayan unique technology El Dorado. This allows the Mayans to field a fast and durable force that can easily handle most threats. In terms of defense, they are average in most respects but have the advantage of having cheaper walls, which are only about half the cost. They also have a quite effective navy having access to all naval technologies except for the Cannon Galleon.
Since they are a Mesoamerican civilization they do not have access to cavalry or gunpowder, which many see as a large disadvantage. Eagle Warriors offer a serviceable replacement but cannot match the damage output of heavy cavalry. However, El Dorado provides a large boost for Mayan Eagle Warriors which allows them to fare better against them. Also, like the Aztecs, they do not have access to gunpowder units and as such are missing the Cannon Galleon, Bombard Cannon, and Hand Cannoneer. Unlike the Aztecs, Mayans cannot even convert a Bombard Cannon, as they have no access to the Redemption technology. Their infantry are also apparently weak compared to most other civilizations as they cannot research the Champion upgrade.
Mayans are useful in a wide variety of situations, and have good non-situational bonuses. Their start is slightly different from other civilizations since they start with an extra Villager. This causes them to start out population capped, so they should start by researching Loom. This gives them an advantage over other civilizations, as when they stop to research Loom, they will lose Villager production time, and get one less Villager early-on. This extra Villager can be used to bolster their economy, or to wall off against attacks using cheaper Walls. Their Dark Age is also made stronger by the fact that they get more food out of Sheep, Berries, and Boars.
In the Feudal Age, the Mayans have fewer options than other civilizations due to their lack of Cavalry. However, 10% cheaper Archers allow for a formidable Archer rush. Since Archers take no food, generally it is wise to create a few (~5) to pressure the opponent. Depending how successful it is, more can be made to keep up the pressure. Archers can also be used defensively, firing from behind a wall.
In the Castle Age, an important decision must be made. They can go for Plumed Archers, Eagle Warriors, or both. Using Plumed Archers and slowly adding Eagles later is generally the safest choice. However, if the opponent is running heavily on Archers, Eagles are a wiser choice. Using both can be risky, but in situations where it works, it is very effective. To use Plumed Archers, stone needs to become a central economic focus. There should be enough for two Castles (and a Town Center or two) at the start of the Castle Age. the player must switch away from food, and get Wood, Stone, and Gold. For Eagles, the player must ensure that Gold is plentiful. If he or she don't have an excellent supply of Gold (such as Trade) then Eagles will cripple the player's economy to a point where late game action is off the table so the player must switch heavily into Gold and Make around five Barracks when aging up.
The Castle Age is where Mayans truly begin to shine. If the player decides to go into Plumed Archers, he or she must immediately put down two Castles, with a minimum of three (preferably more) Builders each. The player must also get a University, since Murder Holes is important for keeping Castles alive. The Castles must be created at close distance in order to support each other and keep enemies out of the player's base, but aren't vulnerable. Researching Bodkin Arrow and Padded Archer Armor at the Blacksmith, and Thumb Ring at the Archery Range is vital for a mayan player. Since Knights can easily counter small amounts of Plumed Archers, Pikemen can be kept on hand. Eagle Warriors must be used for raiding and harassing Villagers.
In the Imperial Age, Mayans get even cheaper Archers, drastically stronger Eagle Warriors, and their resource bonus really starts helping as resources run out. Elite Plumed Archers should be researched if Plumes are in use, El Dorado and Elite Eagle Warrior if Eagles are in use, and Halberdier if Pikemen are in use, along with all the Blacksmith upgrades. An effective Mayan Imperial Age army consists of Halberdiers to shield the Archers from Cavalry, Eagles for killing Archers and raiding, and Plumed Archers as the bulk of the force to shoot down opponents as they approach. Arbalests are a great army addition in The Forgotten, since Obsidian Arrows allows a large unit of them to function as a Siege Engine that can double as extra firepower against units.
On water maps, Mayans have an excellent navy that sadly lacks Cannon Galleons. their resurce lasting bonus gives them an edge on this kind of maps as they will have trees on their islands for longer time as well as their gold mines and those are the resources required for any war vessel.
Strategy changes in The ForgottenEdit
As an archer oriented civilization, Mayans have already strong foot archers. With their new technology Obsidian Arrows, archer line units become more versatile and useful in an attack to the enemy towns, this possible for their bonus against buildings this tech gives to them.
Strategy Changes in The African KingdomsEdit
The obsidian arrows technology now gives +6 attack bonus against buildings instead of +4 making this technology an indisputable improvement for the Arbalest line
Their resurce bonus is reduced to 15% but despite this drawback they have still a good economy
Also as a Native American civilization that have access to the Eagle warriors they can now perform an Eagle scout rush on Feudal age as this unit is now accessible at that age.
Mayans make an excellent teammate, as their ally can cover their weaknesses, allowing their considerable strengths to massively increase. Huns, Persians, Franks, Spanish, Teutons, and Magyars all make great allies with their Paladins.
As a Team Mate the mayans provide cheaper walls to their team and this is highly valuable for all civilizations ( except perhaps for the Goths which doesn't have access to the stone wall) when they have to defend themselves and close up a location. this bonus is specially useful for other civilizations that have distinctive defensive bonuses that increase the capabilities of the wall like the Chinese with their Great Wall technology, the Koreans ( in the Forgotten they can create walls faster), the Spanish who can create walls faster and the Byzantines which have stronger walls. Also when allied with Incas the Inca stone walls cost is reduced to only 2 stone ( while with other civs costs 3), this to the fact that the Incas have a 15% stone discount in all defensive structures and the Mayan team bonus make the stone Wall cost even less ( 50% discount on walls) when allied whit Incas, in this case the mayan player must specialize in economy so the mayan player can tribute stone to their Inca ally which must build most of the defensive structures for both players.
Their lasting resource bonus is also helpful on team games as this makes the mayans excellent springboards in springboard tactics as they can provide the spring player with resources specially the rarest ones Gold and Stone since the mines used by the Mayans will last longer.
Mayans benefit from bonuses that allows them to improve their Archers and Infantry as well as team bonuses that benefit their farms as they strangely have lower farm workrates than other civilizations. In regards to archer team bonuses that benefits them greatly there are the Briton Team bonus, the Magyar team bonus, the Saracen Team bonus ( which will further a bit the antibuilding capabilities of the mayan arbalest) and the Berber grant them fully-teched Genitour and Kasbah technology. In regards to Infantry team bonuses the Goth team bonus work well for the mayans as it help for them to spam faster the Eagle warriors. Chinese, and Inca team bonuses help to the mayans to gather food better from farms.
Since Rise of the Rajas, all Southeast Asian civilizations deliver a supplementary trio for Mayan players lacking them: cavalry for fast attacks, Battle Elephants to screen Mayan archers, and, last but not least, Bombard Cannons as late-game multipurpose ranged support. Furthermore, their team bonuses also spice up Mayan gameplay by various means: