The Maya return in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass (which happens to include the Maya and Gran Colombia Pack). The Mayans are led by Lady Six Sky and they’re pretty good for deity runs, though they can also be severely hampered by bad RNG. Here’s our deity guide to help you out.
Note: For more information, check out our Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass guides and features hub.
Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Lady Six Sky and Gran Colombia deity guide
Deity difficulty settings
- Ancient Era start
- Standard speed
- Continents map (Small)
- 4 AI civ opponents
- 10 city-states
- Level 2 disaster intensity
- Standard resources, rainfall, etc.
Mayan unique perks
- Unique ability – Mayab: No additional housing when settling adjacent to freshwater and coastal tiles. Instead, each farm provides +1 housing and +1 gold, and +1 amenity for every luxury resource adjacent to the city center.
- Lady Six Sky’s leader ability: Ix Mutal Ajaw – Non-capital cities within six tiles of the capital gain +10% yields; -15% yields to all other non-capital cities; +5 combat strength to all units within six tiles of the capital.
- Unique unit: Hul’che – Ancient era unit; replaces Archer; has stronger ranged attack; +5 combat strength vs. wounded opponents.
- Unique district: Observatory – Replaces Campus district and is cheaper to build (seen below); +2 science for adjacent plantations; +1 science for every two adjacent farms or districts.
Location, location, location
The Mayan unique perks in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass greatly differ from what they had in the Civilization V. In the previous game, they were a top-tier civ and an easy pick for deity runs owing to science boosts and proper timing with The Long Count ability. Now, in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass, you’ll have to take note of “location, location, location,” and, yes, even more “location.”
Due to Lady Six Sky’s Ix Mutal Ajaw ability, you don’t want to have Mayan cities that are too far away from your capital as they’ll have lower yields. As such, you’re going to have to play “tall” (fewer but densely populated cities) instead of “wide” (more cities that have lower population; cities scattered all over the map).
In terms of city placement, a general rule is to use the “double hexagon” — the perfect geometry of sorts. The suggestion was put forth by Civilization VI Redditor Aweseman which works well on any difficulty mode. You can see a sample grid below:
- The yellow star represents your capital.
- The blue ones represent cities that are within four tiles of your capital (the inner hexagon).
- The purple ones represent cities that are six tiles away from your capital (the outer hexagon).
- Any Mayan city beyond the outer hexagon gets yield penalties.
You need to ensure the following if you want to reach the Maya’s full capabilities:
- Your starting location is on a hill tile to have higher production in the early game.
- You can’t start near the coast since that cuts off your expansion towards that direction.
- You’re surrounded by multiple resources that allow you to build plantations.
- Since you don’t get housing from starting next to freshwater (ie. rivers) or coasts, you’ll need multiple flat tiles that’ll allow you to build farms.
- Your Observatory (unique science district) doesn’t have innate science bonuses from the terrain, so it has to be surrounded by these plantations, farms, or other districts.
If you want to see an awesome start, here’s one from Civilization VI Redditor JNR13. Take a look at those three adjacent sugar resources (plantations) and flat tiles (farms) that can surround an Observatory. That’s the dream:
Mind you, that’s the ideal scenario, though it can be a bit tricky depending on your game settings. You may even need to pray to the RNG gods just to give you a great seed.
You can see an example below of what I thought was an “okay” start (I even got faith from a village hut and was able to get a free settler). Unfortunately, too many hills, mountains, and geothermal fissures — and too few plantation resources — meant that I’d lack housing or Observatory boons. Oh, and venturing further east made me realize I was near the coast already:
- Writing – Allows you to construct the Observatory district.
- Irrigation – Allows you to construct plantations to further boost the Observatory district’s science yields.
- Archery – Allows you to recruit/upgrade Slingers to Hul’che units, and they’re the best ones you’ll have early in Civilization VI‘s campaign.
- Masonry – Allows you to construct Ancient Walls.
- Engineering – Allows you to construct Aqueducts to gain more housing.
Civics and policy cards
- Code of Laws (God-King before switching to Urban Planning) – +1 faith and gold in the capital vs. +1 production in all cities.
- Craftsmanship (Agoge) – +50% production towards land units.
- Military Tradition – Provides flanking bonuses.
- Political Philosophy (Oligarchy government) – Units gain +4 combat strength.
- Oligarchic Legacy wildcard policy
- Recorded History (Natural Philosophy) – +100% Campus/Observatory district adjacency bonus.
- Feudalism – Bonus food for farms and plantations.
- Mercenaries (Professional Army) – 50% less gold cost for unit upgrades.
- The Enlightenment (Rationalism) – Bonus science from Campus/Observatory; +50% if city has 10+ population; +50% if district has +3 adjacency bonus.
You’ll notice that we’re following a somewhat similar progression as that of Simon Bolivar and Gran Colombia. That’s because, instead of doing an “Archer Rush,” we’ll end up doing a “Hul’che Rush.”
For Civilization VI deity games, I prefer Religious Settlements thanks to the free settler. You can quickly get your third city and churn out more units thanks to bonus yields as long as you’re within six tiles of the capital. Alternatively, Divine Spark remains very useful thanks to increased Great Scientist generation (and you’ll have a lot of Observatories anyway).
Here are some beliefs you could pick if you’re focusing on religion with the Maya:
- Follower – Feed the World (food) or Zen Meditation (amenities).
- Worship – Wat (science). If Wat is already taken, then Gurdwaras is your next best bet.
- Founder – Stewardship (science and/or gold).
- Enhancer – Defender of the Faith (buffs combat strength in cities that follow your religion).
Magnus is the best choice for your Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass playthroughs as the Maya. One of his perks provides extra food if you have a trade route from a secondary city that’s going to your capital. The other lets you recruit settlers from his assigned city without a population drop. Your second Governor pick should be Pingala thanks to his additional boosts to science and culture yields.
- Coliseum – This wonder is amazing to have as the Maya due to loyalty and amenities bonuses to cities within six tiles (which is perfect when you’re playing “tall” anyway).
- University of Sankore – You’ll gain science and faith from domestic trade routes (the same ones that Magnus is boosting with extra food). This can be a little tough to get since it requires a desert tile next to an Observatory district (and you’ll often avoid deserts if you’re trying to build a lot of farms).
- Hanging Gardens – Provides a means of increasing the growth of all cities from the early-game onwards.
- Great Library and Oxford University – Additional science boosts and Great Scientist points are more than welcome.
Meeting new civs
Your playthrough as the Maya in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass will be highly dependent on the game’s state within the first few turns. Warmonger civs on deity difficulty will likely rush you if you’re close by, whereas other civs further away might just ease up a bit. The goal is to have a strong standing army ready to defend (or attack) at a moment’s notice. You’ll see a somewhat “okay” starting location below since the Yosemite wonder is close by:
Build order: Slinger -> Worker -> Observatory -> Slinger
The reason why we want a couple of Slingers early (instead of Scouts) is that we can quickly upgrade them into Hul’che once we get Archery. We’re also going to need a few farms so our Observatory gets science yields, hence why it’s important to recruit a worker early. If you feel that your starting location is already well-defended by Slingers, recruit a settler to claim lands.
Marking your territory
I was able to pump out enough faith thanks to the God-King policy, a village hut, and a nearby Religious city-state (Kandy), allowing me to pick Religious Settlements for my Pantheon:
Take note of the pins I’ve added to the south of my capital. These mark the placement of my next cities and their respective Observatories:
The first civ I met was China and you can see additional pins to the north:
As with most Civilization VI opponents on deity difficulty, they’ll forward-settle to lock you down. It’s a detriment to them because of Lady Six Sky’s leader ability that gives additional combat strength to your units if they’re within 6 tiles of the capital. That means we can easily defend our territories or advance to any forward-settled cities while keeping the bonus.
Going on the offensive
If Archery’s close to getting researched, switch to Agoge and Urban Planning and quickly train Hul’che. Turn your Slingers into Hul’che as well:
The combination of the Observatory and Hul’che should give you enough points to reach a Golden Age once you enter the Classical Era:
Anyway, as for Qin Shi Huangdi, I simply declared a surprise war. Thanks to the capabilities of the Hul’che (stronger damage vs. wounded opponents), mopping up China’s early-game units was a breeze. The civ was eliminated during the Classical Era:
But I did eventually build the Forbidden City wonder in Xi’an to commemorate those old battles:
The Maya control the continent
There was another opposing civ on the same continent: England led by Eleanor of Aquitaine. She didn’t have any means of going to war with me due to having to go through several city-states and rough terrain. Instead, she spent most of her time denouncing me and making silly demands:
While she was doing that, I just made sure to focus primarily on science by way of Observatories. Because of the synergy with farms and plantations, I was able to grow my cities quickly in a short period, all while staying ahead of the technological race.
The image below is my capital’s Observatory. It’s not much because we didn’t get the ideal placement, but it more than served its purpose while playing a Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass deity game as the Maya:
Meanwhile, the grid below shows my Mechanized Infantry and Machine Gunners just waiting to pounce on Eleanor’s Musketmen and Pike & Shot units. You’ll notice how I couldn’t get the perfect double hexagonal city placement geometry due to other city-states and the southern coast:
Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Maya deity playthrough summary
The Mayans led by Lady Six Sky are an extremely powerful pick for Civilization VI deity games. They have all the right tools, perfect for turtling defensively and playing “tall,” and they can be a top-tier civ if all the stars align. Unfortunately, they also tend to rely too much on getting the perfect location and you might restart a few times just to find a decent spot.
However, if the RNG gods bless you with a worthwhile start location — especially flat terrain with three or more adjacent plantation resources and farmlands — then the Mayan unique abilities in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass go from “situational and complex” to “it’s time for a snowball science victory.” Heck, they’re practically good for domination as well thanks to staying ahead of the tech race.
Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass is available on Steam. The Maya and Gran Colombia Pack, already included in the season pass, can also be purchased separately. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.