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Will a newly recruited Aztec swordsman have the special ability of the Eagle warrior? Should I make a huge batch early on?

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The answer is NO.

From this wiki page.

Unfortunately, Eagle Warrior's ability is lost when it upgrades to a Swordsman.

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    Even upgrades? It's even worse than I thought!
    – Bar Akiva
    Dec 11, 2016 at 12:12
  • @BarAkiva No, upgrades are maintained!
    – Eric
    Dec 11, 2016 at 17:27
  • ^ any units Unique Ability IS lost when upgrading to a higher tier unit in Civ VI. Of course, you do not lose any promotions bonuses, exp or levels. In previous games, upgrading a Chu-Ko-Nu (for example) into another unit still let the unit keep it's fire twice ability, which was very OP.
    – CoqPwner
    Dec 13, 2016 at 20:07
  • In Civ5, unique abilities were implemented as special promotions assigned by the game engine when training that unit. Dec 19, 2016 at 3:24

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