I don't see why Pacal would be a favourite; he has relatively little land, and the primary land he has available to him (flood plains) will draw Montezuma's attention. They're both likely to found religions and subsequent diplomatic tensions, added to their border tensions - so war it is.
Frederick is described by one word: Mediocre. Or possibly 'average', 'boring', or 'meh'. A more competent Hatshepsut, one that doesn't roll over and die immediately the moment Montezuma makes first contact. Elizabeth is more competent economically-speaking, but she also borders Montezuma.
Montezuma, of course, isn't thát dangerous. It's not like he will win. But who stands to profit from all this? Catherine. Who is very good at peaceful expansion and then pivoting towards military expansion - and who has a lot of land available to her and some juicy Egyptian wonders or English gold/science-optimised cities to expand into.
Although I very much like the theory I read of Hatshepsut going for a very early war with War Chariots - but look at how far away she is from other AIs (Frederick is closer to Pacal than Hatshepsut is to Catherine, and both Catherine and Hatshepsut are the farthest away from others). I don't think Hatshepsut has it in her - but it would be fun.
Catherine wins (Domination in, oh, I think I either default to 350 or 315, I have no clue how to predict this anyway), Pacal dies first... I can't see Elizabeth surviving intact and Frederick should be more competent than Hatshepsut (and than Montezuma, of course... Of course? Unless? ), so Frederick gets second place.
Pacal cultural victory from a boxed in start and 4th place on the scoreboard beating a Lizzy cultural attempt by 3 turns anybody? Can just imagine the comments on the stream if that happened.
Interestingly cultural seems to be a more common victory condition (or attempt) than space in this field. At least four of the AIs will go for cultural victories fairly regularly. Hatty builds lots of wonders though is usually quite late to put on the slider. Elizabeth can put on the slider quite early though not always with enough culture buildings. Pacal is a bit more situational but can do it as above with a boxed in 6 city empire. Monty will sometimes randomly flip on the culture slider in the modern era if he is doing well though usually ends up declaring another war and winning by domination instead. The only ones I have not seen attempt cultural victories are creative Cathy and Freddy.
Yup, the first half of the game should be way spicier with Montezuma for sure.
For the newer people, Monty is the ultimate warmonger.
His plotting for Max Wars, Limited Wars, and Dogpile Wars is as high as it gets. (Technically DeGaulle plots DogPile wars slightly more often. DogPile wars are plotted against AI that are already at war with someone else)
His unique unit, the Jaguar Warrior 5, does not require bronze or iron to build.
His unit courage is high, though a step below Ragnar's units who thirst for blood.
The main reason Monty edges out Ragnar for aggression rating is he is fearless of how powerful his neighbors are.
iMaxWarNearbyPowerRatio= 130 means that when he is plotting a Max War against a close civ, he is willing to take them on if they have 130 * 1.5 = 195% of his soldier strength or less.
(1.5 multiplier is because for Max Wars, AI's consider their victim to have 2/3rds of their actual defensive power. For limited wars victims have their full defensive power)
With Aggressive AI turned on, the AI think their own power is 4/3rd's higher than it actually is.
So Monty in Civ4 Survivor will attack his neighbors that have less than 260% of his strength.
Even his iLimitedWarRand is 130!
His noWar thresholds are 0 for Annoyed, 30 for Cautious, and 80 for Pleased.
I think these effectively get adjusted down a bit with Aggressive AI and civs whose WarRands are less than 100, but I'm not sure.
If he founds a religion, he will quickly be -4 diplo with heathens.
If someone is 3, 4, or 5 places ahead of him on the scoreboard, he will be -1 hidden diplo with them.
0 Peace Weight
He also starts the game -1 hidden diplo with everyone.
There is literally nothing stopping Montezuma from early wars. (He can launch with just Jaguars? or does he need Chariots too?)
At least without metal Ragnar might be more docile, but not Monty!
As soon as he signs a peace treaty for 10 turns, he will plot war on someone else and make another war.
I'll try to link some his past games from Youtube that starts on his 1st war.
The one time I saw Catherine turn on the slider, Montezuma ran her over!
With a week to go, I like Montezuma and Hatshepsut's odds of scoring points in this game. It is easy to focus on the latter, but the former is not faring all that much better. While I would like to pick Catherine for first, I am a bit antsy as I think she and Pacal are both substantially overvalued in the picks so far. That just makes me want to even the odds by picking an undervalued leader, but we have seen before that the favorite can deliver regardless of how they are valued...
If Pacal does not die by Monty first, then Maya will be a ticking bomb for Aztecs. In that case, I see Monty coming up as runner up quite hard. Like very hard. I imagine if Catherine runs over Egypt and Montezuma runs over England, instead of turning his attention to Frederick or Pacal, crazy Montezuma might just attack Russia for fun. I really can't count on him. And in the long run I favor Pacal over Fredeirck for second place.
That is why I selected Catherine Domination victory with Pacal second. 325 turn with 11 wars. Elizabeth ftd.
This should be interesting game.
Still, under fair land share in terms of both food and productivity, low peace weight leaders almost always win 1v1 wars against high peace weight wonder builders.