Just an idea, but a Battle Elephant UU could be cool. It could have just better stats (like Magyar Hussar vs regular Hussar), or improved speed, or a mechanic like Cataphracts where it has positive armor class vs Halberdiers. You could even, in principle, make this UU weak to something like Skirmishers but resilient to Halbs, requiring the opponent to mix 2 units to beat a mix of this and the regular Battle Elephant army composition.
Just this seems like rly low-hanging fruit for a UU so I thought I’d share it. Incidentally as a small addendum, I’ve become convinced after long thinking that the regular Battle Elephant could also take less bonus dmg from pikeman. As far as I understand, how they take 2x bonus damage, once from Cavalry armor class and once from Battle elephant armor class, resulting in something like 50 damage per hit. I do think this is reasonable given their massive HP and how Pikeman should stay a counter unit, however I think the Battle Elephant armor class damage could gain a +5 resistance or something along those lines, this wouldn’t be a thing for War Elephant so War Elephants would still be balanced but Battle Elephants would be a bit better in early Castle age.
Persian elephant uu is a melee elephant,BE is also melee elephant with a different skin.even if there is another melee elephant with a different look and stats its still just a melee elephant which we already have as a uu.
What we can add is a elephant archer uu(ranged elephant unit)as the khmer one is more like a siege weapon on an elephant.
If you want a battle elephant with a unique gimmick that changes how they are used unit, play literally any elephant civs. Malay have very cheap elephants but only have the first armor upgrade making them weak to archers. Burmese have UT that give them +2/2 and +5 against archers making them good vs archers. Vietnamese are even more tanky, Khmer have more attack and speed allowing you to be more aggressive, Bengalis are resistant to monks and BD, and Dravidians are useless because they are missing all of their upgrades.
Some day, I hope Tais will be added as new civ (umbrella for all Tai peoples). And they could have a White Elephant as UU.
Perhaps, they could be completely immune to conversion or have a very high resistance (e.g. like Scout cav line) while also being faster than Battle Elephant? Don’t know if and how this could be viable, but I would love to see “white” elephants, which even made it to the official flag of Siam for some time
This is the main counterpoint though, that each civ’s BEs are different enough that they almost play out like different units (not entirely, as they have the same base function) and there isn’t really a “standard” version of the battle elephant. The need for further unique elephant units is also arguably undermined with the siege elephant, which has an entirely different set of strengths.
Even so, something like a cannon elephant is still an option for future civs.
The idea of an UT for BE is horrible inherently. Stategically expensive units need passive bonuses. The invesment is too big, making it either too predictable or just a post-Imp TG fantasy option for closed maps.
A missing tech doesnt necessarily say that we need it implemented.
Bengalis already have Anti-Cav resistance. Besides that most Elephant civs are poorly designed.
BE is not a viable unit to begin with, so before adding luxurious content- we have to first address the core issue. Same goes for any UT regarding Steppe Lancers.