An idea for EA - make them an alternative to Archers for TG flanks

Are you tired of the stale knight/archer meta in TGs?
Well, then I might have an Idea tor flanks to make things a bit more diverse.
The basic idea of the concept is to make EA available from Feudal Age and make them soft-countering both archers and Cavalry. But in the reverse countered by a lot of other stuff like spears, skirms, infantry… Whilst in 1v1 this wouldn’t make the unit necesarily very strong (except vs the rare case of double gold comp ofc), it would be an ideal unit for flanks to fight against the typical cav/archer meta. Forcing the opponents to add some other units to their composition.
I thr further process EAs could then potentially even be added to more civilsations like Burmese, Malay or Khmer.
Ofc the issue with this design is to make it strong vs the established TG meta. But not too strong it completely shuts it down. Also not too weak vs the counters so it can be used in 1v1s also. At least in combination with another unit type. Also we need to take abstract concepts like the ability to raid into account which indirectly means how fast the unit moves, how much damage it deals to vills and how much defensive fire it can take.
The concept I want to bring forward here is to leave the EAs tankyness as it is. But reduce the damage output against non-cavalry units. Instead giving them a good amount of bonus damage vs cavalry.
Also to make it work in TGs the unit has to be available from Feudal, otherwise a flank civ would need to make archers already and therefore have less of an incentive to transition to them in castle age. Then the unit would need to be buffed so there is an incentive which would possibly lead to an overbuff, making them too strong when you can afford that transition. This would be a bad design.
So, how is my design?

Name Elephant Archer Elephant Archer Elite Elephant Archer
Armor Class War Elephant War Elephant War Elephant
Armor Class Cavalry Cavalry Cavalry
Armor Class Archer Archer Archer
Armor Class Cavalry Archer Cavalry Archer Cavalry Archer
Produced at Archery Range Archery Range Archery Range
Production Time 48 s 34 s 34 s
Production Cost 80 F, 70 G 80 F, 70 G 80 F, 70 G
HP 200 230 250
Speed 0.9 0.9 0.9
ROF 2 2 2
Attack 4 Pierce 5 Pierce 6 Pierce
Atk Bonus 2 vs Cavalry 3 vs Cavalry 3 vs Cavalry
Atk Bonus 1 vs Camel 2 vs Camel 2 vs Camel
Range 4 5 5
Accuracy 70% 70% 85%
Melee Armor 0 0 0
Pierce Armor 1 1 1
Benefits from Cavalry/Archer/CA Upgrades
Upgrade Cost 80 s 1000 F, 800 G

On the left it’s the feudal EA, in the middle the Castle Age auto-upgrade and on the right the imperial one.

Here are the changed to the Castle Age EA summarized:


-1 Base Damage
-1 Pierce Armor


+3 Damage vs Cavalry
+2 Damage vs Camels
+1 Range
takes 4 less Bonus Damage from Skirms
trainable from Feudal Age

The imp upgrade is also nerfed a bit. That’s the compensation for making the unit available in Feudal and a stronger against cav in castle age. The EAs don’t scale as good anymore

The low speed and damage output makes the unit kinda bad for raiding. So it’s probably then mostly used for defending in the early and midgame, which is intended.

What do you think, is this a potential option for flanks in TGs, a way to diversify the TG meta a bit?


Because it still costs food.


I agree that the food cost is kind of a restrain.
That’s why the unit has really high base stats for a feudal unit. 200 HP is almost 7 x as much as an archer and 4 x as much as a scout cavalry.
The question is wether you can compensate for that food cost by going up a bit later to feudal and add some early farms.
Don’t forget that it also has kind of high gold ratio so it’s not like scouts that only cost food. You still can probably sustain 1 Range EA production continously if you set up your eco well.
The food/gold cost actually should synergize well with TG open map gameplay where there is usually a bit more extended feudal. It would allow a smoother transition to castle age than with archers.

But ofc you are right with the general statement that high food cost at this stage of the game is a drawback.


an expensive / slow unit isn’t a viable answer

the games are over before you can even gather forage bushes because it got power crept so hard with the briton+mayan guaranteed forward spawns. they are often ending games before even having to make a mill

and, as always, people forget that they can just ignore the elephant player and go double-team the pocket

On top of that, you’re talking about flank position.

On the other hand, I’m very much so against bonus damage to Cavalry. You’re making a Genoese Crossbow that can be massed from Archery Range - granted, slowly, due to their cost - that won’t die to Onagers. They’d need to take a lot more bonus damage from basic Skirmishers, or have much lower range so they can’t simply sit in your base in Feudal and deny everything.


I don’t think it’s so easy to deny “everything”.
The thing is that thing is expensive. So it’s especially costly as a counter to “small” feudal agression.
You would invest more if you eg make 3 of them vs 4 scouts. But you can’t really use them to threaten anything of the opponent. Whilst the 4 scouts can just run around and look for any unprotected areas. You would also need to invest into walls.

So it’s only feasible against bigger feudal agression.

Also in 1v1s skirms are still a very good counter. They just kill them slower, but because of the reduced damage of the EAs, the EAs deal only 1 instead of 2 damage vs skirms then. So the reduction in the skirm bonus damage is mostly to re-establish the current counter situation because of the reduced (halved) damage from the EA to skirms.

I don’t think these things shut down all feudal agression, just specifically the one you currently face in TGs. But also with a kinda low damage output (for the investment), so it’s not that they would just melt through the TG aggression. They counter it, but with quite low damage output.

To have a comparison, in Castle age they deal 6 damage per shot vs knights. But x-bows also deal 3 damage already. Whilst costing less then half of the EA. That means EA actually kill knights slower than xbows in castle age.

This is just wrong. GenBow deals 9 damage per shot in castle age against knights for a cost of 85 res. These things cost 150 res and deal 6 damage per shot.
That’s a huge difference. Genbows hava almost 2.5 x the damage output per investment vs knights.

It’s really more a soft-counter. With taking away 1 base damage and 3 bonus damage vs cav I just increased the damage output of 50 % vs knights effectively. That’s just enough for becoming a soft-counter.

I think a lot of people aren’t really aware how strong knights actually are in castle age and what it takes just to soft-counter them.

And they are a unique unit, can only be trained from Castles… I did not say they’re equal in strength, I’m saying they’re similar in effectiveness. Genoese counter Cavalry hard. I get what you want to do with a soft-counter, but that is not done through bonus damage. Bonus damage will ignore armor, hence why it is so effective in countering.

When Castle Age EAs take 4 less bonus damage, I assume you mean their Cavalry Archer armor will be 0, like a standard Cavalry Archer then? You remove their ‘Elephant part’ completely? How are you meant to counter those with a Skirmishers, especially if the same is true for Feudal variant? Sure, they cost a lot, but Skirmishers similarly put you behind in food, and mixing in just a few with your Archer mass will make ### # ##### lot stronger against standard Archers and Knights.

You’re sort of feeding into the Archer meta even more, unless you remove Archer line completely. Or is that what you meant with ‘in combination with another unit type’, that the Archer player will just make a few Elephant Archers and whoever has a better food eco wins?

Bonus damage is tricky to balance as it can drastically change how many volleys you need to one-shot Knights, hence the ‘critical mass’ we usually talk about. Keep in mind - Genoese Crossbow ‘only’ has +5 against Cavalry in Castle Age (+7 in Imperial), and even a small group can shut down Knights because they reach the ‘critical’ mass much faster.

A soft counter instead is like how the Champion is a soft-counter to trash units, or Knights (and Scouts) are a soft-counter to Archers. Elephant Archers soft-counters Archers because they are tanky and will win the engagements purely due to tankiness.

I would simply just remove the bonus damage (or keep it at 1, 0 vs Camels). Perhaps - though not sure if possible in AoE2 - they could be way weaker in Feudal while costing less. But that might bring its own problems with that design, so I’m not sure about that either.

yeah, i mean lets look at these EA he proposes. are they expensive? yes. slow? yes. but not much slower then a normal archer (after husbandry even faster). they also have 1 base PA, which means between that and their massive health pool (and equal range) they are not going to be terrible against archers.
now lets flip over to the real issue - Cavalry.
with +3 bonus damage these things are going to do 10 damage to Knights a shot, or 6 after armor. that means that these new EA only require 20 shots to shut those down.

Could it work? yeah. But i would be absolutely apprehensive about this unit as right now it looks like it would be a solid answer against both cavalry and archers.

Why not try firing while on the move? They are slow, so it’s easy to catch up with them, it fits, being elephants, and it’ll be a really interesting attack.

As I said, it’s intended to be good against both. Yes.
But it’s bad against basically everything else. Skirms still hard-counter it, as the EAs only deal 1 damage against skirms per shot whilst the skirms deal 4 damage in feudal and eskrims even 8 in castle age per shot.
Spears/Pikes then oounter them even harder than currently cause of the lower base damage.
Even Militia line, Monks and Siege are good counters vs them.

So, in all concludion. It’s a tradeoff. Again here is the list of changes again:

Does this really look like a massive overall buff to them?
If it does, I need an explanation for this. Because for me this really looks more like a tweak than a massive buff. The tweak is se so it fits the most common TG situation for flanks, yes.
But especially for 1v1s the tweak allows also to make more effective use of many other units vs the EA then.

I think this is a diffent idea. I like that idea for EAs just for curiosity reasons aswell. But I think this idea doesn’t fit the intention of this thread cause it would make EAs especially good vs slow units, not cavalry.

Terrible idea, no, sorry.

But the way you word it makes it sound like they are taking damage as if they were only Cavalry Archers (Elephants have -4 CA armor, so if they take 4 less will that become 0 CA armor?), so Skirms that already barely counter EAs - and not even that effectively - will definitely not be a hard hard-counter. And guess what, you can simply add a Scout or two to kill those Skirmishers. Only Spears/Pikes can since afaik they don’t have bonus damage against Spear-line. But guess what, you have already teched into ranged upgrades, you can just add a few Archers and negate those too!

Militia-line definitely aren’t a good counter, and with Siege you need several hits (by which point you’re likely to have a small mass of them anyway to reliably kill Mangonels; post-imp for Onagers you’re likely fully boomed anyway to keep producing them).

Point is, EAs with just a little of bonus damage are going to counter Cavalry, and not in a soft-counter way as you hoped. Why even bother adding Spearmen of your own! Besides, have you watched EAs in Imperial stand and fight Paladins? They more or less barely lose, but the change will tip the scales hard.

I don’t want them to be a hard-hard counter. It’s enough to me they become a decent counter.
Just fyi the interatction change in castle age:
EA dmg vs Eskirm: 2 => 1 (so the damage is halved, or effectiveyl 50 %.damage output)
Skirm dmg vs EA: 12 => 8 ( so the damahe is reduce by 1/3, or effectively 67 % damage output).
EA have one more range though. But having then the same range vs skirms also means that it’s easy to calc an interaction with no micro involved.

Amount Damage ROF HP DPS Time to Kill Gold Cost Food Cost Wood Cost Total Res
Eskirm 13 104 3 455 34.66666667 72.11538462 0 325 455 780
EA 10 10 1.7 2500 5.882352941 77.35 700 800 0 1500

You see, in Castle age 13 Eskirms are anough to kll 10 EAs. With basically half the cost.

In Imp it’s a bit closer cause the skirms have no Imp upgrade:

Amount Damage ROF HP DPS Time to Kill Gold Cost Food Cost Wood Cost Total Res
Eskirm 19 152 3 665 50.66666667 53.28947368 0 475 665 1140
EA 10 20 1.7 2700 11.76470588 56.525 700 800 0 1500

There you need 19 eskirms to kill 10 EAs. But in Imp you can also add siege which counters mass EAs quite ############ So it’s not that Skirms would be the only option.

I think you heavily overassess the EA design I made. I think you only looked at the positive changes, the extra range, bonus damage and cav archer armor class. But you don’t see the negative changes. The reduction of pierce armor and especially the 1 less damage which is huge in a lot of matchups. Even EAs want to kill the melee units before they can engage. Therefore a reduction to the base damage output of a ranged units hurts that unit really badly.
Alone that you considered the interaction with nerfs as being an overall buff to the EA vs skirms tells me that you seemingly don’t really see how this matchup really plays out. Yes Skirms deal way less Damage vs these boys, but they also take only half of the damage from the EA, which you seemingly basically ignore.
LS then takes 4 damage instead of 5 (champ 5 instead of 6)
Doesn’t seems like much, but in a real fighting situation this can easily flip the tide.
Even aaginst Knights I think you exaggerate. You only see the 3 bonus damage but you don’t see that in order to add this bonus damage I remove 1 base damage. So it’s effectively 2 more damage. And it’s 2 more damage from a unit that already costs 150 ressources. Currently the Knight also counters EA pretty well, so in order to make EAs kinda soft-counter the Knights I had to add this amount of bonus damage. I’m not even sure if this is enough to make EAs actually countering Knights. Cause Knights are actually really strong and currently counter EAs pretty well.
Again I think you don’t see the negative changes to the EAs and I also you overestimate the positive changes. I don’t think you can really compare that EA Design with GenBows. As again, Genbows deal 2.4 x the damage per cost vs knights. That’s a massive difference, Yes The EAs have much more HP than the Genbows (3.1 x more HP / cost). BUT for ranged units the higher damage output is much more valueable than higher HP, especially when it comes to micro.
And I even think you underestimate how strong cav in this game actually is and how much bonus damage it needs for a unit so it can be considered a cav counter or even just being basically evenly matched with heavy cav.

I just want to remind you that the intention from the beginning was to make a unit that ############ archers and cav in order to be an option in feudal for flanks. Ofc this unit needs some amount of bonus damage in order to do so.
And I think with the design I chose I made a good tradeoff. Taking away 1 base damage from a ranged unit is a hefty nerf.

I’m not saying this is too OP or anything. I honestly think you’re design will be on balance side more or less. The only issue I can see the free Castle Age upgrade. That is too powerful and will be OP. As I mentioned earlier, with costing food, it won’t be viable from flank. And you agreed. Maybe you change the cost to wood and try another design?

I said it’s a drawback. But I think the design I chose makes them still kinda viable.

Well I first considered making the camel archer a regional unit that has bonus vs cav. But the issue with the civs in that redion is that they actually are kinda fine and don’t need any buffs, especially for TGs.
Opposed to Bengalis and Dravidians. (and also burmese)

Umm…How is this relevant to changing EA’s food cost to wood?

Bengalis EA is on fine spot imho. I thought Bengalis were designed more towards pocket than flank. But after their such bad performance people started to get better result from flank. I don’t know what is Bengalis TG position in open maps after the buff. In closed map, they are better at pocket than flank. Bengalis should get a buff but not on EA.

As for Dravidians, they are probably the worst civ in the game now as they are bad at almost every land map. Maybe they can get your Feudal EA with free upgrade. Although I’d prefer a better eco to afford EA or maybe cheaper EA.

If your target is to make Dravidians a solid flank civ, buff them individually. I’m not fan of changing a regional unit for only one civ, especially when it is an Elephant. Just look at BE.

1 Like

Actually i care the most for civs that currently have a kinda hard time finding “a spot” in the TG meta.
Like Turks.
But I wanted to use something already kinda existing and tweak it rather than making a completely new unit design

I also thought about a melee infantry with decent PA and bonus vs cav, but I think it has to be a ranged unit for a flank civ. Cause imo it’s only possible to defend against archer + scouts if you have ranged units that deal considerably high damage ve the scours too.

Melee units have the problem when they are outnumbered they just get oblitterated, whilst ranged units can use defences to hinder the opponent units killing them.

Cause Camel archers cost wood and not food?

Yeah, they are pretty bad in TG open maps.

Like Eagle?

Okay. But I was asking for a redesign if you can. Maybe 80f/70g → 90w/70g will be better. With a small upgrade cost in Castle Age like 200f/150g and 35 seconds.

Maybe with a bit less pierce armor, a bit more hp and more damage vs cavalry.
Also slwoer.
But again, i don’t think this is feasable for a flank cause it’s melee.

I’m not so sure about that. Imo the food cost ist actually fitting there cause you usually have more feudal gameplay in TGs which allows you to also set up more farming eco.
Alos as these thingies are more usable for defence you could justify just go up 1-2 vills later but with some more farms already. With this kind of eco you could potentially already sustain the production in feudal righ away.

One reason for this was also to make it less feasible for 1v1s to make this unit. I think it shoud be a mostly TG unit, at least in feudal age.

It hink this is justified. Maybe a bit cheaper, but as it is almost comparable with the xbow upgrade it should also have this kind of an upgrade.