Balance Adjustments for the Battle Elephant Civs

With the update 39284 the trample damage of Battle Elephants was reduced from 50% of their damage down to 25%.
This change was mainly implemented to nerf Khmer in team games who were almost unstoppable with their strong eco and speedy Battle Elephants.
The update 39284 was released on July 20th, so I assume by now lots of people have made their experiences with the “new” Battle Elephants and how they feel about them.

So let’s break this down:
We have four civilizations that have access to the Battle Elephant. Those are the Burmese, the Khmer, the Malay and the Vietnamese.

They don’t have a civ bonus affecting Battle Elephants.
Castle Age UT - Howdah: +1/+1 melee/pierce armor (400F/300W)
Imperial Age UT - Manipur Cavalry: +6 attack vs standard buildings (650F/400G)
Upgrades missing: none

Civ bonus: Battle Elephants move 15% faster.
Castle Age UT - Tusk Swords: +3 attack (200W/300G)
Upgrades missing: none

Civ bonus: Battle Elephants are 30% cheaper.
They don’t have a UT affecting Battle Elephants.
Upgrades missing: Bloodlines, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor

They don’t have a civ bonus affecting Battle Elephants.
Castle Age UT - Chatras: +50 HP (250F/250G)
Upgrades missing: Blast Furnace

I think it gets clear that the Khmer have the best Battle Elephants. We all know that speed kills, so 15% faster movement is a huge bonus. Besides that their UT Tusk Swords giving them +3 attack is very cheap for what it offers. Furthermore they have all upgrades regarding Battle Elephants available. And on top of all that, while all of them do have nice economy bonuses, their eco is undeniably the best out of the four civs.
In my opinion the Vietnamese are in the worst spot. They usually go for Archers at first. While Elephants theoretically are a good meat shield and can easily deal with everything threatening the Archers, they also are extremely expensive to upgrade and the cost may not be justifiable if you also want to continue to produce Archers. If they want to go for Elephants either way, the Vietnamese at that point will most likely not have any Cavalry upgrades, maybe not even a Stable yet.

As far as I know historically the Khmer did have a tremendous force of Elephants in their military so I don’t want to take the title of “Best Battle Elephants” from them. But I feel like this is out of balance to a certain extend.

My suggestions:

Howdah: +2/+1 melee/pierce armor
I heared some voices about adding +1 pierce armor but there is a reason why they changed it back in the days. They would just become omegatanks to everything firing arrows at them. So I think +1 melee armor is the better version to buff them.

Battle Elephants and Ballista Elephants move 10% faster
This seems to be somewhat of a common sense here and is found in many threads. It’s a nerf to their supreme Battle Elephants as well as a buff to their Ballista Elephants that are basically never seen anywhere.

Elite Battle Elephant upgrade is 30% cheaper as well
The Malay Battle Elephant for them costs less resources than a Knight but they miss crucial defense upgrades and thus are killed quite easily. By reducing the cost for the Elite upgrade the Malay would get another power spike in early Imperial Age if they could again get some cheap Elite Battle Elephants onto the field. Because of the lack of upgrades the Elite upgrade otherwise is unjustifiable.

Chatras: +25% HP
Compared to Tusk Swords, which costs the same amount of resources, Chatras is just bad. +50 HP on an Elephant is nothing compared to +3 attack. Having a bonus HP percentage instead of a set number, it allows this bonus to work well in Castle Age as in Imperial Age. +25% would be 338 HP (including Bloodlines) for the Standard Battle Elephants and 400 HP (including Bloodlines) for Elite Battle Elephants. That’s +18/+30 HP compared to the “old” Chatras. They will still be the Elephants with the least damage output due to the lack of Blast Furnace.

What do you think about all this?


Howdah and Burmese Elephants are fine overall, their high HP already makes them so strong in melee.

This one seems fine

100% second this

Perhaps just 80HP additional, because 100HP in Castle age is a lot.


Yeah I recognized that as well. Just edited my suggestion a second ago though 11

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Burmese get hard countered by all the archer civs right now and have little options. You can counter elephants with monks with no upfront costs or cheap pikes from a building you already have. Elephants can’t avoid pikes and monks like knights can. They are much more easily countered. Burmese have no realistic answer to archers. Making extra pierce armor elephants against archers is their best option but you need a castle, a UT tech, armor upgrades, and elephants. Every one of those is more expensive compared to upgrading and making archers. So in the meantime trying to invest into elephants in castle age, your opponent can build up a mass of 40+ archers in imperial age that can 2 shot an elephant which they can hit and run against. It will take you forever to get to imperial age since elephants cost so much food. So yes they should get +2 PA back. If they made it to imperial age and got the very expensive elite upgrade and armor then they finally would have an advantage against archers. Maybe then the opponent would have to mix in halbs instead of just only relying on arbalests to kill everything. When howdah originally gave +1/+2 the BE had way stronger stats. The BE doesn’t have as much blast radius, far less attack, more expensive elite upgrade, more expensive UT, less trample damage and probably more.

For compensation, could increase Arambai training time or reduce damage for non elite arambai. Make the UT cost food and gold It’s much harder to mass elephants than arambai in castle age since food is the biggest factor. This would nerf their all in 2 castle arambai push on arena that is tough to stop. Basically the reason why they do well on that map. It’s basically meta now.

Vietnamese should get +100HP for chattras. It would be interesting to see how it plays out. Most of the time high level players don’t get many UT in castle age because mining stone and affording the UT will set them back too much to reach imp with a solid army. You could even increase the UT food cost if needed. They still are consistently in the bottom 5 as well. Elephants are awkward for them like you mentioned since it costs so much to tech switch. I don’t think this helps team games at all. It could be a weapon to surprise your opponent in 1v1 because no one expects you to make elephants as Vietnamese ironically. Losing the last attack with nerfed trample damage is a big deal so you have to make them tankier if it’s going to be worth it.


the vietnamese eco bonus helps to obtain the stone mining upgrades, but even with the discounted wood bonus i barely see pros purchasing them.
Would you give free stone mining to help viets to build a castle for rattans and chattras?

With no regard to cost, yes. With regards to cost, arguable.


I largely agree that giving them back the pierce armor isn’t a great plan, but in reality if you think the Burmese could use some help (which is a reasonable thought) I don’t think one melee armor really changes anything about the unit.

The weakest part of the Burmese elephant is what you put behind it. That’s been the case since release. They need a backline that reliably kills units, and no bracer makes conventional options hard. Maybe expanding Howdah to Arambai? Might be a bit much in castle age, though.

I don’t see why this wouldn’t be alright.

I don’t agree with this at all, pretty much. Yes, the upgrade costs a lot. The Malay are more capable of affording it than the rest simply because the individual units are so cheap and they have so few upgrades to pay for in the meantime (they save 750f, 450g not upgrading the missing Cavalry techs) so it’s really not that expensive.

If we got to the point where we needed to nerf the actual discount on the unit, this would be a nice compensatory buff (say if they ever got cut to 25% cheaper, then make the tech cheaper, as a compromise) but right now the discount is way, way too strong for the tech to be cheaper.

I don’t know if this makes them meaningfully better, but then again, I don’t know if they need to be meaningfully better, a lot of people like the new eco bonus (I don’t) so I’m not really sure how they stand right now.

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Totally agreed. Malay is already solid late game civ with Forced levy 2HS, Karambit Warrior, BBC, Cheap Elephant and one of the fastest imperial age. They are one of the top civ in the last Arena Tournament (Clown cup3).
Even more buff for Malay late game would be broken in closed map.

Don’t forget they have Bombard tower for reasons entirely unexplainable.

I still can’t get over how many amazing late tech options they have with all the spam units.

Why not? I love it!Too much archer focused for you?
Would you give them a food discount instead of a wood one, in order for them to mass elephants easier?

No, I just don’t care about the extra wood in Feudal when I reach Imperial and then lose.

No Blast furnace, the only fully upgraded siege available is BBC and Trebs, meaning they have an anemic push, and once it goes lategame the Imp skirm doesn’t compensate for missing Hussar and Blast furnace in trash wars. It’s like if you had the Britons push (a very slow, methodical push), and took the four front teeth out of the push, and left one extremely painful, misfitted, gigantic tooth that’s dull in it’s place. The Vietnamese push has no bite.

It’s hard enough to win with the Briton push when it’s actually got a functioning array of complimentary units with it’s horrible siege. The Vietnamese have all the horrible siege and none of the compliments.

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Oh i see your point, however the eco bonus helped to get into the late game. But i dont know how a buffed chattras could help them to do better pushes… It would still a slow, but tankier, push.

Maybe giving them the last gold upgrade would be enough?

I also dislike how they get bombard tower and never use them.

I really don’t know if they need help, but there has been a competitive consensus for a while now that the Vietnamese are worth using in 1v1. They’ve seen play in KOTD3, so I’ve always assumed that with the combination of the bonuses, applied properly and decisively, they have enough unique strength to be viable. Just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean I’m not missing something important.

Generally speaking, I grant the top players the credit when it comes to discussing the strength of civs they actually use in knowing where they see value in picking them, and so I generally defer to them when I don’t have a strong, well-reasoned opinion on the subject. I have a well-reasoned, experience based argument about the Malay, so I’ll opine on them despite their lack of appearance in KOTD3 (they see a lot of Arena play, after all.)


Give Burmese a civilization bonus: Battle Elephants +1/1 armor. It could be stacked with Howdah and would be balanced after Arambai nerf.

Burmese have nothing against Archer civs.

Vietnamese: Chatras effect increased to 80 or 100 hp


Your humility is a good thing to see in this forum. Please keep going


I have proposed an idea before to minimize the effect of nerf in 39284. Just let Malay, Burmese and Viet BE get back 50% trample damage as before. I guess Devs managed to nerf Khmer in that patch.

Malay Civ bonus: BE is 30% cheaper -> BE is 30% cheaper and deal +25% trample dmg.
Burmese Howdah: BE +1/+1 armor -> BE +1/+1 armor and deal +25% trample dmg
Viet Chatras: ->BE +50 HP and deal +25% trample dmg.


In that case, i would make a trample tech for those three civs instead of repeating the same bonus once and again

And maybe the tech could affect other units for other armies…


is this really how it works? isnt it actually 300 x 1.25 = 375. only then is blood lines added.

but otherwise i think 25% is good, 100 might be too much.

they’re still 11% faster than opposing eles, which is more of a speed buff than anyone except lith gives a unit, its more than fair

i think its fine, they have both a low pick and win rate. and as much as so many people think otherwise, their THS is actually not very economical(compared to opposing buffed champs) until gold runs out, meaning malay have to either force the game to last that long, or have to have access to a defended pond for infinite fish traps, ie not that great for arabia

might be an unpopular opinion but i think malay should get blood lines, they will still have very weak cav due to the lack of the armour, but it will help them play slightly more flexibly

this isnt going to change them at all vs what they (or burma) are weak against… it only makes them better where they are already good…

I agree with this setup, but my conclusion is quite different: Burmese should get PA as a civ bonus, as @CheshireWig3203 suggested.

For Vietnamese, a % bonus hp would be horrible to implement, and horrible to work with as a modder. You’d have to introduce a secondary effect to bloodlines which grants bonus hp if the UT is researched.
Imo they could have a fixed health bonus balanced around late-imp. It is hard enough for Vietnamese to get their UT in castle age and make elephants in castle age, that if they do is ok if those elephants are strong. As @letmepickthis explained, having elephant strength locked behind a UT is a major downside.

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One possible civ bonus for vietnamese ( or burmese?) could be having their training speed decreased by default. I dont know, like “elephants are trained 15% faster”

This way, they could use them more defensively, as a counter unit.

Since vietnamese elephants lack blastburnace this cannot be too much OP ain imperial.

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Elephants trained 50% faster as civ bonus would be more appropriate considering how often anyone would make even a single elephant with Vietnamese/Burmese

I’d love to see either Vietnamese/Burmese get this as civ bonus