Brainstorming: Ideas for Eles - how to give them more Identity

As we now have an interesting discussion going on about how to buff the Battle Eles I would like to make a brainstorming about “what could battle eles offer to the player what knights are bad in”?

So the Idea of this thread is to find some kind of Utility battle eles can provide to make it situationally more appealing to go for them over knights.

I try to begin with my biggest “I hate this!” with knights moments.
This is when I got a good opening in feudal and hit a better timing than the opponent, but when my knights arrive he is fully walled and I cant do anything to get in. Yes I know it was stupid cause I should have added Siege forward but a) it’s not always possible cause of map control issues and b) who thinks about that stuff all the time? Especially if it’s not clear if it’s needed at all.
The same is with quickwalling, thought the following point is important to understand:
It needs to be like this, otherwise Knights would be completely OP. And I even appreciate quickwalling cause it’s really hard to execute well. People who are capable to play with that high risk have my respect.

So… What if eles would be specifically designed to breach in palisades and house Walls? Probably with extra bonus damage and/or bigger trample radius? Also what could be neat is some extra conversion resistance cause if players make this kind of turtle strat against knight civs they often add just a few monks behind, which makes it even harder to find any seizable angle to pressure.

So: What annoys you when playing knights? (And how do you think Eles could be adjusted to be better in specifically that situation? - if you have any ideas)

Walls, monks, cavalry archers.

But I honestly think that elephants can’t be buffed to compensate for that, even less due to the fact that they’re slower both in movement (so they need more time to get to the enemy) and in the time needed to build a reasonable mass (costing double the food of a knight).


Against Walls some extra bonus damage (+ potentially trample damage adjutment to hit repairmen) could solve it.

Just give them really high conversion Resistance. There are also other ways that require more interaction like conversion blocking with your own monks or some kind of reconversion feature.

Well here I think indeed there is nothing we can make about. Cav archers just outrun eles too much. But I think it’s fine some units are just not designed to be good against certain others.
The eles still need a lot of shots to bring down by cav archers whilst they can’t raid you, so at least the eles delay the opponent potentially.

That would just be so ridiculously OP and it would leave their only counter as pikemen, which for some civs are really weak (no halb upgrade, limited blacksmith upgrades, not to mention Turks’ lack of pikes). Pikes are also really easily countered by literally every unit in the game except stable units.


Ofc if we buff eles somewhere we need to nerf them on other aspects aswell.
But in this thread I only wanted to talk about what they could be better at than knights to differ them - cause it would become very complicated when also talking about the compensational debuffs at the same time.

This thread isn’t about balancing but “how to give eles a place”. There is the other thread where we talk about balance. Which is ofc also very important.

I think we need to differ between “what makes a unit interesting / useful / unique…” and "how to finalize it WHEN it already has it’s place in the game.

(And to me I have currently no other place for eles than the lategame spam, especially in Closed Map TGs. It’s the only situation they really have something going for them. Maybe it’s just what they are designed for but then we should also only care for balancing this play cause everything else is just wasted time.)

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Elephants are slow, they dont behave as a normal cavalry, so we shouldnt use knights as a comparison.

Instead of elephants, this king of question would be very valid for steppe lancers


Eles already have the bonus damage against buildings and the ability to beat camels. Unless you make them able to somehow beat monks, pikes and ranged units kts can’t deal with I don’t know how they are going to not be OP.

I guess you could give them an attack bonus vs. siege. But they already dominate siege so there isn’t really much else you can do, apart from 1- make their walking speed faster (unrealistic and OP) or 2- make them cheaper which kind of defeats the point of them being an expensive tanky unit.

what frustrates me about using elephants? they’re too easily shredded by pikes, their bulk (pathing) and their speed

we can alleviate bulk by increasing speed. their large bulk also means more pikes are hitting them, meaning more are dying. ironically the small bulk of archers is actually what saves them in so many situations because so few units can actually deal damage simultaneously.

as someone has already pointed out. imagine knights cost was increased to 100f and gold reduced to 30g (swapped food for gold). do you think we would see as many in castle age?

imagine archers costed food instead of wood. would we see as many of them in feudal or even castle age?

no. just because something costs X. doesnt mean that is the holy number and should never be changed.

to put this into perspective. an EBE dies in 5 hits from a halb, a paladin also dies in 5. the difference being a paladin is 35% faster than a halb so can actually choose the engagement, while an EBE is 15% slower than a halb, similarly applies for monks vs elephants compared to paladins. and here’s the kicker, EBE cost 40% more than paladins to train. this is for obvious comparison, but the same applies to lower iterations of both

halbs should not kill slow elephants as fast as they kill fast paladins. that is poor balancing

the same applies for the militia line, change the food to gold ratio then. or make elephants more rewarding.

i definitely do not want to see elephants become a main line spammed unit (same for militia) but i want them to be less punishing, and more rewarding as a support / counter unit

for example something like : bengali BE as the front line supported by arbs should be more viable. at the moment they explode like balloons and cost the world to create, nevermind being so slow that every other military unit can out flank them aside from siege and monks

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Still food is the hardest ressource to come by in castle age. It’s not only the additional wood cost for the farms but that you have to place the farms first before you can get any.
Even if playing eles only needs 5 more farms than knights this is still 300 extra wood invested in these farms.

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changing the food to gold ratio, also limits the potential for abuse in the later game for example a 100f, 90g BE suddenly becomes much harder to sustain production for in the late game, while simultaneously being easier to train earlier in the game due to the farm tax, while the total res cost remains the same

Gurjara camels

Seriously they destroy every knights.

(Not meant to say Gurjaras in a whole has balance issues but thats what my nightmare is)

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Pikes / halbs are not difficult to counter. Basically every single unit in the game apart from stable units counters them. So if you are going straight elephants with no ranged units then that’s not a good strategy.

This is actually offset by the incredibly fast training time of elephants for their cost. If you have 25 spare villagers and want to produce military you can make 2 stables + 12 farms for knights or 1 stables + 16 farms for elephants. These cost basically the same. For a random amount of villagers the elephants usually cost a little more but its not a big deal.

Of course elephants have to actually be worth their villager time variable cost in castle age in order for this comparison to be meaningful. Personally, whenever I bring up the food cost for elephants it’s mostly related to the bias it creates and the variable cost effect.

Elephants need to be better against buildings for their cost (which you already did the math for). If you’re paying for a unit that can’t force fights due to speed, it needs to force fights another way. This also applies to the War elephant.

Of course this would make Malay elephants nuts so obviously those have to change.

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It’s actually more like 2 stables / 12 farms and 1 stable / 15 farms. But yes you’re right, you need less stables for ele production than for knights. Though knight production is kinda efficient already. 1 knight stable can already - 13 workers to only support 1. For eles it’s 23 workers.

Yeah I agree. One of the common tactics against ele rushes on open maps is just let them kill one of your TCs and relocate the vills. It’s surprisingly effective. With the eco lead you get from that you can just make whatever you want later.

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Whoops you’re right, I read off the wrong columns in the spreadsheet.

I agree with this, but the devs do not. The last thing they did to BE (elite) is nerf bonus damage vs building from +7 (10) to +4(7). Devs are interested in going in the opposite direction to what you propose, probably due to Khmer.

As an idea for conversion resistance:

What if monks couldn’t convert a full-hp elephant, but when their conversion ‘succeeds’ on a full-hp elephants it instead deals 50% hp damage.
That way monk-only defense against elephants would become a lot less viable, perhaps giving elephants some utility knights don’t have.

As @casusincorrabil already said/implied: this is not a mechanic that should be slapped onto Battle Elephants without any other changes.

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First I changed the Title cause the Discussion went in another direction as I kickstarted it. So people aren’t confused about why it is different to the title.

Interesting. I had a similar Idea by making Eles that are converted at first “neutral enemies” to all players. So you have to effectively convert them twice to turn eles to your side. This would allow for some reverse conversions for the opponent while he doesn’t has to care about killing the “neutral” elephant.

I think this could be a really cool concept if eles had some kind of this mechanic cause the current monk counter situation just holds them back so heavily. Monks still would be a possible counter strat but they wouldn’t be that hard-countering anymore as they do currently.

I think this is the most important point here. Adding something knights don’t have is imo the key to finally make them viable.

Yes Eles are “stronger”. But the knight is imo already “strong enough”.

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Should Eles be good against the main cavalry counter? This is:

  • Remove the war elephant armor class for BE
  • Add bonus against infantry (+4/+6 BE / EBE)
  • Reduce base attack (8/10 BE / EBE)
  • -1 Pierce Armor
  • Speed increased to 0.9
    -TT increased to 30