Dravidians odd one out among ‘At least one unit-line affected by two UTs’ mechanism

My focus here is Dravidian Battle Elephants, not Siege Elephants.

Burmese, Berbers, Goths, Gurjaras, Incas and Dravidians are the only civs (if I’m not wrong) that have at least one unit-line affected by both of their UTs.

  1. Burmese Battle Elephants affected by both UTs - good :white_check_mark:, actually an Elephant civ.
  2. Berber Camel units affected by both UTs - good :white_check_mark:, Camel-based civ.
  3. Huskarls created at Barracks faster - :white_check_mark:, infantry civ.
  4. Gurjara Camels (and Ele Archers) are cheaper and get extra armor - :white_check_mark: Camel civ and Ele Archers are affected by its Team Bonus as well.
  5. Inca Slingers have no minimum range and gain extra attack, melee and pierce armor :white_check_mark:, Slinger is one of Incas’ Unique Units.
  6. Dravidian Battle Elephants self-heal and ignore melee armor - :x: (useless), not very Elephant-civ in the first place (thanks to missing critical techs). The worst Battle Elephant in the game.
  • Of these Huskarls don’t get the last infantry armor, Gurjara Camels - no last attack upgrade, while Burmese Battle Elephants, Berber Camels and Inca Slingers are FU.

  • Dravidian Battle Elephants miss 4 things - Husbandry, Bloodlines, last cavalry armor and Elite upgrade. If I have to talk about Drav Siege Eles, then they miss the first three things, same as their Battle Elephant counter part.

  • Burmese, Berbers, Goths, Gurjaras and Incas get Crop Rotation, but Dravidians don’t. Crop Rotation shouldn’t be point of comparison in this talk, but Elephant units are food-intensive, right?

Dravidians are designed to be a slow stable’less civ, but why have two Unique Techs wasted on their already useless Battle Elephants? The two UTs and those holes in tech tree/missing techs don’t make them playable anyway.

I don’t want to talk about Urumis and Wootzsteel here. But, man Dravidian Battle Elephants are not all appealing, despite being affected by two unique units.

Just remove Medical Corps and introduce a new UT, or give their Battle Elephants some of those they miss.


Yeah. It is really surprising that even after 2 UTs, their BE is just as useless.


I think calling them useless misses the mark a bit. Spirit of the Law did a comparison, and here are the HP totals after killing a halberdier.

What this neglects, however, is that after 55 seconds following the battle, the Dravidians battle elephant is better than average, and after 100 seconds, it’s better than even the Bengali elephant - while costing significantly less to upgrade into. And they’re even better against higher armored enemies, of course. Used carefully, they can still fulfill their role quite effectively, while not being particularly worse against their typical weaknesses, and saving a lot on their specialized upgrades, in exchange for more general upgrades that also effect elephant archers and armored elephants.

IMO, if Dravidians had any defense against monks, their battle elephants would be just fine.

That’s why I still think Medical Corps should give something like +5 LOS to elephant units, to at least be able to see the monks coming in time.

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And what your paragraph neglects is that this is a really dumb hypothetical situation that in practise almost never happens.

I don’t mind Medical Corps as a tech, maybe it could be more powerful, but it’s pretty much inarguable that Dravidians have the worst Battle Elephants even if you use them over a long period of time, the tech is far more useful on Dravidian Elephant Archers or Siege Elephants.

While they do lack Siege Engineers and thus have the weakest Siege Elephants, I would say that they’re probably the most potent in fighting back units thanks to Wootz Steel. Does the trample damage (if I understand it correctly) also affect its melee attack? Because if so, having an AoE attack that ignores armor is quite good in a pinch.


Really? Feels like the norm to me. It’s pretty rare that I have an all-in, all-or-nothing fight where all my units get wiped out. Far more often are short skirmishes that resolve depending on whether I or my opponent can support the fight better, and one of the two of us retreating to a better position. And in either case, you can get significant amounts of healing on your units before they die. If I had the better position, I can give chase with complete confidence, and if I have to retreat, I know I’ll have at least recouped a fair bit of my losses in the next 60-90 seconds before we engage again.


I agree that the tech is useful.

If you’re comparing the Battle Elephants in just constantly vomiting them at an opponent, then yeah, they are going to look rough.

But in smaller battles they are much better.


Gurjaras Elephant Archer is also unusable like Dravidians Battle Elephant.

Medical Corps also affects Elephant Archers and Siege Elephants, the tech is obviously aimed at those, not the abysmal Battle Elephants

Wootz Steel too, it affects all melee units, but the bonus is clearly meant primarily for infantry, not for their cavalry…

Sure, both techs technically affect the Battle Elephants, but they also affect other units that are waaay better for the Dravidians, so they are clearly not the main reason to get them

Not mentioning these effects on other unit lines is like complaining that the Spanish goldless archer blacksmith techs are useless because they don’t get crossbow, while ignoring that several other units are also affected by them


They miss siege engineers as well

Crop rotation doesn’t affect farming gather rate. It just makes the wood to food ratio a bit more efficient. Unless you’re playing a 3 hour game, crop rotation is never going to pay off in a regular game.

This is kind of a roundabout and convoluted way of arriving at the obvious and oft-stated conclusion that Dravidian battle elephants are bad. Yes, I agree that they could and probably should be improved, although that still doesn’t fix everything wrong with the civ.

As others have said though, Wootz is more for infantry and MC is more for Armored/Siege and Ele Archers. Not following some kind of pattern seen in other civs’ UTs is not necessarily the problem, but Dravidian BEs miss too many key techs to be useful even with two UTs that buff them.

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Yes indeed we had a whole thread discussing how Dravidians are terrible with some bonuses, UT and UU that don’t fit the civ.

Sotl videos are theoretical and fighting halbs is not the purpose of Battle elephants. Opponent would have some anti-infantry units like archers or hand canoneers, maybe some skirms, castle fire etc and how the battle elephants fare in those situations matters more. Other civs might go for elephants in imp like 1 out of 30 games and that might be good because their elephants have all upgrades and something more. Dravidian BE are just abysmal in imp. In castle age maybe you could use 1 or 2 to kill skirms but that’s about it. And it makes no sense to have a UT for it. UT could as well be exclusive for infantry, light cav and elephant archers and it wouldnt make any difference in all practical game scenarios.

That’s not how a good game goes. No one engages battle elephants with other expensive melee units. Usually a few will get converted and just start fighting each other while ranged units or halbs take them out. Its just a waste of resources if you built a castle and did UT for units that get no upgrades in imperial age.

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Sure; it’s just to have some way of comparing things.

I’m not pretending battle elephants as a whole are particularly great in the early game. I think they should need a monastery tech to be converted, personally. But comparatively, especially in the castle age, their battle elephants are decent.

Which isn’t to say you should probably make more than, like, 3-5 at most. But IMO, that’s true of almost every elephant civ. And I’ve had a handful of games where the circumstances were right and they worked.

Usually not intentionally. But it does happen. Especially if they’re trying to capitalize on an early castle age power spike and are willing to take risks to succeed. Getting monks out does take a little while, especially getting them across the map, and early on, they’re very vulnerable to getting sniped.

I had a great game a few days ago where he tried to attack with 2 monks and knights at the same time, but I had a few light cavalry left over from earlier; I brought them back, sniped the monks, and managed to get him to run away having gained basically nothing and taken a lot of damage.

But it only worked because I was constantly scouting him and had a pretty good idea of what he was doing, which is often pretty hard to do for me. That’s why I think Medical Corps needs to increase elephant LOS, so it’s more possible to spot these things before they happen without a lot of good luck.

I’ve also had games where my enemy just screwed up. I was playing against a 1600-ish a few weeks back and they ran their monks under a garrisoned TC chasing my battle elephants, for example.

My point is, these things do happen. There’s a lot of things you get because even with perfect reactions, these games still get messy and go wrong.

And you neglected that small HP of smaller max HP will result in a bigger % value. An FU Dravidians BE is less than 60% HP of Vietnamese BE. After 100 seconds a Dravidians BE will have 170 HP while Bengalis is already sitting at 218 HP. Surely both have exact 68% HP, but Bengalis is still better. It is a very poor type of calculation tbh.

Does that really matter? They both achieve the same results, that’s what really matters, not the absolute amount of HP.

Vijayanagars Elephant = BE cost 50% less gold.

Can’t tell whether you’re joking or serious.

Being serious?

The question isn’t whether one has more HP left at the end, it’s how much they can do with that HP. Vietnamese elephants have massive HP but no Blast Furnace.

Can’t really consider these things in a vacuum.

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There’s no point in having two UTs affecting BE when this Drav unit twice inherently weak (1.weak by game design, 2. misses important upgrades). It is not even a raiding unit like a knight or an eagle for which you can spend 175 wood and create two-three units.

Why even waste wood on stable unless say you have a lot of floating wood and you think creating a 4-5 BE adds flavour to the game! Your BE would be eaten by your cavalry/infantry opponent who would have invested heavily on his knight-line/infantry-line units. 4-5 Dravidian BE vs 10-12 Paladins/Halbs.

You don’t play BE as Dravs and two UTs happened to affect BEs by luck, but not that kind of luck one would thank sincerely.

Medical Corps: Elephant Archers and Ele Rams (and also Battle Elephants) regen.
Wootzsteel: Infantry and Cavalry (including Battle Elephants) ignore armor.

Vijayanagars Elephant = BE cost 50% less gold.

If this tech affects only BE, it is not going to be more useful than Medical Corps. But it is still useful and makes BE playable since Wootzsteel affected cheap BE are viable, especially when gold is running out.

It’s just like the Malay bonus but a paid version. But never mind, cz techs and bonuses overlap across civilisations.

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This is fine but who’s going to make Medical corps for this use case. Like build a castle and get that upgrade for making a few elephants before monks even come out.

The default LOS of battle elephants has already been increased, maybe that could be increased further in general for all civs. And for making a few battle elephants, you don’t need medical corps. Its a negligible value addition. A castle and UT are things done past 35 mins unless it boosts the current main army production like Kshatriyas or Szlacha Privileges. And apart from the 2 or 3 battle elephants you might use defensively, they’re not going to be Dravidian main army. So it makes no sense to have a castle and UT as part of your castle age build with Dravidians.

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Sure! Medical Corps is a mediocre investment before your units take damage in the first place! But that’s the great thing about healing techs like this; they work retroactively.

That said, it would be wrong to say it has no value at all:

And for making a few battle elephants, you don’t need medical corps. Its a negligible value addition. A castle and UT are things done past 35 mins unless it boosts the current main army production like Kshatriyas or Szlacha Privileges. And apart from the 2 or 3 battle elephants you might use defensively, they’re not going to be Dravidian main army. So it makes no sense to have a castle and UT as part of your castle age build with Dravidians.

It matters more than you might think! I tested it out a few months back, comparing and contrasting the various blacksmith upgrades to judge relative value. My test criteria were to take a barely losing fight and see what difference the different techs made, so I pitted 8 default castle age battle elephants against 12 fully upgraded castle age persian knights. (to be clear, this fight favors the knights by 1)

WIthout any upgrades, the elephants lost convincingly, with an average of 4 knights remaining.

With the Armor upgrade, they won with 2.4 average elephants left.

With the Attack upgrade, they won with 1.8 average elephants left.

With Attack+Armor they won with 3.6 average elephants left.

With Attack+Medical Corps they won with 3 average elephants left.

With Armor+Medical Corps they won with 4 average elephants left.

And finally, with Armor+Attack+Medical Corps, they won with 5.8 average elephants left.

Obviously, this isn’t going to inform to EVERY scenario in a real game, but it does illustrate that even within a single fight, Medical Corps offers similar value to ubiquitous armor and attack upgrades, even outperforming them in some cases - and that’s ignoring entirely the long-term value!

I was really happy with that change, but I don’t think 7 LOS is enough. Monks still have 9, after all.

Bare minimum, elephants need to match monks so you’re on even ground. Ideally, seeing as Dravidians have very poor scouting options, they should see monks coming before monks see them. Hence, +5; that sets them equal to monks with Block Printing.

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Are you really going to build a 650 stone castle upon hitting castle age and spend 400-500 additional resources for UT to build 3 battle elephants for defensive use? that’s my question. That makes no sense at all whatsoever. Its like a flex move to show how ahead you are but not a competitive or strategic choice.

Buddy this is what I’m saying about practical situations. The knight player will not fight the battle elephants head to head. He’ll go around and raid you, make a monastery at home and heal all his knights. And how on earth do you think there’ll be just 12 knights from a fast paced civ when you as Dravidians have a castle + UT + 8 battle elephants. Realistically speaking he’ll have about 5 monks and 20+ knights and raid you everywhere. And hit imp while you’re rebuilding. Medical corps for Persians themselves might make a lot of sense but for Dravidians its strictly for elephant archers.

All of these tests, the 2.5 and 3.6 don’t matter because the number of games they are applicable is…siiiiiiiiiro literally zero. There is no long term value on units that don’t get imperial upgrades and lack several castle age upgrades.
The elephant upgrades like Howdah, Chatras or Tusk swords are done in imp or while on the way to imp in some rare games where the player decided to go for Elephant transition and use that to push fast in imp. Its not going to be the case with Dravidians. Like you said Dravidian elephants might have some use defensively in early castle age and a castle + UT is meaningless for that.