Hypothetically, if SEA Civs were to be given Elephant Archers & Siege Elephants, what changes would be needed to keep them both fun, viable and balanced?

I made this post on reddit, but since it is a very interesting discussion I decided to port it over here.

With the recent Dynasties of India DLC, it feels weird to me that the South-East Asian civs don’t get both the Elephant Archer and Siege Elephant… specially the Khmer/Burmese who are both classified as an Elephant Civ.

Considering that, what changes would you personally make to add the Elephant Archers and Siege Elephants to them whilst keeping them fun and balanced?

I might create a Mod with some of the ideas so we can try out for ourselves how it would play and feel.

DISCLAIMER: This is mostly for the fun of theorizing, I know it would require massive changes to actually add said units to said civs whilst keeping them balanced within Pro AoE2.

Here is my take:

Khmer:

    Can train Elephant Archer & Elite.
    Can train Armored & Siege Elephant.
    Lose Husbandry
    Battle Elephants move +10% faster -> Elephant Units move 12/24% faster in Castle/Imperial Age.
    Ballista Elephant speed reduced by 10% (compensate for new bonus)
    Lose Ram-line.
    Lose Cav-Archer line.
    Tusk Swords: Battle Elephants +3 Attack -> Armored & Battle Elephants +2 Attack
    Tusk Swords cost reduced from 300w/450g -> 250w/325g

Malay:

    Can train Elephant Archer, no Elite.
    Can train Armored Elephant, no Siege.
    Battle Elephants are 30% cheaper in the Castle Age, 40% cheaper in the Imperial Age -> Elephant Units are 25% cheaper in the Castle Age, 40% cheaper in the Imperial Age
    Lose Ram-line.
    Lose Cav-Archer line.

Burmese:

    Can train Elephant Archer & Elite.
    Can train Armored & Siege Elephant.
    Battle Elephants +1/+1 armor -> Elephant Units +1/+1 Armor.
    Howdah: Battle Elephants +1/+1 armor -> Elephant Units +1/+1 Armor.
    Lose Ram-line.
    Lose Cav-Archer line.

Vietnamese:

    Can train Elephant Archer & Elite.
    Can train Armored Elephant, no Siege.
    Chatras: Battle Elephants +100 HP -> Armored & Battle Elephants +100 HP.
    Lose Ram-line.
    Lose Cav-Archer line.

Secondary to the main points, but I would love to see the following:

Hindustanis:

    Can train Elephant Archer, no Elite.
    Can train Battle Elephant, no Elite.

Gurjaras:

    Can train Battle Elephant, no Elite.
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Hindustanis are fine. They can have only Siege Eles. I’m hoping Persians getting same treatment. Generic civ but only Siege Elephant. Having access to Caravansarai too.

Vietnamese can get nerf to 50/75 HP. Becoz, Elephant Archer can become too op with stacked HP bonus.

Burmese will get the best benefit out of all. Becoz, it can give another ranged option which they desperately needs.

Malay can have all Ele units being 30% cheaper but having inferior versions of it. Like no Elite upgrades.

Khmer will be ok.
Edit: Every single Khmer Eles can have flat out 10% speed buff. Not just Battle Eles. 12/24 can become too much sometimes. They are already super strong with eco and Eles. I didn’t liked recent Ballista Ele change too much.

Nice suggestions and pretty much what I thought.

2 Likes

You pretty much bring your historical justiceness and force it into the base design that works nicely.
By doing that you kill the whole unique aspect of the new Indian civs, let them have their own thing, they’re poor civilizations anyways when it comes to military compositions.

4 Likes

The only civ for which this would be a useful change for 1v1 is Malay. With 40% low cost and the civ having all upgrades except Bloodlines, PT, the unit might be useful without being difficult to stop. For Burmese it might be a decent option in TGs in some situations. Huge nerf to Vietnamese. Their CA play is quite solid with extra hp. Trading that for an almost useless unit like EA is a big nerf for them.
Unimpactful changes for Hindustanis and Gurjaras.
Unless the stats of EA are revised, it’s not going to be a useful unit for any of these civs in most cases.

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Burmese going to have best use for EA. Becoz, it finally fixes their ranged option. In every situation, their biggest problem is the lack of ranged option. Devs have been buffing them at what they strong at but yet still not doing enough for the lack of range. They will do fine if armor bonus gets buffed up to normal civ’s EA armor. They will do alright in this way.

EA lines seems enough SE line is more mughal looking than south/East Asian.

I agree that they should do this, only difference is that I wouldn’t give Vietnamese Elephant Archers, they would be tough to balance and being the only civ to get siege and battle but not archer elephants would be more unique.
At the very least they should give Ele Archers to Burmese, that would help fix their balance.

I wouldn’t give all SEA civs all the elephants, but potentially scatter them around. Something like Burmese lose CA and gain Ele archer (EA) but not armoured ele. Khmer don’t get anything because they already have 2 eles. Viet maybe get siege ele but no EA due to their archery range bonus and UU.

EA will almost definitely see a buff (possibly at least PT working properly), and hopefully battle eles see a minor buff as well, but until that happens giving any civ these units doesn’t help them, like giving civs the SL isn’t a buff.

I also think if Burmese did get the EA then their native civ bonus or howdah shouldn’t apply. They don’t have to have the 2nd tankiest archer in the game and is against their identity.

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so what’s the point of giving them EA if its going to be utterly useless? at least with the civ bonus, techs, and PT it would have 7 PA and reasonable option against archers.

(for the record i’m completely against most the idea of spreading the elephants around period, i just don’t see the point of giving them EA if you’re going to make it completely useless).

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How is a buffed EA (I did say they would have to get buffed) with +4PA (the same as any EA lacking either PT or final armour) suddenly the weakest?

I said the civ bonus OR howdah doesn’t apply

Meaning they get the BS armour, PT and one of the other 2.

If anything it’s better than gurj due to PT (+4 v spears if fixed) nevermind the armour

except Gurj are at least cheap by elephant standards because the 25% food discount.

but frankly point is - if you’re gonna buff EA enough that Burmese with +4 PA are going to be a good option for them, i’d have to question how EA wouldn’t be absolutely busted for Bengalis, who would have +6 PA, bonus damage negation, and faster attack.

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(Edit I was wrong about TR face palm)

The big difference though is Burmese have a vastly better stable, barracks, and monastery

So while their EA alone are inferior, everything else is superior. Meaning they’ll be used slightly differently

In the same way Bulgarians HCA is still awesome even though Magyar, Turk, Mongol HCA are balanced

Or Italian cavaliers are still great even though sicilians exist

yes but the problem is the maps where Elephants do well, Like Black Forest - so like i said - it relies on how you would buff EA.

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Start with reducing the bonus damage. And then increase hp if needed? Might be enough? Essentially partially revert the nerf

Bengali heavily suffer Vs skirms due to such a poor stable, so the fact their EA don’t die as quickly to skirms isn’t necessarily an indication that EA of equal resilience with other civs will be as bad. Although is still an indicator

I’m fine with minor buffs to the unit, but honestly, short of completely reworking how elephants work, i doubt they will ever be a castle age/1v1 unit (outside of Malay and maybe late castle age Gurjaras). which is problematic for Burmese because it doesn’t really help them with their archer problem.

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I find their range to be the much bigger issue. They are either outranged by xbows or skirms. Resulting EA civs much weaker. Just keep it similar with xbows. They are in paper are tanky Cav Archer. Cav Archer atleast can run away from bad fights but EAs can’t. Giving resistance to bonus damage might make them too op.

I still think that Elephant Archers and Battle Elephants are very expensive units for what they offer as a power unit
They are smash by their counters really easily
Knights can run from Pikes and Archers could trade decent with micro against Skirmishers
IMO EA and BE need some armor against Pikes similar to the Armored Elephants; and some rework against the Skirmishers; it is that or increase the speed. But still you are hopeless against Monks 11
Malay Eles are the only ones due to be so cheap
Bengalis Eles are ok-ish due to the reduce bonus damage
Khmer Eles are the best (when the game have enough gold, usually in TG) due to the speed and the damage
Elephants to be viable need 3 things (IMO): Reduce cost, reduce bonus damage and increase the speed

oh yeah thats true, if anything i see them more for flavour and maybe some use in TGs, for the rare times people arent picking 1 of the 4 “auto picks” for TGs

wow is this a thing? i should look it up, always interested to try different things

I suggest that the SE Asian civs could have a new regional unit called Elephant Skirmisher, trained at their Archery Range once the Castle Age is reached. And apart from the Vietnamese who already have Imperial Skirms, all other SE Asian civs have access to the elite upgrade of the Ele Skirm in the Imperial Age.

I dont think thats a good idea tbh. Feels like an unnecessary addition