New player - How to counter Knights / Pikemen

New player here so excuse me if this is a noob question. I was playing as Khmer and was using Battle Elephants against their knights to push forward. I then got countered by pikemen. So they had Knights/Pikemen attacking me. I tried to counter with archers but with little effect.

Could someone tell me what would’ve been a better counter?

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Ballista Elephants + Halberdiers. Get your Halbs in front and let the Ballista Eles slaughter the Pikes.


Hard to tell without watching the game. It may be that you lost all your army then enemy had snowball from there, still seems like you know the counters so check upgrades.


a lot of counters to an enemie’s counters need micro… your archers likely failed because you need to actively micro them to shoot the enemy pikes, not their knights. AOE has pretty dumb AI, so will attack the closest target not the besttarget , or highest threat

elephants are in an odd position where they are very strong, but they get countered incredibly hard by pikes. scorpions are a more cost effective and easier to train counter to pikes, compared to ballista elephants, so generally we see khmer players going scorps + battle elephants, more often than ballista elephants + battle eles. . the lack of thumb ring on khmer archers also makes them a lot less effective in this regard, thus the tendecy for scorps which are heavily buffed by khmers traits and unique tech.

since ballista elephants are both expensive, slowly trained, and still explode like balloons to camels and pikes a lot of people argue they are only effective in team games

ballista eles also use food, which directly competes with the war elephants who use food, as opposed to scorps that use wood instead

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Well, depending on how tight your eco was.
Ussually, you want to combine skirmishers to your cavalry / elephants. They are cheap and kill pikeman. Scorpions is another option, specially with khmer. But is expensive. Hand canonniers is also a viable answer. Less but not leastz champions, altough they use gold and food and are melee units (so, basically, it takes resources away from elephant).

Long story short: skirmishers is Ussually the best answer, with HC in second place (scorpions are amazing, but too expensive)


A (possibly) silly suggestion could be also swapping to knights and pikes temporarily.

Pikes counter knights, and having the same unit composition just means whoever has better numbers/upgrades/micro in the trades should win engagements. The armour and attack upgrades at least transfer from elephants to knights, and you can probably get two knights for every elephant (food wise) if you have decent gold income (just because elephants really seem to need a strong food eco).

If the food eco is strong already then maybe adding skirms or pikes could work with the elephants (I suppose you might need upgrades for either of those). Knights should wreck the skirms though so again micro would be important.

So you went Elephants in castle age, right? My main advice would be not do that. Mass elephants in castle age isn’t a good strategy, imo. If you want to go for cavalry here, go for knights yourself and if you have the position and resources, you can go elephants at some point in imp. What you can do, though, is going xbows in caste age and add a couple of elephants for protection against mangonels, skirms or larger groups of knights.

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Thanks for all the advice! It makes sense to not go for elephants in castle age and using a pikeman line to support calvery looks like a solid strat. Still learning here!

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monks for knights with longsword in front.