War Elephants - Are they EVER useful?

right, so Persians. War Elephants. are they strong?; yes definitely. are they expensive?; hell yea. are they easy to counter for literally all civs in the game?; lmao heck yes.

pikes, halbs and monks are insanely good counters against War Elephants right and to a degree even archers counter them if you just tip toe (kite) the elephants for long enough.

so my question is; why would you go above and beyond to get these insanely expensive units?

it seems all they are good against is buildings, swordsmen, certain UU’s and Knights/Cavalier/Paladins and anyone with a brain will take one look at a blob of war elephants and be like “yeah im just gonna walk away from them lol”.

“oh but they are a good alternative to rams because they are resistant to both non-pike melee and pierce attacks”
right but all it takes to delete them from the game is a couple of cheap â– â– â–  pikemen which are so cost effective that even if you lose 3-4 pikes in return for killing 1 war elephant its still very much a win for the guy who lost the pikes.

imo war elephants are beyond too easily countered by mere trash units to the point where, if you are a persian player, you might as well just ignore their existence because your opponent WILL prepare to deal with the eventuality of war elephants and thus simply upgrade pikes a bit.

is it just me, or am i missing something vital here. yes you can throw in support units along with the elephants but thanks to the vast expense of producing the elephants alone, i don’t really see it working out too well for the persian player, like yeah you can throw some archers in there to protect elephants against pikemen, but who really cares if they lose a couple of pikes to archers if they still mange to get a couple of elephants in the process? and then there’s the added gold cost for the archers which will further increase the intensity of resource cost on part of the persian player as he now has to spend even more gold to protect his precious food/gold heavy elephants.

pls enlighten me here.

Just wait. I’m sure @BomberGriffin will be here later to explain how he uses them. In case he doesn’t though, team games, and custom scenarios will have to the main uses. Otherwise, no. They are never useful except in the odd niche event. Also at low elo, that’s when they can really be useful.

War elephants are honestly in a much better spot than Elephant Archers or Ballista Elephants.
They have their place in TG Arena, BF, Hideout or any closed maps where you can boom fast enough, they suprass paladins at taking down buildings and killing basically any other unit in the game when massed. Halbs die in 3 hits tho. against halbs you also use kamandabows.


also i would argue that bbc war ele hand canons is the best late game compositon in the game if gold is not an issue. i think persian war eles are in a great spot where they are the best unit in the game but also rarely used. they provide an obsurd lategame for non standard 1v1 arabia while stil allowing persians to be a mid teir civ.

Honestly there is an argument to be made that they should revert the cost change of the WE, but the unit is really that strong

1 Like

I believe this problem is why Persian crossbows had their gold cost removed. You can spam them with just wood while the elephants (or paladins) use up all your food and gold. Even if you solve the spear weakness, elephants are very vulnerable to enemy monks, and without Bracer the Persian archers don’t have enough range to easily pick off monks.

1 Like

Sure,this unit is insanely op when you get to the point of spamming this in tg closed map or dm.

1 Like

Oh really? ngl i haven’t played Persians in a long time and i don’t usually deep dive into updates to the game so i had no idea they removed the archer gold cost.

i guess that helps a bunch then tbh.

but like you said, that just leaves us with huge problem number 2; monks XD

on a sidenote i sort of have an idea that could help war elephants to at least somewhat force engagements but people will probably say its super OP, anyway here it goes: maybe they could get a charge ability that gives the war elephant a 1-2 second 100% movement speed boost with a relatively long cooldown of say 45-60 seconds which activates when they get within 3-4 tiles of their target… im gonna be honest though, i haven’t thought through the potential consequences this would have, but it would definitely help them not get kited to death and easily converted by monks. it would have practically no effect against their hard counter which is pikes/halbs but it would somewhat help them deal with ranged units and monks.

Yep, it’s their Castle Age unique tech, Kamandaran.

War Elephants indeed suck in 1v1. Because they are not meant for those sort of games. It’s a unit meant to be used in boom fest games on closed maps.

How to buff Persians and War Elephants to make them stronger in 1v1 arabia on a tiny map? Outside of boom fest games team games on large maps of black forest or michi.

Make War Elephants cheaper. A lot cheaper. The same cost as a Battle Elephant. That would be quick and easy, but in team games that would make them cartoonishly broken. (so maybe they only get this buff in 1v1) Remove Mahouts (elephants move faster), and replace them with something called Elephant Armor, effect Spearman-line unit does 50% less bonus damage. Again, in team games, that are long and drawn out, they would become crazy OP. But in 1v1, they would at least be useful, if not broken in some ways.

Give them bracer, but remove the last archer armor tech.

1 Like

And yes, and no.
Probably not in the way say plumes are useful, or huskarls are useful, or even tarkans though.
I am yet to roll persians in a FFA game where gold is of importance (85g for a war ele is much better value than 75g for a paladin), and that… probably sums up their usage in multiplayer games.
They are too hard to get to in reasonable numbers with decent upgrades- especially mahouts. I think that mahouts should be replaced with something else, and the 30% speed given to the war eles either on elite or by default.
I used to troll in 4v4 nomad games with persians by going 3-4 dock 7tc boom to 200 vils and open on elite war elephants, but even that is meh because they are countered by monks, at which point you have to add hussars, which is another expensive transition and it becomes a big hassle to play the cavalry only composition.

They have their strong sides though. They kill an archer in 2 hits, a halberdier in 3. They also have huge splash damage, and they clean up buildings easily.
Even considering this, I don’t agree with

Because ele archers I have actually seen in the high level and they provide some utility for the indians- the imperial age archer counter with 9PA. They do something for the indians that no other unit does, which is not the case with war eles for persians. Paladins do 90% of what they do, are faster, cheaper, and easier to get to.

I think that to “fix” war elephants their base speed should be increased to 0.8 (from 0.6, war elephants have 0.85) as a start, their pierce armor should be 3/4 at base (same as tarkan). I don’t think their weakness to monks or halbs should be changed, you have trashbows and HC to deal with those. Mahouts should be changed to… frankly, probably something not involving cavalry. The team bonus, a full stable (the only civ), a cavalry UU, persians have enough in terms of cavalry upgrades and options. They have something for the archery range as well, with Kamandaran, so probably Mahouts should be changed to something relating to siege or economy, as their infantry is supposed to be FU halb and that’s about it.

I don’t know what though, I don’t play enough persians and I don’t know much about them either.


In 1V1 they really are not. However, any game type that allows them to be massed leads to them being easily the strongest offensive unit in the game. Combine them with trash bows to take care of monks, their only real hard counter, and they are literally the best unit per population space in the game.

Why not slightly buff the Castle Age WE so it worth enough in 1V1 and made the Elite upgrade more expensive, still affordable for TG?

Because war elephants are just too expensive for a castle age economy

Yes, but the goal is to avoid the Elite upgrade in 1v1. You still can use the Castle Age version in Imp with a healthy eco

1 Like

Extreme AI don’t uses them. they are really good vs cav, archers and sword. But their slowness and their debilities makes them bad. We all must agree that cataphtact are a lot better. Mangudai would be still on top.

Cataphract* 20 characters

Only in matches where you have a lot of stone and can build castles wherever you want.
Even in regular team games it’s way easier and more effective to mass Paladins as Persians, expecially since due to their speed you can retreat them near your xbows if pikemen/halbs appear. The worst part is not even the cost, but the Castle availability and the slow speed to reach the target.

I know this has been proposed and disliked before but here me out:

Elefants I nthe one hand aren’t cost effective because they are easily countered and so damn slow

On the other hand elefants are extremely pop effiient and a, mass of 60 elefants steamroll anything down including castles and counters.

How do we fix this:

  1. Make elefants chesper
  2. Make elefants cost 2 pop

This will allow them to be used in 1v1 as they are more affordable and you can mix in more
But it will also prevent Persian to dominate teangames that allowed them to setup 150 pop eco with trade and now they just spamm elefants. After the change you would be only able to build 25 with a 150 pop eco.
It would be reasonable to only use 120 pop eco to be able to build 40 elefants that are cheaper now.

Its a win win for balance, for both noobs and pros.

We already have half pop karambits, so double pop isn’t a problem. The engine is also able to handle this since the star destroyer in the star wars age of empires with the same game engine also costed 2 pop