Why the upgrade cost on the Elephant Archer should be reduced by 62 percent

First, a basic summary of the problems and strengths of the Elephant Archer.

Slow, durable, and heavily armored, the Elephant Archer is the toughest archer unit in the game. This durability comes at a cost, however; it is the most expensive archer unit in the game, and does not increase its offensive capability in exchange for this cost, with the same attack and rate of fire as a standard Cavalry Archer. An army of Elephant Archers will have dramatically more health, but a fraction the offensive power of an equal-cost army of standard archers.

While this can make a large force of Elephant Archers seemingly unstoppable, the cost of achieving this force can make it nearly impossible to realize. This is compounded by the fact that Elephant Archers have the most armor classes of any unit in the game, making them vulnerable to counter-units, such as Pikemen or Skirmishers. They also have a significant weakness to Monks, a weakness shared by all Elephant units, amplified by their lack of Heresy.

With all of this taken in mind, Elephant Archers do not typically function well as the main body of an army.

However, Elephant Archers are not useless. While vulnerable to counter units, they are resistant to units such as Arbalesters (taking only one damage per shot when fully upgraded), as well as power units such as Knights, which can kill Arbalesters in just 4 hits, while requiring a full 28 to kill an Elephant Archer. In addition, their bonus damage against buildings can effectively increase the building and wall damage of a group of archers, an area where archers are usually weak.

These strengths are compounded by the Elephant Archer’s lower speed and shorter range. In typical combat, an Elephant Archer will take the front position, becoming the default target of hostile archers, requiring the enemy to micromanage their forces to a greater extent. In the face of melee attackers, the elephant will block approaching forces, as well as absorb un-targeted attacks, significantly increasing the durability of a mixed force. Lastly, when fleeing, the Elephant will move slower than the archer units, once again blocking attackers and defending weaker units from pursuit, allowing much greater leeway for fleeing ranged units to micro down pursuers.

An excellent example of how this plays out ingame can be demonstrated by facing Indian Hand Cannoneers against standard Elite Skirmishers. Normally, 40 Hand Cannons will die to 40 Elite Skirmishers, a very efficient trade for the player using the Skirmishers, with an average of 22 skirmishers surviving. By comparison, if six hand cannons are swapped for three Elephant Archers(retaining the same total resources), the results will be reversed, with the hand cannons often winning without losing a single hand cannon. While this example does not fully translate into real games, it does demonstrate the effect a few Elephant Archers can have.

Elephant Archers, therefore, should not be viewed as archer units so much as defensive units, best used in small numbers as part of a mixed force to protect vulnerable archer units from attack.

I think this is a pretty good assessment of the Elephant Archer, and it likewise shows the problem with the unit’s upgrade cost.

You see, the Elephant Archer costs 170 resources to construct, and its primary utility is in its health; if you’re not using that health, you’ve really got no reason to have the unit at all. But the Elite Upgrade costs 1800 resources, and only gives +1 attack(16%) and 50hp(a ~16% bonus). Consider, for a moment, how many elephants you would need to build for this upgrade to be more cost effective than just making more?

One Elephant has 300HP(after bloodlines). 1800 resources would buy 10.5 of them, or 3150 HP. That means the player would need to expect to build sixty-two elephants for this upgrade to be worthwhile! Bearing in mind that this is a unit which, even in the best case, you probably won’t want more than 5 of at a time. A game would need to last somewhere on the order of two or three hours for that to pay itself back. It’s simply never going to happen.

At the moment, the Elite Elephant Archer has a fairly standard/high unique unit upgrade cost. It can be compared to similar upgrades, such as Elite Samurai(33% bonus hp, 50% bonus attack), or Woad Raider(25% bonus hp, 60% bonus attack). 83% and 85%, respectively.

Now, assuming those types of bonuses are a fair degree of power per resources, that’s about 21 resources per percentage point. Using this rate, a fair upgrade cost for Elite Elephant Archers would be about 38% its actual upgrade cost, putting the new upgrade cost at approximately 385 Food, 300 Gold.

This seems much more fair to me, and I would like to propose that it be changed to this number.


Great insight. I fully agree.

1 Like

Hell no. This would be broken. Elephant Archers are too hard to deal with in larger numbers and easily pick off one of their strongest counters (Halberdiers) from a distance.

They are nearly impossible to take down with some generic unit types such as regular Infantry which already proofs their cost efficiency in such situations.
Skirmishers might pose a threat in masses but are easily dealt with by Siege.


BS, EEA gets shredded by halbs. Maybe you need to spam the halbs for a while but the low dps of the eea makes them extremely vulnerable against halbs.

I think what EA needs would be the ability to garrison vills. Then they could function as a kind of “mobile tower” to defend your expansion against archer raids.

The low DPS of EA paired with counters that shred them makes them not a good attacking tool, they can only be used in defence to “buy time” against archers. Mass EA is too expensive anyway to be viable.
In this perspective the high upgrade cost is complete nonsense with that kind of unit, you basically only want to use in castle age to “buy time”.

And that’s why I think a garrison function for them would be the best way to make them “viable” with that special utility.

Even if this was true, the Indian civ would in return need to get nerfed somewhere else.
Giving them too cheap Elephant Archer upgrades could disturb balance.

He’s talking about the upgrade cost, not the unit cost…

1 Like

There is no upgrade cost so cheap

Imperial upgrades are costly because of age inflation (it is assumed that your eco is better).

I agree with reduxing thw cost but only a bit. Sometimes it is better to oay the upgrade and waiting 60 seconds for upgrading 15 units instead of queuing more units.


I could see reducing rge cost to 600 food and 500g. But certainly not that low


It’s true there is no upgrade this cheap. But there’s one that’s close; another niche archer unit, the Mameluke.

It has an upgrade cost of 600F, 500G, and in exchange gets +2 attack(25%), +15hp(20%). (We’ll ignore the +1 melee armor and halved attack delay for now)

That’s 45% in bonuses for 1100 in resources; at that rate, the Elite Elephant Archer should cost 43% as much, rather than 38% as much, or 425F, 350G . Still in the same ballkpark. And that’s ignoring the fact that the elite mameluke gets +1 melee armor and halved attack delay.

1 Like

Could you make the calculations with the elite genoese crossbow upgrade? Just curious


You can’t compare just some stats and say: “Yes this upgrade gives x% of HP more therefore it makes this UU’s Elite Tech 53904% worth 562g and 328w and therefore Elite Elephant Archer should be the cheapest Elite Upgrade ever.”

A Unique unit is not supposed to be used everytime. It is an addition (or Niche Unit) of a civ which fits its main units well and compliments Civ Unique Army composition or simply covers a Civs weakness (e.g Throwing Axemen for Franks)

Elephant Archer, like all Elephants gives its Civ an Imp Powerhouse, in which it can maximize its strength without having to account for any resources because your Eco is there.
The Indian Imp Powerhouse are Imp Camels for mobility and Elephant Archer + Gunpowder for Slow pushes.

Buffing a Unique unit “just cause its bad, look at the math” is complete nonsense. Especially when using Units with high base HP - Run the math for elite Balista Elephant or Elite Battle Elephant. Any Pro will ask what you have smoked when you’ suggest Elite Battle Elephant should cost only half the resources

The genoese crossbow is a tricky one because much of its effectiveness comes from its bonus damage, which doesn’t translate very well in terms of raw percentages. For example, against Burmese Elephants, it takes their damage from 10 to 14. Then there’s the faster training time, which is also a major factor for a unit meant to be massed, but which doesn’t translate well into percentage comparison. And lastly, there is the increased HP, which on a basic level looks like about an 11% bonus, but in practice often means surviving to a mangonel shot where they otherwise would have died, and so often behaves more like a 100% bonus, but, of course, sometimes it doesn’t.

But taking those things into account(admittedly in a hacky sort of way) you get a value of something along the lines of 27.5 resources per percentage bonus. That would set the new EA cost at about 500F, 400G.

Someone’s been watching SoTL

Well, that concept is present in lots of board games and videogames and i think “inflation” is a good term :penguin:

1 Like

It’s transitory though. :face_with_monocle:
Sorry I couldn’t resist :sweat_smile:


1 Like

I think it was intended to be an “insider” but I also don’t get it.

However I think UU upgrades for support units shouldn’t be that high in cost. It makes no sense.


Nevermind then, I doubt many would get it.
Agree on the topic’s matter. Elephant archer costs way too much for how many weakness it has, the elite upgrade price is really an insult.

Siege and halbs are really its only weaknesses.

You’re forgetting camels and heavy cavalry, in small numbers even monks are a problem.
Also Kamayuks, Huskarls, Samurais, Berserkers, FU Champions and Genoese Crossbows defeat them on equal resources (some even 1v1).
Maybe it’s easier to tell what is NOT a weakness.
Sure it’s population efficient and if you manage to mass them they’re good, but differently from paladins, they can’t escape their counters, nor are they as efficient as Battle or War Elephants.

1 Like