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Khmer unique elephant equipped with a Scorpion. Can destroy trees.
Age of Empires II description

The Ballista Elephant is the unique unit of the Khmer in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is a cavalry siege unit that fires bolts like a Scorpion. Ballista Elephants are one of only three siege types that can cut down trees, along with the Trebuchet and the (Siege) Onager.

Ballista Elephants can be upgraded to Elite Ballista Elephants in the Imperial Age.


The Ballista Elephant's main advantage over the standard Scorpion is their higher degree of self-sufficiency. This is due to a combination of their much higher hit points and no minimum range. Their lower minimum range also makes them better at micro than Scorpions. Mixing Hussars with the Ballista Elephant is the best way to aid them, as the Hussars give Ballista Elephants the speed and anti-siege support they need.

The main competition for the Ballista Elephant is a composition of Elite Battle Elephants and Heavy Scorpions. The Ballista Elephants' main advantage is their lower cost, both in terms of investment and per unit, making them better in 1v1 games. On the other hand, they lack the damage output of Heavy Scorpions, so Elite Battle Elephants and Heavy Scorpions are better in team games.

As the Ballista Elephant is internally classified as a cavalry unit, there are many differences they have from normal siege units. Monks can heal them and convert them without needing Redemption. They can also garrison in Castles and are affected by Stable technologies and the cavalry armor upgrades.

The main counter to the Ballista Elephant is Onagers, as they deal substantial bonus damage against them. Additionally, they take bonus damage from anti-elephant units like Halberdiers and Heavy Camel Riders. However, their lack of minimum range and ranged attack means they can fend off these units to a decent degree if protected. They are also very expensive and are usually not used until the Imperial Age.

Unlike the Scorpion, the Ballista Elephant can cut down trees. This can be incredibly useful on maps with dense forests such as Black Forest or Arena, especially considering that they are the only unit available in the Castle Age that can do so. However, this is time-consuming, as only a single tree is cut with each shot.

Further statistics[]

As Ballista Elephants are unique to the Khmer, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Archers, massed units, especially infantry, buildings
Weak vs. Eagle Warriors, siege weapons, Monks, Kamayuks, Huskarls, Mamelukes, Magyar Huszars, Mangudai, Flaming Camels
Hit points BloodlinesDE Bloodlines (+20)
Attack SiegeEngineersDE Siege Engineers (+20% attack against buildings, practically only Elite)
ChemistryDE Chemistry (+1)
UniqueTechImperialDE Double Crossbow (gives a second projectile with 6 pierce attack and 3 attack against Elephants)
Range SiegeEngineersDE Siege Engineers (+1)
Armor ScaleBardingArmorDE Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)
ChainBardingDE Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
PlateBardingArmorDE Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
Speed HusbandryDE Husbandry (+10%)
Creation speed ConscriptionDE Conscription (+33%)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
Conversion defense Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion (+1 min, +1 max)
FaithDE Faith (+4 min, +4 max)
Upgrades EliteUniqueUnitDE Elite Ballista Elephant

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Chemistry now properly affects Ballista Elephants' secondary bolts.
  • Fixed the issue with Ballista Elephant attack being inconsistent.
  • Upon release, Ballista Elephant armor upgrades were bugged: the non-Elite version only got pierce armor from cavalry Blacksmith upgrades, while the Elite version received only melee armor. If the game was started in Post-Imperial (e. g. Death Match), Ballista Elephants would only have their melee armor upgraded. This bug got fixed later but was not addressed by patch notes.

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, Ballista Elephants have 10 attack (11 for Elite).
  • Armor-ignoring attacks could be used against Ballista Elephants, unlike other siege units which were made immune in update 61321. With update 73855, Ballista Elephants are now resistant to armor-ignoring attacks, similarly to ships, other siege units, and buildings.
  • With update 81058, Ballista Elephants have 0 cavalry armor, 0 elephant armor, and 0 siege armor. They also gain the Heavy siege armor class, with +20 armor.


  • Unlike most other non-suicide siege weapons, the Ballista Elephant is in the "Cavalry" unit class (instead of the "Ballista" or "Siege Weapon" classes). As consequences of this:
    • The Ballista Elephant can be healed by a Monk (instead of having to be repaired by a Villager) or garrisoned in a Castle or an ally's Krepost. It can also be converted without Redemption.
    • The Ballista Elephant benefits from Stable technologies and cavalry armor upgrades. It does not benefit from melee attack upgrades because, unlike other cavalry units, it has no melee attack.
    • Even though rams have a high attack bonus against Ballista Elephants, they do not attack them automatically, having to be manually commanded to do so.
  • The Ballista Elephant is the only military unit in the Castle Age capable of cutting down trees.
  • If a Ballista Elephant attacks its target at melee range, the missiles will not fly straight and cause pass-through damage as usual. Instead, the missiles will just drop onto the first target (similar to arrows from a tower with Murder Holes researched). This is because the projectile spawning area of the unit spawns directly above it, which makes the direction vector vertically downwards.
  • Non-Elite Ballista Elephants do not get additional attack against buildings with Siege Engineers (technology bonus is rounded down: ROUND(2 {unit's attack vs armor class 11} × 1.2 {Siege Engineers bonus}) = 2)).
  • Because Ballista Elephant projectiles have an existing dead unit projectile animation (which probably spawns inside the object Ballista Elephant is attacking after the collision occurs), they deal additional +1 damage against buildings (does not affect units). No such "dead unit" animations for projectiles exists for other ballista-style units (Scorpions or Caravels).
  • After update 37650 of the Definitive Edition, elephant heads will appear peeking out of Transport Ships loaded with 10 Ballista Elephants or other elephant units.


The elephant is one of the most important military animals in the Khmer era. The Chinese writer Ma Duanlin claimed that Suryavarman II (1113-1150) had a force of no fewer than 200,000 elephants. Several surviving reliefs from 12th and early 13th centuries also show that the Khmer mounted ballistae or crossbows on elephants, at least experimentally.[1]




  1. Schliesinger, Joachim. 2011. "Ethnic Groups of Cambodia Vol 1: Introduction and Overview" (p. 168-169). White Lotus, Bangkok.
Units in Age of Empires II
CivilianMaleVillDE Villager · Tradecart aoe2DE Trade Cart · FishingShipDE Fishing Ship · Trade cog aoe2DE Trade Cog · King eu aoe2DE King
ReligiousMonk aoe2DE Monk
InfantryMilitiaDE Militia · Manatarms aoe2DE Man-at-Arms · Longswordsman aoe2DE Long Swordsman · Twohanded aoe2DE Two-Handed Swordsman · Champion aoe2DE Champion
Spearman aoe2DE Spearman · Aoe2-infantry-2-pikeman Pikeman · Halberdier aoe2DE Halberdier
Eaglescout aoe2DE Eagle Scout · Eaglewarrior aoe2DE Eagle Warrior · EliteEaglewarrior aoe2DE Elite Eagle Warrior
ArcherArcher aoe2DE Archer · Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman · Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Skirmisher aoe2DE Skirmisher · Elite skirmisher aoe2DE Elite Skirmisher
Hand cannoneer aoe2DE Hand Cannoneer
Cavalryarcher aoe2DE Cavalry Archer · Heavycavalryarcher aoe2de Heavy Cavalry Archer
Aoe2de DOI elephant archer icon Elephant Archer · ElephantArcherIcon-DE Elite Elephant Archer
CavalryScoutcavalry aoe2DE Scout Cavalry · Lightcavalry aoe2DE Light Cavalry · Hussar aoe2DE Hussar
Knight aoe2DE Knight · Cavalier aoe2DE Cavalier · Paladin aoe2DE Paladin
Camelrider aoe2DE Camel Rider · Aoe2 heavycamelriderDE Heavy Camel Rider
Battle elephant aoe2DE Battle Elephant · Elite battle elephant aoe2DE Elite Battle Elephant
Steppelancericon Steppe Lancer · Elitesteppelancericon Elite Steppe Lancer
Xolotlicon Xolotl Warrior
AoE2DE Armored Elephant icon Armored Elephant · AoE2DE Siege Elephant icon Siege Elephant
SiegeBattering ram aoe2DE Battering Ram · Capped ram aoe2DE Capped Ram · Siege ram aoe2DE Siege Ram
Mangonel aoe2DE Mangonel · Onager aoe2DE Onager · Siege onager aoe2DE Siege Onager
Scorpion aoe2DE Scorpion · Heavyscorpion aoe2DE Heavy Scorpion
Bombard cannon aoe2DE Bombard Cannon
Trebuchet aoe2DE Trebuchet
Petard aoe2DE Petard
Siegetower aoe2DE Siege Tower
War shipTransportship aoe2DE Transport Ship
Galley aoe2DE Galley · War galley aoe2DE War Galley · Galleon aoe2DE Galleon
Fire galley aoe2DE Fire Galley · Fireship aoe2DE Fire Ship · Fastfireship aoe2DE Fast Fire Ship
Demoraft aoe2DE Demolition Raft · Demoship aoe2DE Demolition Ship · Heavydemoship aoe2de Heavy Demolition Ship
Cannon galleon aoe2DE Cannon Galleon · Elite cannon galleon aoe2de Elite Cannon Galleon
AoE2 Dromon Dromon
ReligiousMissionaryIcon-DE Missionary · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest
InfantryBerserkIcon-DE Berserk · Aoe2de Chakram Chakram Thrower · CondottieroIcon-DE Condottiero · Aoe2-icon-flemish-militia Flemish Militia · GbetoIcon-DE Gbeto · Aoe2de Ghulam Ghulam · HuskarlIcon-DE Huskarl · JaguarWarriorIcon-DE Jaguar Warrior · KamayukIcon-DE Kamayuk · Karambitwarrioricon-DE Karambit Warrior · AoE2 DE Legionary new icon Legionary · Aoe2-icon--obuch Obuch · SamuraiIcon-DE Samurai · Aoe2-icon-serjeant Serjeant · Shotelwarrioricon-DE Shotel Warrior · TeutonicKnightIcon-DE Teutonic Knight · ThrowingAxemanIcon-DE Throwing Axeman · Aoe2de Urumi Urumi Swordsman · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest · WoadRaiderIcon-DE Woad Raider
ArcherArambaiicon-DE Arambai · CamelArcherIcon-DE Camel Archer · ChukoNuIcon-DE Chu Ko Nu · AoE2 CompositeBowman Composite Bowman · ConquistadorIcon-DE Conquistador · GenitourIcon-DE Genitour · GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Genoese Crossbowman · Imperialskirmishericon-DE Imperial Skirmisher · JanissaryIcon-DE Janissary · Kipchakicon Kipchak · LongbowmanIcon-DE Longbowman · MangudaiIcon-DE Mangudai · PlumedArcherIcon-DE Plumed Archer · Aoe2de ratha ranged Ranged Ratha · Rattanarchericon-DE Rattan Archer · SlingerIcon-DE Slinger · WarWagonIcon-DE War Wagon
CavalryBallistaelephanticon-DE Ballista Elephant · BoyarIcon-DE Boyar · Aoe2de camel scout Camel Scout · CataphractIcon-DE Cataphract · Aoe2de roman unique centurion icon Centurion · Aoe2-icon-coustillier Coustillier · Flaming camel icon Flaming Camel · ImperialCamelRiderIcon-DE Imperial Camel Rider · Keshikicon Keshik · Konnikicon Konnik · Leitisicon Leitis · MagyarHuszarIcon-DE Magyar Huszar · MamelukeIcon-DE Mameluke · AoE2 Monaspa Monaspa · Aoe2de ratha melee Melee Ratha · AoE2 Savar Savar · Aoe2de shrivamsha rider Shrivamsha Rider · TarkanIcon-DE Tarkan · WarElephantIcon-DE War Elephant · Aoe2-icon-winged-hussar Winged Hussar
SiegeAoe2-icon--houfnice Houfnice · Aoe2-icon-hussite-wagon Hussite Wagon · OrganGunIcon-DE Organ Gun
War shipCaravelIcon-DE Caravel · LongboatIcon-DE Longboat · Aoe2de Thirisadai Thirisadai · TurtleShipIcon-DE Turtle Ship