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Slow and heavy cavalry.
Age of Empires II description

The Battle Elephant is a cavalry unit in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas that can be trained at the Stable once the Castle Age is reached. It is a slow yet very powerful and resilient cavalry unit, in some way similar to the War Elephant, but weaker and cheaper. It is considered a regional unit as it is only available to the four Rise of the Rajas civilizations: Burmese, Khmer, Malay, and Vietnamese, as well as the Bengalis and Dravidians, two of the new civilizations introduced in Dynasties of India. All civilizations that have access to Battle Elephants (except the Dravidians) can upgrade them to Elite Battle Elephants and have special bonuses and/or technologies that benefit them. Battle Elephants deal 25% trample damage.


Similar to Persian War Elephants, but on a lesser scale, the Battle Elephants are tough, durable and costly. They move slowly and are vulnerable to units that deal damage at range, but are also good as a meatshield for allied ranged units. As elephant units, they are also vulnerable to enemy Pikemen and Kamayuks. Mamelukes are particularly effective against them. They can be easily converted by enemy Monks, so they should be deployed with supporting units, preferably units with range. Further, Flaming Camels deal bonus damage for a total of 200 damage (before armor and blast distance are taken into account) against Elephant units, and are thus extremely lethal against packed groups of Battle Elephants.

Knights are generally preferred to Battle Elephants for South East Asian civilizations as Castle Age cavalry when need be, because Battle Elephants are slower and more expensive, but the Imperial Age is when they truly shine, since they are comparatively cheap and thus quick to upgrade, and none of the Battle Elephant civilizations have access to the Paladin. Also, each civilization that has access to Battle Elephants has specialties that benefit them. That makes their use different:


Bengali Battle Elephants take -25% bonus damage and are more resistant to conversion, attack 20% faster with Paiks, and get all upgrades from the Blacksmith and Stable, which makes them a formidable force, as Pikemen and Monks are less effective. They are also more effective in melee combat and taking down buildings. However, Bengali lack access to Heresy.

Since Bengali Elephants are more resilient against their counters, Bengalis are more encouraged to rush with them.


Burmese Battle Elephants have +1/+1 armor since Dynasties of India. Both Burmese unique technologies benefit their Battle Elephants, too: Howdah gives them +1/+1 armor (for a total of +2/+2 armor in combination with their civilization bonus) and Manipur Cavalry gives +5 attack bonus against archers. Having access to all technologies from the Stable and the Blacksmith aids their fighting capabilities. Burmese Battle Elephants are a strong option against archers. With Howdah researched, a Crossbowman only deals 1 damage per hit to a Burmese Battle Elephant if both players have all Castle Age Blacksmith technologies researched.


Dravidian Battle Elephants have high durability between combats with Medical Corps, which allows them to regenerate 20 HP per minute, but lack several technologies, including Bloodlines, Husbandry, and Plate Barding Armor, and also cannot be upgraded into Elite Battle Elephants. However despite the lack of those upgrades, they can also upgrade their Battle Elephants with Wootz Steel, which enables this unit to ignore enemy armor, making it very threatening, even in the late game. Due to lack of Husbandry and Heresy, their Battle Elephants are an extremely attracting target for Monks. Lacking Husbandry and Plate Barding Armor and the elite upgrade makes them too slow to catch up and very vulnerable against ranged units.


Khmer Battle Elephants move +10% faster, get +3 attack out of Tusk Swords, and get full upgrades from both Stable and Blacksmith. This probably makes the Khmer Battle Elephants the best ones in melee fights and raiding. Since Tusk Swords is already available in the Castle Age, Battle Elephants reach 17 attack there, a value that makes Battle Elephants very dangerous offensive tools in earlier stages of the game. In Rise of the Rajas, the Khmer lack both Heresy and Faith, leaving their Battle Elephants very prone to conversion; in the Definitive Edition, however, the Khmer have access to Faith.

It is possible for the Khmer to perform a "Battle Elephant rush", but it requires a strong economy early in the game.


The Malay have cheaper Battle Elephants, costing -30% in the Castle Age (84 food and 49 gold) and -40% in the Imperial Age (72 food and 42 gold). This, combined with their civilization bonus that makes them Age up with relative ease, enables them to get the Battle Elephants out on the field astonishingly quickly. Combined with archers to deal with Pikemen and Monks, an early Castle Age visit of a dozen of them can prove very unpleasant to any ill-prepared town. Later on, they become much less dangerous, lacking Bloodlines and Chain Barding Armor, but as they become even cheaper in the Imperial Age, they are still ready to be used, especially considering that the Malay are the only civilization with access to Battle Elephants who have Heresy.

Similarly to the Khmer, the Malay can perform a Battle Elephant rush.


The Vietnamese Battle Elephants are the most tanky of them all as they get another 100 HP out of the Chatras technology. They also get full armor from the Blacksmith, as well as Bloodlines (and Husbandry in the Definitive Edition) from the Stable. That makes them perfect for the Vietnamese, as they can act as meat shields to protect their excellent archers. The fact that they lack Blast Furnace does little harm in the Vietnamese case.

Comparison in the Castle Age with all upgrades[]

Civilization Civ icon bengalis.png Bengalis CivIcon-Burmese.png Burmese Civ Icon Dravidians.png Dravidians CivIcon-Khmer.png Khmer CivIcon-Malay.png Malay CivIcon-Vietnamese.png Vietnamese
Cost 120 food
70 gold
120 food
70 gold
120 food
70 gold
120 food
70 gold
84 food
49 gold
120 food
70 gold
HP 270 270 250 270 250 370
Attack 12+2 12+2 12+2 12+5 12+2 12+2
Armor 1+2/2+2 1+4/2+4 1+2/2+2 1+2/2+2 1+1/2+1 1+2/2+2
Speed 0.935 0.935 0.85 1.029 0.935 0.935
Extras -25% bonus damage
Resistant to conversion
Attack 20% faster
- Regenerate 20 HP per minute - HeresyDE.png

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Melee units, buildings
Weak vs. Pikemen, Kamayuks, Genoese Crossbowmen, Mamelukes, Heavy Camel Riders, Cavalry Archers, Monks, War Elephants, Scorpions, Flaming Camels
Hit points BloodlinesDE.png Bloodlines (+20)
CastleAgeUnique.png Chatras (+100, Vietnamese only)
Attack Forging aoe2de.png Forging (+1)
IronCastingDE.png Iron Casting (+1)
BlastFurnaceDE.png Blast Furnace (+2)
CastleAgeUnique.png Tusk Swords (+3, Khmer only)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Manipur Cavalry (+5 against archers, Burmese only)
UniqueTechImperial-DE.png Wootz Steel (attack ignores armor, Dravidians only)
Firing rate UniqueTechCastle-DE.png Paiks (+20%, Bengalis only)
Armor ScaleBardingArmorDE.png Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)
ChainBardingDE.png Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
PlateBardingArmorDE.png Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
CastleAgeUnique.png Howdah (+1/+2, Burmese only)
Speed HusbandryDE.png Husbandry (+10%)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy (Malay only)
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
Other UniqueTechCastle-DE.png Medical Corps (regenerate 20 HP per minute, Dravidians only)
Upgrades EliteBattleElephantDE.png Elite Battle Elephant

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]

  • A team containing Bulgarians: Researching cavalry armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is 80% faster.
  • A team containing Gurjaras: Battle Elephants are created 25% faster.
  • A team containing Huns: Battle Elephants are created and upgraded 20% faster. Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
  • A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
  • A team containing Teutons: Battle Elephants are more resistant to conversion.


Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Battle Elephants train in 28 seconds.
  • Battle Elephants deal 50% trample damage.
  • Battle Elephants have 7 bonus damage against buildings.
  • Initially, Battle Elephants have a blast radius of 0.5. With patch 5.7, the radius is 0.4.
  • Initially, the Elite Battle Elephant research costs 800F/500G and takes 80 seconds to research. With patch 5.7, the research costs 1,200F/900G and takes 100 seconds.
  • Burmese: Initially, Howdah increases the armor of Battle Elephants by +1/+2. With patch 5.7, the effect of Howdah is lowered to +1/+1.
  • Burmese: Initially, Manipur Cavalry gives Battle Elephants +6 attack against buildings. With patch 5.3, the bonus is spread over the two building classes (building and standard building) equally.
  • Khmer: Battle Elephants move 15% faster.
  • Malay: Initially, Battle Elephants are 20% cheaper. With patch 5.3, the bonus is increased to 25%. With patch 5.7, the bonus is increased to 30%.
  • Vietnamese: Initially, Chatras gives Battle Elephants +30 HP. With patch 5.7, the bonus is increased to +50.

Definitive Edition[]

Lords of the West[]

  • Malay: With update 47820, Battle Elephants are 30%/40% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Dawn of the Dukes[]

Dynasties of India[]

  • Burmese: With Update 61321, Howdah is reverted back to +1/+1 armor. Battle Elephants gain +1/+1 armor as a civilization bonus.


Video overview[]