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The Burmese are classified as a Monk and Battle Elephant civilization. To reflect this, they have full Cavalry upgrades (except for the Paladin), and they have a civilization bonus that gives their Battle Elephants +1/+1 armor. They also have Howdah, which gives another +1/+1 armor to their Battle Elephants. Their other unique technology Manipur Cavalry not only affects Elephants, but all Cavalry and also the Burmese unique unit, the Arambai, and gives them +4 attack against archers.

Their Monks are also exceptionally strong, with access to all Monastery technologies available (save for Heresy) and they even get a 50% discount on them. Their team bonus also helps their Monks by revealing the locations of all Relics on the map, allowing the Burmese player and their teammates to quickly collect them and have a gold lead in the late game. This is especially useful on Arena maps, where the Burmese can quickly advance to the Castle Age behind the safety of their walls.

Another strength of the Burmese is Infantry. Again, full upgrades are available and the Burmese civilization bonus of +1 infantry attack per Age further cements their supremacy.

Their economy bonus comes in the form of free Lumber Camp upgrades, giving the Burmese a slight advantage over civilizations without economy bonuses.

The Burmese are very strong on closed maps like Arena and Black Forest. In Arena, cheaper monk technologies gives the Burmese a slight edge over their opponents in monk strength. In Black Forest the narrow chokepoints help buff the Arambai's poor 20% accuracy. On both maps the Burmese can boom behind the safety of their walls.


The most glaring weakness of the Burmese is their abysmal Archery Range. Not only do they lack Hand Cannoneer, Arbalester, and Thumb Ring, but they are also are the only civilization not to get the Castle Age technology Leather Archer Armor. This means that their Skirmishers struggle to counter Crossbowmen, and means that the Burmese will have to utilize Manipur Cavalry to counter enemy archers.

Another weak spot is their mediocre late game navy, lacking both the Fast Fire Ship and Heavy Demolition Ship upgrades, as well as, more crucially, Shipwright. As a result, the Burmese have to rely on Galleons; however, this is the war ship most commonly used anyways.


Even though the Burmese are an elephant and Monk civilization, they have a great bonus that favors the use of infantry very early on the game. The Burmese are able to perform an infantry rush in the Feudal Age, as the extra attack can prove valuable in the raiding, and they also have full Champion and Halberdier upgrades. The infantry will also retain their value in later ages, considering their increasing attack per age. However, their elephants, Monks, and Arambai will usually take over as the main Burmese units starting in the Castle Age.

The Burmese also have a strong economy. Their Dark Age will be normal, but once they reach Feudal Age, they will receive the Double-Bit Axe improvement for free, which means they will gather wood faster, and this may help to them to focus more on other resources. Booming with the Burmese is very possible, as they have almost all economic upgrades and the Lumber camp upgrades are free.

Monastery technologies are a lot cheaper for the Burmese, meaning that there will be more gold floating around for Monks during a Monk rush. Redemption and Sanctity are practically mandatory for a Monk rush, so almost immediately the Burmese can train three more Monks than a generic civilization. If every technology apart from Faith and Herbal Medicine are researched (as the two are situational and do not directly affect Monks) then a total of 819 gold will be saved, enough for eight Monks.

Burmese players and their allies will know the locations of all Relics from the start of the game, and the gold trickle from Relics is highly valuable, also having the consideration that gathering the Relics is a victory condition in a standard game. One tactic a Burmese player can use against enemy Monks that helps to achieve a Relic victory is to send Scout Cavalry and some supportive Skirmishers or Archers to each Relic location they can reach on the map since Feudal Age, and set them on patrolling the areas of the Relics. This will make it very difficult for opponent monks to approach the Relics. Then the player must advance to the Castle Age as quickly as possible and spam monks to each secured Relic location.

In the Castle and Imperial Ages, Burmese should start to focus more on cavalry and infantry rather than on Monks, and use their Monks more for supportive and utility purposes (healing the Burmese expensive units and converting enemy expensive units). Burmese Battle Elephants are great tool thanks to their high durability. Hussars will be very useful for taking care of enemy archers. The Arambai are another powerful unit, with their high attack that deals full damage even when a shot misses.

On water maps, the Burmese should use their free Lumber Camp upgrades to gain an edge on the early game and try a Galley rush. Later on, their navy will be average, lacking important upgrades like Shipwright and Fast Fire Ship, so raiding is very important on those kinds of maps. Otherwise, they should keep their feet dry.

Strategy changes in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition[]

As all civilizations (except the Goths) received the new Barracks tech Supplies, they are now better enabled to perform a Feudal Age rush with Men-at-Arms. Also, later on, their Champions are cheaper thanks to this new technology. The Elite Battle Elephant now has 14 base attack instead of 16, but is still a viable option for sieging.

Update 34699 reduced the Arambai wood cost to 75 wood, which works better with their free Lumber Camp upgrades.

With update 37650, Manipuri Cavalry no longer gets partially blocked by the Masonry technology, making their excellent Stable units a much better choice at destroying buildings.

However, in update 39284, Battle Elephant trample damage was reduced to 25%, making them much more vulnerable to massed Halberdiers and Camel Riders in pitched battles, but their increased armor by the Howdah technology still makes them a good choice as frontline.

With update 42848, the Arambai firing rate was reduced from 2.0 to 2.2, but their effectiveness is still solid. Their Battle Elephants were directly touched by the increasing of the collision size and the bonus reduction against buildings to 4 for standard and 7 for elite. However, they can still take down building fairly quickly thanks to Manipur Cavalry.

Strategy changes in Lords of the West[]

With update 44725, the Arambai base attack was reduced to 12 for standard and 15 for elite and the rate of fire set back to 2.0, while missing shots now do 100% damage, weakening their power against buildings (especially in closed maps like Arena), but increasing the effectiveness against other units and scaling better with higher numbers instead of being too strong in low numbers.

Strategy changes in Dawn of the Dukes[]

With update 51737, the Howdah technology was improved, as it now gives +1/+2 armor instead of +1/+1 armor (Bringing it back to the Rise of the Rajas release), making ther Battle Elephants a much stronger unit to soak all arrow damage. They now take only 1 damage from Arbalester shots, also being a much more devasting raiding unit.

A major change to Manipur Cavalry in update 56005 is that it now gives Stable units +5 attack against archers, replacing the older effect against buildings. As a result, the Burmese Stable units become a formidable force against archer civilizations. Hussars can kill Arbalesters in one less hit, because most of the time, the attack and range upgrades are researched before armor when playing with archers. The Burmese Cavalier can be a bigger threat, as with all attack upgrades and the technology effect, it can kill Arbalesters in two hits. The effect on the Elite Battle Elephant isn't small. Trapped Arbalesters can be killed in just two hits, which is even more powerful when Burmese elephants also get extra armor. Unfortunately, it no longer affects Arambai.

Strategy changes in Dynasties of India[]

Burmese Battle Elephants now have +1/+1 armor as a bonus, and Howdah again gives +1/+1 armor, resulting in better melee armor to the previous versions, which means that Burmese Battle Elephants now hold slightly better against melee units. The cost of Manipur Cavalry was also reduced, and the train-time of the Arambai was also reduced, enabling Burmese players to mass them better.

Update 73855 have Arambai afffected by Parthian Tactics, giving them more late-game durability against ranged units.


Despite being branded as a "Monk and Elephant" civilization, the Burmese, in reality, are quite versatile, boasting offensively powerful infantry and great religion-based bonuses. With their Battle Elephants, an ally should bring in good ranged support. They play best in the pocket, as most of their strengths rely on them being in the Castle Age.

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  • Chinese AoE2 Chinese: The Chinese are not an obvious choice, but they can prove to be a surprisingly brilliant ally: the Farm team bonus, combined with the better production of lumber, can allow the Burmese to both save and gain extra resources, saving time and wood, while at the same time a Chinese-Burmese alliance offers a great variety of units that can make the team highly unpredictable. And of course, the Chinese offer awesome ranged units that can make up for the abysmal Burmese Archery Range, whereas the Burmese offer strong infantry and versatile cavalry to increase power projection and harass Villagers and towns.
  • Italians AoE2 Italians: Another interesting (though more efficient at late game) combination could be an Italian-Burmese alliance. Burmese Condottieri can become alarmingly powerful, thanks to the attack bonus, while Italians offer better archers and gunpowder units, and Burmese make up for the Italians' below average cavalry with their own.
  • Huns AoE2 Huns: The Burmese can better create cavalry along with the Huns' Tarkans, and the Huns Cavalry Archers complement them well.
  • Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians: Their team bonus makes Monasteries work 20% faster. The Burmese team bonus grants vision of Relics, so the Lithuanian player can collect them much more easily. If the Lithuanians can't get to the Relics, the Burmese ally can get them for them until they get their 4 Relics, which increases the attack of their heavy cavalry. The Lithuanian player grants faster-working Monasteries, so the Burmese player can tech into Monks (since their Monk techs are 50% off). The Burmese have very strong infantry, while the Lithuanians lack Plate Mail Armor and Blast Furnace. The Lithuanians have decent Crossbowmen and Cavalry Archers and Tower Shields for their Elite Skirmishers, while the Burmese lack Leather Archer Armor (the only civilization that lacks it) and Thumb Ring, so their Archery Range is overall weak. Both civilizations possess powerful cavalry options. The Burmese have a superior Siege Workshop, having two items the Lithuanians lack: Siege Engineers and Heavy Scorpion.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

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Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Arambai, being a Cavalry archer with an astonishing high damage output but low accuracy, can counter slow-moving non-ranged units such as infantry, Rams, Battle Elephants, Boyars and War Elephants by hit-and-running them. Even the infantry from prominent infantry civilizations (such as Teutons, Burmese, Malay, Vikings, Japanese, Aztecs, Incas, Slavs, and Celts) have trouble against contingents of Arambai. Elephant civilizations (such as Khmer, Persians, and Vietnamese) may also have problems against contingents of Arambai. As their attack can be improved through Manipur Cavalry, they are also a great asset vs buildings (except fortifications), so civilizations lacking good defenses (like Huns and Goths) will have a hard time against them. Arambai are a great unit to counter-attack the Bulgarian Konnik, as they can hit-and-run them and deal a lot of damage to both mounted and dismounted Konniks.
  • Since their Monastery technologies are cheaper, the Burmese Monks can counter Knights, Elephant units, and several unique types of cavalry, which means that civilizations reliant on heavy cavalry (like Persians, Franks, Burmese, and sometimes Berbers, if they choose to go for knights) may have a hard time against them. Also, their Halberdier, buffed with more attack, can also counter cavalry to great effect, adding more power against cavalry-reliant civilizations.
  • As their champions have a high damage output, due to their bonus attack, they get an edge in infantry vs infantry encounters, especially against civilizations with poor infantry (like the Persians) and even some good infantry civilizations (such as Malay, Goths and Celts) may have trouble against the Burmese. Their Champions are also a good asset against trash units, so trashing civilizations such as Vietnamese, Magyars and Berbers should avoid Burmese Champions.
  • Having a good early economy and a bonus attack for infantry, the Burmese are able to raid in the early game with Militia or Men-at-arms, so civilizations with poor early game (such as Portuguese, Turks, or Indians) may struggle against the Burmese, especially in open maps like Arabia.
  • Their Battle Elephants, buffed with Howdah and Manipur Cavalry, are a great asset against arrow fire, so civilizations reliant on archers (like Mayans and Britons) will have a harder time against them. Also, they can become a viable replacement for siege units (particularly because the extra pierce armor) so civilizations with mediocre defenses (like Huns, Magyars, and Goths) should take cautions against Burmese Elephants. As they deal trample damage, they are able to counter masses of non-pike infantry, such as Karambit Warriors, Shotel Warriors, Goth Huskarls, and Champions.
  • The Manipur Cavalry upgrade also benefits Hussars and Knights, so Burmese are also able to raid with them, adding more power against towns with lackluster defenses.
  • Regarding naval warfare, as they receive free lumber upgrades, they may get an early advantage, as they can mass warships early and perform Galley or Fire Galley rushes, so civilizations with poor early navy may struggle against the Burmese.
  • Their team bonus (Relics visible on the map) not only makes them a great team-mate for Lithuanians, but also makes them a great counterpick against Lithuanians, since they can go directly and secure the Relics in order to prevent the Lithuanian attack bonus for their cavalry. The same logic can be applied to Aztecs.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Despite the fact that the Arambai has great damage output and good movement speed, they can be countered by siege units, especially Siege Onagers, masses of Scorpions, and Bombard Cannons, if the player ignores microing them. Civilizations with overall good siege engines (such as Ethiopians, Celts, Mongols, Teutons, and Khmer) have an advantage over Burmese Arambai. Despite being dominant in the Castle Age, Arambai lose this status in the Imperial Age, due to the improvements for their counters and the appearance of new ones, (as Kamayuks, Halberdiers, Samurai, Berserkers, Genoese Crossbowmen, Skirmishers, Camels, Mamelukes, and Huskarls do bonus damage to them), so civilizations with good Skirmishers and/or good Halberdiers (such as Aztecs, Vietnamese, Britons, Vikings and Byzantines), or civilizations with specific anti-cavalry-archer units (such as Berbers and Saracens) can overturn a Burmese Arambai army.
  • Burmese have lackluster archer upgrades, so besides the Arambai, the rest of their archer line is mediocre and can be easily countered by skirmishers or other anti-archer units, so civilizations like Vietnamese, Berbers, Indians (with their Elephant Archer), Koreans (with their War Wagons), Aztecs, Britons and others have easy ways to deal with Burmese archers.
  • Despite their Monastery upgrades being cheaper, they still require good micromanagement. In addition, the Monks of other Monk civilizations (like the Aztecs, Spanish, Saracens, and Slavs) can better buff their monks in the long run (when they finish researching all their improvements).
  • Berbers also possess several tricks against the Burmese. Both of their unique units can counter the Arambai, while also having cheaper Camels and Hussars that can counter cavalry, Elephants, Bombard Cannons and Monks. Other Camel civilizations (like Saracens, Indians, and Malians) also pose a threat to the Burmese cavalry and Elephants. Additionally, civilizations with either a specialized anti-cavalry unique unit (like Incas and Italians) or good Halberdiers (almost any infantry civilization) can counter the Burmese cavalry armies effectively. Also, the Burmese lack the Paladin upgrade.
  • Despite the fact that their infantry have an attack bonus, they may be at a disadvantage against archer civilizations that can counter their infantry raids, like Britons, Vietnamese and Mayans. Civilizations focused on gunpowder (like Turks, Portuguese and Spanish) or that have a specialized counter to infantry (like Incas, Aztecs, Mayans and Byzantines) are also a threat to Burmese infantry, especially in the late game.
  • Despite having good defense bonuses, if the player ignores walling up early, they are at risk against early aggression civilizations, such as Aztecs, Huns, Magyars and Goths.
  • Regarding naval warfare, their advantage is short-lived as long as their rivals research their lumber upgrades, so civilizations specialized in navy (like Koreans, Vikings, Spanish, Saracens, Portuguese, and Malay) can effectively defeat Burmese on the sea.
  • Lacking Heresy also makes the Burmese units easy targets for enemy Monks, and this is especially true for their Battle Elephants.

Situational advantages[]

  • They receive free Lumber Camp upgrades, which can be a substantial advantage in densely forested maps (such as Black Forest or Arena). Also, as the Burmese bonuses shine in mid-to-late-game, they should wall up in these maps and then Boom and attack in the late game.
  • In the "Wonder Race" game mode, their free lumber upgrades and the revelation of the Relics may give them an edge, as they can acumulate Gold and Wood fast enough to win the game.
  • In Holy Line and Wolf Hill, they and their team mates may get a huge edge, as in those maps there are many Relics at the center of the map, so if they hurry up and snatch them, they will have a huge gold boost for the team. Also, their sight remains, so they can still spy in these places after the Relics are taken.
  • They get a nice edge in Capture the Relic game mode, as they can research Monastery technologies for a much cheaper price.
  • As in the Fortress map, players already start with a Barracks, the Burmese may take an early advantage, as they can start to create their infantry army since the beginning.
  • Since they get access to Bombard Cannons and have overall good infantry and cavalry, they are suited for Post-Imperial Matches.
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