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The Dravidians are a naval and infantry civilization who also has good early flexibility, thanks to the 200 wood they receive with each age. Their Fishermen and Fishing Ships carry +15 food, and their Docks hold +5 population space. Both bonuses enable a good start on naval maps. The Dravidians also have a strong navy, having full Dock technologies, while also having the Thirisadai (a heavy ship that fires multple arrows).

Dravidian infantry are among the best in the game, having fully upgradable Champions and Halberdiers. Barracks technologies and upgrades cost 50% less, and their unique technology Wootz Steel enables infantry and cavalry attack to ignore armor, making them comparable to infantry from civilizations like the Aztecs and Japanese. Their unique unit is the Urumi Swordsman, which is an infantry unit akin to the Champion line that has a charge attack similar to those of the Burgundian Coustillier.

They also have good archers, thanks in part to their wood bonus. They have fully upgradable Arbalesters, Hand Cannoneers, and Elite Skirmishers, the last of which also fire 25% faster with one of the Dravidians' bonuses. They also have access to the Elephant Archer, which in their case fires 25% faster and can regenerate hit points after Medical Corps is researched, but lack Parthian Tactics, Husbandry, and Bloodlines, making them a difficult choice.

Dravidians have decent defenses, only lacking Architechture and Treadmill Crane at their University, while also getting buffed Halberdiers and Skirmishers for countering cavalry and archers, respectively.

Finally, they have Siege Elephants to replace rams, and can upgrade them with Medical Corps and Wootz Steel.


While having an excellent navy, great infantry, and decent foot archers, the Dravidians have one great weakness: their cavalry is arguably the worst of any non-American civilization, with only regular Battle Elephants and Light Cavalry at the Stable, along with no Bloodlines or Husbandry. This lackluster Stable also negatively impacts their Siege Elephants and Elephant Archers, which benefit from Husbandry and Bloodlines. They also lack Plate Barding Armor at the Blacksmith, and Cavalry Archers, which means this civilization lacks a lot of mobility for their troops, having to rely on a very weak Light Cavalry for fast raiding on land.

Aside from the Siege Elephant, their siege unit options are just OK, as they lack Siege Engineers and Bombard Cannons.

Their late-game economy is remarkably weak, as they lack Crop Rotation, Stone Shaft Mining, and Gold Shaft Mining. No other civilization lacks more late-game economic technologies than the Dravidians.

Dravidian Monks are mediocre, as Dravidians lack Heresy, Redemption, Illumination, and Fervor at the Monastery.

Due to their terrible cavalry, lack of Redemption, Siege Engineers and Bombard Cannons, the Dravidians have an exploitable weakness to siege units such as Siege Onagers and Heavy Scorpions. Enemy Bombard Cannons, in particular, will be highly troublesome to deal with.


On land, the Dravidians are a civilization well suited for Feudal Age rushes. At the start, they must focus on advancing to the Feudal Age as soon as possible, since most of their advantages come in the Feudal Age. If they get lucky and find a pond with fish, or are playing on a water map, they may use the fish for aging up, as Fishermen carry +15 food. Likewise, their Fishing Ships also carry +15 food, and Docks provide +5 population, which means that on water maps, they can start the game by placing one House and a Dock, and use the saved 25 wood for the first Lumber Camp.

Once in the Feudal Age, depending on the situation, Dravidians may use their +200 wood they get for aging up to either perform an archer Rush, a Men-at-Arms rush, or for a Fast Castle. They may also perform a Scout rush, but this last strategy is not recomended, as later on, this unit will lack a lot of upgrades.

Although the Dravidians are considered an infantry civilization, they are well equipped for a Feudal Age rush using their Archery Range units, thanks to their +200 wood upon entering an Age and their faster-firing Skirmishers. In the case of this strategy, it is recommended that the player already has a Barracks before aging up, so as soon as the player reaches Feudal Age, they must use the 175 of the wood received for the Archery Range.

If the player chooses to perform a Men-at-Arms rush, it is recommended to make two Barracks; if wood is plentiful, the player may also build a Blacksmith in order to improve the armor and attack of their infantry. In any case, since their infantry upgrade cost at the Barracks is halved, the player should research Supplies and Men-at-Arms. It is also possible to combine both archers and Infantry in the Feudal Age for the Dravidians.

For a Fast Castle strategy, the Dravidians should take their Dark Age as normal, aging up at 21 villagers; once in the Feudal Age, they should use the 200 wood for making a Market and gather another 125 wood for the Blacksmith. This way, the player will save time, as the Villagers may put more focus on the gold and food required for aging to the Castle Age. Once in the Castle Age, they will receive another 200 wood. Depending on the situation, they may use that wood for either a Town Center to perform a booming strategy, for a Siege Workshop (with Armored Elephants that can regenerate hitpoints and ignore armor after researching the unique technologies), for a Barracks, or for an Archery Range. In some very rare cases, they may make a Stable and use the Battle Elephants, but as they can't improve them to Elite (while also lacking Husbandry and Bloodlines) a Battle Elephant rush should be done only in very specific cases.

As the game continues, Dravidian players will want to mix infantry into the armies of archers and Skirmishers. This is where the cheaper Barracks upgrades become helpful, letting the player save hundreds of food and gold that can instead be placed back into building infantry units and eventually researching Wootz Steel in the Imperial Age. The player may also add Elephant Archers to their army, as in the Dravidians' case, this unit fires 25% faster, while also having Thumb Ring, and regenerate hit points after Medical Corps is researched. Dravidian Elephant archers, despite lacking Husbandry and Bloodlines, are still valuable, since their firing rate is the best among all the Elephant Archers in the game.

Dravidians have big advantages in trash wars in the late Imperial Age, since they have fully upgraded Halberdiers with Wootz Steel that can easily destroy Hussars, and fully upgraded Elite Skirmishers that fire 25% faster, which can easily destroy enemy Halberdiers; however, as they lack Hussars, the trash Dravidian army will lack a lot of mobility. Their Champions with Wootz Steel and their unique unit, the Urumi Swordsman, also give Dravidians a great late-game advantage vs trash unit armies.

On water maps, the player will want to try to win games fairly quickly when possible, using the wood, fishing, and Dock bonuses to fully exploit and take control of the seas as soon as possible. As the game goes on, note that although the player benefits from having a complete naval tech tree and access to the Thirisadai, they will eventually be at a disadvantage against civilizations with long-term naval bonuses or unique technologies, including the Portuguese and Saracens.


In team games, Dravidians are a good choice for the flank position, due to their strong archer- and infantry-rushing capabilities. In general, the Dravidian team bonus is helpful on any map that contains a significant amount of water, but is virtually useless on land maps.

Some of the better partners for the Dravidians are civilizations that have a team bonus that can support their archer rush, infantry, and/or economy, but don't focus on the same combination of infantry and foot archers the Dravidians do, thus providing unit diversity. Examples include the Bulgarians, Chinese, Goths, Incas, Magyars, and Saracens.

The Vietnamese can be a tempting ally for the Dravidians. Dravidians already have faster-firing Skirmishers, so the ability to upgrade them to Imperial Skirmishers in the late game can be a solid upgrade. Furthermore, although both civilizations have strong foot archers, they otherwise complement one another fairly well, with the Dravidians offering far superior infantry and certain siege options (like superior Armored Elephants), while the Vietnamese provide far bulkier Battle Elephants and Bombard Cannons with Siege Engineers.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Dravidians' biggest strength is their strong infantry rush potential, thanks to their Barracks upgrades costing 50% less. In addition, they receive 200 wood upon advancing to the next Age, which can either allow them to boom, transition into an archer rush after their initial drush strategy, or have a mix of archers and infantry in their rush. This gives Dravidians an advantage against civilization who lack early-game economic bonuses (i.e. Spanish and Portuguese), or civilizations that are vulnerable to Dark and Feudal Age rushes (i.e. Turks, Burgundians, and Bohemians). Because of their strong rush potential, this makes Dravidians a solid civilization in open maps.
  • The Dravidians' Imperial Age unique technology, Wootz Steel, gives them an advantage against civilizations with melee units that normally rely on having high melee armor. These include the Bulgarian Two-Handed Swordsman, the Sicilian Serjeant, Slavic Boyar, and the Teutons' Teutonic Knight.
  • Despite having the weakest Battle Elephants and Elephant Archers in terms of mobility and durability, the Dravidians' elephant units are relatively usable thanks to their Elephant Archers' increased attack rate and the Medical Corps technology, which helps make up for the lack of Bloodlines and Husbandry. Combined with Wootz Steel applying to their Battle Elephants, this makes their elephant units usable in prolonged fights. For example, while Dravidian Battle Elephants will lose a one-on-one fight with a Malay Elite Battle Elephant, they can handle highly armored units such as Teutonic Knights and Boyars better than any other elephant civilization, while a fully upgraded Dravidian Elite Elephant Archer can even win on a one-on-one trade with a Gurjaras Elite Elephant Archer.
  • While the Dravidians have relatively strong infantry bonuses, they can also be a solid archer civilization, thanks to their civilization bonus of receiving 200 wood upon advancing to the next age and having access to fully upgradable Arbalesters. Combined with their access to Hand Cannoneers, this gives the Dravidians a significant edge against infantry civilizations (i.e. Goths, Celts, and Japanese). Their Skirmishers attacking faster can even allow them win trades against other archer civilizations such as Ethiopians, Mayans, Britons, and Vietnamese.
  • Their navy is the strongest in the game, as they are the only civilization to have access to a unique ship (Thirisadai) and all upgrades and technologies available in the Dock. Combined with the increased capacity of their Fishing Ships and Fishermen, this gives them an edge against civilizations with lackluster navy (i.e. "nomadic" civilizations such as Huns, Tatars, and Cumans).
  • The Dravidians are relatively strong at trash wars, as they not only have faster-attacking Skrimishers, but their Light Cavalry's and Halberdiers' attacks can ignore armor. Combined with their access to the Urumi Swordsman and fully upgradable Champions, this gives a Dravidians an advantage against civilizations with weak trash units (i.e. Turks and Gurjaras).

Disadvantages vs. other civilizations[]

  • The weakness of the typical Dravidian cavalry makes it difficult for them to pursue Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers. This can make them vulnerable to hit-and-run tactics from civilizations such as the Huns, Mongols, and Tatars, or civilizations with strong Halberdiers (i.e. Bohemians, Japanese, and Goths) and Camels (Hindustanis, Gurjaras, Saracens, and Berbers.
  • Despite having fully upgrade Arbalesters, they do not have any other bonuses for their foot archers, except for their faster-attacking Skirmishers. Civilizations with bonuses for their archers (i.e. Ethiopians, Mayans, Britons, and Vietnamese) or civilizations with bonuses for their skirmishers (i.e. Aztecs, Mayans, Byzantines, Vietnamese Imperial Skirmishers, and Berber Genitours) will have an advantage over Dravidians in archer trades.
  • Ranged units such as Cavalry Archers, foot archers, and Hand Cannoneers can be a threat to their infantry. Similarly, ranged melee units such as the Gbeto, Chakram Thrower, Throwing Axeman, and Mameluke can safely attack Dravidian infantry from a safe distance.
  • While their Siege Elephant can slowly regenerate hit points, their siege is relatively average, with the Siege Elephant and Siege Onager as their only viable siege options, and they also lack Siege Engineers. Civilizations with inherit bonuses to their siege (i.e. Celts, Ethiopians, Teutons, and Mongols) will have an advantage over the Dravidians in siege warfare, considering that their defenses are average at best.
  • Their Monks are relatively mediocre and they lack Heresy. This puts Dravidians at a significant disadvantage against civilization with bonuses to their Monks (i.e. Spanish, Burmese, Bohemians, and Teutons) as they can easily convert several of the Dravidian Battle Elephants and Elephant Archers for themselves. As the Dravidians also lack good light cavalry, this makes civilizations with strong Monks relatively difficult to deal with.
  • Similar to the Vikings, facing the Bombard Cannon will be a challenge for Dravidians, as they themselves do not have access to it, while they also cannot convert it and lack good mobile units. Siege units, in general, are troublesome for the Dravidians to deal with, due to their weak cavalry and lack of Redemption, Siege Engineers, and Bombard Cannons. Wootz Steel's effect does not work on siege units (siege units are immune to armor-ignoring effects), so Dravidian infantry is no better than generic infantry against them.

Situational advantages[]

  • Due to the Dravidians receiving 200 wood upon advancing in the next age, they have an advantage in maps where access to wood is relatively scarce (such as Ghost Lake).
  • The Dravidians are also strong in open maps such as Arabia because of their strong rushing potential with their infantry and archers, and are a solid civilization in 1v1 matches thanks to their good trash war potential.
  • Much like the Malay, the Dravidians are solid in water maps, but their civilization bonuses are best used in amphibious maps such as Bog Islands, or maps with mixture of both land and Water (such as Salt Marsh, Mediterranean, or Baltic), since the Dravidians can take advantage of their Fishing Ship and Fishermen carry capacity bonuses to produce their infantry and Elephant Archers.
  • As their Fishing Ships and fishermen carry more food, the Dravidians have an advantage in maps that start out with a Dock or Fishing Ships (i.e. Water Nomad).
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Strategies in Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0.png The Age of KingsBritons · Byzantines · Celts · Chinese · Franks · Goths · Japanese · Mongols · Persians · Saracens · Teutons · Turks · Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1.png The ConquerorsAztecs · Huns · Koreans · Mayans · Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2.png The ForgottenIncas · Hindustanis · Italians · Magyars · Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3.png The African KingdomsBerbers · Ethiopians · Malians · Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4.png Rise of the RajasBurmese · Khmer · Malay · Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5.png The Last KhansBulgarians · Cumans · Lithuanians · Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest.png Lords of the WestBurgundians · Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon.png Dawn of the DukesBohemians · Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia.png Dynasties of IndiaBengalis · Dravidians · Gurjaras