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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires. For the unit in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, see Elephant Archer (Age of Empires II).

The Elephant Archer is a ranged cavalry unit in Age of Empires that can be trained at the Archery Range once the Iron Age is reached. It is by far the strongest and most durable cavalry archer type in the game. It combines the hit points of the War Elephant and the attack strength and range of the Composite Bowman.

Unit availability
Available Unavailable


The Elephant Archer is used for brute strength and durability. It is a slow unit but can take siege fire better than any archer and when in large groups they are very dangerous. They do however cost a lot of food, and can drain resources quickly if too many are built at once. Another disadvantage is because of their slow speed they are extremely susceptible to conversion from Priests and the Elephant Archer's attack is not nearly as good as the Horse Archer's or Heavy Horse Archer's.

It is good to use this unit very sparingly, mostly substituted by faster units which are cheaper and have a better attack, e.g. Horse Archers. The Phoenicians provide cheaper Elephant Archers. Persian Elephant Archers are a bit faster, but lack 2 range and the difference in speed is minimal compared to the Horse Archer anyway. They are practical in some cases, especially if used for defensive purposes, but for the most part their high cost is a major downside and they can be ineffective in many situations. If resources allow it and the opponent isn't using Priests or Centurions then Elephant Archers are good as a backup unit.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry
Weak vs. Priest
Attack Alchemy.png Alchemy (+1)
Range Woodworking.png Woodworking (+1)
Artisanship.png Artisanship (+1)
Craftsmanship.png Craftsmanship (+1)
Accuracy Ballistics.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Leatherarmorarchersicon.png Leather Armor Archers (+2/+0)
Scalearmorarchersicon.png Scale Armor Archers (+2/+0)
Chainmailarchersicon.png Chain Mail Archers (+2/+0)

Civilization bonuses[]


Age of Empires[]

  • Elephant Archers cost 180F/60G.
  • Elephant Archers have 5 attack.
  • Persian Elephant Archers move +56% (incorrectly stated to be+50%) faster.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Elephant Archers now cost 180F/45G. After update 46777, it costs 180F/60G.
  • Elephant Archers now have 6 attack. With update 38862, they have 5 attack again, but was reverted in update 46777 to 6.
  • Persian Elephant Archers now move +20% faster. With update 38862, Elephant Archers move +25% faster.


Attempting to use elephants in combat posed a number of problems, including the central one of how the elephant would fight and cause casualties. One answer was to place a box on the elephant’s back from which archers could shoot. The archers were protected by the box and could fire down into the melee below. That worked only as long as the elephant remained standing and within range of the enemy. In the years following the death of Alexander the Great, many western kings adorned their armies with elephants but they were rarely effective. Armies of ancient India used elephants more successfully for many centuries.