|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. For the unit in Age of Empires, see Elephant Archer (Age of Empires).|
|“||Indian unique unit. Heavy mounted archer.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
Elephant Archers can be upgraded to Elite Elephant Archers in the Imperial Age.
Elephant Archers have high HP and pierce armor, and deal the same amount of damage as Cavalry Archers, but with a lower Rate of Fire. Like all Elephants, Elephant Archers move quite slowly, even more so than foot archers, but they are still faster than War Elephants.
Elephant Archers have more HP than any other Archer in the game, including the War Wagon. They pack the durability of a War Elephant into a powerful package with the range and attack of a Cavalry Archer. Their extremely high HP and pierce armor makes the Elephant Archer function much like a mobile tower with the advantage that they can be healed by Monks.
Because of their high pierce armor, they are also good as an anti-archer unit. However, as elephants they are extremely vulnerable to Pikemen. Unlike most other archers, they are quite good at destroying buildings.
Even though Elephant Archers fare far better against enemy Monks than Persian War Elephants do due to their range, they still struggle against Monks. Like the Persians, the Indians also lack Heresy, a circumstance that furthers that issue.
While Elephant Archers might look strong at first glance, they are a highly situational and rarely used unit (in one on one games). This has three main reasons:
- They are hard to mass, due to their high cost and the fact that they can only be trained at the Castle, and archers are at their best in large numbers.
- Their low speed takes away the main advantage of other cavalry archers, being able to outmaneuver slower units like infantry or Elite Skirmishers. Once Halberdiers can come close they shred Elephant Archers, and the slow Elephant has little means to escape.
- They have many vulnerabilities, due to them being in a total of five armor classes, the most of any unit in the game. This gives the opponent a wide array of units they can use against the Elephant Archer, depending on their civilization's strengths and overall game plan.
As Elephant Archers are unique to the Indians, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Slow non-ranged units, archers, buildings|
|Weak vs.||Pikemen, Kamayuks, Berserks, Genoese Crossbowmen, Huskarls, Mamelukes, Camel Riders, Skirmishers, Eagle Warriors, Samurai, Monks|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Parthian Tactics (+2 attack against Spearmen)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
|Firing rate||Thumb Ring (+18%)|
|Accuracy||Ballistics (hit moving targets)|
|Armor|| Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)|
Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Parthian Tactics (+1/+2)
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
|Upgrades||Elite Elephant Archer|
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, Elephant Archers are created and upgraded 25% faster, and Conscription is researched 25% faster.
- A team containing Britons: Researching Thumb Ring and Parthian Tactics is 20% faster.
- A team containing Huns: Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Ballistics is 80% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Elephant Archers are more resistant to conversion.
- Elephant Archers cost 110F/80G.
- The upgrade to Elite Elephant Archer costs 1200F/800G.
- Elephant Archers have 250 HP (350 for Elite).
- Elephant Archers have 4 pierce armor.
- Elephant Archers have -2 archer and 0 cavalry archer armor.
The African Kingdoms
- Elephant Archers now cost 100F/80G.
- The upgrade to Elite Elephant Archer now costs 1000F/800G.
- Elephant Archers now have 280 HP (330 for Elite).
- Elephant Archers now have 3 pierce armor.
- Indians: Get Ring Archer Armor.
Rise of the Rajas
- The Elephant Archer has the most armor classes of any unit in the game, at five.
- In the mod version Age of Empires II: The Forgotten Empires and the retail version Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, up to patch 3.4, the Elephant Archer was represented by an Age of Empires Composite Bowman mounted atop a War Elephant. The Elephant Archer got redesigned in patch 3.5. Further redesigns were made in patch 3.6.
- Since patch 3.6, Elephant Archers have a wheel-like symbol at their sides. The symbol is known as Dharmachakra (lit: wheel of law) and symbolizes the spiritual change in Buddhism.
- If one looks closely, every time the Elephant Archer attacks, the arrows will launch from the elephant's head instead from the rider's bow
People from the Pre-Indic Indus civilization were the first to tame elephants, roughly around 4,000 years ago in Indus valley for agricultural purpose. Later on, Indic-speaking newcomers from the steppes introduced horses and familiarized themselves with tame elephants. The first military application of elephants dates from around 1100 BC and is mentioned in several Sanskrit hymns. War elephants were used either to charge and trample enemy troops directly, or to carry archers and spear throwers who can attack from the top. Elephant's sheer height and mass offered considerable protection for their riders.