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This article is about the military units riding elephants. For the wild animal, see Elephant.
Warelephant prev aoe2de.png

Elephant units are a type of mounted units that ride elephants instead of horses, explicitly or implicitly. They appear in every game of the Age of Empires series.


All elephant units have a large number of hit points, among the most for a single unit in their respective games. This may allow them to outlast even common cavalry counters like polearm infantry and camel units in combat. However, elephants are slow, which renders them vulnerable to conversion, ranged siege weapons, or artillery fire that can be dodged by other mounted units. Since elephants are also expensive and slow to train, they must be paired with other units that can deal with these threats.

Usually, ranged elephants just add the durability of the elephant to their non-elephant equivalent and have a similar attack to it. A typical example is the Elephant Archer in Age of Empires, which has the same hit points as the War Elephant and the attack and range of the Composite Bowman. Melee elephant units like the aforementioned War Elephant, on the other hand, are heavy cavalry units with high attack that can be devastating against massed units and buildings due to their ability to deal trample damage, affecting several nearby tiles at once. Thus, while melee elephants are undoubtedly cavalry units, they can be comparable to siege weapons in some aspects.

Elephants are only native to parts of Africa and Asia; for this reason, they are exclusive to civilizations hailing from those continents.

Age of Empires[]

All elephant units in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition

In Age of Empires, there are two elephant lines available to some civilizations: the melee War Elephant, which is trained at the Stable, and the ranged Elephant Archer which is trained at the Archery Range.

List of elephant units[]

Elephant heroes[]


Eight civilizations have access to elephant units of any kind:

RomeIcon.png Carthaginians
EmpiresIcon.png Egyptians (except Armored Elephant)
EmpiresIcon.png Hittites
RomeIcon.png Macedonians (except Elephant Archer)
RomeIcon.png Palmyrans (except Elephant Archer)
EmpiresIcon.png Persians
EmpiresIcon.png Phoenicians
EmpiresIcon.png Sumerians (War Elephant only)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Carthaginians: Elephant units have +25% hit points.
  • Hittites: Elephant Archers have +1 attack.
  • Macedonians: War Elephants have +2 Line of Sight and are four times more resistant against conversion.
  • Persians: Elephant units move 25% faster.
  • Phoenicians: Elephant units are 25% cheaper.


  • The access to elephant units of the Hittites, Palmyrans, and Sumerians is probably for balancing purposes since none of these civilizations used war elephants historically (though the Palmyrans seem to take some of their inspiration from the Numidians, oddly enough).
    • Similarly, the Romans were able to field war elephants in battle, but they are the only of the Rise of Rome civilizations with no access to them. On the other hand, the Romans' elephant handlers were North African auxiliaries, not ethnic Romans.
  • Despite the elephant units being clearly of an African species, several civilizations that have access to them were located in the Middle East and partly in Europe (in the case of the Macedonians) and would have used Asian elephants.

Age of Empires II[]

All Elephant units in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

In Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, the War Elephant returns as the unique unit of the Persians, the only of the previous civilizations that survived and continued to use war elephants into the Medieval period. The later expansion The Forgotten brings back the Elephant Archer as one of the two unique units of the Indians. Both units can only be created at the Castle which makes them more difficult to mass than in the previous game, but their function remains largely the same.

In Rise of the Rajas, a less powerful, 'generic' version of the War Elephant is introduced: the Battle Elephant. It can be created at the Stable and has roughly half the stats of the War Elephant. The Battle Elephant is only available to the four Southeast Asian civilizations introduced in the expansion, each of which has a unique technology or bonus that benefits Battle Elephants in a different way. The Khmer are the only civilization with access to two elephant units, as they can train the Battle Elephant and their unique Ballista Elephant, a ranged unit that fires Scorpion bolts.

In Dynasties of India, the Indian civilization is extensively reworked and the Elephant Archer becomes an Archery Range unit that replaces the Cavalry Archer for the Bengalis, Dravidians, and Gurjaras. These three new civilizations and the Hindustanis (formerly Indians) also receive a new unique elephant line, the Armored Elephant, which replaces the Battering Ram.

Besides the Cavalry armor class, all elephant units belong to the War Elephant armor class and any other that suits their type (Unique Unit, Archer, or Siege Weapon). Tatar Flaming Camels are particularly dangerous because they have a large bonus attack against the cavalry class and an enormous one against the War Elephant class.

Unlike in the previous game, all elephant units have Elite upgrades.

List of elephant units[]

Elephant heroes[]


Nine civilizations have access to elephant units of any kind:

Civ icon bengalis.png Bengalis
CivIcon-Burmese.png Burmese
Civ Icon Dravidians.png Dravidians
Civ Icon Gurjaras.png Gurjaras
CivIcon-Hindustanis.png Hindustanis (formerly CivIcon-Indians.png Indians)
CivIcon-Khmer.png Khmer
CivIcon-Malay.png Malay
CivIcon-Persians.png Persians
CivIcon-Vietnamese.png Vietnamese

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Bengalis: Elephant units receive -25% bonus damage and are more resistant to conversion.
  • Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
  • Dravidians: Elephant Archers attack 25% faster.
  • Gurjaras: Elephant units deal +50% bonus damage.
  • Khmer: Battle Elephants move 10% faster.
  • Malay: Battle Elephants are 30%/40% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Vietnamese: Conscription is free.

Team bonuses[]

Unique technologies[]


  • The Southeast Asian version of the Stable includes a moving elephant next to the usual horses. This is the only Stable with an animation in the HD Edition.
  • After update 37650 of the Definitive Edition, elephant heads will appear peeking out of Transport Ships loaded with 10 elephant units.
  • Elephant units in Age of Empires II have the most HP of whatever type of units they belong to. The cavalry unit with the most HP is the War Elephant (followed by the Battle Elephant), the Elephant Archer has the most HP of any archer, and the Elite Ballista Elephant has the most HP of any siege unit, though the Siege Ram does have more HP than the standard Ballista Elephant.
  • Unlike in the previous game, only Battle Elephants have visible mahouts. They carry a pole weapon known as ngao in Thai and dap in Malay.
  • The War Elephant is based on an African elephant while all others are from the Asian species. However, the war elephants historically used by Persia were also Asian, imported from India.
    • Historically, war elephants were used regularly in India and Southeast Asia during the Middle Ages, but their use elsewhere was rare.

Age of Mythology[]

War Elephant in Age of Mythology.

In Age of Mythology there is only one elephant unit, the War Elephant, which is unique to the Egyptians and can be trained at the Migdol Stronghold starting in the Heroic Age. Though a melee cavalry unit, the War Elephant has a great attack bonus against buildings and significant pierce armor, which makes it functionally similar to a siege weapon.

List of elephant units[]


Only Egyptians have access to elephant units of any kind:

EgyptianPortrait.png Egyptians

Unique technologies[]

Age of Empires III[]

The four trainable elephant unit types unique to the Indians: Siege Elephant, Howdah, Flail Elephant, and Mahout Lancer (in reading order).

Elephant units in the Definitive Edition.

Elephant units are introduced in The Asian Dynasties. With the exception of the two Scenario Editor elephants, the Treasure Guardian and the Pet elephants, all they have the AbstractElephant tag in the game files. The War Elephant is available to all civilizations after building a Trading Post in a Sufi Mosque, while all others are unique to the Indians and their campaign. Some Indian elephants are Mansabdar units created at the Charminar Gate wonder, which are more powerful and boost nearby elephant units of their counterpart generic type.

List of elephant units[]

Elephant heroes[]

Scenario Editor elephants[]

Treasure Guardian elephants[]

Pet elephants[]

  • Riderless Elephant portrait aoe3de.png Aiz the Tame Elephant: An exceptionally intelligent elephant who enjoys surprises. Good against Treasure Guardians.


Only Indians and Sufi allies have access to elephant units of any kind:

Flag IndianDE.png Indians
Sufi Icon.png Sufi allies


  • Advancing Age (Brahmins get +50% hit points and attack)
  • Disciplined, Honored, and Exalted Flail Elephant (Flail Elephants get +20%/30%/50% hit points and attack)
  • Honored and Exalted Howdah (Howdahs get +30%/+50% hit points and attack)
  • Honored and Exalted Mahout (Mahout Lancers get +30%/+50% hit points and attack)
  • Honored and Exalted Siege Elephant (Siege Elephants get +25%/+50% hit points and attack)
  • Legendary Native Warriors/Exalted Natives (War Elephants get +50% hit points and attack)
  • Sufi Discipline Training and Sufi Honor Training (War Elephants get +25%/+40% hit points and attack, respectively)

Unique technologies[]

Unique Home City cards[]

  • Chinese:
    • Western Reforms (War Elephants have +8% HP and attack)
    • Acupuncture (War Elephants trained 20% faster)
    • TEAM Engineering School (Siege Elephants created 30% faster)
  • French:
    • TEAM Hand Cavalry Attack (War Elephants, Mahout Lancers, and Flail Elephants get +15% attack)
    • Wilderness Warfare (War Elephants get +20% HP)
    • TEAM Improved Native Warriors (War Elephants get +15% HP and attack
  • Germans:
    • TEAM Cavalry Attack (+15% attack)
    • Spanish Riding School (War Elephants get +10% speed)
  • Indians:
    • Favorable Karma (Brahmins get +60% HP and attack, and can train pet tigers)
    • Dukkha Suffering (reduces speed of enemy units in a 24 radius around Brahmins)
    • Dravidian Martial Arts (+15% melee attack)
    • Grazing (Elephant units generate 0.1 wood every second)
    • TEAM Shivaji's Tactics (+5% HP and attack)
    • TEAM 2 Flail Elephants (Ships 2 Flail Elephants)
    • 3 Flail Elephants (Ships 3 Flail Elephants)
    • 5 Flail Elephants (Ships 5 Flail Elephants)
    • 2 Howdahs (Ships 2 Howdahs)
    • 3 Howdahs (Ships 3 Howdahs)
    • Howdah Regiment (Ships 1 Mansabdar Howdah and 1 Howdah)
    • 2 Mahout Lancers (Ships 2 Mahout Lancers)
    • 3 Mahout Lancers (Ships 3 Mahout Lancers)
    • 4 Mahout Lancers (Ships 4 Mahout Lancers)
    • 2 Siege Elephants (Ships 2 Siege Elephants)
    • 3 Siege Elephants (Ships 3 Siege Elephants)
    • 8 War Elephants (Ships 8 War Elephants and upgrades them to Disciplined)
    • Tame Elephants (Mahout Lancers, Howdahs, Flail Elephants, and Siege Elephants cost and train -10%)
    • Professional Handlers (Mahout Lancers, Howdahs, Flail Elephants, and Siege Elephants use -1 population)
    • Elephant Combat (Mahout Lancers, Howdahs, Flail Elephants, and Siege Elephants get +15% HP and attack)
  • Japanese: TEAM Cheaper Unit Upgrades (unit upgrades cost -20%)
  • Russians: TEAM Cavalry Scouts (+10% HP and +4 LOS)
  • Lakota:
    • Cavalry Damage (War Elephants have +15% attack)
    • Cavalry Hitpoints (War Elephants have +15% HP)
    • Mustangs (War Elephants cost -10%)
    • Black Arrow (War Elephants train 85% faster)
  • Spanish:
    • TEAM Explorer Combat (Brahmins get +20% HP and attack)
    • TEAM Inquisition (+10 LOS)


  • Though Africa is not covered in the original Age of Empires III, nearly every elephant unit has the appearance of an African elephant rather than Asian. The exceptions are the Brahmin's mount, the Siege Elephant, and the huntable Wild Elephant, though their History portraits reveal that even they were African elephants during development. Promotional images for the Definitive Edition show many if not all units now riding Asian elephants.
  • Excluding the Siege Elephant, all elephant units deal trample damage to nearby enemy units by default, without having to activate "Trample Mode". However, developers forgot to remove this button for elephants. If clicked, this will result in the unit becoming slower and more vulnerable to attack, like other cavalry in Trample Mode, but with no attack benefit whatsoever.

Age of Empires IV[]

There are only two elephant units in Age of Empires IV: the War Elephant, and the Tower War Elephant. Both are unique to the Delhi Sultanate.