The Persians are an economy and cavalry oriented civilization.
They have access to all cavalry techs. Their unique unit, War Elephant, is a unit that is slow and expensive but with a large area of attack and massive amount of hit points.
They are one of the only three civilizations in the game to possess all the final gathering-rate technologies, the other two being the Byzantines and the Burgundians. This obviously allows for an all-round economy in matches where the Imperial Age is played extensively.
The Persians are the only civilization in the game unable to produce Two-Handed Swordsmen, meaning they must rely on their cavalry for heavy melee attack in the Imperial Age, although they do have access to fully-upgradable Halberdiers. In addition, War Elephants are slow and very vulnerable to conversion by enemy Monks. Since the Persians cannot research Heresy, the enemy could amass an army of War Elephants of their own. If the Persian player attempts to reconvert an elephant lost to a civilization with Heresy, then the elephant is lost forever.
Persian Monks are also extremely weak, lacking access to several important upgrades. Because Atonement is missing, they are not a counter to enemy Monks that could easily convert the player's War Elephants, and the absence of Sanctity means they aren't durable in combat. Thus, they aren't useful for much, aside from healing War Elephants from a safe distance.
Persians have a different start up than other civilizations, +50 Food and +50 wood, this means that they can build an additional house at the beginning or just gather another 50 Wood for their Lumber Camp or their mill saving gathering time, the same goes for the extra food that is just enough for an extra Villager. Persian town centers also have a better work rate than other civilizations, so a Persian player can spawn their Villagers a little faster, giving them an economic edge. This start-up bonuses allows to the Persians to perform well Feudal rush techniques, or go for a fast castle since aging up is also sped up. Persian Town centers also have more hit points, this bonus allows the Persians to defend better in early game. Unlike other civilizations Persians can perform a really strange rush commonly known as The Douche Persian Rush which consist on creating several villagers, gather wood and stone in order to delete their town center in the Dark Age and rebuild it near to the opponent base, Persian town centers have more hit points so it will stand for long time and the villagers should then build towers and steal enemy resources.
Normally a Persian player will focus on the cavalry, Persian Knights have attack bonus against archers, and they have also full blacksmith upgrades for cavalry, this make their cavalry excellent for countering ranged units. Their expensive unique unit, the War Elephant, is a slow melee unit with a lot of hit points. Such characteristics make them considerably versatile: they are excellent against buildings and suited for even the most pitched battles. In fact, thanks to their trampling damage, they can damage multiple units simultaneously. Although very powerful, this unit is not invincible and can be countered with masses of Halberdiers, Camels, Archers and monks, so the player must always remember to support their elephants: the high cost per unit makes losing War Elephants even more painful. If dealing with enemy Halberdiers, War Elephants must be paired with Hand Cannoneers plus Scorpions if the resources allow it; if dealing against monks, which pose an enormous threat to War Elephants, the player must create some scout cavalry.
In water maps the Persians must take over since early game, their work rate bonus for their Docks gives them an edge in this area, allowing for large fleet to be created quickly.
Strategy changes in The Forgotten
Strategy changes in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
Persian Docks' and Town Centers' work rate in the Dark Age is improved by 5%, which means that they will have a better early-game economy, which will of course impact the mid- and late-game. Also, Boiling oil is now replaced by Kamandaran, so the "trade-off" there is that their Castle defense will be like in The Conquerors, while having now a new trash unit, as Kamandaran turns the cost of their archers to 50 wood. Crossbowmen with Kamandaran researched are a great pairing for Persian War Elephants, despite lacking the Arbalest and Bracer upgrades, since food and gold can be spent on the Elephants and the wood on the Crossbowmen. They can provide cover-fire to the War Elephants on the front line, who in return will act as a meat shield for the Crossbowmen. Crossbowmen with Kamandaran can also be considered a trash unit that counters Halberdiers and other infantry (of course good against the typical "trash buster", the Champion), and is weak to Skirmishers, Genitours, Magyar Huszars and Hussars in the "trash wars".
The Kamandaran technology effect was extremely powerful to the point that the cost change of the archer line was raised from 50 wood to 60 wood in update 34699, and the technology cost raised from 200 food and 200 gold to 400 food and 300 gold in update 35584.
Update 36906 removed the workrate of Town Centers and Docks in the Dark Age, which was meant to make them less flexible in hybrid maps, since they already have extra wood and food at the start of the game, and to level their booming capabilities. Still, the Kamandaran technology makes them much stronger and versatile than they were in the HD Edition.
Strategy changes in Lords of the West
With update 50292, the cost of the War Elephant was changed, from 200 food and 75 gold to 170 food and 85 gold, and the training time was reduced from 30 seconds to 25 seconds (in fact, it now trains faster than Mangudai), making the unit less food-intensive and faster to mass, but with a higher gold cost. These changes didn't impact their usage for 1 vs 1 games, as the unit is still very expensive and slow, but in team games, especially on closed maps, where the gold problems are solved with trade, the War Elephant eventually became easier to use in prolonged battles in post-Imperial Age, as they are trained faster and no longer take abrupt amounts of food to be used.
Persians are valuable allies for other Knight-oriented civilizations such as Huns, Franks, Berbers, Magyars, Burmese, Bulgarians, Cumans, Lithuanians, Burgundians, Sicilians and Spanish, as their team bonus helps knights of these civs take down archers more quickly.
Persians being reliant on cavalry of course benefits from Team bonuses that furthers their uses such as the Frank team bonus (More line of sight for Knights) and the Hun Team Bonus (more work rate for the Stable).
Allying with Italians lets Persians train the Condottiero, which can take the place of the weak Persian infantry. Their speed make Condottieri ideal for repealing enemy Halberdiers and Camels. An allied Hun player is also good for Persians because of the faster stable bonus. Britons can be of great use if the Persian player wants to fields a lot of cavalry archers. As they lack proper defense against monks, the Teutonic conversion resistance bonus is helpful if the enemy counters War Elephants with monks. Considering the high cost of the War Elephant and the heavy cavalry overall, Byzantine team Bonus is also helpful as it furthers the monks ability to heal increasing the lifespan of both paladins and War Elephants. As a gold hungry civilization Persians should also consider to have Aztecs as allies as their team bonus increase the relic gold generation, along with Burmese in order to favorably get at least a relic thanks to the revelation of these items, Spanish trade cart team bonus should also being considered, and last but not least having a Portuguese ally since they can generate gold through the Feitoria and send them to their allies through tribute.
Berber allies also offer fast, gold-free Genitours (who fare better than skirmishers when paired with cavalry), and Kasbah, allowing Persian players to spam their War Elephants quicker than before (Considering War Elephants creations speed is slow), in exchange for melee support from Persian Paladins and Halberdiers. While Gurjaras do not get anything out of the Persian team bonus, since they lack the Knight line, the Gurjara team bonus enables War Elephants and Camel Riders to be created faster, and this can be stacked with Kasbah (at least for the War Elephant) if their team also includes Berbers.
In Water maps, there are three civilizations that should be in high consideration as allies: Malay, Vikings and Dravidians. Malay allies grant Persian players far-sighted Docks for fast-response garrison fleet and coastal defense, as Malay have several boosts to the Infantry (free gold militia line and Karambit Warriors) they can also cover that weakness the Persians have. Vikings on the other hand offers their cheaper Docks as a team bonus, this of course benefits to a great extent the Persian Docks who already have a better work rate, similarly to Malay, Vikings also can cover the infantry poor line the Persians have with their resilient infantry units. Alternatively, Dravidian allies allow Persian players to expand population capacity quickly by building Docks.
Since the Definitive Edition, as they now have Kamandaran as their Castle Age unique technology (Archer line gold cost converted to wood), they can make much better synergies with civilizations with team bonuses that boost the archer line, like Britons (Archery Ranges work faster), Magyars (+2 LOS for Foot Archers), and Saracens (+3 attack bonus against buildings), or with civilizations with powerful " trash units", as their archers now add more power in that regard.
Compared advantages and disadvantages
Advantages vs other civilizations
Disadvantages vs other civilizations
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