|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the armor class, see Armor class: War elephant. For the unit in other games of the series, see War Elephant.|
|“||Persian unique unit. Slow, powerful, strong, and well-armored cavalry.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
War Elephants can be upgraded to Elite War Elephants in the Imperial Age.
Although War Elephants are tough and durable, they move slowly and are vulnerable to units that deal damage at long range as a result. As cavalry units, they are vulnerable to enemy Pikemen, though it will take a larger group to take them down. Their slow speed also makes them vulnerable to Cavalry Archers, though it will take a while for the archers to kill them due to their high health and decent pierce armor. Mamelukes, with their high speed and anti-cavalry bonus, are an effective method of fighting War Elephants.
Because they are big, move slowly and only have melee attack, siege weapons can be effective. Scorpions particularly do +6 (+8 for Heavy) bonus damage to War Elephants. Mangonels are effective against them, because the massive Elephants can hardly dodge the projectiles. They can be easily converted by enemy Monks, especially as the Persians do not have access to Heresy, so they should always be deployed with a ranged or a Light Cavalry escort. Kamayuks will also trade cost-effectively with War Elephants. Further, Flaming Camels deal bonus damage for a total of 200 damage (before armor and blast distance are taken into account) against Elephant units, and are thus extremely lethal against packed groups of War Elephants.
However, if the specific units required to counter them are dealt with, War Elephants are virtually unbeatable. This, coupled with their high durability, makes them excellent for pitched battles. It also aids them in knocking down buildings and defenses which they are virtually immune to.
As War Elephants are unique to the Persians, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Buildings, melee units|
|Weak vs.||Pikemen, Kamayuks, Genoese Crossbowmen, Mamelukes, Camel Riders, Cavalry Archers, Monks, Scorpions, Flaming Camels|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
|Armor|| Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
|Speed|| Husbandry (+10%)|
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
|Upgrades||Elite War Elephant|
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, War Elephants are created and upgraded 25% faster, and Conscription and Mahouts are researched 25% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades are researched faster.
- A team containing Huns: Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Faith is researched 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: War Elephants are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings
- War Elephants cost 200 food, 75 gold and train in 31 seconds.
- Only Elite War Elephants deal trample damage.
Rise of the Rajas
- Both non-Elite and Elite War Elephants now deal trample damage.
Lords of the West
- With 620, Elite War Elephants by far have the highest HP of all units.
- With 24, Elite War Elephants have the strongest attack of all units outside of the siege and gunpowder section.
- This version of the War Elephant is the only one which does not have a rider in the entire series.
- The Persian Empire did not use war elephants at the time of the Saladin, Genghis Khan, and Barbarossa campaigns.
- However, when the Mongol army invaded Samarkand, the Khwarezmian army deployed war elephants against the Mongols, but got defeated by them using catapults.
- Historically, war elephants were used mostly by the Sassanid Persians until the end of their days. The use of war elephants died in the region with the Muslim conquest of Persia. Their usage in the following years was nearly inexistent outside of India and southeast Asia, and only a few Persianates during the middle ages (such as Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khwarezmians and Timurids) used them in very specific cases, such as the Battle of Ankara.
- Interestingly, despite the manual's claim that the Persians "got their elephants from India," the unit itself appears to depict an African elephant, as indicated by the large ears. African elephants have larger ears than Indian elephants. This is most likely an oversight by the developers or because African elephants are more recognizable to most American gamers than Asian elephants.
- African war elephants would be more appropriate for Ethiopians; indeed, Axumite general Abraha's army included hundreds of war elephants.
- Although African elephants (which War Elephants are based on) are larger than Asian elephants, the Asian elephant-based units (Battle Elephant and Ballista Elephant) are roughly the same size as War Elephants.
- As can be seen in this video, War Elephants seem to have a strange ability to randomly dodge arrows that same-sized units do not have (similar to the dodge chance of the Knight).
- The Elite War Elephant upgrade is the most expensive upgrade in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. This hasn't changed since the original release of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.
|“||The last civilization in the Middle East to employ war elephants was Persia, who got their elephants from India. The war elephant was a powerful complement to an army, especially against troops with no experience against them. They were very difficult to kill, but remained difficult to control also. If they could be directed into an enemy formation, the enemy troops almost always fell back in disarray.||”|