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

The War Elephant is the unique unit of the Persians in Age of Empires II. It is a slow yet very powerful and resilient cavalry unit with an attack bonus against buildings. War Elephants deal trample damage.

War Elephants can be upgraded to Elite War Elephants in the Imperial Age.

Tactics Edit

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.

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.

Further statistics Edit

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 CrossbowmenMamelukes, Camel Riders, Cavalry Archers, Monks
Hit points Bloodlines Bloodlines (+20)
Attack Forging Forging (+1)
Ironcasting Iron Casting (+1)
Blastfurnace Blast Furnace (+2)
Armor Scalebardingarmor Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Chainbardingarmor Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Platebardingarmor Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
Speed Husbandry Husbandry (+10%)
Unique-tech-imperial Mahouts (+30%)
Conversion defense Faith Faith
Creation speed Conscription Conscription (+33%)
Upgrades Elite-unique-research Elite War Elephant

Team bonuses Edit

Changelog Edit

The Age of Kings Edit

The Conquerors Edit

Rise of the Rajas Edit

  • Both non-Elite and Elite War Elephants now deal trample damage.

Trivia Edit

  • 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 much 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).

History Edit

"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."

Gallery Edit

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