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Old August 2nd, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Dedas Dedas is offline
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Default How to deal with elephants

Masses of elephants are a big threat even early on, so how to deal with them effectively? Let us begin by looking on the elephant's weak points.

Weaknesses of the elephant:
Low morale: 9
Abysmal magic resistance: 6
Low defense: 8
Moderate protection: 11

From this information I have assembled a list of more or less effective early game spells to counter the them:

Thaumaturgy

Sleep N2 - low level (2), low fatigue (20), long range (30), good precision (+5).

Pros
Stops the elephants in their tracks instantly by giving them 110+ stun damage when they fail their MR check. The sleeping elephants will also block their brethren to great effect.

Cons
Not very good against hordes of elephants unless you yourself got lots of spell casters. It may also miss sometimes based on spell casters precision (combine with eagle eyes).

Panic N2 - low level (3), low fatigue (20), long range (25), some precision (+1), great area effect (5+).

Pros
If the elephants had low morale before they now have none. Spam this spell and you won't have any trouble scaring them off into their own units with the first javelin/bolt/arrow/stone volley. You can even cast this spell when the elephants are entangled with your own units in close combat as it won't hit them. A great spell against all low magic resistance units overall.

Cons
It won't scare the elephants by itself, just lower their morale. Thus you have to combine it with (preferably missile) units of your own.

Seven years fever N1 F1 – low level (1), moderate fatigue (30), good range (20), some precision (+2), some area effect (1).

Pros
The elephants won't heal after combat. Combine with arrow fire, retreat or fight to the death to delay. If playing Machaka this may be the way to go as they have no problem casting this and have cheap and fast archers.

Cons
Mostly for Machaka and mostly for delaying action.

Curse N1 S1 - low level (1), moderate fatigue (30), extreme range (50), extreme precision (+100), affects one person.

Pros
Will make the elephants useless if combined with arrow fire and/or javelin chaff. Then send in the real troops. Great spell for C'tis witch doctors. You can also find witch doctors easily.

Cons
This is a combination spell. Pretty hard to use if you don't play C'tis.

Frighten D1 - low level (1), almost no fatigue (5), extreme range (50), some precision (+5), small area effect (1).

Pros
Fear +15 attack in the square where it hits. That gives the elephants 18% chance of passing it. So it is pretty good. You can spam this spell to great effect. The more death mages the better spamming it together. For even better chance of success combine it with panic to first lower their morale.

Cons
Not very good at scaring off big hordes apparently. Will also hit your own troops so try not to use it when your troops are in melee with the beasts. No problem with mindless though

Terror D3 - moderate level (4), very low fatigue (10), long range (25), some precision (+1), great area effect (5+).

Pros
Just as Frighten but with lower fear attack (+10) and much greater area of effect. Excellent spell overall. A hordes of elephants are no problem if you have a couple of sauromancers spamming this. Just drive them before you!

Cons
Can be hard to cast for most nations not into death. Will hit your own troops. No problem with mindless though.

Check out the replay for a demonstration:
TerrorPanic

Note that the elephants all have +2 morale (11) making it harder for this spell to work.

Paralyze S2 – moderate level (4), low fatigue (20), extreme range (100), extreme precision (+100), affects only one person.

Pros
This spells needs no explaining. It will both:
Hurt the elephant – it may route.
Stop the elephant – it will block others.

Cons
No real cons. Astral are not for everyone. A bit high level for early on rushes.

Soul Slay S3 – high level (5), low fatigue (20), extreme range (100), extreme precision (+100), affects only one person.

Pros
This is THE spell to instantly kill the pesky buggers also known as elephants. If you can use it you should.

Cons
Astral 3 means it isn't for everyone until later in the game. Level 5 says the same. If you are being rushed you probably won't have it yet. Thankfully there are other low level spells that you can use in the meantime.


Bonds of Fire F1 - low level (2), low fatigue (20), moderate range (15), some precision (+3), small effect (5).

Pros
This is contrary to belief a good way to stop elephants when playing for instance MA Ulm or Abysia. Why? Because to escape the shackles you need high morale, something elephants do not have. When they are standing still they are easy targets for your arbalests (playing Ulm) and other fire spells (playing Abysia). If they eventually break free they will take some AN damage that will help them rout.

Cons
You have to be dangerously close to the beasts, so use screening. Also, the enemy may try to boost the elephants morale with banners. It won't be enough all the time though as the elephants need to take the test against 20.

Prison of Fire F3 - moderate level (4), moderate fatigue (30), long range (25), some precision (+2), good area effect (3+).

Pros
Just as Bonds of Fire but with better range and greater area effect.

Cons
Harder to cast. I see this spell mostly as an Abysian counter to elephant horde. This spell will give them plenty of time to massacre the elephants will fireballs and the like.

Rage F2 - low level (3), low fatigue (20), long range (25), extreme precision (+100), only hits one person.

Pros
Makes the elephant kill his mates and hopefully the juicy commander(s) with banners. Great in combination with Prison of Fire and Bonds of Fire.

Cons
This will usually hit the spot, although it is hard to cast for most nations.

Confusion A3 - high level (5), very low fatigue (10), long range (25), some precision (+1), small area effect (1).

Pros
Similar to rage but with an area effect and more random result. A possible counter for air heavy nations.

Cons
Way too high level to stop an early rush.


Enchantment

Flaming Arrows F4 - medium level (4), very high fatigue (100), gem cost 1, BF effect.

Pros
Flaming arrows will pierce the little (11) protection the elephants have and then hurt them bad.

Cons
None really. Hard to cast and not really low level.

Nothing else in enchantment except rituals that I won't touch with this guide. You could perhaps use the various undead battlefield summoning spells to wear the elephants down.


Alteration

False Fetters A2 - low level (1), very low fatigue (10), very short range (10), no precision (+0), moderate area effect (2+).

Pros
I can't see how the elephants would get free of this in a hurry. To get loose an elephant would need to roll a DRN (2d6 unlimited) of 15 (15 + 6 MR to exceed 20 that is needed to get free). This happening isn't very likely.
Another good thing is the area effect of this spell, and its cheapness and low level. It is highly recommended that you use it if you can. Combine with hard hitting infantry.

Cons
Obviously the very short range. You have to get awfully close to the beast before casting but as the spell is so effective against them it isn't that dangerous.

Body Ethereal S1 low level (3), moderate fatigue (30), very short range (1), area of effect 1.

Pros
Will make it much harder to hit the enchanted unit, and this will save them from being trampled most of the time (75%). Use this on the soldiers your are sending into the fray, but be sure to back them up with other spells to even the odds even more.
Not very expensive on the fatigue in reality as you can usually buff your mages a level cutting it in half.

Cons
None really, this is a real lifesaver.


Construction

Nothing here except way up the research tree.

Evocation

Flame Bolt F2 - low level (1), low fatigue (20), long range (40+), some precision (+2), only hits one person.

Pros
The earliest and probably the best (until pillar of fire) raw fire damage spell to kill elephants. Good precision (for a fire spell), really good damage (22+ ap) and low fatigue. And as elephants take are size 6 they take up one whole square so area damage of 1 is not needed.

Other contenders:
Flare: does area damage of 1 but cost 50 fatigue and has no precision boost, it is also higher level.
Fireball: Higher level and less damage and precision, also area damage of 1.

Cons
You need something else to stop the beasts first, before you can really start pound them. So why not Prison of Fire?

Slime W1 – low level (1), low fatigue (20), long range (25+), some precision (+2), area effect 1.

Pros
Surprisingly good against elephants as they almost always get slimed due to their abysmal MR (6) and then start to move real slow. Trample becomes less effective and their defense is halved down to 4. Now you can actually kill the beasts in close combat. All this for a very low level spell.

Cons
Not very good when the elephants come in very large numbers. But then you have better spells and this can work as a complement before going into close combat. Combine Slime with cold bolt/blast and falling frost for very good results.

Cold Bolt W2 - low level (1), low fatigue (20), very long range (45), some precision (+3), only hits one person, high damage (19+).

Pros
Very good at both stopping and damaging the large and easy to hit creatures. Actually much better than its fire equivalent above, Flame Bolt, except the lack AP. Combine with same Slime found at the same level and commence pummeling the sitting ducks.

Cons
As with Slime you have need better spells when the elephants come in very large numbers. That or a large group of spell casters.

Falling Frost W3 – high level (5), low fatigue (20), long range (25), low precision (+0), great area effect (5+), high damage (17+).

Pros
Same as cold bolt but area effect. Use this, slime, and archers when the ellies come in horde numbers.

Cons
None really. High level, difficult to cast for many nations.

Magma Bolts E1 F1 - low level (3), low fatigue (20), long range (25+), some precision (+2), only hits one person, 3 effects, very high damage (25+).

Pros
This is a very nice spell against elephants. Just stop them with the also accessible Fire Bonds/Prison of Fire first. This is the counter I use when playing MA Ulm and meet elephants early on. The smiths can cast both with very little research. Later you use the big brother Magma Eruption of course.

Cons
Hard to cast for many nations.

Nether Bolts S1 D1 - medium level (4), low fatigue (15), very long range (30+), some precision (+2), area effect 1, damage 20+ AP.

Pros
Pretty good against elephants in combination with frighten and terror.

Cons
Hard to cast for most nations.

Stellar Cascades S2 high level (5), low fatigue (20), long range (30), extreme precision (+100), great area effect (5+), 25 stun damage.

Pros
This spell is ridiculously good against elephants as it is easily spammable by low level mages (guru for instance), it has crazy precision and great area effect. You only need 4 hits to stop a large number of elephants completely. Then you can rip them apart with in close combat (extremely easy to hit) or missiles (100+ fatigue means lots and lots of critical hits).

Cons
High level.

Lightning Bolt A2 low level (2), very low fatigue (10), very long range (35+), good precision (+4), only hits one person, moderate damage (14+).

Pros
Easy to spam and quickly kill a small number of elephants.

Cons
Low damage.

Thunder Strike A3 medium level (4), high fatigue (50), extreme range (100), some precision (+2), area effect 1, damage 26+ AN.

Pros
Can both kill and stun elephants quite quickly

Cons
It really costs too much fatigue. Too high level of air is needed to make it useful to many.

Shadow Bolt D2 - low level (3), low fatigue (20), very long range (30+), some precision (+3), only hits one person, very good damage (20+ AN).

Pros
This is a good spell for both stopping (paralyze) and bombarding incoming elephants. Use it in combination with lots and lots of immune undead creatures.

Cons
None really. It is a pretty solid and easy to get spell. Hard to stop hordes of elephants with it though. But then you have:

Shadow Blast D2 - high level (5), high fatigue (100), very long range (30+), no precision (+0), extremely good area of effect (7+), very good damage (20+ AN).

Pros
This is an extremely good spell against all low MR, big sized, high HP monsters. Use it extensively.

Cons
Costs much fatigue so you will either need higher than 2 death or gems to cast it twice with the same mage.

Some of you might think that I should mention Vine Arrow. But it is not very effective against elephants as they have the strength to break through easily. Bonds of Fire is a much better ”stop” spell on elephants as they have to make the test against morale and not strength. Same with Tangle Vines.



Conjuration

Nothing here that merits a mention.



What do you think? Is there something that shouldn't be on the list or have I failed to mention something obvious?

Also, how do you combine the spells to the best effect with troops? Do you have a killer strategy? Please feel free to post it.

Happy gaming!



Edit
Added False Fetters comments.

Edit
Added Body Ethereal
Added Soul Slay
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File Type: zip 540554-TerrorPanic.zip (37.6 KB, 638 views)
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  #2  
Old August 2nd, 2007, 12:15 PM

Sombre Sombre is offline
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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

One problem here is that even if you're expecting an elephant rush and are preparing your counter, all those mages don't help much in expansion. The elephants on the other hand are great for expanding. So I even if the counter works, the guy having to use it probably suffers far more than the guy using elephants.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 12:38 PM
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Gandalf Parker Gandalf Parker is offline
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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

I tend to use slingers. Masses of them, spread out into as many groups as I can break them up into.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Dedas Dedas is offline
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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

The thing with these counters is that they are easy to access and that you can use your research mages to cast them without preparation. They are intended to complement your expansion or defense army.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

We have a policy of never dealing with elephants. We don't even like dealing with those who do deal with elephants.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 02:05 PM

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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

I think this is an excellent listing, in a recent MP game I was facing some big elephant hordes (30 to 50 elephants) from Arco and to my great frustration I couldn't really deal with them. I guess that doesn't need to happen again! Thanks for putting this together Dedas.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 02:31 PM

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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

I don't totally understand how that would work Gandalf. I haven't tried it though, have you? I mean against a real elephant rush, not just a handful of them.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 02:40 PM

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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

You missed False Fetters; slightly better than Bonds of Fire, as they have to make MR checks instead of morale, which start lower and is tougher to boost in the early game.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Dedas Dedas is offline
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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

Oh yes, how could I have missed that? Thank you, I'm adding it to the list right away.


@parcelt
Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad that the list can help you somewhat.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: How to deal with elephants

Crushers (con 5) are size 6 and difficult to kill. Why not put one in front of your army to distract the elephants?
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