- Higher Combat Strength (40 vs. 35).
- Lower Movement (2 vs. 4).
- Higher Production cost (120 vs. 80).
- Reduces the Combat Strength of adjacent enemy units by 5, with the penalties being cumulative for enemies adjacent to multiple Varu.
- Vulnerable to anti-cavalry units.
The best use for these majestic beasts is to throw them directly into the line of battle and support them with other hard hitting troops. The Varu will not only weaken all adjacent enemies, but they will also do decent damage. By surrounding the enemy with Varu you will effectively make them extremely weak, making it very easy for your other troops to swoop in for the kill. Varu are also an amazing defensive troop since a fleet of them will weaken an entire army, reducing the damage done to your city.
Historical Context Edit
Although not the most reliable of battle-mounts (as apt to trample friendly troops as enemy when panicked), war elephants were a staple in Indian warfare for centuries until the advent of gunpowder. In pre-gunpowder combat, the 'vāru' (“royal elephant”) served two purposes. Their scent tended to terrify horses, thus rendering the enemy cavalry relatively useless. Second, they could usually break through even the strongest line of infantry, especially if armored, crushing spearmen and archers and everything else in their path (and reaching 25 kph on the run). Too, elephants were notoriously hard to kill, and there are records of them surviving as many as sixty arrows. Usually surmounted with a howdah or other platform for archers, the vāru could wade right into the fray. But, in case the elephants did go berserk and start squashing their own side, the driver carried a spike and mallet to kill them with a blow to the skull.