Under 4.83, leader elephants have no other purpose than giving LC to EL units.
However, the presence of an initiative "1" leader in the Carthaginian chain of command can have drastic effects on a battle if Hannibal or anyone else decides to active trump his own leader elephant.
Has anyone else noticed this? Is it even allowed? I am reluctant to do this because it feels "gamey", but if it is a legal option it can be a game changer,..
All players that I know have removed it from play after the first use.
Obviously any one is free to play following the official rulebook or gaming in a more satisfactory manner with some little modifier.
This user is a user.
Congratulations, you've discovered this hidden message. Eternal knowledge is yours! Please use responsibly.
He certainly could, but does't mean he should. Below are some things to consider:
Hannibal has the option of an elite activation to begin every turn anyway
If Hannibal trumps, the elephant leader is now finished
Hannibal will be finished after his Trump turn
In trumping, you've deprived all your other leaders of momentum attempts for the remainder of the turn.
If Hannibal is unsuccessful in his Trump attempt, he becomes finished for the turn, which can be catastrophic for the Carthaginian player
Carthage probably wants to move its elephants anyway, so why waste a better leader on the one thing an elephant leader can actually do for your side?
Generally speaking, powerful leaders like Hannibal can more useful at the end of a turn, when they can react to their opponents moves and rally routed units. It's always good to have the final say in a turn.