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Halo Reach Tips- Armor Ability Tactics

Updated on June 8, 2017

Ability Tactics (for those who looked for an edge and found a pet chinchilla)

Whether you're a halo veteran wishing to improve, a newbie armed with a basic understanding of Armor Abilities, or someone who just wants some damn Halo Reach tips already, you’ve come to the right place.

This article focuses on various Armor Ability tactics/strategies that I have used and seen successfully employed during my time playing Halo Reach. It includes general tactics and ability recommendations for some game types. Unfortunately, I cannot give specific recommendations for all the different multiplayers maps and game types in one article. Besides, most people choose a favourite ability and stick to it.

Active Camouflage

Strategy for using Active Camo:

Active Camo is most effective while crouched and either motionless or moving slowly. Consequently, Active Camo users often camp around corners with a shotgun, sword or gravity hammer, or find a nice vantage point with a sniper rifle.

A problem with using Active Camo and a close range weapon is that the radar scrambler will alert enemies to your presence. It is usually better to lie in wait without Active Camo on, and then activate it when an enemy is in your sights. Motionless players do not appear on radar, so you won’t be detected until Active Camo is on.

On the other hand, an Active Camo and sniper rifle combination is a match made in heaven, assuming you find a good spot for sniping (e.g. the top level on sword base or the tower on pinnacle). Ideally you will be shooting at a distance, so enemies won’t be warned by the radar scramble, and being invisible circumvents the annoyance of being shot while you are trying to aim down the scope. Unfortunately for Active Camo users, bungie wisely made Active Camo unavailable in team sniper matches and game types that omit radars.

If you’re impatient like me and dislike camping, moving while crouched is a good way to be proactive and stay invisible. Pushing the left joystick forward about halfway is the fastest you can move while remaining invisible. Moving any faster will make you partially or completely visible.

Photo taken when first activating active camo. Note the shape of the red dots on my radar.
Photo taken when first activating active camo. Note the shape of the red dots on my radar.
Again, note the radar. At the time I was crouch-running in the manner mentioned earlier, causing the dots to bunch up behind me.
Again, note the radar. At the time I was crouch-running in the manner mentioned earlier, causing the dots to bunch up behind me.
This is how players appear when active camo is at it's best- as a faint shimmering shape.
This is how players appear when active camo is at it's best- as a faint shimmering shape.
See the invisible man? Don't stress, I put a nice red circle around him. This is how players appear when 'partially visible'.
See the invisible man? Don't stress, I put a nice red circle around him. This is how players appear when 'partially visible'.

Tactics against Active Camo:

The Active Camo radar scramble creates a jumble of red dots in a roughly circular mass around the invisible player. Imagine looking down at a cyclone from above and noticing the wind is swirling around a central point. The scramble is similar in shape to the cyclone when Active Camo is first activated. A player using Active Camo should be roughly in the centre of the teeming mass of dots. Most of the dots will be bright red if the invisible player is at your height. If most of the dots are a faded red, they are likely to be below you etc.

This tactic does not work if the invisible player is moving too quickly, though. The dots will rearrange themselves, bunching up behind the player’s actual dot, and the overall shape of the scramble will no longer be circular. In this case it is likely that the player’s dot is closest towards you as they will be moving in your direction.

You should simultaneously watch for any shimmer or faint outline that identifies a player using Active Camo, as walking around with your eyes glued to the radar is a great way to get assassinated. When approaching a radar scrambled area, think where you would wait were you in their shoes and try shooting or throwing a grenade there. Shooting a player using Active Camo will make them visible.

Most players prefer to stay back when they see a scramble and wait for their opponent’s Armor Ability to run out of juice. It’s not called running away, it’s ‘tactical withdrawal’.

Random tip!

If you are hurt and under hot pursuit, run round a corner, stand/crouch while facing the direction you were being shot from and throw a grenade for good measure. This will confuse some players, hurt them significantly if the grenade is placed well and buy time to regenerate shields. This tactic can be enhanced by using whatever Armor Ability is at your disposal.

Some examples:

  • Turn on Active Camo after throwing the grenade. The scramble will further confuse your pursuer, as will being invisible.
  • Armor Lock after throwing the grenade. If the grenade strikes true then it’s easy enough to come out of Armor Lock and kill your opponent. If not, staying in Armor Lock will grant you time to recuperate.
  • Send out a hologram then throw the grenade next to the hologram. This may lure your opponent towards the grenade and keep them occupied while you prepare to strike.
  • The ‘Sprint’ ability would enable you to get round the corner faster and encourage your enemy to blindly follow. Frustration tends to dull the brain.
  • Use your jet pack in stead of crouching. Honestly, who would look up?

Strategies for using Armor Lock:

‘Armor Locking’ enables you to survive being stuck by sticky grenades. This applies as long as Armor Lock is active when the grenade explodes, meaning a player can Armor Lock after they are stuck and live to tell the tale.

Yes, the grenade is stuck to my butt. You will survive.
Yes, the grenade is stuck to my butt. You will survive.
I did.
I did.
Bungie's solution to road rage.
Bungie's solution to road rage.

Armor Lock can also destroy vehicles if someone attempts to splatter you while the ability is activated, assuming they hit you at high speed. Otherwise they will bounce off you.

If you wish to use Armor Lock as a desperate attempt to save your skin, it is more effective in team based matches as teammates will occasionally help you. However, in free for all matches, opponents take perverse pleasure in waiting for you to come out of Armor Lock, even if there are two of them standing on either side of you. One would have thought they’d kill each other instead, but no. If someone is waiting to kill you while you are in Armor Lock, plan ahead. Think where to throw a grenade or perhaps jump up and behind them. Armor Lock provides an opportunity to stop, think and see where you are being shot from.

Successfully using Armor Lock requires precise timing. It is better to quickly come in and out of Armor Lock at the right moment to conserve energy, rather than mashing LB or holding it down for as long as you can. As soon as you hear the bouncing sound of a grenade near you, activate Armor Lock then release the instant after it explodes, assuming no one is currently shooting at you. In the event that someone does shoot at you, it is best to stay in Armor Lock for as long as possible and let them waste ammo. They may even be forced to reload, giving you the upper hand.

Timing is also essential when using Armor Lock to survive a rocket or absorb a plasma pistol overcharge. I would suggest using Armor Lock the instant you see their rocket launcher out, or a green orb at the end of their plasma pistol, unless they are some distance away. They will usually shoot straight away and there is barely enough time to use Armor Lock if they shoot a moment before you activate it.

Last but not least, the key to using Armor Lock to disable an opponent’s shield is… would you believe, timing. If you think someone is about to shoot you with a shotgun or melee you with their sword/fist, quickly go into Armor Lock and release it the moment after they hit you. If they are within melee distance at the moment of release, an EMP blast will disable their shields. With their shields now down, you can easily dispatch them with a melee of your own or a well-placed headshot. Be careful not to come in and out of Armor Lock too quickly though, as this will not produce an EMP blast.

The EMP blast also disables a vehicles engine, much like a plasma pistol overcharge.

Tactics against Armor Lock:

When someone Armor Locks in front of you, the first thing you must do is stay calm. To avoid an EMP blast, you should immediately back away from the Armor Locking player, rather than going forward and angrily punching them. If you have more than one grenade, throw one at the player then continually look around for other enemies. Wait a couple seconds before throwing a second grenade, unless they release Armor Lock early. Armor Lock lasts approximately 5 seconds maximum and a frag grenade explodes slightly under 2 seconds from the moment you pull the left trigger. Hopefully they will run out of ability energy before the grenade explodes, in which case they will either be dead or close to. A shot or two later and you will finally have your well-deserved kill.

The most important step is to remain aware of other players nearby, as I have seen many haloers get killed because they focus an intense rage on the Armor-Locking player and get shot in the back.

Tactics for Using the Drop Shield Ability:

This ability can be used to provide cover for you or your teammate, giving ample time to regenerate shields and locate the enemy. Be aware that the bubble created by the Drop Shield ability can be ‘broken’ by enemy fire, although it takes a lot of punishment to destroy it.

People often use the drop shield to force enemies into close quarter combat, especially if they have a shotgun, sword or gravity hammer.

When attempting this, try not to make your intentions extremely obvious e.g. by standing in the middle of your drop shield with an energy sword out. Your foe will likely wait for the shield to expire or simply walk off.

Switching to the close quarter weapon when an enemy is approaching will help to mask your intentions and give them less time to retreat. Retreating yourself by going outside the drop shield on the opposite side may also entice a player to follow you and lull them into a false sense of security.

Tactics against the Drop Shield Ability:

The drop shield is most susceptible to melee attacks, although going up to the shield and punching it could get you killed.

A daring player might risk entering the drop shield if they had a close combat weapon or were adept with grenades. By partially entering the bubble mid throw it is possible to throw a grenade into the drop shield then immediately jump out. This will either kill your foe or force them out of the bubble. Be aware that you can be attacked while you are partially in and out of the drop shield.

Another option is to keep your distance from the drop shield until it expires, while vigilantly looking out for other players. Backing away might also frustrate the player and lure them out.

Who says you can't look cool while rolling?
Who says you can't look cool while rolling?


Strategy for using Evade:

Rolling in any direction will throw off an opponent’s aim and it helps to be able to roll to cover or dodge a grenade. The added mobility can also be used to gain ground on an enemy with a sword etc., however it can be difficult to judge the distance and be able to melee or shoot at the right moment. There is also a delay for weapon use during and after each roll. The evade ability affords two rolls before running out and needing to replenish itself.

Strategies against Evade users:

In elite slayer matches and other match types that offer the evade ability, be wary of the distance between you and a sword user and jump up if they roll towards you. They may over-roll straight under you or be disorientated. Players can still be shot and stuck while rolling and they will get stuck if they ‘Evade’ over a sticky grenade. They may be mobile while rolling but they are also vulnerable.


Tactics for the Hologram Ability:

Successfully using holograms requires a player to imagine their opponent’s point of view in order to create a convincing illusion. For example, running next to your hologram while facing and heading in the same direction is an effective ploy, as players cannot tell the true person apart from the hologram. Alternate sides etc. each time you use this tactic.

Spot the difference. I was amazed to discover that holograms also don't cast a shadow.
Spot the difference. I was amazed to discover that holograms also don't cast a shadow.

Make sure not to aim your hologram too short a distance away as they will just stop and look out of place. Although, I have seen players place a hologram that looks AFK, while they hide in a semi concealed spot and wait for someone to take the bait.

When you see someone ahead of you on your radar, send out a hologram. The other player will be expecting you, so they will immediately shoot at your hologram. It is paramount that you start shooting as soon as your victim faces the hologram as they will only be fooled for a short time.

It can also be beneficial to send out a hologram after retreating behind cover, but, savvy players will instantly become suspicious and likely ignore it. Especially if they have seen you use a hologram previously in the game. It doesn’t make sense that someone would go behind cover then suddenly turn around and head out again.

The hologram ability is useful in team sniper matches because players do stand still to take a shot and are usually at opposite ends of the map, so do not immediately react to an enemy’s presence. This makes the behaviour of holograms more convincing.

Example of hologram flickering.
Example of hologram flickering.

Tactics against Holograms:

Look for unusual behaviour, e.g. not responding to obstacles or enemies or walking in an unwavering straight line. People simply do not act like this; they look around while moving and change direction, unless they are incredibly new to first person shooters. It is likely that any player that fits these criteria is actually just a hologram. A hologram will also flicker when shot, so if you are uncertain whether it is a hologram, take a quick shot to be sure.

The player that projected the hologram should be in the vague direction opposite to the hologram’s direction of travel. People often hide to regenerate health or camp and send out a hologram to lure or distract enemies.

I'm not actually shooting at anyone, but it looks impressive.
I'm not actually shooting at anyone, but it looks impressive.

Jet Pack

Strategies for using Jet Packs:

Jet packs can be used to throw off an opponent’s aim, e.g. in team DMRs, by suddenly flying upwards. It is also more difficult to headshot someone that is above you, especially at a steep angle.

On maps that are outdoors, like “Uncaged”, jet packs can be used to great effect to surprise people from above. A draw back with using the jet pack on such a map is that you also become incredibly exposed, unless there is cover somehow hovering in mid-air. However, people often don’t look up until after they are being shot at.

Always look up.
Always look up.

You would be surprised at the number vantage points that are suddenly available to you when using the jet pack on some maps.

Granted, a lot are ‘out of the battlefield’ but there are still many great spots to land on. Next time you feel like surveying the land, maybe to get a better look at where weapons are, also check out the neat doo-hickeys to land on. Blackout, for instance has many places to lurk in the shadows. Plus, you can fly straight up to the energy sword with a jet pack.

Tactics against Jet Packs:

After noting that a number of your adversaries are using jet packs, pick up a DMR or any other precision weapon you can find. It is a great deal of fun to shoot jet packing foes from half way across the map.

Jet packs make a loud whirring noise when used, so try to listen out for it. If you hear it, look up, jump, or sprint forward, just try to move. It is likely that grenades will start falling down on you or worse, rockets. ‘Jet packers’ will usually have something particularly nasty in mind for you.


Using the Sprint Ability:

When first considering the sprint ability, compared to the others, it appears rather mundane. I mean, wow, you can sprint. Well appearances can be deceiving. The sprint ability is one of the most commonly used abilities in the game, because the added mobility it brings can be a big advantage. When using close quarters weapons, you are able to gain ground on an enemy at a phenomenal rate. This can be extremely deadly for enemies if you time it right and deadly for you if you can’t.

Sprinting also comes in handy when desperately trying to reach cover. Frustrated opponents will follow you at their humdrum, plodding pace while you are able to quickly throw grenades behind you and turn the tables on them.

Most importantly, sprinting can get you to your favourite weapon first, which can sometimes decide the outcome of the entire match.

Tactics against sprinting:

Players are vulnerable while sprinting. If you catch someone sprinting towards you, (and they don’t have a sword etc.), you will have the advantage. This vulnerability is the only drawback to using sprint.

If you have any tactics related to Armor Abilities that you wish to share, contact me or comment. I will update with any intriguing/plausible suggestions I receive and give credit where credit is due, after trying them out myself of course. I have to test them, you understand. Thank you for reading and I hope this was informative!

Halo 3 vs. Halo Reach

Do you prefer Halo 3's Equipment or Halo Reach's Armor Abilities?

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    • Scall3wag profile image

      Scall3wag 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Mark, it's always nice to hear from a fellow halo fan.

      Glad you enjoyed my article :).

    • profile image

      SirTacolate 6 years ago from USA

      I agree with Manthy, I've been a fan of this series for a very long time for a 13 year old. This is really good, I love the armor lock/ sticky grenade pic. Funny lmao


    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      I can tell you have put in a lot of time playing Halo.

      I love the series, been hooked on it since the 1st Halo on XBOX,do you remember that ending when you beat it ;0)

      Anyway I must say that you write a high quality hub an a very popular series, I wish you the best.

      I have voted this a up and awesome