Halo MCC Guides:
- All Collectibles / Datapads in Halo Reach.
- We're Gonna Need a Bigger Ship Achievement.
- The Humble Beginnings of Wiljax Brantley Achievement.
- This is Not the Greatest Lab in the World… Achievement.
- Solving Content not Installed or Still Downloading...
- Xbox Live Account for Steam Version of the Game.
- Stuck on Connecting Session / The Fix.
- How to Fix the Audio Crackling Issue.
- Getting Better at MP.
- More Guides...
Ranked 4v4 in Halo can quickly become an incredibly challenging experience. High level play involves a depth of skill that might feel unattainable to some players, but with good practice, almost anyone can compete. Instead of focusing on individual tips and tricks (such as "DMR kills in 5 headshots" or "melees to the back are one hit kills"), this guide will focus on outlining the most important skills that must be trained to in order to succeed in competitive play, and why they're important (from the opinion of an Onyx/Master Halo 5 player, and general longtime Halo player since 2007). Use this guide to identify your weaknesses, and which skills you need to hone to be the most competitive you can be.
This might seem an obvious one, but still, I’ll start off by saying practice aiming constantly, all the time. Headshots are massively important in this game, to the point where in high level play, bodyshots might as well be misses, with the bonus of delaying your target’s shield regeneration. High level players can also pull off unpredictable strafing patterns, so learn to react and track their head effectively. Tracking and target switching are by far the most important aiming skills in Halo.
2: Learning the Maps
Memorize maps and map layouts. Know where weapons, health packs, and powerups spawn, all the routes you can take to get to them, and all the pros and cons of each route. Be able to rotate to any of these important spawns from anywhere in the map. Memorize and keep track of their respawn timers. Play the map for control of power positions that provide the best opportunities for obtaining powerful pickups, at the exact time they spawn. This is best coordinated with your team in voice comms. See #6. for more on this.
Many maps have fast routes that might not be obvious, or even seemingly possible to inexperienced players. However, maintaining momentum while timing your jumps at the right time can make some routes possible. Crouching in the air lifts your legs up as well, allowing you to clear obstacles that may seem too high or too far since the lower half of your body won’t collide, which would normally cause you to miss a ledge and lose momentum. This is most effective for vertical map movements. Practice, experiment, and memorize. Most, if not all maps, have spots, routes, and vertical positions that are faster (or only possible) by making a jump or multiple jumps at full speed, and crouching near the end. Some may require you to make the jump at a lower momentum than full speed, so for those, simply hold your movement key for less time before you make the jump.
3: Basic Movement
Perfect basic movement. Movement in any direction requires a moment of acceleration, so take that into account while strafing. Spamming 'A' and 'D' won't work like in other shooters, since tapping both doesn't give you enough time to accelerate in either direction. You’ll just be a semi-still target, ready to be headshot. Factor this in while you attempt to keep your strafes unpredictable in a fight. Use techniques like surprising your opponent with a crouch, or jumping at strange moments to throw off your opponents aim. Both of these can be easily countered if done predictably, so don’t rely on them or use them too often- but when they’re well timed they can give you a massive advantage in a fight.
Remember, in a duel, you only need your opponent to miss their headshots- it's okay if they bodyshot you. An enemy missing a single headshot could be all it takes to turn the fight if your aim is on point, but keep in mind, your aim is also affected by your own strafe, and the person you're shooting at is going to be dodging too. Know how your own movement affects your crosshair placement, and aim with that in mind.
4: Advanced Movement
Become comfortable with advanced movement techniques. With the Reach PC port, it's impossible to crouch while you're accelerating, but guaranteed when letting go of the movement keys. This restriction does not apply while airborne, however. If you jump, you can spam crouch without restriction, causing your head to bob up and down rapidly. This technique (commonly referred to as “Gandhi Hopping”) can turn duels if used unexpectedly, since your opponents shots will become much more likely to hit your body than your head if they weren’t prepared for it. Be wary about opening fights with this technique however, since you cannot change the direction of your momentum while in the air. Once you jump, you will be on a fixed path until you reconnect with the ground, making you an exceedingly predictable target, even when Gandhi Hopping. Another commonly used technique is simply staring at your feet, while facing away from the opponent shooting you. This tucks your head model into your chest, away from the shooter’s bullets, converting a lot of their would-be headshots into bodyshots. Obviously, you can’t shoot while staring at the ground, so this is most effective when retreating from a losing fight. At the very least, you may waste your shooter’s time, potentially creating opportunities for your team. If you’re quick with your mouse, you can also practice flicking between getting quick shots off and then placing your head back in the safe position too. As you can imagine, this technique also limits visibility, so...
Learn to move around the map with your eyes closed. I mean this literally. If you’re always facing the direction that you’re moving in, you’re most likely putting yourself at a massive disadvantage. In Halo, with no sprint, you move at full speed in every single direction, so whether you’re holding ‘W’, ‘A’, ‘S’, or ‘D’, you’re moving at the same base speed as everyone else. This allows you to place your crosshair in more advantageous positions, such as towards your opponents or tucked down at the ground to hide your head hitbox, instead of just looking where you’re going. To make use of this, however, you need to be able to navigate the map without seeing where you’re going. High level players can navigate the map without ever lifting their camera from the ground, and can even perform difficult jumps and map maneuvers quickly and with high accuracy, with their eyes closed.
Master the art of grenades. One consistent trait of all high level Halo players is that all of them are masters of grenades. Learn the speed at which they travel, the trajectory they take, and how long they take to detonate. Know how they bounce. Use this knowledge to ensure they do the most damage to your enemy as possible, as accurately as possible. Sometimes you may need a grenade to travel further before it explodes, and sometimes you might need it to go off dangerously close. Take into account where your enemies are moving, and how fast. Use your knowledge of nades to make sure they detonate at the exact time you want them to, in the exact spot that you want them to for optimal effectiveness.
Grenades are just as important a part of Halo's sandbox as its weapons. A well placed grenade can do large amounts of damage much faster than a DMR, and is often the table turner in fights. They can be used to take out players with power weapons that would be incredibly difficult to kill with just headshots alone. Unlike most other shooter's, grenades in Halo are more effective at doing large bursts of damage to a single target, instead of taking out a whole room. Keep in mind though, once you throw a grenade you will be locked into a lengthy animation, and will be unable to fire your weapon. They have the potential to turn fights your way, but also the potential to lose fights if you toss one when you should be shooting. Since you always respawn with grenades however, it can be worth it to throw them out before you die if you're in a losing fight. It's up to you to choose the best option in any given scenario.
While grenades are generally much more effective as bursts of damage on a single target than for their multi target splash damage, coordinated grenade tossing with your team can cut off an enemy push or force them out of powerful positions. With good coordination, you can even nade the enemy's spawn, opening up opportunities for frags or buying time for an objective play. Manage your grenades to ensure you always have one ready when you need it.
6: Teamwork and Communication
Communicate with your team. Communication and teamwork is beyond important in Halo. Memorize what every spot on every map is called to accurately call out information, and ensure that your team is on the same page. Because of the high TTK, two coordinated teammates shooting at the same target will bring them down much, much faster than just one. If you break a target’s shields but lose your angle on them, calling their location out could allow a teammate with a better position to secure the kill without taking a risky push, and potentially saving some grenades. If you’re in a fight and get too low on health to comfortably continue, you could find cover and swap spots with a healthy teammate while your shields recover. Communicate your positions on the map, the plays you’re going for, and any relevant information you have on your enemies. Call out where they spawn, where they’re pushing, what positions they’re holding, their HP (if relevant), as well as the number of enemies making a play, or in a certain location or close proximity. Prioritize any information that’s most important and relevant. A good team is a team that's coordinated, working together as a singular unit with multiple moving parts. If comms are too cluttered, coordination could take a hit, but it’s important that you’re all armed with the best information possible. Don’t immediately neglect to call something out because you think it’s not relevant, because more information is always valuable, as long as it’s able to be parsed in a short amount of time.
Make sure to communicate weapon spawns as well. Ensure that your team all knows exactly when powerful and relevant pickups are spawning, and figure out how to play around them together. Many games are won or lost based on how coordinated your team is around power weapon spawns. Securing pickups, holding onto them, and using them effectively is infinitely more difficult if your team is not on the same page regarding when they spawn, and how both you, and your enemies are playing around them.