Halo: Reach Mythic Difficulty Guide
Welcome back, Commander. The Covenant have stumbled upon one of humanity's greatest kept secrets; the military stronghold known as "Reach". If Reach falls, Earth is sure to be next. This is the battle we've been waiting for. This is what it all comes down to.
So how does Halo: Reach's Mythic differ from Halo 3's and ODST's, if at all? The transition from Halo 3 to Halo 3: ODST wasn't overly significant. Sure, there were a few minor changes such as the snipers getting nerfed, not being able to jump as high, or the baddies being able to one-up you with equipment, but for the most part it was the same engine with just a few little tweaks here and there. Reach, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal altogether. Everything you thought you knew about Mythic you're about to leave behind in the shadow of Reach's towering difficulties.
In past games, culling the herd became routine after a bit of repetitive practice. Headshot the cannon fodder and noob-combo anything with a shield. And Hunters? A single laser blast would send those little orange worms scrambling. In Reach, however, Bungie has decided to tweak the tune. Most of the Grunts you'll be facing this time around have an outer mask protecting them, meaning your one-shot-headshot just got thrown out the window.
Remember that cool trick with the Brute Chieftains in Halo 3? It was pretty easy to side-step their swings and land an assassination, but apparently Bungie took offense with our tactic. So to even the score, they've made it so that Brutes can no longer be assassinated if they are aware of your presence. Major suckage... I'm sure a developer would kill to have seen the look on my face the second I had this shocking revelation.
Perhaps the biggest punch to the face is the nerf of the noob-combo. In Halo 3/ODST, it became almost routine to just splash a Brute with a super-bolt, remove his armor, then take your time with the headshot, but not this time around. First off, if you recall from earlier games, Elites have shields that recharge after a few brief seconds. But wait! There's more! Using a super-bolt to remove an Elite's shields no longer does the trick. It takes three. Keeping in mind that your average Famine-infected plasma pistol can only shoot three super-bolts before it depletes, the odds of the opposing Elite not using Armor Lock or Evade to cancel out one of your attempts are definitely against you. Check the enemies section of the guide for more tips on how to deal with these adversaries. Overall, the Tilt skull seems to have been given a significant boost this time around when it comes to enemy shielding.
Vehicles seem to be significantly weaker in terms of health. Believe it or not, you can actually destroy a Ghost with a DMR! And when faced with a Scorpion, Ghosts and Banshees are now one-shot; a definite switch since the last game. Apparently they buy their vehicles from Walmart...
Armor abilities have swapped roles with equipment. It's basically the same deal only it's reusable! To check out more details on the seven different types of armor abilities you can obtain, please make your way to Part VII of the guide.
The Hornet has been replaced by the Falcon. Basically, it's like a nerfed Hornet. Remember that rinky-dink variant on Avalanche in Halo 3? It's mostly like that, but with a gun that overheats as well as a propeller system. Yippee...
Grenades seem to be slightly stronger than before. A couple of well placed frags will end a Brute's reign of terror as well as a direct stick.
Your Spartan allies are invincible just like the Arbiter was in Halo 3. The key difference? You can't glitch them into taking any weapon since they can't be killed even by you. So unfortunately, you'll have to leave the heavy wielding to the Marines. My advice? Stay out of the way.
The last big thing on my list is the introduction of space combat. How does it affect Mythic? If your shields go down, how do you get them back to counteract the effects of Black Eye? Good news, folks. Black Eye doesn't affect the Sabre, so you'll never have to worry about ramming your ship into the side of a Covenant Corvette in an attempt to bring your shields back to full.
If I come across any other major changes, I'll be sure to add them into this section.
Before we get too deep into the mayhem, there are probably a number of you out there thinking to yourselves that this challenge is far too difficult and unrealistic for the average Halo gamer. I stand by my firm belief that Mythic can be conquered by anyone who's willing, but that begs the question, are you among them? No, this isn't a challenge to your manhood or just a reverse psychological way of saying "I dare you", but rather, is it worth your trouble? There are those out there who even have trouble with Heroic and won't dare venture into higher modes without friends. To each their own, but to help get those folks well on their way to conquering Mythic, I've set up a separate solo Legendary guide to help you beat each mission without dying. Think of this as an in-between step to get you prepped for Mythic difficulty and to help bridge the gap. Two guides for the price of one! So how can you tell if the Mythic challenge is for you? Start by asking yourself a few simple questions.
You should now have a much better idea regarding whether or not the challenge ahead is for you. I do hope you decide to join me on this journey and bring out the most Halo: Reach has to offer its fans!
Q. What is Mythic Difficulty?
Q. Is there an achievement/medal/prize for completing the game on Mythic?
Q. Can Mythic be done in teams?
Q. How can you prove you've beaten it?
Q. Can glitches be used to get through missions?
Q. Where can I show off my progress?
Q. Is there a place on Bungie.net where I can find tips?
Q. I don't have Silverlight installed. Is there a Youtube channel where I can view the videos?
For more frequently asked questions, check out the FAQ for the Halo 3 Mythic Guide.
Skulls are difficulty multipliers that have been included in the Halo games since Halo 2 and became selectable for the first time in the main menu in Halo 3. In those two games, players had to trek through various missions throughout the campaigns to find the skulls before they were able to take advantage of them. Now, however, they have been given to you right from the get-go. No more hunting. You can prepare to drop straight into Mythic whenever you please! As before, gold skulls add to the score multiplier while silver are there strictly for the effect. All skulls, however (whether they be gold or silver), need to be on in order for it to count as Mythic.
IRON: Nothing has changed here. If you die during a solo run, it means you have to restart the mission. On co-op, one teammate dying sends your entire team back to the last checkpoint. In Team Mythic, however, if one teammate dies, the party leader must manually restart the mission for everyone...
BLACK EYE: Again the principle behind this skull remains the same. When you take damage, your shields no longer automatically recharge. You must melee an enemy in order to regain your shields. No, you can't get them back by whacking Moas into extinction either. Also note that that hijacking a vehicle from an enemy will restore your shields.
MYTHIC: This skull doubles enemy health, but it also seems to affect enemy shielding as well. In Halo 3 and ODST, a single super-bolt from a plasma pistol would lower enemy shielding, but in Reach, it takes at least three of them to eliminate shields. You know what that means, folks. Kiss your noob-combo goodbye. Har har, Bungie.
THUNDERSTORM: Boom! Everyone gets a rank boost. Most Grunts become Ultras as do Elites. Your day just got more complicated.
TILT: Your enemies become far more resistant to human weapons. Shields are now nearly impossible to take out without plasma weapons or explosives.
CATCH: Enemies throw more grenades than usual. This has been surprisingly nerfed since the last series installation. While Grunts, Brutes, and Elites will definitely throw more grenades than normal with this skull activated, it seems to be far less frequent than it was in Halo 3 or ODST. This is true for your allies, too.
TOUGH LUCK: Enemies are much better at dodging more dangerous weaponry such as grenades, rockets, fuel rods, and the like. Don't believe me? Take a Needle Rifle and try pegging a Jackal. See what happens. Go ahead. I'm waiting.
CLOUD: a.k.a. the Fog skull from Halo 3/ODST. This removes your radar. Nuff said.
FAMINE: The ammo you pick up from the ground is reduced by half! So remember to make those shots count.
COWBELL: Makes things fly! Explosions become much stronger and things seem to bounce much more.
GRUNT BIRTHDAY PARTY: Every time you headshot a Grunt, an angel gets its wings... Or maybe just confetti flies out of his busted melon and little children scream YAY! It's like a little Christmas every time you kill one.
IWHBYD: But the dog beat me over the fence. This one makes characters say things that are ordinarily far less common. Flipyap anyone?
BLIND: What you normally scream at someone who cuts you off. This skull removes your HUD entirely and forces you to shoot from the hip. Just remember, when you jump into a vehicle or hop into a turret and notice your shields are crackling, that's not because you're invincible. That means your shields are down and be extra careful! Remember, once your shields are down, spilling hot coffee on yourself is going to hurt like a mofo.
There are tons of cool new toys to play with now in Reach in addition to revamps of old stuff. Here's a brief overview of what's in store and how it affects Mythic. Collectively, they all have a newly added effect called "bloom" which randomizes your shots the quicker you shoot in succession. In short, learn to take your time. Here's the basic rundown.
DMR: This is the battle rifle's replacement and will serve as your primary mid-ranged headshot weapon. It has a regular 2x zoom similar to the BR. Pretty basic.
MAGNUM: At long last, Bungie has heard the cries of the community and brought back the Halo CE pistol, or at least a malformation that comes close to it. Think of it as a close-range DMR. It has a 2x zoom and deals head shots like a pro.
SNIPER RIFLE: One headshot from this monster will down any unshielded enemy. In capable hands, this becomes the ultimate anti-Covie weapon.
SHOTGUN: In CQB scenarios, this weapon is a beast. It'll even cause Brutes to stumble on Mythic! Realistically, you won't have much opportunity to actually use it in campaign, but if you find yourself caught in a bind with either Hunters or Brutes and your only weapon is a shotty, it's fairly simple to move around them while emptying shells into their backs.
ASSAULT RIFLE: Don't bother.
GRENADE LAUNCHER: New to the Halo arsenal, it's pretty much a reskinned Halo 2 Brute shot in that the rounds usually bounce once before exploding, making it easy to bank them off walls and into tight corners. But it also has a unique effect if you hold down the trigger. It won't explode until you release it, at which time it releases a shorter-ranged EMP. Sadly there aren't too many scenarios in campaign where you'll find it to be all that useful.
ROCKET LAUNCHER: It's like a badass hybrid between the one from Halo 2 and Halo 3. For the player it mainly shoots straight unless you have an aerial target in which case it'll actually lock on and zero in on its prey. When in the hands of a capable AI, it retains the ability to home in on its helpless victims for lots of BOOM action!
SPARTAN LASER: While obviously superior to the rocket launcher, it doesn't appear to be nearly as effective against Hunters this time around as it was in Halo 3/ODST. However it can easily lay waste to Ghosts and Banshees alike. In terms of battery life, it has been reduced to four blasts rather than five. Overall, there isn't much need to pick up one of these during your Mythic campaign, given that there are usually better weapons around to get the job done.
TARGET LOCATOR: You won't come across too many of these in the game, but when activated, the TL summons an orbital strike that can cover a fairly wide-ranged area. Here's a tip. When you're targeting a vehicle, if you paint the vehicle itself rather than the ground around it, the bombing will actually follow the vehicle no matter where it goes! This may very well be the most powerful weapon in the game.
PLASMA PISTOL: This one is a double-edged sword. The EMP effect from the super-bolt is still there from Halo 3/ODST, but the overcharge itself isn't nearly as effective as it used to be. It now takes multiple charged shots to down shields belonging to an Elite or Jackal. We can blame the skulls for this one. Aside from that, the damage done has actually been increased significantly, and you'll find me using it to straight up pepper bad guys throughout the entire campaign!
PLASMA RIFLE: The bolts here seem slightly weaker than the ones generated by its green cousin, but it still generally serves the same "pepper" purpose and it can give your trigger finger a rest with its automatic fire capability.
PLASMA REPEATER: New and near useless. It's significantly weaker than the plasma rifle and drains quicker too due to its rate of fire. It reminds me of the Spectre's gun from Halo 2. It's pretty, but doesn't get the job done nearly as well as its two counterparts. You're best off just leaving these next to the corpses they failed to protect.
NEEDLER: Back and better than ever! They now hold even more ammo than the Combat Evolved variants but remain ever so powerful. Even on Mythic, it only takes a single super-combine to down a Brute minor and two to kill a captain. Overall, it's spectacular against unshielded enemies.
NEEDLE RIFLE: An obvious successor to the carbine but with the added flair of super-combining when three rapid shots are pegged into a helpless victim. Again this is extremely useful against Brutes, but be warned that Jackals and Grunts are great at dodging each individual round which makes it much more difficult to land those follow-up shots.
SPIKER: This weapon has received a much-needed overhaul and is finally worth picking up. Wielded only by Brutes, this device can easily be turned against its original owner in order to mow them down in a shower of heated nails.
FOCUS RIFLE: There are many out there who believe this is a successor to the beam rifle from previous games, but in reality it's really much more like an amped-up Sentinel beam. It works well at draining the shields of some of the weaker Elites and can also be highly effective against Shade turrets.
ENERGY SWORD: You won't have much need for this in campaign, but in the hands of a capable Elite, it becomes a force to fear. One swipe equals death, so don't let the pretty light fool you.
GRAVITY HAMMER: Remains my favorite weapon in the franchise. Not only is the actual impact of the device devastating to whoever the unfortunate victim is, but it also generates shockwaves capable of blasting items off into the air. It's pretty much a one-hit-kill against everything aside from Elites, Brutes, and Hunters.
CONCUSSION RIFLE: This red menace basically fills the role of the Halo 3/ODST Brute shot and even makes the same sound effects. The difference? It's now been reskinned to a have a more Covenant-plasma appearance. I have to admit, the red bolts are sexy. This will be the typical "heavy weapon" you'll encounter in campaign and will quickly become one of the most feared and is particularly favored by Elite Ultras, though I've caught a few Generals, Zealots, and Brute Captains toting it about as well.
PLASMA LAUNCHER: In the beta, this got my biggest WTF response of all the new devices. It basically shoots plasma grenades that home in on their targets. Can we say overpowered?! You won't come across too many enemies in campaign that wield them, fortunately, but keep an ear out. You can hear the lock-on noise they make when you're being targeted. Though I've seen Grunts in Firefight use them, in campaign they seem to be mostly wielded by Elite Generals and Brute Chieftains.
FUEL ROD CANNON: This continues to be the most powerful Covenant handheld weapon in the game. One direct hit pretty much spells death for Noble Six. And don't forget the projectiles have a nasty tendency to bounce off solid objects.
GRENADES: Looks like we're back to basics with this one. You have two flavors to choose from; plasma and fragmentation. The former has the ability to stick to creatures and vehicles alike while the latter can be banked off of walls and has a greater knock-back effect. You can only carry two of each at a time, so use them sparingly.
MONGOOSE: The quickest UNSC way to get from point A to point B, though you'll be completely defenseless in the meantime.
WARTHOG: Comes in three flavors! Gatling gun for mowing down your foes, Rocket to send things flying and dying, and the good ol' Gauss to put a quick end to shenanigans. The latter makes one appearance in the entire game, and it's during the second mission. Enjoy it while you can!
SCORPION: Aside from other tanks, it can pretty much decimate anything with a single direct hit which is quite an upgrade from Halo 3/ODST where it took 12+ shots to end the life of a Ghost or Banshee. Ridiculous... As before, a secondary gunner seat is available for additional support.
FALCON: Think of it as a severely nerfed Hornet with propellers. You're actually going to have to work to maintain altitude this time around.
GHOST: Continues to be the fastest vehicle in the game despite the fact that the boost effect is no longer unlimited. Its twin plasma guns can be useful for dealing with shielded enemies.
REVENANT: Best described as a "mini-Wraith". It lobs red mortars far weaker than those of its larger cousin. You won't find much use for this device on Mythic as it seems to be extremely underpowered.
SHADE: Comes into two flavors; Anti-Air (twin plasma cannons), and heavy (fuel rods). Though you'll never need to commandeer one, you should be aware that it only takes five direct hits from the grenade launcher to blast one to pieces.
WRAITH: The Covenant answer to the tank. It's mortars are powerful upon impact and have slight area-of-effect properties. Like the Scorpion, it has a secondary gunner seat. Curiously, when controlled by Covenant, it has the odd ability to fire its main cannon in a direction it isn't facing. Be wary of this when moving in close to hijack one.
BANSHEE: Though you'll find their twin plasma cannons to be quite deadly, their Banshee bombs can end your run very quickly. Also note that they have retained the ability to perform "tricks" in the air in order to dodge heavy weapons fire.
Enemies in Halo: Reach have received a massive overhaul. To help make up for a lack of Flood or Forerunner robots, Bungie has granted ranks to the various races of the Covenant and even thrown in a new species altogether. You'll find that dealing with them, though, isn't quite as cut-and-dried as it was in the previous two installations of the series, but fortunately you've come to the right place to find out exactly how to down your newest enemies.
GRUNTS: Though a few new ranks have been added to the mix, the main two you'll encounter in campaign are Specialists and Ultras. The former you'll usually either find in vehicles or dragging around malicious heavy weapons, while the latter is far more common and will replace your average Grunt thanks to the Thunderstorm skull. Ultras wear special masks that prevent them from become an easy one-hit kill. In order to land a headshot, the mask must first be removed which can typically be accomplished in 1-2 direct hits from a headshot weapon (the sniper rifle is an exception, of course). So if you find yourself in a position where you need to conserve ammo, lay on the plasma fire. Another property to note is that like the Jackals, they are now able to fully utilize plasma pistols by firing super-bolts.
JACKALS: As with previous installments, we have two main types to deal with. The shielded ones are the most common and now hold their defense mechanism on the opposite hand. As long as you aim for the exposed feet and/or right-side opening, you can cause them to stumble for an easy headshot. Like in ODST, they can also wield needlers in addition to plasma pistols. Marksman is the other variant, and their weapon of choice is the needle rifle, though from time to time you'll catch one using a focus rifle instead. They're nowhere near as quick as they used to be and are extremely vulnerable to headshots from weapons such as the magnum and DMR. And good news, folks. Jackal snipers are no more! Sorry, but no matter how you try to explain it to me, the focus rifle is NOT a sniper weapon...
SKIRMISHERS: At first, I thought they were just hairy Jackals, but as it turns out, they are merely a close cousin. They seem to behave much like the earthbound Drones from Halo 3: ODST. They move quick, jump high, and are masters of evading enemy fire. They fill a much needed niche in the Covenant structure, though to be honest, they do make the Jackal Marksman feel a bit redundant. Like the Marksman, they are capable of utilizing the needle rifle, and at close range, they favor needlers and plasma pistols.
DRONES: Yes, these little buggers are back, but their encounters are few and far between. Their numbers per situation have been drastically reduced as well as their average health. As an additional entertainment factor, they have a tendency to explode when killed with a weapon such as the needle rifle. Just like in past games, they tend to stick with needlers and plasma pistols.
ENGINEERS: Remember these guys from ODST? Remember how much of a pain it was to have to kill all those enemies protected by super-shields granted by being close enough to one of these pink, floating squids? Fortunately, they've received a major nerf since then and are even vulnerable to headshots. Nowadays, they will occasionally send out a small pulse of energy that will temporarily grant their allies within a certain range a bit of a shield boost. Fortunately for us, it's nowhere near as overpowered as it was in ODST.
BRUTES: Back and better than ever with a sleek new Lord of the Rings cave troll look, and apparently they finally learned how to put on a pair of shorts rather than letting their junk hang out. Aside from the Chieftains, they've apparently lost their power armor and are now back to basics with a simple headdress and a few light accessories. This obviously means no noob-combo, but fortunately with a needle-based weapon, you can literally spank the space monkey every time in as little as one to two super-combines. In terms of skills and combat, they're immensely inferior to Elites. Their dodging skills are subpar as well as their general use of even their own weapons, but what they lack in skill they make up for in numbers. You'll usually find a much higher number of Brutes in a given situation than you would normally encounter for Elites.
ELITES: I swear their ranks seem to change with every game. Back for the first time since Halo 2, the Elites have received a massive upgrade with their shielding. Since most of the ones you encounter will be Ultras, using 3 plasma super-bolts to lower one's shields becomes frightening unrealistic. You're far better off either trying to win in a melee fight (which you should never do unless you're at full health and shields), or peppering them from range with ordinary plasma bolts. Their favored weapon is the plasma rifle, and from time to time, you'll come across the far more menacing variants that have mastered the art of the concussion rifle. You'll learn to hate them as much as I have. Trust me. From time to time you'll catch them using needle rifles and focus rifles as well. And the higher up the food chain you go, the more dangerous the weapons become (swords, plasma launchers, and fuel rod cannons). Aside from Ultras, you'll occasionally encounter the bunny-hopping Ranger variants that take to the skies with jet-packs, Special Ops Elites that enjoy hiding in the shadows using active camouflage, the rarely seen Zealot class that does more running than fighting, Generals which gloat in gold armor and get their kicks from using heavy weapons, and lastly the rarest of the rare, the Elite Field Marshal. There's only one in campaign (that isn't a BOB), and he's bonded with a fuel rod cannon. Good luck with that.
BOBs: These are "special" enemies that appear in random places throughout the campaign and sometimes grant the player access to special toys such as data pads (similar to the terminals in Halo 3). Most often, they will appear in the form of golden Ranger Elites, but there've been reports of a white one in ONI: Sword Base as well as a cloaked BOB in Winter Contingency. Don't worry too much about them in terms of campaign progression since they tend to avoid combat in most cases.
HUNTERS: They've finally lost that wussy assault cannon for the far more effective fuel rod upgrade similar to the monster cannon found in Combat Evolved. Particularly in Mythic, their near-starship-grade armor allows them to shrug off massive amounts of damage from even the heaviest of weapons. In Halo 3, a Hunter could be downed with a single laser blast. In Reach, it takes at least four direct hits with the Spartan Laser to kill a Hunter. To further complicate the scenario, in Reach they don't always just travel in pairs, but now they sometimes travel in packs as well.
When you look at the heart of this concept, really all you're looking at is reusable Halo 3 equipment. There don't seem to be any specific boundaries in regards to which side can use what armor, and as far as I can tell, their canon origins remain relatively unknown. Most of the time they aren't even all that necessary and serve more as a bonus than anything else, but there are a few key points in campaign where some of them seem to fill a specific niche. Let's go over them and how they apply to the challenge ahead.
SPRINT: By default you'll almost always start the mission out with this one. This is self-explanatory. It increases your speed for a short period of time with a short cool down period. It's fairly useful for not only getting from point A to point B fast, but it also allowing you to rush enemies, get behind them quicker, and duck out of intense situations when things begin to heat up. This is the one you'll be using most frequently and is also the most common one you'll come across.
ARMOR LOCK: I haven't heard this much complaining about a multiplayer tool since the BR spread in Halo 3... On the campaign side, it's the second most common armor ability you'll come across. Not only does it render you completely invincible for a few seconds, but it also generates a small EMP effect upon exiting that affects enemies in the immediate vicinity. There aren't a whole lot of uses for this in campaign, but it can be rather entertaining to go nuts with it at the beginning of Exodus.
JET PACK: This one pops up sporadically, and unlike the previous two, this one actually fills specific roles in the campaign where it's near impossible to proceed without it. As you can probably guess, it uses a pair of thrusters to boost the player to a certain height. The downfall I've noticed, though, seems to be that the max height is somewhat inconsistent. There will be times when a full jet pack can boost you higher than others. There may be varying factors as to why this occurs, but they are still being explored. In the meantime, count on being able to lift for roughly 3-4 seconds before the jets run out OR until you reach "max height".
EVADE: Near useless in campaign, it allows you to quickly dodge an oncoming vehicle or enemy fire by propelling you in the direction of your choice. But given the fact that you're fighting AI rather than actual people like you would be in multiplayer, the Covenant can pretty much determine where you're going to end up and choose to shoot there instead. I tend to leave this one alone.
ACTIVE CAMOUFLAGE: Behold the almighty invisibility in its most useless state in the franchise. While the ability to continually use active camouflage may sound good on the surface, you have to be moving a snail's pace in order for it to render you completely invisible. Otherwise you'll find yourself fading in and out as you try darting across the battlefield. In campaign, I typically avoid picking this one up. Even when I move slowly, the enemies still somehow manage to see me.
HOLOGRAM: It's easy just to have fun with this one. You can send an exact copy of yourself running any which way and drive the Covenant crazy. We've all done it if only just for the sheer hell of watching them all flip out. That said, there are a few notable instances in campaign where this ability really does seem to come in handy, particularly when it comes to distracting high-ranking Elites.
DROP SHIELD: In my opinion, this is the bread and butter of armor abilities. Up front, it has the aesthetic appearance of the Halo 3 bubble shield and pretty much acts like one too. Unlike the bubble shield, however, it can only take a certain amount of damage before dissipating. How much, you ask? A single Wraith mortar will destroy it. But look at it this way; the mortar killed the bubble and not you. While they tend to not last very long on Mythic, they can provide you with that extra little window of opportunity to scurry away if need be. Plus as an additional bonus, standing inside of one begins the regeneration of your health bar (not to be confused with shields)!