We won’t waste your time talking about “classic” Halo match types that are essentially unchanged. Rather, here are the new match types and the best way to pwn at each.
Above: Bringing a knife to a gunfight
In the new Elite Slayer (aka Covy Slayer) mode, all players are Covenant Elites and choose between two classes, Warrior and Zealot. The classes are identical except for the starting weapon: Warriors get a plasma rifle, while Zealots get a needler rifle. Otherwise, both classes have the combat roll power and spawn with two plasma grenades. Covenant weapons (needler, bitches!) are scattered generously throughout the map, so don’t sweat the choice of loadout here too much. As an Elite, you move much faster and jump higher than a Spartan, giving Elite Slayer a faster, more fluid feel. This difference will factor heavily into Spartan vs. Elite game modes, which should be made available soon.
Teams compete to collect neutral flags scattered around the map. Points are not scored instantly, instead all flags in a team’s scoring circle are “collected” every 60 seconds. This gives you the opportunity to steal flags from the other team’s base before they’ve been counted.
Above: Im in ur base stealin ur flagz - one player provides cover fire while the other burgles
Have two people collect flags while two defend. Collectors should choose Scout and Airborn. Defenders should take Guard and Airborn. While the collectors do their thing, the Airborn defender should pick up a good ranged weapon and the Guard should grab a close weapon like the gravity hammer or shotgun. The Guard should hide in or near the collection point while the Airborn defender perches nearby.
Anyone who makes it past the Airborn defender should be easy work for the Guard. Meanwhile, the collectors should be grabbing every flag they can get a hold of. One or both of the collectors can switch to Stalker if needed to get in and steal flags from the other team. If you're dominating with this strategy, go ahead and use three collectors and one defender.
Part of the free-for-all playlist, Headhunter tasks players with collecting flaming skulls, which are then turned in at either of two collection points on the map. The collection points move periodically, adding a dimension of fun/frustration to the already frantic gameplay. If you kill another player, he’ll drop all the skulls he’s carrying. Players are flagged with the number of skulls they’re carrying, so you quickly become a target if you’re hauling around a big payload.
Above: It's raining men's skulls
Guard and Stalker are practically useless; you’ll want to stick with Airborn and Scout so you can get around the map quickly. Unlike team objective games, you hang onto your skulls when you activate your armor power so keep moving. You can often pick up easy skulls by taking up a position near the collection point and picking off players rushing to score. Also, don’t forget to stop and look around for skulls other players missed in the heat of combat.
OK, Team SWAT is a classic match type, but it returns for Halo: Reach with a couple tweaks. Players spawn with the new DMR rifle and a pistol. Scout is the only loadout allowed. There are no grenades or shields and radar is disabled, making Team SWAT the most tensely realistic match you can play.
Above: One of these kids is doin' his own thing
Sticking together as a team is vitally important in SWAT. Move carefully into each new area and watch each others’ backs. No grenades means you can bunch up a little more than you would normally. Try working in two two-man squads. When one squad moves, the other covers. Leapfrog from area to area and systematically hunt down the other team with precise cooperation.
Next page: Powerhouse map deconstructed