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Up to date as of February 08, 2010

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Halo: Combat Evolved

SPARTAN-IIs about to exploit the Mgalekholo's main weak spot: their unprotected backs in Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • Hunters fire heavy, exploding plasma projectiles that travel in an arc, similar to the shots from the Fuel rod gun.
  • They can be killed in one shot from the M6D pistol or Sniper rifle if hit in their orange weak spot.
  • Their armor does not completely deflect projectiles, but merely reduces the damage they do to the Hunter.
  • Hunters are smaller than in future games, standing at about 10 feet tall (8 feet when hunched over for combat).
  • Hunters also have fewer melee combat moves than in future games, and the moves they do have are somewhat slower.

A Mgalekgolo's armor is extremely resilient, is resistant to most small arms fire, and significantly reduces the damage they take from enemy projectiles (on Normal difficulty, a Hunter can still be killed with a few dozen pistol or plasma shots to the armor). However, in later games the armor is completely immune to small arms fire, and projectiles simply bounce off of it without causing harm to the Hunter.

However, they have an exploitable weak spot (in which it will take a single pistol shot to kill them): the exposed orange flesh located in their midsections and necks. While they keep the exposed areas on the fronts of their bodies well-covered with their shields, rarely giving the player an opening unless the Hunter tries to melee them, the creature's back has a large exposed area that is extremely vulnerable. If a rocket is fired at them, it does not matter where you are aiming, it will always kill with one shot (unless you are in Legendary and sometimes Heroic mode, in which case it may take two rockets). Another tactic available is to shoot the green sections of their Assault Cannon (only successful with the pistol).

In addition, while not on alert to an enemy's presence they assume a stance where their neck and midsection is especially vulnerable. While firearms are incapable of penetrating a Hunter's armor, it cannot stand up to heavy weapons such as rockets and artillery.

Interestingly in Halo PC, if you don't move from your position while a Hunter is firing at you, it is very unlikely that it will hit you with its Assault Cannon.

Other weapons, especially the shotgun and sniper rifle for very short and very long distances respectively, were equally deadly. The rocket launcher was always effective, but never particularly necessary. Grenades were only moderately effective, as the Hunter could withstand a half-dozen grenade blasts.

Plasma weapons, with the exception of the plasma rifle on lower difficulties, were often ineffective, as was the needler. The MA5B Assault Rifle takes too long to make a kill so other weapons were far more useful.

On Legendary, some players regarded Hunters as one of the most challenging enemies in the game (killing them is a difficulty, even when armed with the most appropriate of weapons). Inexperienced or careless players can fall victim to the Hunters' attacks, which, while easy to anticipate, are rather quick and powerful.

A unique way to kill a Hunter, is to melee it over and over again and can be done to the front of the Hunter. But it is highly recommended to hit from behind, as it is easier for them to attack what's in front of them.

Another way to kill a hunter is to jump on the hunter while he is doing a melee, and shoot the hunter's vulnerable back with a pistol, which would badly damage, if not kill, the hunter. However, often the range you jump would be so far that accurately shooting at the hunter is difficult.

Hunters are, like all other enemies in Halo: Combat Evolved, extremely vulnerable to vehicle collisions. A Warthog can kill a Hunter instantly with even the slightest nudge or tap. This was due to the physics engine of the game, which could not determine the difference between a fast moving and a slow moving vehicle; hence all vehicle contact with an enemy on foot resulted in instant death. A Hunter could attempt a large leap away from the vehicle, however, which can sometimes result in the Hunter getting away temporarily. However, a Hunter's assault cannon shot can flip a warthog easily.

Lining up Hunters so that they shoot themselves is dangerous, difficult, and is not advised because in Halo: Combat Evolved they don't do any damage to each other.

Halo 2

A Mgalekgolo on the final Halo 2 level, The Great Journey.

Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2

  • Their Assault Cannon has been changed from firing single large exploding plasma bolts to firing a continuous energy beam.
  • They have more health. Additionally, only a Sniper rifle or Beam rifle can kill them in one shot (2 shots are required on Legendary difficulty).
  • Their armor now completely deflects projectiles instead of merely reducing the damage taken from them.
  • They have a new melee combat move that allows them to spin around 180 degrees and strike enemies behind them, thus making it more difficult to get behind them and attack their weak spot.
  • They are faster and also delay much less between melee attacks, making it much more difficult to fight them at close range.
  • Hunters are over 20% larger than in Halo: CE, now standing 12 feet tall (10 feet when hunched during combat).
  • They appear noticeably less frequently than in Halo: CE.
  • Being hit by a grenade does little damage to a Hunter, but will disorient it and cause it to spin around 180 degrees and stand still for a couple seconds, leaving its weak spot exposed.

The Hunters underwent a number of changes for Halo 2. For example, they will react more aggressively to the loss of their bond brother. They appear in fewer numbers, and they are for the most part tougher and more dangerous than in Halo: CE. They are also invulnerable to melee attacks, whereas in Halo: Combat Evolved, melees would actually cause damage to the hunter.

The most notable change is their new weapon: although similar to the old Fuel Rod Gun-like Assault Cannon, the new assault cannon fires a continuous beam of green incendiary gel rather than an arcing projectile. The weapon cannot fire as often, and it has a much lower velocity, making it easy to avoid.

In addition, the Hunters are over 20% larger[1] and 10% slower, making it much easier to target. Their increased strengths go towards your advantage when playing as the Arbiter; the Hunters are then powerful and durable allies.

Finally, the Hunters have much more health. Most small arms do rather moderate damage against them, in contrast to the M6D's ability to kill them in a single shot. For example, on Normal difficulty, it takes 11 shots from the M6C Magnum Sidearm, 6 full bursts from the battle rifle, or 10 shots from the Covenant carbine to kill a Hunter.

On Heroic and lower difficulties, sniper weapons will kill a Hunter in a single shot, as do machine gun turrets and plasma cannons. However, on Legendary, not a single weapon can kill them in one hit. An SRS99C-S2 AM Sniper Rifle or beam rifle will take two shots to kill a Hunter on Legendary.

The rocket launcher is greatly effective, and so is the fuel rod cannon. While these weapons take two and three shots respectively to kill a Hunter on Legendary, they can damage one regardless of where it hits it. If lacking a sniper rifle and a heavy weapon, simply switch to the Covenant carbine or the battle rifle (BR's slightly stronger). To put one down, aim for the exposed flesh and empty your rounds. It should take around a magazine (maybe a magazine and a half on Legendary) to kill one.

Note: that in large areas without cover, you may invariably lose. Do not use the energy sword, as it is worse than useless (it brings you to close quarters with the Hunter, where it can easily beat you down).

Grenades still do little damage against Hunters and it will usually take a large amount of them to take one down. However, grenades, hand held or fired from the Brute Shot, will disorient a Hunter, giving the player an opportunity to shoot at its exposed flesh. Perhaps the most effective method to defeat a Hunter would be to stick a Plasma Grenade to it and shoot it in its exposed back with a beam rifle or sniper rifle, as a plasma grenade in this fashion will make the Hunter do a 180 degree turn or freeze on the spot. Another interesting change from Halo: CE is that plasma grenades now stick to the Hunters' shields, whereas in Halo: CE they simply bounced off if not stuck elsewhere. Plasma grenades can also be used to kill a Hunter by sticking it in the back or stomach, which due to the arc of the throw, is not very difficult. This also gives the player time to shoot them with another weapon.

If an enemy gets too close, the Hunter will attempt a clumsy but dangerous melee attack with its shield, severely injuring if not killing the enemy. Once its partner is killed, the Hunter becomes much more aggressive and will chase the player, attempting to avenge its partner's death by only melee attacks.

When battling the UNSC Marines, one Hunter will engage the Marines in close combat, whilst the other will hang back and support with the Assault Cannon. If one of the Hunters dies, the other will occasionally leap forward and attempt to smash an enemy with its shield. If this attack connects, the foe on the receiving end of the blow will invariably die. Generally, Hunters have a harder time taking down marines than they had in Halo: CE, but that is because the health of marines has been increased drastically, they almost have 175% more health in normal difficulty than the Halo: CE marines.

During the last level of Halo 2, many players are relieved to find out that 2 pairs of Hunters are with them. Due to their amazing strength and size, it is logical to hide behind them and activate your camouflage to escape from being harmed (for beginners). However, on Legendary, some players go first, and take out as many Brutes as possible, so they won't have to deal with them later.

Halo 3

Two Mgalekgolo on the level, The Storm.
A Mgalekgolo preparing its Assault Cannon.

Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3

  • Hunters have even more health, and can no longer be killed with a single shot from any weapon. On Normal and Heroic difficulty it takes at least 2 shots to the weak spot from the Particle Beam Rifle or Sniper Rifle to kill one. Likewise, they can withstand at least a full cip and a half of assault rifle fire to the weak spot before falling.
  • A Hunter's previously exposed stomach area is now protected by an armor plate. However, this can be shot off by weapons fire. Other areas of the Hunter's armor, such as the spikes and the plating around the weak spot in the back, can also be broken off by damage from gunfire.
  • Hunters are even faster and more agile than in Halo 2, making it much more difficult to get behind them and shoot their weak spot.
  • Hunters are no longer disoriented by explosives, but are much more vulnerable to sticky grenades. They can be killed with 2 consecutive plasma grenade or spike grenade sticks on Normal difficulty (3 grenade sticks are required on Heroic). Sticky grenades are effective even if they adhere to the Hunter's armor or shield. However, non-sticky grenades such as frag grenades and Brute shot projectiles remain fairly ineffective, doing minimal damage.
  • Hunters are much rarer than in the previous two games, with a total of only 8 Hunters appearing throughout the entire game. Additionally, 2 Hunters are killed by the player while piloting a Scorpion tank, so only 6 Hunters are ever fought directly.

The Hunters in Halo 3 are even more advanced then their Halo 2 counterparts. They are even larger and much stronger, but appear less bulky.

The most notable feature of Hunters in Halo 3 is that they work, react, and function very much as a pair. Their computer AI for the game allows the Hunters to seem very closely bonded to the other, finally creating the "bond brother" idea. In the game, they also do some things simultaneously, such as strike at an enemy behind together, which further displays their connections to each other. This "bond" is most noticeable in Halo 3, but somewhat appears less in the previous two games as well.

Flexible armor plating covers their previously vulnerable “stomach” areas. All melee attacks are faster and much deadlier, and these Hunters now anticipate enemies behind it and can attack them. But their armor is more interactive, so if back plating is removed, there will be a bigger target to shoot at. When the spikes fall off, small stubs of Lekgolo are left where the spike used to be. Hunters are also able to be killed by melee attacks again, as in Halo: CE. However it seems that Hunters are more vulnerable to melee attacks in Halo 3.

If a grenade is thrown at a Hunter, it can strafe-jump away from the explosion. However, their spikes and back armor now falls off in pieces as the Hunter accumulates damage, and their Assault Cannons do slightly less damage, while it appears that grenades and explosives seem to do more damage compared to the other two games and can kill instantly if stuck on the back or neck on Heroic or a lower difficulty. Gravity Hammers can also do a great deal of damage if hit in the exposed part of their back. Meleeing them with a Brute Shot in the back usually blows off its covering armor plating, but hitting the unprotected part instantly kills it, and strangely sends the Hunter flying 30 feet in the air. This may be a glitch or just something Bungie mistakenly left in Halo 3 after development, this can be done with other species too.

The most effective weapons against them are support weapons and explosives. It is also possible to kill a Hunter in one ram with a Ghost, Wraith, and Chopper when using the turbo boost. The most effective weapons against Hunters are the Spartan Laser and Plasma Cannon, the Plasma Cannon works much like the Plasma Rifle did in Halo: Combat Evolved, killing them very quickly, as does its human counterpart the Machine Gun Turret. And like most things in Halo 3 the Spartan Laser kills in one shot. The Missile Pod and Rocket Launcher, both explosive weapons, can tear apart Hunters. As can dual plasma rifles if you hit them in their unprotected backs. A very effective, albeit difficult to use weapon is the energy sword, as one lunge at the unprotected back can kill it on Heroic. This is very hard to do because firstly, you need to get close to the Hunter, and secondly, you need to have an energy sword, which are only dropped by dead Elites or The Arbiter, and have either 100% charge, or barely enough for one swing.

There is always a heavy weapon available to fight a Hunter. In the Storm, you can save your rocket launcher from the Scarab battle. On the first pair on The Ark, you can rip a Plasma Cannon off the Deployable sniper tower in the first area. For the second pair, you have a Scorpion (enough said). On the Covenant, you can save your Spartan laser or use the Fuel Rod Gun from the Chieftain right before this part.

If a Hunter is unaware of the player or his allies, it will usually stand still. This is the perfect chance for the player to use a powerful scoped weapon such as the Sniper Rifle or a "messy" weapon with slow projectiles and arc effects such as the Fuel Rod Gun, Plasma Grenade or Spike Grenade. If the player is in front of or on the side of the Hunter, he can use the scoped weapon on its neck, which is slightly weaker than its back, and weaken it with 1-2 shots, and then finish it off with his grenades. If he is on its rear, the best choice would be the "messy" weapon. He should shoot 2 shots (without waiting for the first to reach its target, he should fire the second) to ensure an easy kill. Of course, if he has the Rocket Launcher or the Spartan Laser with him, he should face the Hunter and destroy it with one shot. One way to get to a Hunters back is to have one teammate shoot the hunter in the front, (wasting ammo so use a plasma pistol, or an SMG) while the other player sneaks around the back and sticks it.

If you do not have these, it is best to stay back and use the Battle Rifle or Covenant Carbine to the vulnerable areas.

Halo 3: ODST

A golden Mgalekgolo fires his assault cannon at night.

Changes from Halo 3 to Halo 3: ODST

  • A new class of Hunter with gold armor has been added in ODST. Instead of a continuous energy beam, this gold hunter fires powerful, fast-moving, exploding plasma projectiles similar to Fuel Rod Cannons.
  • In ODST, the entire rear section of a Hunter's armor can be blown off by gunfire or explosives (a single grenade or Particle Beam Rifle shot should suffice), leaving the Hunter's entire back exposed.

Like in Halo 3, Hunters travel in pairs, but there is the odd moment when you will find a lone Hunter. This is possible in Campaign and Firefight. A pack of Hunters may consist of two regular Hunters, one blue Hunter and one gold Hunter, or two gold Hunters. Other than the color, the only difference between the blue and gold variants is the weapon they carry. Gold Hunters carry an assault cannon similar in function to the cannon used by the Hunter in Halo: CE, but with rounds identical to fuel rod rounds in Halo 3. This means that the round will travel quickly, and with little arc, except for the gold coloration this cannon looks no different from the usual Halo 3 assault cannon.

As in Halo 3, Hunters are most susceptible to attacks from behind, where powerful weapons such as the machine gun turret or rocket launcher will do incredible damage. Close quarters combat is now extremely dangerous because you run more slowly and can not jump as high while playing as an ODST. Sometimes, it is possible to put the Hunter into a chain of continuous melee attacks, regardless of how far away you are from it, and the trick is to get close enough to it to make it melee, then, back off and shoot its exposed area continuously, and it in turn will continuously melee. Be cautious when attempting this method, because if the Hunter lands a melee, it will do severe damage.

Combating gold Hunters is more risky at long range, because their fuel rod projectiles travel faster, can be fired quite quickly in succession, and carry massive splash damage. This makes them more formidable against vehicles. It is recommended that the player weaves in such a way that the Hunter will constantly have to adjust its aim. Fighting both a blue and gold variant at the same time is also tricky, because you have two different types of attacks to dodge. In firefight, teamwork is essential in taking down the Hunter, the ideal position being one person in front of the hunter, getting its attention, while another person positions himself behind it, with a clear shot at the exposed spots. Another good strategy when facing two Hunters, is to have one stand in front of the other. When the Hunter in the rear fires, he will injure the Hunter in front of him.

Another less well known tactic involves forcing the Hunter to jump off of the map. This can be done if you lead a hunter to an area with a bottomless pit (this only works on the maps Windward, Chasm Ten, and Alpha Site) and throw a grenade at their feet. With tough luck on, the Hunter will attempt to dodge the grenade and jump off of the floor and into the pit, killing itself. Grenade placement must be very precise, and in an area where the hunter will jump off of the map (to the side of the hunter if the hunter is right beside the pit).

It is always good to preserve Fuel Rod and Rocket Launcher ammunition in anticipation of Hunters. They will usually appear at least once during a set. These weapons are the most effective at Hunter killing, and it is possible to kill a Hunter in less than five seconds if well equipped. Before the mythic and tilt skulls are activated it is a good idea to use sticky grenades, unlike Halo 3 firebombs have almost no effect.

Halo Wars

A pair of Mgalekgolo as depicted in Halo Wars.

Hunters always appear in pairs and occupy a strong anti-vehicle role[2]. Armed with a Fuel Rod Gun, they can deliver heavy damage to UNSC ground vehicles. When one Hunter falls, it becomes much easier to kill the remaining one[3]. As aforementioned, they are mainly anti-vehicle: they'll get rid of Warthogs, Cobras, Wolverines, Gremlins and early Scorpion versions pretty fast. However they're ineffective against infantry, and useless against aircraft. Can be trained inside the Hall and have several upgrades:

  • Bonded Shield- Adds the iconic hunter shield which deflects projectiles.
  • Spirit Bond- Increases damage output while both hunters in bonded pair are alive.
  • Assault Beam- Mortar-like Fuel rod Cannon upgrades to Beam version for sustained, yet heavy amount of damage.

Resource: 250

Minimum Tech Level: 1

Population Count: 2


  1. The Art of Halo, Creating a Virtual World

This article uses material from the "Mgalekgolo/Gameplay" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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