Posted: April 16, 2011 in Campaign


Zero Deaths

Skulls On

Type: Completion
Setting: Campaign
Difficulty: Medium
Time: 30-60 minutes
Value: ★★★★
Reward: 5000

Complete Winter Contingency on Legendary without dying, with Mythic, Thunderstorm, Tilt and Tough Luck on.

Tip Of The Day

Though this level remains more welcoming to solo excursions — as the campaign’s first mission, it’s by design the easiest — it’s still better to tackle it in co-op, since the Skulls (see below) make it challenging enough already; you don’t get any gold stars for making life more difficult.

OK, then, four Skulls on. Let’s take a look:

Mythic doubles enemy health. Thunderstorm upgrades their rank — which, ha ha, combines anti-awesomely with Mythic. Tough Luck helps enemies evade damage, while Tilt modifies the damage tables, generally in Covenant favor against Spartan weapons. So, basically, just about everything to make the Covies as invulnerable as possible without involving the planet Krypton.

On the other hand, Winter Contingency, while not only being easier than most missions, offers wide-open geography that helps your front-line fighters skirt past most encounters, while giving weaker players the opportunity to *ahem* “guard the rear flank” and Checkpoint forward once the danger has passed. So, while it’s true that the game scales up the difficulty for more players in co-op mode, you’ll want the extra guns at your side; otherwise, it’ll could be a very long day of level Reloads.

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: If you don’t make it through the level alive, you can’t just hit Restart; you’ll need to Save-And-Quit, then reopen the level. Otherwise, it’ll still read your progress as Challenge Failed.

OK then. We don’t have room here for a detailed walkthrough, so instead keep in mind some of our standard strategies, repeated below, that help on Legendary difficulty no matter which mission:


  1. On Legendary, Reach becomes an almost entirely different game; rather than the run-and-gun, blaze-of-glory style you enjoyed on Normal, Legendary relies much more on strategy than sheer skill. Your kung fu may be strong, but you won’t be able to ninja your way out of a Legendary plasma shitstorm.
  2. Since the Challenge requires zero deaths, you’ll also need to play even more defensively — stealthy when possible, and get-the-fuck-out when necessary. If you think you’ve just done something that would make an awesome kick-ass clip for your File Share, you’re probably not doing this right.
  3. In almost every situation, look to bypass encounters entirely. You’re not working toward a Campaign score, so no need to take out every enemy — or, actually, any enemy — if you can skip them. (After all, Reach will still get glassed anyway, yeah?)
  4. To do this, keep an eye out for perimeter runs along the outskirts of hot zones — not only will natural cover help you slip past Covies more easily, but they’ll be shooting only from one or two directions; get caught in a crossfire on Legendary and you might as well go grab a sandwich while your game Restarts.
  5. When you can’t bypass enemies, keep a distance/headshot weapon handy for taking them out at range. Use the level’s geography to find positions that offer clean lines of sight for precision kills before the enemy AI even figures out where you are.
  6. Effectively skipping one encounter can even bypass the encounter that comes after it, since enemy and vehicle drops often coincide with combat progress; you might find a subsequent battleground entirely empty, since the Covies will have only begun their landing sequence while you’re already getting the hell out of Dodge.
  7. If it looks like the designers want you to engage a major battle from an obvious point of attack, DON’T. The obvious attack points are for Normal difficulty. You’ll want another way in, or around, taking out an objective from afar or skipping a firefight entirely.

Whew! Quite a lot to keep in mind. Just work closely with your teammates and you’ll do fine. Good luck!

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