Archive for April 25, 2011

Check in here for strategies on completing the Daily and Weekly Challenges in Halo: Reach. If it’s your first time, click through the About HRD link above; and add comments below if you’ve got a good idea of your own for tackling the Challenges today.



Every now and again we see a Small Arms Challenge for Matchmaking, and everyone bitches that they’ll have to shoulder their primary in exchange for the sidearm they only use when their DMR clip runs out. So, for today’s Video Of The Week we thought we’d feature a SWAT Magnums vid from our our friends over at the ManeX Gaming Channel on YouTube for a handy guide to the handgun. Everyone, check it out!

The MXG lads provide clips not of specific Challenges, but of key tactics and techniques intended to help make you a better player across ALL your Challenges. Subscribe to their Channel to get notified of updates, or follow them on Twitter here. Thanks again, guys!

Our regular Screenshot Of The Day returns tomorrow. So, if you haven’t done it already, yo: Send your screenshots to, or just make a file recommendation to us on XBox (Gamertag: Ender Xer0, with a zero), and we’ll take care of the rest. Remember: we’re not looking for Forge art or random pix from the Internet; it should be a screenshot of YOU!



TYPES: Kills, Killstyle, Special Weapon, Wins
SETTINGS: Firefight, Multiplayer
TOTAL TIME: 90 to 150 minutes





Type: Kills
Setting: Firefight
Difficulty: Grind
Time: 45 to 60 minutes (Concurrent with That Pink Mist Challenge)
Value: ★★★☆
Reward: 2000

Kill 400 enemies in Firefight Matchmaking.

Take this one on last; you’ll already score a good number of these on your way to the That Pink Mist Challenge. For your leftovers, you can take this one on alone in Score Attack — Gruntpocalypse is probably easiest, with 120 enemies per round who go down from a single trigger-pull — though Firefight Arcade offers you Overshields, three Rounds (plus a Bonus) of enemies and a virtual salad bar of power weapons; you’ll just have to share in your kills. (But hey, Firefight is supposed to be cooperative, yeah?)



Special Weapon

Type: Special Weapon / Killstyle
Setting: Firefight
Difficulty: Grind
Time: 25-30 minutes (Concurrent with One Spartan Army Challenge)
Value: ★★★☆
Reward: 1000

Kill 70 enemies with a Supercombine from the Needler or Needle Rifle in Firefight Matchmaking.

Of all the Challenges today, this one’s the real pain in the, uh, forehead (hi, Kat!) — meaning it’s the one you’ll spend the most attention on. Because of that, we’ll go into a bit more detail, so pull up a chair.

OK, the Needler: An an unusual weapon ever since designers buffed it for Halo 2, with a Supercombine effect from needles microbursting after they strike; pin enough into a target, and the burst sets off a chain reaction for an instant-kill explosion. At the same time, though, this only works if enough hit before the first burst; stagger your shots, and you can empty an entire clip without ever triggering critical mass.

The effect also works differently on each class of enemy. Six needles will Supercombine a standard Grunt or Jackal; but Elites wear shields, so it requires seven to strip their protection before six more take them out. (And let’s not get started on Hunters.) But, at the rate the needles fire, it’s not like you can really keep count anyway.

The DMR Wannabe.

The Needle Rifle, meanwhile, Supercombines after only three shots against an unshielded opponent, but its autofire is pretty nerf — you can actually pull the trigger yourself just as fast. And, against an opponent without shields, why not just take a headshot and be done with it?

That said, it’s still pretty easy to Supercombine — particularly with the pistol, which features a homing reticule that aim-assists even stray shots while the circle stays red. This allows needles to bend around corners a bit, so you can dispatch an enemy even after you’ve lost line-of-sight.

Keep in mind, though, this actually works against you when firing into a pack: your reticule will flicker from one Covie to the next — especially as they maneuver under fire — meaning you might not successfully Supercombine any of them. It’s also a medium-distance weapon at best, so you’ll have to wade dangerously close to wild enemy fire rather than the much more sensible Needle Rifle strategy of picking off opponents from range.

The Halo 1 punchline, now packing some punch.

Yeesh! Already seems like a complete hassle, right? But wait, there’s more. In Firefight, most enemies – Grunts and Jackals – usually hit the dirt with remarkably little effort; in fact, until the Mythic Skull powers up, it’s pretty damn difficult to Supercombine a Grunt without accidentally killing him first. (Grunt leaders will sometimes hang on until the blast; standard Grunts, not so much.) So, unless you’ve got an open, uninterrupted shot, you might needle them to death inadvertently and miss the big blast.

With all that in mind, then:

  • Your best bet remains Firefight Arcade, which offers unlimited lives, unlimited ammo, spiffy overshields and — most importantly — two gametypes with more free Needles than a government giveaway program: FRGFight, which starts you with a standard Needler as your secondary, and PlasmaFight, which backs you up with a Needle Rifle.
  • You can still make significant progress toward this Challenge in any other Firefight that lets you pick up weapons: A scattering of Grunts will have armed themselves with basic Needlers, while Jackals remain otaku for the Rifle version, so you won’t have trouble finding these. But we’re not fans of the limited-ammo gametypes, since Needlers burn through ammo so alarmingly fast it’ll hardly seem worth it.

    A n00b combo, in a needle fight? Yep!

  • Elites, meanwhile, can be wily as hell in dodging fire; and, as noted above, they’re rocking Energy Shields, so you’d likely need a reload before a Supercombine even becomes possible. If you’re in a weapon-pickup gametype and hit a Wave of them, consider ditching one of your Needle weapons for a secondary Plasma Pistol; flash their Shields with an overcharge burst, then finish with the needle spray. When his Shields drop, the Dino will stand and howl in place like like a drag queen whose wig has been pulled off, making him an easy, stationary target.
  • Vote for wider, open maps, since enemy units will tend to spread out, giving you an opening to farm for Needle weapons without drawing fire from every Covenant on Reach. Plus you’ll be able to cut loose with an uninterrupted stream (Needler) or three steady shots (Rifle) without wandering around the middle of a plasma crossfire.


Single Match


Type: Killstyle
Setting: Multiplayer
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 10-20 minutes
Value: ★★★★★
Reward: 1200

Kill 10 enemies with headshots in a Multiplayer Matchmaking game.

Only four letters really make a difference here, and they’re spelled SWAT. Bungie has been kind enough to make this its own playlist for the laggers and aimbotters among us, since both the DMR and Magnum can take out opponents with a single headshot no matter what kind of fantastic armored-helmet-from-the-future, you’d-think-these-things-could-stop-a-bullet-by-now they happen to wear.

In fact, your main obstacle — apart from people shooting you in the back of the skull — will be to rack up 10 headshots before the game ends. SWAT matches run to 50, and if you’ve either matched against a particularly good team or with particularly good teammates, you could find yourself short of the bonus just as the score tops out.

If that keeps happening, recruit some friends to coordinate your efforts; an entire team can earn this Challenge in a single match if they work together.




Type: Wins
Setting: Multiplayer
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 45-90 minutes (Concurrent with Neuroscience Challenge)
Value: ★★★★
Reward: 1750

Win 5 games in Multiplayer Matchmaking.

Not much to say; play enough games and you’ll rack up five wins.

TAKE NOTE, however: Despite what it may say on your Reach game stats page over at, simply finishing in the top half of a Free-For-All game will NOT register as a win for your Challenge progress here — you’ll need to place First, or not at all.

Similarly, avoid any Objective gametypes that frequently end in a tieCapture The Flag or Assault, for example — since although your game score registers a win for both sides (that is, you both came in “first”), the Weekly Challenge is not so generous; either one team takes the top spot, or both sides lose.

  • Avoid Big Team Battle and Invasion; though generally worth more cRedits, they also take longer, and you’re targeting wins here, not just cR. Plus, you can spend twice as much time in a Big Team game and still have a 50% chance of finishing without any Challenge progress; two smaller-squad games will earn just as many credits in the same time, but double your chances at a win.
  • Remember when I said to avoid Objective games? Well, just as it does with most things, Grifball breaks the rules. Games are usually quick and generally won’t end in a tie, and so all other things being equal you’ll go in with about a 50-50 chance of pulling Host and scoring the win.





Single Match

Type: Completion
Setting: Firefight
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 15-20 minutes
Value: ★★★★★
Reward: 10000

Complete four Sets on any Firefight map in Co-op play on Heroic or harder.


Tip Of The Week

Yikes! Remember that Vidmaster Endure Achievement from ODST, the one that took hours to complete and some of us still don’t have it? (*ahem.*)

Well, this ain’t that. This one is about as much as the return of Endure as Universal Soldier: The Return was as good as Universal Soldier. (I mean, Michael Jae White in place of Dolph Lundgren? Who thought that was a good idea? Anyway.)

So, although you won’t get Recon Armor for completing it, you will get 10K worth of cRedits toward buying it from the Armory in what will be some of your easiest 15 minutes in Reach since you scored the Heat In The Pipe Achievement: This Challenge doesn’t require Firefight Matchmaking, so you can head into a Custom Game, complete with invulnerability, Power Weapon loadouts and enemies who drop dead when hit by anything from a flick of your finger to harsh language.

We’ve put together a special Custom Firefight already set up for you on, optimized for this particular Challenge, to net you your Challenge Bonus in as little time as possible. Check it out:

ENDURE: The Return custom gametype

Best used on Corvette. Enjoy!