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Elites vs. Brutes. Who is combatively superior?

OP FreckledHeart74

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.***Take these rules into consideration before replying***

EDIT: Feel free to just state which race you like better, if you don't want to debate. (For ex. Bob: Elites cause they are cooler John: Brutes because I love monkeys plus their physically stronger)
Spoiler:
Show
Brutes and Elites equally have their own characteristics and strategies designed to kill. This thread will talk about which of the two races are combatively superior. Make sure to read the rules above and have fun debating!

P.S. This thread is involves the elites with the classic, unique design from primarily Halo 2 anniversary, Halo Wars 2, Halo 2 Classic, and Halo 3. Even though the elites are still unique in Halo CE Anniversary, Halo CE, Halo Wars and Halo: Reach, their spine is not arched like in the other games, but rather its more up straight, which gives them a bigger appearence . In my opinion, this does slightly dumb down how the elites are supposed to be stealthy and vigilant, but this still doesn't completley change what the general elite persona is. The elites from the new art style are completley out of the picture(Halo 5, Halo 4, Halo 2 anniversary multiplayer). No need to explain why cause theres hundreds upon hundred of media that explains why the new elites are horrible.
*Stretches fingers*
When it comes do overall combat effectiveness between these two species, there isn't a stark difference between the two such that one will always win against the other and that proper use of strategies tactics, logistics, availability of resources and others would be more significant factors to dictate how a battle would go.

However, when you compare the two groups individually, or one squad of Brutes vs one group of Elites, that's where combat doctrines, the species' culture and biology begin to factor in more, especially in certain situations. Take close quarters combat for example pitting an unarmoured Brute and Elite against each other. In this case, there's little doubt that the Brute would massacre several Elites in close quarters due to their superior size, strength and speed. We see in Halo Wars 2 that Brutes are strong enough to throw around Elites AND Spartans across the room with little difficulty. While the Elite may be trained and disciplined, the strength and size gap between the two is too large for training to close. Furthermore, we know that Sangheili combat harnesses augment the user's strength not unlike MJOLNIR, so a naked Elite is at a further disadvantage, and even with armour Halo Wars 2 shows us just how powerful the Jiralhanae are in close quarters.

Overall, a 1v1 wrestling match would favour the Brute significantly.

Next question is, what about a 1v1 fight with the Elite equipped with a plasma rifle and armour while the Brute is equipped with a spiker and Brute Power Armour? In this case, I'd probably give the Elite a slight edge given that given their training and discipline the Sangheili would probably be better marksmen and with regenerating energy shields the Elite could probably outlast the Brute given that Brute Shock plating falls apart when it's overloaded (see Halo 3 and Halo: Retribution). However, I wouldn't write off the Brute entirely. Brutes still possess the physical advantages it possesses in their greater size and running speed, and are equipped with heavy armour plating weighing at least half a ton. The Brute Spiker as well is an excellent weapon that can eviscerate the Sangheili. A single round is enough to pin a marine into a concrete wall and we see in Halo: Broken Circle Brutes use the Brute Spiker to great effect.

Overall, in a one vs one firefight, it depends more on the individual Brute/Elite's skillset and who can utilise them better. The Brute can withstand a great amount of punishment before going down, while the Elite's energy shields would help them last longer in a firefight as long as they are up and running.

So that leaves us in a squad vs squad battle. In this case, I think it's important to look at the cultural mindset of both species. Looking at the Sangheili, the Sangheili hold honour above all else, and the way they progress through the Covenant military is largely based on how many kills an Elite has. This in turn makes the Sangheili very individually driven and would thus helps makes each skilled and competent Sangheili stand out amongst his peers. However, that honour based mentality can also act as a crutch. Because the Elites are very individually driven, many individual Sangheili would be more interested in their personal advancement rather than doing something for the benefit for the group, and would act independently from the rest of their peers. In comparison, the Jiralhanae operate under a strict social hierarchy and rigid pack mentality, making them excellent pack hunters. Because of the Jiralhanae's pack mentality and social hierarchy, the Jiralhanae are better able to cooperate with each other and they are so effective as a team that UNSC pilots actually fear Jiralhane Seraph squadrons over Sangheili ones as mentioned in Halo: Warfleet because of these traits, and I'd imagine that the same can be applied to other areas of combat for the Jiralhanae. Fred-104 even notes in Halo: Retribution that the Jiralhanae have perfected a "rolling ambush" where a Jiralhanae ambushes a target from the rear and pushes the target into a killing field occupied by the rest of the pack. Furthermore, unlike the Sangheili, the Jiralhanae are pragmatic and utilitarian in nature and have no problem using whatever resources and tactics they could use to overcome an enemy. For example, Fred-104 notes in Ghosts of Onyx that an Elite would rather fight with an empty plasma rifle rather than pick up a fully loaded human assault rifle, while the Jiralhanae are more than happy to pick up a UNSC shotgun or scavenge UNSC arms and equipment and repurpose them for their own use, as seen with the Brutes in Halo 2, or the Banished, respectively.

Because of the Jiralhanae's social structure and mentality placing a huge emphasis on teamwork and cooperation between their peers as well as the Jiralhanae's pragmatic and utilitarian nature, I would put this fight in their favour.

Though of course, these are general cases and while one side may have one inherent advantage over the other doesn't mean that things always swing that way. We see in Halo: Tales from Slipspace - Hunting Party that a very capable team of Special Operations Elites - the Silent Shadow - can massacre dozens of Jiralhanae without too much issue, just as we could witness a single Brute smack around a bunch of Spartans like a bunch of toddlers.

However, if I had to say which one is better than the other, I'd personally lean more towards the Jiralhanae as, when considering an equally skilled Brute and Elite against each other, the Brute has the biological and even some cultural advantages over the Elite and that when you begin looking at peak examples of each species, an Elite would just be comparable to a Spartan (e.g. the Arbiter, or Rtas 'Vadum) while a peak Jiralhanae can overpower several of them (e.g. Atriox).

As to sources, I suggest viewing these two compilations of feats on the Jiralhane and Sangheili, respectively.
What this guy said.
@FordFalcon1997
I appecriate the amount of effort you put into your reply. You have my thumbs up. 👍.

Yeah, I agree how their isn't really a difference in combat effectiveness between the two races from a larger scale(Assuming the brutes are led by a strong leader)
From a smaller scale, again, I agree you start to notice the differences between the two, but in the end, both races are equally lethal in different ways.
You know, I am beginning to think the rivalry between elites and brutes in the new Halo Universe will develop into a similar to how Jedies rival Sith. 2 Complete opposite characters . You can actually find alot of similarities between Jedi/Sith and Elite/Brute.

Both Jedi and Sith have a purpose to eliminate one other from existence.(Elite and Brute rivalry tracing back to when brutes joined the Covenant)

Jedis (like elites) are honorable and take pride in their campaign against sith. Their foundation is soley based around the ability to have inner peace and a controlled mind. However, they often reject violent and deadly ways of the sith as in to promote their cause. (Elites rejecting human weapons even under the most desperate times).

Sith(Brutes. The next paragraph further elaborates on the following italicized sentence)if you didn't know are actually much more combat effective than Jedi. They utilize every method possible to utterly destroy the enemy no matter the cost(Brutes using human weaponry disregarding the Covenant's sole cause to eradicate 'human filth' under the Prophet's demand). To add on to their skill, they utilize their immense anger for someone or something to promote their purpose of living, demoralize/intimidate enemies, deliver devestating attacks and push through injuries. Strangely enough, their biggest flaw is anger itself. Many sith fall victim to their own blind rage and arrogance in battle.

Brutes are canonically on par with elites in tactics as well as intelligence and they have overpowering strength, endurance and agility over elites. Their only problem however is they are biologically very, very angry and hateful creatures. Their immense anger for their enemy is so great it mentally blinds in them in battle, which often leads to fatal mistakes. It's almost like you took the body of an elite and enhanced its anger and hate hormones by 500x. They can't change their brutal and hateful nature. It's both a burden and a strength.

To put it simply:

A - Advantage
D - Disadvantage

Elites:
Disciplined - A
Take pride and dignity in their cause - A
Controlled Mindset - A
Their honor hinders thems from exceeding true potential to promote their cause - D
Brutes:
Physically stronger - A
More Agile - A
Physically more durable - A
Better senses - A
More Imposing - A
Immense anger and hatred mentally blinds brute, which leads to fatal mistakes in battle. This is fate of almost every brute in battle - D

(The following is not canon. This is merely my observation.)

Just a bit off topic. I want to talk about atriox for a moment

First, reflect back on how brute's immense anger and hatred often leads to the brute's death. The reason why people are fascinated with Atriox is because in reality, he is 'The Perfect Brute'. Here is what I mean by that: you notice how Atriox doesn't really have that savage character brutes normally do?(Aside from him 'taunting' the Silent Shadow.) This gives an idea that maybe Atriox is a kind of 'mutant.' Like, his body doesn't produce enough of those anger and hate hormones like normal brutes do, which in turn eliminates the burden of blind rage and hate. So he now has the full potential to utlize all of his strength, intelligence, tactics, coordination and agility without his blind rage standing in his way. So like before, he is the 'Perfect Brute.'
.***Take these rules into consideration before replying***
Spoiler:
Show
Brutes and Elites equally have their own characteristics and strategies designed to kill. This thread will talk about which of the two races are combatively superior. Make sure to read the rules above and have fun debating!
P.S. This thread is involves the elites with the classic, unique design from primarily Halo 2 anniversary, Halo Wars 2, Halo 2 Classic, and Halo 3. Even though the elites are still unique in Halo CE Anniversary, Halo CE, Halo Wars and Halo: Reach, their spine is not arched like in the other games, but rather its more up straight, which gives them a bigger appearence . In my opinion, this does slightly dumb down how the elites are supposed to be stealthy and vigilant, but this still doesn't completley change what the general elite persona is. The elites from the new art style are completley out of the picture(Halo 5, Halo 4, Halo 2 anniversary multiplayer). No need to explain why cause theres hundreds upon hundred of media that explains why the new elites are horrible.
So is evidence from the gameplay completely irrelevant in this discussion?
Yes. Again, those are purely game mechanics. Weapon damage, vitality and ai are all specifically designed for the best gameplay experience without straying too far from the lore. You can change them at any time if you just change up some values in the game source code. If the gameplay was based around the lore, the game would be very unbalanced and irritating.
I say it depends on the brute and elite that are fighting. Some elites are as tall and as ruthless as most brutes, some brutes are as "short" and cunning as elites. But if we're talking about the basic brute vs the basic elite so to speak. That still depends on a few factors. Strength is a warriors greatest ally. However, the mind if used correctly can beat the strongest of opponents. (Hence most spartans vs hunters)

On that note, strategy-wise. I put my money on the elites. They can more or less use their minds to defeat their opponents.
Strength and raw ruthlessness, would be for the brutes. As shown in the "origin scene" of Atriox all the brutes around him were strong asf.

If anyone says otherwise about tht scene vs my statement with the elites. To be fair, the elites didnt expect tht "uprising" so there was no chance to use "intelligence" in that scenario.
I say it depends on the brute and elite that are fighting. Some elites are as tall and as ruthless as most brutes, some brutes are as "short" and cunning as elites. But if we're talking about the basic brute vs the basic elite so to speak. That still depends on a few factors. Strength is a warriors greatest ally. However, the mind if used correctly can beat the strongest of opponents. (Hence most spartans vs hunters)

On that note, strategy-wise. I put my money on the elites. They can more or less use their minds to defeat their opponents.
Strength and raw ruthlessness, would be for the brutes. As shown in the "origin scene" of Atriox all the brutes around him were strong asf.

If anyone says otherwise about tht scene vs my statement with the elites. To be fair, the elites didnt expect tht "uprising" so there was no chance to use "intelligence" in that scenario.
The "Elites win due to having strategic minds" aspect is rather debatable. Contrary to popular belief the Jiralhanae are in fact rather cunning warriors in their own right, and are not solely reliant on their own physical strength and aggression to win battles. We do know from the Official Spartan Field Guide that the Jiralhanae do regard intelligence and subtlety highly in their society as well as physical strength, and as I outlined in my long post above, the Jiralhanae operate exceptionally well together in comparison to Sangheili, to the point where Jiralhanae piloted craft are actually feared by human airforce pilots, while in comparison the UNSC know to exploit the Sangheili's tendacy to seperate from their kin for the "glory of the kill".

Also, while I'm nitpicking here, I presume the word you're looking is tactical. If you want to discuss strategy, then we should look at high ranking commanders in Sangheili/Jiralhanae ranks like Jul 'Mdama, or Atriox and Pavium and how they operate on a strategic level.
all brutes have going for them really is brute strength, elites are strong but not as strong as brutes, they're more agile, more intelligent, more tactical so yeah i'm gonna have to give it to elites
all brutes have going for them really is brute strength
Really makes you think, doesn't it?
*Stretches fingers*
When it comes do overall combat effectiveness between these two species, there isn't a stark difference between the two such that one will always win against the other and that proper use of strategies tactics, logistics, availability of resources and others would be more significant factors to dictate how a battle would go.

However, when you compare the two groups individually, or one squad of Brutes vs one group of Elites, that's where combat doctrines, the species' culture and biology begin to factor in more, especially in certain situations. Take close quarters combat for example pitting an unarmoured Brute and Elite against each other. In this case, there's little doubt that the Brute would massacre several Elites in close quarters due to their superior size, strength and speed. We see in Halo Wars 2 that Brutes are strong enough to throw around Elites AND Spartans across the room with little difficulty. While the Elite may be trained and disciplined, the strength and size gap between the two is too large for training to close. Furthermore, we know that Sangheili combat harnesses augment the user's strength not unlike MJOLNIR, so a naked Elite is at a further disadvantage, and even with armour Halo Wars 2 shows us just how powerful the Jiralhanae are in close quarters.

Overall, a 1v1 wrestling match would favour the Brute significantly.

Next question is, what about a 1v1 fight with the Elite equipped with a plasma rifle and armour while the Brute is equipped with a spiker and Brute Power Armour? In this case, I'd probably give the Elite a slight edge given that given their training and discipline the Sangheili would probably be better marksmen and with regenerating energy shields the Elite could probably outlast the Brute given that Brute Shock plating falls apart when it's overloaded (see Halo 3 and Halo: Retribution). However, I wouldn't write off the Brute entirely. Brutes still possess the physical advantages it possesses in their greater size and running speed, and are equipped with heavy armour plating weighing at least half a ton. The Brute Spiker as well is an excellent weapon that can eviscerate the Sangheili. A single round is enough to pin a marine into a concrete wall and we see in Halo: Broken Circle Brutes use the Brute Spiker to great effect.

Overall, in a one vs one firefight, it depends more on the individual Brute/Elite's skillset and who can utilise them better. The Brute can withstand a great amount of punishment before going down, while the Elite's energy shields would help them last longer in a firefight as long as they are up and running.

So that leaves us in a squad vs squad battle. In this case, I think it's important to look at the cultural mindset of both species. Looking at the Sangheili, the Sangheili hold honour above all else, and the way they progress through the Covenant military is largely based on how many kills an Elite has. This in turn makes the Sangheili very individually driven and would thus helps makes each skilled and competent Sangheili stand out amongst his peers. However, that honour based mentality can also act as a crutch. Because the Elites are very individually driven, many individual Sangheili would be more interested in their personal advancement rather than doing something for the benefit for the group, and would act independently from the rest of their peers. In comparison, the Jiralhanae operate under a strict social hierarchy and rigid pack mentality, making them excellent pack hunters. Because of the Jiralhanae's pack mentality and social hierarchy, the Jiralhanae are better able to cooperate with each other and they are so effective as a team that UNSC pilots actually fear Jiralhane Seraph squadrons over Sangheili ones as mentioned in Halo: Warfleet because of these traits, and I'd imagine that the same can be applied to other areas of combat for the Jiralhanae. Fred-104 even notes in Halo: Retribution that the Jiralhanae have perfected a "rolling ambush" where a Jiralhanae ambushes a target from the rear and pushes the target into a killing field occupied by the rest of the pack. Furthermore, unlike the Sangheili, the Jiralhanae are pragmatic and utilitarian in nature and have no problem using whatever resources and tactics they could use to overcome an enemy. For example, Fred-104 notes in Ghosts of Onyx that an Elite would rather fight with an empty plasma rifle rather than pick up a fully loaded human assault rifle, while the Jiralhanae are more than happy to pick up a UNSC shotgun or scavenge UNSC arms and equipment and repurpose them for their own use, as seen with the Brutes in Halo 2, or the Banished, respectively.

Because of the Jiralhanae's social structure and mentality placing a huge emphasis on teamwork and cooperation between their peers as well as the Jiralhanae's pragmatic and utilitarian nature, I would put this fight in their favour.

Though of course, these are general cases and while one side may have one inherent advantage over the other doesn't mean that things always swing that way. We see in Halo: Tales from Slipspace - Hunting Party that a very capable team of Special Operations Elites - the Silent Shadow - can massacre dozens of Jiralhanae without too much issue, just as we could witness a single Brute smack around a bunch of Spartans like a bunch of toddlers.

However, if I had to say which one is better than the other, I'd personally lean more towards the Jiralhanae as, when considering an equally skilled Brute and Elite against each other, the Brute has the biological and even some cultural advantages over the Elite and that when you begin looking at peak examples of each species, an Elite would just be comparable to a Spartan (e.g. the Arbiter, or Rtas 'Vadum) while a peak Jiralhanae can overpower several of them (e.g. Atriox).

As to sources, I suggest viewing these two compilations of feats on the Jiralhane and Sangheili, respectively.
I'm not saying that you're wrong... but I am saying that I wish I had a way to disagree with you, tactfully, and still keep a straight face...

I read through both of those links you provided and, well... I find myself only drained of enthusiasm and at a loss for morale.
'Tis a sad day, indeed.
Your average Brute beats your average Elite.
Top tier Elites are a different story.
In the lower ranks I think the 'fresh' elites will be overeager to prove themselves and this will be their downfall but as you get higher as in like general and the like elites are superior
That said I think on a per soldier basis elites make for better troops.
*Stretches fingers*
I'm not saying that you're wrong... but I am saying that I wish I had a way to disagree with you, tactfully, and still keep a straight face...

I read through both of those links you provided and, well... I find myself only drained of enthusiasm and at a loss for morale.
'Tis a sad day, indeed.
Well, a good starting place is to start with your stance on this topic, and then break down my points that you disagree with and go off from there.
all brutes have going for them really is brute strength, elites are strong but not as strong as brutes, they're more agile, more intelligent, more tactical so yeah i'm gonna have to give it to elites
Debatable, as seen with my breakdown earlier. The Jiralhanae have been described as a fast and agile species in the novels and on their bio here on Halo Waypoint, being able to match Spartans and surpass Elites as noted in Halo: First Strike, and we see in the games themselves that Brutes are quite quick on their feat and leap across large distances despite being a thousand kilograms of body mass and armour - which is no small feat mind you. As for intelligence and tactics, we have seen that the Jiralhanae are a practical and resourceful species who are willing to use whatever means necessary to win a battle, while in comparison the Sangheili are bound by their rigid honour code that can serve as a crutch for them in battle. For example, an Elite would almost never use a human weapon during the Covenant war even if the Elite's plasma rifle was out of ammo and regard their own blood as sacred and get enraged when their "honour" is spilt. Meanwhile the Jiralhanae are more than willing to use human weaponry and even modify it for their own use, as seen in Halo 2 when the Brutes used human shotguns, Halo 3 where the Bubble Shield is based on reverse engineered UNSC drop shields from Reach and the huge arsenal of modified weapons, vehicles and equipment utilised by the Banished in Halo Wars 2. Tactics wise, each species have developed their own tactics that works for them and how those tactics work is ultimately circumstantial - however it is worth noting that the Jiralhanae would work very effectively in groups, with Halo: Warfleet noting that UNSC Pilots fear engaging Jiralhanae controlled Seraph Squadrons while with Sangheili piloted once the UNSC has learned to exploit the Sangheili's nature to split off from the group in their attempt to earn the glory of the kill - which is just one piece of evidence showcasing how the Sangheili are very individually, "warrior" minded in their approach to warfare in comparison to the Jiralhanae.

Mind you, this is more of a general case and that assessing individual performances is based on said individual's skills and capabilities, but based on the above, there's more to suggest things learn more towards the Brutes here. The Jiralhanae are certainly more aggressive than the Sangheili, but they aren't stupid as people make them out to be. Case in point: The existence of the Banished in Halo Wars 2, from their leader Atriox to Pavium and Voridus to the way the Banished operates as an organisation.
Zemillion wrote:
Your average Brute beats your average Elite.
Top tier Elites are a different story.
Well we see in Halo Wars 2 that top tier Jiralhanae are exceptional even compared to top tier Elites. After all, on a baseline level the Jiralhanae are faster, stronger and more resilient than Elites and even Spartans in some areas, so an exceptionally skilled Brute would have a higher "potential", so to speak.

And before anyone goes "Atriox is just an extreme outlier" (at which point I'd call double standards considering Thel and Rtas), there is also Decimus who could be considered the physical apex of Jiralhanae strength, being at the upper end of Brute sizes (680 kilos, 280 centimetres) and capable of beating down numerous special operations Elites with his bear (heh) hands, as well as Pavium and Voridus.
Really depends on rank, weapons, armor, and combat area, though I would side with the Sangheili.
Zemillion wrote:
Your average Brute beats your average Elite.
Top tier Elites are a different story.
Well we see in Halo Wars 2 that top tier Jiralhanae are exceptional even compared to top tier Elites. After all, on a baseline level the Jiralhanae are faster, stronger and more resilient than Elites and even Spartans in some areas, so an exceptionally skilled Brute would have a higher "potential", so to speak.

And before anyone goes "Atriox is just an extreme outlier" (at which point I'd call double standards considering Thel and Rtas), there is also Decimus who could be considered the physical apex of Jiralhanae strength, being at the upper end of Brute sizes (680 kilos, 280 centimetres) and capable of beating down numerous special operations Elites with his bear (heh) hands, as well as Pavium and Voridus.
Curious, are you talking on Decimus without his mech-suit or with it?
Ado Ulamee wrote:
Really depends on rank, weapons, armor, and combat area, though I would side with the Sangheili.
Zemillion wrote:
Your average Brute beats your average Elite.
Top tier Elites are a different story.
Well we see in Halo Wars 2 that top tier Jiralhanae are exceptional even compared to top tier Elites. After all, on a baseline level the Jiralhanae are faster, stronger and more resilient than Elites and even Spartans in some areas, so an exceptionally skilled Brute would have a higher "potential", so to speak.

And before anyone goes "Atriox is just an extreme outlier" (at which point I'd call double standards considering Thel and Rtas), there is also Decimus who could be considered the physical apex of Jiralhanae strength, being at the upper end of Brute sizes (680 kilos, 280 centimetres) and capable of beating down numerous special operations Elites with his bear (heh) hands, as well as Pavium and Voridus.
Curious, are you talking on Decimus without his mech-suit or with it?
No mech suit. Here's the cutscene where we see Decimus take down four special operations Elites in the span of 15 seconds - 10 seconds if we dismiss the time it took for Decimus to give the Elite the Bane treatment (referring to The Dark Night Rises, just FYI). I would also point out to you that Decimus has been described as the embodiment of every horror story the UNSC has on the Jiralhanae, and, well, considering we see Decimus snap the neck of an Elite with his bare hands, I'm inclined to believe them.

Also, the aforementioned cutscene linked above is a good feat to look at when discussing this particular topic. While we should not ignore the context of the scene in question, it's a good representation of what the Jiralhanae are capable of.
Ado Ulamee wrote:
No mech suit. Here's the cutscene where we see Decimus take down four special operations Elites in the span of 15 seconds - 10 seconds if we dismiss the time it took for Decimus to give the Elite the Bane treatment (referring to The Dark Night Rises, just FYI). I would also point out to you that Decimus has been described as the embodiment of every horror story the UNSC has on the Jiralhanae, and, well, considering we see Decimus snap the neck of an Elite with his bare hands, I'm inclined to believe them.

Also, the aforementioned cutscene linked above is a good feat to look at when discussing this particular topic. While we should not ignore the context of the scene in question, it's a good representation of what the Jiralhanae are capable of.
...Aren't those lowly minors tough? Their armor lack the purple tinge of the higher rank you are saying. Only once have we seen a commando in blue armor and that was in a "Day at the Beach," from halo 2.
Ado Ulamee wrote:
Ado Ulamee wrote:
No mech suit. Here's the cutscene where we see Decimus take down four special operations Elites in the span of 15 seconds - 10 seconds if we dismiss the time it took for Decimus to give the Elite the Bane treatment (referring to The Dark Night Rises, just FYI). I would also point out to you that Decimus has been described as the embodiment of every horror story the UNSC has on the Jiralhanae, and, well, considering we see Decimus snap the neck of an Elite with his bare hands, I'm inclined to believe them.

Also, the aforementioned cutscene linked above is a good feat to look at when discussing this particular topic. While we should not ignore the context of the scene in question, it's a good representation of what the Jiralhanae are capable of.
...Aren't those lowly minors tough? Their armor lack the purple tinge of the higher rank you are saying. Only once have we seen a commando in blue armor and that was in a "Day at the Beach," from halo 2.
Well, for one, the Elites seen in that scene (edit: and further cemented in Rise of Atriox and the character model of the executioner) appear to wear black armour, and we know that Special Operations Elites appear in shades of purple (Halo 2), crimson (Halo: Reach, Silent Shadow) or black (Halo: CE), and we've never seen a low ranking Elite in black armour that I can recall. Secondly, all the Elites present are utilising energy swords which are usually (though not always) reserved for higher ranking Elites with the Halo: Enclyclopedia mentioning that Minors are (again, usually) not allowed to use energy swords. Lastly, all these Elites were present for the execution of a Jiralhanae warrior highly regarded in the Covenant military for his exceptional skill. Would you trust the task of assassinating (in event something went wrong like what ended up happening) of one of the Covenant's best warriors to a bunch of minors with relatively no combat experience?

There's no reason to assume these were pitiful minors the Jiralhanae were slaughtering here.
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