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Elites vs. Brutes. Who is combatively superior?

OP FreckledHeart74

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Elites are more intelligent and would be able to employ more effective tactics and react/adapt quicker than the brutes would be able to.
Elites are more intelligent and would be able to employ more effective tactics and react/adapt quicker than the brutes would be able to.
There's a lot of people saying this, so what's your reasoning? What evidence do you have to show that the Elites do react/adapt quicker than the Jiralhanae, or that the Sangheili have more effective tactics?
Elites are more intelligent and would be able to employ more effective tactics and react/adapt quicker than the brutes would be able to.
There's a lot of people saying this, so what's your reasoning? What evidence do you have to show that the Elites do react/adapt quicker than the Jiralhanae, or that the Sangheili have more effective tactics?
Brutes actions in the campaign show very little thought behind actions and often charge enemies straight on and were not often placed in leadership positions but rather in squads of their own kind and acted as individuals. Elites were often portrayed as leaders (ex the arbiter) and often seen commanding troops and they would use cover more often wouldn't charge face first like brutes.
Brutes actions in the campaign show very little thought behind actions and often charge enemies straight on and were not often placed in leadership positions but rather in squads of their own kind and acted as individuals. Elites were often portrayed as leaders (ex the arbiter) and often seen commanding troops and they would use cover more often wouldn't charge face first like brutes.
You're going to need to provide a bit more clarification and evidence than that. I mean, your stance begins to fall apart when you consider how we've seen Jiralhanae in leadership positions across the series, from lowly minors leading squads of Grunts and Jackals to higher ranking Captains in the Banished who lead raiding parties and instils terror in their attacks:
Quote:
BRUTE CAPTAINS
ROLE: LOW COMMAND
Brute Captains within the Banished lead the terror and raiding packs that extort resources and smash the defenses of the settlements they raid. They also lead attacks on Doisac itself, impressing independent clans with their strength and killing rival warlords who refuse to bow to Atriox.
(Halo: Official Spartan Field Guide)
to Jiralhanae Chieftains/Warlords who leads entire packs and large contingent of Covenant/Banished forces to individuals like Atriox, Pavium and Voridus. Atriox is a man (Brute) who needs no introduction, but both Voridus and Pavium were able to lead a contingent of Banished forces against the Flood and thanks to their ingenuity and indomitable will, were able to contain the Flood - no small feat considering what we know of the Flood. Furthermore, your "acted as individuals" statement rings rather hollow when you consider that the Elites are more independently driven in comparison. The Jiralhanae culture is centred around it's rigid hierarchy and pack mentality, with the Official Spartan Field Guide noting that Brutes that did not follow this were considered deviants of the highest order. To quote the manual:
Quote:
TACTICAL NOTES
Jiralhanae society values strength and ferocity above all, though cunning and stealth is also highly prized. The basic unit of social cohesion is the pack, consisting of families or military squads led by a dominant alpha male; Jiralhanae who reject the pack structure are considered deviants of the highest order.
Halo: Warfleet also mentioned how UNSC pilots have learned to fear Jiralhanae piloted Seraph squadrons due to their effectiveness in combat, citing the Brute's pack mentality as the source of the Brutes' prowess, while in comparison the Sangheili often break off from their squadrons to engage their enemies without any assistance. To quote:
Quote:
STRIKECRAFT
In the hands of Sangheili pilots, Covenant strikecraft are war chariots used to attain personal glory, with any military purpose considered secondary. Driven by notions of honor and righteousness, Sangheili pilots hope to accumulate enough acclaim to be allowed to join the chosen few on the ground. The vehicles themselves were not worthy of recognition, and were simply tools to be expended in battle. Though their training emphasizes cooperation and mutual support, the Sangheili pilots' tendency is to split off and engage targets without assistance.
The Jiralhanae had a different relationship with their machines, with pilots jealously guarding those they had claimed and giving them secret names. Clan sigils and Forerunner glyphs were hand-carved into the hulls to signify battle honors and damage scars, and the pilots of each ship formed close-knit packs that ate, fought, and died together. Though they were not given the training allowed to Sangheili, it was Brute Seraph Squadrons that human pilots learned to fear the most.
Interesting, it seems that the honour/glory mentality of Sangheili culture gives many Sangheili the tendency to go against their training.

On your statement on Elites taking cover more than Brutes and how the Brutes would simply charge head first into battle, I can think of a number of situations where Elites fit that very description:
Halo Wars: Monsters: a number of Elites exit out of active camo and charge at three well armed Spartans with nothing but pikes.
Halo: Reach - Noble Six Death: Several Elites charge at Spartan-B312.
Halo 5: Guardians - Jul's Death Scene: Vale jumps over a single Sangheili Zealot, at which point the Zealot proceeds to drop his carbine and charges at Spartan Vale, leading to Vale pushing aside the Elite and causing the Zealot to fall to his death.
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.
Looked at the comic page of that. One just had them in dramatic shadow, the next their armor was grey, not black. However, seeing as the only Sangheili to wear grey armor would be stealth units, that holds credence to your claim. Them being stealth units would make more sense as they are on a a world currently battling the humans, where commandos would be off doing missions.
Elites.
*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.
I'm trying to say: "you win".
Argumentatively speaking: you've constructed a Fort Knox, and all I have to assault your position is a single Garand rifle and six middle-schoolers with rocks.

All I can really do is lament my lack of a way to properly tackle this subject when you've already completely demolished it.
Ado Ulamee wrote:
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.
Looked at the comic page of that. One just had them in dramatic shadow, the next their armor was grey, not black. However, seeing as the only Sangheili to wear grey armor would be stealth units, that holds credence to your claim. Them being stealth units would make more sense as they are on a a world currently battling the humans, where commandos would be off doing missions.
We could debate about what colour these Elites are, or whether they are Spec Ops or Stealth (which is still part of the Covenant's special warfare division), but the point still remains that these aren't some lowly minors the Executioner brought with him to silence Atriox, that these were reasonably skilled and competent Sangheili which Decimus and the rest of the Jiralhanae ambushed in this scene.
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.
When I say top tier Elites,I talking about the guys at the very top.Thel,Rtas,Usze,Ntho.
Those Elites from Halo Wars are not on that level.
You'd be hard-pressed to find Brutes that can beat them.

Also Brutes may be faster and physically stronger,but that doesn't translate to them having higher combat prowess.
Zemillion wrote:
Zemillion wrote:
When I say top tier Elites,I talking about the guys at the very top.Thel,Rtas,Usze,Ntho.
Those Elites from Halo Wars are not on that level.
You'd be hard-pressed to find Brutes that can beat them.

Also Brutes may be faster and physically stronger,but that doesn't translate to them having higher combat prowess.
And the same argument would apply the other way around. Just as Jiralhanae like Atriox and Tartarus are few and far between, you'd have difficulty finding another Sangheili on the same calibre as Thel 'Vadam, or Rtas 'Vadum.

No one said that the Elites in Halo Wars 2 were Arbiter level calibre.

While I agree with you on physical strength not necessarily equating to combat prowess, as mentioned previously, the Jiralhanae have the capacity of performing feats beyond what Sangheili and even Spartans are capable of, and we see this in the case of Atriox who is intelligent and skilled enough to leverage his physical advantage to overpower not one, but three Spartan-IIs in close quarters combat - a feat that has only been replicated by one other individual in the series: the Didact. We even see Brutes like Decimus who defeated four Special Operations/Stealth Elites (could be one or the other, either of which are considered part of the Covenant's Special Warfare Group) in quick succession and the Brute Brothers Voridus and Pavium who have individually demonstrated their skill set during the Flood Outbreak on the Ark, and together managed to lead the Banished in containing the Flood threat.

From the way I see it, a Brute, who is skilled and competent enough to leverage his/her strength and physical abilities to their advantage, would undoubtedly dominate most Sangheili - even relatively well trained commandos and assassins - in close quarters combat.
The only thing I have to add after ruminating on this is on the issue of pack-cohesion and teamwork, detailed by FordFalcon.

An understanding of actual social hierarchies in real-world pack animals is required for the subject, though.

While the hierarchy in Brute packs is strict and definitely provides an edge, it is also pedantic and potentially problematic. The members of a pack will constantly be testing and antagonizing each other in repeated attempts by every individual to jockey for higher status. A pack's pecking order is never static or unchanging, and the smallest of slights or disrespects can and will trigger immediate recriminations from the "insulted" party.

We see this in pack animals. Wolves and dogs will fight/argue over issues as small as who should walk through a door first. Not to mention who gets to initiate an attack, who gets to eat first, who initiates negotiation with another group first, every little problem and task is seen as another way for those on top to maintain their dominance, and those on the bottom to potentially subvert their superiors.

In Jiralhanae packs, we see in various stories that their structure of social cohesion is most similar to gorillas, chimps, and wolves. So, it can be determined that they would work by similar rules, and we know for a fact that the Chieftain gets first pick of food. It genuinely wouldn't surprise me if the weakest in a pack were routinely denied food or starved, or if lack of medical treatment wouldn't be common for those that fail. It's not a stretch to think that a real or perceived failure to adhere to the strict pecking order might not result in mutilation or grievous injury, or not outright death.
So, in a "healthy" pack, it might be expected that there'd be weak links, possibly more willing to allow their betters to get killed or possibly malnourished and unreliable.

There's a reason why the Brute rank structure in Halo 3 is convoluted and so much longer than that of other Covenant species- the pecking order is nothing if not painfully pedantic.

Whereas, with the Sangheili: who's in charge is determined, by default, according to rank, of which there (apparently) only five, with some exceptions to be made in the case of Titles. And each Sangheili is expected to behave professionally and to follow orders. Though each individual's focus will be on staying alive and killing the enemy, they'll still be expected to follow their superior's commands, and a failure to do so is grounds for loss of honor.
So: a squad of Sangheili's teamwork and coordination skills will likely be dependent on their commander's own inclinations and not necessarily on any training. When a commander of Sangheili does go to the effort of instituting group-efforts (such as Mantakree's insistence that the Elites at his disposal form phalanxes with PDGs, or Thel's managing of his Zealots around the time of his encounter with Jai-006), it does usually result in favorable outcomes.

There's also the issue of force-deployment. If you had 5,000 Jiralhanae and 5,000 Sangheili at your disposal and you needed to set up a forward operating base two miles away, who would you send? Well, for one, those Jiralhanae are all already in organized packs, with... several hundred or so groups of forty-fifty which, in addition to fighting among themselves, will also likely fight with each other. So you have to find a way to keep each pack separated, just to stop unreasonable amounts of injuries and deaths, outside of battle.
There's also the fact that you can't easily break up or shuffle those packs, in any way. Each pack has its own pecking order, so if you deploy Brutes all from different packs to a location, they will have no immediate leader among them (unless you assign them one, which probably won't end well), and will have to sort out which of them is in charge at some point down the line, which might not be possible if those Brutes have to fight immediately, resulting in an every-man-for-himself scenario. Brute packs are somewhat inflexible in where, when, and how you can deploy them.

Whereas, if you send Elites, no such concerns exist. They can know who's in charge simply by the color of their armor, and if there's more than one person of the same rank, Elites have shown no qualms about commanding co-currently. And, because every Elite has to have earned the armor they wear by way of merit, there's no real debate or changing of hats to be done once they're deployed somewhere. They also don't feel lost or disorganized when thrown into random groups with strangers, given that every person has the standing mandate of: "survive and kill; obey your superiors".

There's also the fact that Brutes just plain don't play well with other species. They kill Grunts for the sheer fun of it often enough that we see Chieftains having to put a stop to it due to shortages.
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