Burn Baby Burn

By -

Annnnd we’re back! After a brief hiatus last week on account of PAX East and a flurry of other blog posts, it’s good to be back at the helm of the Halo Community Update. Today we’ve got a brand new Vidoc exploring the next leader coming to Halo Wars 2, a preview of the next Halo Wars 2 patch and ranked playlist details, Halo 5 API assets, a HaloWC update, Community Spotlight, and more!

Last week was one for the ages – it started with the conclusion of the HaloWC Las Vegas Qualifier, we then had no less than 4 patches(!?!) (Halo Wars 2 for Xbox One & PC + Halo 5 + Halo 5: Forge), an Arena season reset, a new Motion Sensor test and “Proving Grounds” playlist, HaloWC LCQ, Halo Wars 2 PC demo release, our internal 343 Hackathon, and an action-packed weekend at PAX East! Whew.

Speaking of PAX, that was my first game show in a few years and my first ever foray to PAX East (I’ve done many tours of duty at PAX West/Prime). What a great show! Unyshek and I were reppin’ Halo Wars 2 in the Xbox Booth all weekend and it’s always great to meet and chat with fans from all across the community. A few of you clearly have played some Halo Wars 2, as evidenced by your total thrashing of ‘noobs’ on those 3v3 Blitz games. Thanks to everyone who came by!

On Saturday, I was joined by 343’s Jeremy Cook and Kevin Grace for a panel about the art and story of Halo Wars 2. We also debuted the next upcoming leader, Kinsano, which we’re covering more today with a brand new Vidoc. We’ll get into all of that below, along with some concept art excerpts that a few folks were asking me to post following PAX. Grab a frosty beverage, it's about to get hot in here. 

Trial by Fire

We’ll kick things off today with a closer look at the new leader coming to Halo Wars 2 early next week!

Halo Wars 2 Patch Notes

When the Kinsano DLC drops next week a new update for Halo Wars 2 will be rolled out across Xbox One and Windows 10. This next patch has a number of fixes and improvements and addresses many more issues that some players have reported. Since we already have a huge wall of text in this update today, I posted the patch notes in their entirety over in the Halo Wars 2 forum RIGHT HERE.

Halo Wars 2 Balance Adjustments

In addition to a slew of fixes, the team will also be pushing out balance tweaks in response to player feedback and game data in their ongoing work to make the Halo Wars 2 gameplay experience as good as it can be.

To get the full scoop on what’s being changed and, more importantly, the reasoning behind these changes, Creative Assembly’s Dan Brewer provided me with the following info. Unless otherwise noted, these balance changes affect both standard multiplayer and Blitz modes of play. Please note that this is still subject to slight change as the team works on final numbers and playtests between now and next week’s release!

Leader Powers

  • Shipmaster’s Scout mines cannot be dropped on buildings anymore

Dan: Crafty players were using this ability’s massive damage against enemy buildings. This was unintended and not balanced to account for building damage.

  • The Banished Cleansing Beam speed slightly reduced 

Dan: Cleansing Beam was a little too difficult to escape. We will continue to monitor this ability to get it in the goldilocks zone.

  • ODSTs cost increased from 600 to 800, HP slightly decreased

Dan: ODSTs are a successful unit and were warping interactions with vehicles and counter-infantry units. They will still retain their offensive capability, but now their general cost-effectiveness is more in-line with the rest of the infantry units. 


  • Adjusted the Supply income curve to give less of a bonus income on the first few Supply Pads/Warehouses, but less limiting as player’s build additional pads.

Dan: Early game Core Unit spam is quite prevalent in the current multiplayer setting. We also observed a lot of players frustrated with the penalty effect of building additional supply pads, leading to stalemates and lone Commanders with a single base able to almost match the economic power of enemy players with multiple bases stacked with Supply pads. This should reduce early game spam and increase the advantage for players who manage to build multiple bases.


  • Sgt. Forge: Removed the discount on Supply Pads and Reactors in the “Rolling Economy” leader power
  • Sgt. Forge: Accelerated Assembly has switched places with Lotus Mines

Dan: Forge’s Rolling Economy power was just a bit too powerful at the start of the game. Now Forge will still get the discount and research speed increase for the resource building upgrades, but will have to initially invest the same Supply amount as other leaders, putting more pressure on his Supply income.

Forge was able to use Accelerate Assembly too early on in the tech tree, ending up with him being very strong wielding cheap and fast Scout pressure builds. Instead this has been moved back to position it more for discount and training speed increase for Grizzly tanks and Warthogs.

Rush and Counter-Infantry Units

Dan: We position our anti-building units as ‘Rush’ units. They’re designed to cause large damage to buildings, great for catching a greedy Forge player who’s built 5 resource buildings with no defenses! 

They were lacking a bit in anti-building damage, so we have increased those across both Flamers and Jet Pack Brutes, along with some general survivability increases.

The counter infantry units were also lacking in general survivability, but also survivability against their target types weaponry and special abilities. There’s nothing that’s made me more sad than watching a gaggle of Suicide Grunts die to a few Marine Grenades. Generally we’re upped the effectiveness of the counter-infantry units, so whilst Marine spam has been a problem in the past, the tables have been turned!

Jump Pack Brutes

  • Increased HP
  • Increased basic DPS
  • Slight increase to move speed

Dan: These guys are generally in a good place from a balance perspective right now, be sure to use the stun effect from their Jump pack ability! It’s very effective against large armies grouped together.


  • Significant increase to HP
  • Significant increase to fire damage dealt to basic infantry units
  • Slight move speed increase
  • Cost reduced from 80/50 to 80/40
  • Reduced pre-attack and post-attack cooldown to improve responsivenes

Dan: Hellbringers were lacking speed, survivability and DPS. So we’re stepping those up to really help them functionally counter other infantry units. With Kinsano coming out, it was vital that Hellbringers were a valid unit.

Suicide Grunts (Not Blitz Suicide Grunts)

  • Increased HP
  • Base damage decreased
  • Base AOE range increased
  • Move speed slightly increased
  • Charge distance increased
  • Charge speed decreased
  • Cost reduced from 100/25 to 100/20

Dan: Suicide grunts were very hit or miss. If they hit, you knew about it! But with their low speed, low HP and low charge distance, they were very difficult to get into attack range. With these changes, Suicide grunts should be a lot more consistent at getting into combat but because of that, it was necessary to bring down their basic damage and area of effect size. The trick will be to maximize the amount of Suicide Grunts getting into attack range with careful positioning, other units attracting fire, flanking and combo-ing with the stun effect from the Jump Pack Brutes. 

Elite Rangers

  • Significantly increased HP
  • Armor type changed to be more resistant to small arms fire from Marine & Grunt squads
  • Faster projecticles that don't miss as often
  • Cost reworked from 80/110 to 125/90
  • DPS increased

Dan: With the Elite Rangers there were naturally a lot of community comparisons drawn against the UNSC sniper. With those in mind, we’ve positioned the Elite Rangers as more skirmishable than the Sniper, with the survivability to get into skirmishes and come out on top. Whilst not as specialized as the Sniper, the Rangers should help bulk out an infantry force.

Scout Units

Dan: Scout units are going to be the units players will want to build when being rushed by Flamers or Jump Pack Brutes. They’re fast enough to avoid damage from those types of units and can be built from the HQ. Whilst players have previously been using them to rush enemy bases, the damage versus buildings have been reduced to stop that. They will remain a great unit to harass enemy troops, gather supplies and even de-capture points and have had a cost reduction to help their now slightly narrower role.

  • Reduced ram reflect damage, so will now take less damage when ramming
  • Reduced damage versus buildings


  • Cost reduced from 220/15 to 200/12


  • Cost reduced from 265/20 to 230/15


  • Cost reduced from 280/20 to 245/15

Counter Vehicle Units

Dan: Counter Vehicle units were doing too good a job. They had the effect of heavily reducing the battlefield longevity of classic Halo units like the Scorpion and Wraith tanks, moreso than other Hard Counter units vs their preferred target type. This nerf coupled with the Scorpion and Wraith buffs, should see tanks survive on the battlefield a bit longer.


  • Cost reduced from 150/200 to 160/160
  • DPS reduced


  • Cost changed from 120/150 to 120/120
  • DPS reduced


Dan: We were seeing a lot of players who reach Tech level 3 skip straight to the Uber units. This could be due to a few things including a long build time, an uneven cost, overly effective hard counters and coupled with the difficulty to generate a decent supply income to support the high supply costs.

We also observed UNSC Scorpions having a much higher overall effectiveness per population, something we have addressed with a much-needed buff to the Wraith. It’s still meant to be a slightly more fragile Tier 3 vehicle, but with a fearsome Plasma Mortar and a very effective special ability.


  • HP significantly increased
  • Shields significantly increased
  • Build time reduced
  • Cost changed from 550/40 to 525/70
  • Plasma Cannon DPS increased
  • Plasma Mortar DPS increased
  • Plasma Mortar Fire rate increased
  • Y ability initial damage increased significantly
  • Incoming healing reduced


  • HP increased
  • Cost changed from 650/50 to 600/90
  • Machinegun DPS increased
  • Cannon DPS increased
  • Cannon AOE size decreased
  • Canister shell DPS increased
  • Canister shell AOE size increased
  • Incoming healing reduced


  • HP increased
  • Machinegun DPS increased
  • Missile pod DPS increased
  • Cannon DPS increased
  • Missile Barrage ability damage increased

Core Infantry

DanThere’s a natural imbalance between UNSC Marine and Banished Grunt squads. Grunts are cheaper, faster to train but cost less population and supply. With the Grunt special ability being more difficult to pull off than the Marine grenade ability, Grunts were suffering in general damage output. This pass is a step to make Grunts dish out more damage with their basic small-arms, with a small reduction for Marines. The grenade nerf will make a huge difference and if UNSC players are not careful, they will find their Marine’s overwhelmed by Grunts!


  • Grunt squad build time reduced
  • Overall DPS increased for basic and mine-upgrade squads
  • Overall DPS increased for pack brother-upgrade squads


  • Grenade DPS decreased
  • Grenade large AOE size reduced

Anders' Sentinels

Dan: Anders' Sentinels were using an incorrect weapon modifier. This meant that it had a frighteningly large bonus damage modifier versus buildings, vehicles and certain types of infantry. Now that we’ve switched it up to the correct type, it should perform as expected; A decent damage dealer that’s easy to build and has a very useful utility in the vehicle disable ability. Hornets, Nightingales and Sentinels will be a very effective airforce!

The Sentinels were also moving too fast, causing tracking issues for infantry and even the hard counter-air units! Whilst still fast, they will now be more susceptible to incoming fire!

Anders’ Sentinels

  • Move speed decreased
  • No longer has a huge damage bonus vs. buildings
  • General DPS decreased
  • Lockdown Bolt damage decreased significantly


DanBanshees only had one massive problem with the immense damage of their plasma torpedos. They verged too much into hard counter-air territory and just needed stepping back a little bit. Even UNSC Condors were no match!

  • Banshee Plasma Torpedo damage significantly reduced


Dan: Locusts dominated the beta and have received a couple of heartfelt nerfs since then. Whilst we’re still trying to channel the long range glass cannon soul of the unit, it’s synergizing incredibly well across both the standard mode and Blitz mode, with engineers and clifftop line of sight bonuses.

With a decrease to its basic line of sight and a reduction to the maximum range of its beam weapon, the Locust’s battlefield position will be less Blisterback artillery and more closer to the range of a Wraith.

We’re already seeing some rather naughty combos with Unbreakable and Last Stand leader powers, so the Locust is still very useful!


  • Basic DPS slightly reduced
  • Line of sight range reduced
  • Weapon range reduced

Base Turrets

Dan: UNSC and Banished Base turrets had a natural characteristic difference, similar to the Wraith and Scorpion. This was in the UNSC’s favour, so Banished needed a little bit of a helping hand. General basic turrets are close to where they should be, but the upgraded versions needed a decent performance return for the player’s resource investment.

  • UNSC and Banished upgraded turrets DPS increased
  • Banished turrets HP increased
  • UNSC turrets build time reduced
  • Banished turret build time reduced


Dan: It was a little too easy to destroy Players' main HQs, the focus in Strongholds should be about the Strongholds themselves. This is a small measure to try and alleviate the issue and we will be monitoring the effectiveness.

  • UNSC and Banished HQ HP increased to a constant, high HP amount across all tech tiers

Thanks for that awesome update and insight, Dan! Halo Wars 2 players - please remember that the team is constantly monitoring game data and player feedback so expect to see ongoing tweaks and adjustments as the meta and community warrant. 

Halo Wars 2 Playlist UPDATE

In addition to the Kinsano leader DLC, and the patch fixes and balance changes noted above, next week will also see the implementation of the first season of Ranked online play in Halo Wars 2. The team passed along the following info about what you can expect with this first season's playlist update:

Halo Wars 2 Xbox One Playlists:

  • Versus Ai
  • Rumble
  • Team Objective
  • Team War
  • Ranked 1v1 War
  • Ranked 2v2 War
  • Ranked 3v3 War
  • (Blitz) Standard
  • (Blitz) Brawl
  • (Blitz) Ranked Standard
  • (Blitz) Ranked Brawl

Halo Wars 2 Windows 10 Playlists:

  • Versus Ai
  • Team War
  • Ranked 1v1 War
  • Ranked 2v2 War
  • Ranked 3v3 War
  • (Blitz) Standard
  • (Blitz) Brawl
  • (Blitz) Ranked Brawl

Halo Wars 2 PAX East Panel

As I noted above, last weekend Uny and I braved the masses and freezing temps to bring Halo Wars 2 to PAX East. If you missed the panel that Kevin Grace, Jeremy Cook and myself held on Saturday, you can catch the whole thing on-demand here thanks to Community Stalwart, Chief Canuck

To support the discussion of the art of Halo Wars 2, Jeremy Cook put together some great concept art that we used in our presentation. A number of folks asked me if I could post some of that goodness here so...ask and ye shall receive!

The Ark was the ideal battlefield and backdrop for Halo Wars 2 and served as a jumping off point of inspiration for the game's visual style and art direction. 


 If the Ark represented "something old", Isabel embodied "something new." She was designed to be quite distinct from Serina and was thought of as a "person" from the beginning, not just an AI. Her strengths, vulnerabilities, and journey over the course of the game is a key component of the story.

 It was important to the team to carry forward the rich visual heritage of the Halo universe but there was also a desire to update and refresh much of the UNSC's catalog.

  Creative Assembly has been a great partner in respecting the classic Halo looks for the game's units while at the same time pushing the envelope in very authentic ways.

     Atriox is a great example of a way to give fans something familiar but completely surprising and new. 

The "Mark of Atriox" drew visual inspiration from the literal impression his Gravity Mace would make and underlying concept inspiration came from branding and royal seals.

  The classic Brute style from past games was used as a foundation to build upon and differentiate into something unique to represent The Banished. 

    The stylistic and functional differences between the classic Covenant Wraith and the updated Banished Wraith.

  The updated Banished aesthetic was integrated into all of the enemy units in Halo Wars 2, giving them a fresh yet familiar feel.

I'd like to say thanks again to everyone who came out to watch our panel at PAX and/or watched the stream. It was a great experience but the best part of all was the hour we spent hanging out afterwards and chatting with fans!

Now to kick it over to Tashi for an update on the Halo 5 API and next week's Halo World Championship! 

Thanks Ske7ch! Since the last major update to the Halo 5 API, which brought in-game event data and coordinates, you’ve have been asking us for Arena map overhead images to incorporate into your websites and apps. I’m thrilled to finally share these with you, in their the uber-high resolution glory. Special thanks to Killer V for capturing these shots, which you’ll also see used at the Halo World Championship Finals next week.

We’d love to see how you implement these images so feel free to share your creations in the Halo API forum here on Waypoint.

You can download all of the map overheads at the links below - please note these are HUGE files!  

Halo World Championship 2017 Finals

Next week (!) the 12 best teams in the world collide for the Halo World Championship 2017 Finals. 343 and ESL have an amazing event lined up for those watching at home and those taking part in the festivities down in Burbank, California. Bravo and I visited the ESL Campus last week to walk through the entire site and meet with the talented ESL North America team and I can safely say there’s never been an HCS event quite like this. While 3-day Legendary and Championship Sunday tickets have been sold out for some time, there are still some Friday and Saturday tickets available. If you’ve been waiting to grab yours, I wouldn’t wait any longer. Tickets are available here

Tomorrow, ESL will be publishing the results of the highly anticipated group draw so keep an eye on @ESLHalo on Twitter. Spoilers: We’re expecting amazing matches right out of the gate. You also won’t miss any of the matches because we’ll be running two livestreams so that every match will be broadcasted. Here’s the schedule, as well as details on where to watch:

  • Friday – Group Play – 10AM PT | 1PM ET | 6PM GMT
  • Saturday – Double elimination bracket begins – 10AM PT | 1PM ET | 6PM GMT
  • Championship Sunday – Final bracket matches – 10AM PT | 1PM ET | 6PM GMT

The Main stream can of course be found on and Beam.Pro/Halo, but we’ll also be broadcasting the entire event on as well as a platform that I can’t announce just yet or an ESL sniper will take me out (It’s not Timo, he’d probably miss). If you’re planning to watch from your Xbox One, just look out for the Halo World Championship button right on the dashboard and you’ll be taken immediately to the show!

The Bravo stream, which, contrary to what the name would lead you to believe, will not be a 1-man show hosted by our Bravo. It will instead show all of the matches being played on the second stage within the ESL Campus. Both broadcasts will be showcasing your favorite teams, and we’ll be sure to let you know where each match will be featured next week ahead of the event itself so you know where to watch. This can be found on and If I were watching from home though, I would definitely have both broadcasts open, and I recommend you do the same. We'll also have a special Italian stream going on every day starting with a live show and covering the main stream over at 

I also wanted to briefly touch on the topic of crowdfunding. We’ll be sharing more details soon, as we know players would like more information on crowd funding specifics. As a reminder, the Halo World Championship 2017 Finals are not being crowdfunded and the prize pool is locked at $1,000,000. Crowdfunded money will instead be boosting the prize pool of open events that will come throughout the year. That's right, open events, which means the crowdfunded prize pools are up for grabs for anyone! Remember, every REQ purchased with real money in Halo 5 is contributing, so thank you for the support! (and why the &*!% haven’t I gotten my Nornfang Cert yet!?)

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for submitting their maps for the Ghost in the Shell Halo 5 Forge contest. We had nearly 100 eligible entries, which is amazing considering how fast they all came together. Unyshek called me over yesterday to take a look at a bunch of them, and I was yet again left in awe by the Forge community. We’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow here on, so don’t miss it. Best of luck to all contestants!

Back to you Ske7ch!

Thanks Tashi! I for one am giddy with excitement and anticipation for next weekend's $1 million dollar Halo World Championship. My travel is all booked and my body is ready! I also wanted to give a shout out to the newly refreshed page here on Waypoint which has gotten a fresh coat of paint and useful info about the World Championship. Also, it has a countdown timer, and who doesn't love countdown timers!? If you're not yet excited enough, you can literally count the minutes until the event begins next Friday.

 Here are a few quick, bite-sized morsels of Halo 5 news that don't really have a section to call their own:

  • 343's Josh Menke has posted his latest update over in the Halo 5 Matchmaking Forum. This week's topic include smurfing (not the little blue guy variety), solo queueing, CSR and more. Check it out and as always, be sure to share your comments, questions, and feedback with Josh!
  • A recent update to the matchmaking settings has also made it so that high-ranked players should be able to find matches faster in FFA, SWAT, and Breakout.
  • This weekend's Halo 5 Mythic Warzone Firefight map is March on Stormbreak. You know the drill - suit up and jump in with your Fireteam beginning Friday morning. 
  • Timmy! UPDATE! Effective Friday, March 17 at 2:45PM PT the team has completed/updated the Timmy grants for players who have played 50+ hours of custom games in Halo 5! Going forward, this process is now automatic so once you finish the game that puts you over the 50 hour mark, you'll receive the helmet pack very soon after. Thanks for your patience and enjoy your helmet!
  • Warzone "Warlords" - I know our hardcore Warzone community has been very eager for an update after our inaugural "Warlords" test we did in late January. Well I'm happy to report that a Warlords Weekend is coming back next month and, thanks to last week's Halo 5 maintenance update, it will now support parties of 6 or 12! More details to come as soon as we have them!
  • Lastly, in case you missed it, a bunch of changes were rolled out to Halo 5 last week, you can catch-up on the details of the maintenance update, new Arena season, "Proving Grounds" playlist, and more right here

REQ Changes (Updated March 17, 2:45PM PT)

Sometimes a huge blog update is created over the span of days, with information culled from many sources, and yet out of the blue NEW news surfaces that warrants a late addition. In this case, we just got late breaking news today that the team made a few REQ cost adjustments in Halo 5 which are effective in-game right now. Here's a list of everything that's changed:

  • Brute Plasma Rifle changed to 2, Sorrow of Teash to 3, and Scale of Soirapt to 4
  • Needlers to 2, Hailstorm to 3,and Talon of the Lost to 3
  • Hydra to 4, Typhon to 5, and Echidna to 6
  • Scattershot to 3, Loathsome Thing to 4, and Didact's Signet to 5
  • Spartan Laser to 4, Endgame to 5, and Selene's Lance to 6
  • Sentinel Beam to 3
  • Plasma Turret to 1

Modern Masterpiece

I want to give a shout out to @xMoonlightsFate for this beauty of a screenshot that caught my eye on Twitter this week:

As a result of this, xMoonlightsFate will receive the highly coveted 343 Fire Unicorn weapon skin for this community content creation contribution! I've seen a resurgence in awesome Halo 5 screenshots over the past few weeks (which is wonderful!) and it's very hard to pick only one at a time but keep at it, I'll do my best to spread the love in each and every Halo Community Update! Make sure you tag myself and Unyshek so we can see your masterpieces.

This week's Community Spotlight shines bright on our friends over at ForgeHub and GrifballHUB and their recent Hammerfall Grifball Court Forge Contest! Thanks to special guest-contributor Nokyard for the following:

Hammerfall Grifball Court Forge Contest Results

ForgeHub and GrifballHUB collaborated to host the Hammerfall Grifball Court Forge Contest as a challenge for the Halo community to create an awesome Grifball court, and sure enough, they delivered. The contest received 72 spectacular community Forge creations of such high caliber that most would be welcome additions to the Grifball Matchmaking Playlist.

The Hammerfall Grifball Court Forge contest results are in. The top three courts (in random order) are...

Inheritor by ArturBloodshot

Kanaloa's Wrath by Minister Muffin

 Mbaraki District by Uncommon Future (a.k.a. ReinaStorm)

Now, it's up to the Halo community to choose the Grand Prize winner of the Hammerfall Grifball Court Forge Contest.

Vote for your favorite Grifball court in this Halo Waypoint Poll.

Thanks Nokyard and thanks to everyone out there who took to Forge to create content for this cool competition! Make sure to cast your vote for your favorite map! And as a special bonus (and because they're featured in the Community Spotlight) each of these creators will receive the 343 Fire Unicorn Skin! Now over to Uny for his trademark "Play of the Week!"


For this Play of the Week, Dallay shows the Blue team why they shouldn’t dilly-dally around when he has the Sniper Rifle. Head here to watch the full clip, as he uses a full clip of the Sniper to take down the entire enemy team. Enjoy your 343 Fire Unicorn Skin, Dallay!

And that's a wrap! We've got another epic week ahead of us with the countdown to the Halo World Championship and the release of some exciting updates and a fiery new leader for Halo Wars 2. Stay tuned to HaloWaypoint, it's going to be fun! 

Have a great weekend,



Halo Community Update

Wars, Worlds, & Weaponry

By ske7ch -

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of the Halo Community Update! This week we’re celebrating the release of Halo Wars 2 but we’ve also got plenty of Halo 5 goodness to talk about in addition to a new 343 Team Spotlight, Community Spotlight and of course, a sweet new Play of the Week. Let's go!

Halo Community Update

The Fall of Leaves

By B is for Bravo -

Greetings, friends. We’ve got a quick Community Update this week, but one that we hope still serves as an essential pit stop for all your Halo ponderings and insatiable interests. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping an eye on your findings since Anvil’s Legacy, Halo 5: Forge, and the Halo app dropped.

Halo Community Update

Championship Calibre

By GrimBrother One -

In this week's Halo Community Update, we take a look back at an epic championship weekend!