HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark IX Mantis
The HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark IX Armor Defense System, commonly known as the Mantis, is a powered exoskeleton/armored fighting vehicle used by the UNSC Marine Corps after the Human-Covenant War. It is derived, if tangentially, from the HRUNTING and YGGDRASIL teams' earlier Mark I Armor Defense System.
Standing roughly twenty feet tall, the Mantis is similar in appearance to the larger HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark II (D) armor system, which itself was the evolution of another HRUNTING project. Its spindly legs and tiny "thorax" give the Mantis a passing resemblance to its namesake, as do its weaponized arms. There are two versions of the Mantis, both of which have an anti-matériel machine gun on the right arm and a missile pod on the left. One variant has a larger-caliber cannon and surface-to-air missiles; the other version has an M655 20mm heavy machine gun and M5920 35mm surface-to-surface missiles. Though it lacks the sheer firepower and durability of the M808 Scorpion, the Mantis is far more maneuverable, requires 1 crew member, and is equipped with regenerating energy shields.
The earliest known use of the Mantis occurred on the Human-Covenant War, during the Battle of Meridian in 2551, when the first prototype of the Mantis engaged in an action known as the "Cherbourg Run" successfully engaging 18 heavily guarded Type-27 Anti-Aircraft Cannons, which also bore the title of "Mantis". The success of the prototype in the "Cherbourg Run" is one of the theories behind the origin of the moniker of "Mantis". After the Human-Covenant War, in early 2553, one Mantis was delivered to Kilo-Five aboard their prowler UNSC Port Stanley. The Mantis continued to be in use only by select highly classified ONI units and the UNSC Infinity, which carried a number of Mantises by 2557. After Infinity was drawn inside the shield world Requiem, Spartan John-117 used a Mantis against Covenant remnant forces in the vicinity of the ship's crash site. Several Mantises were used to defend Ivanoff Station. Later that year, Infinity's SPARTAN-IV complement used a version with scaled-down weapons in War Games training. During the Second Battle of Requiem, Fireteam Crimson was sent to rescue a squad of Marines trapped behind enemy lines. During the rescue attempt Crimson was met with overwhelming Covenant forces, Commander Sarah Palmer ordered mission handler Robert Dalton to deploy several Mantises to aid Crimson in holding off enemy forces. Several Mantises were used in the defense of Magma Base. During the attack on the Infinity, Lieutenant Murphy brought in a Mantis to support Fireteam Crimson in order to clear a landing zone.
Later, when on their way back to activate the Harvester, Crimson used a salvaged Mantis to fight their way out of the Warrens.  Two Mantises were later deployed during the Battle of Aktis IV to fend off Covenant troops.
The Mantis has two variants, both in canon and in gameplay. The more powerful model, featured in the campaign and Spartan Ops, is designed to provide the player an almost overwhelming advantage. To promote more balanced competitive play, the Mantis has less firepower in War Games and has anti-surface rather than anti-air missiles. The player may fire all five missiles by holding the left trigger, while tapping the trigger fires only one missile, similar to the Type-52 plasma launcher in Halo: Reach. The player can stomp the ground with the Mantis' legs by pressing the melee button. The Mantis is also capable of crouching to lower its profile. One major drawback about the Mantis is it has the longest recovery time from being EMP'd. The time spent standing perfectly still is a death sentence in the campaign on higher difficulty levels. The Mantis's energy shields also take a very long time to begin recharging, and even longer for it to reach full shields again.
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During the early concept phase, 343 Industries considered implementing the HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark I powered exoskeleton from the Halo Legends short Prototype. Later concepts derived from this design featured a larger exoskeleton that would cover the wearer's MJOLNIR armor. Designing the Mantis required months of playtesting, much of which involved tweaking the speed of the "stomp" move. One of the biggest concerns was making it clear when a player is reloading the Mantis' weapons; originally, the Mantis held its arms forward as the weapons were reloaded. Due to playtesters' feedback, the animation was changed so that the mech lifts its arms when new ammunition is being fed.
The rear of the Mantis's legs and the back of the metal plate directly under the "thorax" cockpit section sport what appear to be rocket nozzles. These are never used in gameplay. Concept art (seen below) showed similar nozzles being attached to the vehicle's "shoulders".
Concept explorations for a "UNSC mech" which would eventually evolve into the Mantis for Halo 4.
A Mantis engaging two Type-44 Phantom dropships.
A Mantis being boarded by a Spartan-IV in War Games training.
Two Mantises destroying each other on Ragnarok.
A Mantis taking minor damage from an Unggoy Ranger.
A Mantis battling a T26 Wraith AGC.
A Mantis opening fire with its M655 Heavy Machine Gun/Anti-Matériel.
Two Mantises on the cover of Halo: Escalation #15.
Two Mantises during the Battle of Aktis IV.
An inactive Mantis in Halo 5: Guardians.
List of appearances
- ^ a b c d e Halo 4 Interactive Guide
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 364
- ^ a b Official Xbox Magazine October 2012
- ^ a b c d e f The Halo Bulletin 10.17.12
- ^ Image showing energy shield flaring
- ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 111
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 416
- ^ Halo 4, Composer
- ^ Spartan Ops, S1E3 Catherine: Episode 3: Shootout In Valhalla
- ^ Spartan Ops, Episode 5, Chapter 4: "The Cauldron Base"
- ^ Spartan Ops, S1E7 Invasion: Chapter 1: Backup
- ^ Spartan Ops, S1E10 Exodus: Chapter 4: Out the Other
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #15