Type-1 energy sword

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Type-1 Energy Weapon/Sword
Production overview


Merchants of Qikost[1]


Handheld, single-handed sword



126.8 centimetres (49.9 in)[1]


50.1 centimetres (19.7 in)[2]


3.8 centimetres (1.5 in)[2]


2.36 kilograms (5.2 lb)[3]

Energy capacity:

100 battery units

Damage per hit:

1 and 2/3 of shield, fatal if lunge (instant death in Halo: Combat Evolved)

Effective range:


Service history

In service:

Human-Covenant War
Great Schism
Sangheili civil war
Post-Covenant War conflicts

"A noble and ancient weapon, wielded by the strongest of Sangheili, requires great skill and bravery to use, and inspires fear in those who face its elegant plasma blade."
Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee[4]

The Type-1 Energy Weapon/Sword, commonly known as the energy sword, is a traditional Sangheili close-quarters weapon.[5][6]


The energy sword is the signature weapon of the Sangheili and has been their chief weapon of nobility since its creation during one of the Ages of Discovery.[7] The Sangheili pride themselves on their skills with the weapon,[8] which they regard as holy,[9] and believe that it is better for a Sangheili to fall on his sword to redeem his honor than to die dishonorably.[10][11][9] The Sangheili are very strict on who can be trained in the art of swordsmanship; in civilian life only aristocrats are permitted to wield energy swords.[1] Sword wielders are not eligible for marriage, though they may breed with any female they choose, married or otherwise, to ensure successful transmission of "swordsman" genes.[12][6]

Within the Covenant military, use of the energy sword is not restricted to aristocrats.[1] Sangheili Minors are generally not permitted to wield the sword because of the high regard in which it is held,[9] though exceptions have been witnessed.[13][14][15] It is unknown whether this extends to Majors, as at least one has been witnessed using an energy sword.[15] Ultras, Zealots, Generals, special operations and stealth troops, and honor guardsmen commonly use energy swords. Contrary to the original Covenant, Jul 'Mdama's reformed sect seems less stringent about traditional wielding protocol; as such, members of the Storm class (analogous to Minors) are quite often seen wielding energy swords.[16]

Design details[edit]

The energy sword's design is seen as the logical evolution of an ancient lineage of traditional Sangheili weapons, most notably the twin-scythe and the curveblade;[2][6] superficially, the twin-scythe's influence on the energy sword's design is unmistakable.[17] Modern energy swords are manufactured by the Merchants of Qikost, a prominent group of arms makers from one of Sanghelios' moons.[1] The energy sword consists of a curved hilt, which houses an energy storage and generation device, as well as the blade projector; that forms a blade of superheated plasma, stabilized by two small magnetic field generators built into the handle of the weapon—this forms and contains the oval shaped, ionized blades for which the weapon is recognized.[5] The weapon is powered by a small battery that supplies power to the plasma generation device and magnetic field generators which generate and contain the plasma needed to form the blade.[18] The battery's energy is reduced for each successful strike. Each strike from the sword will drain the battery by 10% of its maximum energy output. Once the battery power is fully depleted, the sword will deactivate unless recharged. The horizontal hilt forces the wielder to use a punching motion to stab rather than the thrusting motion of most knives and swords.

Mass-produced energy swords feature a roughly "W"-shaped hilt and have little variation in blade design. Specifically, some models have more rounded blades in lieu of the more common angular style. However, more drastic variations exist. For example, Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee's matching pair of custom-designed[19] swords had basket-style hilt guards and radiated a high degree of ionized plasma,[20] whereas most energy swords contain the blades' plasma with greater efficiency. Members of the Commando Unit wield blood red-colored energy swords which (ironically, despite their color) burn hotter than more common models.[21]

The energy sword contains a fail-safe mechanism that can permanently disable the weapon if the Sangheili wielding it drops it.[22] When dropped, the failsafe engages by deactivating the magnetic field before dispersing the plasma. The plasma then consumes the handle and thus destroys the weapon.[23] The fail-safe is included to prevent enemy infantry from acquiring the weapon and using it, and gives insight to Sangheili tactics.

Combat application[edit]

Rtas 'Vadum and Kusovai dual-wielding Energy Swords during a training exercise.

The Type-1 energy sword is extremely powerful in close-quarters combat. A single strike can even penetrate the energy shield systems, armor, and flesh of a Spartan or a Sangheili. This is due to the design of the weapon, which utilizes ionized gas rather than traditional shaped, solid matter—because the energy sword lacks any solid material in which to hold, or impale anything, the sword does not cut or carve in the traditional sense, but rather boils anything it comes into contact with.[18] This allows the weapon to pass through any type of material, including the toughest metal, with ease.[24][25]

Injuries caused by the weapon are often gruesome. Stabs wounds by the energy sword are, in most cases, fatal—as the blade passes through the body, the organs and tissues are cauterized by the extreme temperatures produced by the blades.[26] Body fluids in the area of the stab wound are flash-vaporized upon contact; organs within the area of the stab wounds can suffer life-threatening damage dependent upon which organs are struck. The effects of fluids trapped in organs or arteries and the expansion of heat could lead to ruptures or small explosions, causing additional damage to the victim. Because of the sword's sheer destructive power, dismemberment is another common form of fatality to victims, ranging from decapitation[27] to bodies being sliced in half.[24][28] Loss of limbs is a common injury.[29] Despite the weapon often cutting straight through its target, it is not uncommon for a body impaled on an energy sword to remain suspended—if briefly—on the blade, perhaps due to variable magnetic field strength. The sheer destructive power of the sword makes it a weapon to be feared on any battlefield and is known for its physiological effects on human soldiers.[18]

Gameplay changes[edit]

Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2[edit]

In Halo: Combat Evolved, the energy sword has a cyan glow, a far less defined edge and makes a dull clunk when striking an object. It is only used by Stealth Sangheili and Zealots. The player cannot wield the energy sword, due to a fail-safe mechanism that vaporizes the weapon when it is not released properly (e.g. being dropped upon death) by the sword-wielder.

In Halo 2, the energy sword is blue with purple undertones, with electrical energy crackling on it when the blade is activated. The white glow seen in Halo: Combat Evolved is also replaced with a more glass-like transparency. In the campaign, it is only used by higher-ranking Sangheili, such as special operations units, Ultras and Zealots, though players can now wield the sword. The sword in campaign has a battery and can only be used effectively against a limited number of enemy forces before the battery runs out. The sword is usable in multiplayer with an infinite battery power. The energy sword has two modes of attacking; a lunge attack and a swing attack.

Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3[edit]

A blueprint of the energy sword in Halo 3.

In Halo 3, the sword has more of a light cyan tinge, similar to its appearance in Halo: Combat Evolved, but still has a tint of purple near the handle. It also has an angle near the handle, whereas in the two previous games it was curved. Players are now able to parry with the Sword. The power exerted by the swords hitting each other will drain both players' shields, but will not kill them unless one makes the fatal blow. The sword's lunge attack has been reduced for balancing purposes. Aside from these changes in design and functionality, the power of the sword remains unchanged. In multiplayer, the sword now has a limited battery supply.

Changes from Halo 3 to Halo: Reach[edit]

A blueprint of the energy sword in Halo: Reach.

In Halo: Reach, the sword resembles closely to the design used in Halo: Combat Evolved, albeit darker in color. When activated, the sword is capable of lighting up the surrounding area. When unused, the sword rests differently on the SPARTAN and Sangheili character models. The energy sword appears to have been balanced out compared with its earlier incarnations, having a slightly faster swing than its Halo 3 incarnation, its lunge attack now does the same damage as a normal swing, the range has been reduced, and can now be blocked by a well-timed normal melee. Players can no longer lunge immediately after a normal swing. The energy sword also has its own assassination animations when used against Elites or Spartans, replacing the Spartan combat knife and the Sangheili energy dagger; these assassinations do not deplete the sword's charge, nor do they count toward the weapon spree medals Sword Spree, Slice 'N Dice, or Cutting Crew. Elites also hold the sword back more than a Spartan when used as an active weapon. When a player is playing as an Elite and uses the Energy Sword as a primary weapon, the camera will lower a bit; this is due to the Elite hunching down. Finally, parrying does slight damage and can kill a player.

Changes from Halo: Reach to Halo 4[edit]

HUD icon of the energy sword in Halo 4.

Contrary to Halo: Reach, Halo 4 does not feature the possibility to block a sword lunge with a simple melee. Killing an opponent with an energy sword no longer rewards the player with a Pummel medal, it is instead replaced by the Sword Kill medal. The battery is also drained with every hit, so it's far less viable against Hunters and other powerful enemies.


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  • The shape of the energy sword is very similar to the real-life combat weapon, the katara. It was a South Asian weapon and status symbol, similar to the energy sword's symbolization of status among the Elites.
  • The energy sword was originally going to be usable in Halo: Combat Evolved, but was cut when the game became a first-person shooter. [30]
  • In the Halo 3 Vidoc Et tu Brute? there is an unfinished animation depicting a Jiralhanae Chieftain wielding an energy sword. This is, however, never seen in the hands of Jiralhanae in the final game.
  • The Fable 2: Limited Edition comes with "Hal's Sword", a crystal blade shaped like an energy sword for in-game use, to coincide with the use of "Hal's Armor", which resembles MJOLNIR armor.[31]
  • A depleted energy sword hilt can still be used offensively. While the damage varies, it has a higher melee rate than any weapon, allowing the player to barrage an enemy with many hits. Once the hilt is swapped for another weapon, however, it cannot be picked up again and often disappears entirely.


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 63
  2. ^ a b c Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 92
  3. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, page 334
  4. ^ Halo 2: Special Collector's Edition Manual
  5. ^ a b Bungie.net: Halo Reach Ordnance Guide: T1 EW/S
  6. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint, Energy Sword
  7. ^ The Covenant Hall of Murals
  8. ^ Halo Graphic Novel page 12 - 14
  9. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia page 127
  10. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol page 53
  11. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol page 141
  12. ^ Bestiarum Sangheili section
  13. ^ Halo 2, Another Day at the Beach
  14. ^ Halo Wars, introductory cinematic
  15. ^ a b Halo Legends, The Package
  16. ^ Halo 4
  17. ^ Halo Legends: The Package
  18. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia page 335
  19. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 10
  20. ^ Halo Wars
  21. ^ Halo: Evolutions, Headhunters
  22. ^ Halo: First Strike page 74
  23. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved
  24. ^ a b Halo: The Cole Protocol page 84
  25. ^ Halo: First Strike page 72
  26. ^ Halo: Evolutions Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian page 91
  27. ^ Halo: Evolutions Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian page 101
  28. ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx page 360
  29. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol page 30
  30. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved, E3 2000 Announcement Trailer
  31. ^ Joystiq: Fable 2's Spartan armor and energy sword pictured