Halo Wars 2 skulls

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HW2 Skulls.png

Skulls are game modifiers featured in Halo Wars 2. When unlocked and activated they can alter gameplay difficulty and add interesting features.

How to find them[edit]

There are fifteen skulls in total and they are awarded for completing specific Primary Objectives, Optional Objectives, or unmarked tasks throughout all of the missions in the game with the exception of the Prologue, The Signal.[1]

Campaign skulls[edit]

Grunt Birthday Party[edit]

Grunt Birthday Party skull

Level: A New Enemy

Effect: Killed Grunts explode into a shower of confetti, bringing joy to the battlefield - if you're not a Grunt, that is.

How to unlock: Capture Four of Decimus’ Power Nodes.

Notes: After building your base, four Power Nodes will be shown around the map, indicated by an energy bolt icon. Move your Infantry Units to each of the Nodes to capture them. Make sure to do this before carrying on with the Primary Objective.


Paintball skull

Level: Ascension

Effect: Marine grenades and Grunt mines splatter the environment with color (as well as deadly shrapnel). Time to paint the town!

How to unlock: Destroy the Banished base.

Notes: After building your base, begin building a large army of Hornets and Cyclops. Once you're set, head north, beyond Capture Node B, and you will find the Banished base. Do not capture any of the Capture Nodes until after destroying the base (just so that you are not running against the clock). It is best to set up quickly, before the Banished can make its first move to capture a Node.

Pain Train[edit]

Pain Train skull

Level: Ascension

Effect: All player units train 50% faster.

How to unlock: Destroy the hidden facility’s four structures.

Notes: After building your base, take three or four Hornets and move them to the darkened island south of your base. Here, you will find a hidden Banished base with a few Infantry Units. Use your Hornets to destroy the enemies and the four structures of the base.

Bountiful Harvest[edit]

Bountiful Harvest skull

Level: One Three Zero

Effect: Supplies from supply buildings arrive 25% faster.

How to unlock: Don’t let any of the four prison squads die.

Notes: During this mission, Alice will be required to rescue four squads of prisoners, the first half of which are Hellbringers and the second half of which are Warthog Units and Cyclopses. Try to keep the Hellbringers in the rear while you focus on controlling/moving Alice throughout the mission. Once your entire squadron reaches the comms building, move your Hellbringers and Warthogs behind the building. Now move Alice and one Cyclops into one of the two garrisons in front of the building and move the other two Cyclops into the other garrison. Hold out like this until extraction arrives, making sure none of the Cyclops or Units behind the building die. It is okay to lose a few units, but do not lose a whole squad.


Emperor skull

Level: The Cartographer

Effect: All player powers recharge in half the time.

How to unlock: Destroy both minibases in the central chamber.

Notes: After powering down and passing through the energy barrier, you may notice that in the northern end of the chamber, on both the eastern and western edges, are Banished minibases. Make sure to destroy both bases before moving on with the Primary Objective.


Pestilence skull

Level: Lights Out

Effect: All player units slowly lose health from the moment they're built.

How to unlock: Release all 10 UNSC Prisoners.

Notes: You will find your first set of prisoners just north of the mission start or after the reunion with Douglas. Then, after passing through the portal, you will need to head to the right-hand side of the valley to find three additional cells of prisoners. Make sure to rescue them before dueling with Decimus.

Total Annihilation[edit]

Total Annihilation skull

Level: From the Deep

Effect: Spartan special ability slams create an even more powerful explosion upon landing.

How to unlock: Complete the mission without Spartan Alice being downed.

Notes: The best method to employ for this task is to have Alice either hijack a Wraith on the beach or take control of the Scorpion tank on the beach (either works). Make sure Alice is your primary focus throughout the mission; heal her when needed and make sure she doesn't take the brunt of the enemy's attacks. When the Scarab shows up at the end of the mission, you should already have a sizable army of Scorpion tanks to accompany Alice in taking it down quickly. It's better to have a Nightingale accompany Alice most of the time, to save resources from using Restoration Drones.


Sickness skull

Level: Hold the Line

Effect: All player units have 50% fewer hit points.

How to unlock: Keep the barricades intact.

Notes: In this mission, you will need to protect the western and eastern barricades; the former of which is just to the left of your base and the latter of which is a little southeast of your base. The best way to ensure they aren't overwhelmed and destroyed is to build one Anti-Infantry and one Anti-Vehicle turret at each barricade and then place at least three or four Hornets and one Nightingale just ahead of the barricade as the "first line of defense." It's recommended to try doing this on a low difficulty, as the enemy forces become increasingly difficult to keep at bay past the fifteen minute mark.


Firestarter skull

Level: Hold the Line

Effect: Grunts and Marines explode on death inflicting damage on enemy units.

How to unlock: Particle Cannon stays above 50 percent health.

Notes: If you are successful in keeping both barricades intact for the "Sickness" skull, then you shouldn't have to worry about this because no enemy Units would have been able to reach the Particle Cannon.

Things That Go Boom[edit]

Things That Go Boom skull

Level: Under The Dark

Effect: Hero units unleash a nuclear explosion on death.

How to unlock: Eliminate all three Brute Warlords.

Notes: You will come into contact with the first Warlord by moving your Units past the first base you build and down the ridge to the Banished's base during Jerome and Allieri's segment. Provided you stick to the right-hand side of the valley/map once you are in Alice's segment of the mission, you will encounter the second Warlord on your way to the first Kodiak deployment position. The last Warlord can be confronted by continuing to travel north on this eastern edge of the valley; once you reach the second red energy barrier, he will attack you. While the Warlords have a large amount of health, they should be rather easy to kill with Sniper Units and your Spartans.

Wuv Woo[edit]

Wuv Woo skull

Level: The Foundry

Effect: Scarab and Locust beam weapons shoot rainbows made of pure love and hearts. Maybe Atriox isn't such a bad guy after all!

How to unlock: Keep The Scarab Alive During The Entire Mission.

Notes: Keeping the Scarab alive through the mission shouldn't be too much of an issue if you're playing on one of the lower difficulties. If you're playing on Heroic or Legendary, though, make sure the Scarab stays at the rear of your squad so it doesn't take too much damage. Move slowly at all times and be smart as to when it's necessary to retreat and heal your Units. Always bring Nightingales to keep the Scarab constantly healed at all times.

Sugar Cookies[edit]

Sugar Cookies skull

Level: The Foundry

Effect: All player units have 50% more hitpoints.

How to unlock: Keep the Scarab's health above 25%.

Notes: If you are attempting to unlock the "Wav Woo" skull in this mission, this will likely mean your Scarab should have no issue staying above 25% of its health. As mentioned, just take the mission and its objectives slowly and keep your Scarab at the rear. It's recommended to bring some Nightingales as an escort.

After Party[edit]

After Party skull

Level: The Halo

Effect: Any time a base or minibase is destroyed, the player who owned it gets a tank and infantry unit.

How to unlock: Rescue Bravo Base.

Notes: When the mission starts, you should notice a Power Node just ahead. Capture that Node and then Captain Cutter will inform you of Bravo Base; they are under attack and need your help. Move your Units to Bravo Base and repel the Banished's assault as quickly as possible. This can only be done once you've repelled the Retriever Sentinel's on first attack.


Nightmare skull

Level: Last Stand

Effect: No checkpoints or saves on any difficulty. Campaign only.

How to unlock: Keep the Control Room Shield over 50%.

Notes: Since you do not have access to base-building during this mission, you will need to rely on the Units that Captain Cutter periodically provides. To start, make sure to build and upgrades turrets around the edges of the central chamber. Focus on building Anti-Infantry and Anti-Vehicle turrets. Next, you'll want to make sure each of the four entryways of the chamber are appropriately defended. Split your focuses intelligently; you'll have access to Hellbringers, Snipers, Spartans, Nightingales, Warthogs, Wolverines, name it. Spread them out evenly and make use of your Leader Powers as often as possible. Always drop ODSTs every time a leader power is ready, since you get an endless population to strengthen defenses further.


Shadow skull

Level: Last Stand

Effect: Player core infantry units start cloaked.

How to unlock: Kill the two Brute Warlords and stop their reinforcements.

Notes: At the beginning of the mission, you will be informed that Brute Warlords are converging on your position. They will both be displayed on your mini-map, but they don't necessarily storm your position; rather, they will remain far away, under the cover of the Fog of War, with their army of reinforcements. Once you have a sizable and formidable squadron of mixed units (Snipers, Spartans, Scorpions, Cyclopses, etc.), storm each Warlord's position to take them and their reinforcements out. Try to complete it in less than ten minutes after the mission starts, or the first batch of reinforcements arrived (8 Marines and 8 Cyclops), since the more time you take, the heavier the Banished's attack will get, and you have less of a chance to defeat the Warlords.

Unused skulls[edit]


Vampire skull


Effect:Every UNSC & Banished units would be granted the siphon passive.

How to unlock:N/A

What's in the Box[edit]

What's in the Box skull


Effect:Every 5 minutes, boxes are deployed around the map, upon touching these boxes will grant the player a random unit.

An unused box that would appear if "What's in the Box?" Skulls were active.
the box when the skull is enabled.

How to unlock:

Moon Gravity[edit]

Moon Gravity skull


Effect:Reduces the gravity and explosions, launches victims much further.

How to unlock:N/A


Fog skull


Effect:The hud would be disabled.

How to unlock:N/A


Iron skull


Effect:When you failed in a mission you will restart all the to the start of the mission

How to unlock:N/A

Look Daddy[edit]

Look Daddy skull


Effect:Whenever a Grunt unit dies, their gas tanks will send them flying around.

How to unlock:N/A

Clear Skies[edit]

Clear Skies skull


Effect:Removes fog.

How to unlock:N/A


Cowbell skull


Effect:Explosions would be increased.

How to unlock:N/A