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- "They sure aren't as tough as their ships."
- — Samuel-034
In battle, Jackals share many similarities with Grunts, but are far more intelligent. Like the Grunts, they are a weak subordinate race and are somewhat cowardly. Despite their efforts to assure the Covenant of their superiority over the Grunts, they often cower in battle and retreat with their shields up in the air.
Jackals with shields in the original trilogy are mainly seen wielding Plasma pistols, though in subsequent games other weapons became more commonplace, like the Needler. Until Halo: Reach, they were the only enemy that utilized the pistol's ovecharge function, and though other enemies now do that as well, they are still the primary employers of this technique. The Jackal's Point Defense Gauntlet is almost completely impervious to all kinetic firearms, such as human and Brute weapons, but if a plasma weapon is fired at it for an extended period of time it will easily deplete the shield. There are a few ways to approach them:
- The main way to deal with shielded Jackals is to get an accurate weapon, such as a Battle Rifle, and then fire at their exposed hand; the Jackal will recoil in pain and move the shield away, leaving the body defenseless and letting the player perform a head shot. A similar effect can be achieved by shooting the Jackal's feet.
- The second way is to overcharge a Plasma Pistol and fire it at their shielding, deactivating it, giving the player the time to fire at them or melee them. Jackals will usually flee when their shield is down, and if left alone, they will reactivate it.
- Meleeing the Jackal will end up deactivating the shield or make it flinch, sending the alien fleeing. This is not guaranteed though, as sometimes the Jackal may stand its ground and attempt to kill you.
- Lastly, the shield hinders the Jackal's movement, making them vulnerable to grenades thrown behind them.
Sniper Jackals appear starting with Halo 2, where they are equipped with the Particle beam rifle, and from Halo 3 onwards they can also be encountered with the Carbine (or other mid-range weapons depending on the game). Sniper Jackals are best countered by defeating them at their own game. Find a headshot-capable weapon, then survey the area, looking for the signs of their presecence. Depending on the game, snipers will have a glowing helmet, a laser sight, or a different coloration. In absence of these, follow the trail of their shots, as they tend to stay in one place. When you find them, shoot their head before they have time to notice you.
- Be especially wary of them in Halo 2 on the Legendary difficulty, as they are incredibly quick shots, and even a single hit from a Beam Rifle will result in death. While they drop their rifle and flee if approached, there are rarely occasions to do that.
- In Halo:Reach, given the absence of the Beam Rifle, jackal snipers use the M'tara-pattern focus rifle as a way to disrupt the player, blinding them and depleting their shields.
- In Halo Infinite, snipers use the Elutuzem-pattern stalker rifle, firing in three shot volleys, which are usually enough to kill if they all connect. They will aim at the player for a few seconds with a laser sight, giving away their position but also increasing their accuracy.
Halo Wars Stat
In Halo Wars, Jackals play a powerful anti-infantry role, having been given the capability to inflict a number of casualties upon regular enemy infantry that are disproportionate to their own numbers, much like the UNSC Hellbringers-though having the advantage of longer range weapons. They are deployed in groups of two, and their default armament is the medium range Vostu-pattern carbine. However, being geared towards a single role, the effectiveness of Jackals against armor and aircraft is highly limited, and will easily fall victim to vehicles. However, Infantry do, generally, defeat aircraft and the Jackals, in groups, will easily destroy enemy aircraft. Like all units in Halo Wars (Excluding the Vulture and Scarab), Jackals have multiple upgrades as listed below in the precise order researched:
- Defense Gauntlet: 200 supplies, 1st tech level. Adds a standard Kig-Yar Point Defense Gauntlet to every soldier, which provides some protection but eventually collapses under enemy fire.
- Sulok-pattern beam rifle: 400 supplies, 2nd tech level (Age of Doubt). Replaces all Covenant Carbines with Beam Rifles, which provide superior range and power to attack.
- Supreme Gauntlet: 700 supplies, 3rd tech level (Age of Reclamation). Upgrades all defense gauntlets, so that they no longer collapse under enemy fire.
Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2
- Snipers are added to their ranks.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, the Jackals wore more armor, often had helmets, had shorter, stubbier beaks, more jewel-like eyes, and came in two skin color variations: black and orange. In Halo 2, they are more avian looking and have only an orange skin color. Also they have pink reptile like eyes which flicker off and on when dead, but still stay pink. They also have larger biceps and chests. It is unknown why these changes happened, and if the Halo 2 Jackals are a different variety/race of Jackals than the ones in Halo: Combat Evolved or if the changes were mostly just graphical. Besides the aesthetic differences, there have also been changes in the way the Jackal Personal Arm Shield works and looks, and the addition of a sniper rank. In neither game do Jackals utilize Plasma Grenades, although they do carry grenades in Halo 2.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, Jackals hunt predominantly in pairs, usually one major and a minor, 2 minors, or sometimes 2 majors (though more than one pair may be present in certain areas). In Halo 2, shielded Jackals work primarily in teams upwards of four, though they are occasionally found in pairs. Sniper Jackals can also be found working in teams on occasions.
- In Halo 2, on rare occasions, Jackals wield plasma rifles.
Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3
- Jackals now naturally wield the Covenant Carbines (although they could be given carbines in Halo 2, they did not spawn with them.)
- Jackals in Halo 3 appear to no longer require the armored boots they wore in the previous Halo games. They feature huge talons on their feet.
- Halo 3 Jackals have a massive "over-bite" and their razor-sharp teeth hang down over their entire bottom jaw.
- Sniper Jackals wear a visor-like device on their heads that covers their left eye. It can be assumed this enhances their vision to allow for greater accuracy on the field of battle. When Jackal snipers sight a target, this visor emits a purple light; this functions both to warn the player and reveal the sniper's position. The visor, along with the now-slower targeting time for the creatures' Particle Beam Rifles, can best be described as an effort to balance the snipers out after Bungie's realization that they were too deadly in Halo 2.
- Their appearance is more bird-like than their reptilian Combat Evolved and Halo 2 counterparts. Their heads now resemble those of a crow or vulture in comparison to the heads of their counterparts which had heads like a reptile.
- On Heroic difficulty or lower, Jackals can now be killed with a single Sniper Rifle or Particle Beam Rifle shot to the torso or limbs, compared to requiring 2 shots in Halo 2. 2 torso shots are required to kill a Jackal on Legendary difficulty, however.
- Jackal Snipers no longer drop their sniper rifles when running away, instead carrying their weapons over their head.
- They are capable of wielding both shields and rifles at the same time.
- They are capable of being outfitted with an indestructible shield.
- Jackal Flood combat form are introduced.
Changes from Halo 3 to Halo 3: ODST
- Some Jackals wield weapons that they haven't used before in the series such as Needlers.
- Jackal Marksmen no longer wear inactive defense gauntlets.
- Marksmen no longer have a Plasma Pistol secondary weapon.
- Jackals are more difficult to kill with melee attacks, since melee damage is noticeably less when playing as an ODST than when playing as a Spartan.
Changes from Halo 3/Halo 3: ODST to Halo: Reach
- Jackals' armor jumpsuits sport brighter, more vibrant colors.
- They wear more armor than before, such as shoulder pads, and larger gauntlets.
- Jackals have more defined pupils.
- Jackals wear their shield gauntlets on their left arm instead of their right arm. Thus, their weak spot is now on the right hand.
- The "light-up" helmet of Jackal Snipers has been replaced with a smaller one that no longer gives away their position.
Changes from Halo: Reach to Halo 4
- Rangers are added to their ranks. Minors and Majors are replaced by the thematically similar Storm and Heavy ranks.
- Jackals come in a larger variety of colored armor within the same rank.
- The Jackal Snipers' targeting headgear is now much larger and more visible.
- Jackals can use Elo'Nakada-pattern concussion rifles and Kelos'vaarda-pattern storm rifles.
- Jackals can use active camouflage.
- Jackals during campaign will sometimes have scripted animations, such as on the level Composer where a Jackal leaps out on top of an ally and claws him to death. These animations can be interrupted and the victim saved.
Changes from Halo 4 to Halo 5: Guardians
- Jackals can now melee with their shields.
- Jackal Snipers will no longer attempt to flee from the player if they get too close.
- Jackals have more scripted animations, such as leaping on to an allied Sangheili to attack it. See the Halo 5: Guardians Launch Gameplay Trailer.
- If encountered in Warzone simulations, Jackals can now be occasionally seen with Forerunner weapons, like LightRifles or Binary Rifles. Jackals with Binary Rifles can be a major threat if left unchecked, as they can easily kill an unaware player.
- For the first time, Jackals speak in the language the game is set in.
Changes from Halo 5: Guardians to Halo: Infinite
- Jackal ranks include Freebooters, Raiders, Snipers and Skirmishers, who are no longer a subspecies.
- Jackals are back to being Ruuthians (avian).
- If given time to do it, Jackals plant their shield in the ground and rotate the opening upwards, so as to shoot while presenting a harder to hit weak spot.
- Jackal snipers have a laser sight that tracks the player before shooting.