Needle-based weaponry

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

Needle-based weaponry refers to weapons that incorporate explosive Subanese crystal in their properties.[1][2] Although there are melee weapons that were derived from the crystal,[3] the most common needle-based weaponry are projectile weapons that launch the Subanese crystalline shards toward foes. While the Forerunners have developed at least one class of needle-based weapon, the Covenant most likely reverse-engineered the technology,[4] leading to its widespread use in the Covenant and its remnants, particularly among their specialized infantry and vehicles.[5][6][7]


A screenshot of Prism.
A Banished Subanese crystal mine.

The development of needle-based weaponry dates back to the period before the Covenant. Prior to the formation of the Covenant, the Sangheili mined Subanese crystals from Suban, and grew to believe that even rudimentary scientific investigation into the crystals was tantamount to heresy. When they first began to incorporate the crystals into weaponry, the Sangheili knew how to manipulate and weaponize the crystal, but they lacked deeper understanding of its properties.[5] The pre-Covenant weapons were unique, though their designs demonstrated the Sangheili’s poor understanding of the crystals, and further study on these designs were mostly abandoned until the dissolution of the Covenant.[8] Prior to 2552, most needle-based weapons were manufactured by the Sacred Promissory on High Charity.[1] After the fall of High Charity during the Great Schism, the manufacturing of the needler fell to Lodam Armory,[9] and any understanding of the crystal from the San'Shyuum was lost with High Charity's record complexes.[8]

Although humanity has also expressed interest in the crystals' energy-storage properties,[8] UNSC forces working with Thel 'Vadam have began experimenting similar weaponization by incorporating the crystals into human weapons like the modified M49 Vulcan on the Sword Warthog.[10]


An exploded view of a needler, drawn by Dr. Catherine Halsey.

"Anything stuck with enough needles will blow sky high—and if a Foxtrot is unlucky enough to be carrying grenades, those are gonna cook off too."
— Anonymous UNSC E2-BAG/1/7 serviceman[11]

Needle-based weaponry are characterized by their integration of Subanese crystals, a pink crystalline substance mined from Suban, one of the Sangheilios' two moons.[5] Upon impaling a target, the crystalline shards become chemically reactive, and detonate after a few seconds.[1][12] Subsequently, a blade that contains Subanese crystalline properties can be made to explode when it is embedded in soft flesh.[13] Similarly, if multiple shards from a projectile weapon make contact with a living target, then a chain reaction occurs—their chemical properties "supercombine" and the shards detonate simultaneously, causing an immediate and violent explosion.[1][12] While the shards are devastating against living tissue, they are relatively ineffective against energy shielding.[8]

Covenant needle-based weapons break the crystals into needle-like shards, then launch the shards from the weapon. The needler, the most popular class of needle-based weaponry, features an additional magnetic auger within the weapon that catalyzes the shards, which then become capable of tracking heat signatures.[5] In contrast, the Gadulo-pattern needle rifle was not designed to charge its crystalline shards with the ability to home in on a living target,[14] so it likely lacks a magnetic auger. Instead, when fired, the crystalline shards snap off into individual charged projectiles which are launched linearly at the intended target.[15]

List of needle-based weapons[edit]


Handheld projectile weapons[edit]

Melee weapons[edit]

Mounted weapons[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 128
  2. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 230
  3. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 307
  4. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 237
  5. ^ a b c d Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 294
  6. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 289
  7. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 277
  8. ^ a b c d Halo Waypoint, Needler (Retrieved on Apr 21, 2021) [local archive] [external archive]
  9. ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 85
  10. ^ Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Sword Warthog description "Experiments with Subanese crystal explosives and Sangheili shield technology are being pioneered by UNSC forces working with the Arbiter. Advanced Warthog with Needle-firing chaingun and regenerative energy shields being tested in War Games."
  11. ^, Type-33 Guided Munitions Launcher (Retrieved on Jan 16, 2021) [local archive] [external archive]
  12. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 479
  13. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 349
  14. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 127
  15. ^ Halo Waypoint, Needle Rifle (Retrieved on May 14, 2021) [archive]