Energy sword (fiction)

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A Sangheili Zealot from Devoted Sentries wielding an unidentified energy sword pattern in Visegrád Relay, as seen in Halo: Reach campaign level Winter Contingency.
A Sangheili Zealot wielding an energy sword.

"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[1]

Energy swords, sometimes known as energy blades[2][3][4] or plasma swords,[5][6][7] are a class of single-handed, double-bladed energy weapons developed by the Sangheili.[8] To their users, they are formally designated as fireblades,[9][10] and nicknamed plasma blades.[11] The Office of Naval Intelligence has typically type-classified encountered energy sword variants under the designation of the Type-1 Energy Weapon/Sword (T-1 EW/S).[12] Nicknames for the energy sword includes Katana and Kill Beam.[13]


Design details[edit]

"Keep your blade handy. I doubt the cable can withstand its bite."
Rtas 'Vadumee alludes to the destructive properties of an energy sword's superheated plasma while speaking to Thel 'Vadamee.[14]

An energy sword's twin blades are superheated plasma contained in a tightly configured magnetic field generated from its grooved hilt.[8][15] Within the hilt, there is an energy storage device that doubles as a field generator,[12][16] which, when activated, projects the blade, with the stabilized superheated plasma being enclosed in magnetic lines extending from the hilt.[9][17][18][19] The superheated plasma ionizes the air around the blade upon its activation,[20] then continues to emit immense heat on its surroundings.[4]

The hilt of an energy sword.

The weapon is powered by a small battery that supplies power to both the plasma generator and the magnetic field generator.[21] The battery's energy is reduced for each successful strike.[22] 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 impale enemies rather than the thrusting motion of most knives and swords.[23]

Some variants, notably the Pelosus-pattern energy sword, contain a fail-safe mechanism that can permanently disable the weapon if the Sangheili wielder drops it.[24] 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. The fail-safe is included to prevent enemy from acquiring the weapon and using it.[25]

Mass-produced models generally feature a simple hilt design, but more individualized models can be quite ornate. Different patterns are typically expressed through the shape of the blade; different contours can have either smooth curves or elegant angles. Furthermore, the color of the superheated plasma can vary with no functional difference as well, though most energy swords glow with a blue tint.[16][26] The hilts of energy swords have demonstrated a variety of ornamental differences, such as having Forerunner symbols imprinted on the surface.[27][28] Ancient energy swords are marked by their creator and first owner, though their legacy is often forgotten,[29] while the hilts of ceremonial energy swords bear ancient Sangheili proverbs.[30]

Sangheili blademasters are often commissioned to create ornamented and hand-customized for elite individuals.[9] As such, drastic variations have been observed. For example, Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee's matching pair of custom-designed swords had basket-style hilt guards and radiated a high degree of ionized plasma,[31][32] whereas most energy swords contain the blades' plasma with greater efficiency. Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's personal sword, the Prophets' Bane, was pale salmon-colored and had a wider blade compared to mass-produced swords.[33][34]


A duel between Haka 'Suukaree, who is wielding a traditional Sangheili blade weapon, and Fal 'Chavamee, who is wielding a Pelosus-pattern energy sword.

Reth: "Sangheili are insane. What is the mark of disobedience?"
Thel 'Vadamee: "He will use his energy sword to burn marks into the skin of his arms. Crossing lines all up and down, where all can see and know him for what he is. It is shameful. Death is preferred. But for now, I need all my fighters. He can kill himself later, and we will destroy the body so that his lineage will not suffer. If he performs well in battle."
Reth: "Sangheili..."
Thel 'Vadamee: "We are strong, Kig-Yar. That is why we sit at the right hand of the Prophets."
Thel 'Vadamee explains to Reth how a Sangheili may use an energy sword to mark one's history of dishonor.[35]

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;[9][26] superficially, the ancient melee weapons' influence on the energy sword's design is unmistakable.[36] The sword was originally crafted from hardened resin found in trees which lined the coastal territories of Sanghelios, but as they began carefully exploring Forerunner technology, the weapon was refined over time using Covenant technology, eventually taking its current state.[8] Technologically, the energy sword succeeded an older type of Sangheili sword known as the burnblade, which was created by the arm masters of Qikost—one of Sanghelios' moons—in the early period of Sangheili interstellar expansion,[9] and was used in the early years of the Covenant.[37] Modern energy swords are manufactured by the Merchants of Qikost, a prominent group of arms makers on Qikost.[15][19][38] Prior to the fall of High Charity, they were also manufactured in the city's Assembly Forges.[9][16] Following the Great Schism and the dissolution of the Covenant, the designs templates and existing models of energy swords from the Covenant were inherited by its splinter factions.[15]

Closely aligned with the Sangheili's rigid sense of honor,[38] the energy sword is the signature weapon of the Sangheili, and its usage has historically been regarded as both an expression of a Sangheili warrior's clerical honor and his personal combat skills.[18][26] The Sangheili pride themselves on their skills with the weapon,[39] which they regard as holy, and believe that it is better for a Sangheili to fall on his sword to redeem his honor than to die dishonorably.[40][41][42][43] When a Sangheili openly displays the absence of an energy sword on their body, it likely either indicates supplication or a condescension suggesting superior prowess.[44] Pzish'zawk is the martial art form which consists of the use of dual wielded energy swords. Mastery of the practice earns one a high level of renown in Sangheili society, and is a skillset sometimes associated with those assigned the title of blademaster.[45]


Olabisi Varo'dai: "Decapitated? How?"
Varo ranger: "The wounds have been sealed by heat. So, my guess is with energy swords."
— One of Olabisi Varo'dai's rangers correctly deduces that an energy sword decapitated a Sangheili all the while cauterizing the wound.[46]
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn screenshot
A Zealot impales Junjie Chen with an energy sword, lifting his body during the swing during the Battle of Circinius IV.

Since the weapon utilizes shaped plasma rather than traditional solid matter, 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.[13] The blade's edge is therefore extremely volatile, being able to slice through even the toughest metals like a hot knife through butter, including ODST armor and the Titanium-A class plating of UNSC destroyers.[17][47][48] Injuries caused by the weapon are often gruesome. Stab wounds by the energy sword are, in most cases, fatal, as the blade passes through the body, leaving the organs and tissues cauterized by the extreme temperatures produced by the blades;[49][50] wounds inflicted by the energy sword are sealed by the immense heat.[46] Body fluids in the area of the stab wound are flash-vaporized upon contact; organs and tissue within the area of the stab wounds can suffer life-threatening damage as they suffered residual heat damage, while vessels and arteries are effectively blocked.[50] 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.[51]

Survival is minimal at best and in the case of non-lethal strikes being administered, proper medical treatment must be applied as soon as possible to ensure permanent survival. Because of the weapon's sheer destructive damage, common forms of fatality to victims include total impalement,[23][32][52] loss of limbs,[53] bodies being bisected,[17][48][54] and even decapitation.[46][55][56]

The weapon's most glaring downside is that it is purely a close-quarters weapon; any combat engagement outside of the effective range puts the wielder at risk. It is for this reason that the Sangheili approach sword combat on the battlefield in two different ways, by funneling the enemy into close-quarters to allow them to strike, and/or to apply a form of stealth using both technology and technique. Without these, the user is vulnerable to attack by all forms of ranged attack, especially from sniper-based counterattacks.[13] Furthermore, the energy sword can sometimes expose the position of a Sangheili warrior employing active camouflage due to the weapon's energy output.


Bero 'Kusovai training with Rtas 'Vadumee.
Rtas 'Vadum and Kusovai dual wielding energy swords while sparring.

Armiger: "Please remove the energy swords from your belts and leave them in the street for immediate disposal."
Kola 'Baoth: "We cannot do that. And we will not."
Usze 'Taham: "The Arbiter must be able to protect himself."
Kola 'Baoth and Usze 'Taham defying a Created Armiger's instruction to surrender their personal energy swords.[57]

The energy sword is uniquely and exclusively a Sangheili weapon; as such, deaths from energy swords are typically linked to the Sangheili.[58] 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.[38] Sword wielders are not eligible for marriage, though they may breed with any female they choose, married or otherwise, to ensure that the genetic material which result in sword-wielding traits are properly transmitted to each subsequent generation.[8][59]

Within the Covenant military, use of the energy sword is not restricted to aristocrats.[38] Sangheili Minors are generally not permitted to wield the sword because of the high regard in which it is held,[40] though exceptions have been witnessed.[60][61] Storm troops,[62] Ultras, Zealots, Generals, special operation officers, stealth troops, and honor guardsmen commonly use energy swords.[38][63] Some Sangheili special forces units, notably the Silent Shadow, employed bloodblades, blood red-colored energy swords which burn hotter than more common models.[16][26][64]

Within the Banished, there is no enforced uniformity for the energy sword, allowing each warrior to customize their weapons to their own needs.[15] That being said, the most common variants appear to be the Domotos-pattern and the Meluth'qelos-pattern.[65][66]


  • Bloodblade - A red colored energy sword,[70][71] notably used by certain Special Operations units,[26] such as the Silent Shadow.[64][70] Observed to be compatible with the Meluth'qelos-pattern,[72] the Pelosus-pattern, and the unidentified pattern variants.[64]
  • Darkstar - A purple energy sword, seemingly associated with old Sangheili mythology.[70]
  • Evocati's Edge - A white energy sword is associated with the Evocati.[70]
  • Kaidon's Guard - An orange energy sword associated with the Swords of Sanghelios.[70]
  • Lance of Suban - A pink energy sword infused with Blamite. The sword and the material originates from Suban.[70]
  • Light of Joori - A yellow energy sword; Light of Joori is named after the star Joori.[70]
  • Necroplasma - A green colored energy sword.[70] The Domotos-pattern variant features a dull green blade that transitions to an inky black near the basket hilt and was used in Spartan-IV War Games.[34] Another variant was a solid green with a normal hilt.[70]
Notable personalized variants
  • Ghostpierce - A highly specialized energy sword mounted on Banished operative Jega 'Rdomnai's prosthetic arm repaired at Cherras Keep. Like many, it was two-pronged but had a red coloration and a forked structure.[15]
  • Prophets' Bane - Thel 'Vadam's personal energy sword with a unique handle and pale salmon coloring.[34]
  • Ripa 'Moramee's swords - Ripa 'Moramee's matching pair of custom-designed swords with basket-style hilt guards and radiated a high degree of ionized plasma.[31][32]

Non-canon and dubious canon appearances[edit]

John-117 fighting Sangheili
Covenant Sangheili with energy swords in Halo: The Television Series.

Silver Timeline[edit]

Main article: Silver Timeline

Meluth'qelos-pattern energy sword are used by Covenant Sangheili against humanity.

Fractures: Entrenched[edit]

An image used for the Fracture notice.
This article contains information from the Entrenched Fractures universe, and is not a part of the established Halo canon. To learn more information about the Entrenched universe, see its article.

The Covenant employed arcanoblades, based on arcanotechnology.[73]


Main article: energy sword

The energy sword was first introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved, albeit unusable by players. It was then made available to players in Halo 2 and has become a mainstay weapon in series ever since. The energy sword is a powerful melee weapon in close-quarters combat, capable of killing most foes with a single strike. It is a power weapon that appears on some multiplayer maps.

There are two ways to attack with the energy sword. The first is a simple melee, this performs a quick horizontal or overhanded swipe. The second attack is to lunge with the energy sword, allowing players lunges forward at the enemies. However, this require the player to initiate an attack when the aiming reticule turns red, indicating that the opposing player is within range. 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 vanishes entirely.


  • The shape of the energy sword is very similar to the real-life combat weapon, the katar. It was a South Asian weapon and status symbol, similar to the energy sword's symbolization of status among the Sangheili.
  • In the Halo 3 ViDoc Et Tu, Brute? there is an unfinished animation depicting a Jiralhanae Chieftain wielding an energy sword. The energy sword, however, was never seen in the hands of Jiralhanae in the final game.
  • As a part of Dares of Eternity in Destiny 2's Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack, two swords resembling the energy sword, the arc sword Half-Truths and the void sword The Other Half, were released.
  • In Konami's Super Bomberman R, the Halo 3 energy sword is the weapon used by the Arbiter Bomber.


Concept art and illustrations[edit]



List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ This variant was not exclusively used by members of the Fleet of Retribution, as seen in Halo: Blood Line.


  1. ^ Halo 2, Halo 2 Limited Collector's Edition Manual
  2. ^ Halo: The Flood, chapter 7: "Moving from one bit of protection to the next, he fought his way across the span, dropping down to the lower level to deal with Covenant forces there, then resurfacing at the far end, where he spotted an Elite armed with an energy blade."
  3. ^ Halo: First Strike, chapter 7: "The Elite raised the energy blade and charged."
  4. ^ a b Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, chapter 28: "The Majors shouted to their squads, who drew their swords and saluted Voro, their raised energy blades made the air waver with their combined heat."
  5. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, page 15
  6. ^ Halo 2: The Official Strategy Guide, page 30
  7. ^ Halo: Hunters in the Dark, chapter 6: "The plasma swords crackled against each other and the two warriors froze in position, pushing against each other, their blades trembling from the protracted contact."
  8. ^ a b c d Halo Waypoint, Energy Sword (Retrieved on Sep 21, 2011) [local archive] [external archive]
  9. ^ a b c d e f Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 307
  10. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 482
  11. ^ a b Halo 5: Guardians, campaign level Alliance
  12. ^ a b, Halo: Reach Ordnance Page (Retrieved on Feb 7, 2021) [archive]
  13. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 348
  14. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Oracle
  15. ^ a b c d e Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 482
  16. ^ a b c d Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, page 183
  17. ^ a b c Halo: First Strike, chapter 8: "The blade was a flattened triangle of white-hot plasma, contained in an electromagnetic envelope that emanated from its hilt. The Chief had seen such weapons slice battle-armored ODSTs in half and gouge gaping wounds in Titanium-A armor plating."
  18. ^ a b Halo Waypoint, Halo 4 Interactive Guide - Covenant Weapons (Retrieved on Mar 27, 2014) [local archive] [external archive]
  19. ^ a b Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 92
  20. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 9: "The energy sword flicked into being with a crack of ionized air from the handle as the twin half ovals of blue plasma appeared."
  21. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 335
  22. ^ Halo 5: Guardians, Energy Sword REQ card - description: "Deadly plasma-based melee weapon. Successful strikes deplete the sword's limited energy charge."
  23. ^ a b Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 9: "The first swipe of the angry-sounding sword dug deep into the assassin’s chest, spearing him on the tip of the concentrated plasma."
  24. ^ Halo: First Strike, chapter 8: "The alien metal rang like a gong, and the Elite dropped its energy sword. The blade guttered and went dark as its fail-safes permanently disabled the weapon."
  25. ^ a b Halo: Combat Evolved, Gameplay
  26. ^ a b c d e Halo Waypoint, Universe - Weapons - energy sword (Retrieved on Oct 23, 2021) [archive]
  27. ^ a b Halo 3, Gameplay
  28. ^ a b Halo: Reach, Gameplay
  29. ^ Halo Waypoint, Cannon Fodder: Locke & Load (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2016) [archive]
  30. ^ Halo 5: Guardians, Mission Intel - Ceremonial Sword
  31. ^ a b Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 10
  32. ^ a b c Halo Wars, Cinematics
  33. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Clarity and Grace (Retrieved on Oct 17, 2021) [archive]
  34. ^ a b c Halo 5: Guardians, Gameplay
  35. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 34
  36. ^ Halo Legends - The Duel
  37. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, chapter 11
  38. ^ a b c d e Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 63
  39. ^ Halo Graphic Novel - The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor
  40. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 127
  41. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 132
  42. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 9: "Koida's eyes widened fully. 'I will fall on my sword, kaidon, but please do not revoke the blood of my line.'"
  43. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 34: "'I have lost nobility. I will do what is right.' Saal's energy sword flared into being."
  44. ^ Halo: Outcasts, chapter 2: "He wore only a cloth jumpsuit belted at the waist, and he carried no energy sword. Whether the absence of the traditional weapon was a concession indicating supplication or a condescension suggesting superior prowess was anyone’s guess."
  45. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - High Value Histories (Retrieved on Sep 8, 2022) [archive]
  46. ^ a b c Halo: Outcasts, chapter 7: "'Decapitated?' Varo'dai asked. 'How?' 'The wounds have been sealed by heat. So, my guess is with energy swords.'"
  47. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 18
  48. ^ a b Halo: Outcasts, chapter 19: "An energy sword activated in midair above Sahir's shoulder blades and descended on his spine, driving through his armor and killing him before he could scream... probably before he even knew he had been attacked."
  49. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, page 91
  50. ^ a b Halo: The Rubicon Protocol, chapter 17: "The energy sword had cauterized the initial wound, but it had also created a domino effect inside his body as his organs and tissue suffered residual heat damage and vessels and arteries were effectively blocked."
  51. ^ Halo: The Rubicon Protocol, chapter 28: "Instantaneously her wound was cauterized by the sword's heat, preventing body fluids and blood from moving through vessels, veins, and arteries, the force and energy causing mini-ruptures throughout her body."
  52. ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  53. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 9: "Even as their energy swords passed by him, Thel was coming back up to a full stand, slicing the sword arm of the nearest assassin clear off his body."
  54. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 18: "Jora barreled through, sword high, and cut the third marine in half, but not before the man got off several shots, near point blank."
  55. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 9: "The elder's head rolled across the floor, and purple blood gushed out, splattering the Saga's chiseled words."
  56. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, chapter 69: "Zhar leapt forward, but Thel jumped as well, slamming into his side and spearing Zhar through the throat with his sword. It sizzled and spat Sangheili blood. Thel threw Zhar against a wall, then decapitated him with a swift swipe."
  57. ^ Halo: Outcasts, chapter 1
  58. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level ONI: Sword Base: "'If he was a civilian male in his mid-sixties, he died with a Covenant energy sword through his abdomen.' 'Elites, then.'"
  59. ^ Halo 3, Bestiarum - Sangheili
  60. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Alpha Base (Halo Wars level)
  61. ^ Halo Legends - The Package (animated short)
  62. ^ Halo 4, campaign level Prologue
  63. ^ a b Halo 2, Gameplay
  64. ^ a b c Halo: Evolutions - Headhunters (short story)
  65. ^ a b Halo Wars 2, Gameplay
  66. ^ a b c Halo Infinite, Gameplay
  67. ^ Halo 4, Gameplay
  68. ^ a b c Halo 5: Guardians, Gameplay
  69. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 307
  70. ^ a b c d e f g h i Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Art of Wort (Retrieved on May 21, 2021) [archive]
  71. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder: Brute Force (Retrieved on Apr 20, 2021) [archive]
  72. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign level House of Reckoning
  73. ^ Halo Waypoint, STORY SHARD: THE LAST SKY MARSHAL - PART 3 (Retrieved on Aug 15, 2022) [archive]
  74. ^ Halo: Shadows of Reach, chapter 3