Varric-pattern heavy cruiser

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

Art of an Varric-pattern heavy cruiser from the 2022 edition of the Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition). Image from Canon Fodder #117.
Class attributes


UNSC Three-letter code: ORS[1][2][3]




Primary Assembly Forges[3]

In service:

Third Age of Conflict-present[4]

General characteristics



3,000 meters (9,843 ft)[1][5][2][3][4]


1,450 metres (4,760 ft)[1]


200 million tonnes[3][4]

Power plant:

Maneuver drive:

3 repulsor engines

Slipspace drive:





Nanolaminate plating


Sensor vanes



The Varric-pattern heavy cruiser[3][4] (UNSC three-letter classification: ORS-class heavy cruiser)[1][2][3] by the UNSC, is a capital warship classification within the now-defunct Covenant fleet.[1] It is used for planetary occupation and naval command, as well as to support Covenant flagships.[5] Following the Great Schism, these ships have become invaluable to independent warlords.[2]

The "O" (for "Ordained") in the cruiser's three-letter classification code indicates that the class has been improved upon with Forerunner technology, specifically a weapons core. The "R" (for "Reverence") denotes that the cruiser is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions and is capable of excavating Forerunner artifacts. The "S" (for "Salvation") indicates that the cruiser is a dedicated warship.[6] Accordingly, these vessels have on occaision been referred to as "Reverence-class" warships.[7][8][5]


Design details[edit]

The Varric-pattern is the largest known cruiser classification in Covenant service, at a length of 3,000 meters (9,843 ft). Visually, it resembles the smaller Ket-pattern and Maugen-pattern cruisers with a more bulky profile and four sensor vanes located on the ventral surface of the ship's head. The middle portion of the ship contains a ring similar to the lower ring of the Ceudar-pattern heavy corvette, while the overall profile bears some resemblance to the larger carrier classes.

Crew and complement[edit]

Compared to other Covenant warships, the Varric-pattern heavy cruiser is labor-intensive and difficult to operate, requiring about 1,286 hand-picked personnel to be effectively manned. These are led by sixteen Sangheili, with seventy Huragok for maintenance duties, and Menials make up the rest. The reason for this is because these cruisers are old, dating back to the Covenant's early centuries. Special interpreters and scholars are required on the warship's bridge, as many of the ship's controls and data feeds only display now-cryptic messages in an early Sangheili dialect.[3]

The cruisers also carry a considerable complement of ground troops including 400 Obedientiary officers, 6,000 Warriors, and a further 8,500 Thralls.[3]

Power and propulsion[edit]

Unique to this class are a number of Forerunner shrine-core power plants of various sizes. Drawing their untapped potential is a risky affair, as it can destroy the cruiser. As a result, their full power is restrained by devotional seals and interlocks, which is then harnessed by Covenant control and weapon systems. Blessed keepers in the warship's engineering section practice many strange rituals to bypass the Forerunner security systems. The inner workings of the shrine-cores are a mystery, and must be installed by Huragok.[3]

Three repulsor engines are located at the back of the ship, with the engineering section located just above them.[3]


The Varric is well armed for its size, enabling its use as a flagship for small task forces. It is equipped with a Ventrax-pattern heavy plasma lance on its dorsal surface as its heaviest ship-to-ship weapon, which fires a tightly-focused stream of plasma which travels almost as fast as light. These weapons do damage via a combination of thermal and kinetic effects, and have proven capable of bisecting unshielded warships at close range. In addition, three Felo-pattern plasma beam emitters are installed. Due to power restraints, only one of these weapons can fire at once, with the Varric-pattern typically combining its forward-mounted projector with two plasma torpedoes.[7] For ship-to-ship combat, forty-eight Melusean-pattern heavy plasma cannons and sixteen Qur-pattern plasma torpedo silos are installed, with the plasma torpedoes being preferred because of their tracking capabilities. Defending the ship against fighters, attack ships and missiles are eighty Ferriel-pattern pulse lasers.[3][4]

For ground attacks, the Varric-pattern has two types of weapon systems to bring to bear. The first is its Phar-pattern superheavy excavation beam, which is capable of glassing worlds in the name of the Covenant and excavating Forerunner artifacts. Sixteen Fet-pattern plasma bombardment mortars are there for smaller, more precise attacks.[3][4]


The Varric-pattern boasts a variety of stealth-related advancements, including a cloaking system[9] to mask it from enemy fleets.[10]

Ships of the line[edit]

Operational history[edit]

The first Varric-pattern heavy cruisers were commissioned during the Third Age of Conflict in the Covenant's early centuries to fight the many bloody civil wars and slaughters, which in turn typified the Covenant's Ages of Conflict and Doubt during this early period. Because of this service, each Varric-pattern warship is a symbol of ancient honor, and their accumulated glory reflects on the hand-picked crews. As an examiner-class vessel, Varric-pattern heavy cruisers were sent far across the Orion Arm, where their missions often determined the fate of entire worlds and species. Because of this prestigious assignment, only Ministries that had received approval from the Hierarchs were allowed to activate, crew, and deploy these powerful warships.[3][4]

A small number of Varric-pattern heavy cruisers participated in the Human-Covenant War, and they were assigned as flagships for small battle groups. One of these ships supported the Fleet of Valiant Prudence during the Fall of Reach, where it led a detachment consisting of SDV-class heavy corvettes and a single Ket-pattern battlecruiser. Later on in the campaign, at least thirteen such ships were involved in cleanup operations over the planet.[11]

When the Great Schism erupted, these powerful capital ships were pitted against both each other and the other units of the Covenant. The heavy cruiser Incorruptible, now commandeered by Voro 'Mantakree, briefly attempted to unify the infighting Covenant fleets in order to quarantine the Flood during the Battle of Installation 05. It would later lead an armada from the Combined Fleet of Righteous Purpose to Onyx, where it was ultimately destroyed.[7]

After the Human-Covenant War concluded, most Varric-pattern heavy cruisers found themselves in service of various warlords,[2] with many disregarding or forgetting the significance of their names and achievements as they fought over what remained of the Covenant.[3][4] Two heavy cruisers, manned by Sangheili and Jiralhanae respectively, would be destroyed during the Carrow Conflict.[12][13]

Halo: Fleet Battles[edit]

Covenant ORS Heavy Cruiser[edit]

ORS Heavy Cruiser Capital Ship, Large (200 PTS)
The ORS-class heavy cruiser. Movement 5" Systems Loadout
Damage Track 11 • 10 • 5

Cloaking System
Defence Array (4)
Glide (3)
Point Defence (5)

Build Rating 4
Hangars 5
Boarding Craft 3
Security Detail 4
Primary Weapon Range Weapon Loadouts Arc Dice
Plasma Lance 18/32" Plasma Forward or Port + Starboard 14

(OR) Plasma Beam 12/-" Beam/ Plasma Forward or Port + Starboard 9/9/9

Secondary Weapon Range Weapon Loadouts Arc Dice
Plasma Cannon Arrays 10/20" Plasma Forward or Port + Starboard 10

Covenant Supported ORS Heavy Cruiser[edit]

This element features one ORS-class heavy cruiser and one SDV-class heavy corvette

ORS Heavy Cruiser Capital Ship, Large (220 PTS)
The ORS-class heavy cruiser. Movement 5" Systems Loadout
Damage Track 11 • 10 • 6

Cloaking System
Defence Array (5)
Glide (3)
Point Defence (6)

Build Rating 5
Hangars 6
Boarding Craft 3
Security Detail 5
Primary Weapon Range Weapon Loadouts Arc Dice
Plasma Lance 18/32" Plasma Forward or Port + Starboard 14

(OR) Plasma Beam 12/-" Beam/ Plasma Forward or Port + Starboard 9/9/9

Secondary Weapon Range Weapon Loadouts Arc Dice
Plasma Cannon Arrays 10/20" Plasma Forward or Port + Starboard 10

(AND) Plasma Torpedoes 10/24" Missiles/Plasma Forward 5

Production notes[edit]

The Varric-pattern heavy cruiser was first identified as such in 2011's Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, though its first appearance was as the "Reverence-class" cruiser Incorruptible in 2006's Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. The class' first canonical visual appearance was in Halo: Fleet Battles. As the Varric had never appeared in any visual media prior to 2015, the class had to be designed from scratch for the game. 343 Industries' Franchise Team noted that "Spartan Games 'got' the design language of the Covenant", and so the design of the cruiser went through only a few rounds of iteration. The basic shape was decided upon immediately when the design process began.[10]

The Varric combines design features of the Ket-pattern battlecruiser, the Ceudar-pattern heavy corvette, and the Sh'wada-pattern supercarrier. The Varric was intended to be the "big brother" of the CCS class while concomitantly paying homage to the Kerel-pattern assault carrier (which is identical to the CSO). The heavy cruiser was designed to be an apparent visual link between Covenant cruiser and carrier classes in terms of size.[10]

In the Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), a render of the Varric-pattern cruiser was supplied by the Halo fan mod Sins of the Prophets. The Varric was one of a number of ship models created by the mod and used in the encyclopedia to represent a number of UNSC and Covenant warships.[14]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 41
  2. ^ a b c d e Halo Waypoint, Covenant Cruiser (Retrieved on Nov 26, 2015) [archive]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Halo: Warfleet, page 64-65
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 265
  5. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 276-277
  6. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Have S'moa (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2021) [archive]
  7. ^ a b c Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, chapter 22
  8. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 264-265
  9. ^ Halo: Fleet Battles
  10. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - In the Loop (Retrieved on Jan 16, 2021) [archive]
  11. ^ Halo: First Strike, chapter 18
  12. ^ Halo: Envoy, chapter 1
  13. ^ Halo: Envoy, chapter 9
  14. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Master Class (Retrieved on Jul 12, 2021) [archive]