Jiralhanae War Chieftain

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This article is about the rank used in the Covenant. For the rank used in the Banished, see War Chief.
War Chieftain


Pack leaders[1]





Other role(s):

Scarab commanders

Notable individuals:



"Commanding troops requires both audacity and great strength."
— A War Chieftain's mantra[2]

The Jiralhanae War Chieftain[3], also known as Alpha Prime,[4] is one of the highest Jiralhanae military ranks within the defunct Covenant.[1]


Roles and responsibilities[edit]

War Chieftains are superior in rank to regular Jiralhanae Chieftains,[5] and are responsible for commanding much larger packs than Jiralhanae Chieftains.[1] Despite this, War Chieftains are more often seen guarding smaller outposts. They are commonly commanders of Deutoros-pattern Scarabs, and always perform tasks with a crew featuring Jiralhanae exclusively.[6]


Before the First Immolation and subsequently joining the Covenant, Jiralhanae War Chieftains wielded gravity hammers evolved from traditional war hammers as a symbol of their clan leadership in addition to being a powerful weapon,[7] which were a major focus of the Jiralhanae's barbaric culture. A ceremonial hammer of a pack or a clan is only passed to another Jiralhanae if he can best his chieftain in ceremonial combat; the mantle of leadership passes along with the weapon, with long and storied histories stretching back to prior to nuclear wars in 2492.[8]

During the Human-Covenant War and the Great Schism, Jiralhanae War Chieftains were commonly deployed during the final year of the Great War, with War Chieftains playing a significant role in the Covenant's occupation of Earth and defense on Installation 00.[9][10]



Instead of the red-and-black armor of a regular Chieftain, a War Chieftain wears a golden-bronze suit with slightly more powerful shields. Their head crests are also more ornate, with a larger forehead spike featuring a split "V" shape with jagged spikes lining the edges, and a smaller "Y" further forward on the helmet. This makes the War Chieftains more recognizable and intimidating in battle.[10]


Most War Chieftains carry powerful ranged weapons, as they prefer to inflict maximum damage upon their enemies while reinforcing their physical superiority to other Jiralhanae.[1] Weapons commonly wielded by War Chieftains include Pez'tk-pattern fuel rod guns and Pek-pattern plasma cannons, usually rather than the gravity hammers carried by the lower ranked regular Chieftains despite sometimes using latter weapons to melee their opponents.[10][9]


War Chieftains usually carry plasma cannons or fuel rod guns into battle and use spikers as sidearms, striking their enemies from afar while their subordinates close in and engage. This gives them considerable ability to suppress their enemies, allowing their own forces to move freely. If within range, they will often deploy a power drain to eliminate the player's shields. They may also throw a flare to blind their opponents, and can use their weapons to devastating effect while their opponents are unable to see. War Chieftains are the only NPCs in Halo 3 (other than the Arbiter in the Halo 3 single-player campaign) that can melee with a plasma cannon without dropping it. There have been some instances where a War Chieftain goes berserk, enabling it to leap great distances and kill John-117 in a single blow.

On Heroic difficulty, it takes approximately fifty-five assault rifle rounds to kill a War Chieftain: twelve rounds to disable their shield, and an additional forty-three rounds to kill them. A shielded War Chieftain takes six particle beam rifle, SRS99D-S2 AM sniper rifle, or Brute shot hits to kill, while only sustaining taking two direct hits from a gravity hammer before they fall. While their shield can be dropped with only eight plasma rifle bolts or a single overcharged plasma pistol shot, their special power armor grants them unusually high resistance to energy weaponry. even while unshielded, they can withstand more than two hundred Plasma Rifle bolts before succumbing to death.

It is advised that the player use long-range weapons against a War Chieftain, such as the battle rifle or sniper rifle. Use cover effectively and fire accurate shots to knock their helmet off. Meleeing it will cause it to stagger, simply allowing you to bludgeon it to death with melee attacks without having to worry about it counter-attacking you if you are quick enough. It is also possible to kill one quickly by meleeing it, and then circling for an assassination as long as he doesn't backhand the player with the weapon the first chance he gets. Firebombs are a good way to kill a War Chieftain, and if you can stick it on its weapon, a plasma or spike grenade will do. Note that only their weapon can be stuck, and not their armor. On Legendary, sticking is not a guaranteed one-hit kill. You can still follow up with a headshot using a battle rifle or Covenant carbine or a quick melee to take them down.

In Halo 3: ODST, however, War Chieftains sometimes wield gravity hammers, making them some of the most powerful enemies in the game, as they have stronger shielding and are higher ranked than regular Jiralhanae Chieftains.

Production notes[edit]


  • In Halo 3, War Chieftains are known to go berserk when a power drain is next to them for some odd reason. Leave the Chieftain alone for long enough and it will turn back to normal.


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 136
  2. ^, Stats (Retrieved on Nov 14, 2014) [archive]
  3. ^, WAR CHIEFTAIN (Retrieved on Aug 20, 2014) [archive]
  4. ^ Halo 3, Bestarium
  5. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 245
  6. ^ Halo 3, campaign level The Covenant
  7. ^ Halo Waypoint, Gravity Hammer (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
  8. ^ Halo Waypoint, Gravity Hammer (Retrieved on Mar 14, 2011) [archive]
  9. ^ a b Halo 3: ODST
  10. ^ a b c Halo 3