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The Jiralhanae Honor Guards took the place of the Sangheili Honor Guardsmen as the loyal Protectors of the Hierarchs after the murder of the High Prophet of Regret by John-117. This Changing of the Guard was the beginning of the Civil War of the Covenant also known as the Great Schism. The Sangheili were incensed that their role of protecting the Prophets, which they had faithfully executed for a millennium, had been now delegated by these new upstarts and genetic rivals.
They are found on the levels Gravemind, High Charity and The Great Journey. They make their first appearances during the starting cut-scene of the level Sacred Icon where they take the Energy Stave and unique armor from the now replaced Sangheili Honor Guard. They are also the first Jiralhanae rank to be encountered alive by the Player. At the start of the Gravemind level, the Player battles their first two Honor Guards. Honor Guards are considerably rarer than standard Jiralhanae, with only a total of less than a couple dozen appearing throughout Halo 2.
Jiralhanae Honor Guards fight with their own weapons, which include the Jiralhanae Plasma Rifle, the Brute Shot and sometimes the Covenant Carbine. They can also use the Shotgun. They always work in Pairs or Packs of two to three Jiralhanae and will go berserk when all but one are killed. Unlike their Sangheili counterparts, the Honor Guard helmet worn by Jiralhanae Honor Guards prevents them from receiving Headshots. This may be due to the fact that they wear their original Jiralhanae Helmets underneath, and since together, these greatly strengthen protection. It's completely impossible to headshot an Honor Guard Jiralhanae.
Jiralhanae Honor Guards are the highest rank of Jiralhanae seen in Halo 2 aside from Chieftain of the Jiralhanae, and are noticeably more difficult opponents than Jiralhanae Majors or Jiralhanae Captains. Their indestructible helmets render them immune to headshots and thus they must be killed with bodyshots, which can be a difficult task considering a Jiralhanae's enormous durability. Effective ways to kill these Jiralhanae include to Dual-Wield Plasma Rifles, unleash a full Round of Needler fire, use the Covenant Carbine, use the Beam Rifle, or simply kill them with a Plasma Grenade as they are somewhat slow. Fuel Rod Guns and Brute Shots are also effective.
Jiralhanae Honor Guards wear the same armor as the Sangheili Honor Guards but with slightly different platings. These plates have a yellow and red alternating pattern, bordered by black. This yellow/red alternating pattern is also seen on the thrones of the High Prophets. The helmet has been upgraded and made larger since Jiralhanae have larger heads than Sangheili and also have a yellow/red alternating pattern. They also have a red Jiralhanae Captain flag mounted on their shoulder.
- The Jiralhanae Honor Guards in Halo 2 look the closest to their Halo 3 counterparts due to their armor, though the armor appears different, as it is not typical "power armor."
- They only appear in Halo 2 and Halo: Uprising.
- They are fought in three levels: Gravemind, High Charity and The Great Journey.
- The Jiralhanae Bodyguard is believed to be the replacement for the Jiralhanae Honor Guard in Halo 3.
- If a Jiralhanae Honor Guard is shot in the head several times with a ranged weapon, a helmet like the ones sported by regular Jiralhanae will come off from under the Honor Guard helmet which will remain on the Jiralhanae head.
- It is possible that Brute Honor Guards are Captains in rank, as they have red Captain Flag attached to their shoulder.
- However speculation, it is possible that a Brute counterpart to the Sangheili Honor Guard Ultra may have existed, because their helmets were also forfeited to the Brutes. Although this seems unlikely as no Jiralhanae Honor Guard Ultra appears in Halo 2. Perhaps less organized in the wake of the Changing of the Guard, there may have been no need for such a rank.
- In the beginning of the level Sacred Icon, the Arbiter approaches the Prophets in High Charity, and is shocked to see the Sangheili Honor Guards giving up their spears and helmets to Jiralhanae. It is odd how the helmets seemed to fit both heads perfectly, although the Jiralhanae have much larger heads than the Sangheili.
- It is also odd how in the level Sacred Icon, the Jiralhanae waiting for armor have absolutely no Honor Guard armor on, yet the Sangheili leave with a full suit of armor, and the new Jiralhanae Honor Guards also stay with a full set of armor, although they showed up with none on. This is a slight flaw in the cutscene.