Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

Looking for the rank Jiralhanae Chieftain or Chieftain of the Jiralhanae, the rulers of the Jiralhanae?

War Chieftain[2] is the second highest Jiralhanae rank.[1] The rank is featured in Halo 3, with War Chieftains playing a significant role in the Covenant's occupation of Earth and defense on the Ark. It is observed that most War Chieftains carry powerful ranged weapons, rather than gravity hammers. 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.


War Chieftains seem to be higher in rank than regular Jiralhanae Chieftains[3] and are responsible for commanding packs of brute stalkers .[1] War Chieftains are more often seen guarding smaller outposts. They are commonly commanders of Scarabs, and always perform tasks with a crew only featuring Jiralhanae,[4] rather than being warlords of packs. War Chieftains, unlike regular Chieftains, are believed to be the equivalent of a general.


Instead of the lucid red-and-black armor of a regular Chieftain, a War Chieftain wears a similar, 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 "V" further forward on the helmet. This makes the War Chieftains more recognizable and intimidating in battle.


War Chieftains usually carry Plasma Cannons or Fuel Rod Guns into battle and 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 Jiralhanae goes berserk, in which it can leap great distances and kill John-117 in a single blow.

On Heroic difficulty, it takes approximately fifty-five Assault Rifle rounds to kill one: twelve rounds to disable their shield, and an additional forty-three rounds to kill them. A shielded War Chieftain takes six Particle Beam Rifle, Sniper Rifle, or Brute Shot hits to kill. 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, and even unshielded, they can withstand more than two hundred Plasma Rifle bolts before falling. It takes two Gravity Hammer hits to kill them as well.

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's also possible to kill one quickly by meleeing it, and then circling for an assassination. Incendiary grenades 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 Carbine or a quick melee to take them down.


  • In Halo 3, War Chieftains are known to go berserk when a Power Drain is next to them. Leave a Jiralhanae alone for long enough and it will turn back to normal.
  • It is believed that in Halo: Contact Harvest, Maccabeus, and later Tartarus, wore the armor of a War Chieftain when he was the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae
  • In the last page of Halo 3: The Official Strategy Guide, it shows a War Chieftain holding a Gravity Hammer, in Halo 3: ODST they are seen using one.
  • War Chieftains will never shoot up close with a Fuel Rod Gun, in order to avoid splash damage, so it is useful to use a Gravity Hammer or an Energy Sword against them. However, try to avoid staying close to them for long, because it might choose to melee you. In Halo 3, if you do get close to a War Chieftain, it is advised to circle strafe right to avoid the melee. If you strafe left, the melee will affect you. If you strafe right, you have an easy assassination. If the War Chieftain goes berserk, do not engage him in close combat; his melees will be harder to avoid. If the War Chieftain doesn't berserk but starts to swing his weapon instead of his fist (that is, if Jiralhanae is wielding the Fuel Rod Gun), jump and then quickly turn around and assassinate him.
  • In the video Et Tu Brute?, a War Chieftain is seen holding a Type-42 Plasma Cannon (such as those seen in Halo 2) as a placeholder model, since the in-game model for the Type-52 Plasma Cannon (the variant that was ultimately featued in the game) had not yet been created.
  • When playing Firefight in Halo 3: ODST, War Chieftains can be seen wielding Gravity Hammers.
  • On the level Tsavo Highway and The Storm, it is possible to disarm a War Chieftain by getting him to board your Warthog, Ghost, or Chopper and attack you. After getting off the Warthog, he will be disarmed, and he will charge at you and only use melee attacks.
  • The picture of the War Chieftain in the Bestiarum is actually a picture of a Brute that was scrapped and redesigned in Halo 3's early stages of development.
  • In Halo 3 on Legendary difficulty, a War Chieftain is able to survive a Spartan Laser shot, but a Brute Chieftain is not (unless the latter activates their invincibility).
  • Most War Chieftains in Halo 3 use Plasma Cannons and Fuel Rod Guns. They are rarely seen driving vehicles in Halo 3.
  • The War Chieftain does not reappear in Halo: Reach. Instead the role of heavy weapon-wielding Brutes is filled by the regular Brute Chieftain.


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