They're all scary and angry and they like to smash things.
Mgalekgolo (Ophis congregatio, meaning "serpent union"), more commonly known as Hunters, are a unique gestalt of smaller creatures known as Lekgolo, which are orange, worm-like creatures. Lekgolo were known to group together and form a Mgalekgolo for protection during combat, due to the form's increased strength at the cost of maneuverability. When grouped together, the intelligence of the Mgalekgolo colony is increased with every additional Lekgolo.
When the Covenant discovered the Mgalekgolo homeworld of Te, they intended on mining its riches, but faced heavy resistance from the Mgalekgolo. Their physiology gave them a tremendous and unexpected advantage in combat, halting the Covenant's advance and killing an Arbiter. The Covenant were further infuriated by the Lekgolo's destruction of Forerunner artifacts during the Mgalekgolo's routine feedings. In ground combat, they were mostly victorious even against Sangheili. The Covenant was forced to rely on orbital bombardment, against which the Mgalekgolo had little defense. To save themselves from extinction, they agreed to join the Covenant. This later came to be known as the Taming of the Lekgolo.
Terms for their induction into the Covenant were eventually met despite communication difficulties. In their agreement to join with the Covenant, the Lekgolo worms were consigned to investigate the Forerunner dreadnought that resided in High Charity, and help to uncover its inner workings. Their price for this trade was access to space-travel technologies and exploration of the Covenant space lanes. The Mgalekgolo also received their armor and assault cannons from the Sangheili.
Mgalekgolo are the strongest and the most resilient species within the Covenant's army. A typical Mgalekgolo usually stands between 3.66 metres (12.0 ft) and 3.96 metres (13.0 ft) tall, but crouches to between 2.44 metres (8.0 ft) and 2.59 metres (8.5 ft) when in its combat state to protect its unarmored stomach and neck. A Mgalekgolo can become larger than even a standard Covenant Wraith.
Mgalekgolos fight primarily by using the heavy assault cannons integrated directly into their armor on one arm. On the other arm, they carry an enormous and nearly impervious two-part metal shield that is made from the same material that forms Covenant warship hulls and weighs approximately two tons. This shield protects them from almost every form of plasma-based or ballistic weaponry available to Covenant and human infantry and is a powerful melee tool capable of crushing anything in its path and allowing the Mgalekgolo to sweep away most enemies in close combat. Despite their immense mass, the Mgalekgolo are surprisingly nimble and can gain a surprising burst of speed when they move in for a melee kill.
Anatomy and Physiology
- Main article: Lekgolo
Mgalekgolo are composed of small, orange, worm-like beings called Lekgolo that form a single collective consciousness and act as one, similar to the Flood. Lekgolo are unintelligent at the most basic level, but can form complex thoughts and emerge as a conscious individual when they combine into larger masses. Mgalekgolo are capable of manifesting in several different iterations according to what goal they are striving to achieve and the amount of Lekgolo worms that are present. The Mgalekgolo is the most common form seen in combat, but is actually one of the more rare forms in the Lekgolo society.
Because they do not possess a central nervous system, Lekgolo are one of the few species in the Covenant that cannot be assimilated by the Flood. They can however, be infected individually via inhalation of Flood spores.
Mgalekgolo do not use vocal chords to speak, but instead vibrate their bodies to make a low rumble to produce speech. They are capable of mimicking the language of other species, forming words and sentences that are "felt rather than heard." Their quiet nature among other races of the Covenant is possibly a result of difficulty speaking with other Covenant races. The known names of some Mgalekgolo seem to imply that they use very simple vowels and only a few consonants.
When a single Mgalekgolo colony becomes too big, the colony will divide in half to create two independent Mgalekgolo colonies. These colonies will share an extremely close and mysterious bond, referred to only as being "bond brothers" or "mates." Mgalekgolo that have split into "bond brothers" are recognized by spiked appendages that rise from their shoulders. The Covenant usually drop bonded Mgalekgolo into combat together because if one of the bonded colonies is killed, the other will go into a frenzied berserk.
Lekgolo follow their own cultural traditions rather than the homogenized religion of the wider Covenant. They never associate or communicate with the other races in the Covenant Empire and are dismissive, contemptuous, and arrogant towards them. Mgalekgolo also have no qualms about committing friendly fire against races they consider "lesser," such as Unggoy and Kig-Yar. However, Sangheili are an exception, as the Mgalekgolo respect their adeptness in combat.
Their culture is more refined than one would presume from their hulking appearance: they are known to tear opponents apart with their bare hands while in a blood frenzy and then suddenly pause to recite war poetry. Religious beliefs vary, but they believe in a type of "afterlife." Some also meditate in their spare time or before battle.
Mgalekgolo have three names: a personal name, a bond name, and a line name. The personal name is given at their "birth." The line name is the personal name of the most successful Mgalekgolo in his ancestry. The bond name, or their middle name, is taken between bonded pairs that have split into two.
Two examples of some Hunter names are Igido Nosa Hurru and Ogada Nosa Fasu. From the few Hunter names that have appeared in the novels, it seems that the given name has three syllables, but the bond name and line name only have two syllables. However, it is not known why the line name is not three syllables considering that the line name would be an ancestor's three-syllable personal name.
Unlike most Covenant forces, Mgalekgolo do not seem to possess a visible rank and are almost always seen wearing exactly the same blue armor. The only exception are the gold-armored Mgalekgolo found in Halo 3: ODST. Whether there is any other significance to this is unknown.
They are sometimes deployed independently of other Covenant troops, indicating a level of independence and responsibility granted to them. Some may have a high enough rank to be trusted by themselves. In Halo: The Fall of Reach, Mgalekgolo guard the crystal in Côte d'Azur. In Halo: Reach, two Mgalekgolo lead a group of Skirmisher Champions in the level The Pillar of Autumn. During the Battle of Onyx, some Mgalekgolos apparently had command of lower-ranking Sangheili. Exact hierarchy is unknown.
- In Tagalog, "Mga" means "the" in plural use. Mgalekgolo in English would be "the Lekgolos."
- Ophis congregatio means "the congregation of Ophis." Ophis is Οφις in Greek and means "Serpent."
- Mgalekgolo won't shoot other Mgalekgolo if the player is standing on one's head, but other infantry will.
- In the book Halo: The Flood, it is mentioned that Mgalekgolo have skin and a jutting spine. This is incorrect, as they were revealed to be a compound of small worm-like creatures.
- It is possible that the worms may form a skin-like membrane on the outside of their colony for protection against more casual damage, and in Halo 3, a metal column can be seen after the back armor plating has been detached which perhaps forms an artificial "spine" for vertical support.
- At first, Mgalekgolo were meant to comprise the whole of Heretic forces on the Gas Mine.
- Spartan-II William-043 killed a Hunter by ripping a few Lekgolo worms from its body. This means that a Hunter can be killed if too many of its worms are displaced.
- The Hunter resembles the enemy of the same name from Bungie's older series Marathon, except that Marathon's Hunter had a shoulder-mounted weapon rather than an arm-mounted weapon.
- The spikes on the Hunter's back are sensory nodes and are as sharp as razors.
- In the Halo Legends episode The Duel, the Mgalekgolo are shown to be at least 50 feet tall. This was explained by Frank O'Connor saying that a Hunter's appearance changes due to the gravity and environment.
- No Mgalekgolo are ever seen supporting John-117 during the events of Halo 3. This is because in the making of Halo 3, Bungie did not want to confuse players by having them with both the Separatists and the Loyalists, so they were only shown as Loyalists.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, Mgalekgolo are not harmed by Fuel Rod Guns from other Mgalekgolo.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, a single shot from a pistol or sniper rifle in the exposed orange area will kill a Hunter.
- In Halo 2, it is impossible to kill or even damage a Hunter with a melee attack.
- From Halo 3 onward, whenever a Hunter spots any kind of grenade near it, it will often curl up in a defensive position until the grenade detonates.
- In Halo Wars, a Hunter can deflect many projectiles that would kill them in Halo 3, like a Wraith Mortar or a Scorpion main cannon shot.
- In Halo: Reach, Mgalekgolo' back spikes will quiver and gradually fall off as they take damage.
- In Halo: Reach, Mgalekgolo and Drones are the only creatures that cannot be assassinated.
- In Halo: Reach, there is a Forerunner "I" on the right shoulder.
- In a Halo: Reach custom Firefight match, if a player sets Damage to 300% and hits a Hunter directly with a shot from a Fuel Rod Gun, the Hunter will drop its shield on the ground. Even after the shield is dropped, Mgalekgolo will still try to block it with a shield that they are no longer holding.
- In Halo: Reach and Halo 4, Mgalekgolo do not berserk if their partner is killed.
- Halo: Spartan Assault is the first Halo game to not feature Mgalekgolo. However, one is displayed on the game's cover.
- A Mgalekgolo and an Unggoy are featured in the DVD surround sound test in the Halo 2 and Halo 3 bonus DVDs. The Hunter produces a low rumbling sound and a belch as a subwoofer test.
- The number of syllables in a Mgalekgolo's name may be a 7 reference, as 3 + 2 + 2 = 7.
- The pre-Covenant Mgalekgolo created the gestalts (the common form of Hunter) by forming around rocks in their environments to make a semi-humanoid shape.
- In the original Halo 2, when you play as the Arbiter and have Hunter allies, you cannot have more than 2 Hunters in a room at the same time. If you force a second pair of Hunters into a room that already has one pair, the first pair will die. This is mainly seen in the final mission, The Great Journey.
- Halo Waypoint - Halo 4 Intel - HUNTER
- Bungie.net - Bungie Weekly Update 08/14/09
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo 3 Instruction Manual
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx - pages 190-191
- Halo 3: ODST Field Guide
- Halo: The Flood
- The Covenant Primer: Best of The Bestiary
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- "Essentials - Disk Three"
- Halo: First Strike - page 110
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo 2: Anniversary - Terminal 8