Now that Halo 5 has been out for a solid 2 weeks, I'm starting to get a nice feel for the multiplayer. Well, Warzone anyway. As many of you know me here on HaloCustoms, I'm more of a casual kind of guy when it comes to Halo (it comes with being a mini game forger after all). In spite of my poor track record in Arena, I can safely say I make up for it with my extensive playtime in Warzone (already exceeding 3 days in game according to my service record). With all of that time spent in Warzone comes a bit of experience, at least as far as two and a half weeks into a game's release can get you. I'm not going to talk pros and cons here as far as the playlist is concerned, but what I AM going to layout in this post here are some helpful tips and strategies that you and your team can use when playing Warzone online.
Expect this to be an ongoing series of posts where each week I'll cover one of the maps available to play in Warzone matchmaking. As the first, I'll go with Apex 7, seeing as it's the one I play the most often.
Raid on Apex 7
For the standard Warzone gametype, the matches play out, at least from my experiences, in a timely basis in accordance to certain bosses spawning in on the map. As such, my tips and guides will be laid out in reference to these bosses' spawns.
The Drop In
Regardless of whichever side you spawn on, you will be on the beach in front of Home Base with covenant forces to your left and right. Killing all of them will unlock REQ level 2 and secure the home base. Each side will also have a standard Mongoose. If you can, I recommend grabbing it to get to the West/East Armory quickly. There are 4 elites in each Armory and you should work to take them out ASAP to capture the closer spawn to the Spire.
It's worth mentioning that if the enemy team fully focuses on the Spire at the beginning, it might be a good idea to sneak around to the other side and capture the enemy Armory right away. They will lose their closer spawn to the Spire and it will be likely much easier to capture the Spire in the long run.
Hunter Elders at Spire
The first major bosses on this map are the two Hunters that spawn at the top of the Spire. From my experiences, it's best to let the enemy get to the Spire first. It lets the Hunters take some damage without you having to waste any ammo, and it weakens the enemy. Push into the spire with a big number of teammates and there should be no problems taking control. Until the Hunters are taken down, you really need to watch out for enemy Spartans charging in, especially from the ramps at the bottom. If your teammates are all focused on the Hunters, take it upon yourself to at least watch the ramps by the REQ station for people coming up.
It's also worth noting that two Zealot Assassins spawn in the caves on both sides of the map near each team's home base for 25 points each like the hunters. The elites accompanying them are also invisible but they carry swords. Nabbing the Zealot kill for points is worth doing on its own, but taking out the other elites and grabbing swords can really help take control of the Spire early on.
Once the Spire has been captured, Elite Ultras will spawn near the home base by the beach. They will be on the side of the base away from the Armory. Another easy 25 points. These elites also drop Fuel Rods which are nice. The jackals with them drop Carbines which are even nicer.
Next, Ghost Marauders will spawn in Ghosts at the back of the two armories. They are elites riding in Sword Ghosts. Pretty easy to take down although they are a bit tankier than you'd expect. Teamshoot to kill.
Tankmaster Rok at the Beach
In between the East Armory and Red Team home base, a Sword Wraith will spawn along with some elites. Do not underestimate the wraith's cannon. It destroys whatever it hits. At this point both teams will most likely be trying to take out that wraith. Of course, your best option is the Spartan Laser but wait until his health is low before you fire. If he's at about 1/5-1/6 health the laser will kill him in one hit (1/4 if you have one of the better lasers). Other weapons that are good are a plasma pistol, as stunning the wraith when it's at 1/4 or less sometimes makes the Tankmaster jump out and it's a simple elite kill, and the railgun, which is good against vehicles in general. Of course, if you have vehicles that do nice damage, like a Scorpion, Banshee, Oni Warthog, or Ultra Ghost for example, that's always preferable. Just be careful not to get too close to him otherwise that cannon will deal heavy damage.
The Banshee Raiders will spawn above the armories soon after. It's a group of three Banshees, one Sword Banshee and two normal ones. The Sword Banshee gives you 25 points and the other two are a nuisance. Easily taken down with some precision weapons, but whichever team holds the Spire can easily steal the kill from the other.
Captain Hestro at the Beach
At the same location as the Tankmaster, Captain Hestro spawns above the forerunner structure at the beach piloting a Phaeton. Same weapons and vehicles that worked on the Tankmaster will work on Hestro. Spartan Lasers and Banshees in particular are extremely effective. It appears that the team that sustains more damage to Hestro pulls him towards their side of the map, but I'm not 100% on that.
After Hestro is taken down, Soldier Commanders will spawn in two locations: the cave between the beach and the Spire, and the cave in between West Armory and Blue Team's Home Base. They are Soldiers with Splinter Turrets accompanied by two other soldiers. Easiest way to take them down is with a vehicle splatter, at least the one at the cave behind the Spire. Another 25 points each.
Warden Eternal at the Crossroads
As always, Warden Eternal is the final Legendary Target. However just before the Warden spawns in, a Knight Champion will spawn at the Crossroads with some Promethian enemies. Pretty much a quick 25 points to whichever team is on top of the Spire.
Finally, the Warden Eternal will spawn in with his two Knights by his side. This is usually the deciding target of the game. Pull out all of the stops. Hit him hard and hit him constantly. Don't give the enemy team any chance to deal damage once he's at low health. Of all of the maps, this Warden's spawn location is the most open, so it's the easiest to steal the takedown. If you're looking to secure the kill for the win, try to take out enemies shooting at him whenever possible. I like to spawn a sniper/laser once the Warden spawns to take out enemies, depending on whether they're damaging him with mostly weapons or vehicles.
If your team doesn't have the Spire at this point, it's a nice idea to use the Sniper Tower at the back of your Home Base. From both sides, the Sniper Towers have a nice view of the players on the top of the Spire, making easy shots for any Sniper/DMR user.
Warzone Assault on Array
The Assault version of Apex 7 is probably the most favorable to play defense on between all three maps. This is because the two holdout locations, the Spire and the East Armory have favorable spawning for the defending team.
Defenders spawn at the top of the Spire. Attackers spawn at ground level in the direction of the West Armory. The higher ground and large platform gives the defenders a nice perch to just pick off attacking Spartans. And since the Magnum in this game is too strong for its own good, there shouldn't be too many issues defending assuming your team is competent in gunplay.
Attackers should make use of the high rocks to the sides of the Spire, both on the West and East side. The defending team will be spawning off to the side of the Spire on the East, but if you control the rocks on the East side you will push their spawn farther back. You can either stay on the rocks and use them for vantage, or use them as pathways to quickly jump to the top of the Spire. It's also worth noting that you can climb on the top of those large cover pieces outside of the back entrance ramps and use them to clamber straight to the ledge at the top platform. It catches people off guard more than anything. Attackers need to always keep watch for defenders spawning back in and running back to the Spire from the ground level. Keep the pressure on and eventually (hopefully) you'll break the defense.
In my opinion, this is easier to defend than the Spire. Defenders spawn close to the Armory in the cave leading to the home base. Spawning from this side gives them two options to climb directly onto the roof of the building: the pipes stacked on the back side of the East Armory or the simple clamber you can make by jumping from the side facing the cave. The latter jump can only be made by backing up to the high ground up against the rock wall, but it's still much easier for the defenders.
Attackers are forced to charge towards the East Armory from the direction of the Spire. This gives defenders an even bigger vantage than the top of the Spire, since it's more open with less cover and it's only coming from one direction. The right side approach is suicide for the attackers, but is necessary to reach the large rock off to the side of the base. That rock is one of the best options for the attackers in this phase. While it's not a spawn point, the rock can be used as a vantage point that keeps the defenders on the roof of the armory in check. The rock towers over the Armory in height, to the point where you can jump from the top of the rock and ground pound onto people camping the roof.
As such, this rock is also great for the defenders to secure. It's easy to get an early hold of the rock, and it gives a second angle to shoot at the oncoming attackers from. At this point, members of both teams should have BRs, so it's a valuable position to hold for either party.
If the attacking team actually manages to capture the East Armory, the final push for the core begins. As with every Warzone Assault map, the final defense in the home base is difficult for both teams.
For defenders, keep the defense solid and well positioned. When I say well positioned, I mean that not everyone should just be camping inside the base right in front of the staircases and the core. This allows attackers to push into the base and around the sides. Use those bridges to the left and right of the core. They give you a fantastic sightline of the outside, and they serve as great cover too. The stairs leading up to the core from both sides must be watched AT ALL TIMES. You need to watch for everything, mainly Active Camo, Grenades, Vehicles, and ESPECIALLY FUEL ROD CANNONS. Fuel Rods ANNIHILATE the core, to the point where I seriously believe they were put into the game for the sole purpose of core destruction. Do not be afraid to spam grenades at the stairs when you see red on the radar. Close quarters weapons like Swords and Shotguns are not a bad idea here, but Snipers are fantastic for incoming crowd control and Lasers are amazing for vehicle control.
The attackers need to keep the pressure on the defense, making sure that they are confined to the interior of the base. Now is the time for attackers to be spawn vehicles like Warthogs, Ghosts, and maybe Wraiths if you're at REQ level 5 by now. Tanks are great too, but don't push too close to the base with them. It's much better to fire shells from a distance and pick people off. As far as weapons, anything with good range and precision damage will help a lot, especially if defenders are sitting in the bridges popping shots with long range BRs or DMRs. As mentioned above, when you're ready to damage the core, charge in as a group, and have some Fuel Rods to do core damage. The standard Fuel Rod is decent, but the other two are much preferred for their faster fire rate. You will usually have very little windows for core damage, so make the most of them. It's also a good idea to throw some grenades in front of the core before charging in so the defenders are forced to move out of the way.
General Tips and Jump Locations
Every map has it's routes and jumps to it. Apex 7 has quite a few of them to say the least.
The first worth noting are the jumps to get to the roofs of West and East Armory. For West Armory, there is a higher walkway up against the rock wall. Get up to that walkway and you can jump straight to the roof of the West Armory. East Armory, as mentioned above as a similar jump. Here's a video of the East Armory jump in a match of Warzone Assault:
The second, as mentioned earlier, is the jump to the top of the Spire using the cover pieces in the back. It's obvious in its description, but I made a video of it as well:
This third jump is quite amazing. You can pull it off in Warzone Assault as an attacker and it makes a huge difference in the final push for Home Base if used correctly. You can use a rock on the East side of the Spire to jump, thrust, and clamber up into the Sniper Tower at the back of the Defenders' Home Base. Here's me executing the jump in a match of Warzone Assault on the second phase to take out two enemies sitting up in there:
And finally, the last jump. This one I was actually unaware of until recently and unfortunately could not perform in game and get footage of because I'm just a noob or something. Anyway, quoted from our friendly neighborhood Psychoduck:
When exiting Red Base through the back, there is an alternative way atop the Spire available to players. At the top of the ramp leading out of the rear of the base, you will enter a bunker-like structure with a view of the Spire. if you look to your right, you will see that an overhang which connects to the top of the Spire is anchored into the cliff wall near you. Sprint and jump to land on the angled ledge here. From there, you will have ten seconds to run along the ledge and drop down atop the Spire. Mind the compound angle along the way as it is easy to lose your footing here. This is possible on Blue side as well, though it is much harder to reach the ledge.
So, that's it for this weeks Controlling the Warzone post! Be sure to look out for my post for next week on A.R.C. and Dispatch.