The Best Power Weapons in Halo History

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Last time, we talked about the most powerful core weapons in Halo history. I included the shotgun and sniper rifle in that list, even though they technically fall into the "power weapons" category. I made the choice because, while they can change the pace of a game entirely, they are — and have always been — at the core of the Halo multiplayer experience.

The weapons on this list won't just alter the course of an entire match  they're often borderline overpowered in anyone's hands. Where the sniper and, to a lesser degree, the shotgun take aim, spacing, and map knowledge to use properly, you only have to pick up these power weapons a few times to understand and use them well.

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Best Explosive: The Rocket Launcher

There are no bad rocket launchers, but the Halo: Reach variant probably takes the cake. Speedy rockets, huge explosive radius, can track vehicles after a short lock-on time, and a healthy reload speed — what more can you want?

The only hangup for this launcher is the sometimes significant effect gravity has on each rocket, making cross-map shots tricky at best. Still, if you play your cards right, with four rockets per pickup, you can and should be able to take out the enemy team, their vehicles, and their will to live.

If only we could take the thing to Blood Gulch...

Best Energy: The Spartan Laser

Style plays a big part in my selection here, but taking out enemies instantly from across the map with a shoulder-mounted laser cannon is a hard feeling to replicate. And which version of the Spartan Laser is the best? 

Clearly the Halo 3 Spartan Laser. You get more shots overall, it takes some finesse to use, and it will destroy anything and everything that crosses its path. It doesn't matter if you're in a tank, Ghost, Banshee, or just waiting around a corner. If the Spartan Laser comes your way, you're dead.

Give up hope all who see the red beam of death.

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Best Melee: The Gravity Hammer

The Energy Sword might have a lunge and insane tracking, but it doesn't have the sheer killing potential of the Gravity Hammer. And the Halo 3 Hammer is unabashedly the king. It's grimy, it's a little wonky to use, and it creates silly ragdolls. But those are just three reasons we love it.

Without the Gravity Hammer, we wouldn't have Griffball. People wouldn't have the memories of smashing their friends into the dirt in a custom match, and all we'd be left with is a cross-map energy blade that makes zombies.

Best Light Launcher: The Concussion Rifle

There isn't a huge number of light launchers in the Halo franchise, but the Halo: Reach concussion rifle is the best of the bunch. The other options might do more damage and might have more style, but none are as effective as the concussion rifle.

Five shots of high-explosives per magazine, an easily trackable arc, and high projectile speed make this weapon deadly and plenty of fun to use.

Sometimes easier is better, as much as we don't want it to be.

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Best Fully Automatic Weapon: The SAW

Do you absolutely, positively need to kill everything within 60 feet and still have half of your drum mag left over? Pick up the SAW and listen to the salt.

Seventy-two rounds of pure, unadulterated death to campaign enemies and other players alike, this bullet hose was one of the easiest weapons to use, and the Halo 4 version takes the cake simply because that's where we first saw it used.

More importantly, it is consistent. You might have headshot capabilities in Halo 5, but there was always a chance you could miss and need that one extra bullet to finish the job. Not in the SAW's original iteration. Thirteen rounds. That was it. That was a kill. And if you managed to pick up any additional ammo, heaven help that poor, dead enemy team.

There you have it: our list of the best and brightest power weapons to ever grace the Halo franchise. Some of the weapons are powerful, others are borderline broken. Still, others just annoying. However, they're all capable of wrecking house in almost anyone's hands.

Let us know which power weapons would have made your list, and where you first encountered them.

'Till next time...

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Published Dec. 19th 2019

Contributor

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.

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