The Jiralhanae, referred by humans as Brutes, are a large, bipedal, ape-like client species of the Covenant.

Overview and Background

Brutes are a physically imposing species of simian origin, resembling large gorillas with ursine, rhinoceros and alien features. They have a large, stocky build (a result of the increased gravity of their home planet) and a thick skin covered with matted, fur-like hair. The colour of this skin and hair is indicative of their age; younger Brutes are notable for having a wide variety of skin colours including various shades of tans, browns and reds, while hair typically comes in black, brown, dark red or blonde. Both the skin and hair gradually lose their pigmentation as a Brute continues to age, the former becoming increasingly lighter and greyer, while the latter gradually becomes greyish-silver (which is considered to be a sign of respect within the Brutes' culture).

Ever since their integration into the Covenant, the Brutes have been viewed with contempt by the Elites due to their primitive, monomaniacal nature. As such, deliberate steps have been taken to put the Brutes at a military and hierarchical disadvantage within the Covenant Empire. However, with the initiation of the Human-Covenant War, the High Prophets decreed that as every member of the Covenant deserves to earn their right to partake in the Great Journey, the Brutes were to be provided with a greater degree of control in the military, allowing them to commandeer their own ships and accompany groundside campaigns. However, this newfound freedom is merely a small step in the High Prophet of Truth's master plan to have the more subservient Brutes eventually supplant the Elites, placing the former in key military positions/assets for the day that control is to be forcefully seized from the latter.

Having enjoyed their uncontested dominance within the Covenant society and military, the Elites have not welcomed this incursion of the Brutes upon their military operations, continuing to exercise their disdain through other means; Brutes are only deployed to the battlefield either as frontline cannon fodder or reserve troops, the latter which only occurs should the Elites fail in completing a mission objective. Their weaponry primarily consists of outdated models of existing Covenant firearms (another of the Elites' countermeasures enacted to stifle the Brutes' influence within the military), however, they're also permitted by the Prophets to use to their traditional, pre-Covenant-based weaponry such as the Brute Shot and the Piercer. However, they can be found wielding Particle Carbines and Focus Rifles in some situations. Brutes are also shown to express a fondness for the ballistic nature of UNSC weaponry and (given the circumstances), will take the opportunity to do acquire these weapons either as trophies or for personal use.

Rank Structure, Weaponry and Equipment


Image Description
Chieftain Clad in golden Power Armour and adorning an elaborate spiked headdress, War Chieftains are the oldest and most experienced of Brute combatants. Consisting of the Alpha Males of various Master Packs, War Chieftains act as the political, spiritual and military leaders within Brute society, having obtained their position by murdering the previous title holder. War Chieftains saw very little action during the Battle of Installation 04, only being regularly deployed during the Flood outbreak upon the where they fought back the parasite with Hunter Shade Cannons.
Brute Commander Commanders are highly decorated veterans that can be identified by their white Power Armour and their cyclops-like helmet with a bright red light emitting from the "eye."  Having achieved their rank after countless battles, Brute Commanders not only act as pack leadership but also as intelligence officers or a "secret police", responsible safeguarding information about the Prophet of Truth's plot to overthrow the Elites. They are most commonly seen armed with Brute Shots and Brute Piercers but are also seen carrying Shredders, Brute Plasma Rifles and Focus Rifles.
Brute Leader Leaders are experienced warriors that can be identified by their red armour and by their more resilient, horned helmets of the same colour. Having earned their rank after several battles, Brute Leaders are typically tasked maintaining order within their assigned pack and directing lesser troops while in combat. They are commonly armed with Shredders, Brute Plasma Rifles and Brute Shots, but are sometimes seen equipped with Focus Rifles.
Brute Follower Followers are the lowest rank of Brute infantry and can be identified by their blue armour pieces and their basic helmets of the same colour. Followers primarily consist of younger Brutes (as evidenced by their wider variety in skin and hair colours) and are normally encountered as part of a larger Brute pack alongside other Brutes, compensating their lack of tactical skill with strength in numbers. They can, however, be witnessed leading smaller squads of lesser Covenant species on some occasions. They are most commonly seen carrying Shredders and Brute Plasma Rifles, but will rarely be seen armed with Particle Carbines. When leading a squad or pack, they will almost always be carrying Brute Shots.

Gameplay Information


Despite the majority of their combatants lacking energy shielding and basic armour plating, Brutes more than make up for it with their natural durability; they can absorb large amounts of both ballistic and plasma fire before perishing and are capable of shrugging off some explosive weaponry. However, Brutes are extremely vulnerable to weapons capable of performing headshots, as their only form of protection against them are helmets which can absorb only a few shots before it is destroyed, the durability of each helmet being determined by the Brute's rank.

Brute Commanders are unique in that they possess Brute Power Armour. This armour projects a personal energy shield around the Brute in a similar manner to that of an Elite, but cannot recharge after absorbing damage. The shield transitions from blue to a bright red as it weakens, and once collapsed the armour generating the shield will overload and destroy itself. While still possessing the physical resilience of standard Brutes, Commanders stripped of their shields possess zero additional protection to any part of its body. This includes the head, leaving an unshielded Commander especially vulnerable to a headshot.

Brute Chieftains are the toughest and most well-protected rank of Brute. Their Power Armour projects an extremely durable energy shield which, once collapsed, does not destroy the armour underneath. This armour protects large sections of the Chieftain's body from ballistic/plasma fire and from being stuck by Plasma Grenades, on top of being virtually indestructible. The only armour piece that can be destroyed is the Chieftains headdress, which can take the most punishment of any Brute-worn helmet.

Brutes are frequently encountered in packs, which consist of either: a varying number of Brutes (typically one to three) leading a squad of lesser Covenant species (much like a standard Elite-led squad); or large squads consisting almost entirely of Brutes, led by either several Leaders/Commanders or a single Chieftain.


A general strategy is to use an energy weapon to strip their helmets before headshotting them. An advanced strategy is to juggle multiple stunlocked brutes with a head-shot weapon. Brutes are also particularly vulnerable to the needler and shredder(which supercombines unshielded targets)... TBC

Developer Information



  • Brute dialogue is sourced from Halo 2. While combat dialogue such as pain/death sounds and berserk vocalisations are untouched, their spoken dialogue has been reversed similarly to the Elite dialogue. make them sound more alien like.
  • The word "Jiralhanae" is a Korean word that roughly means "behaves like a stupid aggressive lunatic," which describes the Jiralhanae' aggressive personality.
  • The "-us" suffix on the end of Jiralhanae names is derived from Latin, which designates something as masculine.
  • Their body models are based primarily on their Halo 2 appearance. However, their armour designs are stripped down/modified versions of the Brute Power Armour used in Halo 3.


vde Covenant species in SPV3