The Sangheili, referred by humans as Elites, are a saurian species of the Covenant.

Overview and Background

The Sangheili are renowned for great strength and intelligence and are praised for their bravery and honour. Sangheili warriors augment these natural abilities further through the use of Energy Shields integrated into their armour. Depending upon rank and mission objective, they are commonly seen in battle with Plasma Pistols, Plasma Rifles, Needlers, Particle Carbines, Focus Rifles and sometimes, if they are higher ranked, Energy Swords. Sangheili employ Phantom and Spirit Dropships for military transit purposes and rapid-response operations. Sangheili follow the Covenant mentality of maintaining hatred towards Humanity, believing them to be an affront to their religion and a challenge towards The Great Journey.

Rank Structure, Weaponry and Equipment

Rank Image Description
High Commanders
Elite Zealot Clad in a yellow-gold combat harness, Elite Zealots are the authority figures within the Covenant military, serving as Field Masters, Shipmasters, Fleet Masters and even Supreme Commanders. Aside from these command responsibilities, Zealots are also tasked with the recovery of Forerunner artifacts and will stop at nothing, not even the eradication of heretical species, to recover these holy relics. They’re commonly witnessed wielding Energy Swords alongside the Void’s Tear as a backup weapon, though Zealots will use Plasma Rifles and Needlers on rare occasions.
Honour Guard of the Covenant
Elite Honour Guardsman Zealot Honour Guardsman Zealots are the longest-serving and deadliest warriors within the Honour Guard of the Covenant, hand-picked by the Hierarchs to serve as their personal bodyguards and clad in a yellow-gold guardsman harness decorated with ornate yellow-orange pauldrons. In addition to protecting their theocratical leaders, Honour Guardsman Zealots are also assigned to fleets and other important missions as representatives of the Hierarchs, making decisions in their stead and monitoring for any signs of heresy within the leadership ranks. Rarely seen deployed on the battlefield, Honour Guardsman Zealots exclusively wield the Energy Sword, as they view traditional firearms as an affront to both their honour and their natural prowess in combat.
Elite Honour Guardsman Ultra Also known as “The Lights of Sanghelios”, Honour Guardsman Ultras can be instantly recognized by their white guardsman harness decorated with ornate yellow-orange pauldrons. Honour Guardsman Ultras act as commanders within the Honour Guard of the Covenant, leading squads of lesser-ranked Guardsmen deployed in combat zones and enforcing order within their own ranks. Much like their subordinates, Honour Guardsman Ultras regularly carry Plasma Rifles and Energy Swords.
Elite Honour Guardsman Major Honour Guardsman Majors make up most of the Honour Guard ranks, equipped with red guardsman harnesses decorated with ornate yellow-orange pauldrons and armed with Plasma Rifles and Energy Swords. While typically assigned to the protection of members within the High Council, Elite Honour Guardsmen have been witnessed deployed in groundside operations on rare occasions, usually to secure locations of religious significance to be later studied by the Prophets.
Elite Honour Guardsman Minor Honour Guardsman Minors are recent inductees into the Honour Guard of the Covenant, selected from decorated Elite warriors who have demonstrated the necessary skill and devotion required to serve as defenders of the High Council. They can be identified by their blue guardsman harness decorated with ornate yellow-orange pauldrons and are typically equipped with Plasma Rifles and Energy Swords.
Covenant Special Operations
Elite Special Operations Officer Special Operations Officers, or simply Spec-Ops Officers, are members of the Special Operations branch in the Covenant Special Warfare Group, regularly undertaking in covert and/or high-risk operations. Clad in a jet-black assault harness and wielding Plasma Rifles, Needlers and Energy Swords, Spec-Ops Officers were deployed alongside Spec-Ops Jackals in the final hours of the Battle for Installation 04, with orders to sterilize the Flood-infested Truth and Reconciliation and UNSC Pillar of Autumn before either ship could be used to escape the Halo ring and spread the Flood across the galaxy.
Stealth Elite An offshoot rank of the Covenant Special Operations, Stealth Elites or the foremost covert operatives within the Covenant Army. Wielding Plasma Rifles and Energy Swords, Stealth Elites wear a silver-grey assault harness which incorporates Active Camouflage technology, allowing them to easily set up ambushes or move across the battlefield unnoticed. However, this comes at a cost of the harness lacking energy shielding, meaning that Stealth Elites are regularly deployed in either pairs or squads.
Elite Ultra Elite Ultras are the highest-ranked standard infantry unit within the Covenant Military. Identified by their white combat harness, Elite Ultras are battle-hardened tacticians responsible for the direction of Covenant groundside campaigns. When deployed into battle, Elite Ultras will normally be accompanied by a platoon of lesser-ranked Elites, Brutes, Jackals and/or Grunts, making use of Plasma Rifles alongside the Energy Sword as a backup weapon.
Elite Major Elite Majors are intermediately-ranked fighters within the Covenant Military. Having honed their agility, accuracy and tactical intuition from participating in multiple battles, a single Elite Major is more than capable enough of holding out against a squad of UNSC Marines, though they’re regularly seen leading squads of Elite Minors and/or other lesser species. Elite Majors are clad in a red combat harness and use Plasma Pistols, Plasma Rifles, Needlers and Focus Rifles.
Elite Minor Elite Minors are the lowest and most common rank of Elite within the Covenant Military. Despite their weak energy shielding and relative inexperience with combat, Minors are still capable squad leaders and deadly combatants, typically accompanied by squads of Grunts, Jackals and/or Skirmishers or being led by other Elites of higher rank. They can be recognized by their blue combat harness and wield Plasma Pistols, Plasma Rifles, Needlers and Particle Carbines.

Gameplay Information


The lower ranks are usually encountered leading squads of Grunts and Jackals and apart of Elite squads. Majors and Ultras can be seen leading Minors into battle. Stealth Elites are usually encountered in groups, it is uncommon to encounter one by itself. Honour Guards are usually in places of religious significance such as the map room in the Cartographer and the Control Room.


In general, it is best to use plasma based weaponry to knock out their shields then go in for the kill. Unlike the Grunts and Jackals, Elites can melee so it is recommended to keep a distance from them. However, with each increased rank, they have stronger shields and are likely to wield better weapons than just Plasma Rifles and Plasma Pistols. Stealth Elites, unlike other ones, don't have energy shielding but are cloaked. However, they can be spotted by faith outlines and they usually attack in a squad. With Honor Guards, their shielding is immune to most bullet based weaponry and is recommended to take them out with plasma-based weaponry or explosives. Sword-wielding Elites, including as Zealots, Plasma Rifle-wielding Ultras who have been stripped of their shields and all Honour Guardsman ranks, are not to be underestimated; It is recommended to keep a good distance from them due to their Energy Swords killing with one swing, no matter the difficulty.

Developer Information



  • Their design is a mix between Halo 2 and 3. Their bodies more based on Halo 2 while the Helmets and Higher Ranks' Shoulder Pauldrons are more based on Halo 3. This is evident with ranks such as the Stealth Elites.
  • The dialogue spoken by the Sangheili of Halo: SPV3 was made by reversing and slowing sound clips of Sergeant Johnson. "Wort! Wort! Wort!" is the reversed phrase, "Go! Go! Go!"
  • In Halo CE, the Elites were the first species encountered in the game: When an Elite Major storms into Cyro Bay 2 and kills Sam. In SPV3, it is a Brute Major instead.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, the Sangheili have three different types of helmet appearances. One is the classical shark-like helmet with the pointed cone at the peak of the helmet. The second is slightly different with a wide, crest-like and curved upper piece on the helmet. The third is known as in the game code as "Sangheili Special." Stealth Sangheili, the gold Zealots and the Special Operations Officers all have a helmet very, very similar in shape to the "shark-like" helmet but slightly different. However, in SPV3, this is abandoned as most Elites share the same helmet design with the exception of the Stealth and Spec Ops Elites.
  • Only higher ranked Sangheili are allowed to wield Energy Swords.
  • Sangheili are about 7 feet tall, which may be another possible 7 reference.


vde Covenant species in SPV3