Alright, we've got intel on the first (new) set of units you may and will have to fight, so listen up!
You heard right. Even an order so blindly faithful as the Covenant has those who... hold more mild beliefs. The Heretics are a full-on example of "mild believers" gone extreme, to the point that they'll take up arms against their former leaders. We don't know how or why they've done this, but we do know that at least this group in particular is recently formed.
The Heretics we've seen thus far seem to inhabit small, relatively unpopulated worlds, probably to stay out of the eye of the Covenant, and the UNSC. Be mindful when in deserts like this - their brown camo palette is harder to see than you'd think.
And though these Heretics oppose the Covenant, they still maintain their hostilities towards the UNSC, and have been known to raid human settlements and outposts for supplies, and even weapons. However, they are comparably passive, and rarely actively seek out violence.
Heretics, like their former Covenant overlords, will extensively patrol areas of interest. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to get close to their AoCs without engaging them head on. Sneaking is rarely an option, but should be taken whenever available. A confrontation with a 15-alien fireteam is something you want to avoid.
Speaking of fireteams, you may have noticed these Covenant employ a nonstandard set of equipment. Good eye.
The vast majority of these Heretics we've seen are far better equipped than their Covenant counterparts - Grunts, Jackals, and Elites all included. The Heretics have no qualms with arming even their lowest ranked members with effective weapons. Whether this is out of respect or simply due to need is unknown.
Heretic Sangheili seem to have discarded their standard Type-25 Plasma Rifles in favor of Type-33 Needlers. They do, however, make extensive use of Type-25 "Supercharged" Plasma Rifles. These are extremely dangerous close-quarters modifications of the existing Plasma Rifle that spew large amounts of plasma very quickly. You do not want to be close to an Elite with one of these. At a range, however, they are less of a threat.
Heretic Kig-Yar are some of the rarest, yet also some of the most deadly species in the faction. They coat their fur, skin, and armor in a Magnesium-Iron Oxide, dying it to a distinctive red color.
They also modify their shields to show different colors, doing so by an as-of-yet unidentified means. Unlike the Covenant, there are three common Jackal ranks in the Heretic faction - Minors (Orange shield, pictured on the right), Majors (Red shield, pictured in the middle), and Ultras (Purple shield, pictured on the left.) All of them use the same equipment, but the higher ranked Jackals have slightly stronger shields.
Heretic Jackals, unlike those in the Covenant, will typically use Type-33 Needlers and the Type-25 Plasma Rifles that normally would have gone to Elites. They almost never utilize the Type-25 Plasma Pistol, which is supposed to be far more common. No Kig-Yar Snipers have been encountered under the Heretic banner.
By far the most common, only a single Heretic Unggoy rank exists, currently without classification (we simply call them "minors" right now.)
Grunts wear brown colored armor that blends in well with sandy and rocky backgrounds. Their armor is about as strong as a typical Covenant Grunt Major, and they operate in large groups, making them a much bigger danger than regular Grunts.
Grunts, much the same as Jackals, use Needlers and Plasma Rifles, but few Plasma Pistols.
And because the Heretics have no aversion to human weapons...
You may encounter "Heavy" Grunts wielding our own UNSC M41 Rocket Launchers. Watch out for them - they're extremely dangerous, and and extremely hard to spot in a group of identically colored Grunts.
So, if you see a group of their Grunts, kill them first. That's the best way you can avoid them.
As a final note, the Office of Naval Intelligence would like to notify all troopers that any rumors of UNSC cooperation or alliance with Heretic factions are mythical in nature. All alien contacts are to be considered hostile.
That is all for this briefing.
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