Though Halo is built on the idea that Master Chief is the greatest protector and force in the universe, the challenges he must overcome sometimes push against how invulnerable he may appear. From Halo: Combat Evolved through to Halo Infinite, players have had to overcome numerous villainous threats that challenge both Master Chief's physical and mental fortitude in a myriad of ways.
It's time to look at and rank the villains from the Halo franchise and see who stands at the top as the strongest foe that the Chief has come up against. Tread lightly as this article does contain story spoilers for Halo Infinite and its ending.
8 The Arbiter
Most Halo fans consider The Arbiter to be the name of the Sangheili who stands by Master Chief's side in Halo 2 and Halo 3, but it was actually a title given to the highest-ranking Sangheili in the Covenant. Six known individuals have worn this title, with Thel 'Vadam being the only one known to be a protagonist and ally to humans. The armor and weapons an Arbiter wields are deadly and make anyone bearing the title a real threat.
Bassus is a Brute Warchief who we get to witness the strength of just moments after he makes his first appearance in Halo Infinite's campaign. Right after attempting to shut down the Banished's mining drill, he appears right behind you in a matter of seconds.
He's armed with a giant Gravity Hammer in a small confined space which makes creating distance between you and him almost impossible. Unless you're really lucky or happen to have the perfect loadout, chances are you'll quickly be staring at a loading screen trying to strategize the optimal approach to taking down this behemoth of a villain.
6 The Prophets
The Covenant has served as the longest-running and the most consistent threat that Master Chief has faced. The High Prophets, also known as the Hierarchs, were a group of three San'Shyuum that lead the Covenant High Council.
Their strength lay in politics and diplomatic pursuits and their decisions created a cataclysm of consequences for both the Covenant and humankind. Their greed and desire for more power ultimately led to their downfall, but they were mighty foes when they were around.
Atriox is the protege of Escharum, which puts him a little further down the list than him. When taking into account that Escharum viewed Atriox as his best accomplishment and that Atriox is teased to still be alive during the after-credits of Halo Infinite, it is clear that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Atriox served a major role in the spin-off real-time strategy game Halo Wars 2, so his appearance in Halo Infinite is his first real introduction to the majority of the Halo fan base.
Halo Infinite bends over backwards in an attempt to contextualize and wrangle in the wild decisions the narrative of Halo 5 pursued. In that game, Cortana went rogue in an attempt to conquer everything in her path.
She can change things on a grand scale and it was clear to the UNSC that she was a threat to everyone, regardless of how Master Chief felt. Thankfully she came to her sense and helped humanity in the end, being birthed anew as a clone known as The Weapon.
Escharum is interesting for a variety of reasons, but one of the main factors in why he is so strong has to do with his unwavering confidence. For the entirety of Halo Infinite he clearly explains his respect for Master Chief, but at the same time suggests their fight will be legendary and that he'll be the one to finally take down the Spartan.
Once you finally fight him in his multi-phase boss fight it becomes clear how he earned his title and reputation. The guy is a living tank and easily the most brutal and strategic Brute to ever exist.
2 Master Chief
Now, this entry isn't going to discuss whether the narrative approach in Halo 5 was good or bad, but Master Chief did play an antagonistic role in that title. That means that he was technically the villain and thus earns a spot on this list.
You've played as this unstoppable killing machine, so it's clear his power and effectiveness are hard to match. Thankfully he works on behalf of humankind, otherwise, humans would stand no chance against the ultimate Spartan weapon.
When talking about strength, most people default to physical characteristics that make threats imposing on a physical level. The Gravemind isn't terrifying because of its physical prowess, but rather because it works as the hivemind of the Flood.
This parasitic lifeform takes over any and every living thing in its path. It's as close to omniscient as any being has been portrayed in Halo's lore. It serves as the main antagonist in Halo 3 after being mentioned and teased within Halo 2, and its legacy is still felt in Halo today.
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