Halo 2 Guide to Multiplayer Dual-Wielding

       The Halo 2 Guide to Multiplayer Dual-Wielding

By Edward Fu

Last updated February 17, 2005

*** We interrupt this FAQ for an important announcement ***

It is strongly recommended that you view this guide at GameFAQs to be guaranteed
of the latest revision.  I always update at GameFAQs promptly, but perhaps not
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*** We now return you to your regularly scheduled guide ***


Table of Contents:

1. Introduction
2. Ranking
2.a. Great
2.b. Okay
2.c. Terrible
3. Conclusion
3.a Special Note on Needlers
4. Version History
5. Thanks
6. Contact
7. Permissions


1. Introduction

Sick of throwing frag grenades uselessly? Have a compulsion to glue down the
trigger buttons? Still in love with the pistol? Have really good aim but don't
want to be a sniper? Then this guide is for you.

Keep in mind: this is designed primarily as a guide for multiplayer action. In
single player you are best off using what you have, with occasional use of a
guide like this. Plus, in single player, grenades are significantly more

Another disclaimer: it is very very important to keep in mind that this guide is
only useful if you face off against opponents of comparable skill.  It doesn't
matter what combo you have if you can't handle the weapons (applies to Plasma
Pistol and Magnum in particular).  Bungie employees could still kick your ass
with Needler + Magnum if you can't handle Plasma Pistol + Magnum.

Now, before I start discussing it, let's analyze why I feel dual-wielding is
much superior than single-wielding.

*In any open space like in the middle of Coagulation throwing grenades is a very
difficult task.

*In closed spaces a good opponent will charge at you if you throw a grenade,
possibly killing you as well.

*Two dual-wielded weapons will kill twice as fast as a single weapon.

In short, I see few purposes to single-wielding a dual-wieldable weapon. If you
have the guy trapped or if he doesn't know you are there you can toss a grenade
in to good effect. It's obviously also useful to take down vehicles and masses
of people with grenades.   However, I am not arguing that grenades are useless.
Rather, I claim their advantage is by far nullified by the advantage of having a
second Plasma Rifle, or having a SMG in combination with the Magnum.

Also notice that I only feel it's clearly worse to single-wield a dual-wieldable
weapon.  I'm not saying dual-wielding is always the way to go.  Against two-
handed weapons like the shotgun, Battle Rifle, Beam Rifle, rocket launcher, etc.
dual-wielding can easily be outclassed. Plasma Pistol + Battle Rifle is probably
the deadliest set of non-dual-wielded weapons in the game, AND you can still
toss grenades.   Having discussed that, let's move on to dual-wielding.

2. Ranking

I won't discuss the relatively rare Brute Plasma Rifle. It's virtually identical
to the regular Plasma Rifle, except that I feel it is worse in virtually every
area for multiplayer. So think of it as a regular Plasma Rifle, but take the
regular Plasma Rifle over it any day.   Second, as I somewhat mentioned before,
this does not discuss weapon combinations like Plasma Pistol / Battle Rifle,
because that's not really dual-wielding. That's having two weapons, switching
quickly between them, and putting them to great use.

This leaves five weapons that can be dual-wielded:

Submachine Gun (Human) - SMG
Plasma Rifle (Covenant) - PR
Plasma Pistol (Covenant) - PP
Magnum (Human) - M
Needler (Covenant) - N

This results in a total of fifteen possible combinations (not twenty-five: PP +
SMG is obviously the same as SMG + PP). The vast majority of them won't be of
much importance (I have yet to see someone dual-wielding magnum and needler) or
are nearly impossible to get (PR + PP is a rare combination not because it's
bad, but because it's significantly easier to get a better combo) but the best
combinations are extremely important to your survival, especially on XBox Live.
To analyze these combinations, keep in mind the following facts:

* SMG does most damage against flesh, followed by PR, M, PP, and N. However, N
is more EFFECTIVE than PP and M (not counting head shots) because it homes in
and can stick and explode on the body of the enemy.

* An overcharged PP will remove ALL shields, including overshield. The next most
effective against shields is PR, then SMG, then N, then M.

* The only time you EVER want to NOT overcharge the PP is if the opponent is
unshielded, upon which the PP will kill faster than if you had overcharged it
(unbelievably, an overcharged PP cannot kill an unshielded opponent). This is
not Halo 1. The PP cannot serve as a PR if you fire really really fast.

* Overcharged PP's are difficult to aim well, as they travel very slowly and
barely home in. But they will remove ALL shields an opponent has, including any

* You can get a head shot (kills person instantly) if and only if you use the M
(okay, fine, sniper rifle too, but that's not a DWable weapon), and only if you
actually can hit their head, and only if they have no shields. There is no other
good use for the M.

* Needles do damage when a person is hit with them, and if the needles stick
they explode.  Explosion damage depends on how many needles are in opponent.
However, a shielded opponent can usually have needles bounce off of them
(thereby not exploding) by moving sideways.

(Much of this data I collected from T1 Hawk's excellent weapons FAQ)

The fifteen fall into three types: Great, Okay, and Terrible

They are also roughly ranked within the group, so for example PR + PR is better
than PP + N.  Don't take that too seriously, however: the difference between
the Great combos is extremely minute.  See the disclaimer at the beginning of
this guide: when it comes down to PP + M vs PR + SMG the difference in skill
of the combatants will far outweigh the difference between the combos.


PP + M
PR + M


M + M
PP + N


PR + N
N + N
N + M

Notice:   SMG is Great 3 times, Okay once, Terrible once.  PR is Great twice,
Okay twice, Terrible once.  PP is Great twice, Okay twice, Terrible once.  M is
Great 3 times, Okay once, Terrible once.  N is Great 0 times, Okay once,
Terrible four times.

This doesn't mean that SMG + M is Super-Great, though: a mix of Covenant and
Human make up four of the five Great combos. It does mean that you shouldn't
bother with N. Ever.   (This is discussed later in the guide)

This list will vary depending on several things: range; your aim; your
opponent's skill; availability; and status of your opponent.

RANGE: At long range you shouldn't even be dual-wielding: none of these weapons
is very good at long-range.

AIM: If you can't aim well at all you're better off with SMG's mixed with PR's
(don't get any of the M or PP combos).

OPPONENT SKILL: Weak opponents are often flustered if they are constantly under
attack (particularly snipers): SMG's and PR's take them down easily.

AVAILABILITY: If you can't find a PP + M, use SMG + M. It makes little

If the enemy has an overshield, PR + SMG works wonders, while if he has no
shield dual SMG's rip through him EXTREMELY quickly. (Note: fun game type: no
shields, everyone with only dual SMG's, no radar, small map like Ivory Tower.
Total chaos.)

In general, however, I have found this to be the list that works best for most.
The only difficulty was breaking down the top six, for all of them are very very
powerful. Let me analyze each combo now:

2.a. Great

Of the Great combos, the only one that doesn't require at least some good aim is
the PR + SMG. They are all so powerful, however, I generally advise that once
you pick one of them up don't waste time searching for others: get killing

PP + M

Fearsomely effective. This, however, requires extremely accurate aim. Overcharge
the PP and take down their shields, then go for the head shot. If done
correctly, you only need one shot from each gun to kill them. If done
incorrectly, you better switch weapons quick. It's difficult to aim, but if you
can do it, go for it. My favorite use of it is on the map Coagulation during a
CTF or something similar. Pick up the PP just above the Banshee side of the
base, then go inside and take the M. If you aim well, no one can get past you
without the rocket launcher / sniper rifle.  Not even energy sword.

Pros: Insanely good in the hands of a good aimer and can decide a confrontation
in less than a second. Eliminates advantage of overshield.

Cons: Reasonably difficult to find, but is feasible on most maps without wasting
too much time (very easy on Coagulation and Ivory Tower in particular). Plasma
overcharge takes a while to reach target. Requires very good aim (the best for
any dual-wielding combo) with both PP and M, for if you miss the overcharge you
won't be able to fire the PP again within time, and the M will take a while to
kill a shielded opponent.


This is the best dual-wielding combo for someone uninterested in aiming the M,
or for extreme close range. The PR tears through shields very quickly, and the
SMG lays waste to the flesh beneath. There's really not too much else to be said
about this easy-to-find combo.

Pros: Fast death thanks to the anti-shield PR and the anti-flesh SMG. Easy to
find these weapons.

Cons: Takes a tad longer to kill than with a M, making you vulnerable to a good
M aimer. Also has no advantage against the overshield like the PP does, though
still quite effective.

PR + M

Think of this as a slightly modified version of PP + M. Instead of two shots
killing the opponent, however, you need to take down their shields using the PR
first. It does have the advantage of having considerably more ammo than the PP +
M combination, and it constantly sprays them with fire, making it effective
against weak snipers. In addition, the PR is much more difficult to dodge than
the PP. Unfortunately, an overshield will make this combination much more weak
because the M cannot do enough damage to help take down the shield like the SMG

Pros: Constantly does damage, almost as fast as PP + M

Cons: Weak against an overshielded opponent. Doesn't kill as fast. Somewhat
difficult to find this combo on most maps.


This is an extremely commonly seen combo and for good reason. It is almost
identical to the PR + M, except for the fact that it's weaker against an
overshielded opponent. SMG's work slower against shields than PR's, and by the
time you get to flesh it's more important to hit the head shot than do damage
with the SMG. There's little reason to choose this over PR + M. That having been
said, you'll rarely have the option to choose. Considering you start with an SMG
and can find a M quickly, it's better to start killing than waste time searching
for a PR.

Pros: Same as PR + M, but you can afford to be a little worse in aiming with the
M because the SMG is very effective against flesh as well. Also easier to find.

Cons: Slightly weaker than PR + M, worse against an overshielded opponent
compared to any combo with a Covenant weapon


The last of the 'Great' combos, this is quite similar to the PR + SMG and the PP
+ M. The reason I don't feel this is as powerful as they are is because of the
slowness of the PP overcharge and the inability to get a head shot. However, if
you manage to hit the opponent with the overcharge, it'll be faster than taking
down the shields with a PR, and the SMG will lay waste to him much faster than a
M for many people (especially if you miss the overcharge). The PP, as usual,
will also destroy any overshield. Plus it's the second-easiest combo to find, in
my experience.   Using it is simple: overcharge then spray with SMG bullets.

Pros: Very effective against an overshielded opponent. Faster than PR + SMG if
you land the overcharge, and faster than PP + M if you can't aim very well with
M. Also slightly more effective than PP + M if you miss the overcharge. Easy to

Con: Relies quite a bit on you landing the overcharge, like the PP + M.  Plus, a
good aimer with PP + M will defeat you easily anyway.

2.b. Okay

These combinations are tolerable. If you pick them up, you may as well keep
them, but keep an eye out for other combos.


A candidate in the "Why Bother" category. If you pick up a PR or PP, you'll
almost certainly be using it with the default SMG instead. Still, it's almost as
good as PP + SMG, and you might find yourself using this on Midship.

Pros: Almost same effectiveness as PP + SMG.  More effective if you don't land
the overcharge, less if you do.

Cons: There's little reason to get this set of weapons, considering both are
more effective with a M or a SMG.


This is a decent combo. However, it's really not feasible. It does rip through
enemies quickly, and it suffers no recoil as the SMG's do...but this is almost
never seen. It's near-impossible to get two PR's on most map without wasting too
much time. If you do get it, great. If not, don't worry too much. I think it's
made even worse by the fact that the default weapon is an SMG, and PR + SMG is
much more effective than PR + PR.

Pros: Quite effective, more than the Human counterpart SMG + SMG, especially
against an overshielded opponent.

Cons: Not as effective as PR + SMG, which you'll most likely be using instead.
Two PR's are rare.


This is the easiest-to-find combo of all. It's effective, but not as much as PR
+ PR, and the recoil is doubled with two SMG's. Still, it's an excellent set of
weapons, and considering it's what you'll most likely be using, get used to
them. Dual SMG's can take down an Energy Sword. But an overshield would make
this tough to recommend.

Pros: Enormously easy to find. Effective.

Cons: Not as effective as all the above combos because of a lack of a anti-
shield or head shot weapon. Bad against an overshielded opponent.

M + M

This is an interesting combination. On one hand it's rare (though it's pretty
easy to get on Lockout). It's also bad against shielded opponents (and don't
even think about using this on an overshielded opponent). Plus you wouldn't want
to use this if you can do SMG + M. On the other hand...this is probably the best
combo (with SMG + SMG a very close second) against unshielded opponents.

UPDATE: In retrospect, I've slightly changed my mind.  It's sufficiently
powerful that it's certainly worth picking up and having some with.  However,
I would still choose dual SMG's over this combination, simply because anyone
with an overshield would completely waste you if you tried to use it.

Pros: Twice the M, twice the chance of a head shot.

Cons: Weaker than SMG + M, which you'll most likely be using instead. Rare.
Takes a while to take down shield. Awful against an overshield.

PP + N

This is a funny combination. It does happen to be the only feasible combination
involving a needler. The overcharge eliminates shields, the needles stick and
explode always to flesh. On the other hand.....it's a needler. There is
absolutely no reason you want the PP with a N instead of an SMG or PR or M. A
good aimer can kill you faster with an PP than a N if you are unshielded (Keep
in mind the words good aimer, however). Plus the needles will bounce off a
moving shielded target. The only time I can think of to use this is if all you
have is a PP and you can't find another weapon.

Pros: Needles are good against flesh, and the PP removes all shields. Also
removes overshield advantage.

Cons: Why would you ever want a much more rare needler in this position instead
of the default SMG or a M or a PR I have no idea.

2.c. Terrible

These are just plain terrible. Four of them are rare anyway. In almost every
case you are better off with ANY weapon in the N slot.

PR + N

This is a rather silly combination. It works on the same way the PP + N, but it
takes slightly longer for the PR than the PP to remove shields, unless you're
terrible at aiming the PP. Regardless, however, you're better off with ANYTHING
other than the needler in this position.

Pro: Better than PP + N if you can't aim

Cons: See PP + N's con. Plus, it's not as effective as PP + N, especially
against overshield

N + N

This combination you really only see on Battle Creek. It's certainly possible
(and it is indeed fun to spam the map with needles all over), but I see no
reason why to do this. A shielded opponent will have needles deflect off of him
as long as he keeps moving, and needles don't do enough damage against shields.
It'll certainly kill people quickly if they have no shields, but by the time you
whittle their shield down they'll probably have killed you. Not to mention it
STILL kills slower against unshielded opponents than other weapons. In general,
I find that while you can kill someone with it, almost all of the time you'll be
dead as well. Not worth the effort. It barely ranks above PP + PP and N + SMG
because you can usually kill someone with this before dying, as opposed to just

Pro: The explosion of the needles is good against unshielded opponents.  Can
usually kill an opponent.

Cons: Any shielded opponent worth his salt can avoid having needles stick to
him. You're never going to be able to use this on an unshielded opponent, and
even if you could, other weapons will still kill faster. More effective to stick
with something else. Also very rare.

PP + PP   This combination makes no sense. You'd have to land two overcharges
AND hit them several more times. Forget about it, considering how hard it is to
land an overcharge and how long it takes to cool down. Amazingly, however, a
UNOVERCHARGED plasma pistol will kill an unshielded opponent faster than the
needler. Why do I therefore rank PP + N over PP + PP? Because it's infinitely
easier to hit an unshielded opponent than with an unovercharged PP. Besides, any
other weapon in one of the PP slots will be much more effective.

Pro: Takes away overshield.

Cons: Still a useless, rare combination.


For once, this combination is bad in and of itself, not because it's rare. The
SMG takes too long to eliminate the shield, and the needles will be ineffective
if the shield is in place. Rather pointless except against unshielded opponents,
upon which this STILL kills slower than dual SMG's. If you ever happen to have
this, ditch the needler immediately, as ANY other weapon in its place will be
more useful. Even grenades.  It is, however, more effective than one other

Pro: SMG and N are effective against flesh, once they get to it...

Cons: The N is useless here. It yields roughly same results as a single SMG

N + M

At last we arrive at the stupidest combination of all. Think of this as a
heavily dumbed-down N + SMG, which is weak itself. First of all, the needles
will bounce off a shielded opponent (let's not even discuss the overshield). In
turn, the M is ineffective against a shielded opponent (no head shots). Needles
will stick and explode against flesh. But by that time, you most likely will
have killed him with the M's head shot. ANY other weapon in EITHER slot will be
more effective than this horrible combination. In some sense you could even
think of this as a SMG + M, but horribly slower at removing the shield.

Pro: Erm...I suppose if you somehow eliminate the enemy's shield, you can get a
head shot. But you could do that almost as fast with a SINGLE M, so there's no
point in keeping the N.

Cons: You can't remove the shield fast enough with this combo. Don't even think
about overshields.


3. Conclusion

* Good aim in Halo 2 will take you far. Plasma Pistol + Magnum kills like no
other dual-wielding combo. Learn to land overcharges and head shots.

* Magnums are not useless as many newbies tend to believe. They are incredibly
effective when dual-wielded with the right weapons (PP, PR, and SMG)

* Needlers are not useful as many newbies tend to believe. They are incredibly
ineffective when dual-wielded with ANY weapon. Never bother with them.

* Single player is not necessarily the best source for multiplayer strategy.
Single player rewards camping and excessive caution far too much.  More
importantly, it makes the player focus on the wrong weapons.  PP is far more
effective in multiplayer, and the Brute Shot and Needler are far worse.
Speaking of which...

3.a Special Note on Needlers

I've received quite a bit of email regarding this.  I still hold to my original
anti-needler position, for several reasons:

* Needlers are rarely strong enough to kill the opponent before they kill you.

* Dual needlers are certainly fun, but they are rare.

* Needlers make poor combinations with many weapons.

However, I'm not criticizing the needler for being ineffective.  Clearly the
needler can do good damage, and it's a better option than no weapon at all.
Unfortunately, it is far outclassed by many other weapon combos.  Only PP + N is
feasibly effective, yet even then any other weapon would be more effective in
the needler slot.

So in other words, it's not so much that needlers suck, it's that it sucks in
comparison to everything else.


4. Version History:

1.0 First version of the GameFAQs guide

1.10 Added some clarification on my position on needlers, plus a small note in
the M+M section.  Also touched up the stylistic in random areas and added a
short disclaimer on skill up top plus some minor organization changes.  Added
some things into Thanks.  I may yet rewrite the whole thing, I don't like the
way the guide sounds.

1.11 Fixed a crapload of line break errors and other minor stuff


5. Thanks

I'm going to say thanks to:

CJayC (only if he accepts this guide, which he has)

Bungie - I wish they'd fix some glitches, but they still did a great job with
the game.  Kudos for not cracking under the hype. 

My Halo 2 buddies  - For making me learn the hard way how effective PP + M can

T1 Hawk's weapons FAQ - For helping with much of the data.

Universal FAQs - Because I wouldn't have otherwise written this.

LUElinks - Just because I can.  LlamaGuy rocks.

Wikipedia - The best site ever, a symbol of all that I admire in the
technological world: a free, open-source, decentralized source of accurate
information.  Inspired me to start writing.

Everyone who emails me - I appreciate you taking the time to do so.


6. Contact

My email is edfuemail@yahoo.com

Contact with anything you like about this guide.  I will respond to every email,
though perhaps not as promptly as I'd like.


7. Permissions

Very simple: if you want to use this on another site, go ahead as long as you
give me credit and tell me about it.

I am proud of the fact that I have not misspelled "dual" as "duel" a single time
in this guide.