ONI: Sword Base

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ONI: Sword Base
Sword Base.jpg"Climbing the stairway to heaven."
  • Game: Halo: Reach
  • Beginner Goals: Easy: ~5:30; Legendary: ~7:00

  • Intermediate Goals: Easy: ~5:00; Legendary: ~6:10

  • World Class Goals: Easy: ~4:30; Legendary: ~5:20

  • IL Records: Easy: ~4:12; Legendary: ~4:40

  • Segmented Times: Easy: ~3:55; Legendary: ~4:10

    Halo: Reach level navigation

    Winter Contingency - ONI: Sword Base - Nightfall

ONI: Sword Base is the second playable level in Halo: Reach. See Halopedia for general information. There are different strats between Easy, Legendary, and Co-op, and they will be covered in this page.

HaloRuns record page: https://haloruns.com/leaderboards/reach/solo/oni/Easy (click the timestamps for video links)

Video Examples

Examples of every trick mentioned here can be found on either the Individual Level or the Full Game Records page. There are also multiple video tutorials for some specific tricks indicated on this page. Be sure to check #reach-links in the Haloruns discord.

Mission Start

Your first task is to kill all of the enemies in the courtyard and grab the Target Locator.

Easy Start

The fastest way is to run past all of the enemies and fire a well-placed Target Locator shot in their midst. Make sure to kill the four grunts that are under the bridge directly in front of you at spawn and the four Skirmishes that are closer to the Target Locator. Grab a plasma pistol for later in the level. Grab the target locator and aim at the left barricade at the top of the hill. If all enemies die, the door will open and you can proceed with the level.

Legendary Start

There are two start variations depending on full game or individual level runs.

Full Game Method
  • Beginner/Intermediate/Full Game Strategy

Start by going to the left, once in the ramp, throw a grenade to the grunts under the bridge and another one to the jackals in front of you. Grab a Plasma Pistol and sprint towards the Sniper (at the end of the walkway in front of you), start killing everything while taking cover from the phantom that drops elites. Use your plasma pistol to quickly eliminate them. Once all enemies are dead, take the Target Locator and the door will open.

Target Locator Rush
  • World Class/IL Record Strategy

You can try a variation of the easy strat by running to the right and swap your Assault Rifle for a Shotgun with one Marine. Sprint up the ramp and kill the elite either by backsmacking or a shotgun + melee, then walk over the right side and throw a grenade to distract and if possible kill some grunts. While the grenade is traveling, sprint towards the Target Locator and throw another grenade to protect your back, try to headshot all of the Skirmishes on your way to the Target Locator. Finish off the clear with the target locator, like the Easy Method.

Co-op Start

Similar to the easy start, you will want to kill everything as fast as possible; however, it is faster to not use the target locator. Here is the breakdown of what each player should do:

Player 1 (Host)
Player 2
Player 3
Player 4


Once the door is open, you need to go around the beach and hit 3 buttons in two possible orders, from left to right or from right to left. For the speedrun, we will take the right side of the beach first and this makes a ghost and some grunts spawn, if you are in co-op and they don't spawn is because there is someone on the left side triggering the spawn before you can trigger it in your side.


Hog Grab

You should have a plasma pistol at this point. EMP the warthog that is supposed to blow up by leading your shot well ahead of the driving path. You need to hit the EMP into the warthog before it gets closer to the wraiths, remove the marine from the driver seat and drive the warthog to the right side where the ghost is located. In case that the warthog explodes you need to retry the EMP because the hog is now inside the explosive area/timer.

First and Second Button

You will go over a hill and see a ghost. Hijack the ghost and start driving to the first button at the AA gun. This first button is located in the corner of the rooftop. Instead of going upstairs, jump from outside the building and hit the button, you will know that the button is activated because the turret will start to move and shoot enemies. A quick tip is to hold the activate button before jumping to make sure that you press it as soon as possible.

  • Individual Level Strategy for MCC - Use a grenade and ghost to launch up to the top of the AA gun building. EMP the conc elite and grab his conc. You will use this later for the third button and for the ending jumps. This strat can save 8 seconds but is tough.

For the second button, drive the ghost to the right of the door. When you get out, you can press the button through the wall.

Third Button


  • Conc: stand by the power pole, use one conc shot to get on the top railing, and one more to get to the top button. You can hit this button from the back.

Xbox 360 and other MCC methods:

  • Grenade Jump: you can run through the doorway, up the stairs and jump on the railing. Use a grenade to jump up to the button.
  • Box Jump: once on the second floor, push the box towards the railing, and jump from beneath to hit the button.

Alternative Methods:

  • Pedro Exit Method: Position the ghost at an angle at the power pole and get out in the direction of the building. You will exit at the second floor on the railing. Do the grenade jump or box jump after.
  • Ghost Launch: Position the ghost by the rock, throw a grenade at the edge of the left wing, and jump above the wing before the grenade goes off. This will launch you straight to the button.

After hitting the button, get back in the ghost, and go back to the gate from the start. Hit the button. Go on this route to hit the trigger for the gate earlier.

  • Note: A common mistake for new runners is to press the gate button multiple times. This will confuse the game and cause the gate to not open. Make sure to press the button only a single time.


For individual levels, you will follow the same strategies as the Easy Strat, with a small route modification on the route to second button. You can view that route [here.]

Ghost Grab

Once the gate opens, stay on the right side and use the rocks and big hill to avoid enemy aggro. Run over the big hill by the ghost and try to remain hidden from the AI until you get close. Hijack the ghost.

When you are in the ghost and are on the way to the first button, stop at the top of the hill so you have a clear view of the AA gun. Shoot a target locator shot by where the button is to clear away some enemies. Once the shooting dies down, hit the button.

Second Button

The route from first to second button is slightly different from easy. Once you draw the ghost aggro, go around the rock to your right to distract the ghost, then proceed over the hill quickly to second button.
Third button and the route to the gate are the same as Easy. You can see a clip on legendary here.


Just like before, the strats to be mentioned here are the same for Easy and Legendary, and will be broken down by what each player should accomplish.

Player 1 (Host)
Player 2
Player 3
Player 4

Hunter Skip

Hunter Skip is a trick that skips having to kill the two hunters in the garage. It is vital to hit this skip in a run, especially on legendary, to avoid a large amount of time loss. The way that hunter skip works, requires that you do not cross [this line] until you are ready to complete the trick (refer to the image to the right). Because of it's importance, there have been many methods for the trick over the years, so they will be broken down into skill level. All methods work the same on Easy, Legendary, and Co-op.

  • Note: If you plan on running for overload, bring the ghost into the elevator after finishing hunter skip.

Yolo Method

  • Intermediate/World Class/IL Record Strategy

You will need to melee the wings off both sides of the ghost for this trick. Do this while you are waiting for the gate to open. Once the gate opens, line up the ghost similarly to this [run], or the image to the right. When you start to boost forwards, make sure to land behind the line referenced above. When ready, boost along this path. You must go as fast as possible until you fully enter the garage, roughly the bottom part of the downward sloping ramp. You will know the trick worked if the elevator button appears while the hunters are alive. Proceed to elevator.

  • Note: If the hunters spawn but the elevator button does not appear, you may have invincible hunters. This occurs from going slow (often bumping a barrier or enemy), and you should revert immediately when this happens to avoid a softlock.

Grenade Method

  • Beginner/Intermediate Strategy

Instead of boosting over the barriers, we will use a grenade to launch the ghost over the barriers. Start by lining up the ghost parallel to the barriers facing the left wall. Throw a grenade at the circle-engine part behind the wings. This will launch the ghost over, and proceed with the route as mentioned in the Yolo Method. You do not have to destroy the wings for this ghost, but it may be easier.

Armor Lock Method

  • Beginner Strategy

We will line up the ghost the same as the [[#Grenade Method|grenade method], however, we will use an armor lock to launch the ghost over. Juggle the armor lock from the crate with sprint, and standing by the circle-engine part of the ghost, charge roughly to the fist part of the icon (about 70% charge), then let go of armorlock. This will launch the ghost over, and continue the route like with the Yolo Method.

Co-op Considerations

There is a small adjustment to the Yolo Method strategy that Player 2 will perform. With the rockets equip, Player 2 will shoot at the barricade at this position to increase consistency and speed for the trick.

Sword Base

There is a major difference at the end of the mission between the MCC and Xbox 360 version of the ending clear. There is an overload that can cause all banshees and the phantom to never spawn due to entity cap, meaning the mission ending dialogue starts instantly after killing the two jackals by the rocket spawn. This trick can only be done on the Xbox 360 version and saves a good amount of time. The following section will be broken into game versions as appropriate.

Overload Methods

As of late 2023, there is no overload completions on legendary difficulty. It is possible to pull off, and if you plan on doing a legendary run with overload, should perform the ghost driving method.

Ghost Driving

  • IL Record Strategy

Starting in the elevator, carefully position your ghost in a way that allows for easy exit when getting to the top of the tower. Once the elevator stops, be careful to not kill ANY enemies while you go throughout Sword Base. When the doors open to Noble Team, drive to the left up the ramp, take a left and go through the halls, and take another left and drive up the entirety of the ramp until there is flat ground. Get out of the ghost here and shoot the Target Locator to spawn additional entities (the bullets count as entities, just like alive enemies). Take the [following route] and do a grenade jump up top, and quickly run into the doorway for the final clear. Kill the two jackals quickly (you will most likely need to melee since rockets will deload), and hopefully everything is deloaded. It is optimal to have less than 4 banshees and no phantom here, as having more will be slower than the fastest MCC clear. If the phantom spawns, it is a dead run.

If banshees do spawn, you will want to execute the target lock-on glitch, explained in the conc jump ending section.

  • Note: Do not melee the jackals with the Target Locator, as it does no melee damage.

Sprint Overload

  • Beginner/Intermediate/World Class Strategy

Essentially the same as ghost driving, but you will just sprint the entire route. This method is generally easier since the ghost can be hard to handle through the hallways, but it usually leads to less consistent overloads. Recommended for those trying overload for the first time.

Co-op Overload

Player 1 (Host)
Player 2
Player 3
Player 4

MCC Methods

Going through Sword Base, there are two methods currently being used in runs. The methods will be listed from fastest to slowest, and all the methods can be done on both Easy and Legendary.

  • Note: On legendary, as you exit the elevator, an elite with a conc will spawn on the left side. If you plan on doing the conc jump method, kill this elite.

Conc Jump Ending

  • Intermediate (Legendary)/World Class (Easy/Legendary) Strategy

Easy and Legendary can both perform this method (refer to MCC methods for explanation). Proceed through elevator and the first area with enemies. As you meet Noble Team, perform [these jumps] up the top of the tower. You can see a tutorial of the jumps [here.]

After the jumps, you will want to swap the conc for rockets. Shoot the two jackals, and start killing banshees. All banshees must die, as well as the phantom and the two camo elites that jump out of the phantom.

  • Do not target the phantom until it has dropped off the elites and has started to move backwards. At this point the phantom is no longer invincible, and you may kill it with target locator. Until this happens, kill banshees.

Kill order should be the following: Some banshees-Elites that drop-Phantom Target Locator-Banshee clean up. To optimize the banshee killing, you may perform the Target Lock-on glitch.

  • Target Lock-on Glitch: After firing a shot at a locked-on banshee, quickly look at a different banshee. If done fast enough, you will see that there are a few frames that the rockets are still targeting the new banshee. This glitch allows for you to have an instant lock-on for a few frames and speeds up the banshee kills. It is recommended to wait until the second rocket is ready to fire before going for this glitch.

Sprint Standard Ending

  • Beginner/Intermediate (Easy) Strategy

This is essentially the sprint overload route will a few shortcut which you can watch [here.] Main difference is the crouch jump halfway between the ramp and doorway. To do this jump, walk into the wall, jump, and crouch at the top of your jump. Proceed along the sprint overload route.

MCC Co-op Ending

Perform the same jumps as the conc jump method. Once Player 1 reaches the top of the tower, have all other players die so they spawn up top. Everyone should grab a rocket, and proceed with killing all enemies. Everything should be dead when the phantom dies.

Potential Strategies and Knowledge Base

Throughout the development of this level, there have been many strat discoveries that have either been lost with time or have been proven too difficult to be executed consistently across runs. The following sections is for maintaining a list of potential developments that may be referenced for a future date, and will be listed with:

  • Who discovered the trick, date of discovery, and various notes

Historical Strategies

Potential Strategies

Knowledge Base