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The Pillar of Autumn

Part 1: Once More unto the Breach

Pillar of Autumn is the most difficult mission of the Halo Reach campaign, and also by far the longest. The first time I played the mission on Legendary alone, it took my over an hour an a half and died over 25 times. Now that I have developed a good strategy, I can complete the mission in just under an hour with only one or two deaths, but it still is by far the longest and most challenging. The first time that you attempt this mission, be sure you have at least an hour and a half to play and be prepared to retry some of the more difficult sections many times.

You begin this level on a ledge overlooking a group of covenant with a 16 ammo magnum, a 400 ammo assault rifle, and sprint. Due to the inaccuracy of the magnum, all of the enemies below too far away to kill from this point, so jump down the cliff along the left corner. Because of the slant here, you will not obtain any fall damage and will land behind the enemies. Directly in front of your position, you will should see three Grunts, three Jackals, and an Elite minor around a broken down truck. Move up to the large rock directly in front of you and begin by killing the Grunts with magnum headshots. The Jackals always move away from you to the bridge at this point, leaving only the Elite in your way. Sprint up behind either the broken truck or the rock to the left of this truck depending on which one protects you more from the Elite. Since this is a low ranking Elite, removing his shields with assault rifle bursts and kill him with a magnum headshot. Be sure to take cover between assault rifle bursts to maintain your shields.

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Jump down the cliff at the far left corner (left) to avoid fall damage. Then move up behind the first rock and pick off the Grunts below with your magnum.

Swap your assault rifle for one of the Grunts plasma pistols, then move behind the rock to your left that overlooks the area under the bridge. To the left of the bridge there are three Grunt heavies, on top of the bridge there are the three Jackals I mentioned before, and to the right of the bridge there are three Grunt majors and an Elite ultra with a concussion rifle. Crouch behind the rock and kill the Grunt heavies. However, you do not have sufficient magnum ammo at this time to kill the other enemies, so jump down the ledge in front of you and sprint along the left of the bridge. After you come up on the other side of the bridge, continue to sprint into the house to the right. Swap your magnum for a DMR from the DMR and rocket launcher crate in the house and restock on health from the health kit. From the doorway of the house, kill all of the enemies that you ran by earlier with your DMR and plasma pistol.

Use this rock as cover to pick off the grunt heavies below the bridge. You can then safely sprint to the other side.

Return to the building and swap your plasma pistol for a rocket launcher from the weapons crate. Directly outside of the front door, restock on health from the health kit next to the UNSC soldier’s corpse. Now that you are fully stocked, you will need to drive to the next section on a mongoose. You will follow a long dirt path while you are attacked by scarabs, drop pods, and banshees, possibly an homage to the driving ending of Halo 3. Enter one of the mongooses in front of the house and allow Emile to enter the passenger’s seat. Drive onto the path and follow it all the way to the next section. Along the way, many drop pods full of Grunts will land next to the road, but if you continue past at full speed on the dirt road, they will be unable to hit you. Two scarabs will drop from orbit on the dirt road as well, but since they will not use their main lasers, they pose little threat. Once again, stay on the road at full speed to avoid them. After you drive past these enemies, the dirt path leads you through a tunnel cut in the rock. Once you pass through the first tunnel, you should see a phantom to your left and a second tunnel ahead of you. Allow the phantom to pass by waiting for around ten seconds, then continue through the second tunnel at full speed. At the end of this tunnel, there is a broken down bridge that you must cross, but if you hit it at full speed, you can jump over the gap. Upon landing, you will enter the second rally point.

Wait for a few seconds in this tunnel so the phantom (left) does not kill you while you try to jump.

Part 2: This Town Isn't Big Enough

Begin by killing the Jackal snipers and the Grunts directly in front of you from the cover of the cement barricades. Forward and to your left, there is a methane refill station which some of the Grunt ultras will use, making them easy targets to kill. Kill these infantry quickly and constantly move around to avoid the wraiths fire. Once you have a clear path ahead of you, hug the cliff to the left and sprint into the building to the left. Now that you are indoors, you have good cover from both the infantry and the wraith, and you can restock from a DMR and shotgun crate and a health kit inside. Begin by killing any infantry you can see through the door to your right, but do not walk into the doorway or the wraith will be able to hit you. Then move to the forward door and begin killing the Brutes and Jackals from here. You will need to stand in the doorway to get a clear shot, but always watch the wraith when doing so and step inside once it fires at you. Kill the Jackals with DMR hand and headshots, kill the far away Brute spec ops with DMR headshots, and kill the close up Brutes with your rocket launcher.

You can safely kill the infantry outside from the doorway of this house. You can restock on DMR ammo and health inside as well.

Once you have killed all of the infantry visible from the house, kill the Brute major operating the wraith’s turret with four helmet shots and one headshot. Restock on DMR ammo and health and exit through the front door and into the garage in front of you. Stay inside of the garage to protect yourself from the wraith and kill any remaining infantry with your DMR or rocket launcher. Now that only the wraith remains, you can safely jack it. Swap your rocket launcher for a plasma pistol from one of the Grunts or Jackals that you killed before and move up to the wraith by sprinting between pieces of cover until you come to the large steel block in front of the wraith. Charge up your plasma pistol, step out of cover, and stun the wraith quickly before it can shoot you. You can then safely sprint up the wraith and plant a grenade to kill it.

Move between pieces of cover until you come to the steel blocks shown above. From here, charge up your plasma pistol and stun the wraith.

Continue forward and to the left of the wraith, and you will enter a small clearing with four Grunts and three Jackal snipers with needle rifles. Take cover behind the large rock in the middle of the area and kill all of these infantry with DMR headshots. Be cautious because these Grunts have a high probability of suiciding. Swap your plasma pistol for one of high energy from one of these grunts, then continue forward into a crevice in the sandstone.

As you follow this path, you encounter a scarab, but Carter kills it by ramming it with his pelican. As you follow the path through the sand stone formations, you will come to three dead soldiers, a health kit, an assault rifle, two frag grenades, and two DMRs. Restock on DMR ammo and health if necessary. Once you enter the area ahead of you, you will be ambushed by a swarm of buggers. Stay against the sandstone wall to your right and move backwards around the curve for cover. Kill all of the buggers with DMR headshots.

For poor DMR aimers: Due to buggers constant movement and tiny heads, they can be difficult targets for poor aimers. If you have a lot of trouble hitting their heads, follow these tips for greater success. First, zoom in when fighting buggers, even when they are close. The extra magnification will help you see and hit their small heads. Second, Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by their large numbers and swarming movement. Kill them one at a time and be patient. Third, follow a bugger with your reticule while it is moving and kill it as soon as it stops to hover. If you are still having difficulty, swap your DMR for the assault rifle next to the soldier’s corpses. The fully automatic capabilities of the assault rifle will allow you to kill the buggers even with poor aiming.

After killing the swarms of buggers in the first room, follow the path until it turns downhill to the right. Just before the turn, there is a large break in the sandstone wall, providing you with a clear shot at the enemies below. Below you, there are one Skirmisher major, two Skirmisher commandos, three Skirmisher champions, and another swarm of buggers. Kill as many of these enemies as possible through the clearing in the sandstone wall. For protection, back up and your altitude will protect you. Once you have killed all of the visible enemies below, return to the dead soldiers to restock on health and DMR ammo. If you were using an assault rifle, you should swap back to a DMR at this point. Continue forward once more and follow the path downhill. Carefully move between sandstone formations and kill any Skirmishers or buggers you missed before with DMR headshots.

This break in the sandstone wall allows you to DMR sniper the skirmishers and buggers below.

Upon exiting the sandstone formations, you will come to a large ledge overlooking an abandoned spacecraft repair station in which many UNSC soldiers are helplessly outnumbered by covenant forces. This area is the “Boneyard” multiplayer map. On top of the ledge, there is an armor lock and drop shield case, a health kit, a grenade launcher, two frags, and a Spartan laser. If you find yourself needing health more often then there are health kits, take the drop shield. I would suggest keeping your sprint though.

Move to the very edge of the ledge so that you have a clear view of the area below. Since you are far away, the covenant cannot shoot you, but with your DMR, you can begin picking off the light infantry. Kill all of the Jackals and Skirmishers in the area below so that only Elites remain. Then jump down on to the roof of the house directly below the ledge to avoid fall damage and enter the house from the side entrance. Inside of the house you are completely safe from the Elites and have access to a heath kit and DMR and shotgun crate. Outside, of the house, there are two Elite majors, one Elite ultra, two Elite rangers, and one Elite general with a fuel rod gun. Restock on DMR ammo, exit the house through the right door, and move behind the rock next to the cement levy for cover. Now you must go about the slow and difficult task of eliminating the Elites. Since you must remove all of their shields individually, you will need to focus on the Elites one at a time. Once an Elite moves near your position, step to the side of the rock and remove its shields. You must follow up with a DMR headshot as soon as possible because the Elite will begin retreating soon after you remove its shields. Once you successful kill the Elite, stay in cover until your shields fully regenerate, and repeat the process again. With patience and practice, this strategy will allow you to kill all of the Elites safely. Be sure to swap for a new plasma pistol before leaving.

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Pick off as many light infantry as possible from atop the ledge (left). Then use the rock in front of the house as cover to eliminate the group of Elites (right).

Move up to the abandoned UNSC frigate by the left most stairs. After the second flight of stairs, you will find a DMR crate and the path will split into two sections. Restock on DMR ammo and move up the stairs to your right. At the top of these stairs, turn to your left and continue forward through the frigate. When you come to the far side of the frigate, you will have a perfect, high altitude sniping position over the enemies below, as well as a Spartan laser to your right. Ahead of you, there are over twenty Grunts, one Elite, two shade turrets, one fuel rod shade turret, and two ghosts. Although you can eliminate the shade turrets by killing the Grunt operators, more Grunts will continue to enter the shade turrets. Therefore, I suggest destroying them with the Spartan laser. Then use your DMR to pick off the Grunts. You can use your remaining Spartan laser blast to kill one of the ghosts, but this is not necessary. Swap the Spartan laser back to your plasma pistol, then return to the crossroads with the DMR crate. Restock on DMR ammo and take the path just to the left of the crate. This will take you along a conveyer belt onto the roof of the facility.

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estock on DMR ammo and follow the arrows to the proper destination at the crossroads (left). From the edge of the frigate, DMR snipe the grunts below and destroy the shade turrets with the available Spartan laser.

Turn right at the end of the conveyer belt and look through the missing roof piece into the facility. Inside you should see three Grunt majors, two Elite major, and two Elite ultras, one of them dual wielding plasma repeaters. One of these Elite ultras usually waits on the platform below the missing roof piece, so kill him with an overcharged plasma pistol and DMR headshots through the hole in the roof. Then jump down on to the platform and begin killing the enemies below. Back up along the ledge for cover. After you clear this room, you can safely move deeper into the facility, where you will find no more resistance.

You will come to a room with two UNSC soldiers, two health kits, a sprint and hologram case, and an assault rifle and frag case. Outside of this room there are three UNSC soldiers, two Grunts, three Jackals, and an Elite ultra dual wielding plasma rifles. Restock on health, then melee one of the windows to break them. Through the window, kill the three Jackals below. Then exit through the door and kill the two Grunts ahead of you. Move forward to the far wall, turn left, and take cover behind the large column. Use the column as cover to kill the Elite ultra with your plasma pistol and DMR. A phantom will then drop two more Elite ultras, one with a concussion rifle. After the phantom leaves, kill them from the column as well, then move outside and turn right.

Use this pillar as cover to kill all three Elites.

Next, you will need to fight the most difficult Hunters in the game. These Hunters are the most hardest to kill because you have no good weapons to assist you. Therefore, you will need to kill them with only a shotgun. Walk up the stairs in front of you and turn left, and you will come to a shotgun and two frag grenades. Swap your plasma pistol for this shotgun, then sprint forward to the assault rifle and shotgun case ahead for more ammunition. Through the large doors to your right, you will see an area with four Skirmisher champions and two Hunters. Luckily, this area is full of shipping containers, providing you with great cover for killing the Hunters. As long as you stand next to the weapons crate, you will be too far away for the Hunters to shoot you, providing you an opportunity to kill the Skirmishers with your DMR. Next, sprint forward and to the left behind the stack of shipping containers. Use your plasma and fragmented grenades to weaken the Hunters from the cover of the stacked shipping containers. To finish them off, you will need to move up behind the Hunters and shotgun their rear weak spot. The closer you can get, the more damage you will inflict, so try to get as close as possible before shooting. When the hunters fire their fuel rods at you, simply jump over them or step behind a container. If they start chasing you, sprint past them at a 45 degree angle to them. When you come up behind a Hunter to shotgun its weak spot, it will often perform a backwards melee attack, which you must sidestep. It is easiest to kill the Hunters when they are focused on Emile.

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Use your grenades and shotgun to kill the hunters.
Watch a video

After you kill both Hunters, the UNSC soldiers in the forgery room ahead will be able to open up the doors to let you in. Swap your shotgun for one of the Skirmisher’s plasma pistols and enter through the doors. Inside and to the left, you will find a health kit and two DMRs which you should use to restock. On the second level of the forgery, there are three Jackals and three Jackal snipers. On the first level to your right, there are three Jackals and an Elite spec ops with an energy sword. From the cover next to the DMRs, kill all of the Jackals on the first and second levels with your DMR, then move forward to your right towards the Elite spec ops. Once you move far enough forward, it will begin charging you with its energy sword. Quickly kill it with an overcharged plasma pistol and DMR headshot.

Restock on DMR ammo from the two DMRs in this picture and then use the wall they are next to as cover to kill the jackals on both levels.

When you climb the stairs to the next level, it will trigger three Grunt majors and an Elite ultra-dual wielding plasma repeaters to enter through the doors on the far side of the level. First pick off the Grunts with your DMR, then kill the Elite with an overcharged plasma pistol and DMR headshot. This will be the last Elite that you kill for a long time, so you should now swap your plasma pistol for the Jackal sniper’s needle rifles. Collect as much needle rifle ammo as possible from all of their corpses. You will also need to restock on DMR ammo and health, so jump down to the first level and turn directly around. Enter the room in front of you and restock from the DMR weapons crate and health kit. Move back up the stairs and through the door that the Elite ultra came from.

You will come to three UNSC soldiers fighting two Grunts ultras and a Jackal. Oddly, this is the only Jackal in the Halo Reach campaign wielding a plasma rifle. Kill these infantry from the cover of the doorway and try to conserve DMR ammo. Continue through the facility and you will come to the last room in this rally point. Here you will find two UNSC soldiers, a grenade launcher and magnum crate, a health kit, and a sprint and hologram case. Once you leave this room, you will enter the last rally point of this game and begin a very difficult firefight.

Part 3: Keys

The firefight will take place in the “Holdout” firefight map, and is one of the most difficult fights in the Halo Reach campaign. There are two good positions that you should take in this fight. The platform that you walk onto after you leave the door is my favorite because it provides good cover, a long shot at the enemies, and has only one path to it. In addition, the second story of the building is also good because it is inside and has great cover, but you do not have a long shot at the enemies so are more likely to be overrun.

Useful weapons are scarce in this fight. The most important ones are listed below.
- There is a sniper rifle in the fourth story (roof level) of the building. This is great for killing the Brutes with a single headshot.
- There is a DMR next to a soldier’s corpse past the building near the edge of the cliff.
- Inside of the first through third levels of the building, there are crates containing assault rifles, grenades launchers, magnums, and shotguns. I would not suggest using any of these, unless you run out of DMR ammo, in which case you should swap your empty DMR for a magnum.
- If you melee the wooden box next to the window inside of the third story of the building, a DMR crate will appear on the other side of the wall. Some people consider spawning this crate cheating, but I infer that Bungie accidently placed both the box and the DMR crate in the same section, causing the DMR crate to have trouble spawning. It is up to you if you think it is fair to use this crate, but I think that it is. (I must admit that I read this on the internet and did not discover it on my own.)
- There are three health kits in the third story of the building and two health kits in the second story.

Note that the instructions for this section are only basic guidelines. There are many ways to go about completing this firefight, and you should use a strategy that best fits your play style. In addition, since the enemies spawn far away from you, they will arrive and act in different ways each time you play. Therefore, I cannot provide very specific instructions on how to kill each type and group of enemy, and instead have provided only a general overview.

First, you will need to choose whether to use your needle rifle or sniper rifle to kill the Brutes in the first wave. If you choose to use your needle rifle, stay on the platform after exiting the door. If you choose to use the sniper rifle, sprint to the roof level of the building, swap your needle rifle for the sniper rifle, and sprint back to the platform. Almost immediately, phantoms will deploy enemies on the far corners of the area away from you. These enemies, combined with the enemies beginning in the area, produce the following: seven Grunt heavies, four Jackals, eight Brute minors, and a Brute major. From the platform, kill as many of the enemies as possible before they reach you. Use the steel plates on the railings as cover. If you are using a sniper rifle, kill all the Brutes with a single headshot. If you are using the needle rifle, kill the Brutes with a supercombine explosion from three body shots. Notice that the Brutes will both enter armor lock and dive to avoid the needles. To finish off the remaining Brutes, you may need to leave your position to hunt them down.

After you complete the first wave, restock on health and DMR ammo and swap your secondary weapon for a plasma pistol. Return to the platform you used before. The second wave of phantoms will deploy six Jackals, thee Brute majors, and two Brute chieftains (one with a fuel rod gun and one with a gravity hammer.) Pick of as many of the Jackals as possible from a distance, but constantly watch the ramp leading up to you for enemies. If you have a clear shot, you can also begin to pick of any visible Brute majors with DMR headshots. Most likely, the Brute chieftain with the gravity hammer will reach you first. Once you see it moving towards you, swap to your plasma pistol and remove its shields as soon as it comes up the stairs. Then begin backing up and continuously headshot it with your DMR until its helmet pops off. You can then finish it with a single headshot. You should now swap your plasma pistol for his gravity hammer. Kill any more visible enemies with DMR headshots and clear yourself a path to the second story of the main building. Once you have a clear path, sprint inside of the second story and restock on health if necessary. Walk behind either of the corners on the back wall and wait for the enemies to come to you. When Brutes enter the room you are in, wait for them to come close, step out of the corner, and kill them with your gravity hammer. When Jackals enter your room, kill them with DMR hand and headshots. Once again, you may need to exit this room to hunt down the remaining enemies.

Once there are one or two enemies remaining the final two phantoms will come. If you are very low on DMR ammo, you will need to exit the room to restock, but if you have more than 30 shots left, I would suggest waiting where you are. The final two phantoms will drop three Grunts, three Brute minors, three Brute majors, and a Brute chieftain with a plasma launcher. Kill the Grunts with DMR headshots when they walk into the room, and kill the Brutes with your Gravity hammer. If your gravity hammer begins running low on ammo, you can also kill the weaker Brutes with a plasma grenade or DMR headshots when they walk through the door. Most of the time, some of the enemies will not enter the second room to attack you. If so, exit the second level, turn left, and sprint up to the fourth level, killing any enemies you see on the way. This will usually cause any remaining enemies to come to you, allowing you to easily kill them as they come up the two sets of stairs.

After eliminating the final wave of enemies, Captain Keys will bring in two pelicans to receive Cortana. Move to his pelican to trigger a cut scene in which you deliver Cortana. However, during this cut scene, another phantom will deploy Elite Zealots and an Elite Field Marshall next to Emile. These Elites successfully kill Emile, leaving no one to operate the Mac cannon. Therefore, the Pillar of Autumn will have no covering fire to take off, so after delivering Cortana, you must take control of the Mac cannon.

Three Grunt spec ops and one of the Elite Zealots move out of the Mac cannon room to engage you after the cut scene ends. Kill the Grunts from a distance with your DMR, but leave the Zealot. Return to the main building to restock on health and DMR ammo before moving up to the Zealot. Once you approach it, the Zealot retreats inside. Swap your gravity hammer for one of the Grunts plasma pistols

Inside the building with the Mac cannon, there are two Grunts, three Elite Zealots (two dual wielding plasma rifles, one with a single plasma rifle), an Elite Field Marshall with a fuel rod and Energy sword, and an Engineer. To kill this Engineer, you will need to walk far into the center of the room, leaving you exposed to the enemies on the first floor. Therefore, you will need to kill these enemies, despite their overshield. Kill the Grunts on the first floor with an overcharged plasma pistol and DMR headshot and kill the Zealot on the first floor with two overcharged plasma pistol blasts and a DMR headshot. Then, you will be safe to step out and kill the Engineer with two headshots.

Sprint along to the stairs on the right most wall. Underneath these stairs, restock from the DMR crate and health kit if necessary. Then, use these stairs as cover to kill the Elite Zealots and Elite Field Marshall above. Charge up your plasma pistol while standing halfway up the stairs, then walk up the last stairs in order to blast the Elites. Immediately follow up with a DMR headshots before the other Elites can kill you. Repeat this tactic to kill all three Elites.

Use these stairs as cover to kill the high ranking Elites above. There are DMRs and health kit in the room right of these stairs.

You final objective is to enter the Mac cannon and use it to kill the Covenant cruiser in order to allow the Pillar of Autumn to escape Reach. However, you can only kill the cruiser when it removes its bottom protection to fire. Therefore, you must survive for over a minute and a half as phantoms and banshees attack you. Once the cruiser begins glassing, a large red circle will appear over the area that you must shoot. You should shoot the cruiser at this time immediately, despite any other aircraft attacking you.

The Mac cannon is powerful enough to kill phantoms and banshees in a single shot. It fires like a giant Spartan laser and must be charged up each time to fire. Hold the trigger and the Mac cannon will fire after a second. In addition, no matter how high you set your look sensitivity, the Mac cannon will always move at the same slow speed, greatly increasing the amount of time it takes to move between targets. Therefore, you should begin powering up your next shot as soon as your previous shot has fired and aim as you are powering up.

Follow these tips to most successfully use the Mac cannon:
- Kill the banshees before the phantoms because they will begin shooting from farther away and have a higher accuracy as well.
- Always prioritize which aircraft to kill next based on which will be able to hit you first. This way, as soon as you destroy one, you can immediately begin moving to the proper next target while you begin charging up your next shot.
- Always kill the phantoms that come from the far left as soon as possible. They begin shooting you almost immediately and have a very high accuracy. Begin charging you Mac cannon while they are too far away to hit so that you can blast them as soon as they come into your sights.

Another option: Another option is to wait in cover to avoid the small aircraft and only enter the Mac cannon once the Cruiser begins glassing. I personally prefer killing all of the enemy aircraft with the mac cannon, but this method is much easier and almost guaranteed to succeed. While the phantoms and banshees arrive, take cover down the stairs from the Mac cannon. As soon as you see the Cruiser open up to fire and hear Captain Keys say “Spartan, fire now”, sprint into the Mac cannon, enter it, and fire at the cruiser.

Once you kill the cruiser, the pelican with Captain Keys and Cortana will enter the Pillar of Autumn, and the Pillar of Autumn will be able to take off into orbit. This allows both Master Chief and Cortana to escape Reach, setting up the events for the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved. It is then assumed that you leave the Mac cannon and move to the area in Lone Wolf to make your last stand.

Last Updated: August 13, 2012 at 21:46
Contact me at HaloReachWalkthrough@hotmail.com

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