- “The true devotee honors our name with actions, not words.”— Sangheili Zealot's mantra
The Sangheili Zealot is a high-ranking Covenant Sangheili who is charged with the recovery of Forerunner artifacts. Unparalleled among the Covenant for their skill at arms, Zealots will stop at nothing, not even the eradication of heretical species, in order to recover these holy relics.
Zealot is also a generic term for a Sangheili with official command responsibilities. Members of the Zealot-class include Shipmaster, Fleet Master, Field Marshal, Field Master, and Supreme Commander. The only known ranks above Zealot are Councilor, Arbiter, and Imperial Admiral.
While some Zealots are strictly deployed to non-combat Fleet or Field Command posts, they often operate on the front lines and possess considerable battlefield experience, having killed countless enemies of the Covenant before attaining their post.
As members of the Ministry of Fervent Intercession, true Zealots form the razor's edge of any significant Covenant military operation. Zealot squads are tasked with the location and analysis of any information which might lead to a reliquary site. Once located they are then charged with its recovery, typically through apostolic intervention by force, though no measure is considered too extreme. They wear a number of different armor iterations, from gold to red, which are highly advanced with advanced shielding tech and improved protection.
Zealot is the highest military rank a Sangheili can achieve with the exception of the Arbiter, Sangheili High Councilor, and Imperial Admiral. The Special Operations Commander of the Covenant is lower than higher Zealot ranks such as Supreme Commander, but probably higher than lesser ones such as Field Master. The positions a Zealot can hold include:
- Field Master: This rank is equivalent to the UNSC Army and Marine Corps numerous General ranks. Field Masters command entire armies, legion strength or greater. Unlike Human Generals, Field Masters take a much more active role in combat, as in charging into the battle with their troops rather than giving orders from an area away from the ongoing conflict. They are in charge of all warriors of any race within that army, as well as all armor, air support and material utilized by that army. An example of this is Noga 'Putumee, who led the Covenant forces against the Human-held Alpha Base during the Battle of Installation 04.
- Field Marshal: The Field Marshal rank falls under the Zealot-class, but appears to outrank regular Zealots. Besides leading large-scale ground operations, Field Marshals are known to lead small strike teams composed of Zealot officers. While other Zealots use the Energy Sword, the Field Marshal uses heavy weaponry such as the Fuel Rod Cannon and only uses an Energy Sword as a backup weapon.
- Shipmaster: This rank is equivalent to the UNSC Navy's Captain rank. Ship Masters command star ships within the Covenant but they still fall under the command of their Fleet's Supreme Commander and Fleet Master. An example of this is Orna 'Fulsamee, who was the ship master of an unknown destroyer. Many believe that Orna Fulsamee commanded a CCS-class battlecruiser, though he actually commanded a destroyer. It mentioned it at the opening pages of Halo: The Flood. The title of Ship Master is not exclusive only to the Zealot rank. This is supported by the fact that before the Battle of Voi, the Covenant's Special Operations Commander, Rtas 'Vadum was promoted to the Ship Master of the Assault Carrier, Shadow of Intent. He seemed to still be an Sangheili Ultra at the time.
- Fleet Master: This rank is the equivalent to the UNSC Navy's numerous Admiral ranks. A Fleet Master commands all of the ships in his particular fleet, in addition to his own vessel. In the case of a De Facto Fleet Master or Fleet Master/De Facto Commander a Sangheili is a normal Ship Master and controls only one ship, but when a Fleet needs to do a special objective, the Fleet Master/De Facto Commander acts as the commander for the ships participating in that objective (normally called Task force). Voro Nar 'Mantakree was a Fleet Master/De Facto Commander and was in charge of leading a task force to Onyx to pursue the Bloodied Spirit.
Zealots are significantly more challenging to fight than other Sangheili. In Halo: Combat Evolved, Zealots are known to wield Energy Swords and Plasma Rifles. They are much tougher than regular Sangheili, as they shoot faster and tend to actively pursue and hunt their target, rather than shoot at the closest one. They also have extremely strong shields that are twice as strong as those of a Sangheili Major (In Halo: Combat Evolved, they can survive a rocket on Easy). They are much faster than lower ranking Sangheili and can leap at an enemy as well. They are considerably harder to hit and they constantly duck behind obstacles to avoid fire, although this can be used against them if they are on a bridge. Zealots wielding an Energy Sword are extremely dangerous in close quarters and should be dealt with quickly and preferably while they are still reasonably far away since a blow from an energy sword is typically an instant kill. They are a powerful, smart, and very dangerous foes to be reckoned with, especially on higher difficulties.
The best way to deal with a Zealot is to either use a Plasma Grenade or to attack it from long range, as they are deadly in hand-to-hand combat because of their Energy Sword (in Halo: Combat Evolved, a single strike can kill the player up to Normal difficulty). Due to their strong shields, it is advisable to use heavy weaponry, such as the Sniper Rifle or Rocket Launcher. The Shotgun can also work pretty well as a shot at point blank range can disable their shields and stun them. The M6D pistol is only moderately effective, taking 16 head shots to kill a fully shielded Zealot on Normal difficulty. The Needler is both common and extremely effective, due to the fact that seven rounds will kill most enemies and the weapon's large magazine and ability to home in even when the reticle is not red or on the enemy.
In Halo 2, they do not use Overshields and their shields are as strong as those of a Sangheili Major and Special Operations Sangheili, but they are a lot smarter and tougher. They are still very deadly in close-quarters, though in Halo 2, their sword animation has been changed to being "more realistic" in the sense that in Halo: Combat Evolved, a sword swing had a huge area of effect, and it was impossible to dodge a swing. In Halo 2, it is possible to side step and assassinate a Zealot, or any other Sangheili with a sword. When the Zealot is swinging, quickly step to the side and behind him, then melee him, which results in an instant kill. This is the quickest and most effective way of dispatching Zealots, or other sword wielding Sangheili. It is also very risky. Zealots can take more damage when their Energy Shields are down. In addition to the tactics mentioned in the preceding paragraph, dual M6C Magnums can be very effective at close ranges so long as you stay outside of their sword's reach. Dual Needlers are also effective. Also, Zealot AI is noticeably different in Halo 2; Zealots are always found wielding Energy Swords, ceremonial weapons befitting their high rank. In most cases, they will not fire a weapon if given one and will try to melee with it.
Another fact that should be known is that Zealots will never, under any circumstances, ride in or drive a vehicle for religious purposes; they do not believe it is honorable to kill their enemies with vehicles instead of hand-to-hand combat. If a player tries to give them a chance to get in one, such as in Uprising, their animation will glitch and they will start to walk toward the vehicle and turn around, they will then keep doing this.
In Halo: Combat Evolved, Zealots had a "flaw" that made killing one slightly easier. It would do some form of roaring animation (similar to the Sangheili berserkers in Halo 2), or pointing out the player and yelling. This animation makes the Zealot's body more open and gives the player a moment to snipe, fire a rocket at, or damage the shields of the Zealot. This Sangheili is the only Sangheili that will only spawn when scripted to, unlike Minors to Ultras, whose chances depend purely on difficulty.
- Orna 'Fulsamee - Shipmaster of an unnamed destroyer.
- Tano 'Inanraree - Ship Master of the Incorruptible
- Qunu - Ship Master of the Far Sight Lost
- Noga 'Putumee - Field Master in the Fleet of Particular Justice
- Re'gish Wamik - A Field Master during the Harvest Campaign.
- Avu Med 'Telcam - A former Field Master in the Covenant Navy and leader of the Servants of the Abiding Truth.
In Halo: Combat Evolved, Zealots wear solid gold armor, a pointed helmet and shoulder pauldrons (signifying rank), blue lights running on their armor, and a Forerunner glyph on their back. Their shields are much more powerful than those of their subordinates, and wield either an Energy Sword or Plasma Rifle (They fire much faster than other Sangheili and with greater accuracy). In Anniversary, they have their Halo: Reach appearance with Combat Evolved gold color.
In Halo 2, Zealots wear the standard armor of all Sangheili, with orange lights running on their armor, but this time wear gold and tan armor.
In Halo: Reach, the Zealot wears a more ornamental helmet, with blue lights running on their helmets and shoulder pauldrons and also a little bit on their body and thighs. Zealots now have a maroon color, similar to the Field Marshal.
In Halo 4, the Zealot wears what appear to be a mixture of the Halo: Reach Zealot armor and the Special Operations Sangheili armor, albeit with a battle-scarred look. The armor itself is a traditional design from Hesduros. The inner toes have a small, hook-like projections on them. The helmets have four noticeable lights on the top, and masks most of the user's head and face. Zealots with this armor are known as "Roaches" by UNSC troopers.
- The Zealots featured so far do not have a black or steel secondary color like lower-ranking Sangheili. In Halo: Combat Evolved, they are solid gold. In Halo 2, they have a differing tan secondary color.
- Zealots and Field Marshals are the only enemies you cannot fight in Firefight.
- The plasma rifle-wielding Zealots of Halo: Combat Evolved will not melee. This is due to the fact that they are programmed to berserk when they see you, and have no provisions to melee while in berserk mode.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, Zealots (as with all Sangheili), will usually jump out of the way to avoid a grenade: when near a ledge, they will jump over and will fall to their deaths. However, on Legendary, the Zealots will sometimes charge through the blast and try to kill the player.
- Zealots only have the shields of a Sangheili Major in Halo 2, but what they lack in shields they make up for in skill.
- Zealots' gauntlets are blue in Halo: Combat Evolved, (the same color Stealth Sangheili and SpecOps Sangheili have), but in Halo 2, they wear the usual orange gauntlets of all other Sangheili.
- In Halo: Reach, there are two loadout naming options called "Zealot" and "Royal Zealot." By default, these loadouts spawn with the Evade Armor Ability, a Needle Rifle primary and either a Needler or Plasma Pistol secondary.
- The real-time strategy game StarCraft features a Protoss unit known as the zealot; these warriors also wear golden armor and wield powerful energy blades.
- However, unlike the Sangheili, the Protoss Zealot is a lower ranking front line unit similar to the Sangheili Minor.
- In Halo: Reach, the Zealot armor is available as an Armor Permutation if the player reaches the in-game rank of Captain.
- During the standoff cutscene in Lone Wolf, Noble Six may have met his demise by the Energy Dagger of a Zealot, however another Sangheili's foot was in the way, and since Six had evaded every attempt up to that moment, this may not be the case.
- The only two Halo games Zealots don't appear in are Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST.
- The armor of the Zealot is identical to that of the Sangheili Field Marshal, with the only differences being two distinguished horns on the Field Marshal's headdress and differing pauldrons.
- In the Halo: Reach campaign there are a total of 9 Zealots, a pair of Zealots assisting the Field Marshal in Winter Contingency, a third in Tip of the Spear, a pair which attack (and are killed by) Emile, a trio assisting the Field Marshal and the one who finishes off Noble Six in the final cutscene in Lone Wolf.
- In Halo: Reach, Noble Six was almost killed by a Sangheili Zealot in the campaign mission Winter Contingency.
- In Halo 4, Jul 'Mdama's Covenant Zealots look like extremely battle-scarred Special Operations Sangheili.
- The armor worn by the Zealots in Halo 4 is the traditional Zealot armor worn in-field before the Sangheili joined the Covenant.
- The Zealots in Halo 4 were originally supposed to wear a scarlet variant of the Ultra armor from Halo: Reach.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, the Stealth Sangheili seen in the Legendary ending is replaced by a Sangheili Zealot. 343 Industries has yet to give a reason for this change.
- Zealot Blargball, a version of Grifball that uses Sangheili, gets it name from the Sangheili Zealots.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 60
- ↑ Halo: Reach, Winter Contingency (level)
- ↑ Halo Encyclopedia, page 135
- ↑ Halo Graphic Novel
- ↑ Halo 3, level Floodgate
- ↑ Halo: Nightfall, Episode 1
- ↑ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, Page 49, (http://blogs.halowaypoint.com/Headlines/post/2013/03/06/The-Halo-4-The-Essential-Visual-Guide-is-coming!.aspx)
- ↑ Awakening: The Art of Halo 4, Page 131