- “Out of the darkness, these blades will light our way.”— Special Operations Sangheili's mantra.
Special Operations Sangheili are members of the Covenant Special Operations branch of the Covenant Special Warfare Group. Sangheili of this rank are extremely skilled warriors and are sent in to accomplish some of the most dangerous and difficult missions.
In Halo: Combat Evolved, Special Operations Sangheili are clad in jet-black armor, but wear purple/steel armor in Halo 2 and Halo 3. They are similar to Stealth Sangheili, as they both possess Active camouflage technology. However, the two are different and should not be confused: Stealth Sangheili have grey/brown armor that is not shielded, and they are permanently cloaked until they are killed, whereas Special Operations Sangheili have purple/black armor that is shielded, but their Active camouflage only remains active if the user doesn't fire or get hit by enemy fire.
During the Fall of Reach, at least 3 Special Operations Sangheili fought to take control of ONI Sword Base. Later, they were encountered in the control room of the Ardent Prayer. More were encountered in the Covenant controlled Sword Base shortly before the planet was glassed. Special Operations Sangheili, alongside Special Operations Unggoy played prominent roles in the Battle of the Gas Mine and the subsequent Battle of Installation 05, aiding Thel 'Vadam in his mission to retrieve the Index and then later aiding Thel 'Vadam in retaking the Jiralhanae Encampment on Installation 05. They then greatly helped in killing Tartarus in Installation 05's Control Room. In the Battle of Earth, they were seen assisting John-117 and the Arbiter in destroying the source of the Flood infestation in Voi.
- In Halo: Reach, SpecOps Sangheili have considerably weakened shields compared to past games like in Halo 2. Originally if played on Normal, it would take up to three melee hits to deplete a SpecOps' Sangheili's shield on the level The Arbiter. However, in Reach just one melee strike can completely deplete their shields where even a Sangheili Minor can withstand more hits. Nevertheless, SpecOps Sangheili Minors are indeed more skilled than Sangheili Minors in combat, which is what they seem to make up for in their lack of Energy Shield power.
- The SpecOps Sangheili of Halo: Reach seem to be a cross between the SpecOps Sangheili of previous games and the Stealth Sangheili, which no longer appears. The SpecOps Sangheili combat skills and range of weaponry has been combined with the Stealth Sangheili's weaker shielding and constant active camo compared to Halo 2 where SpecOps Sangheili only used their camo to get into position and strike, after which they would openly engage the enemy ahead of them.
- There is at least one SpecOps Sangheili with the ability to cloak after losing its shields. It can be encountered on Winter Contigency if the player rushes down to the building with the distress beacon. If it is killed, it drops a readable Data Pad. It is also the only SpecOps in-game scripted to equip a Plasma Repeater, all others make use of single or dual Plasma Rifles, or Energy Swords. It can only be encountered on Legendary difficulty.
- The helmets of the SpecOps Sangheili in Halo: Reach bear a resemblance to the helmet of the Commando armor permutation in Halo 3, albeit slightly longer at the tip.
- The Halo: Reach SpecOps Sangheili helmets resembles a more streamlined version of a Corinthian style hoplite helmet
- You can unlock the SpecOps armor in Halo: Reach at the rank Corporal
- Stealth in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary retain Spec Ops Halo: Reach armor but are colored white, and are able to be completely invisible.
- The Halo: Reach concept art for the SpecOps Sangheili wears a helmet that appears to be a cross between the helmet off the General and the Ascetic helmet.
- When playing Campaign or Firefight, the best weapons to use against SpecOps Sangheili are rapid fire weapons like the Assault Rifle, Plasma Repeater and Plasma Rifle. These will easily take out the shields of a Spec Ops and decloak them.
- The Sangheili Zealots that serve in Jul 'Mdama's Covenant wear re-purposed Spec Ops armor.
- The SpecOps Sangheili in Halo: Spartan Assault are very nimble, able to dodge the projectiles from some weapons. However, they are handicapped by the fact that their energy swords are far weaker than in the other games.
- Halo: Combat Evolved (First appearance)
- Halo 2
- Halo 3
- Halo: Reach
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Spartan Assault