Shade stop method

Associated movies

  • BCM136 - Heroic; Descent via Shade stop (6:17)

In this method you blast a Shade down onto the near right ledge and use it to stop you from bouncing off when you fall from the V. From there you can move along and drop down at a safe spot of your choosing. Suitable for NTSC/PC/PAL.

I'll hop onto that rim corner

Full description

There's quite a bit of variation available for this method, so what I'll do is first describe the general scheme and then talk about options and details, and make recommendations.

Throw a grenade to one side of the near right Shade so that it gets blown sideways off the bridge towards the ledge. Then to stop it on the ledge, quickly follow up by throwing one or two grenades onto the ledge, near the edge and just ahead of where the Shade will arrive. If your timing and placement is good and the Bungie gods are smiling on you, the blast effect will be enough to stop the Shade bouncing off. Could take a lot of attempts though! Once the Shade is on the ledge, fall to it from the V, using it to stop you skimming off. However, you might have to first move the Shade closer with more grenade work. Once on the ledge, you can get the rest of the way down in the usual manner.

Ready to throw a frag

Now lets get to specifics. For the initial grenading, a good place to stand is on the bridge rim, where you'll be able to make your first throw and then simply turn left to make your 'stopper' throw or throws. FrogBlast stood on the mid-point of the short diagonal section, but the exact spot isn't really important, and personally I use the inner corner. Bearing in mind that the grenade work can take many attempts, it's highly advisable to get a delayed checkpoint when you're aimed and ready to throw.

Although either type of grenade can be used for sending the Shade off the bridge, I'd recommend a frag. You'll be aiming down at the ground just ahead of you for a bounce, and can use the floor patterning as a reference. Small adjustments to the location of the blast can more easily be made than if you were using a plasma, I feel. In the first picture you can see me aiming at a suitable spot as a delayed checkpoint occurs.

A combined blast stops the Shade and sends it back quite a way

As for stopping the Shade on the ledge, a single grenade of either type can suffice (FrogBlast used a plasma), but the blast is rather weak which is likely to frustrate, and even if the Shade is stopped, it's likely to be inconveniently far along the ledge for reaching later - which could even mean having to shift it. So instead I recommend throwing a plasma then a frag, to produce a combined blast. It has much better stopping power and can also send the Shade back along the ledge a decent way, to a more convenient location.

Whichever option you choose, the blast will need to be well placed, and fairly well timed of course. Expect to take a while gradually refining your aim and timing until you're in with a decent chance of stoppage.

Sometimes it may need moving

Having got the Shade onto the ledge, you're going to be trying to reach it from the V (actually the lower deck is another option for a run-off spot, but that would probably only make things harder). To manage that, it better hadn't lie beyond the chevron feature. If it's near the middle of the chevron, that would be ideal, and a successful drop should be relatively easy. It can potentially be moved closer with one or more grenades if needed, but that can be a tricky business and you'd certainly want a delayed checkpoint beforehand. Adjustment can be done from either the bridge or the V, but I'd recommend the latter for the sake of being closer - unless it looks like you'd have a hard time getting a grenade to a suitable spot beyond the Shade.

About to bounce off the chevron onto the Shade

When you're on the V ready to try and reach the Shade, run off the edge that slopes up, and aim to collide with the Shade as you get down to the ledge. Assuming it's somewhere along the chevron area, the best plan is to try and bounce off the chevron towards the Shade (the chevron gives you important cushioning), hitting it square on to be stopped in your tracks. This can work even if the Shade isn't upright, and even if it's hanging off the edge (your impact can send it the rest of the way off, interestingly enough). There's no need to crouch as you hit the chevron.

Going for a direct hit

It's also possible to instead come down on the Shade, without first hitting the ledge. A 'direct' arrival, so to speak. If you're lucky you might bounce off it and end up on the ledge (as FrogBlast did), possibly even with full health, but this is very much a poor second choice compared with getting cushioned by the chevron. If you do try this, don't bother with a crouch to try and soften the impact, as I don't think it helps. Indeed, I did better without, in a small test.

If you find yourself heading off the ledge, you can potentially save yourself by hitting X to board the Shade. But that only works if you've got the prompt of course, and you're unlikely to get it unless you've been appreciably slowed down. As such, I'd say the main use of this saving action is when you've already collided with the Shade but not in a decisive way. If you do board it, make sure you don't carelessly dismount off the edge of the ledge. Remember that you dismount to your right.

It's probably possible to do basically the same trick but using the far right ledge, and subsequently reaching it from either the lower deck or the bridge support. But this looks like being even harder.

Checkpoint advice

To make things as easy as possible, start by getting a delayed checkpoint when ready to blast the Shade off the bridge. Have your best aim as you get the checkpoint. Get another delayed checkpoint when down on the V ready to go the rest of the way - which may also involve having to move the Shade closer. Actually, if the Shade is going to need moving, an alternative plan is to get a delayed checkpoint for attempting that from the bridge, and then when it's adjusted you can get a new delayed checkpoint on the V. There are three handy checkpoints for delaying (as described in the preliminaries), so there's no problem getting enough.

Difficulty and system differences

This method is likely to require a lot of effort. Getting the Shade onto the ledge is the hardest part. Making it hit the ledge isn't hard once you've got your grenade aim right (which can take a while to refine), but stopping it from tumbling off is another matter. There's quite a slope on most of the ledge remember. The blast from your one or two stopping grenades needs to be well timed and placed, and you'll need a bit of luck too! It's liable to take plenty of tries, but you can do yourself a favour by using a double throw as recommended. Using only one grenade for stopping the Shade is likely to be very frustrating as it's barely enough to do the job. The first time I was trying that, it took me over an hour of throwing before I succeeded.

Another possible hurdle is the matter of moving the Shade closer along the ledge if it's too far away, though you're less likely to have this issue if you used the two-grenade stopping option. Indeed, if the Shade is right on the edge as it often is, it might be near impossible to adjust without it tumbling off.

I think this method is just as viable with NTSC and PC as with PAL. In fact NTSC and PC might even have a slight advantage. You can run faster than on PAL, and a greater run-off speed from the V would surely help you reach the Shade if it's relatively far away (e.g. near the tip of the chevron, where a PAL user might have trouble reaching it).

History and links

FrogBlast (who was earlier known as Metafire) described his method with movies, pictures and words. His article dated February 19th 2002 is now located in a mirror of his old site, which you can find introduced by Ducain at High Impact Halo - and bravo to all concerned for keeping his exploits available! I assume he was using NTSC. Four short silent video clips show various stages. He uses a plasma to blast the Shade down (while under fire), and another to stop it; then two more for Shade adjustment from the bridge (looks to me like they land on the barrel). When he makes his fall from the V, he heads directly for the Shade rather than trying to bounce onto it from the chevron. Rather dangerous I'd say, but he bounces off the Shade with only shield damage. In the HBO forum post in which he announced the descent, he explained that he was actually trying to hit X to get in. His subsequent drop to the snow is a risky one, leaving only one health bar.

The method is seen rather nicely at the start of Ms. Man's Boom Down video (date unknown), located in his video archive at High Impact Halo. There's no Shade adjusting here. It settles upright a short way past the chevron, which is further than I'd fancy reaching (with PAL), but he was apparently happy with it. He does all this with covies still around, as did FrogBlast. From the weakness of the fire and the absence of a Banshee, he must've been using either Easy or Normal (Easy I think). After getting the Shade onto the ledge, I suspect he went off to get a checkpoint (he initially seemed to be heading up the bridge, before things cut to the next bit). The Shade is boarded on arrival; looks like he was otherwise about to skim past. He takes an interesting route down from the ledge, going well past what I consider the safest drop-off point.

When exploring the method for myself, I realized the importance of having the Shade near the chevron feature so you can bounce off the latter. FrogBlast used plasma grenades throughout, but I found that frags could do the job too, and in fact I ended up preferring them, especially for my stopper throw. When I revisited things much later to make BCM136 however, I hit on the idea of using two grenades for stopping the Shade, due to the frustrating weakness of just one. I found that best of all, as it's more effective and can also send the Shade to a better location.

I've had a go at performing basically the same method but with the far right Shade and ledge. I was able to get the Shade onto the ledge despite its fairly severe slope, but that's as far as my success went. Moving the Shade closer was clearly going to be hard, as it tended to settle right on the edge; but I expect it could be done. Actually though, at that time I was only using a single grenade as the stopper. If I were to try using that Shade again, I'd try a combined blast, which might send the Shade back to a much better place.