Grunty grenade barrages

Posted March 24th 2020

Associated movies

  • BCM415 - Legendary; Grunty grenade barrages (8:31)
  • BCM416 - Legendary; Vehicle use (8:23)
  • BCM417 - Legendary; Double trouble (5:53)

In some previous articles and movies I detailed some special situations in which you can get a Grunt lobbing plasmas non-stop, particularly on Legendary where the throwing rate is highest. See here concerning some Grunts on a hill, here for some Grunts on platforms, and here for a case near the start of level 2. But while working on that latter case - making BCM354 to be precise - I was toying with a Grunt near the lifeboat and he launched into what turned out to be a 10-grenade barrage, now seen at the start of BCM415 (also, see pic). Very surprising as it was in fairly open ground, unlike the special situations just mentioned.

Where it all started

Wondering if there was something special about the area, I later played some more and was able to get further examples there. But then I started checking other areas across multiple levels and was able to get yet more barrages, and with surprising ease. So no, I don't think there was anything special about that lifeboat area. On Legendary at least, it seems that you can commonly get grenade barrages in general play! It just might take a bit of perseverance, that's all.

It feels weird discovering this remarkable and entertaining behaviour after playing so many years. But I guess the reason is, I just never toyed around with Grunts for long enough, especially on Legendary. I was slaying them too fast.

Starting and maintaining a barrage

To try and start a grenade barrage, shoot the Grunt. This often causes a throw, either immediately or within a few seconds. Sometimes that's all you get, but sometimes it can be followed by another throw, in which case you could be on course for getting a good barrage. It's as if he's somehow got locked in to throwing. Legendary is best by far, giving the highest throwing rate, namely up to 20 per minute or one every 3 seconds. On Heroic it's more like one every 5 seconds, and on Normal one every 6 seconds. On those lower difficulties maybe it's also harder to get a barrage started, and maybe they tend not to last so long; but I haven't done enough testing to say anything more definitive there.

Was it something I said?

While barraging, the Grunt will typically be backing off or sometimes side-stepping; and as such, barrages seem to be defensive in nature. Perhaps it could be thought of as a retreating mode. If he ever advances, that's liable to end the barrage. To keep a barrage going, you generally need to gradually move around to keep presenting the Grunt with a decent target, otherwise he's liable to back off so deep into cover that he's no longer got an angle on you.

To keep him suitably defensive, I think you also need to avoid triggering a change in his territorial instinct. Let me elaborate. Within a battle area, your position can affect where he tries to go (the first battlefield in AOTCR is a good example of this). You may need to be careful not to cross an invisible line which would trigger him to move to a whole new area. That would surely end any barrage.

The throwing isn't completely regular. The interval between throws can vary quite a bit, and may sometimes be considerably longer than usual. In between throws he may do some firing, but this too is irregular, in terms of the number of shots. Also, needler reloading can get repeatedly interrupted, so that it takes a long time to complete (e.g. see the first two clips in BCM415) - during which there's no firing of course.

Dodging in a Ghost

Note: sometimes a barrage may start without you shooting the Grunt, but that's unusual, if you're on foot at least. Typically you'll be needing to shoot him, and it may take multiple hits.

In a vehicle though, shooting is usually not needed. You're liable to be targeted fast (if the Grunt is in a suitable situation), and it can be fun trying to manoeuvre to avoid grenades, while keeping the barrage going. Using a Ghost is easiest. A Banshee takes a bit more skill, and a Warthog is relatively tricky, being slow to respond. See BCM416 for examples.

Red Grunts are best

Red Grunts seem much better than orange ones, a difference I'd already noticed in the special level 2 situation mentioned earlier. They seem to be much more consistent throwers, producing better and longer barrages. With reds I've had barrages lasting for multiple minutes, whereas orange guys often don't even reach ten throws. I also get the impression that orange guys are harder to get started (indeed, they seem more inclined to run away when shot), and they also back off faster while barraging. They may also have lower average throwing rate, but that could do with more testing. Basically they seem less enthusiastic.

A further advantage of reds is that they're tougher, and thus you can shoot them more. As mentioned, it may take multiple hits to get a barrage started, when you're on foot.

Needler preferable

Ideally it would be better for your Grunt to have a needler rather than a plasma pistol, because he'll be less dangerous. Needles are relatively easy to dodge. On Legendary, if he has a plasma pistol and doesn't start a grenade barrage quite early, you can easily end up dead from rapid plasma fire.

Double trouble with a tag team

Double trouble

If you have two Grunts, is it possible for them to both barrage you at once, and thus put you in an absolute deluge? Actually no. Essentially they work in relay. One guy throws, then the other may take over for a while, and so on. A pity, but playing around with two Grunts (or even three) is still a lot of fun, especially in a nimble Ghost, though it can also be done on foot. Ideally you'd want Grunts with needlers. A Ghost can take plenty of needle hits before smoking up.

Grunty teamwork on the ice

One thing you can do is try and get the Grunts to foul up. If they get nicely separated, you might be able to tempt one guy into a throw which puts the other guy in peril. Sometimes the team might even wipe out itself, as seen in one of the plays in BCM417.

Further tips

To have barrage fun with a Grunt (or multiple Grunts), ideally you should set up a situation where you've just had a checkpoint, so you can replay things. There's a wealth of possibilities, but some areas or situations will be better than others. There may be areas in which barrages are unlikely or impossible, for one reason or another; and other areas where it's relatively easy to get long barrages.

If playing on foot, your weapon has relevance. For shooting to provoke a barrage, an AR is a good choice as an AR round causes fairly minimal damage, thus allowing you many tries. However, you could also use a plasma rifle, plasma pistol, needler or pistol. With a pistol though, obviously you'll have to take care not to inadvertently deliver a headshot.