Halo Infinite ranked play can be incredibly tough. The skill ceiling is high, matches are challenging, and 343 Industries is still figuring out the best modes and maps to offer in the playlist. The dev team recently pulled Capture the Flag on the Behemoth map from Ranked play because it was such a slog. But what’s even more frustrating for those of us consistently trying to climb the Halo Infinite ladder is that there’s a beautiful new mode that would easily slot into ranked – and 343 is getting rid of it on January 31.
The Halo Infinite Cyber Showdown limited-time-event introduced a mode called Attrition, where each team shares a collection of lives among them and whichever team is whittled down to zero first, loses. In Attrition, however, you can revive downed teammates by interacting with their floating, shielded AIs, which adds a side of tactics to the Slayer-inspired mode. That Attrition is set to leave the Halo Infinite rotation when Cyber Showdown ends on January 31 is tragic. Not only should it remain a constant in Halo Infinite, but it should be slotted into the ranked play rotation. Attrition feels like a game mode designed with ranked play in mind, not a limited-time quick play mode.
The act of Attrition
Halo Infinite ranked is going to ruin my life and I’m okay with it
Attrition is incredibly different from any Halo Infinite game mode. Not only do you have a limited set of respawns, but once your team gets below eight lives, you enter a sudden death mode where you won’t revive. To make the late game even more tense, and to discourage players from camping out in hiding spots to get a cheesy dub, Attrition introduces a feature that battle royale players will recognize: a danger zone. That zone will steadily decrease in size, forcing the remaining players to converge on each other. It’s like a very small, very fast Apex Legends match.
Attrition games are fast-paced and incredibly tense, which makes them an absolute joy to play. A late-game revive can turn the tide on a seemingly dominant team, while a sole survivor can get lucky with a Power weapon and take out an entire four-stack of enemies. Halo Infinite multiplayer is already full of moments that elicit shouts of awe and peals of laughter, and Attrition plugs right into that power source. Attrition is a great game type, but unlike other Halo Infinite modes, it’s the only one that I believe will be made better by getting incorporated into ranked play.
The ability to revive teammates is a nuanced one, so you’d think players would latch on to a new feature in a game that’s still struggling to find the right live-service cadence. But too often in casual play, teammates avoid the cheeky revive in favor of loud, messy gunfights. They’d rather take their chances eliminating four enemy players with an AR than attempt to revive a downed teammate, and while this does occasionally work, downed players are often forced to spectate and scream into the void while their lone surviving teammate gets eviscerated. Teamwork in casual Halo Infinite matches is a rarity, but Ranked matches inherently foster more teamwork and support – if you don’t work together, you’ll lose, and your rank will suffer for it. Put that teamwork compulsory teamwork together with Attrition and you’ve got lighting in a bottle.
Best of both worlds
Playing an Attrition match is enjoyable, which is an important (and somewhat overlooked) feature in Halo Infinite ranked game modes. I’m not the only person who’s complained about the pacing of ranked CTF matches, which feel like they require too many captures to win and make use of the wrong maps for the mode – that flavor of feedback is likely why Behemoth was pulled from the Ranked CTF rotation. Then there’s Oddball, which can be a nightmare for the disorganized squad – how often have you gotten thoroughly trounced in a Oddball match by a team who throws the ball off the map whenever you pressure them, sending a single soldier to camp the respawn? Ranked play is already frustrating, but when the modes are equally so, it can make for a wholly unenjoyable experience.
Despite loving Slayer and longing for a Slayer-only ranked mode, I understand the value of having objective-based modes within the ranked playlist. Players who dominate Slayer matches are blunt objects, while those who excel in objective-based games are accurate instruments. To truly succeed in Halo Infinite ranked, you should be both the blunt object and the accurate instrument – both the Gravity Hammer and the Shock Rifle, if I may.
Attrition gives players the chance to be both hammer and rifle, as it’s the perfect melding of Slayer-style gunning and Domination-style tactics. With little time to deliberate, players are forced to choose between engaging in a firefight and attempting to revive a downed teammate, with the entire match riding on that single choice. If you eliminate the radar (a tenet of any ranked match), you give stealth fans a chance to pull off revives under the enemy’s noses, as opponents won’t be able to track where surviving players are moving.
The high-stakes, delightfully tense Attrition matches represent the essence of Halo multiplayer – the hyper-focused, airtight version of PVP that only Halo can provide. It requires players to hone in on their abilities as sharpshooters and strategists, rewarding those who have figured out the perfect balance. And the best part of Attrition games? They never feel like you can’t come back and win them, which is pitch-perfect for ranked play.
While 343 Industries is clearly still trying to figure out the best cadence for Halo Infinite’s battle pass, map cadence, and ranked matches, Attrition is right there. Bring it back, make it permanent, and slot it into the ranked playlist. It’s just that simple.
Halo Infinite is taking small steps towards free-to-play viability
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