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The untold truth of Halo's the Banished

By now, you likely have discovered the new teaser on the Halo Twitter channel. If you haven't, the video reveals that Halo Infinite players will soon be facing the return of the Banished. What in Tartarus' hairy armpit are the Banished, you ask? What's their goal? Whom do they serve? If you stuck to the main games, you've probably got every piece of Covenant Empire tech and each form of the Flood memorized, but you've seen hide nor hair of the Banished.

Well, thankfully there's a galaxy of expanded Halo material to explore, and it answers all your nagging questions. So sit back, strap on your MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor, and cock your shotgun because we're going in hot.

Atriox leads the Banished with an iron fist

You remember Atriox, right? Big bad Brute with a nasty temper and nastier ability to take out a squad of Spartans without breaking a sweat? Main antagonist of Halo Wars 2? Well, he's in charge of the Banished. Since the Banished are led by what is essentially a giant alien gorilla-bear with anger management issues, you might assume he was recruited by the Banished, killed the leader, and took over the role, but no. Atriox founded the Banished, and you have the Covenant to thank for that.

You see, Atriox used to be a loyal Covenant soldier. He was part of a group of 40 like-minded Brutes sent into battle to demolish the front lines. These were essentially suicide missions since all of the Brutes died — well, all except Atriox. So, he was assigned to another squad of 40 Brutes. And another. And another. He was the only one to ever return. Normally, this would make him a legend, but it also had the unintentional side effect of making him hate the Covenant. So he rebelled, and he gained a following of loyal soldiers known as the Banished.

In any other piece of media, Atriox would be the hero of the story, but this is Halo we're talking about. Atriox is a cruel and calculating Brute, and he led the Banished in a bloody campaign against the Covenant. Now his eyes are set on humanity.

The Banished are basically space pirates bent on galactic dominance

When you get right down to it, the Banished are just a group of mercenaries, criminals, and pirates working towards a goal determined by Atriox. At first, that goal was just waging guerrilla warfare against the Covenant, but when that empire crumbled, Atriox decided to fill the sizable gap left in its wake. Atriox's word is the Banished's command, and anyone who disagrees (or gets in his way) tends to find their brains painting the ground.

Since the Banished are basically a wretched hive of scum and villainy, they attract the worst of the worst from all sentient races in the Halo universe. And yes, Atriox plays favorites and gives his fellow Brutes the best and highest ranks within the Banished (although they are far from cushy jobs). However, Atriox is an equal opportunity recruiter and is more than willing to allow ex-Covenant races like Elites and Hunters to serve within his ranks. Heck, nobody can call Atriox a speciesist since, according to the Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, he has even recruited human criminals into the Banished. Sure, he apparently wants to destroy humanity in Halo Infinite, but at least he's kind enough to let humans help him achieve that goal.

You might wonder what the Banished use to wage war, and it's just re-purposed Covenant tech. Virtually everything the Banished use, from Brute Shots to Banshees, originally belonged to the Covenant. Although, equipment tends to be modified to fit Banished aesthetics.