Halo Infinite’s “Cyber Showdown” event kicks off today, adding a new mode called Attrition, plus a raft of neon-soaked cosmetic options, many available by way of a free 10-level battle pass. It’s all pretty cool. It’s also not quite what (some) players expected.
Since mid-December, dataminers have stoked conversation about unconfirmed additions coming to Halo Infinite—including the return of fan-favorite modes like King of the Hill—as part of an extremely Tron-inspired temporary event. On Friday, developer 343 Industries confirmed Cyber Showdown’s existence in a short teaser featuring a chiptune take on the Halo theme, but shared no details about the event itself beyond the starting date, January 18.
Now that Cyber Showdown is live (it runs through January 31), it’s clear the leaks were, much like my aim with a sniper rifle, hit-or-miss. The leaked cosmetic options, from the lightish-red paint jobs to the patently ridiculous cyber-visor, turned out to be spot-on. But King of the Hill is, unfortunately, nowhere to be seen. And the Cyber Showdown event itself goes down entirely on the Attrition playlist.
Attrition is a new competitive game type that isn’t the battle royale mode some fans have clamored for but nonetheless puts a hard limit on how many times you can die in a game. Two teams of four face off in a deathmatch on existing Halo Infinite maps. Each team has eight lives from the start. Once those lives are exhausted, you and your teammates will stop respawning. It sounds harsh, but you can revive downed teammates by walking up to an orb—which floats in the spot they last died—and holding down “X” (on console). Attrition games are best two rounds out of three.
After playing a few matches, Attrition is a frenetic, high-intensity way to mix up sessions of Halo Infinite. That said, it doesn’t seem well-suited to the broad Halo Infinite playerbase, not in the way classics like Slayer and Oddball are. In team-based Halo modes, you’ve always been in it together. Even if you’re playing like garbage, you’re never benched for more than than the length of a respawn. But with Attrition, you can find yourself sidelined for at least long enough to, I don’t know, read through an article on your favorite gaming news blog. (On the flip side, even if you’re playing like a Master Chief Jr., one wrong move can do the same thing, provided your teammates exhausted all your remaining lives.)
If that doesn’t sound like your bag, you’ll be bummed to hear that Cyber Showdown’s 10 free rewards—most of which are awesome—are all tied to playing Attrition matches. Like Halo Infinite’s previous events, you don’t progress through the event-themed battle pass by earning XP. Instead, you knock out challenges specific to Cyber Showdown. (Challenges related to the event are marked with an orange banner on the left margin.) And yes, you’ll still gain XP that goes toward your standard battle pass.
By default, 10 of your 20 allotted weekly challenges are marked as Cyber Showdown challenges, with tasks only completable in Attrition matches. I’ve used a handful of challenge swaps on these and found them replaced by more Cyber Showdown challenges.
On the plus side, Cyber Showdown is lenient in regard to time management, unlike the severely constrictive “Winter Contingency” event, which only allowed you to complete one challenge per day—during one of the most widely life-obligation-packed periods of the year. For Cyber Showdown, it appears you can complete multiple challenges per day. And since it’ll play out over two weeks, comprising two full lists of challenges, that’s plenty of runway to earn all of the rewards before the event ends.
Beyond the Cyber Showdown event, Halo Infinite has other changes in store this week. The long-troubled Big Team Battle playlist, which has experienced connectivity issues for close to two months now, has a fix in the works, currently planned for tomorrow. What’s more, Infinite’s IRL-money cosmetic shop is set to receive an overhaul, with items going up for sale at lower costs and, in some cases, available piecemeal instead of as part of a pricier bundle. As of this writing, the most expensive item in the shop is a set of paint jobs up for about $12. (Bundles have previously been as pricey as $20.) No items are currently available piecemeal.