If you’ve played Halo Infinite’s multiplayer mode, you know how good the mangler is. The sidearm has recently sparked debate among Halo’s community, highlighting a divide as old as time. Pros want its efficacy reduced. The Halo hoi polloi doesn’t exactly agree.
No two ways about it: The mangler, a pistol with a walrus-shaped silhouette, is indeed enormously effective. Three shots—two anywhere, then one to the head—results in a kill. A blade affixed to the barrel gives it a strong AF melee attack, making it a devastating close-range weapon, too. Halo Infinite treats its spawn as a sidearm, so it appears with the same frequency, and in the same easy-access locations, as the dinky little plasma pistol.
Players have debated weapon nerfs since Halo Infinite’s surprise launch in November, and some pros have mentioned kneecapping the mangler specifically as recently as early December. But the most recent round of wide discussion appears to have been sparked by a Twitter post from pro Halo player Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, in which he argued the mangler’s spawn timer should be ramped up, to both minimize how many people can wield it simultaneously and to reduce how much total ammo is available for it on any given map at any given time.
Other professional Halo players chimed in to agree, and to say that developer 343 Industries should open up more lines of communication. In response, 343’s Tahir “Tashi” Hasandjekic noted that the studio has “definitely been seeing all of the feedback and talking about it internally (especially for big ones like Mangler).”
While clear that 343 Industries is fielding feedback from prominent members of the community, it’s unclear yet what changes, if any, the developer will implement. (Microsoft, Halo Infinite’s publisher, did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.) You can’t write off the possibility of an upcoming nerf to Halo Infinite’s mangler, either by way of a spawn timer reduction or by straight-up making it weaker.
“343, don’t touch the mangler for the love of all things halo. it’s fine,” reads one Reddit post on which more than 1,000 people have weighed in, largely in agreement. Some folks seem to think it’s fine to tweak the spawn timer, or to just do so in ranked matches, but there’s little discussion about actively weakening its shots. It’s a popular topic across Halo’s subreddit. Another post, headlined “Don’t nerf the Mangler please, if anything just buff the Bulldog,” was removed because “an extremely similar one has been submitted recently.”
On Twitter, the conversation is taking a similar, if less -nuanced, tack. There’s the common sentiment that nerfing the mangler would essentially just force everyone to use the battle rifle, a similarly effective mid-ranged weapon that fires three-round bursts. Others lament that pro players are driving so much of the discussion, and think that, instead of 343 weakening the mangler, pro players should devise new tactics. (The battle rifle has been a go-to weapon for Halo players since its introduction in Halo 2.)
Naturally, the Get Good Contingent is also out in force. “Some people should simply get better at Halo Infinite, rather than complain about the mangler, or aim assist, or the fact that they pooped their pants,” one player wrote.
Halo Infinite isn’t a stranger to seeing some of its weapons weakened. Following the summer’s series of beta tests, the commando—an automatic rifle with a scope and some serious punch—is now far more difficult to aim, meaning it’s only moderately effective. And then there’s the ravager, a launcher that fires globules of molten lava, dealing area-of-effect damage. Though it was easily one of the most overpowered weapons in the beta, it’s now practically impossible to get a kill with; its best use is now for that one annoying challenge you get every week about scoring 20 assists in PvP.
Hopefully a similar fate doesn’t befall the mangler, but it’s concerning to observe the divide here. A comparative handful of top-billed Halo players are championing a change. Meanwhile, the vast, vast majority of players clearly don’t want it. It doesn’t matter the medium, or the forum, or the meat of the debate: When the people at the top drive all the decision-making, everyone else tends to lose.