Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Grinding Grifball Guide (Most Efficient Ways to Earn EXP)

In this guide I will be going over the kinds of players in grifball, the most efficient ways to earn exp, and grinding etiquette with a cynical twist.

Min / Max EXP Efficiency

If you’re serious about the EXP grind, you’ve come to the right place. Grifball is by far the best way to earn EXP in Halo MCC on PC. Other modes like SWAT can be good, but only if you’re skilled and do well every match. Grifball on the other hand is very quick and a lot more reliable on a match by match basis. Just know that grinding grifball is a miserable process and you’ll most likely ruin the experience of grifball for yourself permanently. I’ve had many clan mates take vacations from Halo MCC after reaching level 100.

To start, let’s break down how the EXP system works in Halo MCC on PC. At the end of every game, you earn EXP from 3 different categories.

The first is your participation reward. This number never really goes over 5,000 EXP and is based on the length of the match. It is NEVER worth it to delay a match in order to try and raise this number. People who purposefully stall the games in order to inflate this EXP simply know nothing about it. You get 900 EXP just for being present, about 3,000 EXP for an efficient and quick game, and 4,000+ EXP for a slow game. This amount is mere peanuts.

The second portion of your EXP are your personal performance medals. This caps at 8,000 EXP normally but during double EXP events, it’s 16,000. In order to raise this number all you really need are kills. It takes 13 kills to reach the maximum EXP, regardless if it’s double EXP or normal. Multi-kills are usually a pretty good form of insurance to make sure you hit the maximum. They will also boost your performance reward.

The final bit of EXP you get is from teamwork medals. This is for stuff like scoring the bomb, assists, and avenger medals. Even though scoring gets you a teamwork medal, it’s not really worth aiming for. Just like performance medals, this also caps at 8,000 EXP normally and 16,000 EXP during double EXP events. In order to get high and even maximum teamwork medals each game, you’re going to want to avenge your teammates.

So let’s layout the order of operations here…

When the game starts, you’re going to go for your 13 kills. Nothing else matters until you hit this magic number. If there’s a tactical gamer of the combat variety, ignore them. If there’s a tactical gamer of the score variety either try to rush your kills or stop them. Hitting max performance is the easiest and quickest thing to aim for.

After your 13 kills, you will then shift to teamwork medals. Follow a teammate around but DO NOT body block them or get in their way. You are simply there to avenge them when they die. When your teammate dies you have about 2-3 seconds to kill the guy who killed them for the avenger medal. This is typically harder than the 13 kills and it takes longer. This is why we save it for last.

After you’re happy with your EXP it’s about closing the match. If you’re confident in yourself and your team’s capability, destroy the other team with an overwhelming victory. If your team is leaving you high and dry and the other team is being obsessively tactical, allow for them to win.

Caution: 343i is getting angry about people trying to be efficient with their grinds. They’re now trying to say that throwing matches is against TOS, which is laughable but it’s the current state of 343i.

Lastly, let’s discuss Co-Op grinding. Co-Op grinding is indeed more efficient than solo queues. It allows for you and your team to coordinate an effort for the most efficient grind possible. Keep in mind closing a match quickly after the EXP is earned is as important as the grind itself. Slowly fighting out matches ruins the efficiency of the grind and starts to detract from the goal. Just keep in mind someone has to stop the other team from scoring or you’re going to get really tired of tactical gamers real fast.

Know The Players

There are a few noticeable stereotypes that seem to be fairly accurate when playing grifball. Every player seems to fall into one of these personality types and knowing what they are can help you grind.

Tactical Gamers

What are tactical gamers? A “tactical gamer” is a term made by me and my fellow grinder clan mates. A tactical gamer in the most simple of descriptions, is a waste of time. There are two kinds of tactical gamers.

Tactical gamers who rush

These guys try to grab and plant the bomb every second that they’re alive. These are one of the most irritating kind of player you can come across.

But…they’re just playing the game… No, no they are not. These are the same people who are confused or laugh when you tell them most people are grinding grifball for the EXP. If they were actually playing the game, how is it fun for them to score and end the game within 30-60 seconds of finding a lobby?

Tactical gamers who try-hard

These guys just stand in place and wait for you to walk into range, giving them the advantage. Every time you attempt to attack one of these they back step and weave out of your attacks. Their play style is 100% defensive and they often rack up killing sprees if your team feeds their behavior.

But… they’re just good at the game and better than you… No, no they are not. Anyone and everyone can play like that. It doesn’t require any more skill than simply fighting in grifball. If everyone played like them, everyone would just stand in a line and never attack each other. In the amount of time it takes to kill this kind of tactical gamer, you could have gotten a triple kill on the rest of their team. They’re simply a waste of time and should be avoided.

The Grinder

These are players who don’t care at all about grifball as a game and are playing to maximize their EXP gain. These players have no reserve and take on the whole enemy team solo, completely wiping the other team half of the time. These aren’t a threat to your grind, and it’s often beneficial to have more players like this in your lobby. The only downside with this kind of player is trying to out-kill them for your own points. They can often leave an open path for a tactical gamer on your team to score the bomb, so be wary. These players can also be skilled in grifball combat and prove a difficult yet rewarding challenge.

The Scumbag

These people have 0 etiquette and morals, going out of their way to show you how scummy they are. These players come in 3 different flavors.

The trash-talker

These guys will pick a beef with you just to have someone to argue with. These kinds of players typically focus on people with a high rank, someone they envy. They’ll throw non-stop insults at you because they’re mad about your rank in the game or perhaps they’re mad at your skill. Just know these guys are horrible people and even more horrible players. They’ll tea-bag you and brag every time they get a kill on you, or mock your kill and death ratio at the end of the match. Grifball isn’t always a game of skill and some matches you do really well and some you flop. If these trash talkers do better than you, it was simply their match. It doesn’t prove them to be better than you.

The team-killer

This guy team-kills on purpose or has 0 remorse for team-killing. Calling them out on it or retaliating against them will set them off. Once you’ve triggered one of these players, expect a non-stop back and forth of team-kills with them. They won’t ever stop. Triggering a team-killer almost always means certain defeat. They’d rather throw the grind and the game to team-kill? I don’t really know whats going on in the mind of these weirdos.

The amateur / moral-free grinder

These guys attempt to spawn trap the other team in their spawn point. Don’t get me wrong, EXP is the name of the game and standing a few feet from their spawn is fair game. However, these guys don’t respect the other team what-so-ever. These guys will either try standing against the wall along their spawn, pogo jumping on top of a spawn to kill people over and over as they spawn, or grind in extreme excess. It only takes 13 kills to reach max exp for a match and you can get this done in one full round if you try. These guys want to farm the enemy spawn for 2 full rounds for 5min when they earned their max exp LONG ago. This kind of player may also hold the bomb to prolong the match an ungodly amount of time.

The Cannon-Fodder

These are your no-name randoms who you had the misfortune of being queued with. They’re often unreliable both in their skills and their tactics. These guys will often team-kill you while being behind you when you yourself, are out of range of the guy you’re fighting. These guys will also walk into you as you’re trying to fight and often get you both killed. It’s wise to ignore their presence and keep an eye out for friendly pings on the radar. These guys are almost as big a threat to the grind as the enemy team.

Helmet Stereotypes

There are a few helmets that are usually a dead give away for the kind of player you’re facing. They’re broken up into two categories. The combat oriented tactical gamer, and the goal-rushing tactical gamer. Both are bad for your grind. I’ve listed the offenders worst to least from top to bottom. Play grifball for 100+ hours and you’ll start to notice this too.

Combat-based tactical gamers

These guys are going to try and win every fight by playing defensive battles, trying to fight over every little victory they can get. The helmets you should be looking out for are as follows:

Mjolnir Mk. V


Mjolnir Mk. VI



The goal-rushing tactical gamers

If you see people with these helmets, they’re typically the biggest threat to the grind. If unchallenged they’ll just keep running to the goal like AI over and over. These helmets are often a dead giveaway:


Military Police



As you may have noticed, the recon helmet appears on both lists. That’s because recon players are a very mixed bag. Some are complete noobs who are playing Halo for the first time. Others are the original fans who are nostalgic about the helmet itself. Back in the day, the recon helmet was a trophy among the Halo community. As more people reach level 100 because of this event, there may be a shift in these stereotypes. I’m already seeing more and more players use the Gungnir helmet. For the time being, these helmets are pretty spot-on accurate.

Cheese Tactics

These are tactics you should be mindful of when playing grifball. Knowing about them helps you defend against them and you can use them against the other team.

Blue on blue! 

If you attack the other team and move in a specific way, you can bait 2 players on their team to focus you at the same time. Remember earlier in this guide when I said the cannon-fodder randoms trip over each other and get both of them killed? Make use of it. You can often get them to kill each other for you or get one to kill the other on your dying hit. Not a bad trade. Sometimes you can even get lucky and land a double kill.

Quick Melee

Did you know your primary attack and melee button attack are different on the gravity hammer? Using the melee button instead is quicker, but it also doesn’t cause a shock wave blast like the primary attack button. It’s cool-down is slightly faster. If you just used your primary to kill an enemy and a second enemy is on top of you about to kill you, you can try using the melee button to bash them. Quite often, you can end up trading with the guy who was about to kill you, ending with a death draw between you two. In some situations you can actually hit another enemy who was unprepared faster than they can swing with their primary attack.

Roll dashing

Have you ever seen someone take the bomb into the corner and drop it to do a roll for some reason? They’re attempting to perform a roll dash (at least that’s what I call it). It’s an unpatched glitch from the Xbox days. All you’re trying to do is roll and pick up the bomb at the same time. It only works on levels where you’re playing as spartans with the roll abilities. If done correctly, you can fly past the enemy team and score a goal unchallenged. Timing is key with this one and it’s difficult to pull off. It’s also easier to accomplish on a controller.

Baiting out the bomb runner

If you’re tired of being killed by the bomb carrier, you can try faking them out. This typically only works on more novice grifball players, but is enough to win some engagements. Run at them like you’re trying to stop them, they’ll often run directly at you to brace for the impact. At the last moment, if you start backing up you can mess them up. They’ll either try to punch early and allow you to get a free kill, or you’ll just mess up their timing and hit them anyways.

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