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The Combine Grunt (also known as Echo One in Combine terminology) is one of the four Overwatch units that are part of the Overwatch Commando branch, tasked with all operations relating to The Vault, stationed in the Quarantine Zone and subsequently deployed throughout City 17 during the events of Half-Life: Alyx. They are, however, a lower-ranked soldier class among the four Overwatch Commando units.


The Combine Grunts are the most common type of soldiers found within the Overwatch Commando branch, usually seen in squads led by a Combine Ordinal with additional Combine Chargers and Combine Suppressors for support stationed within the Quarantine Zone. Grunts typically work in groups of two or three, rarely working alone. Unlike the rest of the Combine military, they are not wearing the standard-issue combine body armor, instead sporting a white hazmat-type bodysuit with relatively light armor. These light-armored bodysuits have the Combine insignia on their right sleeve and another insignia on their left, which appears to be a rectangular box with some letters below it, along with a circular line going around, which isn't the traditional insignia of standard Overwatch soldiers, most likely indicating that it is the symbol of the Overwatch commando branch. They are also sometimes equipped with an air canister, which provides oxygen to the wearer.

Combine Grunts use the Pulse SMG as their primary weapon rather than the Standard Issue AR2 Pulse Rifle or the MP7. They are also equipped with a unique variant of the Combine Grenade. They are typically encountered throughout the Quarantine Zone in squads, working alongside Combine Chargers and/or Combine Suppressors under the tactical command of a Combine Ordinal. In combat, Combine Grunts will stay behind cover and fire from their position while other soldiers stay out in the open to pressure targets. At close range, they kick or strike them with the butt of their weapon. Some Grunts that wear bodypacks with air canisters strapped on their back are prone to explode if the red valve is shot. Although they are the easiest opponents to face, they can quickly overwhelm Alyx with their strength in numbers. Despite the light-armored appearance, their uniform provides resilient protection, capable of withstanding numerous headshots.

Throughout the game, some unmasked Grunts (as well as other types of Combine units in the events of Half-Life: Alyx) are encountered, revealing their true faces. Their faces appear inhumanely disfigured from their original form, as the eyes have been removed, along with modifications to the face and head in general. This seems to suggest that these are the result of either transhuman surgery or a post-headcrab infection.

Interestingly, unlike other Overwatch military units such as Combine Soldiers or Overwatch Elites, who all maintain a strict, professional, and military-like manner, grunts can be seen "joking about" while still maintaining a strict fashion. In Chapter 10, in the aftermath of The Vault's crashing into the ground, two Grunts can be seen inspecting a fallen Strider. While one is radioing in and inquiring with Overwatch Command about repairing or extracting the Strider, the other is kicking it until the first tells them to stop. They show disgust when spotting enemies like zombies or Headcrabs, saying "I hate these things," or "Gross."


The Grunts usually break from their gestures or procedures and sometimes call out Alyx Vance by her real name. They will even taunt her by saying, "You can come out now" or "It's almost over." At points, they'll call out to her that they're friendly in an attempt to trick her into lowering her guard. If they are successful (only if the player reveals themselves and doesn't instantly shoot at the Grunt) they will announce "Friend game effective" into their gas mask as they shoot at Alyx. When faced with a horde of Standard Zombies, Grunts, like the Ordinal, will usually run to a more open area and try to shoot at them from a distance. They attempt to flush you out of cover with grenades. If you get too close, they will kick you or hit you with the butt of their weapon. They will also fire much faster at you to maintain distance from them.

Behind the scenes[]

Grunts have voice lines for being encountered, avoided, and stunned by Rollermines, despite none ever being seen in Half-Life: Alyx. As seen in the trailer, grunts once had a grey suit. The Grunts' appearance underwent great change before the game was released. They originally featured a gray and yellow color scheme, and later changed into a white one with red insignias on their arms. These versions were absent from the release version of Alyx, and are exclusively seen in trailers and promotional material. Additionally, in one of the early screenshots Grunts are seen using Pulse Rifles instead of SMGs.

Related achievements[]

Achievement Deadliest Catch
Deadliest Catch
Use the gravity gloves to intercept an incoming enemy grenade in mid-flight.
Achievement Pro-Pain
Kill a grunt by shooting their gas tank.


List of appearances[]


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