The Galactic Empire was the Imperium that succeeded the Galactic Republic, ushering the galactic civilization into a whole new age. The Covenant was a theocratic alliance with superior military and technological prowess unlike anything humanity has ever seen. If the two forces ever went to war against each other, who would have the last laugh?
The Covenant: Better Equipped Ground Forces
The Empire has the Stormtroopers – conscripted soldiers that are trained in warfare in hostile territory. But overall, the Stormtroopers have proven to be an ineffective force against skilled opponents. When a worthy foe presents itself, the Stomrtrooper platoon falls like leaves in autumn. On the other hand, the organizational structure of The Covenant’s foot soldiers and ground troops are exceptionally good. The Elites carry personal shields and stealth technology. The Brutes carry incredible amounts of firepower. The grunts and the jackals are useful cannon fodder. The Mgalekgolo are humongous, indestructible walking tanks.
The Empire: Numerical Superiority
This might be just a guess. But at the peak of its strength, the theocratic hegemony that was the Covenant had 10,000 ships under its disposal. And with that, they were able top almost subdue UNSC, a technologically inferior race. Under Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, Empire had 25,000 Star destroyers, 50 Super Star destroyers, tens of thousands of frigates and supply ships, as well as the Death Star. Almost the majority of the frontline warships of the Empire were capable of planetary level devastation.
The Covenant: Access To Forerunner Technology
The Covenant was a group of races that had come together to worship an ancient and extinct race known as the Forerunnners. The Forerunners had superior technology that almost seemed like magic. The nano-luminate hull plating on Covenant ships is an armor derived from reverse engineered Forerunner technology. The slip-space drive the Covenant uses is miles ahead of warp drive technology. It is faster, more energy efficient, and harder to track. The Forerunner tech at the Covenant’s disposal gives them a huge advantage.
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The Empire: Better Firepower
Like we said, the Galactic Empire was built on the idea of military superiority. Even though their ground forces seem inferior to the Covenant’s, their warships possess enough firepower to turn an entire planet into rubble. The Star Destroyers and the Super Star Destroyers aside, the Empire had access to other devastating weaponry. The Sun Crusher could make a star go supernova. The Diamond Boron Missile could reshape entire continents with the sheer shockwaves of its explosion. The Galaxy Gun had the power to doom an entire planet by enveloping it in a permanent nuclear cloud.
The Covenant: No Hostility Towards Non-Humanoid Species
What does the Empire lack that the Covenant possesses in large numbers? The Empire had a massive distrust of non-humans. They were seen as less than sentient beings and treated with no respect under Imperial rule. The aliens grew to hate the Empire for persecuting and culling their people. If they hear of an enemy of the Empire that respects and honors all species, regardless of their shape., size, or appearance, the Covenant would receive a massive influx of new recruits. That would be enough to somewhat topple the advantage in numbers card a little bit.
The Empire: The Force
And the ultimate weapon at the Empire’s disposal is the force. If the Covenant encounter the Empire’s forces in battle, there would be a time they would one day meet a Sith. The Covenant have never encountered the Force. It would be their first time seeing it in action. The dark Side of the Force allows Sith Lords to create devastating counter attacks like Force Lightning, Thought Bombs, and Necromancy. The covenant would be running back with their tails tucked between their legs once they see a Sith in the battlefield.
The Covenant: Better Anti-Ship Weaponry
When it comes to fighting warships in space, the Covenant have near perfected the technology of anti-ship weaponry. Their plasma torpedoes and cannons are built to fight other warships in space. When you add the powerful pulse lasers and plasma beam emitters scattered all across their hulls, the Covenant ships seem unbeatable in ship to ship battle in outer space. A Star destroyer on the other hand possesses weapons like turbo-lasers and ion cannons. These are aimed at mostly fighting star fighters rather than engage another warship of the same class directly. Even the armor plating of Covenant ships is made up of superior technology. Their shielding technology is also more advanced.
The Empire: Better Leadership
Since the Covenant is in essence a theocratic hegemony, it tends to base most of its actions on religious foundations. Whatever it does is to appease their long dead Forerunner masters. This makes them vulnerable since they tend to think from an emotional perspective and not logically. This cost the Covenant some important battles during their war with the UNSC, an inferior military force. But against the Galactic Empire, mistakes such as this could cost them their entire existence. One mistake based on faulty logic and the Empire would wipe out the Covenant.
The Covenant: The Halo Array
The Covenant’s single greatest weapon and their biggest leverage is the Halo array. Built by the Forerunners long ago to contain a parasitic alien life form called the Flood, the Halo array is designed for one purpose – kill all organic life. Without organic life to feed upon, the Flood would eventually die. The Covenant believes firing the Halo array would open a path to salvation for all species. If push comes to shove, the remaining forces would fire up the Halo array to achieve ascension. What they would actually be doing is wipe out all organic life, including the Empire.
The Empire: Larger Supply Lines
The biggest advantage the Empire possesses is not the Star Destroyers or the Force. It is the fact that it literally rules the entirety of the known Galaxy. When it comes to territory under their rule, the Galactic Empire trumps the Covenant by a huge margin. In battle, the side with better logistics and stronger supply lines has a much higher chance of survival. The Empire has numerous ship-yards and many mining locations to scout for precious and important minerals to aid in the war effort. They also have more hands on deck to aid the campaign in support roles. The Empire simply possesses the bigger army as well as the means to keep it fed, ready, and well-supplied at all times.