The most impressive thing about Halo 4's unlockable COD-flavoured Armor Abilities, Tactical and Support options is just how easily you can ignore them. Peel back these disgraceful modern trappings and it's fundamentally the same old Halo, a multiplayer game ruled by mid-ranged rifles, ludicrously bouncy grenades and insane feats of jumpy marksmanship.
That said, some custom Spartan load-outs do offer marginally greater hope of victory than others. I've dreamt up a few for you to try out, based on a few hours playtime. By all means demonstrate their inadequacies in the comments thread, and check out this equivalent round-up of Black Ops 2 custom classes. Bear in mind that you'll need to equip the appropriate Halo 4 specialisation to get certain of the unlocks.
1. The All-Seeing Eye (Promethean Vision, AA Efficiency, Awareness, DMR, Plasma Pistol, frag grenades)
If you plan on getting the bulk of your kills by catching people at corners using Promethean Vision, bring along AA Efficiency to speed up the rate at which your Armor Ability recharges. This is handy indeed with Promethean Vision, because the best way to deploy it is to feather the button continually while on the move. Awareness, meanwhile, will allow you to line up a scoped shot on a red silhouette without hiding your motion sensor from view, ensuring that you're less likely to get ambushed in turn.
2. The Tough Nut (Hardlight Shield, Grenadier, Explosives, Assault Rifle, any pistol, any grenade)
You know that classic Halo trick where you'd bounce a grenade round a corner, catch somebody in the blast then rush into melee them? The Armor Lock from Halo: Reach complicated matters somewhat, letting the victim deflect the damage entirely and turn the tables, and the Hardlight Shield is even more effective in this regard - faster to engage, faster to put away and usable on the move. Celebrate this by equipping Grenadier, which expands your complement, and Explosives, which simultaneously widens the blast effect and decreases the damage you take from other people's grenades. For best results, pick up a shotgun or the Forerunner Scattershot in the field. That way, when you're attacker closes in for the "kill" you'll be able to paste him in one shot.
3. The Dancer (Thrusters, Shielding, Stability/Ammo, Battle Rifle, Magnum, any grenade)
Do you live for the thrill of close-up face-shooting? A nice set of Thrusters should help minimise the time you spend out of cover, and the increased recharge speed afforded by Shielding will allow you to re-enter the battle almost as swiftly as you abandon it. Bring along Stability for a steady aim under fire, or Ammo so you're not caught short at an inopportune moment. Incidentally, Sticky Grenades are easier to land up-close.