by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 2nd April, 2018
Rainbow Six Siege is living through its golden era, almost two and a half years since the game's original release. Ubisoft managed to keep the game relevant with constant patches, a plethora of new content and constant balance fixes. Right now the game is one of the most popular titles on Steam as well as one of the most popular multiplayer titles on consoles.
Rainbow Six Siege's huge selection of operators is getting bigger and bigger with each expansion and right now after the latest DLC, Operation Chimera hit the shelves the total number of available operators jumped to 38. That's a huge pool to choose from, especially for new players, and with the constant changes and balance fixes, most of the operators aren't as good as they were just months ago. On the other hand, some operators are getting back in the game, and a couple of them were and are (and will be) a poor choice no matter the number of balance fixes the game receives (yes, we look at you Tachanka).
No matter if you are a newbie who wants to find out which operators to unlock first or a returning player who was out of the game for a while and now it's getting back and wants to find out which operators are favored in the current meta, check out this guide and find out which operators are the most powerful in the current Operation Chimera meta.
Before we start we want to say that if your favorite isn't featured on this list that doesn't mean you should stop picking them. The game favors many different play styles so almost any operator can be excellent in the right hands. Some players just can't lie still, even when defending meaning they are best when playing lurker role in the team and going with Pulse or Ela. Others like to play slow and steady, picking anchors when defending (think Rook or Smoke) and armor-powered operators when attacking, such as Blitz. But no matter individual preferences, some operators are mandatory for each team, and you will know who they are after reading this guide.
And, a note for newbies. If you are reading this guide note that being familiar with each of Rainbow Six Siege's many maps is way more important than knowing which operators are the most powerful. So, instead learning how to play with the best operators, just play the game and learn its many maps. And after you finally learn every nook and cranny, every outline of every map, well, it is time to pick your favorite operators.
Only a handful of operators stayed a top-tier choice during the game's history, and one of those fan favorites is Thermite. He's essential for every team because of his special breach charges capable of taking down reinforced walls. If you want for your team to have an answer for reinforced walls and if you want to have a joker in your hand, a gadget that can surprise defenders, create distractions, or just make your own entry point, Thermite is a perfect choice.
Aside from his powerful breaching charge, Thermite is equipped with excellent weapons. The M1014 shotgun is great for clearing after you punch a hole through the wall with its sweeping dispersion angle, and his 556xi assault rifle has solid range and low recoil, perfect when you activate breaching charge from a distance and want to snipe defenders.
After the launch of Operation Chimera one operator quickly became a top-tier choice for almost any team. Lion and his special ability, the EE-ONE-D drone capable of showing the position of every enemy, if they move during the four second-long scan, is extremely powerful and very versatile.
Aside from being a huge advantage for the attacking team when used on its own, the scan is great when combined with other operators' abilities, like Jackal and his enemy footprint scan or Twitch and her shock drones. Also, Lion is perfect for when the attacking team plants the defuser because his scan can stop enemies from moving and gives attackers few valuable seconds to plant the defuser and position for the inevitable rush of the defenders. And, on top of all that, Lion is a perfect lurker antidote, revealing their positions in an instant and making them easy prey for versatile operators capable of closing in in seconds and dealing with roaming member of the defending team.
Thatcher carries one of the most essential tools for any attacking team in the form of his EMP grenades. Since almost every defender relies on electronic gadgets, Thatcher and his EMP grenades are great for Valkyries' cameras, Bandit's shock wire, Mute's electronic jammers, and even Pulse's heartbeat sensor. If you want to have a counter for most gadgets your team has to include him.
When combined with Ash, Thermite, or Hibana, Thatcher is an essential member of the team because he can make their gadgets usable when defenders play with Bandit or Mute, and most teams pick one (or both) of the two when defending. Further, his claymore is great for lurkers, and a choice between the M590A1 shotgun and two different assault rifles make him versatile and suited for different play styles.
The only operator, aside from Thermite, capable of breaching through reinforced walls. And while Thermite must attach his breaching charge to a wall, risking of being taken down or countered by Mute or Bandit, Hibana is capable of ranged breaching with her X-Kairos pellets. The downside is that she can't create big enough holes to walk through, but they will be big enough to peak and take down unsuspecting, or poorly placed, enemies.
She is another top tier pick and should be a part of every team, even when someone picks Thermite. Because, if one gets down, there's another option capable of breaching reinforced walls. And creating holes and making new entry points, or line of sights near the objective is the most important thing in Rainbow Six Siege.
A solid choice for teams that want to have a moving shield and that like playing slow. Blitz and Montagne are great for providing cover for operators such as Blackbeard, creating an almost indestructible duo, or helping Thermite when he plants his breaching charges. Blitz is also great for roamers, blinding them with his shield flash and enabling other team members to deal with them, or even killing them himself.
Their weaknesses are poor weapons, slow pace, and the fact they aren't really killing machines on their own. If a team wants for these two to be usable, someone has to go with them and be next to their side at all times.
Another new operator, Finka is a perfect operator for teams who like to play aggressively. She can buff the whole team, giving them steady aim and increased health, an excellent tool for agro play style and great for when pushing on the objective. Also, her Adrenal Surge reduces the effect of concussion and stun grenades, as well as reducing reload and ADS (aim down sights) times.
She can also instantly fix downed operators, making her special ability even more useful. On top of the excellent team-wide buff, Finka has access to the Spear .308 automatic rifle and SASG-12 shotgun, two powerful weapons suited for both long and close range combat. She works well with Blackbeard, allowing him to quickly mow down enemies with his rifle that doesn't recoil as much during her Adrenal Surge, and Ying, making teammates to recover faster from Ying's candelas.
Aside from these six, there are a couple of more powerful operators that aren't top tier but can make a difference. Ash is great because she's fast, has a more than solid special ability along with great choices for the main weapon. Sledge is a chaos-making machine with his, well, sledgehammer, capable of creating a huge wall breach in a second, making defenders run away from the breach, like roaches, becoming perfect targets.
Blackbeard can deal massive amounts of damage and can also survive a headshot and can be immensely powerful when running along Blitz or Montagne. Ying can blind attackers with her super powerful flash grenades and is great for when pushing the objective. Buck is a solid choice because of his under-barrel shotgun that can transform his main weapons (both suited for long and mid-range firefights) into death-dealing machines perfect for close quarters combat.
And Twitch is like that mosquito who nags you all day, the only difference being that, once you try taking down her drone another attacker can quickly kill you while you are firing at the nagging two-wheeler. And she also has one of the best weapons in Rainbow Six Siege (FAMAS automatic rifle, good both for mid and long range).
Mute is an essential pick for every defending team. Much like Thermite and Hibana are the perfect pair of attackers, Mute and Bandit are irreplaceable defenders. With his electronic jammers, which can be placed anywhere and have more than a solid range, Mute is a perfect antidote for drones, especially that annoying stun drone courtesy of Twitch and breach charges planted by Thermite. He is even more valuable now when Lion is creating havoc with his movement scanning drone.
His primary weapon choices could've been better, but the M590A1 shotgun us great for close quarters combat. And, aside from Mute's mobile jammers, he also carries a deployable shield and one nitro cell.
The second part of the counter pair, Bandit, and his Shock Wires are an excellent counter for breach charges as well as a superb combination for empowering barbed wire and deployable shields. Bandit is a top tier choice for any defending team and has been ever since Rainbow Six Siege got released, making it one of the rare operators who managed to stay essential throughout the game's lifespan.
His loadout includes a rapid firing MP7 SMG, much better choice than Mute's MP5, and the M870 Shotgun for those who like to keep things up close and personal. He's also very fast, and when equipped with the MP7 he can be a solid choice for the role of a lurker in the defending team, although there are much better choices for that role.
Probably the best anchor in the game, Rook can soak up lots of damage but can also deal aplenty. He can spawn a bag of armor plates, providing additional damage resistance for all team members and while he is pretty slow Rook is still one of the essential defensive picks in Rainbow Six Siege. Aside from adding extra armor, the plates keep players alive when shoot, making them downed instead killing them instantly, except if being shot in the head, or melee killed. You won't be using him as the lurker, but Rook is almost irreplaceable to be used right next to the objective.
His weapons of choice include the nimble MP5, but also a rapid firing P90, an incredibly powerful weapon for close quarters combat that can be a huge advantage in the hands of an experienced player. There's also the SG-CQB Shotgun, great for players who want to keep themselves right next to the objective, so they can throw lead to the attackers from short range.
Another member of the French GIGN special forces and probably the second best anchor available in Rainbow Six Siege, Doc is invaluable because it has one of the most powerful special abilities in the game. He is capable of healing fellow players, as well as reviving them with 75 percent of health when downed. Combined with Rook's armor plates, which guarantee that teammates get downed instead of killed when shot, Doc's ability gets even more powerful.
When used by an experienced player, Doc can grant a second life to any player getting shot, except for lurkers who are usually too far to be revived when shot. The weapon choices are the same as with Rook, with the P90 being the best one, and the shotgun is great for those staying right next to the objective.
Ela is one of the best lurkers in Rainbow Six Siege and her concussion mines are superb for taking out unsuspecting enemies. When you know every map, roaming with Ela can greatly help your team. An experienced player will place mines next to the most frequently used entry points, shocking attackers and creating havoc before they even reach the objective.
Aside from using mines on entry points, they can also be used to shock attackers once they rush towards the objective, creating even bigger chaos and helping anchors in defending the objective. Her weapons include the FO-12 shotgun along with Scorpion EVO 3 A1 SMG, suited both for close quarters and for medium distance.
Mira is a great choice for experienced teams that rely on synergy. She can place one-way mirrors allowing defenders to see through reinforced walls, making Bandit's wires even more powerful and allowing Ela to throw her sticky mines just before attackers breach the wall. She's favored by skilled players because even on her own she possesses a powerful arsenal and her mirrors can work on their own, you just have to be careful when and where they are placed.
She can carry a Vector SMG, a hugely powerful weapon for close encounters along with a Shotgun. Other gadgets include ever useful deployable shield along with one nitro cell.
As is the case with attackers, among Rainbow Six Siege's 38 operators there are lots of good choices, the problem being that not all of them can be considered top tier picks. Some of the better defenders include Smoke, a more than solid anchor who's capable of deterring attackers from rushing the objective with his gas grenades. And when someone risks their life, trying to pass through the gas cloud, he can quickly dispose them with his shotgun or impact grenade.
Then we have Pulse, one of the best lurkers capable of revealing enemies' location by scanning his surroundings with a heartbeat monitor. Combined with his nitro charge, Pulse can kill off a couple of attackers at once by perfectly timing nitro detonation with his heartbeat scans. He also has solid weapon choices. Fast and deadly, with superb weapon choices, Jager is an excellent lurker. He also has access to the Active Defense System, capable of shutting down incoming grenades.
If you know every map perfectly, Valkyrie can be a great asset. Her sticky cameras can be a massive advantage when placed in best positions. But that's the problem, you really have to know all camera positions in order to use Valkyrie to her fullest. And the last but not least, we have Caveira. She is a super lurker, capable of performing silent sprints, moving silently among enemies. She also can interrogate enemies, making them reveal positions of their teammates. The downside is that she is very vulnerable and has limited choices when it comes to weapons during Silent Step.