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Rainbow Six Siege operators: who to pick, which abilities are best

Special operations

Featured post Operator playing as Dokkaebi with two other operators hanging outside as the defender Smoke's poison gas erupts inside the building.

Operation Wind Bastion marks the end of the third year of updates for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, which now has a whopping 44 operators in its roster. With vastly weapon load outs, gadgets they can bring along for the fight, and the unique abilities they offer – it’s easy to see why Rainbow Six Siege has endured for as long as it has. As each one is essentially their own class, knowing their limitations and strengths is key to getting the most out of them. This guide will go through them in their entirety, making recommendations about whether or not to use them, as well as detailing which operators they have advantages over.

Rainbow Six Siege Operator guide

For those that are jumping back into Rainbow Six Siege, all the changes can make it somewhat intimidating. To that end, hit our Rainbow Six: Siege guide hub, which has been lovingly prepared with a bunch of general tips of how to get back into the swing of things.

Attacker Operators

Defender Operators

Drone looking at enemy defender operator

Best Operators for beginners in Rainbow Six Siege

New and returning players to Rainbow Six Siege will notice that there are a heck of a lot of operators to use on both sides. This can be quite the daunting task as every operator is so drastically different thanks to their special ability. Newer players should begin to experiment with operators in custom games when they hit level 5, just so they get an idea of what their operator can do. Some however will require the input of enemy players, such as being able to monitor their footprints, but these tend to be the more difficult operators to use.

Once you’ve done that, pick a couple of operators you like on both attacking and defending teams. Since only one player can pick any one operator, you may find that someone has beaten you to selecting your favourite. If so, there’s usually some form of a gap in the team composition, whether that’s a lack of a roaming defender or a distraction-based attacker. For those who really need a bit of a head start, learn attackers such as Sledge and Thatcher first as they’re universally useful. Defenders can take the likes of Smoke or Mute, though others like Frost are also decent choices for newer players.

Attacking operator intercepts ambush from defender who has broken outside to flank the other attacker.

Best attacking Operators in Rainbow Six Siege

This is usually down to personal preference, the map choice, and the objective you need to complete, but there are some universally good operators on all maps. Thatcher’s EMP grenades are a very good choice as they render a sizeable amount of defender skills useless, while the likes of Twitch’s shock drones can equally cause issues for their electronics, and IQ can detect where the electronics are with her monitor.

Knowing where the enemy is can also be incredibly advantageous to the attacking team, so Jackal’s footprint tracker is a good and discrete way of knowing where most enemies are heading. But really the other good operators are those who can breach more complex enemy barricades, such as Ash and Thermite. Most of the rest of the roster can help the team in their own way, so it’s worth taking a look at all of them.

Defending attacker looking at a bomb objective after placing C4 on the nearby fortified wall.

Best defending Operators in Rainbow Six Siege

Defensively, operators fall into two camps: Roaming defenders and Objective defenders. Each have their own role to play and depending on their arsenal or strategy can give the attacking team some problems to overcome. For Roaming defenders, the best ones tend to be the ones who can remain undetected for as long as possible. Caveira is particularly good at the stealthy approach and can expose the entire attacking team should she interrogate an enemy operative, while Jäger or Frost can put their traps near the point and then go hunting for enemies.

Objective defenders play very differently. Their focus is to ensure that the enemy does not get to the objective at any cost. Good operators for this role include the likes of Smoke and Lesion who can litter the area with traps to cripple enemies, while Echo, Valkyrie, and Maestro can use their skills to gather information as to where the enemy is coming from.

Learning which operator is right for you is only really a small chunk of what Rainbow Six Siege is all about. Having an idea of some of the more recent maps on rotation can also give you the advantage, as certain operatives shine in certain maps. Take a look at our Rainbow Six Siege Villa map guide to see why the likes of Sledge and Valkyrie are particularly strong picks for this labyrinthine map, or our Rainbow Six Siege Hereford Base map guide for more on the changes made to the military base.

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Dave Irwin

Guides Writer

As guides writer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it is my privilege to understand how to play certain games well, so that newer players can understand the more complex things about them.

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