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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.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is about to enter its fourth year of updates, which is just mind-boggling when you think about it. The game still has a huge player base and with the support that Ubisoft has given to it over the years, it seems like now is a good time to go over the 44 Operators that are currently in the game. Each one has different weapon load outs, gadgets they can bring along for the fight, and the unique abilities they offer; essentially being their own class. Knowing their limitations and strengths is key to getting the most out of them and we’ll be looking at the various operators to see how they’ve changed in this guide. We’ll be 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. Below you’ll find links to all of our guides for all the currently available operators in the game. In case

Attacker Operators

  • Sledge – The one with the hammer.
  • Thatcher – The one with EMP grenades.
  • Ash – The one with breaching rounds.
  • Thermite – The one with a supped up breaching charge.
  • Twitch – The one with shock drones.
  • Montagne – The one with the massive shield.
  • Glaz – The one with the special scope.
  • Fuze – The one with cluster charges.
  • Blitz – The one with the shield with a flash.
  • IQ – The one with an electronics detecting tablet.
  • Buck – The one with a shotgun under-barrel.
  • Blackbeard – The one with a miniature shield.
  • Capitão – The one with the crossbow.
  • Hibana – The one with explosive pellets.
  • Jackal – The one with the special glasses.
  • Ying – The one with cluster flash grenades.
  • Zofia – The one with a grenade launcher.
  • Dokkaebi – The one that can hack mobile phones and cameras.
  • Lion – The one with the aerial drone that detects people.
  • Finka – The one that gives adrenaline boosts.
  • Maverick – The one with the blowtorch.
  • Nomad – The one with knockback grenades.

Defender Operators

  • Smoke – The one with poisonous smoke grenades.
  • Mute – The one that can jam electronic gadgets.
  • Castle – The one that can put up reinforced barricades.
  • Pulse – The one that can detect heartbeats.
  • Doc – The one that can heal others.
  • Rook – The one that provides armour.
  • Kapkan – The one with the booby traps.
  • Tachanka – Our Lord and Saviour who has a turret. (He’s not at all good)
  • Jäger – The one that can deploy a grenade destroying gadget.
  • Bandit – The one that can shock metallic surfaces.
  • Frost – The one with bear traps.
  • Valkyrie – The one that can put up cameras anywhere.
  • Caveira – The one that sneaks around quietly.
  • Echo – The one with a sonic wave emitting drone.
  • Mira – The one with the bulletproof black mirror.
  • Lesion – The one that makes poisonous barbed traps.
  • Ela – The one with concussion proximity mines.
  • Vigil – The one that is invisible to cameras.
  • Maestro – The one with a bulletproof camera that shoots lasers.
  • Alibi – The one that can make clones of herself.
  • Clash – The one with a riot shield.
  • Kaid – The one that can shock metallic surfaces with tiny nodes.

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, Ash, and Thatcher first as they’re universally useful. Defenders can take the likes of Smoke or Rook are good to get used to, though if you want to up your game, taking on defenders like Mute can really disrupt the enemies plans.

Should you wish to purchase any of the Season Passes, a lot more operators are opened up to you. Some provide some interesting options for both weapon loadouts and their abilities, with some such as Hibana and Lesion well worth learning their ins and outs.

Beginner Tips

For attacking objectives, you should start out by sticking with your team and making call outs to keep everyone in the loop. More experienced players will try to coordinate their attacks to startle the enemy a little more. Defenders should attempt to get used to anchoring a position, learning the map terrain for vulnerable spots to avoid defending from, and making call outs where possible. Both sets of players should keep an eye on the bar at the top as both teams can identify which operators are being used and plan their defence accordingly.

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.

Some of the more recent operators for the attacking side have made quite the impact. Nomad’s knockback grenades can flush out defenders holding out behind cover, while Maverick’s blowtorch can more silently deal with most barricades.

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 Anchors. 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.

Anchors 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. Even the most recent defending operator – Kaid, has made quite the impact thanks to his electro-claws having a big area of effect. With a more recent update, Mute is also a much more viable pick thanks to a better weapon loadout.

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. There’s also the brand new map – Fortress – which we have the details for in our Rainbow Six: Siege Fortress guide.

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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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