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Best Rainbow Six Extraction Operators: which are the best characters to play with?

These are the strongest Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction

Which are the best Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction? The latest entry in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six FPS series is a PvE affair, with familiar faces from Rainbow Six Siege returning and banding together to fight off an invasion by the alien Archaeans. Each Operator comes equipped with their own unique tactical ability and weapons arsenal, and as you play more with each Operator, they'll reward you with substantial upgrades to their kit.

On the whole the 18 Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction are fairly balanced, but there are always a few that rise to the top of the tier list. Below we'll walk you through our picks for the very best Operators in the game, alongside a rundown of all 18 characters and their abilities.

As you increase your Progression Level in Rainbow Six Extraction, you'll periodically unlock a new set of 3 Operators to use in future missions. But don't be fooled into thinking that the best Operators are the final ones you unlock: they're all fairly evenly balanced in truth, and each one has particular situations where they excel, and other situations where they may run into trouble.

When choosing your ideal Operator, it's not all about that Operator's unique ability. You also should take into account the weapons at their disposal, their relative speed and armor values (shown on the right-hand side of the Operators screen), and - perhaps most crucially - how they improve as you increase their Operator rank.

Earn enough XP with a particular Operator and you'll increase their rank up to a maximum of 10 - and with each new rank, you'll unlock a new upgrade to their skillset. It may mean new weapons to choose from, or an upgrade to movement speed or armor values. It may even be a substantial buff to that Operator's special ability, which suddenly turns them into one of the most powerful Operators in the game. You can check out how everyone improves over time from the Operators screen of the main menu by clicking on "Advancement" for each character.

Best Rainbow Six Extraction Operators

Below are our picks for the very best Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, taking into account their abilities, available weapons, and upgrade potential. Keep scrolling for a list of all 18 Operators and their abilities at the bottom of the guide.


Promotional art of Lion, one of the playable Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, superimposed on a backdrop of a ruined Liberty Island.

Lion

Lion is by far the best Operator in Rainbow Six Extraction when it comes to general situational awareness. There are other characters which specialise in revealing key information about your surroundings, but none are so easy to use - nor in my opinion so useful - as Lion's drone, which with a click of a button will highlight all nearby enemies through walls for a full 30 seconds (once leveled up).

Add to this the fact that Lion's second primary weapon, the punchy and accurate HK417 marksman rifle, is probably my favourite gun in the whole game, and Lion becomes a very easy recommendation for any new Extraction player.


Promotional art of Hibana, one of the playable Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, superimposed on a backdrop of a ruined Liberty Island.

Hibana

When you first start playing as Hibana and try out her sticky explosive mines on unwitting Grunts and other low-level enemies, it may seem a bit pointless. Sure, it kills them, but so does a bullet to the head. Where Hibana really shines is at the higher difficulties, when you're in a tough spot and you really just need to delete that enemy Smasher or Apex as quickly as possible before it deals too much damage to your team. That's when you truly start to understand why these mines ignoring enemy carapace is such a big deal. They're meant for the big bads.

Another reason to love playing as Hibana is that her third primary weapon, the MP5SD, is an excellent, low-recoil SMG with a build in suppressor, making it perfect for pretty much any mission situation.


Promotional art of Vigil, one of the playable Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, superimposed on a backdrop of a ruined Liberty Island.

Vigil

If you're playing Rainbow Six Extraction solo, then Vigil gives you possibly the highest chance of survival thanks to his cloaking device. It doesn't last very long, but sometimes just having a few seconds to gain some distance on the enemy and reload your weapons is enough to save your life.

But Vigil isn't just a powerful solo Operator: fully upgrading him allows him to also cloak nearby allies, and significantly buff the whole team's movement speed for the duration of the ability. It's the Archaeans' turn to be afraid when you've got an entire squad of cloaked Operators lining up the perfect killshots.


Promotional art of Finka, one of the playable Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, superimposed on a backdrop of a ruined Liberty Island.

Finka

Sorry Doc, you're also great, but Finka is my pick for the very best Operator when it comes to keeping the squad alive. Her Adrenal Surge is possibly the most potent ability in the game when used at the right moment, giving every teammate boosted health, increased aim speed, and reduced enemy debuff durations. It also revives any downed teammates, and prevents all teammates from falling into KO for the 10-second duration. This is absolutely game-changing when you start playing at the higher difficulty levels.

Aside from this, Finka has a great starting weapon - the versatile Spear .308 bullpup assault rifle. This is one of my favourite starting weapons thanks to its impressive range, low recoil, and formidable DPS.


Promotional art of Sledge, one of the playable Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, superimposed on a backdrop of a ruined Liberty Island.

Sledge

Who doesn't love to hit things with a gigantic hammer? No one, that's who. Sledge might seem a bit mediocre at first, but spend a bit of time levelling him up, and he'll pay you back with the ability to stun every enemy up to Smashers and Tormentors, leaving them wide open for a far easier kill than normal. That alone is worth the price of his sluggish movement speed.

Sledge's hammer also opens up interesting tactical opportunities, because you can use it to smash new pathways through thin walls (the walls through which you can see enemies with your weapon's UV light). A lot of the time this simply allows you to pick enemies off or reach an objective quicker, but sometimes opening up a new pathway can be the difference between life and death. Plus, it's satisfying as hell.

Two operators fire on a group of Archaens as another pulls the pin on a grenade in Rainbow Six: Extraction.

All 18 Rainbow Six Extraction Operators and abilities

The above Operators are, in our opinion, the strongest - but each Operator is very powerful in their own right, and I'd always recommend you play with the character that best suits your playstyle. Below is a list of all 18 Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, along with a description of their unique ability.

  • Doc: Health Shots - Fires his Stim Pistol to heal or revive himself or his teammates when Downed.
  • Ela: GRZMOT Mine - Throws sticky proximity mines, stunning enemies caught in the blast. Mines recharge over time.
  • Pulse: Cardiac Sensor - Detects VIPs, MIAs, and Nests through obstacles.
  • Alibi: Prisma - Throws decoys which attract any enemies in the area. Enemies attacking the decoy become scanned.
  • Finka: Adrenal Surge - Temporarily boosts team response and survival. Revives any Downed teammates and prevents KO.
  • Hibana: X-Kairos - Fires explosives that remote detonate and stick to all surfaces. Ignores enemy carapace.
  • Lion: EE-ONE-D Drone - Detects all moving enemies in the area for a short duration. Can be used again after a cooldown.
  • Sledge: Tactical Hammer - Equips a tactical hammer which can stun enemies and destroy walls to create new paths.
  • Vigil: ERC-8 Disruptor - Disrupts enemies making him undetectable for a short duration. Can be used again after a cooldown.
  • IQ: Red Mk IV Spectre - Detects REACT Equipment and more through obstacles.
  • Jager: Active Defense - Deploys an automated turret which attacks and intercepts projectiles in the area.
  • Rook: Armor Pack - Drops a pack of armor plates for the team, granting damage resistance. Anyone wearing armor always falls to Downed instead of KO.
  • Fuze: Cluster Charge - Deploys remotely detonable charges on walls, releasing cluster grenades on the other side upon activation.
  • Smoke: Remote Gas Grenades - Throws remotely detonated Z9 grenades, dealing damage to any enemy in the gas.
  • Tachanka: Mounted LMG - Deploys a mounted LMG for anyone to use.
  • Capitao: Tactical Crossbow - Silently shoots bolts which detonate on impact. Can alternate between smoke screen bolts and venom bolts.
  • Gridlock: Trax Stingers - Throws and deploys ground traps. Enemies hit by the trap take damage and move at a slower pace for a limited time.
  • Nomad: Airjab Launcher - Shoots proximity mines, knocking back enemies caught in the blast. Also clears the area of hazards.

That's every Operator in Rainbow Six Extraction listed, and hopefully this guide has given you a few choices to try out when it comes to top-tier characters at every level of play. If you're looking to upgrade your own skills rather than just that of your character, then take a look at our Rainbow Six Extraction tips and tricks page. Elsewhere you can learn how to save MIA Operators, and how to level up fast in Rainbow Six Extraction.

About the Author

Ollie Toms avatar

Ollie Toms

Guides Editor

Ollie is known round these parts for having just about the deepest voice in existence. Some say he used to be pretty darn good at Rocket League, but he has since sacrificed that accolade in order to become passably decent at Apex Legends. His favourite pastimes include playing piano covers of his favourite game soundtracks, and burying his face in the warm fur of his two cats.

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