Rainbow Six Siege has progressed nicely in its first year of life turning into a much more balanced and less frustrating game. It’s still technically challenged in some areas but retains innovation as the driving engine for its gameplay and content updates. Siege has become a more competitive game with a more solid playerbase that has surprisingly increased even after its second year of existence, securing a place in the highly contended market of online shooters.
While my overall play time is quite huge I haven’t given the game as much attention as I used to do as Operation Health didn’t really capture my attention. But I’ve returned to see what the long awaited Operation Blood Orchid has to offer. I put between 20 and 40 hours accommodating to the new meta and re-evaluating each operator in order to come with an updated tier list. So let’s have a look at the current standings:
Despite the competition from Twitch, Thatcher’s position is more solid than ever before courtesy of the new operators which make him even more useful. The EMP grenade is the most efficient way to eradicate cameras, nitro cells, traps and other electronic devices that the defenders have at their disposal. Thatcher is a true team player, his goal being to clear the maze of traps making the attackers’ push easier. It’s true that an ability alone doesn’t make a Tier 1 operator, but he is more than capable of handling himself using AR33’s above the average fire rate.
Rainbow Six Siege is in an ever changing state, but to this day, if you want to make a safer entrance through the enemy’s heavily defended position, you’ll need Thatcher.
Hibana’s arrival means that Thermite doesn’t reign supreme anymore as the only operator who can break reinforced walls. But if you don’t like Hibana’s loadout or her ability that can sometimes be inaccurate, Thermite holds the other key to the castle. Some players might still moan Thermite’s loss of frag grenades, but the combination of medium armor, stun grenade/claymore and the powerful 556xi make him a competent fighter nevertheless.
Thermite is one of the currently two available options at breaking reinforced walls, so, for the foreseeable future, his position at the top is quite secured.
Hibana has brought the variety that the attacker’s meta desperately needed. Some players don’t like playing her, including myself, but she can be extremely useful at her job. The safe breaching of her X-KAIROS can be a life savior even if sometimes the holes made by it are somewhat difficult to pass through. But the safety factor of range breaching comes with the price of a quite limited number of charges which require good decision making.
As a fighter, Hibana does well, taking advantage of the deadly Bearing 9 machine pistol for bullet spraying in close quarters and the Type-89 assault rifle for medium range engagements. Either if you prefer Hibana or Thermite, both are necessary operators that probably won’t be dethroned until Ubisoft provides new ways to break through reinforced walls.
Fast, easy to learn and lethal, Ash is a great choice for beginners and veterans alike. Both her main guns are viable options based on preferences and her ability counters with ease the Castle/Mute combo, traps and any window or door campers. I don’t have to sell her as a great operator, everyone who has given her a fair chance knows how useful Ash is when used right.
I’m not sure if I ever recognized Twitch’s true power until now or maybe it’s the introduction of Ela and Lesion that make me value her more. Twitch’s drone can clear the entrances of traps much like Thatcher can with the advantage that it can be done even before the round start. But what makes Twitch so valuable are her combat capabilities. Not only her drone can damage, dealing 10 damage per shot, but the F2 assault rifle is capable of obliterating with ease any popping heads while she can always protect her back with the claymore.
Twitch is not exactly the easiest operator to play, but in the hands of an experienced player she can do wonders for her team.
Breaching into objectives can be easy with the right composition, but advancing to an objective through the narrow corridors which can hide dangers at every corner is way harder. This is where Montagne comes into play. With his extendable ballistic shield and a heavy armor, Montagne can lead the way protecting his teammates from any danger. Following the nerf of nitro cells, Montagne’s lockdown can be absolute as he can block doors or holes and cannot be contested without multiple nitro cells.
The adjustment to hit boxes has made Montagne an obscene display of defense with little room left to damage him with frontal attacks, forcing defenders to take risks in outmaneuvering him through speed. Shield operators might not be a necessity to breach into an objective, but Montange is a protector for his teammates, an annoying combatant for his enemies and an immovable defender of objectives.
In a game where intelligence paves the path to victory, an operator like Mute who can block the attacker’s drones from scouting used to be crucial. Things have changed over the course of the last seasons and attackers do have some workarounds, but Mute’s top position hasn’t been altered.
Dealing with Thatcher’s EMP grenades and Twitch’s drone isn’t easy, but the price paid in a continuously growing skill cap didn’t undermine his utility. Mute remains a team player but with a loadout that helps him be much more. The medium armor, nitro cell and MP5K make Mute a good engager or a competent roamer and there’s nothing you want more from a defending operator. The absolute defense doesn’t exist, but combining Mute and Bandit is probably the closest you’ll get to it.
Where there isn’t a Mute, there is probably a Bandit. While the two operators have different abilities, both are designed to stop the attackers from breaching through reinforced walls. Bandit’s loss of ACOG has considerably diminished his combat powers, but the combination of speed, nitro cell and MP7 still make him a viable roamer.
His eyes have changed, now his face has changed and ACOG isn’t part of his loadout anymore, but Bandit’s versatility continues to make him one of the strongest defending operators.
Rook is as essential to a team as the chess piece he’s named after. The shifting tides of balancing have only made him stronger and he’s not only capable of extending his teammates’ lives with an extra layer of armor but also fights like the very best. Both P90 and MP5 submachine guns have an above the average fire rate and can be equipped with the game changing ACOG scope. The SG-CQB shotgun has risen when all the other shotguns have fallen and with the addition of impact grenades he’s just hard to counter.
You might want to stay away from Rook’s line of sight, not only he’s as resilient as an operator can get, but with that much firepower he can compete with any attacking operator.
Like her Navy SEAL pal, Blackbeard, Valkyrie had to suffer through multiple nerfs over time. Yet the Black Eye remains one of the best support abilities in the game. These tiny cameras grant vision where none should be and when used correctly the defenders gain intel without making the attackers aware. As a fighter, Valkyrie makes good use of her MPX which has the right amount of damage and power with controllable recoil great for spraying and praying. Ultimately, she can use the nitro cell to get out of a bad situation causing destruction and chaos as a roamer or static defender.
I don’t play her as much anymore, but after all the nerfs and the addition of new operators, Valkyrie remains one of the top tier operators. Either as the extra eye of her team or a capable fighter, Valkyrie is an operator to be reckoned with.
Ela is the clear winner of the Blood Orchid update. This young Polish operator packs an incredibly powerful arsenal with Scorpion Evo 3A1 smg being an absolute beast and impact grenades coming in handy. Ela’s firepower is heavily supported by the Grzmot mines which are hard to avoid without the help from Thatcher or Twitch, opening those who trigger them to easy fire.
Ela is fast, versatile and extremely strong, a hard operator to fight against that adds an extra layer of fear when passing through doors or windows. She will most likely be tuned in the future, but until future changes she’s as worthy of this spot as any other top tier operator.
Sledge’s hammer is a faster method of breaching windows, doors and walls that haven’t been reinforced with just a small risk factor. Equipped with the decent L85A2 assault rifle, the fearsome SMG-11, frag grenades and medium armor, Sledge can withstand moderate damage without losing mobility and has some of the highest firepower in his team that isn’t dependent of his ability.
Sledge isn’t a necessity for the attackers even if he can speed up the process of storming certain locations, but his arsenal has made him a popular choice.
Fuze’s combat potential is somewhat mixed. The Cluster Charge still remains a force to be reckoned with, causing panic when triggered even after the cluster’s pattern has been adjusted. Yet Fuze’s main guns aren’t all that great forcing those who play competitively to use the pistol and shield combo. With the readjustment of the hit boxes, shield operators have become more powerful and implicitly more popular, playing in Fuze’s favor and keeping him in this tier.
Fuze isn’t exactly the bringer of chaos that he used to be, but he is still an operator with a slightly lower skill cap equipped with a powerful ability capable of clearing a whole room. With a shield in front of him and the team behind, Fuze serves a hybrid role combining protection with destruction.
Shield operators are at the most threatening point since the beta testing when they could hip fire with extreme accuracy. What’s making the difference between the current shield operators are the abilities and Blitz’s Flash Shield isn’t always efficient. In theory, the Flash Shield is quite good, triggering on demand a lower radius flash grenade. However, as with all flash using gadgets, this isn’t always reliable due to its smaller effective range and the wackiness of this mechanic.
Blitz can be useful during engagements in tight areas and it’s a nightmare in 1v1 encounters. But he’s not quite at Montagne’s level of utility and defense hence his current spot on the list. We’ll see how the upcoming changes fare for him.
A dedicated marksman isn’t such a good choice in a game that’s focused on close quarters combat. Even if the maps have been designed to also facilitate shooting from the distance, this doesn’t always work well, but Glaz has been tweaked to make up for this deficit.
With his enhanced scope attached on the OTs-03, Glaz can see the thermal signature of his enemies assisting those with fast reactions to land devastating shots. But thermal vision isn’t quite enough to bring a dedicated marksman to the higher tiers. What truly makes Glaz viable now is how he can cover himself in a veil of smoke with grenades and using the thermal vision to shoot at targets unaware of his actual position.
From the hunter reigning terror over the Presidential Airplane map, Glaz has now become a game wide threat capable of better fighting in close quarter situations. Glaz isn’t just a preference pick anymore and that’s why he is one tier higher on the list.
Speaking about hunters, roamers have been causing attackers some problems before Jackal arrived to the scene. The Spanish operator equipped with the Eyenox ability is capable of spotting the defender’s footsteps color coded to highlight their freshness. The real countermeasure against roamers comes from the ability to scan the footsteps revealing the enemy’s location every few seconds, harassing them into constant movement.
Jackal does well in combat with a diverse loadout that includes the PDW9 smg which can also be equipped with an ACOG scope for long range engagements. As roamers can be a nuisance every match, having Jackal in the team adds a level of confidence and security, but never forget about Caveira.
Every squad needs a medic. The rework of Doc’s Stim Pistol has been working great for two seasons now keeping this operator quite competitive. With the removal of ACOG from Bandit and Jäger, Doc’s position has been consolidated and only held back by the game’s damage mechanics. With anyone being able to die in an instant from a headshot or a few bullets, Doc isn’t always as useful as he should be and he works best only in combination with his CTU teammate, Rook.
Frost used to be my signature operator even after she lost the nitro cell and her Super 90 shotgun was nerfed. She’s doing fine now using the 9mm C1 smg which combines power with controllable recoil at a moderate fire rate, however, her ability is her strongest suit. With the lowering of ranked round time to 3 minutes, the Welcome Mat is now more dangerous than ever before. Attackers are forced to rush their breaching and can’t always check every corner and that’s when Frost’s ability strikes.
Frost is a well rounded operator that stayed competitive for the longest period of time. She works great with Lesion as the trap-mine combo is deadly.
Fuze’s threat has been tempered but the arrival of Ying and the multitude of grenades make Jäger a solid pick. He has been touched by the nerfing hands of Ubisoft, losing his ACOG which made him an early round sniper. But with 416-c Carbine and fast speed, Jäger can still roam the maps as good as always.
The Active Defense System is almost a requirement when defending objectives placed in small rooms, stopping the entirety of Fuze’s Cluster Charges and much more. Ying’s ability can be a nuisance for Jäger, but that won’t drag him down from this tier.
Kapkan used to be one of the most played operators in the game due to his 9x19VSN smg, medium armor and nitro cell. But truth be told until recently there were operators with a similar or better equipment which had way better abilities. The Entry Denial Device is a dangerous ability on paper, but it can be easily spotted and countered even after the changes made to its positioning. Like in Frost’s case, the reduced time for ranked rounds has improved Kapkan’s efficiency and the upcoming changes to the Entry Denial Device will most likely make him an even better pick.
Pulse has been juggling from overpowered to underpowered for quite some time. He was a pretty solid operator at launch but his ability was nerfed just to be over-buffed a few months later and then nerfed again. In all fairness, it’s pretty hard to balance an operator equipped with a wallhack. The reduced detection range to the Cardiac Sensor isn’t what’s keeping Pulse grounded, but rather the general rebalancing to his guns and gadgets. With shotguns and nitro cells not being as good as before, Pulse isn’t the same ferocious predator that he used to be. Yet, despite these changes, attackers still have to be extremely cautious when getting closer to penetrable walls because someone might be watching.
Mira has a lot of destructive power in her hands packing the devastating combo of Vector .45 ACP and nitro cell. Sadly, the heavy armor and a static ability limit her potential to the role of an objective’s defender despite her great loadout. As a whole, Mira is one of my favorite operators and the reason she has dropped to the 2nd tier is that the Black Mirror ability doesn’t always work with the map design.
Mira works best when paired with Mute or Bandit, which are capable of protecting her ability from Thermite, Hibana or even Twitch. With their help, Mira can quietly wait behind her impenetrable mirror for the attackers to make their move so she can unleash the power of the Vector.
Ubisoft’s attempt to make IQ a better operator haven’t worked all that well. The plethora of abilities added to the game made the Electronics Detector much better, but not a necessity, leaving only as a good counter to Pulse. She has always been a good fighter, packing two pretty good main guns and more recently frag grenades. But with her ability being only useable in tandem with pistol just make her vulnerable while Thatcher can pretty much do her job from a safe distance.
Despite the many welcomed changes and her combat capabilities, IQ remains a preference choice as she’s really beneficial to the team only on certain situations.
Capitão was a Tier 2 operator until the Operation Velvet Shell update when he lost his grenades in favor of IQ. He remains a valid option for lightning fast engagements using PARA-308 assault rifle, claymore to cover his back and the tactical crossbow which can create walls of smoke or hit strategic positions with the deadly asphyxiating bolts.
Capitão is a preference or strategy choice as his loadout is quite competitive and his ability can be used to gain an advantage on certain objective locations.
Ying is the attacking operator from SDU, the Chinese CTU introduced with the Blood Orchid update. She’s a volatile engager designed to be the first to enter a room with potential hostiles. Her ability, Candela, is basically a multi-charges flash grenade which can be thrown or used in a similar manner to Fuze’s Cluster Charge. This ability is capable of blinding everyone for a considerable amount of time, aside of Ying herself who’s equipped with special glasses. Following on her Candela, Ying can jump in and clear the room with her T-95 LSW light machinegun or her fast shooting SIX12 suppressed shotgun. This sounds like quite an aggressive setup and it actually is, but it’s quite a risky one due to the unreliable nature of flash effects from both a mechanical and a technical point of view.
Because her ability is an unpredictable wild card, Ying doesn’t make it higher in this tier list, but she’s a fun to play operator that can capture an objective all by herself.
As with many operators from this Tier, Castle is a good pick only when defending certain objectives. His Armor Panel ability has a great synergy with Mute’s jammers even if Thatcher, Ash or Sledge have no problems in countering this combo. The real problem comes from the advantages Castle’s ability can give to the attackers. A hole in his panel is enough for Glaz to peek inside the objective’s room and with Mute’s jammer gone Fuze can hardly be stopped from safely deploying his Cluster Charges.
Castle might not always be useful, but his ability and versatile loadout turn him into a solid pick when defending some of the trickier objectives.
Smoke’s presence is as haunting as ever for the attackers traversing corridors or passing through choke points. He has enough destructive power to kill the enemy team by himself, but he retains the role of shields killer with his Remote Gas Grenades and the nitro cell if the situations requires it. Aside of his ability and gadgets, Smoke is a pretty competent fighter using the SMG-11 secondary gun. But despite being a dedicated killer, he is not really a necessity for his team. There are plenty operators with nitro cell that come with far more useful abilities and even stronger guns. Smoke remains a Tier 3 operator, being a pick that could turn out lethal but lacking the synergy needed in a good defending composition.
More popular on the web medium than in game, “Lord” Tachanka has received some love from the developers this year. Tachanka’s ability, the Mounted LMG, now has a frontal ballistic shield which protects the operator at the cost of a slight increase in spread and recoil.
Tachanka’s similar loadout with Kapkan make him a pretty good fighter, but the sacrifice of mobility in favor of resilience coupled with the Mounted LMG make him more suitable for defending the objective from within the room. While all the buffs have made him a more powerful operator, Tachanka isn’t a requirement in any defensive setup. However, he does benefit from deployable shields and has a great synergy with Mira’s Black Mirror, the two being capable to lockdown certain areas.
Caveira brings an unfair advantage to the defender’s side with her combo abilities: Silent Step and Interrogation. She can move quieter than any operator in the game and use her pistol to knockdown and interrogate enemies for information on the position of their team, information that keeps updating for 10 seconds. While powerful, this ability is unreliable. Successfully landing Caveria’s ability without being stopped is a gamble, one that can bring the defenders closer to victory or end up having one member less. Due to how these abilities work, there can be many rounds when Caveira can’t successfully interrogate anyone. She can still benefit greatly from the Silent Step which goes untraced by Jackal, making her a great roamer and a wild card, but it’s difficult to place a wild card in a higher tier.
The defender’s Chinese operator introduced with Blood Orchid performs pretty much on the same level with his teammate, Ying. Lesion has access to 2 good guns, a suppressed shotgun and a fast smg, and coupling them with impact grenades make him an effective operator for objective’s defense and roaming. His ability, GU Mine, is an invisible device that poisons and slows the target afflicted by it. This effect can be removed but requires the triggering of an animation which leaves the attacker vulnerable. In order to balance his ability, Lesion has access to only 1 mine at start but he slowly gains more as the round progresses with a possible total of 7.
Lesion is capable of slowing down the attackers push and the combination of GU Mines and Frost’s traps is lethal. However, despite being a competent fighter, Lesion’s ability isn’t that special and for now he is sitting comfortably in the same tier with his teammate.
Buck was introduced as part of the first wave of operators in the Black Ice update and since then he can’t properly fit in any role. His ability, an under-barrel shotgun, is a good way of breaching non-reinforced walls, but operators like Sledge or Ash can do the same job while having a better loadout. Buck’s guns can pack a heavy punch but have powerful recoil that’s hard to control. His frag grenades are a rarer gadget, but the few operators that use them are obviously better picks.
Unlike Frost who has been nerfed but still does quite well, Buck doesn’t really excel and isn’t required unless you want to complete daily or weekly challenges.
The Navy Seal Operator that once kept the defenders away from any window has now fell from grace due to multiple nerfs that left him in an almost unusable state. With the Rifle-shield being countered by most guns and his guns underperforming, it’s hard to understand what Blackbeard’s role is supposed to be. He is not the king of the windows anymore but rather a mere shadow of his former self, waiting for Ubisoft’s attention past the addition of skins.
There isn’t much to say about Echo, he has a decent loadout and a not so good ability. Echo can be quite scary when properly using the Bearing 9 machine pistol and even the futuristic YOKAI drone has some good uses, being a pain for any advancing or retreating attackers. But having to stand still while using his drone and being unable to mark enemies, Echo isn’t as useful as this type of operator should be. So, as with all the operators that share this tier with him, Echo has to wait for a few buffs if not an entire rework to his futuristic drone.
As with past updates, this list was made after extensive casual and ranked playing with each of the operators. I also took into consideration the esports competitions I’ve watched and other informational content.
Because Rainbow Six Siege is a continuously evolving game through added content and balance patches, the information provided by this list might become outdated. New operators will be added every three months and older ones might get tweaked for the better or for the worse. I will try my best to keep this article updated in the future and add the new operators as they come. So keep an eye on it if you are interested in the possible changes, but as for now, this tier list was written for Year 2 Season 3 – Operation Blood Orchid.