Ubisoft has just unveiled Rainbow Six Siege’s 24th seasonal update, Operation High Calibre. It includes the usual assortment of updates: a new operator, a map rework for Outback, and a haul of customisation, balancing, and quality of life changes.
Arguably, the new Irish defender, Thorn, isn’t the most exciting addition. What makes her and this update special is the fact that she comes packing a .50 GI SMG called the UZK50GI. While there’s still a regular flow of new operators to the game, they’ve all been using familiar firearms upcycled from older operators for the past couple of years. Thorn’s new SMG is one of the hardest-hitting full-auto guns in the game – similar to Frost’s 9mm C1 – and those .50 GI rounds are also handy for popping holes in walls or the floor. It does have some drawbacks, including a pitiful magazine capacity of 22 rounds and a slow rate of fire. If you’re not all that fussed on new hardware, then she can also equip the M870 shotgun and either the 1911 TACOPS pistol or the C75 Auto as secondaries.
Of course there’s a lot more to the best Rainbow Six Siege operators than weapons, and Thorn’s Razorbloom Shell gadgets are primed to make an impact on Siege’s lineup of trapper ops. The Razorbloom Shell is a throwable, sticky fragmentation mine, and she has three at her disposal. These can be hidden anywhere you can hide Ela’s Grzmot Mines and have an activation radius of three metres. Once activated the attacker has a couple of seconds to either find and destroy the gadget, or get out of the blast zone – a direct hit is lethal.
These gadgets won’t be very effective unless you’re able to support them either with firepower or gadgets that slow attackers down, so expect a strong synergy with barbed wire, Clash, Melusi, Lesion, and even Smoke. Counters are pretty standard, too – Thatcher, IQ, Twitch, Zero, Fuze, and Kali can aid in finding and destroying each Razorbloom Shell.
Operation High Calibre will address a few balancing issues. Finka can now use her health boost to self-revive, which is a nice little buff. Aggressive Valkyrie mains will be upset to learn that her throwable cams will no longer work outside – all defender-controlled cams will deactivate after ten seconds if you put them in the open air. Lastly, Zero can now view his cams much faster after deploying, which will hopefully make him more useful for getting quick intel.
Thorn's new SMG is one of the most powerful full-auto guns in the game
The Outback rework is pretty substantial and aimed at ranked and competitive play, so you can look forward to ELO-hungry players banning it every time it shows up in the map ban phase. It’s far easier to navigate now, both inside and out, and most of the objectives have been reworked to make anchoring a lot more viable – there’s space to expand most site rooms, but also a good mix of breachable and solid walls.
Plenty more quality of life changes are also inbound. A complete HUD overhaul with benefits for readability, accessibility, and game speed is an underrated change. The elite skin customisation overhaul is also entering a new phase, allowing players to customise their operator pose, uniform, portrait card, and more for any elite skins they have. Finally, there will be a new category of microtransaction entering the store: exotic weapon skins. These are closer to Valorant’s premium cosmetics in that they change the weapon model and add animations, but the only example we’ve seen is nowhere near as audacious as Valorant’s ElderFlame set. Hopefully that will also be reflected in the price.
The test server featuring all of the new season’s content (as well as the bulletproof cam rework and HUD drone counter teased earlier this year) is set to go live on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. There isn’t a Rainbow Six Siege High Calibre release date yet, but it usually follows three weeks of testing.
The reveal of the new season also coincides with the Six Sweden Major, which sees the top teams from Europe, LATAM, APAC, and NA competing for a chunk of the $500,000 prize pool. You can watch the Six Sweden Major on Twitch here.