Rainbow Six Siege is a complex shooter – perhaps one of the most intricately designed multiplayer games being played right now. The depth comes from numerous places: the destructible environments, the design of the maps, but primarily from the unique gadgets, stats, and loadouts offered by each of its playable operators. But what are the best Rainbow Six Siege operators? We have been training with the elite troopers in order to find out.
Owing to the game’s asymmetric multiplayer gameplay, Rainbow Six Siege operators come in two flavours: attackers and defenders. Currently, there are 48 Rainbow Six Siege operators to unlock and use in the game, which breaks down neatly into 24 operators for each side. You will also have to unlock operators using in-game currency that you can earn through completing matches and ticking off daily challenges, so it is good to know which ones to snap up first in order to make collecting the remaining operators even faster.
We update this list of Rainbow Six Siege operators regularly to best reflect the game’s live meta, so rest assured these really are Tom Clancy’s finest.
Here are the best Rainbow Six Siege operators:
Versatility is key to what makes Hibana such an effective breacher. Her gadget, the X-KAIROS, fires six explosive pellets that can blow a small rectangular hole through reinforced surfaces. You get three shots, which means you get the choice of creating either one large entry point that your teammates can walk through, a traversable hole that you can vault through, or a letterbox entry point that you can crawl through. If making an entry point is not necessary, the X-KAIROS can also be used to create sightlines in reinforced walls, which force defenders to reposition themselves or watch both the objective and the newly-created window simultaneously.
The X-KAIROS can also destroy fortified windows and thin walls, much like Ash’s M120 CREM. The only drawback is that the X-KAIROS takes longer to trigger and can be rendered useless by Mute’s Signal Disruptor or destroyed completely by Bandit’s Shock Wire. Similarly, Hibana cannot open up reinforced walls as quickly and effectively as Thermite, but she does not have to risk her life by getting in close in order to place the charge.
Hibana has plenty to offer aside from her gadget. She is a three-speed operator, which allows her to navigate the map quickly and attack multiple entry points – ideal for overwhelming and disorienting defenders. She also has one of the best assault rifles in the game, the Type 89F. It might have a very small magazine, but its excellent stopping power and nearly unrivalled accuracy make it a peerless attacking firearm – especially when coupled with Hibana’s ability to create lines of sight from range. Her Bearing 9 PDW also lends her a formidable alternative should you run out of ammo.
Entry denial can be a huge problem for attacking teams. It is good to know that Thatcher is the best counter to this type of defensive setup, then. Mute’s signal disruptors and Bandit’s CED-1 Shock Wire render breaching devices, drones, and countless Rainbow Six Siege operator gadgets useless. Likewise, Jäger’s Active Defense System neutralises any projectiles that pass by it, which means bombarding the objective with explosives is not an option. Thatcher’s EMP grenades can counter all of these devices, even through walls and ceilings. Naturally, this makes Thatcher one of the most important Rainbow Six Siege operators on attack.
Thatcher should therefore be on the frontline with the main squad, where he can employ his EMP grenades and allow Hibana, Fuze, and Twitch to get to work breaching and clearing. The fact that EMP grenades can work through walls are their saving grace, as they can completely evade Jäger’s ADS – you can throw an EMP grenade at a reinforced wall and reliably knock out a vital enemy gadget.
The best way to play Thatcher is to support your team until you have used all of your EMP grenades, and then begin harassing the enemy, either at close-range with the devastating M590A1 shotgun, or from afar with the L85A2 assault rifle. Both weapons have exceptional stopping power, but the former is among the best shotguns in the game and can punch through walls and barricaded windows with ease, making it an excellent breaching tool. Thatcher also boasts medium armour and speed stats, so he is adaptable to most playing styles. The most important thing to do when playing Thatcher is to stay alive and eliminate as much enemy equipment as possible – after that you are just another soldier.
Ash has been a staple pick for skilled players since Rainbow Six Siege launched, and she continues to be one of the most popular, versatile, and deadly Rainbow Six Siege operators in the game. The reason for this is speed – Ash is one of a select few three-speed attackers. This makes her adept at rushing the objective and catching the defending side off guard while they are still setting up gadgets and reinforcing walls. Her M120 Crem, which comes with two Breaching Rounds, makes short work of doorways and unreinforced walls so you can burst through the defender’s site within a few seconds of the round starting.
If your team are busy trying to breach a reinforced wall, or slowly clearing rooms en route to the objective then Ash can harass multiple defenders at once on the opposite side of the map, using her speed and small hitbox to sprint between cover unharmed.
As Ash’s main role is to rack up kills, it is especially handy that she can equip one of the best assault rifles in the game, the R4-C. While it comes with some hefty recoil, the impressive damage rating of the R4-C make it tough to beat in shootouts.
As attacking strategies have got ever more complex, Buck has found his place in the meta, not as the entry fragger as his loadout suggests, but as one of the best Rainbow Six Siege operators for vertical play. Buck is able to open up floors and ceilings with devastating efficiency with his underslung shotgun, which lends him the ability to lock down the objective from unexpected angles.
The Skeleton Key comes with enough ammo to open up huge areas of wall and floor, letting you pick off entrenched defenders with ease. Opening up the floor can also let you toss grenades into the objective room and shoot out traps – Buck is increasingly used to eject Black Mirrors from above or below. Of course, the Skeleton Key shotgun also packs a punch against enemies, its combination of high damage and semi-auto fire making it hard to beat when rounding a corner.
Buck is also very popular thanks to his choice of primary weapons: the high-damage, fast-firing C8-SFW assault rifle, and the punchy CAMRS DMR. The fact that you can switch between the long-range rifle and close-up underslung shotgun with a single key press ensures Buck’s presence is always felt as a defender.
Less popular than Hibana but still very much a part of the meta, Thermite is all about total destruction of reinforced walls – nothing less will do. Better yet, you can run both Hibana and Thermite in the same team to make certain no enemy wall is left standing.
In some attacking scenarios, opening up key walls can prove the difference between success and failure. That is where Thermite’s two Exothermic Charges come into play – plant one of these on a reinforced wall and you can blow an enormous hole in it. This gives your team additional angles on the objective to rack up kills, but also allows for speedy defuser plants and easy access for rushers.
Thermite also boasts a simple combination of weapons and gadgets to accompany the directness of the Exothermic Charges. You will always want to take Thermite’s 556xi assault rifle over the shotgun – it is a stable, high-damage assault rifle that is tough to beat at medium to long range. As for gadgets, Thermite can bring either stun grenades or claymores with him – the former is great for entering through a destroyed wall while the latter can be used to neutralise aggressive defenders who like to sprint outside to kill unsuspecting attackers.
Alternative attacking picks
With Pick & Ban, and a huge variety of objective sites, no one team of operators fits every attacking strategy, so it’s wise to have a few different Rainbow Six Siege operators that you can flex onto when required.
With Thatcher routinely being banned to stop hard breachers, Maverick is the ideal candidate to support the team. His blowtorch gadget can quietly burn holes and lines in both soft and reinforced walls, allowing you to either create small holes to crawl through, large new lines of sight, or tiny peek holes.
There is also a strategy known as ‘Maverick tricking’, which allows you to open up an entire reinforced panel so long as you have either Zofia or Sledge backing you up. Simply carve a line across the top and bottom of a reinforced wall and have your support bash through it. Maverick’s versatility makes him useful in all scenarios, and carving holes in reinforced walls will panic anchoring defenders – just don’t get shot through your own breaches.
Twitch’s appeal is pretty simple: she’s got the best weapon in the game. The F2 assault rifle marries high damage, controllable recoil (even after a recent nerf), and a terrifyingly fast rate of fire – plus it’s got an ACOG scope. In addition to this, Twitch’s Shock Drone is handy for taking out Mira’s Black Mirrors and other nasty defender gadgets like Bandit’s batteries, Mute Jammers, and ADS.
Montagne isn’t for every bomb site, but sometimes there’s no better option than parking a bullet sponge in a doorway, planting the defuser, and letting the defenders attempt to retake the site with this French monolith standing in their way. Playing Monty requires a great deal of patience, and you should almost never lower your shield. You’ll also want some solid fraggers backing you up, as you can’t do much killing yourself.
Rarely essential, but always useful, Capitão’s pace, solid choice of weaponry, and versatile kit make him an evergreen attacking pick. His crossbow can fire two AoE fire bolts that are handy for forcing defenders out of cover or temporarily blocking rotations, while his two smoke bolts are very powerful when it comes to rushing in and planting the defuser.
When it comes to defensive Rainbow Six Siege operators, there are two distinct roles: roamers and anchors. Smoke is the ideal anchor, an operator who excels at holding down the objective room and denying defuser plants with his Remote Gas Grenades, which can block off corridors for ten seconds at a time with damaging fumes.
While Nitro Cells are also useful for denying a defuser plant, the range of their blast, their short throwing distance, and the fact that you only get one make them far too risky to pin a defensive strategy on. Remote Gas Grenades also deal damage through shields, making them the perfect counter to nuisances like Blitz and Montagne. Smoke partners perfectly with Mira, as he can use the vision afforded by her gadget to see when attackers are going to plant.
Smoke also has an exceptional arsenal to help him keep attacking Rainbow Six Siege operators at bay. You will want to pick his powerful M590A1 shotgun as a primary weapon thanks to its unparalleled stopping power up close and its ability to shred soft cover, which allows you to create rotation holes in case the enemy manage to overwhelm you. Picking the shotgun does not mean Smoke lacks range either, as he can carry the deadly SMG-11 as a secondary weapon. The SMG-11 is a headshot machine thanks to its wild recoil and high rate of fire – you can rattle off an entire magazine in a couple of seconds.
It took a long time for players to figure out what role the Japanese defender is best at, but after a year of balancing tweaks Echo is among the best Rainbow Six Siege defenders in the game. It all comes down to his Yokai drone and its power to disrupt attackers as halfway through planting the defuser. One well-timed blast from a Yokai can throw an entire attacking strategy into disarray as smoke grenades wear off and roaming defenders get time to rotate and pounce on their prey.
A huge buff to Echo in Year 3 means players now have two Yokai drones at their disposal, and thanks to their built-in cloaking tech, they’re incredibly tough to track down and destroy. If the attacking team waits until the dying seconds of a round to plant then a single Yokai drone can win the round without a drop of blood being spilt.
As for the rest of Echo’s kit, like Doc and Rook you can carry an MP5 with an ACOG, although the SAT variant boasts a mandatory silencer that nerfs the damage stats a little. Your other primary weapon is the lacklustre SuperNova pump-action shotgun, which should only be taken if your strat relies on you opening up a wall or two. As for secondaries, Echo’s Bearing 9 PDW is a formidable machine pistol capable of dominating in close-quarters thanks to its propensity for headshots; always take this over the P229. Lastly, Echo is a three-armour defender, which suits his role as an anchor perfectly.
While Mute is an exceptionally capable counter to Thermite and Hibana, Bandit’s ability to actually destroy the gadgets of enemy Rainbow Six Siege operators makes him the more effective of the two operators when it comes to denying breachers. Thanks to tactics like Bandit-tricking – waiting for Thermite to place his charge and using the sound cue to figure out where the Exothermic Charge is before placing the Shock Wire and destroying it – a skilled Bandit can completely deny a Thermite and Thatcher attack.
Shock Wire can also be used on razor wire to create electrified wire that destroys drones on contact, or you can place it behind a Deployable Shield to make it invulnerable to Ash’s Breaching Rounds. Bandit’s Shock Wire is all about versatility: he can block off a vent to deny Twitch’s Shock Drones, deny Thermite from breaching a couple of spots, and still have a spare Shock Wire in case the attackers brought a Thatcher with them.
Bandit also has a strong array of weapons to round things off, not to mention his speed rating of three that makes for quick rotations, and even the capacity to roam. His MP7 is a stalwart submachine gun that, while not as remarkable as Ela’s Scorpion, is fit for any situation a defensive Rainbow Six Siege operator is likely to face thanks to its high damage and searing 900 rounds per minute. While Bandit’s M870 pump-action shotgun is also impressive, its lack of range makes it far too situational.
Grenades are particularly lethal in Siege thanks to the game being set in a series of interconnected rooms. It is hard to escape confined, shrapnel-friendly areas in a hurry, which is where Jäger comes in handy. His Active Defense System gadget can detect, track, and disarm. And since the system is automated, Jäger can be off roaming and killing attackers – no need to babysit them.
Jäger carries three Active Defense Systems that can be affixed to walls and floors. Each one can disarm two projectiles before shutting down, so it is important to consider where they are placed. For example, if you place all three in one room, they can almost completely neutralise the pellets fired by Fuze’s Cluster Charge – one will inevitably manage to slip through, so diving for cover is still advised. Alternatively, placing them by main attacker entry points should save you from any frags, flashbangs, and smoke grenades, giving attackers fewer tools to use when making the final push.
For weaponry, Jäger can pack either the 416-C carbine or M870 shotgun. While the shotgun has its uses, the 416-C is the one you will want to take. Every defender aside from Jäger uses a submachine gun, which makes this compact assault rifle unique – perfect for peeking and locking down long corridors. Couple that with Jäger’s impressive speed rating and you have an excellent roamer whose gadgets do not require a watchful eye.
As a defending Rainbow Six Siege operator you typically have to make do with very limited vision. After barricading the objective area the only way to track the enemy is by either walking out into the danger zone or using the few CCTV cameras available, most of which get spotted and destroyed within moments of the attackers being set free. Mira solves this problem by making her own windows in reinforced walls. Her bulletproof glass panels are one-way mirrors, meaning you can see through them but people on the other side cannot. Placing them in the walls of your fortified room means you will be able to see exactly when the enemy are making their approach.
You can eject the bulletproof mirror by shooting a small gas canister beneath, but this is never advised as it effectively gifts the opposite team a murder hole and the sound cue will alert everyone in the vicinity. However, there are a number of tactics you can employ to use Mira’s gadget more effectively. For instance, place a Black Mirror next to an unreinforced wall, use the vision to line up a shot, and then simply move to the side of the mirror to get an easy kill by firing straight through the wall. Alternatively, you can place two Black Mirrors side-by-side, eject the glass from one, and use the vision and safety of the other one to strafe anyone who wanders into sight.
If you are a shotgun fan then Mira is a strong choice, being able to equip them as both her primary and sidearm. It is sensible to take the smaller ITA12S shotgun, which is great at opening up soft cover, and opt for the Vector .45 ACP as your primary weapon – it is the fastest firing submachine gun in the game and has incredibly low recoil. It is not the most lethal weapon in Rainbow Six Siege’s arsenal on paper, but aim around shoulder height and the initial recoil should guarantee you a headshot.
Alternative defending picks
Every bomb site in Rainbow Six Siege requires a different defensive setup, so you’ll want to familiarise yourself with a few extra defenders to ensure you’re comfortable at all roles.
Maestro is never essential, but his primary weapon, an LMG with an ACOG is totally unique among defenders, making him incredibly useful when it comes to holding down sites. Playing around tight angles with the LMG is lethal, and if you take miss with your first burst you should have a spare 90 rounds to make something happen before you need to reload. His two Evil Eye cameras don’t offer much in terms of fragging or dissuading attackers, but as they can see through smoke and are bulletproof, they’re great for getting information on when the attackers are pushing and planting.
The only defender with a shield, Clash certainly has her uses. Her shield’s tasers slow and damage any enemies in range, making her difficult to push, meanwhile you’ll be able to relay lots of information to your team. She can also block windows and doorways to an extent, making her great for delaying rushes and locking down lines of sight.
Kaid can electrocute hatches, which makes him unique and very valuable on a few key objectives. If you take Kaid, consider banning Thatcher so the attacking team have to work extra hard to apply vertical pressure. Kaid can also carry a Nitro Cell, which is still one of the most valuable secondary gadgets in the game.