Next month Rainbow Six Siege gets two new operators, the first of eight due as part of the Year Three Pass. The newcomers, Finka and Lion, have a few things in common. They're both attackers, they're both part of a new "CBRN" (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense) unit, both are 'middleweights' with two armor and two speed, and both of their special abilities are global (Ubisoft's descriptor), meaning that they affect the whole map upon activation.
They also both rely on timing and coordination, and have the chance to be especially useful at lower skill levels. Here's a closer look at them based on my time playing Operation Chimera over the weekend in Montréal.
Finka's a potentially powerful support. Her Adrenal Surge grants every living teammate 20 temporary HP for 20 seconds, and has three expendable charges. The HP can't stack, due to a cooldown on the ability, but it's a perfect buff for giving your whole team an edge in survivability before they breach an objective room.
More significantly, Adrenal Surge automatically revives any players who are downed, but not dead (except those caught in Frost's bear traps, who will remain downed). This works regardless of distance or line of sight, and is practically instantaneous. Downed teammates get back to their feet at 25 HP, but reduce down to 5 HP after 20 seconds.
Interestingly, Finka's surge has a few negative interactions with defenders. In the fiction of the game, the nanobots are boosting your body's performance and heartrate, which means Pulse will be able to track your heart at a higher frequency with his wallhacking gadget. Smoke and Lesion will also inflict more damage per second to attackers who are boosted by Finka, under the same logic that your metabolism is working harder, increasing how quickly poison enters your system.
More conventionally, Finka can carry either the Spetznaz 6P41 LMG, the SASG-12 shotgun, neither of which are new. Her new gun is a Russian bullpup called the Spear .308, an SMG with 30-round capacity, 38 base damage, and medium-high rate of fire (780). For me it fell somewhere between the SMGs of Mira and Lesion in terms of rate of fire and recoil. I'm not crazy about Siege's Spetznaz optics, but all four varieties, including ACOG, could be attached.
I'm not sure if Finka's ability will find tons of play at Siege's highest ranks, where one-bullet headshots make up a greater proportion of kills. But with Finka, novice players will have a mostly foolproof way to contribute to attacks, supporting their team at the touch of a button without having to aim or reposition themselves.
On paper, Lion's ability is absurd: three times per match, he can reveal the position of any and all enemies who are moving. It's a mapwide and teamwide wallhack: not only does Lion see all enemies in real-time, but his teammates see the same red, full-body outlines, allowing them to wallbang or corner lurkers.
However, there's an incredibly simple counter to Lion's gadget: not moving. If you're stationary, Lion's eye in the sky won't reveal your position. Switching stances also won't trigger it, and there's a third counter—standing in the radius of Mute's jammers will block detection. It's nice to see Mute get some extra utility here. Once the team I was playing with got the knack of it, we arranged Mute's jammers so that we could sprint between bombsites freely, shielded by the umbrella of interference.
Another huge caveat: everyone in the match, attacker and defender, receives a three-second warning before Lion's ability triggers. This countdown is visible in the center of the screen, and gives everyone a quick moment to prepare. Being on the receiving end of it feels like deadly musical chairs: you've got just a moment to find the best-protected spot within 10 feet of you, and take it.
In practice, disciplined defenders can mitigate Lion's ability. Like Dokkaebi's annoying phone calls in Siege, earning kills off of Lion's trick takes coordination. It pairs best with attackers who can put grenades into the objective, like Fuze or Ying, as defenders tend to scurry when explosives or flash grenades are being thrown at them. If you can arrange your team to stir up an objective room or flush out a lurker like this, Lion's temporary window of omniscience should allow your squad to seal the deal by shooting through walls or floors.
Guns-wise, Lion carries a new V308 AR with a 50-round drum and a high rate of fire (850) alongside the 417 marksman rifle, with a much shallower 10-shot mag. He can carry flashes or a claymore as a secondary gadget, potentially allowing him to set up his own entry play.
Lion and Finka will become Siege's 35th and 36th operators on March 6, when Year 3 Season 1 rolls out. Check back tomorrow for hands-on impressions of Outbreak, the PvE mode also bundled with the update.