Today Ubisoft lifted the veil on Rainbow Six Siege Year 4 Season 2: Operation Phantom Sight. Last week I went hands-on with new operators Nøkk (pronounced “nook,” as in cranny) and Warden on the newly reworked Kafe Dostoyevsky map.
Like Operation Burnt Horizon, the new ops bring abilities to the table that until now were only seen on the opposite side—Nøkk is a stealthy attacker while Warden is a defending anchor immune to smoke and flash grenades. For that reason neither operator brings exciting newness to Siege, but they may shift the balance meaningfully this the season towards a new meta.
In a nutshell, Nøkk is a combination of both Vigil and Caveira, but on attack. Her wrist-mounted Hel Presence Reduction device automatically scrubs her image from cameras while also dampening her footsteps. By masking both her sound and image, she is by far the stealthiest operator to date. Though, the Hel’s dual functionality does come with some significant drawbacks. Her cloaking tech will “glitch” and give away her presence if she sprints, shoots, or walks into defender traps like Gu mines or barbed wire.
Nøkk's ability to slip past the cameras of Valkyrie, Echo, and Maestro (as well as bulletproof cams) will make her valuable on map positions where defender surveillance is hard to counter. It also gives her a protection against spawn peeks that rely on exterior cameras to pull off. When I played against Nøkk on defense, there was an extra layer of paranoia, as our team couldn't completely trust our eyes and ears.
Still, the gadget feels pretty specialized—most rounds of Siege are decided by direct confrontations, firefights where stealth takes a backseat. And in the guns department, Nøkk is an oddball: she's the first attacker without an option for a long range assault rifle or DMR.
Nøkk’s unconventional arsenal makes her the first attacker without an option for a long range assault rifle or DMR. Essentially, she has the kit of a defender, reducing her ability to operate at range and limiting her versatility.
What will likely be considered Nøkk’s main primary weapon is the FMG-9, an SMG previously exclusive to Smoke that is best known for being ignored in favor of the SMG-11. Alternatively, she can bring the SIX12 SD, a shotgun shunned by most Lesion players. It's silenced, which fits with her theme, but I can't imagine it will see much use in serious competitive play.
For sidearms, Nøkk gets the D-50 Desert Eagle or the 5.7 USG. Both are repurposed from past operators, but Phantom Sight introduces the suppressor for the D-50. This attachment isn't fooling anyone—it still makes an audible thunk when you shoot, but it's a fun, dumb novelty. The build I played did not include a suppressor attachment for Valkyrie's Deagle, surprisingly.
Warden is here to disrupt your coordinated push. Reporting for duty in a full suit and tie befitting of a Kingsman, Warden’s Smart Glance glasses (paired with his snazzy Secret Service watch) allow him to temporarily see through smoke and cancel out the effects of flash grenades—which makes him the perfect counter for Ying, Glaz, and Blitz.
To fully see through smoke, however, the Glance glasses require Warden to stand still. Along with the Glaz rework, Warden's fancy goggles mean that, for the first time, defenders can exploit the smoke thrown by attackers, bringing balance to this powerful common gadget. In one round on Outback, I went face-to-face against Glaz through a murder hole I'd punched in the wall. He threw smoke, I toggled my goggles, and we squared off, looking for each other's pixels. He won the battle, but it felt like a thermal-sight quickdraw.
It was the first time that my reaction to a smoke grenade going off inside a doorway wasn't away running and repositioning. Warden will find use on bombsites like Wine Cellar on Chalet, where the meta for more than a year has seen the attackers breach garage, lob smoke around the snowmobiles, and plant with relative safety. Bakery bombsite on Kafe, and the basement of Bank are also good examples where seeing through smoke (in combination with a Mira Black Mirror) will allow defenders see through this popular tactic.
Warden’s a heavy 3-armor op, so he’s best played anchoring on the objective. Yet, his weapon choice seems a bit awkward for the job. He inherits Valkyrie’s MPX SMG, which is objectively one of the weakest in the game. Alternatively, he can bring the M590A1, a powerful pump shotgun enjoyed mostly by Smoke mains when paired with a secondary SMG.
Warden can take on a similar loadout to Smoke if you choose his SMG-12 secondary. His other secondary option, the P-10C pistol, seems like a serviceable choice if the SMG-12 is too unwieldy. It’s also the newest sidearm with a handy red dot sight attached by default. If you’re comfortable going for headshots, it could pick up the slack at long range.
Overall, I'm excited about Warden's potential to disrupt smoke-plant pushes and optimistic about the impact it'll have on the meta.
Kafe Dostoyevsky rework
Sadly we won’t be seeing more new maps through the rest of Year 4, but Ubi is putting those resources into substantial reworks for existing maps. With Kafe Dostoyevsky, Ubi has left much of the map intact while heavily targeting its most problematic areas. Namely, the terrible Bakery/Kitchen bomb site, second floor Train site, and the third floor.
The bakery and kitchen have been completely rearranged to make the bakery itself less of a window-heavy killzone where no defender wanted to spend time in. The bakery is now divided into two rooms and the kitchen has been expanded with more areas to anchor. A new bombsite added to the second floor moves the bombs to Dining Room and the Reading Room across the hall. Defending this configuration was pure hell, as attackers have a ton of space on the second floor to roam through the train museum—if they can lock down the hallway that divides the bombsites, you're screwed.
The new Cigar Lounge cleans up one of the messiest and deadliest chokepoints in Siege: the skylight. Now, finally, there's an entirely new section in the corner near 'red stairs' where defenders can sit comfortably, outside the view of the skylight. The area now forms more of an L-shape between the third-floor bar and this new balcony, which also grants a line of sight on the second floor Reading Room entrance. Balancing this, though, is a new, second roof hatch above one of these extensions. It’s now less of a chokepoint for attackers, but dropping in is still like diving into a lion’s den.
Two new balcony extensions added beneath the skylight give defenders more room to breathe without crowding into Piano or the freezer, and should make Kafe less of a boring, pinned down fight between three attackers crowding the skylight and the defenders trying to avoid their gaze. Ubi took this a step further by hemming in the skylight itself, which provides a much smaller field of view when you're on the rooftop.
These changes definitely address Kafe's glaring issues, but it would've been nice to see it paired with a broader aesthetic refresh as well. The kitchen has some nice details, like sizzling meals and some beautiful cupcakes that no operator with a heart would let anything bad happen to, but it's otherwise the map we've played since the end of 2015.
New store & Ranked hub
In Phantom Sight, Ubisoft is finally deploying a proper redesign to the cosmetic store. Instead of a clunky list of categories, the new store resembles the flashy tile-based approach many other games use. I didn’t get to see it in action, so it’s not totally clear how things are organized now, but we know that the top two blocks are featured items from Ubi and the bundles below are recommendations based on your personal player history, which is neat. If you’ve recently been maining Maestro, it’ll serve up his Pro League skin, for example.
This is an insanely overdue change. Ubisoft made $721 million on digital items, DLC, and other 'extra' material in its last fiscal year, but I imagine they could've made a few million more if the Siege store had been more pleasant to use before this update. Hopefully the new store will feel more dynamic and visually interesting than what we've had.
On that note, with ranked mode finally coming out of beta, Ubi is putting in the work to make it a centerpiece for Siege. The popular Pick & Ban phase is now the standard of ranked. To further mirror the established competitive rules of Pro League, Bomb is now the only mode in rotation. Outside of matches, Ubi has built an in-game guide for Ranked that acts as a hub for your personal stats. The guide shows the season’s upcoming reward charm and a graph of rank distribution across all players. This is extremely welcome—the page visualizes your Siege career in a way that until now was only accessible on third-party sites like R6Tab.
Speaking of ranks, there’s been a slight color changeup to be aware of. Platinum is now represented by Diamond’s former blue, while Diamond is now a royal purple. Eventually, Ubi plans to build similar guides for every other mode.