How to get into Rainbow Six Siege in time for its second season

Which operator to pick first? 

With 28 operators and more on the way, knowing where to start is intimidating.

Like some MOBAs, Siege's characters are locked behind in-game currency (called renown) that you earn by playing. If you complete the tutorial, you should have enough renown to afford your first few operators—but don't fret too much about who to pick first, you'll soon be purchasing more in short order. Purchasing the year one season pass will earn you eight DLC operators immediately, and the year two pass will earn you another eight as they are released throughout 2017.

If you can help it, never play defense as Recruit, the basic operator everyone gets for free. Recruit has no special ability, meaning you'll have fewer resources to contribute. In the right hands he can still be deadly, but you'll be holding your team back as a newer player. Instead, the best beginner-friendly operators have abilities that are "set and forget," letting you focus more on the basics of map awareness and teamwork than micromanaging your ability.

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When unlocking any operator, always take a minute to purchase upgrades for each of their weapons. Most pros prefer the holographic sights and you should always buy a grip for any gun that can use it to cut down on recoil. For barrel attachments, muzzle brakes or flash hiders are the best as they reduce bullet spread during medium to short bursts of fire. Ignore Laser sights as they give your position away. Lastly, while the flashy premium camo options seem pretty cool, consider that a bright orange tiger-striped gun stands out a lot more than a muted black finish.

Each operator can also bring certain equipment into battle like different grenades, mobile shields, remote 'nitro cell' explosives, and breaching charges. While these choices won't matter too much at a casual level, your team should always have breaching charges on attack and nitro cells on defense. You can see what your team is equipped with during the operator select screen before a match. If no one has opted for those, grab them for yourself.

Now let's look at who you should consider for your first purchases. 

On Defense

Rook: Rook is without a doubt the best defensive operator for new players to start with both because of his simple special ability and because it's a guaranteed asset to the team. Rook can drop a bag of armor plates that he and the rest of his team can wear for extra protection—giving them a durability advantage in combat. At the beginning of the preparation phase, drop the bag, grab a plate for yourself, and tell your team to get theirs in case they forget. Easy.

Mute: Mute's secret weapon is four signal disruptors that jam enemy electronics. These devices have a rather short range and should be placed directly in front of doors to prevent drones from identifying the objective location but they can also be placed at the foot of reinforced walls to prevent Thermite's special breaching charge from blowing them open. When the round begins, immediately place these in front of bottlenecks near the objective room to keep the attackers from finding it. Later, you can pick up these jammers and reposition them against walls to prevent breaching charges from flanking your team's position. Beware, as attackers such as Thatcher have EMP grenades that can disable these devices through walls. Attackers will also shoot them if they see them, so place them behind reinforced doors so they won't spot them right away.

Doc: The equivalent of the RPG priest, Doc has a gun that can shoot downed teammates to revive them (don't ask how) or can 'overheal' players to give them a large boost to their health for a short time (again, don't ask how). He can also use his ability to heal or revive himself when necessary. For these reasons, Doc is a great character for new players because he should hang back from the immediate action and focus first on keeping everyone alive. His P90 is also one of the best guns in Siege, making him a powerful ally that even a new player can use effectively. 

On Offense

Ash: By firing a breaching grenade from her underbarrel launcher, Ash can destroy non-reinforced walls and floors from a safe distance, making her a great operator to learn how to breach but from relative safety. When starting out, always stick with your team and use your grenades sparingly. Her grenade's best asset is its ability to surprise and confuse enemies. Breaching charges are slow and have telltale sound cues, whereas her grenades impact and detonate almost immediately, catching the defenders unaware. Call out when you're about to breach, as her charges can kill allies who don't find cover first. Likewise, coordinate with another teammate to breach opposite sides of a room. Just as their breaching charge detonates and the defenders turn to address the new threat, use your grenades to expose them to flanking fire.

Thatcher: Thatcher's secret weapon are EMP grenades that can permanently disable electronic devices on both teams. Thatcher is a great pick for newbies because players will often communicate with you if they need his EMP grenades to knock out Mute's jammers so they can breach a wall. When setting up to push into the objective room, throwing an EMP grenade or two can clear out deadly traps like Bandit's shock wires or Kapkan's trip mines. Starting out, stick close to your team and save your grenades for when your team needs them for something. Also, be careful when throwing them as you can accidentally disable friendly drones that players were using. If in doubt, call out over voice comms so your team can prepare.

Montagne: Using a large ballistic shield to provide cover for his team, Montagne is a powerful attacker for pushing forward into defending positions. Montagne's special ability allows him to extend his shield to cover the entirety of his body, making him invincible to oncoming fire but unable to use his weapon. Using this shield, you provide mobile cover for your team and safely round corners without getting picked off. Make sure to stick with other players, as a lone Montagne is useless and can easily be overwhelmed by defenders. Always keep an ear out for the slight beeping noise of a remote nitro cell explosive as these will easily kill you. Players will also lob these at you like grenades and detonate them when they land, so don't push too aggressively and be prepared to back up quickly if you see one sailing through the air. 

How to 'git gud'

There's so much to learn, but try not to overwhelm yourself with everything that's happening in a given match. With 28 operators available and another eight on the way in 2017, there's a ton to catch up on. That's not to mention needing to understand map layouts, camera positions, common ambush points, flanking routes, and everything else that makes Siege so wonderful. All of that will come with time and experience, so take it slow and learn to play as many operators as you can instead of focusing on just one. Siege isn't about sticking with one type of character, but being able to adapt to the map and game mode to compliment your team's composition. Matches are rarely won by a single player's effort.

Fortunately, the Rainbow Six community is easily the best in the whole genre. After you've had some fun online, head over to the Siege subreddit and begin pouring through the information compiled there. Here you'll get a great insight into the latest updates and how they toy with the meta of Siege's multiplayer. If you don't have anyone to play with, consider posting to the R6STeams subreddit to find a group. This will not only improve your skills, but Siege is just flatout more fun when playing with people who communicate and strategize together.

Another invaluable resource is, which provides bird's-eye views of every map along with noting possible objective locations, cameras, and destructible surfaces. Knowing all of the possible bomb locations as an attacker can save you valuable seconds during the preparation phase, for example. If you have a second monitor, always keep this site open while playing. 

The YouTube and Twitch community for Siege is equally as informative. Serenity17 has a series of guides on every operator that beginner's should watch before trying them out. He also has this quick video featuring some basic tips to improve your game. A must-watch is his guide on exploiting "the peeker's advantage"—the milliseconds of lag that every online shooter has that allows you to poke around corners and kill enemies before they even see you. Here's a great list detailing other essential videos and streamers to watch.

Finally, just have fun. Rainbow Six Siege is challenging in a way that few shooters ever aspire to be. It not only requires good aim but critical thinking, communication, and creativity. Learn to see your time with Siege as an investment where every minute can teach you something new, even when you're dying. The real satisfaction in Siege doesn't come from a good headshot, but in being one part of a flawlessly executed strategy. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.