Which Rainbow Six Siege operators are best?

Update: We've added Alibi and Maestro, and juggled a few other operators based on balancing tweaks and how they sit in the current meta.

Rainbow Six Siege invites you to play a distinct role in the attack or defense. You can be an annoying distraction, act as your team's scout, or anchor the bomb site. Part of enjoying the game is discovering which of these roles you're most comfortable in. Here's our recommendations for most players based on the current meta.

ATTACKERS

Universally, always good

Hibana or Thermite
Siege's maps are balanced in a way that you almost always have to open up a ceiling hatch or wall in order to cancel out an inherent defense of the objective room. Think of it this way: you're changing the layout of the map and forcing defenders to leave favorable camping positions, shifting the advantage. It's key.

As Hibana or Thermite, the first thing you should do in a round (apart from dealing with any spawn-peeking assholes) is safely enter the interior and blow up the most valuable reinforced surfaces. Thermite makes bigger holes, but Hibana's are more flexible, and can launch her metal-melting pellets from safety. 

Look, you can make a rock band without guitarists, but having at least one is probably a good idea.

Very useful

Finka
Good guns and a fantastic gadget make Finka a useful operator in nearly any team. Her gadget gives a teamwide buff, steadying aim, increasing health and picking up any operators who have been downed. This can be used to great effect just before a push, tipping the scales of a firefight into your team's favor. Her powerful Spear .308 AR is a great complement the other parts of her kit. Run it with a vertical grip, ACOG, and flash hider, and focus on preserving your own life so you can buff your team throughout the match. 

Thatcher
Thatcher is the no-brainer sidekick to a Hibana or Thermite. If a defending team has deployed Mute's jammers or Bandit's batteries, they've countered your hard breacher. Thatcher is the counter to that counter: his EMP grenades can kill at least 10 different gadgets, including static surveillance cameras.

He also has three different primaries to pick from (including a shotgun), and can can carry a claymore. A downside is that he can't carry a SMG as a secondary.

IQ
Undervalued; she's Pulse, but as an attacker. Lurk under the objective and pop traps and gadgets at will. Her main drawback is that she requires coordination and communication between teammates to get full value from her kit.

Ying
Her candelas are uber flash grenades that spit out charges in multiple directions. Though they can be untrustworthy, combining them with smoke grenades, which Ying can carry, usually means you're able to create a visual wall in a doorway or window, allowing your teammates to gain a foothold on a bombsite. Ying's especially useful in 'perimeter' bombsites, where attackers can immediately enter the objective room from the exterior of the map. Just keep in mind that all characters have a natural defense against flash grenades in Siege: turning away. A recent buff to LMG damage has also made Ying a stronger pick for firefights. 

Twitch
Her shock drone is usually less effective than Thatcher's EMP, but at the moment it's one of the only ways of safely dealing with Mute, Mira, Kapkan, and a host of other electronic traps. Experienced players will gun down her weaponized drones quickly, but Twitch still carries one of the better ARs in Siege in the F2 (aka FAMAS), with the option of a semi-auto marksman rifle instead. 

Viable, but not essential

Blackbeard
Think of him as the only operator in Siege with a helmet. A helmet that can quickly break. With his disposable shield up, he's the slowest operator in the game, moving at 62.5% the baseline speed, making peeking more difficult. He pairs well with Montagne or Blitz, as they combine to create layers of protection for peeking.

Lion
His gadget, the EE-ONE-D sonar drone, can reveal the location of any moving defenders for a few seconds—with full body outlines. Popping a scan at the right time can give roaming defenders a difficult choice-stay still and be unable to flank, or move and reveal their position to the attacking team. 

When it works, it’s incredible, and can lead to some early picks. But more often than not the scan doesn’t tend to hit anything, merely inconveniencing enemies for a few seconds rather than revealing them. Lion’s guns, while good, don’t quite make up his usually counterable gadget. Fantastic in certain situations, but far from a must-pick.

Sledge
On objectives with a soft ceiling, he's your guy. Knocking out the roof over defenders' heads will send them scattering for safe positions, and is a great way of priming an objective for an attack.

Zofia
With Sledge, she's the only soft breacher who can make a big hole without warning. Then again, her utility (concussing and breaching) is something almost every attacker can carry in weaker forms. Her M762 assault rifle is great for mid-to-long range, and despite her slower speed, Zofia is a great way to bring the destruction of Ash while having more concussion that’s safer to use. 

Montagne
A unique tank who can fully protect himself from one direction with an extendable shield, Montagne's presence can make defenders uncomfortable. But if his teammates don't support him, he can equally find himself in awkward situations, unable to lower his guard without getting killed. 

Blitz
Unlike Montagne, he's got gaps in his armor: small segments of Blitz's hitboxes are exposed, even when he's crouching. In close, though, his ability to blind enemies without dropping his guard is paralyzing. But with a recent buff that increased his speed and allowed him keep his shield up while sprinting, he has become a defender’s worst nightmare if you find yourselves alone together. 

Ash
Small hitboxes, highly mobile, and the ability to breach ceilings. For players that favor aggression, Ash is still a reasonable pick in the current meta. 

Capitão
In January, his Para-308 AR got a buff from 43 to 48 base damage, along with slightly reduced recoil, changes that made it a much better primary weapon. His gadget, however, remains situational. Capitão's flame crossbow bolt can kill or flush out defenders who are camping around a corner, but you'd often rather just shoot someone than fling a gadget arrow at them.  

Buck
Versatility. Buck's combo shotgun/AR or shotgun/marksman rifle mean he can adapt for different situations more quickly than other characters. His shotgun is a great tool for ambushing anchors through soft walls. He's also one of the only attackers who carries frag grenades, an excellent piece of kit.

Dokkaebi
After months of players trying to figure out Dokkaebi’s position in the meta, it has become clear that she excels as a supportive attacker. Her two Logic Bombs are useful when timed with attack pushes or for rooting out roamers. Her camera hacking has seen a buff with all of the new types of cameras that have joined the fray, like Evil Eyes, bulletproof cameras, and both Yokai drones.

She’s also one of the few attackers with access to smoke grenades, making her great for planting the defuser or pursuing the hostage. Her SMG-12 also stands out as her unofficial primary weapon, proving deadly at mid-to-close range (if you can control the recoil). Her MK14 rifle picks up the slack in long-range engagements.

Fuze
One of Siege's longest-enduring memes, Fuze is famously a bad idea in hostage situations. His indiscriminate grenade launchers spit bombs through any soft surface over a radius of a few meters, hurling in semi-random arcs that are usually easy to avoid. These explosive pucks can help take out enemy gadgets, but they also won't spare the lives of any valuable drones your teammates have snuck onto an objective. Useful and fun for newcomers looking for easy kills and destruction.

Jackal
Another supportive attacker, Jackal excels at making life harder for roamers, and easier for his allies. His ability to track footprints can not only help allies engaged in firefights across the map, but also make for the occasional wallbang kill. His secondary shotgun is almost like having a small version of Sledge’s hammer. It’s a handy tool for opening doors, windows, and quick murder holes in ceilings/floors.

He’s also equipped with smoke grenades, making him excellent for targeted assaults onto positions where you’ve tracked an enemy. His C7 is one of the most controllable and accurate assault rifles in the game.

Glaz
Siege's sole true sniper, Glaz's high-penetration bullets are lethal on a few bombsites, like the garage on House, but his lack of utility and versatility is too frequently a liability. He's not who I'd want in a 1v3 with 60 seconds on the clock. Tunnel vision is also a problem, leaving him open to counter-peeking outside his field of view.

DEFENDERS

Almost always useful

Mute or Bandit
On most maps and in most objective rooms, you're gonna want to deny breaching of a couple critical surfaces. Mute and Bandit's gadgets provide an extra layer of defense to reinforced walls—either will block Hibana or Thermite's breaching charges. And both of these operators have the added benefit of being a nuisance to drones.

If your opponent is dumb enough to not bring a Thatcher, Mute or Bandit will make life a lot harder for them. Mute's utility has only gone up in Operation Chimera, with his jammers acting as a hard counter to Lion's scan.

Rook or Doc
Having a durable anchor on your team who plays on or near the objective is a good idea. Rook improves the survivability on everyone on the team with his bag of armor plates (known colloquially as t-shirts or sweaters), and Doc, if he stays alive, can erase damage. Both of these defenders can attach ACOG scopes, too, allowing them to guard chokepoints from a safer distance.

Smoke
An excellent anchor, Smoke can literally cover chokepoints with his asphyxiating gas grenades. The gadget allows him to 'eat' the clock better than any other operator: he can block entry to single-room objectives (hostage, secure area) with the poison cloud, daring enemies to run through it and risk death. His kit is also pretty strong: an SMG primary or secondary, and the option of barbed wire or impact nades.  

Very useful

Ela
Speedy and versatile, with thin hitboxes and one of the best traps in the game right now. Lurk around the corner from one of your concussion mines and peek after it triggers to catch dazed attackers. 

Pulse
A strong lurker and decent anchor, Pulse sniffs out enemy movement with his heartbeat monitor. The option of a nitro charge allows him to play below a bombsite, using his handheld wallhack in combination with the C4 to blow up attackers from safety.

Jäger
Though his ACOG scope was taken away in a 2017 nerf, Jäger's mobility and 416-C Carbine make him an effective defender for players who like to play fast and peek aggressively. His gadget shuts down attackers like Thatcher, Ash, Fuse, and even Hibana in some situations, in addition to eating up the stun, frag, or smoke grenades that most operators can carry.

Mira
Seen often in high-level play, her one-way mirrors are powerful deterrents. One common strategy is to pop a small hole just outside the edge of her gadget's window, then lean out to shoot through it after you've watched someone through the one-way mirror. I'm less keen on Mira's fast-firing SMG, which is a little too hot to handle. 

Viable, but not essential

Maestro
Maestro is made from the ground up to be an effective anchoring operator. He’s the only defender able to wield an LMG, the Alda. Its fire rate and damage are great among other defense weapons, but we recommend easing its wild recoil with a holographic sight and compensator. His gadget, the Evil Eyes, are two bulletproof cameras that can shoot high-energy lasers. Place these strategically in or around the objective to make effective call-outs, destroy attacking gadgets with the laser, and even take down enemies with annoying zaps of five health at a time.

Alibi
Dubbed the “ultimate roamer” by Ubi before her release, Alibi’s kit excels at roaming around the map and wasting the enemy’s time. Her Prisma decoys are great for playing mind games with the attackers when used either outside or inside the objective. At worst, they’ll slow the attackers down. And at best, they’ll shoot the decoys and broadcast their position to your entire team. Her Storm SMG is amazing at close range, so capitalizing on those fooled by the Prisma is a deadly combo.

Valkyrie
Knowledge is power, and Valkyrie's sticky, throwable cameras can potentially feed your team with information. Half the battle, though, is knowing where to put them—Siege has 19 maps, and each map has a handful of objective rooms, so you might have to memorize 40 or 50 camera positions to truly maximize her ability. Here's an easy one: remove a barricade and toss one of her cameras outside at the start of a round to give your team another external view. 

Lesion
The most dangerous thing in cargo shorts since Lara Croft, Lesion carries a great SMG and a gadget that hurts the enemy while providing some passive info—enemies yelp in pain when they step on the trap, can't can't sprint until they pull it out. The key is staying alive long enough to maximize the distribution of his Gu mines. Pair his gadget with Frost's bear trap to create a potential insta-kill.

Caveira
A genetically-engineered superlurker, Cav can sprint silently in bursts of about 10 seconds by activating Silent Step. Players who excel at using cameras (or simply their ears) to locate enemies can use this quiet movement to stage crushing ambushes. And if Cav can isolate an enemy, she can perform a melee takedown 'interrogation' to temporarily reveal the position of all remaining enemies—pulling this off usually guarantees a win.

Kapkan
Last year, Kapkan received a rework to his kit that completely altered his play style. He’s now a two-speed and has five traps that no longer have laser tripwires, making them much easier to walk into. He can also take impact grenades, opening him up to be an effective roamer with traps scattered across the map. Clever placement of his traps can make a big difference in firefights when the attackers have already lost most of their health to them. Kapkan also has access to the excellent VSN SMG and SASG shotguns, each one of the best in their classes.  

Echo
An insane annoyance, in the right hands. His drones are the only ones in the game that can stick to ceilings, where it perches invisibly as an elevated camera, ready to smack attackers with disorienting ultrasonic bursts (another form of concussion, basically). After a recent buff that gave him an extra Yokai drone, he feels much more viable as an anchor who can watch multiple points of entry and still protect his own body.  But still, he’s an operator who takes tight team coordination and timing to maximize.  

Vigil
A tough one to grade. In the hands of a crack shot, his slug-firing shotgun is devastating, and one of the few guns in the game that can quickly break a Blackbeard. His K1A SMG and SMG-12 are both excellent weapons at close-to-mid range, making him a generally good roamer. I go back and forth on the usefulness of his ability, which cloaks him from drones and cameras, but signals his general presence in the process. For me, knowing that Vigil's somewhere in a room is usually about the same thing as knowing exactly where he is, and he can't cloak forever.

Frost
She's fun, but nine out of ten experienced players will dispatch Frost's ankle-biting 'welcome mats' before stepping into them. Her SMG is also one of the slower-firing guns of its type in Siege, a game where any headshot is a one-hit kill. 

Castle
Castle's walls can often be as much of an obstacle for defenders as they are for attackers, denying flank routes and preventing barricade wallbangs. They make the room you're trying to guard more rigid, but often that inflexibility can make your defense more predictable. With a well-organized defense, his barricades can come in handy on some maps, but he’s hard to recommend to players without a tight gameplan.

Avoid completely

Tachanka
No amount of buffs can fix the Spetznaz soldier affectionately known as "Our Lord and Savior." If it's your first time playing Siege, Tachanka's shielded, static turret might seem powerful: it's a big gun fed by a big, 61-round frisbee that can cover a hallway or chokepoint. Unfortunately, it's countered by the most mundane gadget in the game: a drone. Revealing Tachanka's position almost instantly undoes his effectiveness, and the small rotation radius of the turret limits the positions he can place it. Otherwise, his mag-fed shotgun is a disaster. May he live on in memes. Amen.