Hit the deck: a big, scary gun is coming in the next Rainbow Six Siege update.
The CSRX 300 is Siege's first bolt-action rifle. It can penetrate seven layers of 'soft' walls with a single shot. And its gadget can destroy almost any defensive gear sitting on the other side of a reinforced wall.
This intimidating long gun will be held by Kali, a new attacker who's a mash-up of Glaz's sniping, Thatcher's disabling, and Ash's destruction-from-a-distance. For me, Kali is the most eyebrow-raising operator since the arrival of Clash's electrified shield (which later had to be temporarily taken out of Siege while exploits were fixed).
Kali exclusively carries the CSRX 300 as her primary weapon, making her just the second dedicated sniper in Siege after Glaz, who was part of the initial 2015 roster. Though her gun doesn't offer Glaz's thermal optics, Kali's rifle can zoom to 5X or 12X dynamically (compared to Glaz's 3X magnification), allowing her to operate at a significantly longer range than any other character in the game. It also damages differently.
Like every gun in Siege, the CSRX insta-kills on a headshot, but if you're shot in the body by it, you're instantly downed, and you automatically whirl around, prone, to face Kali. This does make her rifle the most lethal weapon in the game, but in practice this mechanic actually works in the defender's favor in some cases: if you're getting shot at through a window at a distance, automatically dropping prone will probably protect you from a follow-up killshot. When I spawn-peeked out from an elevated window on Consulate and got insta-downed by Kali, I was able to limp away out of view and get revived by a teammate.
The thing sitting underneath this rifle's barrel may be the bigger deal. Kali's gadget, the LV Explosive Lance, shoots like one of Ash's Breaching Rounds: they fling out with zero drop-off, burrow into any surface, and detonate after a short fuse expires. Kali carries three charges.
These explosive projectiles destroy almost anything on either side of any soft or reinforced wall they hit: barbed wire, deployable shields (including Goyo's Volcàn), Maestro's Evil Eye, Bandit's batteries, Kaid's Rtila, and other gear that happens to be in within 2.5 meters. It also deals a small amount of damage, should a defender be hiding on the other side of the wall. Mira's Black Mirrors are one of the only defensive gadgets not affected.
As a package, Kali will test the level design of every map in Siege: expect players to exploit her ability to punch through soft walls at insane distance. And with the ability to knock out a big range of gadgets, she becomes one of the most versatile attackers, one who can influence the objective room from farther than any other operator. Counterbalancing her a bit are the thick white tracers that hang in the air with every shot that leaves the CSRX, pointing a clear line to Kali's position.
Wamai, the new defender
Kali deserves lots of attention and scrutiny, but she'll be joined by Wamai, a new defender who will probably have a greater impact than Goyo and Warden, the two most recently-added defenders.
The MAG-NET snags enemy grenades out of the air from a distance of several meters. He's meant as an alternative to Jäger, the popular defender who typically sticks his grenade-zapping mini-turrets in the objective room and runs off to roam the rest of the round. But unlike Jäger, Wamai's magnetic frisbees don't destroy grenades. Once they're scooped up, their fuse is reset, after which they detonate normally and destroy the MAG-NET.
This mechanic opens up new, devious possibilities for using enemies' throwables against them. Pull a frag grenade into a Volcàn shield and light the floor on fire unexpectedly. Pull a smoke grenade away from a key chokepoint. Pull a Fuze puck back toward the ceiling, killing anyone unlucky enough to be standing above it.
MAG-NETs redirect a wider set of projectiles than Jäger's ADS—even Ying's Candela and Capitão's bolts are up for grabs. Hibana's X-KAIROS, which it doesn't target at all, is the main exception. Otherwise MAG-NETs can be thrown onto any surface and charges up on a timer like Lesion's Gu mines.
Jäger's high pick rate motivated Ubisoft to build a character with a similar ability. Like Jäger, he doesn't carry an ACOG for either the MP5K or AUG A2. But as a two speed, two armor operator, he's more of an anchor than his German counterpart. It'll be interesting to see what creative MAG-NET positions players come up with—the gadget's long reach should make it viable at all skill levels, but Wamai players will have to place the gadget carefully to avoid Magneto-ing enemy grenades onto teammates.
Theme Park gets a renovation
The other thing coming in Shifting Tides will be a "surgical" rework of Theme Park. The map's upper floor trainyard has been cut, replaced with a new, segmented bombsite that sits between Initiation Room and Daycare. Although plenty of other exterior windows and doors have also been removed or altered, and the map has been brightened throughout, this is the main layout change, making Theme Park 2 far less of a transformation than Kafe, but one that should make the map competitively viable. Theme Park's train section took ages to clear and made attackers too vulnerable to flanks.
Led by Kali, I expect Shifting Tides to seriously impact the meta. Ubisoft hasn't announced when it'll go live, but says it should be playable on the test server soon.