The Rainbow Six Siege team has revealed patch notes for its current test server, and they come with a wide array of balance changes across the attacking side. The test server is live today with these changes as of 1 PM EDT.
One of Siege’s strongest operators, Finka, is buffed further on the test server, with her inconsistent flashbang grenades being swapped out for the more powerful frag grenades, and she’s now less vulnerable to one of her biggest counters—Smoke. Operators under the effects of one of Finka’s nano boosts now only take 50% more damage from Smoke’s canisters, rather than double damage. As of last season, Finka was one of the most effective operators in the game (opens in new tab), but her pick rate at high level was still lacking. While this change will certainly up her pickrate, further buffing one of the strongest operators in the game doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
IQ and Blackbeard, meanwhile, are nerfed. IQ is losing her frag grenades in favour of a claymore, and the range on her scanner is being decreased from 20 metres to 15. IQ’s main utility comes from her solid guns, frag grenades and high speed rather than from her situational gadget. Without frags to rely on she may have to change roles from a speedy entry fragger to a slower, intel based operator, using her gadget to remove utility from the defending side, which seems more in line with her original role within a team.
Blackbeard's shield is getting weaker, down to 50 HP from 60 HP, but he also receives a slight speed buff while his shield is equipped. While this may not seem like much, it lowers the number of shots required to break the shield across many defender weapons. This could mean that instead of being forced to aim well and land shots on Blackbeard’s unprotected body, players can now just blast away at his head and get a relatively similar time to kill. Forcing a camping Blackbeard off a window, where his shield can cover him nearly completely, becomes plausible rather than near-impossible. This change probably won’t affect higher levels of play as much though, which are more dominated by one-shot headshots, where Blackbeard’s shield still offers a significant advantage.
A smaller change is coming to Dokkaebi, with her claymore being swapped out for flashbangs. The claymore offers less utility than her smoke grenades anyway, which are more useful for cutting off important lines of sight in the objective. Flash grenades might see some use for disabling players whose location has been revealed by her phone calls, but I doubt that they’ll provide more overall use to the team than smoke grenades.
Obviously these operator tweaks could change or be abandoned before they reach Siege itself, but they indicate what Ubisoft considers to be worthy of testing. Also coming in the test server are a variety of smaller changes and bugfixes. Check them out yourself on the official Reddit post, or on the test server itself which is currently live.