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Rainbow Six Siege Year 5: Everything we know about the operators, map reworks, and battle passes

(Image credit: Ubisoft)
Dominate the meta with these Siege guides

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

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Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 has already proven to be an important step in the game's future. It's been more than four years since Ubisoft launched its tactical FPS, and it only continues to grow. With a roster of 57 operators and counting, Year 5 is something of a transitional year in terms of new Siege content. In exchange for fewer operators and no new maps, Ubi is investing more time improving what Siege already has, Operation Health-style. Then in Year 6, the studio is building on this strategy with half the usual new operators.

Fewer operators might be a bummer for some, but there's a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon in 2020. Here's everything we know about Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 so far.

When does Year 5 Season 3: Operation Shadow Legacy begin?

Rainbow Six Siege's Operation Shadow Legacy is on the way, but before falling into everone's hands, it'll have a lengthy trial period on the Technical Test Server. The TTS has already begun, so if Ubisoft follows its usual schedule, Season 3 will begin sometime in late August or early September 2020.

Who are the Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 operators?

As Ubisoft transitions away from the eight-operators-per-year model, Year 5 cuts new faces down to six. Seasons 1 and 2 each have two operators while seasons 3 and 4 will only have one.

We've already been introduced to Year 5's first four operators and know a great deal about the last two, thanks to leaks. Here's a full rundown of their abilities and loadouts.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Oryx

  • 2 Speed 2 Armor
  • Ability: Remah Dash
  • Primary weapons: MP5 SMG, SPAS-12
  • Secondary weapons: Bailiff 410, USP40
  • Secondary gadgets: Barbed Wire, Bulletproof Camera

Oryx is a new kind of roamer with superior mobility throughout the map. His Remah Dash lets him charge through soft walls (at the cost of ten health) and barricades like they're made of tissue paper. It's immensely satisfying to use, but even more useful is his ability to jump up and climb through hatches. As a defender, he can roam in the prep phase opening hatches that let him quietly rotate around the map later on.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Iana

  • 2 Speed 2 Armor
  • Gadget: Gemini Replicator
  • Primary weapons: ARX2000, G36C
  • Secondary weapon: MK1 9mm
  • Secondary gadgets: Smoke Grenades, Frag Grenades

Iana is an intel-gathering trickster. Her Gemini Replicator spawns an exact clone of herself that can be controlled by her like a normal operator for 15 seconds, like a drone that always recharges after being destroyed. 

But her real power comes from how Gemini tricks enemies. The hologram looks, sounds, and moves just like the real Iana. With some cleverness, you can fool enemies into thinking you're approaching north when you're actually heading east.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ace

  • 2 Speed 2 Armor
  • Gadget: SELMA Aquatic Breacher
  • Primary weapons: AK-12, M1014
  • Secondary weapon: P9 Handgun
  • Secondary gadgets: Smoke grenades, Breaching charges

Ace, Siege's newest hard breacher, trades fiery explosives for water-powered drills. Ace matches Hibana in terms of versatility, but his SELMA breaching capsules come out on top in ease-of-use. In a pinch, his SELMAs can also be used to destroy defender gadgets or breach soft walls safely from a distance.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Melusi

  • 3 Speed 1 Armor
  • Gadget: Banshee Noise Generators
  • Primary weapons: T-5 SMG, Super 90
  • Secondary weapons: RG15
  • Secondary gadgets: Impact grenades, Nitro cell

Melusi is a proficient roamer with a gadget meant to slow down attackers and waste time. Her Banshees slow enemies to a meandering walk when they're within its large radius, and it can only be destroyed by explosive, EMP, or melee hit. Whether attackers decide to take the movement penalty or blow it up, they'll make a lot of noise doing it.

Rainbow Six Siege

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Zero (Sam Fisher)

  • 2 Speed 2 Armor
  • Gadget: Argus Camera Launcher
  • Primary weapons: SC300K, MP7 SMG
  • Secondary weapons: 5.7 USG
  • Secondary gadgets: Frag Grenades, Claymore

Sam Fisher is Siege's first Tom Clancy crossover operator ever added to Siege. Retired from a life of superspying, Sam has joined Rainbow under the codename Zero has an instructor.

In the game, Sam plays like a hybrid of Valkyrie and Twitch. He can fire four drill cameras from his Argus Launcher that can pierce through any breachable wall and view the other side. While looking through the cameras, he can also fire a single laser burst capable of destroying most defender gadgets. He's an incredibly effective intel gatherer that can just as easily be used defensively to cover flanks or monitor the defuser.

The leaks

S3/4 Operator Gadgets / Abilities from r/Rainbow6

Back during the middle of Season 2, a bevy of leaks onto Reddit revealed the nature of both Season 3 attacker (who we now know to be Zero) and Season 4's defender. Now that Season 3 is no longer a mystery, below you'll find what we already know about Season 4's Thai defender.

(Image credit: Zer0Bytes on Reddit)

Aruni—Season 4 defender

Aruni (a possible codename) appears to be Siege's Thai operator coming in Season 4. In the video above, we get an extensive look at her weapons, gadget, and special bionic arm.

Her main gadget, possibly called the Surya Gate, is a small projector device that emits a laser grid over doorways, walls, and possibly windows. In the video, we see the laser grid shut off when Aruni approaches it and come back on as she leaves. We don't know how much damage walking into the barrier deals, but attackers will likely need to destroy the projector to comfortable pass the barrier.

Aruni's arm seems to function as a secondary passive ability. Her standard melee strike is replaced by a robo-arm-powered punch that can create shotgun-sized holes in soft walls or break barricades in a single strike. She's also the first defender equipped with a legitimate DMR on defense: the Mk14EBR.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 roadmap

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

As for what we know for sure about the rest of 2020, that mostly comes from Ubisoft's Year 5 roadmap it shared back in February. Season 4's operator will definitely come from Thailand. According to leaks, this is Aruni.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 map reworks

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

As it did for Siege Year 4, Ubisoft announced all of the maps receiving a rework in Year 5 ahead of time. In Season 1 we got an excellent rework to Oregon, followed by a unique "casual rework" to House in Season 2. Coming up in Season 3 we have Chalet's rework, which I wholeheartedly enjoyed during my time with it.

All that's left in Year 5 is the Skyscraper rework that will assumingly come alongside the Thai defender Aruni. Skyscraper is one of Siege's more unique maps, released alongside Echo and Hibana in late 2016.

S3 Skyscraper Rework from r/Rainbow6
  • Season 1: Oregon
  • Season 2: House (Casual rework)
  • Season 3: Chalet
  • Season 4: Skyscraper

A new Arcade mode is on the way

Ubi is also implementing an Arcade playlist in Year 5, where it can try out smaller, experimental modes vastly different from standard Siege. In Season 1 we got Golden Gun, a 1-shot deagle elimination mode inspired by the classic Goldeneye 64 mode. Season 2's mode was Attrition, a remix of the Ranked ruleset where operators couldn't be chosen after they'd died in a round.

I've had loads of fun in both Arcade modes so far, so I'm interested in what Season 3 will bring. 

A replay system is in the works

This is a feature long-requested by fans. A proper replay system will allow players to review matches from any perspective. That's useful not only for saving clutch moments or helping to improve skill, but also for anti-cheating. It's hard to tell when someone is cheating in Siege, but being able to save the match and watch from their perspective is huge.

Ubi originally planned to release Replays in the first half of 2020, but the transition to working from home slowed work enough that it's been pushed back. Players will finally be able to test on the Shadow Legacy TTS, but it won't be releasing until sometime later.

Ping 2.0 gives normal pings more context

Siege's upgraded marking mechanic Ping 2.0 is finally coming in Season 3: Shadow Legacy. The enhanced ping tool allows players to mark gadgets with specific icons for their entire team. If you mark the unique gadget of an enemy player, their identity will also be revealed. Players can try it out on the TTS right now.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 battle passes

After the success of Siege's Road to S.I. battle pass, Ubisoft is diving head first into making more. In Year 5, every season will have a unique battle pass that unlocks premium cosmetics, currency packs, alpha packs, and new Siege lore.

Year 5 has already seen a few battle passes come and go, each with a unique theme. Based on early indicators, it seems like Season 3's battle pass will focus on the Sam Fisher/Splinter Cell motif shared by the season as a whole.

Major operator reworks are coming, too

Ubisoft isn't pumping out fewer operators in 2020 for no reason: the developer wants to spend a lot more time and energy on improving existing ones. The prime example? The meme himself: lord Tachanka.

Tachanka has a storied history as the worst operator in the game. Light tweaks are out of the question: Ubi is taking drastic measures. New Tachanka can carry his LMG detached from its mount and also carries a flame grenade launcher that denies areas in a similar way to Smoke and Goyo.

Ubi believe this is what players should consider a 'rework' moving forward: a significant shift to an operator's identity and role in the game. For smaller refinements, they are more like 'tweaks'.

According to game director Leroy Athanassoff, Clash is a "top candidate" for a rework as well. We don't know if she'll get balancing attention she needs anytime during Year 5, but we live in hope.

Morgan is an FPS specialist who spends way too much time trying to get his friends into Rainbow Six Siege. He also loves weird stealth games, immersive sims, and having new memes explained to him by his partner.