Rainbow Six Siege’s best moments don’t require a gun

rainbow six siege

Rainbow Six Siege has precise hitboxes, a brutal damage model, and tight controls. But I can find those things in other multiplayer shooters. Really, Siege’s secret sauce is its granular destruction engine and the gadgets that distinguish its 46 characters. 

Gadgets open up Siege's possibility space and make victory a matter of not just how well you click on enemies' heads, but how well you mess with them. They make Siege more than a shooter—it has pieces of detective mystery, information warfare, real-time strategy, even survival horror. The game is packed with these moments, but my favorites make me feel like I’m playing two games at once.

Playing detective as Jackal

While most attackers rely on droning to know where defenders are hiding on the map, Jackal sees what nobody else can—footprints. It’s a great tool for peeking down a hallway and quickly seeing if a roamer has been around. He can scan footprints to temporarily ping the current location of the target, but even more fun is following a footprint trail without alerting them with a scan.

Source: Serenity17 on YouTube

There’s a lot of smart design in Jackal’s Eyenox. Every footprint is colored according to how old it is (red being newest and blue oldest), so one glance can make you feel safe in room or terrified of what’s around the corner. He’s great for calling out areas of interest to teammates, but you have to look out for Jackal’s hardest counter, Caveira.

Cav’s Silent Step ability temporarily lightens her steps enough to avoid leaving footprints. A good Cav can play extra carefully and only move when her Silent Step is charged, or go prone to avoid footsteps altogether. Either Jackal uses his wits to follow Cav’s breadcrumbs, or he falls prey to her interrogation skills. It’s a wonderfully stressful meta game of cat and mouse within Siege. What other game provides these kinds of rich interactions without being face-to-face with an enemy?

Mastering the mind games of the Bandit Trick

I have a lot of respect for Bandit mains. On certain maps, picking Bandit carries a lot of responsibility, specifically because of the Bandit Trick. Bandit carries four car batteries that can be attached to reinforced metal walls to electrify them. This protects the wall against breachers that can penetrate metal, such as Thermite and Hibana. Though, if a battery is blocking the way, Thatcher can easily destroy it with his EMP grenades. This is where the Bandit Trick comes in.

Source: VarsityGaming on YouTube

Instead of electrifying walls in the prep phase and waiting for Thatcher to ruin his day, Bandit Tricking involves standing near a wall and waiting for the hard breacher to make their move. When Bandit hears the subtle sound of a breaching charge being placed on the other side of a wall, he places his battery and then picks it back up. The timing is tight, but pulling it up will zap away the breach and save your battery from Thatcher or Twitch.

Sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot of factors that crank up the difficulty. First, Bandit has to listen carefully and guess which wall they’re going to breach. If he gets that right, he still has to worry about the timing. If he happens to be near a drone hole, the attackers can guess he’s there and roll a frag in at his feet or flush him out with Capitão’s fire bolt. If done correctly, he can lock down an objective and make the attackers’ jobs harder before a single bullet is fired.

Hide & Seek: Drone Edition

Siege is at its scariest when controlling a drone in the prep phase. It’s like David and Goliath, except Goliath has a gun. The odds are stacked, but sly maneuvering can be my savior. After hundreds of hours, I can get into the enemies' heads and juke around them, maybe even making them shoot their own teammates while raining hellfire around me. Mid-chase, I’ll often turn at a corner and wait for them to follow. As they’re rounding the corner I dart under their legs and escape before they realize what happened.

I get the most satisfaction out of finding a great drone hiding spot. Since every object in Siege has a precise hitbox, if my drone will fit, I can hide there. Inside a bowl, in a narrow crevice, among the records of a jukebox, nothing is off-limits. For extra stealth, I turn my drone to face the wall until the round starts to hide its red light from the giants. Siege’s newest defender Mozzie makes droning even more dangerous. His Pest robots can literally dive onto my drone and hoist control away from me. If droning wasn’t scary enough, now I have to worry about Alien facehuggers.

Being in four places at once with Alibi

Unlike the responsibility of Bandit, I pick Alibi when I want to mess with attackers’ heads. She can place three holographic Prisma decoys that look just like her. If an attacker falls for the ruse and shoots it, they become tracked for a few seconds and their identity is revealed. Seasoned players know pretty well how to look out for decoys by now, but there are some tricks to make them look even more convincing.

Source: MacieJay on YouTube

My favorite way is to use the enemy’s map knowledge against them. Slotted behind cover watching common angles, a peeking enemy is much more likely to shoot first and ask questions later. With Kapkan or Frost, the goal is to hide their traps as best as possible, but Alibi is all about making them noticeable in smart ways. In the clip above, Alibi has two decoys set up in the room. When the Hibana pops the hatch, she shoots the decoy that is positioned realistically and doesn’t react to the true Alibi in time. Decoys also work great as motion alarms. Placed right in front of a window, they can catch the bullets of an attacker who was only trying to break the barricade.

The truest Alibi bamboozle happens when she can assume the role of her decoy and go unnoticed among foes. This one is difficult, but extremely satisfying when it works, as you can see below.

Source: MacieJay on YouTube

Other fun meta game moments

  • Deciding the side/height of a doorway to place Kapkan traps. Most expect them to be placed low, but keeping them varied can really throw off enemies.
  • Combining the power of Dokkaebi’s Logic Bomb and IQ’s electronics scanner to spot enemies as they’re hanging up their phones. 
  • Creatively placing Mute’s jammers to disable drones/gadgets while keeping the jammer hidden.
  • Tossing Valkyrie's sticky cams outside to gain secretive surveillance on attackers as they rappel up windows.
Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.