The top Rainbow Six Siege defending operators

We break down our favorite Rainbow Six Siege defenders.

Image via Ubisoft

Rainbow Six Siege is an immensely complicated game to jump into. But we want to make your life easier, so we’ve compiled our picks for some of the best defending operators in the game.

From anchors to trap ops, we’ve got you covered. Some current favorites may be excluded from the rankings due to them being new to the game and requiring more time and testing before it can be determined whether they can transcend metas. 

Here are our picks for the top defending operators in Rainbow Six Siege as of Operation Shifting Tides. 

Echo 

Screengrab via Ubisoft

There’s a reason why Echo finds himself consistently banned out of matches. Ubisoft’s decision to give the three-armor, one-speed defender two Yokaiu drones makes him extremely dangerous in late-round scenarios. The ability of the Yokai’s sonic burst to cancel a defuser plant makes Echo one of the best and most loathed operators in all of Siege.

Echo has immense power at any given point in a match and a stellar loadout. The MP5SD is unique to Echo. Sure, you could run the SuperNova shotgun but it isn’t really advisable with such a strong SMG. Likewise, there’s no reason to run the P229 handgun over the Bearing 9 machine pistol. 

We gave Echo the edge over Maestro because his Yokai drones are considerably harder for attackers to detect unless they’re running an IQ. Ubisoft did make the Yokai much more visible but some players still struggle to deal with the Yokai drones before its too late. Echo has immense staying power and will likely always be a top banned operator due to his flexibility and overall power. 

Smoke 

Screengrab via Ubisoft

Smoke is proof that Ubisoft had a vision for Siege before it even fully took shape. Being one of the original vanilla operators in Siege, Smoke proves that the OGs can still hold it down. Boasting one of the least counterable gadgets in the game, Smoke’s Toxic Babes can send a well-coordinated attack into a scattered mess. Once the gas hits an attacker, there are only a handful of options the affected player has at their disposal: retreat or rush. 

The SAS operator is a lot like Echo in that you’ll want to keep him in your backline as an anchor, especially if your roamers can’t waste enough of the attacker’s time. Smoke is great at denying entry and plants. While his Toxic Babes won’t end the defuser plant animation, they’ll force the attacker into peeling off or risk dying before the plant animation can run its course. This creates the opportunity for defensive defuser control. 

In terms of loadout, Smoke doesn’t bring the most powerful loadout as much as he brings a utilitarian loadout. The M590A1 is our favorite shotgun in the game and is great for making some holes to toss Toxic Babes through to unsuspecting attackers. The SMG-11 also provides a bit more range to Smoke’s kit and helps to give him a bit more reach when holding angles. 

Lesion

Screengrab via Ubisoft

Lesion is one of those operators that transcends classification. The Blood Orchid operator is a disgustingly strong mix of intel, trap, and denial. Lesion’s Gu Mines provide near limitless intel in the hands of a skilled player, constant harassment in the form of attackers having to pull the needle out if they get stuck by a mine trap, and denial in many instances. 

The flexibility Lesion provides the player and their team is pretty much unparalleled at this point in the game’s life cycle. Combine his flexibility with the solid T-5 SMG and some Impact Grenades and the recipe is there. Players will want to be conservative with their Gu Mines since they can give you an accurate image of where an enemy is if they can keep track of where their mines are placed. 

Saving some Gu Mines for a nice back pocket denial is also a good call if the player makes it that far. It’s common for players just learning Lesion to bite the bullet early on, but as they become more acclimated to a “smarter, not harder” playstyle, there are many opportunities to change the tide of any given game with Lesion. 

Bandit

Screengrab via Ubisoft

In another instance of an operator just barely edging out another, Bandit gets our vote over Kaid for one reason: Bandit has stood the test of time. Even with Kaid encroaching on the vanilla operator’s territory, Bandit has stayed upfront for entry denial. Bandit’s Shock Wire seems low-tech in comparison to Kaid’s Electroclaws but works effectively against the crushing wave of a coordinated attack. 

There’s significantly more risk in Bandit tricking after a wall has been Thatchered, but the difference between Kaid and Bandit is that the Shock Wire seemingly goes into effect just a hair quicker. The millisecond difference can make or break a defense and Bandit has done an excellent job at holding down the fort. 

Kaid is a strong operator and Ubisoft continues to dial him in, but Bandit’s MP7 also rips harder than Kaid’s AUG SMG variant. Overall, there’s a level of comfort with Bandit that just isn’t there with Kaid yet due to his ever-changing balancing. Getting a grip of the operator is more challenging because he doesn’t feel finished yet, whereas Bandit has maintained a firm hold on his starting slot for the entire life span of Siege

Jӓger

Screengrab via Ubisoft

Jӓger is another standout vanilla operator who had virtually no competition until Wamai came into play with Operation Shifting Tides. The GSG9 vanilla operator is a welcome sight almost any time unless they fail to set up their ADS systems, also referred to as Magpies. Jӓger’s Magpies snatch grenades out of the air and render them inert. 

What makes Jӓger one of the better defensive operators is his drop and go playstyle. If all the Magpies are planted for his teammates, Jӓger is able to roam the map with extreme lethality due to having the 416-C Carbine, which was the only defender assault rifle until Mozzie arrived with Operation Burnt Horizon. Jӓger’s speed, unparalleled usefulness, and lethality are what have kept him in such a ridiculous place for Siege’s lifespan. 

Nobody quite does it like Jӓger, and while Wamai is here to challenge the throne, the 416-C feels a bit better than the AUG that Wamai has access to. Jӓger is an extremely comfortable operator to learn with and an even more satisfying one to master in terms of finding where the optimal Magpie placement is on each map. Players can also get creative with placement and work with their team to hold key access points. Despite being an oldie, Jӓger is still a goodie.