Rainbow Six Siege is a highly strategic and methodical first-person shooter. The unique and vast variety of operators that have been added to the game over its now seven-year lifespan have molded and shaped the game to what it is today. The meta of Rainbow Six is changing year in and year out. Mid-season updates and hotfixes have the potential to shift operator interactions and shake up the most efficient tactics and strategies.
With so many options to choose from, however, many want to know which operators rise above the rest. It can be difficult to pinpoint where operators fall into the meta, but players can get an idea of where their favorite defenders rank using the tier list below.
Tier list: Y7S1
The tier list below is a defender tier list that reflects the current state of Rainbow Six Siege and its current season Operation Demon Veil.
The operators below are ranked according to their entire kit and what they bring to a defender lineup. This includes the weapons they use, the primary and secondary gadgets available to them, and, maybe most importantly, their unique gadget. These operators were listed according to their viability and helpfulness within ranked play. Each section of the list sorts the operators alphabetically and their position does not represent an inner-tier ranking.
Defender tier list
Any operator that can deal with attacker utility will end up near the top of the list. Aruni’s Surya Laser Gate is a strong unique gadget that can also damage enemies. Combine that with the popular and high fire rate P10 Roni and you have a great choice for every bomb site.
Jäger has been a staple in Rainbow Six Siege since launch. Similar to Aruni, Jäger can deal with defender utility. In a meta where frag grenades are valuable, Jäger’s pick rate will continue to be the highest. The 416-C is a comfort pick for many in the community and despite Ubisoft’s attempts to nerf and change it, players still gravitate to the German defender.
Kaid has seen an increase in ban rate over the past few seasons due to his strong and unique gadget. The Electroclaw has the ability to electrify three reinforcements at a time and can even get hatches. He makes locking down a bomb site easy. His AUG- A3 submachine gun is a strong low-recoil weapon suitable for many types of engagements.
At the highest levels of Siege, intelligence and communication reign supreme. Information denial plays a major role at the upper levels and Mute provides that in bulk. With his four jammers, he can easily cut off drone paths making it difficult for attackers to know what’s coming. The jammers can also multipurpose as wall-denial, only adding to his versatility. He has a flexible assortment of weapons at his disposal with shotgun and submachine gun primaries and the SMG-11 secondary.
Similar to the attacking list, the SAS operators find themselves at the top. Smoke is an anti-area operator that only becomes more valuable as the round progresses. His three Toxic Babe canisters can fill large areas with gas for a total of 30-seconds. His shotgun/SMG-11 combo makes him deadly at close range, and flexible at short to medium distances.
The ability to put three cameras near anywhere around the map is incredibly strong. There are many places to hide the Black Eyes around the map making it difficult for attackers to execute unseen. The MPX submachine gun is not the best in terms of damage output. Its minimal recoil, however, makes it a headshot machine, which is great in this one-shot-head-shot shooter.
Azami can change the flow of a round. Her Kiba Barriers can plug holes in walls, block lines of sight, and create bulletproof safe areas to hide in. She is equipped with the low recoil 9x19SVN submachine gun and Impact grenades that add to her versatility to change the site. This combination even makes her flexible enough to be an anchor or a roamer depending on the operator lineup.
The Italian operator is intimidating to any attacking lineup and, like smoke, is even more deadly as the round progresses. Maestro’s Evil Eyes are amazing tools to deny attackers that are planting the defuser. This is powerful during last-second pushes and can often win the round for defenders. The Alda light machine gun is considered one of the strongest weapons on defense and can burn through attackers at will.
Melusi is a great intel operator. The crowd control effect of her Banshees is decent, but it’s really the intelligence they gather that is more valuable. Her MP5 is strong and has low recoil. Melusi excels as a close-to-site defender that can quickly capitalize on her Bashee bait.
Mira is one of the biggest threat operators on defense. Her Black Mirrors force attackers to approach and play differently than normal. The Black Mirror demands attention and respect, unlike many other defender gadgets that can easily or quickly be dealt with. The Vector submachine gun rips through attackers with its high rate of fire but can get Miras in trouble with how fast it burns through ammunition.
Drone denial will always be strong in Rainbow Six. Similar to Mute, Mozzie offers the defending lineup intelligence denial. His Pests come with the added perk of capturing drones and using them against the attackers. This only adds to what could be a stacked intel-gathering defender lineup. The P10 Roni is a very strong weapon and Mozzie can even utilize the 1.5x scope.
Survivability is underrated amongst players. Thunderbird provides the means to continually heal during a round with her Kóna Stations. The one-shot-head-shot mechanics of the game make sure this is not as overpowered as it might seem, but gives defenders the opportunity to be a little more aggressive against the strong attacker weapons.
Rounding out A-Tier is another utility denial operator similar to Jäger and Aruni. Wamai gains Mag-NETs as the round progresses. These magnets have a large catch radius and can be thrown virtually anywhere. Many run the MP5K with a 1.5x sight on it that gives him versatility in small to medium and close range encounters. His impact grenades make him flexible enough to play offsite and even roam, but it is recommended to not as he gets stronger the longer he is alive.
The introduction of Kaid hurt Bandit’s stock a bit. While he has one of the best guns on defense in the MP7, his gadget is not as useful as the electrifying operator in S-Tier. Bandit tricking is still a great tactic but can be easily dealt with from below or with coordination.
Oddly enough, this operator has the MP5 like Melusi, Rook, and Doc, but unlike them, Echo’s suppressed MP5 does more damage. His Yokai drones can be frustrating to deal with at times, but ever since Ubisoft removed the cloaking aspect of them it’s been more manageable. Echo is very strong at the end of rounds and, like Maestro, can solely win it all for the team.
Ela is a strong three-speed defender that excels at roaming. Her three Grzmot mines act as proximity alarms and stun the approaching enemy. She can take advantage of this with her good primary weapons, the Scorpion Evo-A1 submachine gun, and FO-12 shotgun.
Frost is an all-around even operator. Her primary weapon is strong at close and short to medium ranges, and her secondary shotgun is great for redesigning the bomb site. Placing her bear traps in unsuspecting places can clutch out rounds and provide value even after death, unlike some other operators that must be alive to get full use of their gadgets.
The Vulcan canister is a strong area-denial gadget that plays a similar role to Smoke. The ability to cut off hallways and entryways for 10-15 seconds is valuable and can turn the tide of rounds. Like Mira, the Vector submachine gun will shred enemy health bars but is easy to burn through ammunition.
Many trap operators find themselves in B-Tier. They’re useful enough and can play a role after death, but are not as valuable as the ones above them. Kapkan and his traps can play a strong roam game and take advantage of those that fail to use their drones effectively or rush to the bomb site. His impact grenades give him the flexibility to create rotations or lines of sight.
Lesion is a great operator for gathering intel. His cloaked Gu mines can provide valuable information for roamers, or Lesion himself, to capitalize on unsuspecting attackers. The T-5 primary submachine gun has low recoil and is considered one of the best guns on defense. While the operator can be an anchor, he excels as a roamer and crowd controller to take advantage of the gradual generation of Gu mines throughout the round.
The FBI operator is dangerous in the right hands. His heartbeat scanner can provide the team, or the player, information on attacker locations for intel or an advantage in a gunfight. His UMP primary submachine gun is not the best due to its low rate of fire but is still serviceable with its low recoil. A common strategy is to have pulse play underneath the bomb site and use his nitro cell from below.
Vigil is one of the best roamers in the game. His unique ability completely cloaks him from drones and can be a hassle for any attacking lineup to deal with. The cloaking is radial and emits the signal to drones above and below him which can be frustrating to those trying to track him down. The K1A, his good, and low recoil submachine gun, and impact grenades make him a great roamer for all defending lineups.
Alibi excels as a roamer and can gather intel with her Prisma holograms. She has the MX Storm submachine gun which has a high rate of fire as well as access to a 1.5x sight that gives her flexibility in close and short to medium range engagements. Her impact grenades and secondary shotgun pistol let her redesign the bomb site and open up rotation holes around the map. Her gadget is why she falls into C-Tier as it does not provide enough team benefit compared to those above her.
With four bulletproof barricades, Castle can cut off entrances, lines of sight, and hallways with ease. With a 1.5x sight on his low recoil and low fire rate UMP, he can take on gunfights at a respectable distance. The Super Shorty secondary shotgun allows for bombsite redesign and rotations. Castle is a situational operator that has some great bomb sites but is not as all-around valuable compared to those above him.
Oryx has a great primary weapon and a situational unique ability. The T-5 submachine gun has low recoil and good damage and Oryx can even put a 1.5x sight onto it. He can create rotation holes very quickly and can jump up hatches, however, there are better operators that can create rotation holes and roam more effectively on all maps instead of ones that have a lot of hatches.
Many use Rook due to his 2.0x scope on his low recoil MP5. It is a deadly combo that provides some of the best range on defense. His armor plates give friendly defenders additional health with additional passives with grenade interactions. The name of the game, however, is one-shot-head-shots and the armor plate does not cover the face
Adjustments to Tachanka over the years elevated him from the bottom of the barrel. The light machine gun primary does great damage and has destructive capabilities, and the Shumika launcher provides temporary area denial similar to Smoke and Goyo – it can also be launched and ricocheted around corners. The operators above him, however, do the area denial job better. There are also faster operators that bring more utility to the lineup that put Tachanka down in C-Tier.
Thorn is similar to Ela in that they both have a proximity mine that alerts defenders of nearby attackers’ whereabouts. While Thorn’s Razorblooms have the potential to kill, they tend to not do any damage at all because attackers can react quick enough to either shoot it or get out of the blast radius. Thorn’s primary weapons are also not as strong as Ela’s. Fire rate reigns supreme in Rainbow Six and the UZK50GI is lacking in that category with a fire rate of 700 rounds per minute.
Like Montange on the attacking side, Clash has extreme difficulty taking on more than one enemy at a time. Her small magazine submachine gun secondary does not allow her to take on multiple gunfights without reloading, and she is a three-armor one-speed operator. The combination of these makes it easy to take advantage of her in Xv1 situations for attacks. Without good communication or teamplay, this operator frequently fails to make a true impact on the round and many lineups are better off with an extra gun.
Doc has seen better days when his Stim Pistol used to heal a lot more and he was the only medic operator. With the introduction of Thunderbird and the reduction in Stim Pistol health, Doc has taken a back seat in most Rainbow Six lineups. He cannot provide the mobility and team utility that Thunderbird can. His 1.5x sight on his MP5 primary keeps him out of E-Tier.
Warden has yet to find himself in a well-balanced and useful state. Smoke grenades are not as common anymore, and stun grenades are typically used to burn defender anti-projectile utility. The stars need to align for it to be worth the slot and as a result, his pick rate has taken a major hit. The 1.5x sight on his MPX keeps him out of E-Tier.
The Spooky in-the-shadows operator finds herself at the bottom of the defender list. While Caveira players can take advantage of players that are newer or less experienced in the game, she fails to impact rounds in the upper levels of play as droning skills and communication increase. Getting that interrogation is satisfying, but defending lineups are better off with other operators above her as they provide utility for the whole team.