Best Rainbow Six: Siege Operators
Rainbow Six: Siege is a great game with a variety of colorful and fun Operators to choose from. While every Operator is powerful in the right hands (I like to think I play a mean Capitão for instance), some Operators naturally end up better than others due to being more generally useful across all maps and situations or just having downright more powerful abilities.
For this list I'm looking at the top three Operators from the Attacking and Defending sides as of Operation: Burnt Horizon, partially based on Ubisoft's most recent Designer's Notes on character pick and win rates, and partially on my own experience (which lines up pretty closely).
Updated 4/16/2019: Dokkaebi, Blackbeard, and Doc removed. Dokkaebi's nerfs hit her too hard to sustain her place in the top three, and the trap meta pulls into full force this season.
Let's start with the ever-ready Attackers:
Nomad pulls a surprise uptick in win rate following Dokkaebi's nerfs, taking her spot on this list. Last season she held the spot as the eighth highest win rate Attacker, just behind Glaz and Montagne.
Her meteoric rise I'd contribute primarily to her gadget and general utility as a roamer counter. She could lay traps with her Air Jab and Claymore that can effectively shut down (or slow down) Operators like Caveira or the ever-popular Jager. It remains to be seen how her nerfs (the added audio cue to the Air Jab and removal of Claymore mine in favor of Stun Grenades) will affect her win rate going forward; there's just not enough data only five days into the patch.
She'll stick around as long as those nerfs still make her Air Jab, in particular, a good counter to roamers. Even with the audio cue they still need to deal with or go around the Air Jab, so it could slow them down enough for it to still be valuable. The loss of Claymores will hurt, but Stun Grenades offer nice utility as well.
I spend this much time talking about her gadget and equipment because her guns are frankly middle of the road. While amazing on Defense for its unparalleled scope, the .44 Magnum is simply fine on Attack, and her primaries (the AK74M and ARX2000) are both middle of the road guns as well, making her an Operator that lives or dies on their gadget. Similarly as a two speed, two armor Operator her stats are neither lacking nor excellent in any direction.
Glaz is an Operator that floats in and out of top spots, with a great gun, evergreen gadget, and useful equipment.
He pretty much lives or dies based on the current Ranked map rotation, where maps with long sight lines and chokes or predictable peek and run out spots favor him, and maps with a more claustrophobic edge, and extensive corridor creeping leave him feeling less useful.
The current run of maps tends toward favoring Glaz (though no Airplane to skyrocket his pick rate) with a few exceptions like Villa, and the heavy emphasis on traps and roamers working in concert in the current meta makes his ability to identify threats and take them down highly valuable quickly.
His kit consists of his OTs-03 marksman rifle, the highest (by a narrow margin) marksman rifle in the game that comes pre-equipped with Glaz's gadget, the Flip Sight which helpfully outlines any enemies in its sight in yellow and lets you see through smoke. Its armor-piercing rounds can be used to great effect when penetrating cover: knocking out doors, hatches, and even large portions of walls with just a few shots.
His sidearms are effective, with both being good, but my preference running toward the PMM over the GSh-18 for the higher stopping power in the same effective range.
While Glaz can run Claymores, it is generally preferable to run Smoke Grenades to take advantage of his unique relationship with them and encourage as many teammates as possible to do the same.
The top attacker is Finka, and it's not even close. The margin between Finka's win rate and the next nearest Operator is only matched by her equally (and strangely) low pick rate in ranked, being the second least picked Attacker in the game, just after Fuze, who is just barely edged out of the top three lowest win rate Operators by Jackal.
I am not sure of the reasoning behind the low pick rate. She is consistently never banned per end of season stats, so people consciously choose not to use her.
Her high win rate, on the other hand, is easy to explain. Her ability is one of the highest impact in the game: Adrenal Surge. Three times in a round, her allies get 20 extra health, are picked up if they're downed (unless they're caught in a Welcome Mat), they ADS faster, enjoy almost halved recoil, reload faster, move faster through barbed wire, and effectively ignore all stuns and disorients. This is a list of features not matched by any other ability in the game.
Most high impact gadgets like this are balanced by the Operator having less effective guns or less useful equipment, but Finka wins out here as well. The SASG 12 is a great shotgun (though suffers the same downsides as all shotguns on attack), and the Spear and 6P41 are both some of the best guns in the game (I prefer the latter; I'm a sucker for LMGs. Especially ones with basically no recoil). Likewise, both breaching charges and frag grenades are highly useful and sought after equipment with versatility and utility matched by few Attacking gadgets.
Maybe her low pick rate is some kind of unspoken gentleman's agreement between ranked players?
Whatever the reason, it's time to move on to Defenders. The same criteria apply here: I'm looking at win rate first, with my own preference and experience as a tie breaker. Thankfully Defender win rates are much closer together than the Attackers, except for the top pick.
Caveira has a high win rate, but a low pick rate. It's easy to see why, as she's a very feast or famine Operator.
First, the good: her gadget is excellent and multifaceted. Silent Step's base function is almost exactly what it sounds like. Caveira moves quietly for up to ten seconds. This alone is highly useful, but it also is unique in that it makes her the only Operator that Jackal cannot effectively track (any steps taken while Silent Stepping will not register, and activating it after being tracked renders you invisible to the ping for the duration).
This comes with several minor drawbacks, most prominent of which is you are limited to using Caveira's unique Luison pistol. I say minor since the drawback here is being locked to a pistol that can two shot any target at close range, leaving them vulnerable to her second ability, Interrogate, which reveals all Attackers remaining for a duration.
Everything else about Caveira is pretty middle of the road, with useful gadgets (though you're never going to take the camera over Impact grenades, let's be honest), high speed, and okay guns with both the M12 and SPAS-15 being useful in different maps and situations.
Not much else to say; it's easy to see why she's so effective, and just as easy to see why she's got such a low pick rate. Her strengths are also her weakness. Overusing her leads to being countered and killed early by the opponent picking Lion or other roamer counters (an explanation for Nomad's rise, as Caveira had a consistently high win rate last season as well), so she's better if she's only picked once or twice in a game.
Rook is a massive force amplifier for everybody on his team. Giving everyone who remembers their armor a 20% damage reduction over their norm and ensuring they get downed instead of killed (unless shot in the head or knifed) is immense, and persists even after Rook is dead and gone if anyone manages to penetrate his armored plating.
His arsenal is one of the best for Defenders, being one of the few that still boasts an ACOG scope on his MP5 or P90 SMGs. Of the two the MP5 is generally considered better, though I have to admit I'm more likely to run the shotgun (the excellent SG-CQB) on Rook over the MP5 just for thematic value. He has an easy time getting in close and can win a lot of disadvantageous engagements that way.
Rounding him out are the always useful impact grenades and sometimes useful deployable shield.
His win rate has dropped a bit since last season, overtaken by our new top Operator, which makes a bit of sense. The meta has shifted somewhat, and with Glaz on the case, his body armor means a little bit less than it did before. Still, taking the second place slot isn't bad.
Frost is by far my most played Operator in the game, so I'm excited to see she's doing so well in Ranked right now. It's easy to see why looking at the pick rates for both Attack and Defense. The highest picked Defense Operators are Jager, Lesion, Valkyrie, and Doc. The first two in particular pair well with Frost, the former protecting her Welcome Mats from explosives and the latter setting up a combo that can instantly kill anyone who steps on a Welcome Mat, negating the need to risk peeking out to finish off anyone who triggers a trap.
Her kit is stellar in my opinion, with the exception of the decidedly subpar Super 90 shotgun. Her 9mm C1 SMG has a very predictable recoil pattern, solid damage, and good magazine size. Paired with two excellent pieces of equipment (the bulletproof camera and barbed wire) and her balanced stat line, she slots well into a variety of team compositions.
While I don't expect her to stay at such an astronomical win rate for very long unless she catches a particularly brutal nerf she's going to stay a feature in the meta for a while. Much like Caveira, her low pick rate is a direct function of her high win rate, as Welcome Mats are most effective when the opponent isn't looking for them.
And that about wraps it up: the top six Operators in Rainbow Six: Siege. These are subject to change as new Operators are released, as usual.