Rainbow Six Siege launched back in 2015, but if you still haven't tried it yet then you're in luck as it's free to play from February 15 until February 19 for PC, February 20 on Xbox One, or February 21 for lucky PS4 owners. For those who haven't played it before, consider it a cross between the tense, one-life-per-round firefights of Counter-Strike coupled with the unique character abilities of a MOBA that make team composition crucial. Thanks to regular updates and additional content, the roster of Operator characters keeps on expanding - and with 36 Operators (and counting) to choose from, it can be pretty overwhelming for anyone who's just starting.
That's where this guide comes in. The following Operators are great picks for anyone learning the ins and outs of Rainbow Six Siege, and will help you grasp the fundamentals of playing both the Attacker and Defender sides. With one exception, these Operators are all from separate special forces units, meaning they'll have the cheapest possible Renown costs to help you build out your Operators collection quicker (make sure to consult the Rainbow Six Siege version buying guide from our friends at PC Gamer, because you're definitely going to want the Standard Edition for reduced Renown costs if you're playing on PC). They're also all Operators from the base game, so you won't have to pay real money or grind for ridiculous amounts of Renown to access them. Check your clip, secure your armor straps, and let's meet Rainbow Six Siege's most beginner-friendly Operators - three Defenders and three Attackers you should prioritize unlocking.
Recommended Primary weapon: MP5 submachine gun (ACOG sight, vertical grip, compensator)
Recommended Secondary weapon: LFP586
Recommended gadget: Deployable shield
Rook's unique gadget is as straightforward as they come, making him perfect for anyone still learning the ropes. At the beginning of the round, quickly plunk his armor pack onto the ground (ideally near the objective you're defending) and suit up yourself before running off to deploy reinforced walls. Your teammates will know to grab their own piece of body armor before the round starts, and you'll net some free points in the process. The body armor is extremely beneficial for your entire team, providing damage reduction and ensuring that otherwise fatal wounds will only down you for a potential revive (unless it's a headshot, because there's no walking away from that).
Though Rook's ability is essentially fire-and-forget, try not to drop the satchel of armor near a window, in case your opponents rush the point and manage to pick off a straggler who's equipping their armor a little too late. And because Rook has the slowest movespeed in exchange for his high base armor (even before the extra body armor), you're best off hunkering down and defending the point rather than roaming around the map.
Recommended Primary weapon: SASG-12 shotgun (reflex sight, vertical grip)
Recommended Secondary weapon: PMM
Recommended gadget: Barbed wire
Kapkan's entry denial devices are a nasty surprise for any Attacker who foolishly forgets to watch where they're stepping; getting a kill with one is oh so sweet. You can quickly drill these into any entrance with a door frame, so don't waste time trying to affix them to a concrete wall - you've got five of these things to set up before the onslaught starts. Avoid planting them on windows; Frost does a better job of setting up traps in those areas anyway. You'll want to crouch down and affix the devices to the base of doorways to make them as inconspicuous as possible, lest the Attackers simply spot them and destroy them with a single pistol shot before moving forward.
With five devices at your disposal, you can get a little creative with how you place them around the objective. Try to cover every possible entryway leading to the main capture point, but remember that once someone triggers a trap, they're going to be extremely wary of walking into more - so placing them in sequential doorways probably won't be that effective. Your traps also work as a great alarms for incoming enemies, tipping you off to where you should point that shotgun (which works surprisingly well at medium range) for an easy follow-up kill.
Recommended Primary weapon: 416-C Carbine assault rifle (Holographic sight, vertical grip, compensator)
Recommended Secondary weapon: P12
Recommended gadget: Deployable shield
Like Rook and Kapkan, Jager doesn't have to look after his unique gadgets for them to be highly effective - once Jager's ADS-MK4s (read: anti-grenade turrets) are in place, he's essentially done his main job for the rest of the round. Grenades are often a big part of the Attackers' approach, so being able to negate one of their main tools makes Jager hugely useful in any situation. When placing his turrets, favor spots in the middle of the floor; this should give the turret maximum visibility to pluck grenades out of the air as they sail overhead. Just be wary: if a Fuse charge is sending a volley of grenades into the room, one turret will only counteract two of the six total explosives headed your way.
It's also smart to place one of your three total turrets along a wall behind an environmental object, so Attackers won't immediately see it and pick it off. Just make sure you don't choose a spot that needs to be reinforced; any ally who goes to reinforce the wall will automatically destroy the turret in the process. Jager's quite nimble with three points of movespeed, so feel free to roam around the outskirts of the objective, looking for quick pickoffs while your turrets help secure the central room you're protecting.
Recommended Primary weapon: 556xi assault rifle (Holographic sight, vertical grip, compensator)
Recommended Secondary weapon: M45 MEUSOC
Recommended gadget: Claymore
Thermite will always be a boon for the Attackers thanks to his unique gadget that completely changes how you approach your target. As with Hibana, Thermite's almost always picked for his ability to breach fortified walls (anything will metal plating, denoted by plus-shaped spikes on the opposite side) - but unlike Hibana and her Year 2 Operator prices, Thermite's totally affordable. Simply set up Thermite's souped-up breaching charge onto any fortified wall, and you'll be able to bust through, creating multiple avenues of offense against whoever's waiting on the other side. You might even get a kill on a camper who's hugging that same, soon-to-be-exploded wall if they don't react in time.
Be wary that some Defenders can effectively shut down your ability when played correctly. Mute's jammer will render your breaching charges useless, and Bandit's shock wire will destroy it (so be on the lookout for the telltale crackle of electricity on any walls). If your breaching charge doesn't work, don't try again in the same spot - look for a different position to blow a hole open in the enemy defenses instead. Oh, and make sure your teammates are clear of the charge before you activate it so they aren't accidentally killed in the blast.
Recommended Primary weapon: L85A2 assault rifle (ACOG sight, vertical grip, flash hider)
Recommended Secondary weapon: SMG-11
Recommended gadget: Frag grenades
Sledge and the big ol' hammer he carries can fit into just about any Attacker team and do well. For newer Siege players, learning the intricate layouts and myriad pathways of the many maps can be tricky - so it's fortunate that Sledge's signature hammer effectively acts as nigh-unlimited breaching charges, letting you brute-force your way through what might otherwise be a dead end. With a single button, you can bash giant holes in a wall to lay down fire from odd angles, or smash the wooden planks of a makeshift barricade in one swipe. It also makes for a supremely satisfying melee kill (though bullets are usually the better option).
Remember not to get too carried away with demolishing the terrain; it's always better to stick with your teammates rather than roaming solo and breaking down doors and walls willy-nilly. This is where Sledge's fantastic L85A2 assault rifle comes in: it's a rock-solid weapon for picking off enemies at any range, especially with the ACOG sight. Don't disappoint your team by rushing the point and getting killed immediately with hammer in hand. Instead, bust up some terrain, then pick off any opponents waiting on the other side.
Recommended Primary weapon: F2 assault rifle (ACOG sight, vertical grip, compensator)
Recommended Secondary weapon: LFP586
Recommended gadget: Breach charge
Making smart use of your scouting drone during the preparation phase is a key component of being an effective Attacker, and playing Twitch is a great way to implement all those best droning practices. For instance, don't just scan enemies when your drone is in plain sight, ensuring that they take notice and shoot it almost immediately; instead, sneak around like a stealthy mouse, peeking around corners to mark your target before darting back into the shadows. The fact that Twitch's drone can shock enemies for a little bit of damage can be quite a thorn in the side of the opposing team, which works great as a pesky distraction while your teammate moves in for a full-on kill or objective capture.
But the biggest contribution Twitch can make to her team is rolling her shock drone through a heavily fortified position, taking out ceiling-mounted cameras and any enemy gadgets in sight. You can effectively ruin the day of Kapkan, Jager, and Mute players by sniping their precious gadgets one by one with some steady shock drone shots, cackling all the while. And because Twitch's focus is on her two drones - one at the start of the round, and one during - her style encourages good play across all Attackers. Having the wherewithal to take things slower than you might in any other FPS, using your drones to scout ahead rather than charging in and hoping you don't die instantly, is crucial. Playing Twitch will reinforce those good fundamentals, and should improve your Siege skills across the board.
Looking for more? Did you know that Rainbow Six Siege is played by 2.3 million people every day… what's its secret?