Rainbow Six Siege's third year of DLC is about to kick off, introducing a new, limited-time co-op event and two new Operators. We'll have more on Outbreak–the elaborate co-operative missions set during an extraterrestrial invasion–soon, but for now, let's look at how Siege's new characters will change the way you play its traditional PvP mode.
Operation Chimera, as this first new season of content is called, introduces a new Russian Operator, Finka, and an additional French character, Lion. The former is essentially an attacking form of Doc: she comes equipped with a stim pen that applies a 20 HP boost to both herself and every teammate for 20 seconds, and it even revives any downed allies, wherever they are on the map. In addition, each of the three adrenal surges grants the team a movement and reload speed buff for the same period, as well as a reduction in recoil and resistance to stun effects. Be warned, however: the health boost–like Doc's–slowly depletes back to your normal HP level, and if you get hit while buffed to below 20 HP, you will be immediately downed when the buff ends.
Finka's gadget is clearly capable, but I fear it will–again, like Doc's–go underused. It takes considerable organization to be used to its fullest: it doesn't last long, so it's best triggered when you and a group of allies are about to breach and clear an objective room together. But these situations are infrequent, and despite some attempts to the contrary, Siege has since launch become more about individual talent than moments of coordination. And, like Doc's med pistol, it's rare you actually have chance to revive a fallen teammate before they get finished off; with Finka you stand more of a chance since you don't need to be next to the injured player. However, it's still unlikely you'll have time to activate your stim and come to your friend's aid, and even if you do, they won't have much health left once the temporary buff subsides.
Perhaps the gadget is Ubisoft's attempt to pull Siege back to its core of coordinated, timed attacks, and Finka will usher in a return to that style of offense as teams utilize her gadget's effects to storm a room together. On the other hand, it could encourage attackers to roam further away from their teammates, since they can be revived from across the map at the click of a button.
Regardless of how her gadget is received, Finka could be a popular choice thanks to her weapon. While she can pack the ASG-12 shotgun or 6P41 LMG, it's her Spear assault rifle which could propel her to similar high pickrates as Operation Blood Orchid's Ela. It has very little recoil and decent damage, and it's sure to be a go-to choice for those wanting to try out the Russian operative.
Lion–another two-speed, two-armor attacker–shakes things up in a rather more dramatic way. His gadget is the EE-One-D drone, and it can be used up to three times per round to scout out the positions of every moving member of the opposing team. Activating it not only supplies HUD markers showing you and your team which Operators opposing players have picked, along with their locations, but your squad will also see those players' exact outlines for four seconds. This let me pop a headshot through a wall on more than one occasion, and it proved a powerful tool in both racking up kills and discovering which areas of the map enemies were hiding.
The counter is that both teams receive a three second countdown after the drone is triggered but before its x-ray vision comes into effect. This allows the defending team a moment to stop what they're doing, lie still, and wait for the drone's scan to pass, meaning they'll remain undetected. On the other hand, this forces the defending team to stop what they're doing, lie still, and wait for the drone's scan to pass, so even if this happens and you don't get their outlines, you can still gain an advantage by exploiting their lack of movement. For example, three members of my team got wiped out by enemies who used Lion's ability immediately before Fuzing the objective room–the enemies already knew there would likely be at least one of us in that room, so Lion's ability was used purely to make them stay still while Fuze worked his explosive magic. If my teammates had tried to escape, the enemies would know exactly who had gone where.
Conversely, a poor Lion player could rely on the Frenchman's drone too much, assuming the coast is clear when no enemy is detected, when in fact one lies in wait around the next corner. The Operator's effects on the Siege meta are widespread: spawnpeeking is discouraged, since an early drone sweep will see you detected close to the enemy attack force or standing still in an open window, vulnerable to headshots. Roaming is also riskier, since Lion could take away your element of surprise and easily flank you. And, like Finka, Lion is useful during a final, last-minute push to the objective, when strategy goes out the broken-down barricade in favor of sheer panic. At this stage, defenders are more likely to be scrambling around, trying to cover multiple entry points, so a well-timed drone scan can be a massive advantage. Similarly, Finka's health boost and stun resistance is a huge help to any attacking team that doesn't have the precious seconds to check for Kapkan and Ela traps when dashing into the objective room, though her adrenaline does make every ally breathe faster and thereby take more damage from Smoke's beauties.
[Lion's] effects on the Siege meta are widespread … spawnpeeking is discouraged [and] roaming is also riskier
For those thinking Lion is simply a better Dokkaebi, think again. Dokkaebi's phone hijack cannot be countered by simply keeping still, and Lion cannot hack into enemy cameras, so the Korean will still be required to help counter the increasing ubiquity of Valkyrie cams. The two are simply interesting twists on each other, and I feel at least one of those and Jackal are needed in any good attacking lineup to stop roamers from tearing an advancing attacking team apart.
When Operation Chimera launches on March 6, it will be another step towards countering roaming, pushing defending players back into the objective room just like how we all played on Siege's launch. It's interesting, then, that Ubisoft hasn't introduced another Operator to counter the current trap meta, especially after Twitch's recent nerf. Nevertheless, the two new Operators are worthy additions to Siege's roster, with Lion in particular serving as a major shakeup that I'm eager to see in the wild.