20 key tips for succeeding at Rainbow Six Siege

An arsenal of tips—some obvious, some not—for coming out on top in Rainbow Six Siege.

20 key tips for succeeding at Rainbow Six Siege

UPDATE: If you're looking for more tips, head over to this feature here. Plus, pro tips gleaned from the Six Invitational can be found here.

Rainbow Six Siege is a fantastic game for those who love tactical, team-based shooters with high lethality and constant tension. I’ve sunk a lot of hours into it since launch, and while the training does a good job of teaching you the basics of the game, the best advice comes from a trial by fire and jumping into the game. I’ve gone through that trial, and come out on the other side with 20 tips to help improve your game in Rainbow Six Siege.

Lock and load!

Use a microphone
This may read like the most obvious advice ever, but you’d be surprised at how many people I play with in public servers who don’t have a microphone connected. Worse still, there are players who have mics, but use speakers for sound, which means the rest of us hear their in-game sound, and can’t pay attention to what they’re trying to communicate. Plans can fall apart in an instant in Siege, so it’s crucial you can communicate with your teammates. Beyond this, it’s handy to let friendly players know when they’ve stepped in front of your line of sight (friendly fire is most definitely always on), when they may have missed an armour pick-up, or any number of cues that you’ve noticed and they haven’t.

Upgrade your cans
Ideally, you want a headset that also has 7.1 surround sound, as audio cues play a huge part in Rainbow Six Siege. Siege is constantly throwing a variety of audio cues at you to help you get the drop on nearby enemies. For instance, whenever a charge is placed, the Operator will vocalise this: if you’re close enough to hear it, you can shoot through where they’re placing the charge to destroy the equipment or for an easy kill. It’s worth noting that crouching or crawling make the least noise, but if you step on broken glass, it will make noise regardless, so this can be used to the advantage of a lurking enemy.

Life after death
You’ll die a lot in Siege, but you can still be useful to your team. In casual, which you’ll have to play through until rank 20 to even access ranked matches, you can use the kill cam to determine where you were killed from, and then use VOIP to relay that critical information to your enemies. Better still, as a defender, you can cycle between cameras and tag enemy players, or leave them untagged in the hopes that they won’t shoot the camera, and then simply communicate their location to your team. As an attacker, you’re more reliant on a well-placed drone, but you can encourage teammates to position their drones so you can watch their backs or check under doors for them. Dying early can actually be incredibly helpful to your surviving teammates if you provide the right tactical information.

ADS always
Unless you have a shotgun or you’ve rounded the corner and are face-to-face with a foe, always aim down sights. Your gun’s accuracy is impacted significantly when shooting from the hip, so much so that it’s almost worth taking that extra half second to bring your scope up. You can add a laser to certain weapons to improve hip-fire accuracy, but that has the added disadvantage of creating a red dot that enemy players can see. Crouching or going prone will further boost your accuracy, but as a general rule, go around corners with your sights up, checking the usual positions for enemies. Sometimes it’s worth sprinting across a doorway to see if you can draw fire from an enemy position, too.

Master the maps
This is a tad tricky because the map rotation needs a bit of work (you’ll play the same few maps a lot), but spend some time in Terrorist Hunt to learn the intricacies of each map. Camera locations are fixed, so take these out as soon as possible if you’re attacking so you can’t be tagged or spotted. Knowing a map also makes it easier to find the defending locations when you’re attacking, as these are randomised between a handful of spots. Learning maps is so much more than this, though. In Siege, you need to know where enemies can bust through to your location, which walls are penetrable, and the best flanking routes if you find yourself one on one with a shield-toting goon.

Be unexpected
With the same maps and defence locations, it’s easy to slip into a routine that fast becomes predictable. This isn’t so bad when playing against different opponents, but if you’re defending the same location multiple times with the same foes, they may assume you’ll use the same tactics as before and provide an appropriate counter. Similarly, there are certain corners and spots that are prime shooting positions, that enemies will tend to check first. Punching a murder hole in a wall or laying wait in a room that’s not close to the objective are easy ways to get the drop on an enemy before they even know where you are. Making your drone jump is a great way to avoid incoming fire from enemies, and you can even press jump and snap your mouse backwards (inverted) or forward (non-inverted) to get extra height on the jump, which is essential for positioning your drone in unexpected places, or for using stair railings to jump past well-placed enemy disruptors.

Don’t be afraid to roam
For the most part, Siege is a team experience, but a confident solo player can help a team get an early edge, particularly if they’re on the defending team. It’s best if only one or two (max) players roam, but there are easy kills to be found early on if you punch holes in, say, a boarded-up window and shoot out at enemies that don’t know you’re there. Similarly, using the cameras to spot where they’ve come in and circling around behind them is a great way to score cheap kills or take down shield bearers for a team that’s taking its time breaching into the area of interest. You can get a lot of kills roaming, but if the tactic is consistently ineffective against a savvy opponent, fall back to the default of apply a full-team defensive perimeter.

Theatricality and deception are powerful agents
Just because you breach a wall, doesn’t mean you have to go through it. In fact, one of my favourite things to do is to equip Thermite with regular breaching charges and his special thermite charges, and plant them at separate points. The thermite charge offers the enemy team a big audio/visual cue that a breach is about to happen, so I either activate it first as a distraction, or use the regular breaching charge to make the enemy think I’m entering on one side, while attacking through the other. If you get the drop on an enemy looking the wrong way, they’ll rarely have a chance to react before they’re dead.

Stun grenades are underpowered
This point acts as both feedback to Ubisoft and a great tip for playing Siege. A lot of players will rush in immediately after their stun grenade has gone off, regardless of whether it’s effectively stunned anyone in the room. If you see a stun grenade fly into your room, spin your view to the nearest wall and you won’t be blinded. Remember to switch back to its point of origin for a shot at taking down an opponent (or more than one) who think that you’re blind. This also means that you shouldn’t expect a stun grenade to completely blind a room when attacking, either, so exercise a little caution when following up on a stun grenade.

Match your Operator to your team
And also match it to the mode. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone use Fuze during a hostage mission: it means they probably won’t get to use his grenade-spamming special ability, or they’ll use it and kill the hostage, resulting in an automatic loss. More important, though, is matching your Operator to what your team has selected. Using VOIP is a great way to determine what you need offensively or defensively, but there are certain Operator staples that should always be included: Thermite for attackers, and Rook (armour boost) for defenders. Particularly if you’re playing against a team that employs specific tactics, there are often great counter combinations if you match the right Operators and counter-tactics.

Earn easy renown
If you’re unfamiliar with the specific mechanics of Siege, you should watch the tutorial videos. If you are familiar, watch them anyway for easy renown. You can skip them and still score the in-game currency to spend on Operators. I churned through the Situations to score renown to unlock Operators early on (there’s nothing worse than having to pick a generic Recruit with no special abilities online), and even went back to get three stars on most of them. The trick is you don’t have to complete all objectives when replaying to score the missing stars: just the one/s you didn’t complete on the first run.

Customise your loadouts
Early on, it’s best to favour unlocking Operators over customising their weapons, but once you’ve got a few attackers and defenders, start investing in weapon customisations. For my primary weapons (except for the shotgun), I always add a scope, a compensator to help with recoil (or suppressor, for quieter shots but reduced damage), and a front grip for better control. I tend to throw a suppressor on my pistols because they’re great for silently taking out cameras, or playing stealthy if my primary weapon doesn’t have a silencer.

Destroy enemy intel-gathering tools
Cameras and drones are your best friends in Siege. Lazy teams will leave cameras so that defenders can track their movements and bolster defences in areas where they know their foes are going to come through. Defenders should prioritise destroying drones during the preparation phase at the start of each round, and call out each time so your team can tally the drone kills (maximum of five in the starting phase). Drones can be slowed with barbwire, stopped with disruptors, or destroyed with shock wire, but they can also die with a single bullet. When I play with my friends, we tend to send out a couple of players to hunt drones before they get to our location, which denies the attacking team crucial intel, and means they have to waste time finding where we’re defending from. Remember, as an attacker you also have a backup drone, so don’t be afraid to scout during the action phase, as long as your Operator is in a safe place while you’re controlling it.

Take down shield bearers fast
Operators that wield shields are tricky contenders. They can basically soak up all damage from the front, but they’re forced to fire (mostly inaccurately) from around their shield to preserve front-on protection. Encourage a teammate to flank a shield bearer from the side or behind as you tempt them into attacking you, or aim for their feet if they haven’t spotted you. When they aim down sights, they’ll reveal their heads, so sometimes you can score an easy one-shot kill if they’re looking to kill you, but a lot of pistols are deadly, so it’s best to bait them into a crossfire. Alternatively, use nitro charges or Smoke’s deadly gas grenades to dispatch them quickly or deter them from advancing further. Be aware that a good team will generally have someone backing up the shield bearer, shooting above or around the cover, so keep an eye out for this tactic, too.

Soap on a rope
Rappelling up or down buildings is a great way to get around the map quickly, and to have a higher vantage point on defenders below. Breaching through windows is a risk/reward thing, but incredibly satisfying when it works. You can jump out from the window and activate your breaching charge (or instruct someone else to do it) when you’re at the apex of the jump, so you’ll go through just after the explosion and without taking any damage from the charge. A better trick is to lean in from the sides of the window and shoot through holes that you’ve pre-made or the enemy has made. Inverting your pose and shooting from above is even sneakier, but bear in mind that there’s a mechanic that means you won’t be able to see in the room straight away as your Operator’s eyes adjust between the varying light levels. Defenders, listen for the familiar rappelling noise, and if you spot a rope on an open window, it means they’re below it (this is why attackers should rappel beside or from above windows).

Use visual cues
There are obvious things such as a Thermite charge about to explode on a reinforced wall, but there are also subtle cues to look out for. Cameras and drones will have a red light when operated by an enemy player, even if they’re not spotting you. Dust will fall from floorboards above you if someone is moving in the space above, even if they’re crouched. Occasionally, enemies will clip through walls or cover, which is why it’s important to not go prone too close to shared walls. It’s a bit cheap, but if you look out for clipping feet or gun barrels, you can have an easy idea of where an enemy is and score a cheap kill. Blue sparks for are also a dead giveaway that the enemy has electrified reinforced walls, barbwire, or even shields. Avoid this at all costs. If you have Twitch on your team, send in her drone to take out these obstacles, or use Thatcher’s EMP grenade to kill them (even through walls).

Be aware of your surroundings
Always take note of your surroundings. First and foremost, don’t step in front of an area that a teammate is covering, unless you’re on the other side and can create a deadly crossfire. I’ve been killed through friendly careless friendly players before, or dealt damage to them when they’ve stepped in front of me while I’m engaging an opponent. Be mindful of walls that can be detonated behind or besides you, and try to avoid staying in the same position for too long if you’ve just been spotted, as good players will kill you through the wall.

Injured people make great bait
Unless you get a headshot, dishing out enough damage on an enemy player will make them fall into an incapacitated state. At the time of writing, they’re actually invincible while they’re falling from alive to incapacitated unless you get a headshot, so it’s worth waiting until they’re properly down before finishing them off. Alternatively, especially if they don’t know where you shot them from, consider leaving them alive as bait to score a double kill as one of their friendly players moves in for a revive. Keep in mind that they can crawl to a safer place, or Doc can revive from afar with his special ability, but it’s not always worth scoring the kill straight away. Always prioritise surviving over killing.

Set a proper defence
Having the right defences in place is crucial for victory. You might not know what Operators the enemy has at the beginning, but certain teams use the same ones round after round, so you can make safe assumptions. On top of this, there’s always certain things you should be doing to make it hard for your opponent to get inside your defensive perimeter. Get a player to reinforce any hatches above your position, and chat with your team about which walls should be reinforced, and which ones should be left open. Barricading the entire team in a single room is rarely the best idea, especially if you’re playing the defuse missions where you may be required to shift between two points.

Aim high, hit high
Headshots are deadly in Siege. It’s obvious, but you may not know that basically any weapon in siege can kill with a headshot on the first shot. Couple this with the reality that there’s absolutely no bullet-drop at play, including with pistols, and it’s worth takin the extra half second to line up a headshot if you’ve got the drop on an enemy Operator (especially if there’s more than one). Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Siege’s hit registry is sometimes more miss than hit. It may sound like an exploit, but the best way to combat that at this stage, is to be moving as much as possible, even if you’re leaning around a corner, try to dance left and right to improve the odds of surviving a head-to-head encounter. Operators have different speed and armour ratings, which means that aiming for the chest isn’t always the best way to take them down, particularly if you have a low armour rating and your opponent has a high one. Get used to aiming for the head and you’ll score a lot more kills.

That’s it! If you have any tips to add or would like to offer alternative suggestions to those above, please let me know in the comments section below.

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