Rainbow Six Siege season pass holders can already get their hands on the new Operation Chimera operators, with the rest of the player base able to unlock them with shiny in-game credits from, well, today. Ubisoft Montreal has drawn a pretty damn big line in the sand with Operation Chimera, boosting an already strong attacking meta with two attacking operators who are both great selections.
It’s an interesting choice—which is the politically correct way of saying it’s a choice that has huge and potentially controversial implications for the game from top to bottom. For those unaware, Siege is balanced from the top down, with the competitive scene as the standard, and the rest of us Siege-loving mortals forced to adapt to tweaks that are made with the competitive scene in mind (that’s not a complaint). Except, this time, Operation Chimera feels like a really strange DLC drop, especially in light of the fact of the strong attacking meta on the tournament scene.
Anyone who watched the Six Invitational will have likely noticed the prevalence of the Ying/Blitz/Glaz attacking combo. The logic of this attacking trio is that if the attackers can get the bomb defuser down, the defending team is going to have a hard time retaking. Ying can blind defenders for a plant or who are attempting to retake (assuming she has Candelas in reserve). Similarly, Blitz can push enemies for the plant or retake, blinding them with his Flash Shield.
Then there’s Glaz whose buffed-since-launch scope allows him to spot defenders through smoke. Considering that Glaz, Ying, and Blitz have six smoke grenades between them, Glaz is an attacker to be feared. Fast-forward to the Operation Chimera update and one of the members of this powerful attacking trio has been made even stronger: Blitz. If you saw Mindfreak’s loss against Black Dragon in the quarter finals at the Six Invitational, you would have noticed that not being able to contain Julio’s Blitz play was a key part of why they lost.
Since the patch, Blitz has been buffed to a two-speed operator, meaning he’s even faster. On top of this, in terms of operator tweaks, one of the stronger recent defenders, Ela, has been nerfed across the board, making defending even trickier. That’s just talking about the patch part of Operation Chimera and I haven’t even gotten to the new attackers on the block, Finka and Lion.
Finka is less of an obvious choice than Lion, but she’s still a powerful attacker. Her Adrenal Surge ability temporarily buffs health and accuracy for the entire attacking team. It’s powerful to use before an aggressive push, especially if you know the defenders don’t have a lot of traps (or you’ve cleared the traps). Similarly, and granted this is more situational, popping her ability will automatically get a down-but-not-out (DBNO) player back on their feet. They won’t have a lot of health, but they’ll still be back in the fight.
Considering the inherent risk of manually reviving downed teammates, especially against patient defenders who are happy to use a DBNO attacker as bait, this makes Finka a great addition to the attacking meta. Lion, well, he’s overpowered. I’m talking primarily about Casual play here, but we received a lot of hate when we used him effectively. If you’re caught moving when Lion activates his EE-ONE-D, you’re in a lot of trouble.
Even though you’d be wise to move to some sort of hard cover, the reality is you’ll realise just how many penetrable surfaces are on a map when you’re caught in Lion’s scan. The fact that Mute is the only counter to Lion—hard or soft—at the moment is concerning, especially considering Finka’s counters include Echo, Mute, Pulse, Smoke, and Lesion. That’s five counters for Lion’s one, and it’s hard to not fall into the belief that Lion has been launched closer to ‘overpowered’ than ‘fair’ on the balance meter.
My team put him to deadly use multiple times, scoring kills through surfaces and angles that the moving defenders clearly hadn’t considered. Time will tell whether this proves true of Lion’s global ability on the competitive scene, but considering you can be shot through windows, doors, ceilings, and floors, having a three-dimensional understanding of the map layout is essential. Since writing that last sentence, I watched some North American Rainbow Six Siege Pro League matches that happened to be live today, and noted the commentators said Lion had a 100 percent pick rate. That’s concerning, and more so considering the times he was used to deadly, defender-destroying effect.
Oh, also, Lion plays really well with Fuze, whereby getting Fuze to pop his charges in a room that has at least one defender just as Lion’s scan starts is a cheeky way to score a kill. If the defender freezes, they’ll likely die to Fuze’s charges. I actually saw this in a pro match: the defender clearly opting to risk surviving Fuze’s charges rather than being spotted. If the defenders move, though, they’ll be spotted by Lion’s scan. I’ve no doubt that Ubisoft Montreal will balance Lion, but it likely won’t happen until more telemetry data is available from his use in a live environment and/or he’s been used more on the competitive stage.
For now, though, Lion seems to be an almost essential pick for attackers, and Finka is a strong choice in an attacking roster, too. To be fair, I’ve found Lion more frustrating than incredibly deadly as a defender, but the reality that there are a few seconds where you can’t move (unless you’re near a Mute jammer) can make you feel unfairly debilitated against an aggressive attacking side. In my mind, attackers are going to get better at using Lion more so than defenders learning to be better against him, given that Mute is his only real counter.
This is the point where I could dive deep into Outbreak, Operation Chimera’s temporary co-op mode but, suffice it to say, I’ve already done that and you should just play it before it disappears for good. I advise finding two buddies to play through with and jacking the difficulty to the highest level to make it challenging (especially when headshots are so easy on PC). As for Finka and Lion, if you’re a fan of attacking in Siege, you’re in for a treat. It’ll only take one round of you being annihilated through walls as a defender, though, to see just how problematic Lion is right now.