Rainbow Six Siege Operation Grim Sky: Hands-on with Clash and Maverick

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is about to secure its next major expansion, with the arrival of "Operation Grim Sky." Firmly into the game's third year of post-launch support, the update continues to build on the game's successful tactical shooter formula.

Like previous Rainbow Six Siege updates, Operation Grim Sky is on track to deliver two new playable Operators. Ubisoft is set to implement Operators from separate counterterrorism units (CTUs) simultaneously, in a similar vein to March's Operation Chimera. Other highlights include a facelift of Hereford Base, tweaks to Consulate, and various other changes.

After three hours hands-on with Operation Grim Sky prior to its reveal, Rainbow Six Siege's future continues to look promising.

Clash impressions: Holding the line

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AbilityCCE Shield
GadgetBarbed Wire
Impact Grenade
Price600 R6 Credits

One of the main highlights of Operation Grim Sky is a new shield-wielding Operator, bringing a fresh playstyle for defensive teams. This three-armor, one-speed troop utilizes her "CCE Shield," merging technologies of Mira and Twitch into a single mobile blockade, sporting an electrifying twist. While sharing traits with Montagne, as the first defending shield Operator, she packs some unique differentiators in her core playstyle.

Clash's primary weapon is occupied by the CCE shield, meaning only one of two secondary options is at hand. This puts a heavy emphasis on her unique gadget, reaffirming her role as support, rather than a frontliner, in combat. When her bulletproof shield is equipped, its glass sliding mechanism automatically deploys in full, covering her body from head to toe. This also completely prevents Clash from using a weapon alongside her shield, with a period of vulnerability when switching.

Activating her gadget sends a short-range electrical pulse to nearby foes, slowing movement and dealing a small measure of damage. This element makes her shield gameplay distinctly unique, introducing a new way to support allies while behind the shield. Slow transitions between the shield and weapon also force Clash to cooperate with allies to kill enemies anchored by her gadget.

With two shield Operators already in Rainbow Six Siege, it's natural to enter Operation Grim Sky with low expectations for Clash's contribution to the meta. However, she became my favorite of the duo in just a few matches, characterized by her ability to hugely influence how attackers approach the site. Her shield proves a major hurdle to overcome, blocking up points of entry and intercepting objective pushes. She also strongly encourages teamwork and is likely to find a strong presence at coordinated high-level play.

Although solo players won't utilize Clash's full potential, many can still find success with her loadout. She'll have a choice of a semi-automatic pistol with red dot sight or two-round burst SMG, providing a level flexibility for her firepower. You may need to juggle a shield and weapon between cover, but she can hold ground with the help of strong armor.

Clash can prove a challenge to counter, though has some weaknesses to consider. Despite the CCE Shield's unlimited charge, a cooldown time allows attackers to escape her grasp at times. Shortcomings of existing shield Operators also return, and with ample explosives among attackers, her shield is much easier to impede.

Bottom line: Clash is shaping up as a strong defender, ideal for slowing down attackers in key chokepoints across the map. Although she may suit some solo players, this Operator's excels in a support role alongside a communicative team.

Maverick impressions: Breaching the hard way

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Secondary1911 TACOPS
GadgetSmoke Grenade
Price600 R6 Credits

Maverick bears a more traditional attacker playstyle, filling the role of Rainbow Six Siege's third hard breacher with a three-speed, one-armor configuration. Building on foundations of Thermite and Hibana, his handcrafted blowtorch can carve through hard reinforcements, soft walls, and other destructible surfaces.

The blowtorch allows players to free-draw on surfaces, providing welcome versatility based on the situation. This lets Maverick carve holes just a few inches wide, or string lines together into larger breaches. Yet unlike fellow hard breachers, Maverick is heavily restricted by the speed and range of his blowtorch.

Maverick's well-rounded loadout is fit for most, supporting both coordinated teams and lone players. Well-planned angles and timing will help him excel in synergized squads, while those solo can still create unpredictable angles on the objective site. Thermite and Hibana will also remain hugely relevant, with much faster and larger breaching capabilities. Ultimately, his presence should change how attackers approach the objective, but won't change existing Operator roles.

By default, Maverick is equipped with the AR15.50 marksman rifle, which when paired with an ACOG sight, is ideal for landing hard-hitting shots through his blowtorch holes. Alternatively, his M4 put more rounds down range, with the tradeoff of lesser damage per shot.

While there are no direct counters for Maverick, there are repeatable tactics to overcome his abilities. Primarily, using the short-range blowtorch requires Maverick to stand by the surface, leaving him vulnerable to foes positioned on the other side. It's a risky manoeuvre no matter the situation, pinpointing your position with a fiery glow.

Bottom line: Maverick smartly defines a new role among the hard-breaching roster, ideal for any type of player. Map knowledge and angles are crucial to full leverage this Operator, establishing a new way to approach the objective.

Clash or Maverick?

Rainbow Six Siege Clash

Rainbow Six Siege Clash (Image credit: Windows Central)

What are your thoughts on upcoming Rainbow Six Siege Operators, Clash, and Maverick, since their reveal? Drop into the comments section with your opinion and which Operator you plan to try first.

In the meantime, Operation Grim Sky is set to hit the PC Technical Test Server on August 20, ahead of full public release in September. For more details on the new Operators, map reworks, and other gameplay changes, check out our complete breakdown below.

Rainbow Six Siege Operation Grim Sky: Everything We Know

Check out Windows Central's Rainbow Six Siege hub for in-depth coverage of upcoming content, latest updates, and tips to improve your gameplay.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.