How Rainbow Six Siege Shifting Tides leaked Operators evolve the meta

Rainbow Six Siege Bandit
Rainbow Six Siege Bandit (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft soon unveils its next Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege update, further expanding the hit multiplayer shooter through regular seasonal drops. Year 4 Season 4 is the final installment of the studio's annual roadmap, once again set to feature two new Operators and a map rework. And while Ubisoft withholds details for its November 10 event, a recent leak provides what looks to be 2019's closing recruits.

Season 4's first tell-all comes via a reputable Rainbow Six leakster, previously nailing down Burnt Horizon, Phantom Sight, and Ember Rise ahead of launch. That gives considerable backing to the authenticity of its contents, parallel with speculative chatter in recent weeks. While it's generally best to approach leaks with caution, it looks to be the real deal – and a promising conclusion to Year 4.

Carving new Operator roles in familiar places

Rainbow Six Siege Jager

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

Official word from Ubisoft relies on its earlier Year 4 roadmap, listing new Indian and Kenyan Operators, supported by a refresh of Theme Park. The leak further expands on the figures and their gadgetry, although failing to provide names.

Fresh Indian talent spearheads the attacking lineup, kitted out with a bolt-action rifle and anti-gadget capabilities. Converging with Thatcher's throwable EMP, the grenade launcher-style device charges up and fires EMP projectiles. The new Kenyan Operator is slated to deliver much-needed competition for Jager, packaged with a deployable that "sucks in" and triggers grenades.

Both alleged gadgets fulfill familiar, but desired roles in the Rainbow Six roster, aligning with the broader consensus on the current state of play. Their concepts provide alternatives to two largely unchallenged Operators for potentially valuable diversity to the gameplay meta.

What Year 4 Season 4 means for gameplay

Rainbow Six Siege Smoke

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

The offensive Season 4 newcomer expands on two roles that, while already present, benefit from diversity in the Pick and Ban era. While Twitch drones and IQ's scanner prove valuable for counter-electronic plays, no Operator encroaches Thatcher's efficiency and reach. With a healthy pool of gadgets to deny hard breaching, an alternative was inevitable as the Operator pool scales.

How Ubisoft implements the tool will prove essential in how the Indian differs from Thatcher. Zofia's fast-firing launcher comes to mind, potentially adding range and speed over the throwable. The charge period also looks to introduce an additional element of syncing with hard-breaching allies.

That bolt-action rifle is a welcome sight too, dropping after traces of animations surfaced among game files. The new firearm class would be hugely appreciated, ending a dry spell of recycled weaponry in recent seasons. And for gameplay, it indicates high-caliber competition in Glaz's ballpark.

Glaz has proven challenging for Ubisoft since inception, buffed with thermal optics after failing to establish a dominant gameplay role. Since downgraded to reduce mobility, recent balancing data suggests the sniper falls in a tight spot. But while Glaz is defined exclusively by his rifle, the bolt-action's pairing with a gadget could be her crucial differentiator to avoid past missteps.

Rainbow Six Siege Sledge

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

The prospect of Jager's competition also bears promise, evoking a sense of risk versus reward via its complexity. Revising its approach eliminates the hard counter of the existing ADS, now capturing and detonating those projectiles.

That additional layer retains the fundamentals of Jager's denial and ensures a safeguard for defenders. However, effective use will stress placement, either at the benefit or detriment of the squad. The detonation could backfire on defenders, wiping out nearby gadgets and unknowing allies, or trigger a careless grenade in the face of attackers.

Kenya's loadout contributions are also unclear and will be a key bearing on the final Operator's role. Jager boasts formidable fragging capabilities his 416-C and three-speed combo, eventually leading to the removal of his ACOG sight. With a leaked rival reportedly weighed down to a one-speed physique, could we see the return of the scope?

Rainbow Six Siege Warden

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

The alleged first glimpse promises a valuable conclusion to Year 4 and potentially impactful shake up the core Operator roles. While lacking the spectacle of some past seasons, proposed concepts could fill much-needed entries to advance the meta further.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 4 Season 4 is set November 10 unveiling, during the Rainbow Six Pro League Finals in Tokoname, Japan.

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.