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Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard explained

Everything you need to know about Rainbow Six Siege Operation Crystal Guard and all the content it brought in Year 6 Season 3.

New Rainbow six siege operator Osa with the Talon-8 shield

Rainbow Six Siege’s Operation Crystal Guard kept Ubisoft’s unique shooter going with yet another quality season in year six. Crystal Guard saw the introduction of a new operator, as well as an army of character changes and map reworks.

Understanding these big changes were key if you were looking to rise through the Rainbow Six Siege ranks, and it’s still interesting looking back at this big update today. So, here is everything you need to know about Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard.

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard release date

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard was release date was Tuesday, September 7, 2021, for those with the battle pass, and Tuesday, September 14, 2021, for everyone else.

Crystal Guard’s run on the test server began on August 17, 2021, giving the most eager fans hands-on with the major changes and additions ahead of the full release.

Rainbow Six Siege Cystal Guard: Operator Osa working at a computer.

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard new operator – Osa

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard saw the debut of Osa, the two-speed, two-armor attacker that has gone on to provide teams with new creative opportunities when it comes to setting up and holding angles. This was thanks to her gadget, the Talon-8 deployable shield.

The Talon-8 is roughly the same size as the deployable shields used by defenders, but is slightly taller, and protects Osa’s head when she carries it.

The Talon-8 can be deployed in windows, doors, and on the floor. It can also be deployed while rappelling. Defenders watching for window breaches will find themselves in for a bit of a surprise, as the shield destroys window barricades as Osa deploys it.

While this sounds like a pretty potent gadget, it’s not without its weaknesses. Like Mira’s black mirrors, Osa’s shields have a pressurised canister that can be punctured to drop the shield entirely. Additionally, impact grenades and C4 can destroy it, while hiding behind it makes you vulnerable to being smoked or fragged out.

“We know that an attacker needs to secure the map, needs to take the forward position, and needs to flank watch once they’ve done that,” game designer Emilien Lomet said at the time. “And the idea of bringing a gadget that inherently feels like a defender gadget but on the attacker side allows us to reinforce that playstyle.”

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As revealed by game writer Simon Ducharme before Crystal Guard was released, Osa’s real name is Anja Katarina Janković, and hails from Croatia. Her family owns an international toy store brand. Osa’s aunt effectively raised her, putting her through school, and teaching her how to make toys – leading to her eventual love for engineering.

The codename ‘Osa’ is the Croatian word for ‘wasp’, which the operator chose herself “because she feels like other people see her as standoffish and hostile,” Ducharme says. “But really she just wants people to know that she’s just very protective of her personal life, and that if you give her space, she’ll give you space as well.”

Rainbow Six Siege balance tweaks to IQ, Fuze, and Twitch

IQ, Fuze, and Twitch all got some love in Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard. IQ was updated to use Siege’s Smart Ping system to alert team members to any gadget detected using the electric field detector. The electric field detector also showed the revealed gadgets on its screen, allowing players to tell which gadget is in play.

Meanwhile, Fuze’s charge could now be deployed on reinforced surfaces. However, if you used it in this way, it had a delayed activation time, giving defenders time to react.

With the attacker re-pick change introduced in Crimson Heist, it didn’t make sense that players were able to use Twitch’s unique drone before re-picking, regaining control of it with a completely different operator. As such, Twitch was changed to begin the Preparation Phase with a regular drone. Twitch’s drone also received a couple of buffs. Firstly, it could jump, and secondly, its shock dart had been replaced by a laser with infinite range – no more missing darts because a defender was just slightly out of range.

Rainbow Six Siege flash rework

The main issues with flashes before Crystal Guard were the inconsistency of the effect – with some players being affected to a much lower intensity than they should have been when caught by one – and how easily they could be countered by simply turning away from them.

In Crystal Guard, you would be fully flashed, no matter the direction you were looking in, which better emulates how light reflects off of walls and surfaces. However, the duration of the flash depended on both how far from its source you were, as well as if there were obstacles between it and yourself.

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard: Teaser image for Rainbow Operation Crystal Guard, showcasing a crystallised Osa.

Rainbow Six Siege Bank, Clubhouse, and Coastline updates

Map designer Jeremy Dowsett shared a whole host of changes for Bank, Clubhouse, and Coastline, which were all in need of some TLC leading up to Crystal Guard.

While the main structure of Bank remained largely unchanged, parts were rebuilt “from the ground up”. Sightlines from skylights and the arched windows in Exterior Garage had been blocked off, with the latter change made to make shooting into Banana harder. The pile of filing cabinets in Main Entrance was removed, and replaced by a new doorway.

Many players were happy to hear that bars were removed from the map entirely, including those in Vault and Gold Vault, while the railings at the top of Square were made destructible. There were also changes to some of the map’s hatches. The Lobby hatch had been moved so it dropped into Vault, while those in Elevators also had a rejig.

Over in Clubhouse, the bomb site in Bar had been moved slightly to the stage next to it, with a doorway added to Bar to improve flow. The team also cleared a path through Kennels so that players could run around the entire perimeter of the map without having to rappel over buildings.

Finally, for Coastline, there was a new breakable wall on the outside of VIP, giving players access from the decking. Ubisoft also added rappels up from the DJ deck, and a doorway window to the Service Entrance. The windows in Courtyard could now be barricaded, blocking off lines of sight onto one of the bomb sites.

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard new features and changes

The final round of changes that came in Crystal Guard included togglable rim lighting added to operators, making it easier to distinguish operators from the environment.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited conversion from armor to health – which was first revealed with Crimson Heist – finally went live.

Finally, the Rainbow Six Siege test server moved to a single dedicated playlist to improve matchmaking quality, though custom games remained available.

So there you have it, all the big changes that came to Rainbow Six Siege as part of Operation Crystal Guard. With all of the creative opportunities Osa provided as well as the changes to the existing roster, the meta and the best Rainbow Six Siege operators certainly saw some shakeups when it launched.