With Rainbow Six Siege’s new operation on the horizon, Ubisoft has finally revealed that it will be called Crystal Guard. The third operation of the first-person shooter’s sixth year, Crystal Guard promises a whole host of changes, and of course some new additions.
Crystal Guard will see the introduction of a brand new medium speed, medium armour attacker who is repurposing deployable shields for offense. Ubisoft also has plans in store for existing operators IQ, Fuze, and Twitch, who are all receiving tweaks – so pay attention if you’re used to grinding the Rainbow Six Siege ranks.
On the map front, Clubhouse, Coastline, and Bank are all receiving updates, with the latter undergoing some more substantial changes. Crystal Guard will also see Ubisoft set in motion its plans to break up Elite sets, allowing players to completely customise their favourite operators using a variety of cosmetics. Siege’s flash detection system is also getting a rework, but more on that further down.
Here is everything we know about Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard.
Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard release date
When is Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard coming? Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard’s release date will be around September 6.
Crystal Guard’s run on the test server begins on August 17, and that usually lasts three-to-four weeks before the operation debuts on the live servers. Based on North Star’s cycle, we can predict September 6 as a likely date for its full release.
However, this is an unusual timing for a test server run to start, seeing as Crystal Guard is dropping at the start of the Six Mexico Major. Ubisoft usually reveals its new operation at the end of a major, so there’s every chance the cycle this time round may be extended to reflect that.
We will be sure to update this section as soon as Crystal Guard’s release date is confirmed by Ubisoft.
Crystal Guard new operator – Osa
Ubisoft has already granted us a sneak peek at Osa – Rainbow Six Siege’s latest operator. The two-speed, two-armour attacker looks to provide teams with new creative opportunities when it comes to setting up and holding angles 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. When holding the shield, game designer Emilien Lomet says you are as mobile as if you’re holding a Blitz shield, though without the ability to charge, flash, or melee enemies.
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. Lomet also says that, “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,” Lomet says. “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.”
As revealed by game writer Simon Ducharme, 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.”
According to Flores’ reflections on the R6S site, Osa is “trained in electromechanics, military engineering and (is a) robotics genius.” After finishing university, Osa was quickly snapped up by Nighthaven, where she founded their R&D department – ‘Quantum Concepts & Robotics’. As an attacker, Osa clearly has some combat chops, which she received from being trained by Kali.
Rainbow Six Siege Osa loadout
This is what Osa’s loadout currently looks like:
- Primary: 556XI or PDW9
- Secondary: PMM
- Grenades: Smoke Grenade or Claymore
Currently, Thermite is the only other operator to use the 556XI, so we’ll be keen to see how this primary performs in the hands of Osa.
Rainbow Six Siege balance tweaks to IQ, Fuze, and Twitch
IQ, Fuze, and Twitch are all getting some love in Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard. IQ can now use Siege’s Smart Ping system to alert team members to any gadget detected using the electric field detector. The electric field detector will also show the revealed gadgets on its screen, allowing players to tell which gadget is in play.
Meanwhile, Fuze’s charge can now be deployed on reinforced surfaces. However if you use it in this way, it will have a delayed activation time, giving defenders time to react. Furthermore, Fuze’s charge will also spawn a tube, “which can be shot at and destroyed to prevent the pellets from coming,” according to Ubisoft Barcelona’s product marketing manager Daniel Pérez.
With the attacker re-pick change introduced in Crimson Heist, it currently doesn’t make sense that players are able to use Twitch’s unique drone before re-picking, regaining control of it with a completely different operator. As such, Twitch will now begin the Preparation Phase with a regular drone.
Twitch’s drone will also receive a couple of buffs. Firstly, it can now jump, and secondly its shock dart has been replaced by a laser with infinite range – no more missing darts because a defender’s just slightly out of range.
Rainbow Six Siege flash rework
Pérez notes that the main issues with flashes 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 will now be fully flashed, no matter the direction you’re looking in, which Pérez says better emulates how light reflects off of walls and surfaces. However, the duration of the flash will also depend on both how far from its source you are, as well as if there are obstacles between it and yourself.
Rainbow Six Siege Bank, Clubhouse, and Coastline updates
Map designer Jeremy Dowsett has shared a whole host of changes for Bank, Clubhouse, and Coastline, which were all in need of some TLC.
While the main structure of Bank remains largely unchanged, parts have been rebuilt “from the ground up”. Sightlines from skylights and the arched windows in Exterior Garage have been blocked off, with the latter change made to make shooting into Banana harder. The pile of filing cabinets in Main Entrance have been removed, replaced by a new doorway.
Many players will be happy to hear that bars have been removed from the map entirely, including those in Vault and Gold Vault, while the railings at the top of Square are now destructible. There are also changes to some of the map’s hatches. The Lobby hatch has been moved so it now drops into Vault, while those in Elevators have also had a rejig.
Over in Clubhouse, the bomb site in Bar has been moved slightly to the stage next to it, with a doorway added to Bar to improve flow. The team has also cleared a path through Kennels so that players can now run around the entire perimeter of the map without having to rappel over buildings. As the map’s been brought up to date, players can also expect to see some sound and lighting improvements.
Finally, for Coastline, there’s a new breakable wall on the outside of VIP, giving players access from the decking. Ubisoft has also added rappels up from the DJ deck, and a doorway window to the Service Entrance. The windows in Courtyard can now be barricaded, blocking off lines of sight onto one of the bomb sites.
Rainbow Six Siege Elite sets
As it stands, Elite sets are either all or nothing when it comes to equipping them. However, this is starting to change in Crystal Guard, with headgear and uniforms now being interchangeable. Production coordinator Matt Daigle says that, for the first stage of unlinking Elite sets, Op cards, victory dances, and ability skins will remain linked to the uniform. The second stage, which will come into play at some point in the near future, will see those links severed also, giving players complete freedom to customise their operators as they desire.
Daigle also says that we’ll see some customisations come to Op cards at some point, though we’ll hear more about that in the future.
Crystal Guard new features and changes
The final round of changes to report on in Crystal Guard includes togglable rim lighting being added to operators, making it easier to distinguish operators from the environment.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited conversion from armour to health – which was first revealed with Crimson Heist – will finally be going live.
Finally, the Rainbow Six Siege test server is moving to a single dedicated playlist to improve matchmaking quality, though custom games will remain available.
So there you have it, all the big changes coming to Rainbow Six Siege as part of Operation Crystal Guard. With all of the creative opportunities Osa provides, we can definitely see her quickly establishing herself as one of the best Rainbow Six Siege operators – so get practicing.