Rainbow Six Siege North Star: release date, Thunderbird, and more

Everything we know about Rainbow Six Siege Y6S2

An orange helicopter flying high above a forest while someone hangs off a wire

We’re just around the corner from a brand new operation in Rainbow Six Siege and Ubisoft’s confirmed it’ll be called North Star. This operation will be the second of the game’s sixth year – and we’re in for lots of new quality of life changes and reworks.

North Star features a new three-speed defender from the Nakoda Nations – an indigenous people in Western Canada. The operation will also feature the Favela rework, and lots of changes that should improve the game’s competitive integrity for those of you who like to grind the Rainbow Six Siege ranks.

So if you’re desperate to find out what’s going to be included in this new season, then look no further. Here’s everything we know about Rainbow Six Siege North Star, including the operation’s release date, the new operator Thunderbird, the Favela rework, and all the upcoming quality of life improvements and balancing changes.

Rainbow Six Siege North Star release date

Rainbow Six Siege North Star’s release date is June 14. North Star will be available on the test server on May 25 and there’s usually a period of about three or four weeks before the operation is sent live for the first time.

We’ll update this section as soon as we’ve got confirmation of the date and time from Ubisoft.

North Star new operator – Thunderbird

The leaks were bang on the money this time – Thunderbird is the latest operator to join Rainbow Six Siege. The three-speed, one-armour attacker has the potential to be the best support operator in the game now due to her gadget, the Kona Station, which heals anyone – and we mean anyone – within a two meter radius.

Thunderbird currently has three of these nifty gadgets which she can place anywhere on the map – although safe places or choke points are recommended if you’re truly trying to support your team. When an operator who’s missing HP passes by, the Kona station heals them in a way that’s similar to Doc’s stim. Once the heals have been provided, the station then enters a 35 second cooldown before it can be used again.

But the station isn’t just for defenders – attackers can also get heals from the station, providing, of course, that they haven’t blown it up while breaching a site. It’s worth noting though, that the gadgets will prioritise the health of defenders should both sides be in range at one time. Like Doc’s gadget, you can also overstim – giving you the advantage in a fight. There is a hard limit on the overstim though, so you can’t go overboard with Finka, Doc, and Thunderbird – trust us, we tried.

Related: The best Rainbow Six Siege operators for ranked play

The Kona Station can also bring players up from a down but not out status, but this is a manual action, meaning players can choose when and where they want to be revived.

Attackers might not want to opt to destroy the gadget, especially since it could be useful in a post-plan situation, so it is worth noting that these gadgets can be temporarily disabled with gadgets like Thatcher’s EMP grenades. In other words, if you need to rush onto site but you haven’t nailed that pesky anchor yet, disable the Kona Station and try again.

Moving away from Thunderbird’s gadget, the Nakodan has a fairly beefy build, making her a great option for an anchor or a roamer.

This is what Thunderbird’s loadout currently looks like:

  • Primary: Spear .308 or the SPAS-15
  • Secondary: Q-929 or the Bearing 9
  • Grenades: Impact or nitro cell

Both the primaries and the Bearing 9 take red dot, holographic, and reflex sites – so Thunderbird is definitely an operator for short to mid range.

Rainbow Six Siege Favela rework

The Brazilian map that was widely criticised for being unbalanced and full of external destructible walls has been completely reworked in Operation North Star. In fact, very little of the original map remains – making it feel like a new addition to the game.

Most of the external destructible walls have been removed, while sites and rooms have been made bigger, making it more viable for both sides to win rounds. However, this is definitely still a map for casual mode.

While Ubisoft has “toned down the chaos”, Favela still puts a focus on quick, gritty gameplay eroding the need for tactics and strategy – something that’s vital in Rainbow Six Siege ranked matches.

A man wearing a gas mask grips a pump shotgun tightly

Rainbow Six Siege Smoke changes

There was nothing more infuriating than firing off a Smoke canister towards an entry point only for it to sit in one place and not seep through the hole. Ubisoft has fixed this with the latest Smoke changes though by tweaking propagation in the game.

Now Smoke canisters will spread in the same way that fire does – moving through doors, windows, and rotation holes, forcing those hiding behind them to fall back.

It’s a small little change that should increase his play rate across the board.

North Star new features and changes

There are a handful of new features and changes coming to Rainbow Six Siege – so many in fact that we can’t list them all here. But these are the few worthy of the headlines…

Armour is being converted to health in Rainbow Six Siege to make damage more transparent to all. In North Star, one-armour operators will have 100 HP, two-armour operators will have 110 HP, and three-armour operators will have 120 HP. Rook armour will provide an extra 20 HP and Finka’s boost will now act as a heal.

Another of the changes coming is to the barrel attachment system. Currently it’s quite confusing to work out what each attachment does, so the dev team has tweaked each attachment with a specific mechanic in mind. The compensator stablises the horizontal recoil, the flash hider tackles vertical recoil, and the muzzle break recenters your aim quicker.

Rainbow Six Siege Nokk

We’re also getting a death sequence in North Star that should help you get back to the action quicker. Instead of being forced to watch your body slump to the ground due to a lucky shot, players now have the option to go through a death sequence – all of which is skippable. This paired with the gameplay after death which allows dead players to take control of their own drones and gadgets, will make all the difference in tight rounds. Note: Gameplay after death will be available on the test server but it will not ship with North Star.

There are several quality of life improvements coming too. Glass, like Mira’s mirror and Maestro’s cameras can be smashed in North Star destroying intel gathering gadgets, single bullet hole peeks are no longer possible, and corpses have been replaced with an icon to improve competitive integrity.

So there you have it, all the big changes coming to Rainbow Six Siege as part of Operation North Star. We’re pretty confident that Thunderbird is going to cement herself as one of the best Rainbow Six Siege operators when she drops so get practicing on the test server now.