Year 4 Season 2 of Rainbow 6 was quite controversial. While the menu screen was great, the two operators that dropped were sub-par, and worse, this was the season that started the trend of Ubisoft “reworking” maps rather than releasing new ones.
This amplified fan fears about not getting any new weapons either and both of these trends are ongoing as of Y5S1. However, Phantom Sight brought in the Reverse Friendly Fire system, Pick & Ban to ranked, and other quality of life changes to the game.
While Nokk, the Phantom Sight attacker, has seen some niche use by pros, Warden is still the least picked defending operator, rivaled only by our Meme Lord Tachanka, who is confirmed to be completely reworked coming soonTM. So why is Warden so unappealing, and what is Ubisoft doing to fix it?
First of all, let’s look at some key changes on the test server (patch notes). The relevant two are to Jäger and Ying:
Giving our girl Ying a bit more love.
* Increased number of Candelas to 4 (up from 3).
* Replaced Claymores with Smoke Grenades.
* Increased T-95 LSW damage to 46 (up from 43).
Ying’s presence is still lower than expected even after improving her candelas in the Y5S1. We hope that giving her kit some more juice in her gadgets and weapon should help her out on that front.
We are listening to your feedback. Thank you.
* Now a 2-speed/2-armor operator.
Jäger is a very strong roamer and multiple data points demonstrate his huge presence in-game. To make his presence a bit less oppressive in-game, we’re looking to moderate that by reducing his roaming potential.
Jäger has been on the developers’ hit list for some time. Wamai, released last season, is a direct competitor to him. But looking at last season’s pick rates we can see that Wamai is slightly below average, while Jäger is still out at the 90% pick rate and positive win ratio spot. Clearly mere competition isn’t enough.
Jäger clearly has the better gadget of the two, with some slight exceptions. Yes, Jäger puts 3 eggs in one basket with his Active Defence System, and Wamai’s MagNet can catch certain projectiles that Jäger can’t, but Jäger outright deletes projectiles while Wamai merely throws them off course – still irritating with flashbangs and smoke grenades. Wamai also can only capture 5 projectiles over the course of a round if he is alive long enough, while Jäger can place his gadget immediately, spawn-peek and die,and still catch up to 9 projectiles for his team. This means Jäger can take more risks without limiting his contribution to his team by having to stay alive and near his team mates. Lastly, Jäger has (or had) that key 3 speed rating to give him an edge over Wamai. He is absolutely the best at what he does, and has great fragging potential to boot.
So the solution here is obvious, right? Limit how good Jäger is at destroying projectiles while making Wamai a bit more powerful in a team context. Then you have a meaningful choice. Sure, Ranked players will prefer fragging over team play, but that’s just how it is. Maybe take away an ADS, increase how many MagNets Wamai starts with?
Ubisoft’s tone-deaf solution
Well apparently, Ubisoft disagrees, since they are testing turning him into a 2-speed operator. What does this mean for Jäger? Well, first of all, that’s going to be one less distinction between him and Wamai. Not sure what the point of competition is if they’re both the same, personally. More broadly, 3-speed operators are faster and quieter than their 2-speed cousins, at the expense of slightly less health (2 armors have a 10% damage resistance, 3 armors 20% resist).
In a team context, 3-speeds are usually running around the map trying to flank and kill isolated attackers (Caviera, Vigil, Pulse), 2-speeds tend to trap and lurk in a smaller area (Frost, Kapkan, Lesion), while 3-speeds stay on site and defend it from attackers (Echo, Rook, Mira). Wamai has a gadget that requires him to stay close to site so he can keep dishing out new MagNets as the round continues. So making him 2-2 makes sense. Jäger, however, is a set-it and forget-it gadget operator. This doesn’t mean he can’t anchor on site – Rook simply drops armor for his team – but it doesn’t really make sense either.
Ying, and why this matters to Warden
OK, so what does any of this have to do with Warden? Well, with Ying that becomes a bit more clear. She’s getting more Candelas, which are basically buffed flashbangs, and she’s getting smoke grenades back. In fact, she will now have a total of 6 flashes and smokes combined – more than Wamai can handle. With Jager being nerfed that leaves us with a single operator who can handle both of those things – Warden. Warden is immune to both smoke grenades and Candelas, making him a perfect counter to Ying.
It’s an open secret that Warden was released too late to counter an older meta. A few seasons before Warden was released, Ying and Glaz were dominant. They would work together to flood a site with smoke and flashes, blinding attackers as they simply planted the defuser and then defied the defenders to run the gauntlet of Glaz’s all-seeing sightline before the timer ran out. Both of them were nerfed, but as the Ubisoft development team continued to churn, Warden was born, a season too late. Now, Ubisoft has buffed Glaz and is buffing Ying, all the while nerfing Warden’s competition so that he can rise to a place in the meta.
It won’t work. Well, it might, if Ubisoft pushes hard enough. But it won’t last, and once Ying gets hit with the nerf hammer again, Warden will die with her, and Jager will be collateral damage. Why? Because Warden brings next to nothing to a team.
Why don’t the Pros like Warden?
Warden is clearly designed to stay on site. His whole gimmick is denying a smoke plant or a flashbang rush. Roamers don’t have to deal with smoke, and can flee if pushed with flashbangs, but no such luck for the 1 speeds on site. So let’s look at his competition: Kaid, Rook and Doc have ACOGs which help them hold angles against attackers with the same; Mira, Maestro and Echo all have strong gadgets that give them an advantage in a fight (and Echo has an ACOG too); Tachanka and Clash are both F-tier memes, but both also have bulletproof gadgets that make them hard to kill, at least in theory. Warden’s gadget doesn’t actually help him win a fight, it simply deletes attacker utility, but only for him, and only for a short period.
There are operators that have a selfish, mobile version of other operator’s gadgets. Vigil can deny drones for himself in the same way Mute shuts them down for everyone, and he is very successful. But Vigil also has the K1A, and every attacker comes with 2 drones that last until destroyed, while only a few operators have flashbangs and smokes, that only last a few seconds each. In addition, while drones are a constant threat to roamers that have to keep moving, smokes are most threatening in very predictable places – on site. Why bother having something mobile when you know exactly where you will need it?
With all this in mind, Warden is a risky pick for his gadget. He has to stay alive to the end of the round to use it, and if the attackers aren’t playing the smoke plant strategy then he’s a complete wasted pick in a highly contested slot. Mira, Maestro, and Echo are all great right now, and Maestro’s cameras can even see through smoke, further reducing the potential for Warden to shine.
So what can Ubisoft do?
Ubi, let’s be real. Warden is never going to be a common pick. He’s just too niche, and especially in Ranked, he requires a lot of coordination to even be necessary at all. First, he needs to be unquestionably the best at what he does. If his thing is to counter smoke plants and flash rushes, he has to be great at that.
His gadget currently is set up so that the more he moves, the less he can see through smoke. I would say that’s completely unnecessary. On Glaz, that’s present to stop him from pushing the attackers instead of sniping, but on Warden, punishing a smoke grenade by turning it to his advantage is actually going to make Warden a good thing to have, and not pretending the smokes didn’t exist. The defenders can’t use smoke grenades, so the only way he gets to do this is if the attackers fail to deal with him. It would also give him an edge against Glaz, who he is supposed to counter, after all. Flashbangs are fairly common, so simply ignoring them is enough, especially since attackers will usually rush confidently after using them.
Optionally, the cooldown mechanic could be replaced by swapping between thermal “smoke vision” and flash prevention. This does actually make the Ying buff worthwhile – it gives her a chance to blind warden while he’s looking through the smoke. A bit of counter play is a much more interesting dynamic than just counter picking in the operator selection phase.
This is enough to make him a 6th pick choice in Pro league, but if you want him picked in Ranked then he’s going to need a decent gun, and especially an ACOG if you expect him to hold angles. The community has chosen the P90, an often overlooked weapon otherwise only seen in the hands of Doc and Rook. It has rough recoil but an above average fire rate. It’s a good mirror to the MPX, which has a low rate of fire but good precision. It’s also actually used by the real life secret service, which would be a nice touch.
As for secondary gadgets, a deployable shield is good. They’re highly meta at the moment and can give him a mini-Mira. As a second choice, C4 is a common choice for preventing a smoke plant even without his gadget, so it seems a natural fit. Alternatively, impact grenades can do the same with good accuracy, while also having utility for anchors in making the site more defensible.
- Jäger, while omnipresent, isn’t overpowered or particularly irritating, and nerfing a character for being too well-liked sounds like a bad idea.
- The proposed nerf won’t actually really affect his pick rate, nor does it make his competition any more appealing or competitive.
- Ying has been insufferably overpowered before, and Ubisoft should be very careful about buffing her this dramatically, even with Warden on the field.
- Forcing a Warden pick every round or losing won’t endear him to your players, it’ll just make people all the more eager to get rid of him when the nerf hammer finally falls.
- If Ubisoft wants Warden to be picked more often then he has to actually compete with the greats – mainly Doc and Rook for the “weak gadget, good gun” 1-speed slot. With the weapons he has right now – no chance.
- Ubisoft needs to accept that niche operators just won’t be picked that often, especially in Ranked.
- While we’re talking about Warden, please Ubi can his eventual elite skin be Sam Fisher themed? With the goggles and different vision modes, it would be perfect.
What do you think? Please let us know in the comments below.
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