Rainbow Six Extraction‘s blend of team-based tactics and action certainly takes some getting used to, but you can make the game much easier on yourself by taking a little time to learn about the game’s 18 operators and trying to find the one that is best for you.
“Best for you” is the key thing to keep in mind here. Because Extraction is a fairly well-balanced game when it comes to the available operators, your choice of which operator to play as is really going to come down to your personal preferences/skills (as well as what your team needs the most at any given moment). Indeed, team composition, communication, and coordination tend to be more important during Extraction‘s toughest missions than the power level of an individual player or operator.
Still, if you’re a little lost about the relative power level of the game’s operators and want a slightly better idea about which ones are worth investing your time in, then here’s our look at their current “rankings” and what you need to do to unlock them.
How to Unlock New Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction
You’ll start Extraction with nine (fairly capable) operators available, but you can unlock nine additional operators by completing Development Milestones and reaching new Milestone levels.
To gain XP and reach new Milestone levels, you’ll need to complete certain objectives the game assigns to you. It’s a fairly simple progression mechanic that is neatly tied to the basic gameplay, which means that it’s kind of like a battle pass minus the nasty microtransaction aftertaste.
Here are the Milestone levels you’ll unlock the remaining operators at:
Milestone 5: Rook, IQ, Jaeger
Milestone 10: Fuze, Smoke, Tachanaka
Milestone 17: Capitao, Gridlock, Nomad
Every Rainbow Six Extraction Operator Ranked Worst to Best
Ability: Shoots proximity mines, knocking back enemies caught in the blast. Also clears the area of hazards.
Starting Weapon: AK-74M
While there is no clear “worst” operator in Rainbox Six Extraction, Nomad secures this spot largely because there are other operators who have more to offer in terms of what she specifically brings to the party.
Her proximity mines can certainly be useful, but their knockback effect is ultimately a little too weak to make them anything more than a sometimes valuable tool that ultimately fails to surpass similar deterrents you will have access to at some point.
Ability: Silently shoots bolts that detonate on impact. Can alternate between smoke screen bolts and venom bolts.
Starting Weapon: PARA-30
I thought Capitão’s silent weapon ability was going to make him one of those “silent, but deadly” operators that could break the game, but the fact of the matter is that his bow just isn’t good enough.
Actually, Capitão’s bow feels a little too balanced. It’s not powerful or accurate enough to be a reliable offensive asset, and its defensive/distraction capabilities pale in comparison to other options.
Ability: Drops a pack of armor plates for the team, granting damage resistance. Anyone wearing armor always falls to Downed instead of K.O.
Starting Weapon: P90
Here’s a tough one. While Rook’s ability to generate life-saving armor plates feels like the kind of ability that you’re always going to appreciate having access to, you’ll soon find that other operators are able to fairly closely mimic the best parts of this ability by equipping body armor once it is available.
As such, I tend to think that Rook probably won’t see a lot of play outside of early missions. He’s quite good in those scenarios, but he’s really just an early game operator at the moment.
Ability: Equips a robust tactical hammer that can stun parasites and destroy walls to create new paths.
Starting Weapon: M590A1
Sledge was undoubtedly the hardest operator to rank. On the one hand, his ability to knock down certain walls does open up fascinating pathing options that will almost certainly come in handy during certain missions.
On the other hand, Sledge’s hammer just isn’t very good as an offensive asset, and pathing skills are ultimately a bit too limited compared to the incredibly versatile abilities that other operators come equipped with.
Ability: Deploys a mounted LMG for anyone to use.
Staring Weapon: SASG-12
This one hurts. As much as I wanted to love Tachanka’s ability to deploy a mounted gun, the fact of the matter is that it’s a relatively limited skill that is best used for completing certain objectives.
While Tachanka becomes much more useful as you level him up and gain the ability to deploy multiple mounted guns, he’s still best equipped to secure a specific area, which means that you’re really only going to rely on him for specific situations.
Ability: Deploys an automated turret, attacking enemies and intercepting projectiles in the area.
Starting Weapon: M870
Jäger is another one of those operators that you really have to level up in order to get the most out of him. Once you unlock the ability to add additional rounds to his deployable turrets, you’ll probably come to love the way they effectively serve as an additional squad member for a short amount of time.
However, leveling Jäger is kind of annoying given that there are other characters who generally have more to offer out of the gate. I’d say he’s still in that niche pick range.
Ability: Detects React Equipment through obstacles.
Starting Weapon: AUG A2
Depending on your situation, IQ is either one of the best operators in the game or an operator who will leave you wishing you brought someone who has more to offer in more situations.
Her ability to detect certain friendly and enemy items (as well as stealthy enemy units) is incredibly useful when you’re up against specific foes or trying to complete annoying objectives, but there are other “tracker” characters in the game that have more to offer during more situations.
Ability: Shoots remotely detonable sticky explosives that stick to all surfaces. Detonate to deal armor-penetrating damage.
Starting Weapon: TYPE-89
While stealth is usually your best option in Rainbow Six Extraction, there are times when you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. Hibana is one of your best options for most combat scenarios.
Hibana’s sticky explosive launcher is valuable in a pinch or for those times when you just need to build a trap at a choke point. It’s not as game-changing as other abilities, but you’re always going to be glad it’s there.
Ability: Throws and deploys ground traps. Enemies hit by the trap take damage and move at a slower pace for a limited time.
Starting Weapon: F90
I might be overrating Gridlock just slightly given that her ability is best combined with other, more damage-focused skills, but being able to slow down incoming enemies while dealing a respectable amount of damage really is one of the most useful defensive skills in the game.
Gridlock is about as tough as Tachanka, but her ability is much more flexible and doesn’t require you to hold a position quite as tightly as the mounted gun does.
Ability: Detects VIPs, MIAs, and enemy Nests through obstacles.
Starting Weapon: M1014
While I suspect that a lot of Extraction players will be able to replace Pulse as they progress through the game, I can’t deny the fact that he’s incredibly valuable for a lot of the early game missions you’ll need to complete to unlock more operators.
Pulse’s detection abilities may be pretty basic, but you’re always going to find a way to take advantage of the fact that this guy can essentially see through walls. Honestly, you might even find a reason to use him in the late game once you’ve gotten comfortable with him.
Ability: Deploys remotely detonable charges on walls and barricades, releasing cluster grenades on the other side upon activation.
Starting Weapon: 6P41
Fuze is arguably the first operator that we’re talking about who I would consider being “great” in a variety of situations.
Even though you can only deploy his explosive traps on certain walls and structures, most of Extraction’s levels are designed in a way that allows you to use Fuze as that “fight opener” who can sometimes clear a room nearly by himself without even having to step foot in it.
Ability: Throws remotely detonated Smoke Gas grenades, dealing damage to any enemy in the gas.
Starting Weapon: L85A2
While I wish that Smoke was a little more exciting, it’s hard to deny the fact that his ability is effective in just about every possible combat scenario in the game.
Assuming you can spare the squad space, Smoke works best with characters who punish Archaean enemies for staying in a contained space too long. However, he’s also quite good for those times when you just need to throw an ability out there before running for your life.
Ability: Throws sticky proximity mines, stunning enemies caught in the blast. Mines recharge over time.
Starting Weapon: EVO 3
I understand if Ela’s sticky mines don’t appear to be as exciting as some of the other explosives in the game, but you have to consider the fact that they recharge over time and can be deployed in an instant.
That means that Ela is able to launch an invaluable explosive volley in a pinch. That makes her an almost irreplaceable asset in stealth-focused squads who still want to bring an operator that is more than capable of holding their own when things go wrong but won’t upset your sneak and destroy strategy.
Ability: Fires his Health Pistol to heal or revive himself or his teammates when Downed.
Starting Weapon: SG-CQB
Healers tend to be elevated in these kinds of rankings, and Doc’s ability to heal himself or his teammates certainly secures him a higher spot on this list.
The fact you have to be accurate with Doc’s Health Pistol (and carefully monitor the gun’s ammo count) is certainly something to consider, but you’re probably going to want a healer on your team, and Doc is an incredibly versatile support operator who is also able to take care of himself.
Ability: Can deploy a decoy from Drones to lure and distract any enemies in the area. Enemies attacking the decoy become scanned.
Starting Weapon: Mx4 Storm
While I initially had little faith that Alibi’s ability to create decoys would actually be that useful, it turns out that most of Extraction’s enemies are surprisingly vulnerable to this tricky tactic.
As such, you’re going to find yourself turning to Alibi’s ability whenever you need to complete an objective, distract an enemy, or save a teammate. In other words, you’re going to be able to depend on her ability at some point during every mission.
Ability: Disrupts enemies making him undetectable for a medium duration. Requires a recharge after each use.
Starting Weapon: K1A1
Extraction at least softly encourages you to give stealth a chance before you start blasting, and Vigil has to be considered the one operator you need to have on any stealth-focused squad.
Vigil’s ability to essentially turn invisible for a short amount of time makes him a perfect scout who can sometimes completely subvert rooms and objectives that would have otherwise been a nightmare to clear. He’s unique and incredibly valuable.
Ability: Detects all moving enemies in an area for a medium duration, requires a recharge after each use.
Starting Weapon: V308
While there are certainly times when you’re going to want your “scout” operator to identify specific things, you’re always going to want them to be able to identify enemies before they’re right on top of you. That’s why Lion is so valuable.
His simple detection ability lets you know exactly where nearby enemies are, and its manageable recharge time means that you can typically rely on it whenever you’re about to enter a very bad area.
Ability: Temporarily boosts the team’s reactivity and survival. Revives any Downed teammates and they always go Downed while active.
Starting Weapon: SPEAR .308
In a game where most of the operators are pretty well balanced, the title of “best” should probably go to whoever is the most valuable in most situations. That’s why Finka finds herself at the top of this list.
Finka’s ability to boost a team’s health is obviously valuable, but it’s her ability to instantly revive downed teammates that makes her irreplaceable. She can even unlock the ability to revive herself later in the game, which is really the kind of skill that puts an already great operator over-the-top.