Getting Up to Speed with Rainbow Six Siege’s Operation Black Ice DLC

Get ready for some seasonally appropriate shooting action. Rainbow Six Siege has unleashed its first major content update, and it’s a doozy. Dubbed Operation Black Ice, this frosty downloadable content pack comes with a (free!) new map, two new Operators, and a host of game updates and fixes. Let’s take a look at what’s included.

The Map

Well, some rich guy is having a real bad day. In Boffin Bay (near Greenland), the luxury yacht Boréal has become fully encased in ice. That’s the premise for Yacht, the new map included with the DLC. The huge pleasure ship boasts four decks, a casino (with a private poker room), a spacious galley, a personal submarine (nonfunctional) and lots of destruction from the encroaching snow and ice. Attackers can insert via sub, zodiac, or snowmobile, and make use of the insanely large outdoor decks to maneuver into an ideal position for infiltration. Given that the action takes place on and around a single boat, you might think that the map must be rather small. You would be incorrect; the twisting passageways, multiple decks, and huge number of ceiling hatches give the gameplay a feeling of much more spaciousness than you’d think.

Plus, it is a very large boat.

The Attacker

Say hello to Sebastien Côté, aka Buck. This Montreal-born member of Canada’s Joint Task Force Two brings with him a background in criminology, a quiet strength, and a really powerful gun. Buck’s unique gadget is the SK 4-12, also known as the Skeleton Key. It’s an under-barrel shotgun attachment that locks onto either of his main weapons, a C8-SFW assault rifle or a CAMRS semi-auto marksman rifle.

Tap RB and Buck switches from his main weapon to the shotgun – instantly. Like, immediately. You can even tap RB while in full-auto mode on the C8, and the next shot will be from the shotgun. It’s that fast. That makes it an ideal weapon for surprise close encounters, especially if you go in packing the long-range CAMRS. The shotgun also helps in opening up lines of fire through destructible surfaces. Just don’t go too crazy; you’ll only insert with 12 shells, so use them sparingly.

The Defender

And give your warmest welcome to Tina Lin Tsang, aka Frost – who has a unique welcome of her own to offer. This Vancouverite was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force before joining JTF2, with a specialty in search-and-rescue. She’s also an avid hunter, which leads us to her unique gadget, the Sterling Mk2 LHT: the Welcome Mat. It is, essentially, a high-tech bear trap, with a slim profile that looks pretty much exactly like a welcome mat when placed.

That’s bad news for Attackers, since stepping on one of these little beauties instantly incapacitates the perpetrator. It doesn’t kill; it simply takes enemies down (into a “down but not out” state, or DBNO), where they will bleed out unless revived by a teammate. That gives Frost the perfect opportunity to finish the job with her Super 90 shotgun or her 9mm C1 submachine gun. And Frost can get very sneaky with the placement of her traps. One particularly nasty tactic involves dropping a Deployable Shield (one of her optional gadgets, along with the Nitro Cell) and hiding a Welcome Mat behind it. Attackers now need to watch their step more than ever before.

The Updates

As if one map and two Operators isn’t enough, Operation Black Ice also comes packed with game updates and fixes. Among the significant additions: Spectate mode. Previously available only on PC, Spectate mode has made the jump to Xbox One. Now, players have the option to observe custom matches (and custom matches only at this point) from a third-person, all-seeing perspective. You can scan the whole level layer by layer, watching all the action unfold before you – or jump into the head of any player on either side to get a first-person perspective. It’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of new maps, and to discover some new tactics.

Also significant is a new way of handling Attacker insertion in custom and ranked games. Previously, the whole team would spawn on whatever location got the most votes (this is still the case in Casual mode, presumably to avoid leaving newcomers lost and alone). But now, Attackers in custom and ranked games spawn on the location they chose. This allows for complex multi-directional tactics that were previously impossible.

One more welcome tweak worth mentioning: The pre-round screens now all show the map, the objective, and the results of any votes – making it easier for late joiners to choose their Operators and locations sensibly (in other words, we should see a lot less of Fuze in Hostage matches… hopefully).

You can check out Ubisoft’s official Black Ice page for a much more complete list of fixes and tweaks, but suffice it to say that the game is significantly improved – and it was pretty amazing to begin with.

Rainbow Six Siege’s new map is available now for all players. The new Operators are free to Season Pass holders now, and will be available for purchase on tomorrow, February 9 for non-Season Pass holders, for 25,000 Renown (Siege’s in-game currency) or 600 Rainbow Credits ($4.99). Just remember to bring your mittens!