The new Siege defender can heal her teammates with her unique gadget.

Ubisoft has revealed Rainbow Six: Siege's Year 6 Season 2 content, called North Star, during the Six Invitational 2021. The main attraction is the new Defender Operator, a native American called Thunderbird equipped with a healing gadget. 

You'll be Thunder(bird)struck!

Thunderbird's allegiance lies with the Nakoda First Nations, a group of Native American tribes in the US and Canada. Her loadout includes:

  • Primary Weapon: Spear .308 assault rifle or SPAS-12 shotgun
  • Secondary Weapon: Bearing-9 machine pistol or Q-929 handgun
  • Primary Gadget: Kona Station
  • Secondary Gadget: Nitro Cell remote explosive or Impact Grenade  

Her unique ability is her primary gadget, the Kona Station. The Kona is a small device that shoots healing balls to anyone within range of it. If an Operator is at 100% health when entering the Kona's range, it can "overheal" the Operator with extra HP. 

The one major caveat to Thunderbird's Kona Station is its lack of discrimination; the Kona will heal both Defenders on Thunderbird's team and attackers who come within range without deactivating it.

Other changes coming to Siege in Year 6 Season 2 include post-death gameplay, giving players access to drones and cameras in order to keep feeding teammates information. The Favela map has also received a major overhaul, 

How does Thunderbird change the meta?

At first glance Thunderbird is a huge boon to the defense, offering strategically-placed health boosts scattered around the targets. Getting three Kona Stations per round means she can either drop them all in one confined space for a "healing room" or scatter them around the map to give small boosts to defenders as needed. There's a lot of strategic potential here for future Rainbow Six: Siege defensive schemes. 

Obviously this approach is a double edged sword thanks to the Kona healing attackers and defenders alike. Attackers who see Konas on the map without defenders around them could choose to hole up on top of it, gaining health as they approach. A Thunderbird player will need to be smart on where she places the Kona Station or else it could be used against her entire team. 

Thanks to a three-month competitive grace period we won't see Thunderbird in top-level Siege for a while. However, once she arrives we can bet she will make an instant impact thanks to that impressive Kona Station. Thunderbird descends into Rainbow Six: Siege when North Star, the game's Year 6 Season 2 content, hits the R6 test server May 27.

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