Update, May 8: Ubisoft have provided much more detail on how pick and ban will work.
After announcing the pick and ban phase back in February, Ubisoft put the feature up for testing in the most recent TTS. But if you’d rather play the live game than futz around in test servers you’re in luck, as the developers have fully run down the new feature in a new dev blog - and incidentally provided an extra detail on Maestro and Alibi along the way.
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Pick and ban is a custom game option that, reasonably enough, lets attackers and defenders pick two Operators on each side to ban. Defenders ban the first attacker, attackers ban the second, then attackers ban the first defender, and defenders ban the second.
Picks occur after spawn and site selections, with full team compositions being revealed after the phase. Teams then have the option to activate a sixth pick to swap out one of their already-chosen Operators.
You can get more detail at the official blog, though notably pick and ban is only mentioned for custom games and Pro League events - not ranked play. Ubisoft had suggested the feature would be part of ranked at some point, though it’s currently unclear when. The custom game option goes live on the Para Bellum release date.
The videos detailing all this also include some curious new icons on the defenders side, with a Roman or Greek helmet on one and an octopus on the other. The camouflage abilities associated with octopi makes it a natural fit for Alibi’s reported hologram ability, though Maestro’s connection with an ancient helm is a bit harder to discern.
Original story, February 18: Ubisoft announced that a pick and ban phase will be coming to Rainbow Six Siege, bringing a fixture of MOBAs to the game and potentially making a titanic shift to the dynamics of pro-level play.
For those unfamiliar, pick and ban is a phase prior to play in which teams take turns picking their characters, then banning individual characters from being used. It gives teams a chance to build a strategy prior to the match start, and lets them try to deny advantages to their opponents.
In Rainbow Six Siege’s version, teams will be able to pick and ban two Operators per team for the entire match, which means both of the game’s hard breachers, Hibana and Thermite, can be removed from play.
This has major implications for Siege’s metagame, and teams who depend on breaching will have to adapt new tactics to compensate.
Once the first round of picks and bans is over, teams will see each others’ lineups and have a final chance to re-pick one of their Operators.
The phase will roll out for testing first for Pro League and Custom, then for ranked mode. It’s unclear whether it’ll be added to casual.