PROs:

  • Simple to play
  • Passive utility
  • AR on defense

CONS:

  • The long cooldown on Kona Stations
  • Does not excel at anything in particular

Thunderbird

Defensive operator

Thunderbird is an interesting defender added during Y6S2’s Operation North Star.
She is the second healer on the defensive squad, joining Doc in this role in Rainbow Six Siege. Unlike Doc, however, she offers a more proactive healing utility that is passive in its nature.
 
Her toolkit and characteristics allow Thunderbird to be an effective roamer.

Organization

Unaffiliated

Availability

DLC Y6S2

Armor Rating

Medium

Speed Rating

Medium

Biography

Born in the Nakoda Territories of Saskatchewan, Thunderbird’s first lesson from her mother was the importance of community. Her first introduction to engines was at her father’s knee, he taught her to understand helicopters before she learned to fly one.

Always eager for new experiences she enrolled in the Bold Eagle Program at seventeen where she excelled in basic military training. While benefitting from the guidance of community elders and indigenous instructors, this program sparked an interest in preserving and protecting what she loved most, the Nakoda way of life.

 

OPERATOR VIDEO

After joining the Canadian Armed Forces Thunderbird worked her way through flight school. Remembering her mother’s emphasis on the value of balance, Thunderbird felt since the CAF taught her to take lives, she should also learn how to save them. She completed her Basic Medical Training (CFHSTC) and continued to serve in the CAF as an Aerial Medic.

Operator guide

Detailed information on how to play Thunderbird

Utility

What is Thunderbird utility?

Thundebird has unique stations which heal or even revive her and other players.
 

What is the role of Kona Stations?

Thunderbird’s utility fills in the same function as Doc – the defenders’ healer, offering support to the team.
Due to their nature, Kona stations are an excellent tool for enhancing anchoring positions on the objective sites.

Kona stations characteristics:

  • 3 Stations available
  • All stations are available from the round start
  • Kona stations have 2 meters range. It also requires a line of sight
  • To receive a heal, a player must be within adequate coverage at the charge release time
  • Station heals both allies and enemies
  • On top of healing, the station revives downed players (again, both attackers and defenders) within its range
  • Each station heals for 30 hp
  • The station overheals the player with full HP. The overheal amount can be up to 30hp above the maximum HP available to the operator.
    I.e., a Rook with armor on can be overhealed to 175hp!
  • Thunderbird can deploy the utility on flat horizontal surfaces, such as floors, desks, etc.
  • Thunderbird is the only operator who can pick up Kona stations
  • Stations do not have usage limits, besides the round timer
  • If multiple players are present within Kona’s range, the station will prioritize the player with the least health.
    Similarly, if both attacker and defender are within the range, Kona will heal the defender on the priority
  • Full deployment of a station takes roughly 3 seconds. After the animation of activation is completed, the station will have 1 charge available.
  • The cooldown on the Kona station charge is 38 seconds.
  • Kona’s charges do not stack. As a result, the cooldown reset will not start until the station discharges available healing!
  • When the Thunderbird operator picks up a station, the cooldown timer resets
  • Kona stations are easily destroyed with any source of damage

Kona Stations vs Doc's stim

Both Doc and Thunderbird serve a similar function and do the very same things, but they do them very differently.
 
The critical differences between Doc and Thunderbird are:
  • Kona stations are passive utility
    Thunderbird can place Kona stations and go roaming while still providing utility to the team on the objective site – similarly to how Jager operates.
    Hence, Thunderbird doesn’t need to play around Kona stations during the round. Instead, she can focus on her designated role.
    As much as it is a pro for Thunderbird, it can also be a con depending on the situation during the round – sometimes your anchoring teammate will be forced to change their spot and won’t have access to station(s)
    The passive nature of Thunderbird’s tool means that she can die early in the round and still provide support to the team.

  • Stations are more proactive utility, while Doc’s stim shots are reactive
    The implication is that you should know your team’s strategy and the strong positions they will hold during the round before you place your Konas. There is, of course, the potential for adjusting Kona stations locations during the action phase, but that’s not very likely to happen due to associated risks.
    On the other hand, Doc can see how the situation develops during the round and adjust accordingly.

How to use utility?

Placement of Kona stations:

When deciding on the position of your Kona stations, you should consider multiple factors that may impact your decision.
Here is a list of questions you should ask yourself before dropping your healing utility:
  • Is this location easily accessible to enemies?
    You do not want the attacking team’s health to be boosted with your own utility.
    So if you are leaving a station for your roamers, bear in mind the potential consequences of such choice!

  • Will attackers have a difficult time finding a direct line of sight?
    Similarly to placing other defensive utility (like Jager’s ADS or Mute’s Jammers), you do not want to leave a station easily exposed to being shot by enemies. Therefore, you should place the station behind a cover on the objective, relative to where you expect your enemies to come from.

  • Are my teammates going to play this position or have easy access to it during the round?
    You don’t want to leave Kona stations on objective where attackers can easily cut your teammates from accessing it.

  • How important is this position for us to hold?
    That’s an important question when deciding on stacking Kona stations in one spot!
    Suppose a particular anchoring spot is vital to your strategy. In that case, you might want to leave 2 or even 3 stations for your anchors to secure it.
    Having a Mira setup that is vital to your strategy? Put Konas behind it!

COMBINE KONA WITH OTHER SUPPORT UTILITY!

As an extension to the previous segment on the placement of healing stations, we want to highlight the importance of securing your utility by combining it with the placement of other gadgets.
Those gadgets are:
  • deployable shields – to prevent attackers from having a line of sight to Kona
  • Jager’s ADS & Wamai’s Mag-nets – to prevent explosive projectiles from destroying your gadgets

Interactions

SYNERGIES

  • Anchors
    Kona stations help fortified defenders to restore their health pool after engagements with attackers or to be revived in case of DBNO

  • Jager & Wamai utility
    Placing either projectile-intercepting tool will help secure Kona stations from being destroyed

  • Deployable shields

Counters:

Kona stations are a direct counter to damage dealt to defenders. Thunderbird’s utility can also counter being downed.
Stations are not a counter to any specific utility available to the attackers in Rainbow Six Siege.

Countered by:

 
Unique attacking utility that destroys Kona:
 
Other counters:

How to play -
Thunderbird

Playstyle

ROAMER
 
As a 3 speed and 1 health operator, Thunderbird is perfectly equipped to fill in roamer’s duties. On top of this primary operator’s characteristics, she brings good loadout options for filling the roaming role.
Last but not least, her Kona stations are passive (similar to Jager’s ADS). This makes her great material for placing stations and leaving the objective site to roam the map.
 
Roaming means leaving the objective site as a defender to interrupt and flank the attacking team.
Roamers are usually split into disruptive and sneaky ones.
Disruption involves denying the ability to enter the building for attackers and continuously harassing attackers to shift their attention from objective to you.
Sneaky defenders rely more on concealing their presence and location to flank unsuspecting attackers later in the round.
 
As a roamer, getting kills is an excellent addition but not the only reason roamers exist.
The main point of roaming is to waste attackers’ time and make them feel uncomfortable pushing the site before dealing with you.
 
We usually advise playing as a disruptive roamer as such playstyle has a higher skill ceiling and depends less on opponents’ inability to drone map properly.
 
Roaming role is filled usually by more advanced players as it requires:
  • advanced map knowledge
  • mobility
  • creativity
  • good game sense
 
If you want to learn more about roaming, we recommend visiting the section dedicated to this role by clicking the below button.

Difficulty

EASY
  • Thunderbird’s utility is straightforward to use
  • Passive utility means you can leave it and forget about it, or even die early in the round, and yet be helpful to your team
  • Requires basic map knowledge
  • Flexible in playstyle

Loadout guide - Thunderbird

Available options

Primary weapons

Secondary weapons

Universal gadgets

Impact grenade

A grenade exploding on impact. It is primarily used for opening holes in surfaces.

nitro1

Nitro Cell

Throwable explosive, detonated remotely by the user.
Can be pre-placed or used similarly to grenades.
The best counter to Shield operators and preventing defuser plant.

Loadout suggestion

Loadout choices are an individual aspect, and rarely there is a “go-to” loadout in R6 Siege.
Sight choices are purely personal and depend on the player’s playstyle, map, even objective & specific role.
Please treat the below suggestion as what it is – our preferences.
We encourage you to experiment to find your setup.

Remember, just because something works for someone else, does not mean it has to and will work for you!

Suggested loadout:

Primary weaponBarrelGripScope
SPEAR .308Flash hiderVertical GripReflex
Secondary weaponBarrelGripScope
Bearing 9Flash HiderN/AReflex
Gadget
Nitro Cell

Why such loadout?

PRIMARY WEAPONS

We recommend selecting an automatic gun whenever possible as a primary weapon. The reason being, automatic weapons are a good choice for any range and position. You can be effective with them holding a long angle or pushing the enemy in close-quarter engagements.
Shotguns do not offer such flexibility. They force you to take short-range engagements, which significantly limits your options during the round. Of course, such a limitation is not necessarily a bad thing – it just requires you to play accordingly. It is restrictive to the types of plays you can make.
If you have a specific position that you will hold tightly with a shotgun – go for it. But as a general rule of thumb, we recommend selecting an automatic weapon as a primary gun.
Exceptions to the above suggestion are operators with a secondary weapon being an automatic gun, like Smoke or Thunderbird. If you are comfortable taking medium-range engagements with Bearing 9, try out a combo of SPAS15 and Bearing 9.
Such a combination is recommended, however, for more advanced R6 players.
 
For Spear attachments, we prefer to pick a flash hider to lower the vertical recoil. Spear has almost non-existent recoil anyway, so you will be fine whether you select compensator or flash hider.
Unfortunately, Spear has no access to angled grip, which would be an excellent choice for a weapon with low recoil. Thus we are forced to pick a vertical grip – it lowers the recoil without any drawbacks so why not!

Reflex is our favorite sight of choice when it comes to 1x options. Sight choices between the same magnification scopes are personal preferences, so you can’t go wrong here!

SECONDARY WEAPONS

BEARING 9 used to be extremely difficult to handle due to the recoil. Luckily, the recoil has been reduced to manageable levels, so we can now recommend using this gun with Thunderbird!
When it comes to barrel attachments, we like equipping it with a flash hider to lower the severe vertical kick this gun has.
We cannot add grips to Bearing9 due to the vertical one being installed by default.

UNIVERSAL GADGETS

Both universal gadgets can serve Thunderbird well. Our suggestion is to check your team composition and decide based on team needs, as well as your preferred playstyle. 

Impact grenades are great for opening rotation holes between sites when playing bomb objective. They can also help with opening a new route when roaming or an unpredictable line of sight.

We usually choose Nitro cells as they can serve a similar role to Impact grenades when needed. On top of that, C4 provides killing power to deal with shield operators or deny the defuser plant.

Community Videos -
Thunderbird

Other operators

Learn more about other operators in R6 Siege!

Or go to list of all available Guides

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