With each passing season Ubisoft looks at the individual win deltas when deciding which operators to balance. However, some operators are carried by their gadgets and get a free pass, consistently staying as useful as ever.
Today's spotlight is taken by SAS's Sledge, a two-speed, two-armour attacker with a hammer. Yeah, just a hammer, that's it, that's the gadget. Upon release, Rainbow Six Siege only boasted a small roster of operators, with only ten per side at the time, meaning you were bound to see Sledge one way or the other in Ubisoft's shooter.
Now, 45 operators later, Sledge is one of the few operators that have never been hit with a major decrease in popularity or win rate at any point in the game.
Sledge is considered to be a very newbie-friendly operator, with his hammer always being recognized as a more forgiving breaching charge and easy utility clearer.
As the game has welcomed more and more new players, major innovations in playstyles have been developed over the span of its lifetime.
Even the purpose of a simple tool, like a hammer (yes, just a hammer), gradually shifted to make Sledge one of Rainbow's best fraggers.
As players got more creative, Sledge got pushed out of the soft breach spotlight and instead started being used for vertical plays, making it significantly more difficult for defenders to hold site(s).
The players' creativity has gone as far as creating a play called 'The Hot Potato' where they throw a frag grenade at their own feet seconds before destroying the floor under it, dropping a live grenade onto unsuspecting defenders, or just blowing themselves up, as you do.
The most significant change Sledge has undergone is the loss of the fan-favourite SMG-11 sidearm in order to reduce his fragging potential. This has driven some players away from him and onto operators that bring similar utility to the table such as Buck, Ash and Zofia.
In spite of all changes in the meta and all of the competition that arose, he still stands as one of the most versatile and consistently present operators on the attacking team.