It’s been a while since Azami is available in Rainbow Six Siege, but the operator stepped into the esports scene recently as the regional leagues begin across the world, but surprisingly enough, it was banned more than expected in pro matches.
In Year 7 Season 1, Azami was introduced as a game-changing defender in Rainbow Six Siege, thanks to her widely useful KIBA Barriers. The ability to block the enemy’s line of sight, force them to burn many utilities, and avoid them from drone-checking in some cases, makes Azami a whole army against attackers.
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In addition to all the above, you should add the ability to create pixel angles with KIBA Barriers, which could be as annoying as the infamous bullet-hole angles in Rainbow Six Siege. So, with this simple metric, we should probably expect the same approach to Azami’s pixel angles as the bullet-hole angles were treated: a complete removal from the game. But this is not that simple, and Azami’s trick is not that effective.
Azami’s arrival might have changed the balance of power in favor of defenders recently, but that is an issue that should be addressed by introducing a worthy counter for Azami on the attacker’s side rather than simply nerfing the defender.
Azami burns many utilities? Then introduce a new attacker whose ability is to feed those utility swallowers rather than a simple nerf. But the truth is that requires a lot of hours of work, and while it’s the best solution, it’s not the most efficient one for the developers.
In the last few years, we have seen the negative impact of harsh nerfs on a number of operators in Siege, which has significantly decreased their pick rate in both casual and competitive tiers. Blackbeard and Ash are probably the biggest victims of these nerfs.
Blackbeard’s shield has been nerfed so much that it is no longer a safe choice for rushing peeks. On the other hand, the crazy recoil pattern for Ash’s R4C as well as her reduced breach rounds, made her look too underwhelming in comparison to other available options.
Now, a nerf for Azami in Rainbow Six Siege will exactly put her in the same situation as Ash and Blackbeard. Currently, the biggest problems with Azami are the pixel peeks and utility burn. While reducing the number of KIBA Barriers seems like a safe change to reduce the amount of utility burned by attackers, it has nothing to do with the pixel peeks. So, it is safe to say that at some point, Ubisoft will come back to Azami again for another nerf.
Removing pixel peeks could be a costly change for Ubisoft developers as they will need to change the pattern of the KIBA Barrier when it evolves. Players can create pixel peeks in a wide variety of ways. They can join multiple KIBA Barriers together with tiny gaps in between, or they can cover a destructible surface in a way that only a small hole remains open, or even they can do it with simple environmental objects like doors, stairs, and windows.
So, it appears to be a change as big as a rework for Azami if Ubisoft ever attempts to remove pixel peeks from her abilities. And to be honest, it would be a disaster for Ubisoft to rework an operator less than a year after launch.
Now that Ubisoft probably can’t remove pixel peeks they will probably start to nerf Azami from other sides to make her less and less powerful until she is no longer efficient for defenders.
So, Azami may lose the ability to deploy a KIBA Barrier onto another KIBA Barrier, which will avoid her from attaching barriers to each other. She could also receive a recoil penalty on her primary weapon. The developers may also radius the overall radius of a KIBA Barrier to make a single barrier less effective than before.
Getting all these nerfs will eventually turn Azami into an underwhelming operator, putting her in a situation where you would prefer the likes of Wamai, Aruni, or Jager over Azami. And that’s another tragic end for a mighty operator.
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Definitely, Siege players don’t want this to happen, and Ubisoft really needs to learn some lessons from what they had already done to Ash, Ela, and Blackbeard. Azami is better to stay untouched than totally destroyed unless Ubisoft finds a way to address the real issues rather than covering them.
If Ubisoft could find a way to make Azami unable from creating pixel peeks without sacrificing any other abilities of the operator, that would be a balanced nerf, but anything other than that would totally destroy her.