Rainbow Six Extraction: How do Extractions Work?

Here's your guide to understanding extraction missions in Rainbow Six Extraction.


Image Source: Ubisoft

Rainbow Six Extraction, a sequel to 2015’s Rainbow Six Siege, puts you in control of one of 18 Operators (characters) to fight the alien race known as the Archæans. You will engage in extraction missions, known as incursions, with various objectives and enemies along the way.

Read below to find out exactly what “extractions” entail.


How Extractions work in Rainbow Six Extraction

Three of 13 Objectives given to you at the start of an extraction, but these tasks are doable on solo mode. Pay attention to the Studies, too!

Extractions work by tasking your team of three with various “Objectives,” whether that be intel, technology, or samples from Archæans. There are 13 types of tactical missions, each with changing variables. This is to force you to rethink your strategy.

Studies are secondary objectives used for research. They can be as simple as pinging a certain number of nests to more difficult ones like stealth killing Bloaters. Not only are these easy experience boosts, but they also unlock more Codex entries and lore for the game.

There are three submaps within each of the 12 maps, “Hot Zones.” You begin in stage one, making your way to an airlock to regroup, restock, and decide between completing your mission or continuing. The benefit to leaving early is that all three Operators survive, but the downside is the likelihood of extracting with a lot of information is low. You have 15 minutes per zone to either extract or move to the next zone; otherwise, you’re MIA.

The benefit of continuing to stage two, and eventually stage three, is that you will have more opportunities to complete your given tactical missions (Objectives) and collect more samples. However, each stage is progressively more difficult and you may have to fight a Protean – a highly-evolved form of Archæan – in the last stage. They’re basically bosses.


So, it comes down to this after the first and second stages: how will you measure risk vs. reward?

Adapt your tactics for the Archæans in Rainbow Six Extraction

Your Codex section on the enemy aliens, the Archæans. In the image (from top to bottom) are an Apex, Grunt, Lurker, and a Sower.

Archæans are a variant of the Parasite, the race that wreaked havoc in New Mexico prior to the events of Extraction. They come in 13 different forms. The alien race, while humanoid, has a distinct physiology that the REACT technicians study to gain further insight and advantages against the Archæans.

The variety of enemies and their functions mean that you cannot use the same tactics when exploring each Hot Zone. Some Archæans you want to take out from a distance (like Bloaters). The standard Grunts, while the lowest tier of Archæans, can quickly overwhelm you as they will quickly swarm to your point.


Tip: besides sneaking around, find and destroy nests. Once disturbed (alerted to danger), they will continually spawn Archæans.

How the Sprawl works in Rainbow Six Extraction

The ever-expanding black Sprawl that covers all surfaces.

Sprawl is that black sludge-like substance you’ll find throughout your mission. Sprawl is crucial to all Archæans, but extremely important for certain ones, like the Tormentor.

What it does is slow down all players should they walk in the Sprawl. Conversely, Archæans move quicker while in Sprawl. Thankfully, Sprawl can be repelled by shooting it with your guns. It will be imperative to shoot away as much Sprawl as possible, particularly in enclosed spaces.

Archæans also produce Sprawl upon death, further creating a hindering pathway for you and your squad to traverse. Nests will also be surrounded by Sprawl, and when on the ground, will slow you as approach. However, when nests are destroyed, so is the Sprawl around the nest.

However, you will find yourself in areas that are quite literally just Sprawl. There’s not much you can do here except survive. Again, the game should prove to be rather challenging.

How to use REACT Tech to kill enemies and collect samples

Attacking through the wall thanks to REACT Light.

You’ll notice that all of the gear and weapons are marked with REACT. REACT Tech plays a key role in this game in both eliminating Archæans and collecting required samples to complete tactical missions.

For example, the REACT Light will allow you to see Archæans even through walls and obstacles. You can even attack and shoot them through the walls, downing the before they even see you. It will also light up the interior biology of Archæans, revealing weak points.

Tip: always aim for the head. Aside from higher-tiered and elite Archæans, a headshot will take out Archæans.

Use the REACT Blade for stealth takedowns like this, and for Biopsy Objectives.

The REACT Blade is not only used for melee purposes and stealth kills (takedowns). When you are tasked to collect samples from Archæans, make sure to kill them with the REACT Blade by sneaking and ambushing them from behind. The kill will collect biological samples from these enemies, providing valuable and necessary information to upgrade your tech against the alien threat. It may be difficult with higher tiered enemies.

Also, each Operator will have their own REACT Tech special weapon that will coincide with their special ability. Tinker around with the Operators to not only understand how to use each one to deploy them in the right situations, but to find out your preferred Operator and playstyle.

What happens when an Operator dies in Rainbow Six Extraction?

An MIA Operator in stasis. Rescue them from the deepest part of the third hot zone! (Image Source: Ubisoft Australia YouTube channel).

Especially if you explore the third sublevel of each map, you will see the death (K.O.) of an Operator in your group of three – it may even be you! Luckily, the Operators do not actually die in this game. Rather, they encase their bodies in foam and enter a state of stasis. Their status will be changed to Missing in Action (MIA).

So, they didn’t die! However, you now have to embark on a rescue mission to retrieve the Operator. Having a full party of 18 Operators to choose from will be crucial to completing all three sublevels in all maps and beating the game, switching up your strategies and chosen Operators to match the objectives.

There is a great way to avoid being K.O. even if you should drop. If an Operator is wearing armor, they will simply be downed. This will allow for another Operator to use their abilities to revive the fallen teammate (click here for a guide on the Operators). One Operator, ROOK, can use his special ability to drop boron-ceramic armor for the other Operators, for example.

There is also a REACT Tech upgrade called the Revive Kit that will revive you rather than enter stasis should you have it equipped. However, the drawback is that you will fall to a downed or stasis state quicker upon each revival.

How to extract from Hot Zones in Rainbow Six Extraction

You’ll be given info on your experience banked and Objectives completed before requesting an extraction.

Extracting is the only way to safely exit a Hot Zone. Each zone will have an extraction zone in addition to the airlocks between the the first two and last two areas. Each extraction zone is identifiable not only by the large extraction machine that looks like a generator, but the REACT Tech on the ground that serves as your extraction area. Once you request extraction, stay on this tech or you will be MIA.

Once you’ve accomplished any, all, or no objectives (it’s up to you!), head to the zone and hold Square at the screen outlined in blue. Once the extraction is requested, you have five seconds until you leave the zone. Importantly, you can still be attacked while waiting for extraction. Ensure you are clear before requesting extraction, or at least fight until you either die or leave safely.

Note that the extraction zone also serves as the area you will need to lure targets to for the objective to capture specimens. Keep this in mind.

That is what we know about extraction missions in Rainbow Six Extraction. The game should be challenging and seemingly requires you to become adept with all 18 Operators for the best chance at success. On the bright side, all post-launch content for Extraction is free!


Bruce L

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