The Combat Triangle, is it Square?

posted by on 16th June 2008, at 11:32pm

A Triangular square? That’s impossible, squares are comprised of 4 equal sides with 4 right angles. A triangle has three corners and three straight sides, though the sides may differ in length.

What this sentence means is this: Is the Combat Triangle still equal(fair) to all?

With so many new additions of armor, weapons, and spells, we sometimes wonder if everything is still fair. For awhile rangers and mages were easily owning in the wilderness, but now with the Godsword do Meleers rule the PvP?

Here’s how the Triangle is supposed to work:
Mages own Meleers because they can do a hefty amount of damage from range, and can stop their opponent dead(cold) in their tracks.
Rangers own Mages because their arrows or bolts pierce right through the Mages weak defenses.
Meleers own Rangers because, though their defense is better then Mages, Rangers have weak melee defense, this allows Meleers to hit quite high quite often.

But now let’s look at each corner of the triangle and see what they can get, starting with The Mage.

The Mage The Meleer’s Nightmare

Though weak on defense, a Mage can pack a serious punch (or blast).

With the (not so) recent addition of the Desert Treasure quest, players are able to auto-cast a spell which can both freeze and do a hefty amount of damage.

Ice rush: 5 seconds 16 Damage (Lvl-58)
Ice burst: 10 seconds 22 Damage (Lvl-70)
Ice blitz: 15 seconds 26 Damage (Lvl-82)
Ice barrage: 20 seconds 30 Damage (Lvl-94)

30! 20! 30 Damage and freezing for 20 seconds?! That damage is good enough to kill a good majority of RuneScape. Now granted it does require level 94 magic, but is 94 really that hard nowadays?

Let’s see what the old Bind was…

Bind: 5 seconds No Damage (Lvl-20)
Snare: 10 seconds No Damage (Lvl-50)
Entangle: 15 seconds No Damage (Lvl-79)

Hmm, at 79 we can entangle someone for 15 seconds and do no damage.
If we wait 3 levels and use Ice blitz at level 82 then we can freeze someone for 15 seconds and do up to 26 damage.

On another note, all Burst and Barrage Ancient spells do area of effect damage. This means that they will effect anyone who is standing adjacent to your target, freezing and damaging them as well.

Thus you could easily put a whole group on ice, not to mention doing up to 30 damage (without Void knight Mage armor, which would add 10% damage).

Now let’s see what spell we must use to achieve that much damage…

Magic Dart: No Bind 19 Damage (Lvl-50)
Any God Spell: No Bind 20 Damage (Lvl-60)
Iban Blast: No Bind 25 Damage (Lvl-50)

2 out of these three spells can be used before Ice Rush, the lowest level Ice spell.
All of these do more damage then Ice Rush.
Only one of them beats Ice Burst and none of them beat Ice Blitz or Barrage.
All god spells can be ‘charged’ to do more damage (up to 30 I believe) if you’re wearing a God cape.

If 30 is the max that a charged god spell can hit then it can Equal Ice Barrage. Though lacking the freezing effect (which plays a significant role in any PvP), god spells have a different side-effect.

Saradomin Strike: Can temporarily lower the target’s Prayer level.
Claws of Guthix: Can temporarily lower the opponent’s Defence level.
Flames of Zamorak: Can temporarily lower the target’s Magic level.

The exact amount they are lowered is uncertain.

So, now we have something which equals the damage of Ice Barrage, and something which equals the binding time of Ice Blitz. Put together, this combination was very deadly, though uncommon and hard to use (due to the god spell’s in accuracy).

But how accurate are the Ancient Ice spells? Good enough.

One level 94 Mage is enough to knock down a combat level 100 Meleer. There is nothing wrong with this, Mages owning Meleers is Square.

The problem comes when this same level 94 Mage is able to kill a level 90 (level 90 ranged) Ranger. It’s not because of poor defense, for the Ranger would be wearing Black Dragon Hide or maybe even Karil’s. Ancient spells are so powerful that they cut through magic defense. Ahrim’s seems to be the most efficient defense against Ancient spells, though you would think Karil’s would be.

Mages owning Meleers is Square.
Mages owning Rangers is Trapezoidal (or not even).

The Ranger The Mage’s Fear

The Ranger is actually one of the best corners: Having moderate defense, good damage, and longrange.

One of the deadly additions to the Ranged corner of the triangle is the crossbow and Karil’s crossbow.

Crossbows are quite good: Firstly because they do not require both hands (so you can wield a shield), and secondly because high level bolts can do good damage.

Being able to wield a shield grants a sizable amount of defense for a ranger, with hardly any loss to range bonus.
Mithril bolts and up do good damage, especially if they’re enchanted.

The Karil’s crossbow, though doing good damage and being fast, is not the best choice for PvP combat. This is because it requires two hands and is not the most accurate weapon. Aside from this, it also requires special ammunition. Bolt racks can only be acquired through doing the Barrow’s mini-game and from buying them from someone in Port Phasmatys.

Any Ranger with a good crossbow or Magic bow can take out a normal Mage. This appears to contradict one of my above sentences, doesn’t it? In this recent sentence I said “normal”, “normal” Mages are not ones equipped with Ancient spells.

A level 80+ Ranger should be able to take any mage of an equal level if wearing the correct armor (Karil’s or Black Dragon Hide, Karil’s is better). The problem comes when the mage is a higher level, or sometimes when they’re of equal level, and using Ice Ancient Magics. This is because all Ice spells have a good Accuracy rating. Now this doesn’t mean they’ll always hit, it just means they have a good likelihood of hitting.

A turning point in some Ranger versus Mage fights is when the Ranger wields a Seercull and uses its special attack. If successful, this will drain Magic levels from the Mage equal to the damage dealt. Many times this is enough to stop the Mage from casting their spell, thus giving the Ranger an upper edge.

Rangers sometimes owning Mages is Trapezoidal (or not even, Rangers should always defeat Mages).

Rangers will often times beat Meleers, but only if they stay at a distance. If a Meleer can catch a Ranger they will usually win. Some exceptions to this is when the ranger is a high level and the Meleer is 10 levels below or lower (in combat).

Rangers not usually beating Meleers is Square (Meleers are supposed to own rangers).

Something I did not mention above is the Dark Bow. Though firing two arrows at once (which is actually a matter of archery skill, not the bow you use) it is not very useful. This is because of its slow speed. It attacks even slower then a two-handed sword (which, as we all know, is slow). Its special attack is nothing to stand in awe at, unlike other weapons. Its special will always deal at least 5 damage per arrow if using rune or below and will always deal 8 if using dragon. If you wield dragon arrows with your Dark bow and use the special then you will do 50% extra damage, using the special with normal arrows adds only 30% damage.

A Dark bow is almost always a Ranger’s downfall, with the slow rate of fire it makes for a rather useless weapon.

The Melee The Ranger’s Adversary

Though easily capable of owning both the Mage and the Ranger, Meleers are supposed to defeat the Ranger.

Once caught, a Ranger will usually go down quickly if the Meleer is wearing the correct armor and weapon. In order to efficiently fight the Ranger, a Meleer must wear good range defense armor (usually plate). Plated torso and leg armor, along with a wisely chosen shield, can make a Meleer nearly invulnerable to the Ranger’s arrows. However, acquiring such good defense versus the Ranger comes at a high penalty: Extremely bad defense versus the Mage.

Meleers owning Rangers is Square.

The Meleers have been granted with some very good weapons: the Saradomin sword, the Godswords, the Abyssal whip, and the Dharok’s greataxe.

The Greataxe, belonging to the mighty Barrow brother Dharok, grants a hefty 105 Strength bonus. Aside from this, when wearing the armor pieces along with the greataxe you receive the ability to do massive damage based upon how much you are hurt. The more damaged you are, the more damage you do. Using this great (no pun intended) weapon comes at a price: you lose both your shield and armor mobility if you wish to use the Barrow’s set-effect.

The Saradomin Sword, many times referred to as the “Sara Sword”, is a fast, hard hitting, weapon with a good special attack. As much as I hate to say it (because two-handed swords are supposed to be slowish), the Saradomin sword is as fast as an Abyssal whip or Dragon Dagger. Its attack stats are equal to an Abyssal whip, with the addition of a +60 crush and +2 Prayer bonus.

Using the Saradomin Sword a Meleer could very easily swing and take away a good percent of a Mage or Ranger’s hitpoints before they got frozen, that is if the first bind/freeze attack failed.

The Saradomin sword’s special attack is very useful against other Meleers and Mages, but, because it is a magic based attack, it is inefficient against Rangers.

The Abyssal whip, like the Saradomin sword, is a fast, hard hitting, weapon. This is a well known fact. The Abyssal whip allows you to wield a shield, allowing up to 70+ more defense added to your total defense (which is a large enough amount to make a difference). The main drawback to the Abyssal whip is that it’s an accurately defensive weapon, this means that it cannot train strength effectively (though it can do so slowly).

The Abyssal whip’s special attack is an energy leach: it steals your opponent’s run energy (very useful if you’re fighting hit and run enemies). The main problem with its special attack is that it’s rarely effective.

The Abyssal whip’s speed and damage make it a prime weapon to use when in PvP.

The Godsword, though slow (slightly faster then a two-handed sword), can pack a mighty punch (or slash). Its +132 to Strength is the main reason why it’s sought after. The Godsword’s special attack is special indeed, being 4 different attacks in one. The Godsword is actually 4 different swords: Armadyl, Bandos, Saradomin, and Zamorak. Each god has its own hilt, the hilts are interchangeable and do not require a smithing level to attach and de-tach. The hilt the sword has on determines what its special attack will do.

Armadyl godsword, The Judgment, Inflicts 25% more damage.
Bandos godsword, Warstrike, Attack does 10% more damage and drains your opponent’s combat statistics by the amount of damage inflicted.
Saradomin godsword, Healing Blade, Inflicts normal damage, but restores half of the damage to your Hitpoints and a quarter to your Prayer. You will receive a minimum of 10 Hitpoints and 5 Prayer.
Zamorak godsword, Ice Cleave, Freezes your opponent for 20 seconds.

The two that stand out the most here would be the Armadyl and Zamorak Godswords’ specials.
The Armadyl Godsword’s special can turn a 50 into a 62, or a 30 into a 37.
The Zamorak Godsword’s special will hit normal damage, but also freeze for 20 seconds in the process (that’s as good as Ice Barrage!).

Using any of the weapons, especially if mixed with certain other equipment, will create a very good offense.

The Meleer versus the Mage has almost always been a one sided war. If the Mage is wise, and uses freezing Ancient magics or binding normal magics, then they will be able to defeat nearly any Meleer. If, however, the Mage fails to keep the Meleer in one place the results could be fatal.

Meleers usually losing to Mages is Square.

Epilogue Does everybody add up?

Mages owning Meleers is Square.
Mages owning Rangers is Trapezoidal.
Rangers sometimes owning Mages is Trapezoidal.
Rangers usually losing to Meleers is Square.
Meleers owning Rangers is Square.
Meleers usually losing to Mages is Square.

Hmm, it appears that Mages are owning Rangers, this should not be.

Jagex has tried to keep things even, and they’ve done a fairly good job. However they lack the ability to actually test what they make. Because they know all the ins and outs they cannot actually be surprised or discouraged.

Hopefully in the near future they will fix this problem between Mages and Rangers.

Please remember that I am just comparing from experience and statistics. It is possible for either to beat either.

Much information was taken from the RuneScape Knowledge Base, thank you Jagex for creating the KB.

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  • Chief Snake Says:
    17th June 2008, at 5:17am

    Very impressive Jason, and an interesting read. πŸ™‚

  • DoomBionics Says:
    20th June 2008, at 4:50pm

    “All god spells can be β€˜charged’ to do more damage (up to 30 I believe) if you’re wearing a God cape.” – there boosted via spell at level 80 or something, cape only gives good bonuses πŸ™‚

  • Jasonmrc Says:
    26th June 2008, at 11:17am

    Thank you, Chief.

    Doom: You must be wearing a god cape in order to cast the “Charge” spell.

    Quote from Jagex: “All of the god spells are incredibly powerful and can be ‘Charged’ (level 80 Magic) to increase the damage significantly, provided you are also wearing one of the Mage Arena god capes.”

  • sorips Says:
    29th June 2008, at 4:05pm

    oh, well it’s nice to read, but i’m a ranger and i know when i wear full void knight and my darkbow i hit up to 90+ damage with d arrowz spec….that’s painfull and NOT useless πŸ˜€ besides…with rune c’bow I can hit up to 65 damage in 1 hit….nasty eh πŸ˜€

    good job =)

  • bluberyspark Says:
    15th September 2008, at 7:42pm

    hey yo can d arrows pwn ancient magicks?

  • Warlock Ted Says:
    30th October 2008, at 9:24pm

    Sorry but I disagree with the part about Mage owning rangers or meleers. Any meleer can slap on black d hide and very significantly resist freeze spells or not get hurt too much. When a meleer comes in contact to a mage, they will devastate due to the extreme lack of armor a mage has. If the meleer doesnt have ranger armor with them though, a mage will kill them.

    Any ranger wearing black d hide or karils will resist alot of spells and the ranger can still shoot through freezes. The mage will die since most mage armor set ups have no ranged def.

  • Jasonmrc Says:
    1st November 2008, at 5:04pm

    I’m glad people read 5 month old articles, makes me feel appreciated πŸ™‚

    Every body has their own experiences and opinions. This was written from my experience.

    From my experience Karil’s does not defend against Ancient magics very well. As I have almost always been frozen while wearing it. Though it does help significantly over metallic armor, Karil’s cannot wholly prevent spells from getting through. A good defense level (which most people these days lack) and a high Mage level combined with Karil’s leather armour is usually good enough to deflect enough spells for a Ranger to be able to kill the Mage.

    It is very tough, however, for even the best Fighter to win against a high level Mage because the Mage will run a few squares away once the fighter is frozen. Once the Fighter is thawed, the Mage will most likely freeze him again quickly and then run a few squares away. Using this method, it is very hard (but not impossible) for a Fighter to defeat a Mage.

    All in all, it depends on the situation and characters involved as to how well the battle goes for each player.

  • XZX_Orox_XZX Says:
    22nd November 2009, at 5:24am

    very good read! i knew mage was unbalanced! and now they have their surge attacks so they can hit even more!!!

  • Al Swearengen Says:
    28th January 2010, at 11:49pm

    Nice web site man, picked up a few nuggets here…can’t wait for Cataclysm, I found a rumor that it’s being released Nov 2010, but with Blizz you never know :/