2021 was the year of the Elder God Wars. We knew there’d be lots of PvM and lots of drops related to this, but what we didn’t know was how substantial they would be. Our goal with this episode is to summarise every change made to the PvM ecosystem that had an impact on meta gameplay in 2021. Most of these changes will be fairly apparent but some of them were sleepers. And on another note, we’ll be taking care to avoid focusing on just the high end ecosystem while also talking about beginner and mid-tier level changes.

Combat Meta Changes



Ek-ZekKil] - this one is strange, it basically requires an EoF to take advantage of bleed extension synergy provided by the timmed masterwork spear. It also directly trades off with Zaros Godsword usage since melee already had massive adrenaline problems. While it’s slightly better than ZGS rotations, its benefits are deceptive given it’s a trade-off rather than an addition. Currently, the only known usage for the weapon where it's a significant improvement is Hard Mode Kerapac, where a special mechanic allows it to be used alongside the ZGS.  

The infinite adrenaline gain provided by Hydrix bolts has made it a niche switch for ranged record attempts but this isn’t thoroughly tested as far as we know.

The Igneous
Kal-Ket provides the best in slot melee cape when used on its own. It also brings the cost of Overpower down which has comical effects at lower level bosses (GWD1/QBD). This makes the ability excellent and will be extremely useful if melee has an adrenaline boost. Currently it’s a dynamic ability that becomes a great way to make use of relentless procs.

Melee ends the year in a solidified position for those who want to employ high amounts of burst damage but at the ultra-high end numerous switches are preferred. It has huge potential as a unique bleeding style, but adrenaline issues make it unviable for top-end extended DPM compared to the other two styles.


Armadyl battlestaff - this one isn’t new, but it's worth mentioning given the synergy with FSOA. The near unlimited adrenaline provided by ideal incite fear tsunami rotations lets players ABS spec over and over, with each set of 5 hits resulting in high chance of producing both adrenaline gain and FSoA auto attacks.

Conservation of energy - this one came out with archaeology, but is worth mentioning. Prior to magic upgrades this wasn’t used, but now that magic rotations include 3 100% ultimates in the standard rotations, it saves 30% adrenaline for every sunshine rotation, which makes it a BiS relic for magic.

The TzekHaar front brought the best in slot Magic cape, the Igneous
Kal-Mej, which is by far the favourite of the three. It upgrades the omnipower ability to only use 60% adrenaline and hit 4 times. This creates so many interesting synergies with the fractured Staff of Armadyl. Synergy with greater chain makes it a must have for AoE damage, as when combined with caroming 4 a single ability can hit up to 7 targets with 4 powerful blows each. Combined with the AoE destruction of Magma Tempest, this solidifies magic as the best AoE style even when compared with mechanized chinchompas.

The combined power of all magic upgrades has culminated in magic once again ascending to the top of the triangle. Every ability and spell released the past year synergizes incredibly with te FSoA, allowing players to easily achieve 500k DPM, greatly exceeding the damage possible even with Berserk (melee) in terms of burst damage, while having the sustainability of a longer damage over time (sunshine) and more versatility than ever (different spells, spellbook swap, special attacks, tank armor).

World firsts allowed by these magic upgrades: “Solo” Vorago (all rotations), telos - complete tendril skip, Solak - solo realm skip, nearly every world record speed kill (for non 0.6s bosses). The nature of FSoA also makes some of these consistent, which was never possible with range given how dynamic and “rng” dependent hydrix bolts can be. Things like sub-2minute AoD which previously could take hours of attempts are now standard for teams with 5+ max-magers.  


The Winners of 2021

Mid-Tier PvM

In the start of January 2021 [ranged] was dominant for mid-tier PvM. And at the end of 2021 [ranged/mage] is dominant for mid-tier PvM.

Argument for ranged: Even removing the very high priced ranged upgrades such as GRICO and ECB, ranged is still a powerful style and can most easily take advantage of a reasonable budget. It’s also the easiest style to use of the 3 in terms of hitting a baseline for good damage. Dynamic adrenaline requires lots of improvisational ability at a higher end, but ruby bolts and chaotic crossbows alone can carry you far, along with having access to the cheapest good AoE (mech chins).

Argument for mage:

High-Tier PvM

In the start of January 2021 [ranged] was dominant for high-tier PvM. And at the end of 2021[magic] is dominant for high-tier PvM.

If you’re not on a budget, magic is once again RuneScapes most powerful combat style, and it honestly isn’t close. It’s unquestionably the most powerful for both tanking and burst damage, and has the most flexibility of any style. However, the cumulative cost of the needed equipment is around 10B, plus the upkeep cost of runes burned by the crit stick can be up to 10m/hr. For players seeking to jump from mid to high tier with major budget constraints, for the cost of a Main-hand Ascension, and off-hand chaotic with caroming 4, GRICO and an EoF (dark bow) you can experience close to what was previously best in slot, while looking to eventually add a Seren Godbow and Eldritch Crossbow. This is made even more accessible now that Hydrix Bolts are much more reasonably priced and no longer annihilate profitability of most bosses.

Appendix: 2021’s Combat Updates:

Rex Matriarchs

City of Senntisten Ancient Magicks

Emerald Bolts Update 837

Cease Update 838

Nodon Front

Gloves of passage? See patch note: Update 845

Surge spells now scale to T99 damage (was T92).

Smoke/Shadow Blitz spells now scale to T92 damage to match ice and blood.

Barrage spells now scale to T99 damage.

Aurora spells now scale to T99 damage

Glacor Front

Croesus Front

TzekHaar Front

Cleave/Sweep (Dragon Halberd special) Update: 857?

Shane’s Pick of the Week: An Unexpected Christmas

David’s Pick of the Week: The Princess Switch 3 

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