The three combat classes form the combat triangle, which is a guideline of the strengths and weaknesses of each class against the other two. In general, when players are combating opponents with similar combat skill the combat triangle can offer a general rule of thumb as to what is most effective. It should be noted that the combat triangle in no-way defines a fight outcome, any combat style can be effectively used to kill opponents using any other combat style, the triangle simply defines what is more and less effective.
- Warriors are strong against rangers. Their armours deflect the projectiles used by rangers. Their weapons penetrate the leather armours worn by rangers and the robes used by mages. Melee is the most commonly used combat style, due to its lack of a consumable requirement and generally higher dps than magic or ranged. Overall, Melee is the best class defensively due to armour, which provides strong resistance to arrows and melee attacks. Warriors also make good tanks if they're being piled by multiple people. Their glaring weakness are magical attacks, which can become a problem. To counter this, many warriors wear partial ranger outfits.
- Rangers are strong against mages. Their leather and dragonhide armours absorb the spells used by mages. Their projectiles easily pierce through the mage's robes. Ranging is the second most common method of combat due to it's ability to attack over distance, high dps, and relatively cheap consumable cost. They can take down mages fairly quickly due to a mage's lack of good defensive armour, but they have more trouble taking down a warrior. Defensively, they're better than mages but worse than warriors.
- Mages are strong against warriors so long as they keep their distance. Their magic is amplified by the metallic armours usually worn by warriors. Mage-based armour (robes) offers little protection against any of the three combat styles. Spells can hit through melee armour fairly easily. They can also freeze, bind, weaken, confuse, or stun their opponents, giving magic the highest utility of the combat styles. If you want to be an effective mage, freezing melee combatants is essential. Magic is rarely used alone and is most effective when combined with another combat style - usually ranged, combining the utility of a mage with the distanced damage of a ranger. Magic suffers from a far lower maximum hit than other combat styles, Ice Barrage is tied with the god spells with a maximum base damage maximum of only 30, potentially boostable to 48 with the maximum damage-boosting items and flames of zamorak. Ranged and melee can hit over twice as hard as this with special attacks from weapons such as the Dark Bow and Dragon Claws. Added to this, magic is most often out-performed in damage per second by similarly levelled and geared user of another style, however this does not mean magic cannot deal considerable damage with the higher level spells.
Bending the triangle
The triangle tends to focus mostly on the effectiveness of armour.
- The warrior's armour is most effective against ranged projectiles, as long as they can get close to a ranger. The warrior's armour is worse than useless against magic, thus removing metal armour and using ranged armour instead while closing in on the mage, the tables are turned.
- The ranger's armour is most effective against magic. Holding tactics cannot prevent the ranger from hitting the mage. The ranger can counter the warrior by evasion, or increase Defence by switching to a medium helmet or chainbody.
- The mage's armour tends to offer little protection over ranger and warrior attacks, while the mage's attack hits easily through metal its advised to stay as far away as possible from warriors, by running and/or using binding spells, as their weapons can easily pierce their robes. The mage can counter warriors and rangers by substituting pieces of magical armour with a med helm, square shield, and even a chainbody to sacrifice some magical accuracy in order to substantially increase Defence.
Hybrids are capable of standing at more than one point on the triangle, though at some cost and compromise to their equipment and inventory load. PKers are often seen rapidly switching worn equipment to make maximum use of multiple attack styles.