Raksha, the Shadow Colossus, is a giant rex dinosaur who stumbled upon the Codex, an elder artifact, imbuing him with shadow anima that turned it into his enraged and enlarged state. The boss can be done in either solo or duo mode, with no changes to mechanics other than doubled life points for duo mode. Prior to release, the boss was placed in the high level PVM tier, somewhere between Araxxor and Telos in difficulty. While that places Raksha within a tremendous of difficulty, this approximation is about right.
Mechanically, the boss isn't particular complicated. Most mechanics can be easily dispatched, avoided, or skipped entirely and the main difficulty of the release version of the boss came in the form of tremendously powerful auto-attacks. Similar to the infamous guardian of the firecape TzTok-Jad, Raksha rotates between extremely punishing ranged, magic, and melee autos which require accurate prayer switching to avoid swift death. After endless complaints on Twitter and Reddit, JMods elected to substantially nerf this auto-attack damage, making the fight much less punishing and altogether much easier, placing it much closer to Araxxor difficulty than Telos difficulty. While I understand the impetus for these changes to some extent - the Old School feel of a prayer flick boss with few mechanics being reminiscent of a bygone era of RuneScape PVM, doing so makes the simplistic mechanics feel even more dull than they were before, as the chance of death to Raksha for a somewhat experienced PVMer (defined as Araxxor/Nex skill level) nearly vanishes. Additionally, this made melee far easier to use at the boss since a missed prayer during a berserk rotation is no longer a recipe a swift boot to Death's office. For this article, I'll be breaking down Raksha by strategy, rewards, and placement within the PVM meta.
This section of the article will be relatively brief. To fight Raksha, I would recommend at least tier 80 power armour with decent perks (Biting 2/3, Impatient 4, Crackling 4, Enhanced Devoted 4) at the low end, with higher end replacements being perks like Biting 4 or Relentless 5 Crackling 4 (same gizmo) and tier 90 weapons. For style I'd recommend ranged (assuming the use of ascensions or better with bakriminel bolts) or magic (noxious staff/seismics or better). Post-nerf, melee kills are certainly possible but a bit riskier than the other styles. This fight is certainly accessible to those with only t80 weapons, but given how much slower progress will be without t90 I would recommend trying to get at least a main hand ascension or noxious staff by doing other bosses/money-making methods first. The mechanical breakdown was simple enough that a chart was created within a couple hours of release, shown here:
- "Auto-attacks" are the rotating melee, ranged, and magic hits - the latter two are telegraphed well in advance, so maintaining protect from melee and switching works well. Additionally, post-nerf using soul split for most of the fight should be fine with an Amulet of Souls/Essence of Finality and high damage output.
- The tail sweep/charge is a simple but devastating mechanic that stuns and hits the player for high damage (albeit significantly less post-nerf) but can be easily avoided by stepping out a few squares.
- Shadow pools can be absorbed by Raksha for healing and buffing purposes but can be easily killed with either chinchompas, magic AoE abilities, or a scythe w/laceration boots and bladed dive.
- The shadow bomb stuns the player and drops bombs on the ground (can be easily avoided and anticipated), the shadow blast does several high hitting magic attacks which should be reflected - although in most cases with good DPS you'll never even see this mechanic.
- The poison mind requires clicking a few orbs and nothing else, and the rocks can be dodged, tanked with a Powerburst of Vitality, or mitigated with defensives like resonance, disruption shield, or reflect.
- Phase 4 is challenging at first but becomes very simple once you get down the rhythm of staying in melee distance and moving out after two autos briefly to avoid tail sweeps and not get shadow bombed (only happens when out of melee distance of tail sweep).
- The erebus charge is an insta-kill mechanic which can be dodged by hiding behind a pillar or doing a modest amount of dps to interrupt.
On day of release, Raksha presented a fun challenge - I died well over 50x on the first day learning the mechanics without any sort of guide. Now, new players should find the boss much easier, as nearly all the risk was eliminated with the huge nerf to damage on 12/14/2020.
I think the fight is fine - it's somewhat challenging and a nostalgic throwback to pre-EOC combat but I don't think it does anything to push the game forward into the decade at all. I feel they prioritized simple and safe over dynamic and risky, very much the opposite of the last major boss released (Solak) which pushed the limits of group PVM the furthest since Vorago.
The rewards for this boss are incredible. Week of release Raksha was maybe 80m/hour. There are three major drops in addition to a very strong (about 1m/kill average) commons table. Raksha drops Laceration, Blast Diffusion, and the brand-new Fleeting boots, increasing the number of the previous two which were formerly only possible to obtain from high level slayer mobs at a low rate. The fleeting boots compete the trio and give ranged even more mobility, allowing the player to cast rapid fire while moving - strong but not an overwhelming game changer. With the combination of these and nightmare gauntlets, ranged is now the most mobile style in the game in addition to being the strongest. The second drop is the shadow spike - not too much to say here, it permanently boosts these boots to t90 power armor, functionally eliminating any reason to use the boots/tips from glacors and rune dragons.
The most interesting drops come in the from of three ability codices. Divert, a defensive ability which converts damage into adrenaline, feels fairly niche for now, but with more testing we may see some creative uses for it. Greater chain upgrades the chain ability to do more AoE damage to targets. While this is nice for things like Slayer, it has relatively low utility in high level PVM as bosses are typically a singular entity that don't require multiple targets at once. The big game changer, of course, is greater ricochet. It stacks with the caroming perk
and fires un-used AoE damage on the original target, making it a miniature Seren Godbow that could do massive damage on a 10s basic cooldown. With caroming 4, the ability is more powerful than any threshold in the game, further cementing ranged as the overwhelmingly dominant combat stye in RuneScape. To me, this feels overwhelmingly strong and I hope some sort of nerf gets looking into.
Raksha doesn't change the meta so much as it solidifies it. Ranged was already tremendously more powerful than Magic, and the new codices widen the disparity further. Magic gets a niche, barely useable upgrade, while Tanged gets new mobility and one of the most powerful abilities ever created for RuneScape 3. Switchscape increases due to the need for a caroming 4 switch to maximize the utility of greater ricochet. As a result, ranged gear is up over 50% across the board, even though it was already far more expensive than Magic gear. Our hope for saving Magic (melee will always be incredibly strong where it's useful because of berserk) has to rest on the shoulders of God Wars Dungeon 3 - hopefully the developers will be less hesitant to push the envelope of complexity and will bring the combat triangle back into some semblance of balance.