There are many possible ways to win a game of Pest Control, this article lists some of the more effective and common strategies.
Always remember that the point of the game is to protect the knight. If he dies, everyone loses.
Destroying the portals makes the game finish earlier, but if the knight dies whilst there are still portals standing, the team loses. The portals can and have been soloed, but the knight cannot be protected by one or two persons alone: it needs a team effort. It is also worth remembering that as the knight is under constant attack, by defending him, a player will always notch up enough points to qualify for the reward at the end.
There are several ways to defend the knight. Fundamental strategies are:
- A few players near the knight kill shifters who attack. These players are often called Guards.
- Don't forget to close the gates behind you! Most monsters cannot attack through closed undamaged East and West gates.
- Have someone with a hatchet and a hammer stand by the gates to repair them and kill Ravagers as they appear. This can really come in handy if you are facing large amounts of Defilers and Torchers.
- A couple of players defend the South wall, as monsters can attack from outside this wall only. These players are often called Sentries (rangers and mages in the towers are often called Tower Sentries).
- Gang the portals and destroy them quickly. Ends game faster, and heals Void Knight.
- Attack and kill anything attacking the Void Knight. This is especially true of Defilers and Torchers. If the guards are busy protecting the Knight from shifters, they won't be able to get to the Defilers and Torchers and the Knight will be swiftly overwhelmed by a barrage of darts and spells.
- Some people also use splatters to damage the monsters attacking the Knight greatly.
- If you are new to the game or unsure as to what to do, attack Defilers and Torchers. No one will thank you for it but you'll be helping your team win. You'll earn your points and you can pick up the tactics by watching others whilst you're doing what is perhaps the most under-rated yet important task in the game.
Monsters and portals
The pests' combat levels are affected by which lander that was taken by the player. On the Veteran lander, almost every monster will have a combat level of 80+. The colour of the pest also affects their combat levels.
|Name||Weakness||Attack style||Combat levels||Notes|
|Brawler||Fire spells||Melee||84, 98||Blocks the way by its massive size|
|Defiler||Stab||Ranged||33, 50, 66, 91, 105||Can range over the walls|
|Ravager||Water spells||Melee||Destroys Gates and Barricades|
|Shifter||Fire spells||Melee||93, 107||Can teleport (also over the walls)|
|Spinner||Air spells||Melee||64, 77, 89||Can heal the portals|
|Splatter||Earth spells||Melee||56, 70, 84, 98||Can 'suicide-bomb': Players, Gates and Barricades|
|Torcher||Thrown||Magic||95, 107||Can cast over the walls|
Changes to portals
On 17 July 2007, as part of their update to the game, Jagex introduced a shield on the portals. Players are not able to attack portals while the portal's shield is up; all portals start with shields up, with the first portal's shield disabled by the Void Knight 15 seconds into the game. Every 30 seconds, another shield is disabled until all portals can be attacked 1 minute and 45 seconds into the game. This was introduced to counter the ability of high levels to play 30 second games and gain massive amounts of experience. Most games are still finished in under three minutes (any boat landing).
- Keep the gates closed. In the spaces immediately outside the gates, Defilers and Torchers cannot attack the Void Knight. Instead, they will all line up outside the gate, waiting patiently for it to be opened or until they are killed. The defilers and torchers on either side will still attack through the air, but keeping the gates shut will completely stop those lined up directly outside of the gate. If a player really needs to get back outside the fort, check the East gate first, as it has a barricade that often protects the gate from attack for a longer time.
- The gates can all be broken by ravagers or splatters. When the gates are damaged, they can become unmovable until repaired, which emphasises the need to keep the gates closed, as mentioned above. At the East and West gates, the pests only fire if the gate is breached or open. East/West side pests do not shoot at the Void Knight from the sides of the gate. This is why it is important to attack the South portals first whenever possible. South side portals are the portals that spawn the pests that kill the Knight quickly. As long as the East and West gates are kept repaired and closed, no damage to the Knight occurs from the sides.
- Rangers and mages are particularly useful for drawing spinners away from portals as spinners will follow but only if there is nothing blocking them from the attacking ranger or mage.
- If you want to be on defence, there are four places you should look at. They are set in order of importance.
- On the platform with the Void Knight. This is a good place for lower level players. You are within easy range of the lander in case you die, and there are always plenty of Shifters attacking the Void Knight. If there are no players here, shifters will quickly lower the knight's health, so having a few people here is always necessary.
- Outside the South gate. From here, you can close the doors after all those people who refuse to close the gate. You can also kill all the defilers and torchers that are firing over the walls. Do not waste your time on those who are stuck outside of the gate and cannot fire unless there are no other tasks that need your attention. The South Gate is always more important to defend than the east or west gates because the pests from both the south-east and south-west portals will attack from there. Their magic and range attacks can fire over the wall and kill your knight if not dealt with.
- If the East or West gate is broken and you did not bring an axe and hammer to repair the gate, stand just at the gate on the South square. You will block any Defilers and Torchers entering the area. The rest will line up in a polite little line waiting for you to kill them. If you stand in the right place, only the one in the front will be able to attack. If someone is standing in front of the line, hit each other monster in the line so they all start attacking you. Then when the first in line dies, all the rest are attacking you instead of the Void Knight. Make sure to kill all splatters and ravagers as soon as they show up, or they will damage the gate and make your job a lot harder!
- An effective strategy to reduce the damage on the knight is to deliberately distract every monster you can. If you can hit the pest before it "sees" the Void Knight and starts firing, the monster will shift its attention to you - which means it is ignoring the Knight. Protecting the Knight is the objective, not protecting yourself from dying. Meleers covering the south east and south west portals should attack ranger pests before they start firing at the knight, if done right, they will attack the meleer instead of the knight.This is helpful if you are defending the knight from shifters.
- Try different attack styles on each type and strength of monster. Most of the monsters are much weaker to the defence style than to attack or strength.
- Turn off auto-retaliate in your attack options. If the option is on, your character will run around randomly responding to being hit through the air. This makes your character much harder to control, should several monsters attack from different directions.
- A seldom used method to defend the knight is by using a Brawler to block the southern gate. As long as it is blocking the gate or is on the southern stairs, all incoming Shifters, Defilers and Torchers will be unable to attack the Knight. However, if it is moved or killed, all pests that were blocked will unleash their attacks on the knight.
- The Void Knight will weaken the shields of the portals in one of six possible orders. They are:
No. First Second Third Last 1 Blue
- Note that the Red (South west) portal is never dropped first. If the first portal dropped is purple, then the red portal will always be dropped last. The same can be said for the yellow and blue portals, respectively. Knowing what portal(s) to head to after the previous one helps reduce both time and energy wasted going back and forth.
- When attacking a portal, stand in front of it, one step to the left/right of the middle. This location is strategic because it allows the player to directly attack any Spinners that spawn, without worrying about brawlers blocking the way, since they will just appear on top of the player. It also allows other players to clearly see if a spinner has spawned. Player positioning can also be used to the team's advantage as enemies will cluster around the portal when they, upon spawning, do not have a clear path towards the fort. If you are low on health, standing behind a portal can protect you, as long as there is another player in front of the portal.
- Kill spinners. Spinners will quickly heal the life points of a portal, so must be dealt with as fast as possible. If the portal is gaining health, it means there is a spinner that has not been killed yet. Spinners make a specific sound with healing the portal, so when there is no spinner in sight, use the Right Click menu to pick the spinners out of the hordes of monsters that often accumulate in front of the portal. Upon being attacked, spinners may sometimes shift focus to the player, but mostly they will return to healing the portal. Any spinners on a portal that is destroyed will explode and poison nearby players, so it is not necessary to kill them. Note: A common reason for losing a game is a spinner getting trapped in front of the portal, and one or more Brawlers blocking access to the spinner. When this happens, attack the Brawler until it changes its focus from the player who caused this problem to you. Once the brawler is facing you, walk backwards and the brawler will chase you. When the brawler does this, the logjam will free up and people can then deal with the spinner. If there are multiple brawlers, repeat until the problem is resolved. This usually happens on the Purple portal when someone keeps pushing the monsters toward the portal rather than killing them closer to the gate.
- Use prayer bonuses appropriate to the style of combat used. In an offensive game, it helps to equip gear that increases offensive capabilities at the expense of defence.
- Ancient Magicks are very useful, since you can target multiple enemies with some of the spells. This is particularly useful in situations where Spinners are out of reach from melee players. However, the runes required are very expensive, and you only get half the normal amount of experience during Pest Control.
- Ranging with Chinchompas is very effective at Pest Control as it hits multiple targets in multiple squares. Like Ancient Magicks, this is very effective in dealing with Portals with piles of enemies. Also like Ancient Magicks, the high cost of obtaining them and the reduced experience you get from pests make this a tactic only for the very rich player.
- The towers are rarely used in this game, but the ideal team will have 6 high level mages or rangers in the towers to pick off unreachable spinners or brawlers. Also a thing to do is to get a mage or ranger to kill a splatter that is near a monster to kill them both, have 3 high level melee players with the Void Knight, and the rest of players attacking a portal (attack them all together). It should be noted that splatters' detonation would hit players on top of the tower provided that the are close enough. Shifters could also teleport themselves and rarely brawlers onto the towers.
- Being a monster itself, each portal has a weakness which makes attack easier. The blue (East) portal is weak to Magic attacks. The purple (West) is weak to ranged attacks. The yellow (south-east) portal is weak to melee slash. The red (south-west) portal is weak to melee crush.
- In an offensive PC game, monitor your hits and keep an eye on the other portals. The main point is to reach 50 hits before the game is over. When large numbers of high level players attack the portal, switching to another enemy may produce enough hits to reach 500, without adversely impacting the time to close the portal.
- When ranging a portal and using an Ava's device, to retrieve your arrows for certain portals stand on the south western sides to save time in not having to grab your arrows. If you so chose to pick your arrows up they can be grabbed from the south-western corner of all portals. This also allows for a player to be in a safe spot from monsters except for the eastern portal where one will be in the open and still be a target for monster attacks.
- Ruby bolts (e) provide useful when ranging if there are no higher level players to help kill portals. These allow for a player with at least 46 range to achieve high hits such as 500 (400 when in the level 40 boat game) on a portal when it is at full health.
Pest Control clans
- Pest Control clans are a group of players that play the minigame as a group. The style of PC game depends on the offensive and defence capabilities of the team, so PC clans tend to cluster around a certain range of combat levels.
- When the balance of a PC clan is disturbed, such as when a group of lower levels wanting to play the game, the players of a clan tend to "hop" to another RuneScape world. Usually the clan uses a scout to select a world and all players migrate to the new world. Communication between clan members used to be very low to non-existent. In those cases, the private messages are turned to friends and even can be completely off when the Pest Control clan uses another communication channel (such as IRC) to announce world changes. Following the addition of clan chat this problem was fixed.
- The landing boat lands on the North Side of the island, so new players are often confused and do not realise that South is in front of the boat, People are instructed to "Go East" or "Go West", then people go in the opposite direction. Telling people colours of portals is less likely to cause confusion.
- Not all players are experienced in the game. Give them advice if they ask.
- A lower combat player in a purely offensive game still can help by dealing with spinners around the portal. This can allow the attackers to concentrate on the portal.
- Using Pest Control to gain experience in ranged, strength, magic, attack or defence can leave a player with less Constitution experience than usual. When considering gaining experience in any of these skills using Pest Control if you are planning to remain at a "normal" Constitution level you will need to use roughly 1 point on LP for every 3 used on any aforementioned Combat Skill.
- If prayer is trained using Pest Control saving the money gained in game can supplement your prayer experience if buying Dragon bones with the money gained. This method can almost double experience gain for prayer provided that the player wins most games.
- It is recommended to use potions for offensive combat stats along with prayers, in order to utilise the fact that there's no penalty for dying or using prayer, as it resets every death or new round. The money gained from playing may outweigh the cost of potions if winning frequently. Combat potions are extremely helpful here.
- Since Prayer points refill at the end of a game, be sure to use stat boosting prayers like Piety, Turmoil, etc.