Elite rune dragons appear occasionally while the player is killing regular rune dragons. When one appears, a flashing arrow will indicate where it is, and will fight the player only, unless three minutes have passed without the player attacking it, or if they teleport out of the area. When either of the conditions are met, any player can attack the elite rune dragon.
Elite rune dragons share the same mechanics as their normal variants, but boast higher combat stats. Care should be taken in longer encounters during its enrage phase, as they can reach the point of easily killing a player in one hit.
The Kethsi ring and Kethsi outfit scroll is only dropped by Elite rune dragons. Slayer tasks have no effect on Elite rune dragons thus it is possible to obtain the boot upgrades or Kethsi drops whilst off task.
The dragon will begin flying, meaning melee is not an option. If the dragon was damaged below the threshold it will heal back to 69,424. The dragon will stop using melee attacks and its standard dragonfire will be replaced with its enhanced one.
Throughout this phase, the rune dragon may breathe a bright blue plume of enhanced dragonfire onto your character, dealing 450 magic damage. This attack will still deal a portion of its full damage even if the player is protected by a super anti-fire or wyrmfire potion. However, if the player is far enough from the dragon, a small cloud appears under the player indicating the enhanced dragonfire is being used and can be avoided by moving away from it.
As of 22 June 2015, there is a rare chance that an Elite rune dragon will spawn with the name "Barry", which is a reference to a player-named max-enraged Elite rune dragon that was spawned on the day of release and 1-hit killed 32 players.