Elden Ring is full of captivating enemies, many of them awe-inspiring and grotesque. Malenia and Radahn are obvious examples of formidable foes in the Lands Between that players have fallen in love with, but there’s another, more humble enemy roaming around Limgrave that has somehow captured the hearts of the game’s community. It’s the first optional boss, a soldier so bland and unassuming you probably forgot all about him by now. But to some players, the Soldier of Godrick is much more than just some random dude who gives you a rough-and-tumble lesson in Elden Ring’s combat mechanics at the start of your journey as a wretched Tarnished. Buoyed by the ardent affection of his followers, this brave warrior has become a meme, with some players jokingly calling him the hardest boss ever and one in particular invading others’ games dressed up as him.
The Soldier of Godrick is an optional boss you can encounter after getting wrecked by the spider-like Grafted Scion once you start Elden Ring. You fight him at the end of the Stranded Graveyard, a tutorial dungeon players were skipping so much FromSoftware had to patch in a pop-up message pointing to it. He’s not that hard. Serving as the game’s introductory boss battle, he’s slow, has lots of telegraphed attacks, and isn’t as aggressive or relentless as other enemies — like those stupid imps. Still, this is a FromSoft game. Anything can cleave you in half if you’re not paying attention, which is what happened to one player who got whooped by him for over an hour. While a few players were already Soldier of Godrick groupies, this video seemingly stoked the tiny flame of adoration and memeification within the community into a blazing fire.
In an April 10 video uploaded by Souls YouTuber Amazing Chest, he featured the results of a contest in which he’d challenged Elden Ring stans to kill as many bosses as possible in one single hour for a $US2500 ($3,471) grand prize. One submission he received, from a player named YungBreezyGawd, was particularly unusual. This player spent the entire allotted hour battling — and ultimately defeating — the Soldier of Godrick as a Wretch, one of the game’s most difficult starting classes because of its weak gear and stats. It was a hilariously odd fight. Amazing Chest estimated that the Soldier of Godrick stomped YungBreezyGawd at least 60 times, and wasn’t sure whether the player was trolling him or not, but included the submission anyway because he thought YungBreezyGawd’s heroic struggle was “inspiring.” Little did Amazing Chest know that his video, and YungBreezyGawd’s submission in particular, would galvanize the fanbase around the noble knight who’s just trying to teach you some basics.
“I’m still not entirely sure if I was being trolled or not? But I really liked [YungBreezyGawd’s] submission because I feel like it represents everything [the Souls community] stands for,” Amazing Chest told Kotaku. “And that’s a big part of the reason I got into FromSoftware’s games myself. Trying over and over again despite constant setbacks. Pushing forward even though you’re this tiny force in a huge world full of monsters 10 times your size. It’s really inspiring stuff, even if it is a meme now.”
Since Amazing Chest’s video — and even a few days before it was uploaded — the Elden Ring fanbase has been championing and memeing the Soldier of Godrick. From calling him the hardest boss that totally needs a nerf to seeing how he stacks up against significantly tougher enemies, the community has fallen head over heels for the humble tutorial warrior. There were veteran players, like Souls badass Ongbal who’s known for flawlessly crushing FromSoft jerks, getting their shit rocked by the Soldier of Godrick. A few had shared their restrictive, “no-hit” runs against him. Some have even asked for help, claiming they couldn’t beat him after 10 hours. But none took their obsession as far as PlayerPhase, a player who’s been invading folks as the spitting image of the lonely soldier.
I’ve been invading with the Soldier of Godrick cosplay. While trying to attack like the Soldier boss itself, it’s been really funny. pic.twitter.com/fGdYSdJV04
— Navi (@PlayerPhase) April 28, 2022
PlayerPhase, inspired by the “absurdity” of the memes for this pretty easy boss, respecced one of his four Tarnished to resemble the Soldier of Godrick. He geared himself up in all of the soldier’s garb, including equipping himself with the same sword the Soldier of Godrick uses, and set out to fight other Tarnished online, as well as confronting various bosses around the Lands Between as the Soldier of Godrick. Literally, as he even mimicked the warrior’s fighting style. The result was some funny encounters of PlayerPhase whooping hella arse.
My idea of a challenge run is trying to beat Malenia in a full Soldier of Godrick cosplay (yes, really). pic.twitter.com/4yHPZNamQ9
— Navi (@PlayerPhase) April 28, 2022
“For the Soldier of Godrick build I was going through New Game+ on my main character and just thought it’d be entertaining to challenge myself for most of the endgame fights,” PlayerPhase told Kotaku. “Was trying bow only or other stuff at first, but then I was a bit inspired by a video from Amazing Chest on YouTube. So I ended up switching my main character’s name to match the soldier, and tried my hand at Malenia and did some PvP on the side before finally switching the character back. I believe I was around level 200 or so at the time, definitely above the predefined ‘meta dueling level’ of the community. Which made it even harder to actually win any duels because I was limiting myself to how I thought the boss would move and act. Just made those few and far between wins even more hilarious, having players trade hits or get their rolls caught in a follow up attack they weren’t expecting to come out. Some players even played along with the meme, using emotes like ‘Grovel for Mercy’ when I entered their world. It’s really fun to see!”
And he may not be the only one who has taken up the mantle of Soldier of Godrick, either. One player posted a video on Reddit in which, after being invaded by someone other than PlayerPhase who is also committing Soldier of Godrick identity theft, they groveled for mercy before flinging themselves to their death out of sheer fear of facing the Soldier in battle. Whether a real encounter or a staged bit between friends, it speaks to the growing reputation of the Soldier of Godrick as the Keyser Söze of the Lands Between.
I understand all the adoration. There’s something comforting about the Soldier of Godrick. I mean, this is the Lands Between, a desolate and frightening world full of rude boys that desperately wanna spill your blood. Yet here’s the unpretentious Soldier of Godrick. He’s just some dude, but he charges you head-on, proving that nothing, not even the imminent Elden Lord, is too tough for an iron will. In this way, the Soldier of Godrick represents the everyplayer, the idea that anyone can beat FromSoft’s games with a little luck and a lotta determination. It’s a heartwarming sentiment. He’s also the first boss you can actually beat without much hassle, which instills both joy in the game and confidence in your skills. Maybe it’s all just trolling by players with nothing better to do, but Amazing Chest loves these strange fandoms all the same.
“I love that people have rallied behind YungBreezyGawd’s performance in the form of this meme,” Amazing Chest said. “I like how the difficulty of this game brings us all together. It’s one of my favourite things about this community.”
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