Sprawling soul borne Elden Ring was one of the best games I’ve played this year. It took the crown at The Game Awards and was probably our team’s most played game of 2022. This amazing game also introduced us to the best gamer of 2022, a Good Samaritan who risked his life a thousand times for complete strangers in The Countries Between.
Let Me Solo Her, the naked Elden Ring player who wears a pot as a helmet and wields two swords, helped Tarnished immensely to defeat the toughest boss in the game, and did it in the most impressive way. His prowess sparked tons of fan art, memes, impostors, and social media praise. As Wes Fenlon said when his name started to gain popularity in April, he was the first “Elden Ring legendary player”. (opens in new tab),” and since then absolutely no one has taken his place. (Although MissMikkaa (opens in new tab)a streamer playing two instances of Elden Ring simultaneously, one on a DDR pad, certainly deserves a nod for the foot-eye coordination.)
To understand how ridiculously good Let Me Solo Her is, you need to understand how the Malenia combat works. She’s pretty deep into the game’s second half, deep into the roots of a failed attempt at a second Erdtree; an optional battle similar to FromSoftware’s previous punishing duels with Bloodborne’s Lady Maria and Dark Souls 3’s Sister Friede.
Malenia wields a long curved sword and the scarlet rot that has tainted her since birth. Unlike the status effect you may encounter in the swamps that depletes your health, Malenia’s scarlet rot affliction is beneficial to her. Every attack she makes on you (or a summoned player) returns her large chunks of health. FromSoftware has you facing bosses that could heal before, but it’s rare for them to be this aggressive. Malenia’s infamous Waterfowl Dance move is a tornado of sword sweeps. If it hits you, you’re probably dead, but even if it doesn’t terminate you, it’ll probably repair all the damage you’ve done to her.
Since so many boss fights in Elden Ring are about using up your healing and damage resources before they run out, getting hit by a waterfowl dance that doesn’t kill you is often just as bad as dying – it effectively restarts the fight.
Reddit user spacemanticore (opens in new tab) went into the game’s animation files and showed how incredibly small the window is to dodge it. If you know the trick, it can be avoided, but on top of her other attacks, it’s still a brutal fight. And that’s just the first stage. After you defeat Malenia once, she rises again and blossoms into the Goddess of Rot, grows wings and quickly darts across the room.
Malenia quickly gained notoriety when players started seeing her back in late February. While most battles in Elden Ring can be resolved by summoning other players, given Malenia’s sheer difficulty and self-healing mechanism, even co-op didn’t necessarily guarantee an easy win.
Unless you managed to pluck a legend from the summoning pool.
He’ll take care of it
Let Me Solo Her made beating Malenia his day job. Armed with an Uchigatana and a Rivers of Blood, Let Me Solo Her offered its services to struggling players every day for several months. His only request was that his short-lived friends stay behind and let him handle it.
At the time, few people had any idea that this one player had studied all of Malenia’s attacks so hard that he could fight the fight almost flawlessly. Reddit user sazed813 (opens in new tab) thanked Let Me Solo Her in April, which led to the warrior himself posting his own thread (opens in new tab).
“I’ve helped countless tainted people in their quest to defeat Malenia by getting naked, except for a pot on my head,” wrote Let Me Solo Her, aka Reddit user KleinTusboiOW, alongside a screenshot of the cutscene showing his sparse dressed character. “My plate will be down as always for desperate Tarnished :)”
He lifted players out of desperation in their darkest moment and word of his selfless deeds spread throughout the Elden Ring community and gaming at large. Let Me Solo Her fan art and cosplay filled the feeds, people shared screenshots and footage (opens in new tab) from the moment they encountered him, and some even tried to imitate him (opens in new tab). There was even a mod (opens in new tab) which allows you to summon a weaker, AI-controlled version of him.
Only in a FromSoftware game would a man in his underwear be praised as a god. Let Me Solo Her outgrew Elden Ring and became an internet celebrity in her own right. He started answering questions on Reddit, set up his own Twitch and YouTube, and eventually livestreamed his 1,000th Malenia kill (opens in new tab) for thousands of viewers.
Turn the table of our legend ❤️🥰I’m finally done with this fan art project I started several months ago after enjoying the beautiful and dark world of Elden Ring. 🥰High resolution images on my Artstation:https://t.co/Icsojb9EmT#letmesoloher#eldenring #zbrush pic.twitter.com/FtLz2uKNuRAugust 7, 2022
New artwork, new thumbnail for @VaatiVidya. With some jar dudes 👀 pic.twitter.com/0u8Nt49srNJune 29, 2022
Malenia who? #EldenRing pic.twitter.com/5VROrdkkGfJuly 4, 2022
You played Malenia solo, you can rest now… #ELDENRING pic.twitter.com/BTPDEozhMrApril 22, 2022
Thank you so much for the painted model @waltersworkshop! It looks great and I love the decal too 😀 pic.twitter.com/sPWodAcpm4May 9, 2022
I choose you #LetMeSoloHer #pixelart #ELDENRING #EldenRingFanart pic.twitter.com/ddyuTCz9gkApril 25, 2022
“It’s an ongoing tradition of Soulsborne games that the naked players are the most powerful creatures in the game,” he told IGN. (opens in new tab). “Why wear armor if you don’t intend to get hit at all? And the pot is a good luck charm from the Iron Fist Alexander character (opens in new tab) which I admire.”
A hibernating hero
Let Me Solo Her’s commitment to helping others succeed is beyond anything we’ve seen in video games this year. While we were all still exploring the depths of Elden Ring or moving on to other games, Let Me Solo Her was standing at the fog door waiting for his next job.
I chatted with him a bit in July, before he did a stream where he turned the tables and let viewers beat every boss for him (opens in new tab). Turns out, Let Me Solo Her is a regular Overwatch support player – a fact that doesn’t surprise me at all. Only a support player would stand boldly between his ally and one of the toughest bosses in modern video games.
But he also made it seem like the fame was starting to wear on him. Let Me Solo Her said loads of people started calling him out just because they were fans. “Some just want to see me in action, which is fine, but I’d rather help random people struggling with Malenia,” he said.
He said he began to feel “burnt out or bored at times” with Elden Ring. It is logical. Most of us can only play a game for so long without wanting something new. He was eager to drop the inevitable DLC with possible new challenges, planning to play other games in the meantime.
These days, it seems Let Me Solo Her has largely hung the pot. I’ve seen his Discord gaming activity over the past few months and Elden Ring hasn’t been listed there in a while, or at least as much as he was at his peak. And if there’s no DLC announcement yet, it could be a while before he’s back in action.
Heroes like Let Me Solo Her don’t come around very often. Certainly not the ones that are so popular that the developer of the game sent him a real sword. That’s why he’s the best gamer of 2022: a player with the tenacity and courage to pick up lesser players and carry them on his back while battling it out with a demigod. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his own reference in the next FromSoftware game.
If Elden Ring reminded us this year that open-world games can still be engaging, Let Me Solo Her reminded us that there are still people out there committed to helping others. Let Me Solo Her is who we should all be – clothed or not.