Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-03-16 14:13 JST)
The delay between when enemies in Elden Ring enter their attacking motion and actually release their attacks is being discussed among fans. Bosses tormenting players by trying to bait out punishable moves has even become a worldwide meme for players.
This article makes mention of attack patterns for some bosses, so please be aware of potential spoilers.
Elden Ring is the latest action RPG from FromSoftware. The game features difficult combat with each attack from a boss being a life-or-death situation. And if you don’t make good use of dodge rolls, guard counters, and jumps, there will be a lot of deaths waiting for you in the game.
When enemies in Elden Ring attack, they have movements beforehand that act as a tell. You’ll see things like large windups or flashy effects that coincide with high damaging attacks. Players use these movements to help time their dodges or brace their defenses. But there are some enemies that will hold their pre-attack position, as if to tease players by delaying the attack.
A great example of a delayed attack is Margit’s downward slash, an attack where Margit raises its sword and slams it down on their foe. Sometimes Margit slams the sword down right away, and other times it holds the sword at the ready while following the player. If the player panics and makes a careless dodge roll, Margit will punish the move as if to say, “that’s what I was waiting for.”
Other FromSoftware games have had enemies that make use of delayed attacks, but the number of them in Elden Ring is considerably high. Many players have tasted the fear and pain of these delayed attacks to the point that it’s even become a meme on social media.
Posts about delayed attacks can be seen here and there on the /r/Eldenring subreddit. The post below describes an enemy’s attack pattern as “1—2—3456789101112————–13,” an exaggerated but comical way to describe waiting on a delayed attack.
Another comment in the thread described a certain boss’s seemingly endless combo as “123456789—101112131415—16171819-20.” Other players pointed out the “———————-1” pattern, likely in reference to Margit’s sudden downward strike after a long delay. Some even mentioned a “—————————–” pattern for Margit. In other words, Margit will ready an attack, make the player wait, but never actually go through with the attack. We can see an example of this in the video below, with the poster describing the movement by saying, “it looks like he’s doing a sick dance move.”
The topic of delayed attacks has also been rising on Twitter in Japan, where if you search “エルデンリング ディレイ (Elden Ring delay),” you’ll see the suffering it’s putting many players through. Designer and manga artist Nishio Nanora also posted a funny comic about Margit’s delayed attack that made a splash with both English and Japanese speaking fans.
We can see Reddit users mentioning the Dark Souls III boss Nameless King, who also tortured many a player with delayed attacks. One user even commented that “every boss in Elden Ring so far is Nameless King.” Another posted a meme describing FromSoftware as wanting to milk the Nameless King mechanic after seeing players struggle so much with it. A lot of players do actually seem to think that Elden Ring’s increased use of delayed attacks was motivated by the Nameless King, though.
Starscourge Radahn is another example being given of a boss with a difficult attack pattern. One Reddit user posted a meme that asks Radahn, “When do I get to hit you?” to which Radahn responds, “that’s the neat part. You don’t.” Players going through the game using melee builds can be seen commiserating in the comments. For players opting for close combat, Radahn can stop you dead in your tracks with delayed attacks, high attack power, and extensive range.
Images like this one show just how much trouble players are having dealing with delayed attacks. The video platform bilibili which is popular in Asia also had a video posted to it that recreates this Elden Ring experience in real life. The video has also been spreading around the English-speaking world, showing the experience of being a battle worn Tarnished is universal. Sharing and laughing about the struggle may yet be another way to enjoy Elden Ring.