Sprawling soulsborne Elden Ring was one of the best games I played this year. It took the crown at The Game Awards, and was probably our team's most-played game of 2022. This great game also introduced us to the greatest gamer of 2022, a Good Samaritan who put his life on the line a thousand times for total strangers in The Lands Between.
Let Me Solo Her, the naked Elden Ring player who wears a pot for a helmet and wields two swords, helped heaps of Tarnished defeat the game's toughest boss, and did it in the most impressive way. His prowess spawned tons of fan art, memes, imposters, and praise across social media. As Wes Fenlon said when his name started to gain traction back in April, he was Elden Ring's first "legendary player (opens in new tab)," and since then, absolutely nobody has taken his place. (Though MissMikkaa (opens in new tab), a streamer who played two instances of Elden Ring simultaneously, one on a DDR pad, certainly deserves a nod for foot-eye coordination.)
To understand how ridiculously good Let Me Solo Her is, you need to know how the Malenia fight works. She's located pretty deep into the game's second half, down in the roots of a failed attempt at a second Erdtree; an optional fight that resembles 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's infected her since she was born. Unlike the status effect you can encounter in the swamps that drains your health, Malenia's scarlet rot affliction is beneficial to her. Any attack that she lands on you (or a summoned player) gives her back large chunks of health. FromSoftware has made you confront bosses who could heal before, but it's rare they're this aggressive. Malenia's infamous Waterfowl Dance attack is a tornado of sword swipes. If it hits you, you're probably dead, but even if it doesn't end you it'll likely heal back all the damage you did to her.
Because so many boss fights in Elden Ring are about utilizing 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 demonstrated how unbelievably 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 only the first phase. After you down Malenia once, she gets back up and blossoms into the goddess of rot, grows wings, and quickly darts around the room.
Malenia quickly gained infamy as players started to encounter her back in late February. While most fights in Elden Ring can be solved by summoning in other players, given Malenia's sheer difficulty and self-heal mechanic, even co-op didn't necessarily guarantee an easy win.
Unless you managed to pluck a legend from the summoning pool, that is.
He'll handle it
Let Me Solo Her turned defeating Malenia into his day job. Armed with an Uchigatana and a Rivers of Blood, Let Me Solo Her offered his services to struggling players every day for several months. His only request was that his ephemeral friends stay back and let him handle it.
At the time, few people had any idea this one player had studied every one of Malenia's attacks so hard that he could do 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 been helping countless tarnished in their quest to defeat Malenia by going butt naked except for a jar on my head," Let Me Solo Her, also known as Reddit user KleinTusboiOW, wrote alongside a screenshot of the mid-fight cutscene featuring his scantily clad character. "My sign will be down for desperate Tarnished as always :)"
He lifted players up from despair in their darkest moment and word of his selfless acts surged through 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 when they ran into him, and some even tried to emulate him (opens in new tab). There was even a mod (opens in new tab) that let you summon a weaker, AI-controlled version of him.
Only in a FromSoftware game would a guy in his underwear be praised as a god. Let Me Solo Her outgrew Elden Ring and became an internet celebrity in his own right. He started answering questions on Reddit, set up his own Twitch and YouTube and eventually live streamed his 1,000th Malenia kill (opens in new tab) to thousands of viewers.
Turn table of our legend ❤️🥰I am finally done with this fanart project I started some months ago after enjoying the wonderful and dark world of Elden Ring. 🥰High res images on my Artstation:https://t.co/Icsojb9EmT#letmesoloher#eldenring #zbrush pic.twitter.com/FtLz2uKNuRAugust 7, 2022
New artwork, new thumbnail for @VaatiVidya. Featuring some jar-dudes 👀 pic.twitter.com/0u8Nt49srNJune 29, 2022
Malenia who?#EldenRing pic.twitter.com/5VROrdkkGfJuly 4, 2022
You have soloed Malenia, you can rest now... #ELDENRING pic.twitter.com/BTPDEozhMrApril 22, 2022
Thank you so much for the painted model @waltersworkshop! It looks amazing and I love the sticker as well :D pic.twitter.com/sPWodAcpm4May 9, 2022
I choose you #LetMeSoloHer #pixelart #ELDENRING #EldenRingFanart pic.twitter.com/ddyuTCz9gkApril 25, 2022
"It is a running tradition of Soulsborne games that the naked players are the most powerful beings in the game," he told IGN (opens in new tab). "Why wear armor if you don't plan on getting hit at all? And the pot is a good luck charm from the character Iron Fist Alexander (opens in new tab) whom I admire."
A hero in hibernation
Let Me Solo Her's devotion to helping others succeed goes beyond anyone else we've seen in videogames this year. While all of us were still exploring the depths of Elden Ring or moving on to other games, Let Me Solo Her was standing near 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 defeat 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 one bit. Only a support player would courageously stand in between his ally and one of the hardest bosses in modern videogames.
But he also made it seem like the fame was starting to wear on him. Let Me Solo Her said tons of people started to summon him just because they were fans. "Some of them just want to see me in action, which is fine but I would rather help random people who have been struggling with Malenia," he said.
He said he started to "feel burned out or bored sometimes," with Elden Ring. It makes sense. Most of us can only play any one game for so long without wanting something new. He was eager for the inevitable DLC to drop with potential new challenges to face, and planned to play other games in the meantime.
These days, it seems Let Me Solo Her has mostly hung up the jar. I've seen his Discord game activity over the past few months and Elden Ring hasn't been listed there for a while, or at least as much as it was at his peak. And without a DLC announcement yet, it might be a while before he's back in action.
Heroes like Let Me Solo Her don't come around often. Certainly not ones that are so popular that the developer of the game sent him an actual sword. That's why he's the greatest gamer of 2022: a player with the perseverance and courage to pick up lesser players and carry them on his back as he duked 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 captivating, Let Me Solo Her reminded that there are still people who dedicate themselves to helping others. Let Me Solo Her is who we should all strive to be—fully clothed or not.