"Nerf inevitable": Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree players around the world are dunking on bosses using the DLC's absurd new dueling shields

Elden Ring DLC dueling shield
(Image credit: FromSoftware / Bandai Namco)

If overpowered perfume and cheesy spells aren't your thing, maybe the latest and safest Shadow of the Erdtree insta-win button will win you over. It turns out Elden Ring's new dueling shields can destroy even the toughest bosses almost one-sidedly, with little to no room for counterplay or user error. 

There are two dueling shields in Shadow of the Erdtree – spiked shields which can attack while defending – with the Carian Thrusting Shield being the stronger pick. You'll find it in Shadow Keep just past the Storehouse Site of Grace, by a table near a Fire Knight. Juice that thing to +25, slap on whatever damage affinity suits your build – bleed remains a spicy pick – equip it with both hands, and you've basically got this build figured out. 

You could optimize it with higher endurance and stamina, Physick tears for stamina regeneration or cost negation, the Scholar's Shield Sorcery to improve guarding, and talismans like the Two-Handed Sword Talisman or Greatshield Talisman for good measure. You'll take a bit of chip damage through the shield, so some health regen is also nice. But the gist of the build is this: two-hand the shield and then spam light attacks while blocking. YouTuber Scott Jund lays it out in helpful detail, but the best bit is probably this clip of him winning fights by holding block and then banging the attack button into his forehead. 

A Japanese Twitter user concocted a similar build, and their fight against Rellana likewise demonstrates how foolproof this strategy can be. "Nerf inevitable," their post reckons (machine translated). They also rightly speculate that dueling shields as a whole are bugged and not taking stamina damage correctly, which seems mighty plausible looking at footage like this. 

And yes, it works against the final boss, even when you literally aren't using a controller.

If you can manage your stamina and press two buttons at once, you can embarrass anything in the game, up to and including the final boss, with this shield build. I slapped together a version of it myself, and it really is as simple as it looks. The more you lean into it, boosting your stamina and defenses and poke damage, the easier it gets. Is it fun? Debatable. But is it effective? Oh yeah. 

You don't need Scadutree Blessings to beat Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, as long as you're prepared to match this streamer's 516-death, 16-hour attempt at the final boss.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.