After nearly three weeks with the game, Elden Ring players had found some extremely effective ways to break it, using OP builds to smash challenging bosses like Malenia as well as other players in PVP invasions. FromSoft took notice, however, and nerfed some of the most popular builds in a massive 1.03 patch that went live overnight. Now players will have to find replacements for strats based around Mimic Tear, Hoarfrost Stomp, and other previously game-changing items and abilities.
Mimic Tear was by far the most effective. A Spirit Ash summon found in Elden Ring’s Eternal City region, it lets players call forth an exact replica of themselves that would go on a fight by their side. Because it copied a player’s exact build, but was AI-controlled, players could deck themselves out in their most powerful gear, use the summon, and then revert back to their preferred loadout while the mimic then rampaged in front of them distracting bosses. It became a go-to technique for beating most of the game’s bosses, including one of its hardest, Malenia, Blade of Miquella.
After the latest patch though, the Mimic Tear summon’s damage was severely reduced. One player on the Elden Ring subreddit who tested it estimated the nerf was roughly 50%. At the same time, they said the mimic played a bit smarter and dodged more. But it’s definitely less effective at just spamming powerful spells over and over.
Hoarfrost Stomp was another favorite. The melee skill found near the Liurnia of the Lakes had both high DPS and area-of-effect damage. Using it repeatedly would also inflict frost on enemies. It was an all-in-one crowd control machine great for farming enemy spawns and for wrecking other players in invasions. Last night’s patch nerfed its damage by seemingly half and increased the cast time. “I got it literally minutes before closing and applying patch,” wrote one player. “Didn’t even get to use it. Still wrecked people in pvp but not like I got rekt by it yesterday.”
The patch did, thankfully, fix one unique exploit players had been using to ruin PvP. The Deathblight build combined the Eclipse Shotel weapon with the Fire’s Deadly Sin incantation to build up the death ailment quickly on opposing players and sometimes trap them in repeating backstab animations. The Elden Ring community was split on whether it was a bug or a legitimate part of the game, but it’s now no more. Some PvP players unaware the exploit was patched out have still been trying to deploy it, only to be quickly cut down when it doesn’t work.
Sword of Night and Flame was another build some considered broken. Located in the Caria Manor, the weapon’s Night-and-Flame Stance skill allowed players to follow up an attack with a Comet Azur sorcery to cause lots of ranged fire damage. It could devastate unsuspecting PvP players, but was also easily countered by those who knew what they were doing. In PvE, meanwhile, it was another OP ability players were having fun with. The latest patch still nerfed it, however. The Moonveil katana wasn’t mentioned in the patch notes at all, but it was also apparently stealth-patched to lengthen its combat animation.
This is where things get tricky with making sweeping changes to a game some players treat mostly as an offline, single-player experience. “Literally just got that Sword of Night and Flame last night in Elden Ring, since I couldn’t find a weapon I liked,’ one player wrote on Twitter. “Poured *every resource I had into it* since I heard it was good, and then I was told to update my game. Turns out the update nerfed it into the ground.”
While some of patch 1.03 added new content or fixed existing broken quests, a lot of it re-balanced the game the way you would expect someone to treat a live-service title. Irrespective of whether the tweaks themselves are good or not, it’s definitely something players will have to contend with, assuming FromSoftware has more changes in mind down the road. For now, some players are coping in the only way they know how: desperately searching for the next OP builds to exploit.