Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree players are sleepwalking through bossfights with the DLC's silly, pointy shields

 A player Tarnished attacks an enemy with a swipe from a thrusting shield.
Credit: From Software

One of Elden Ring's greatest joys is the freedom it provides for exploring different philosophies of combat. Maybe you favor the tried-and-true strategy of hitting things with extremely large swords. Maybe you delight in the arts of high wizardry, measured in laser beams and hurled boulders. The options are endless—but they're also wrong. Thanks to the new thrusting shields from Shadow of the Erdtree, players are discovering that they've been wasting their time finding the best builds for blood loss or Frenzied Flame incantations. Instead, they should've been asking one question: What if I was attacking while I was blocking?

Shadow of the Erdtree introduced two thrusting shields, a new weapon type based on a simple concept: blocking things is great, but blocking things would be better if it didn't keep you from hitting things. Presumably aided by the guidance of some divine benefactor, FromSoft designed the ultimate weapon to finally answer that age-old conundrum—by which I mean they made  shields what got pointy bits on them so you can poke guys while you're blocking their hits.

If you wield a thrusting shield two-handed, you're able to attack while holding the block button, allowing you to safely spam light attacks and only suffer little bits of chip damage in exchange. The two thrusting shields, both of which are located in the DLC's Shadow Keep dungeon, can be freely modified to suit your damage type and scaling tastes. Better still, they pick up extra counterattack damage from the Spear Talisman, and because you'll be two-handing them, they benefit from the Two-Handed Sword Talisman's damage boost, too

As players on the Elden Ring subreddit have noticed, the thrusting shields are extremely potent—too potent, perhaps, particularly when you've got some stamina regen and guard-improving effects in play. Because it allows attacking without risk or concern, players are claiming that the weapon type trivializes boss fights, including some of the harder bosses of the notoriously-difficult DLC.  "Being able to just spam attacks and tank through everything only taking chip damage is insane," redditor Drstrangelove899 said, calling the weapons "absolutely busted."

Busted might be right; Tarnished who've taken the thrusting shields for a spin have noticed that they're conspicuously lenient on stamina drain. A thrusting shield testing video from YouTuber mmlubergames demonstrates that attacks blocked conventionally with a thrusting shield knock the expected chunks off your stamina bar, but attacks blocked while attacking with the safety poke only shave off tiny slivers. It's a huge disparity that lets someone wielding a thrusting shield functionally ignore almost every attack coming their way, both in PvE and PvP. I'm inclined to agree with the assessment of Japanese Twitter user @pirochanbanzai, who posted a video showing how simple thrusting shields make Rellana's fight with the Google-translated caption "Nerf inevitable."

Of course, I can only speculate whether thrusting shields are due for a healthy adjustment. If a tricky boss has you tempted to try a thrusting shield for yourself, though, you might want to do it sooner than later.