Malenia, Blade of Miquella is generally considered the hardest boss to defeat in Elden Ring. That comes down to a variety of factors: she can steal HP with every attack, conjure a wave of Scarlet Rot in a wide radius, and unleash the Waterfowl Dance, a series of lightning-fast sword slashes in an anime-inspired flurry. They’re all tricky, but that least one gives players a particular amount of grief.
In fact, a new fan poll has crowned the Waterfowl Dance as the “hardest move to dodge in the Souls series.” ResetEra user jman1954goat created the poll on the popular gaming forum, and as of the time of this writing, more than half of 200 voters agree that it is indeed the toughest move FromSoftware has constructed. Just over a quarter of the voters say it’s not the hardest but still very difficult to dodge, and the remaining percentage claim it’s easy to avoid. jman1954goat created the poll as a result of being stuck in Malenia’s first phase “for hours,” so while it was likely posted to the forum in a heated moment, it still reflects the frustration many players feel during the fight. Replies in the thread are largely in agreement with jman1954goat’s sentiment. Some even see it as the sole reason for the fight’s difficulty.
The Waterfowl Dance is part of the reason why an earlier ResetEra post imagined what the Malenia fight would be like in Sekiro rather than Elden Ring. It brought up the concept of counters and pointed out that a particular attack from Sekiro’s Isshin Ashina even seems to be a predecessor to the Waterfowl Dance.
This is yet another moment for Malenia to stand out amongst the Elden Ring roster. The boss has been the subject of many mods and other creations. She’s been pitted against every major boss in the game, dueled with Geralt of Rivia, and even been turned into a Dungeons & Dragons boss with a fan-made stat block.