The Lands Between are full of enemies that want to see you dead. Amongst these enemies, there are some that people consider fan favorites and others that are the bane of every Elden Ring player. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best and five worst enemies in the game.

We’re defining “enemies” in this article as the standard non-boss enemies you fight throughout the game. Basically, if they don’t have a boss health bar, they’re eligible for this list.

Let’s get started!

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The 5 Best Enemies in Elden Ring

The “best” enemies in Elden Ring are the ones I enjoy fighting the most. These are enemies that feel balanced and enjoyable to fight against, while also having interesting design.

1. Godrick Knights and Soldiers

Godrick Knights and Soldiers
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Godrick Knights and Soldiers are early-game enemies that effectively represent the standard knight-type enemies encountered throughout the game. These guys offer pretty minimal challenges, but that’s by design. They’re the most basic enemies in the game, meant to teach you the most basic aspects of gameplay. Even the game’s tutorial boss, the fearful Soldier of Godrick, is a pushover that only exists to show you how to dodge basic sword attacks.

That being said, these enemies are great. Individually, they might present little to no challenge (with the exception of some of the knights), but you rarely encounter them in single numbers. When swarmed, they can be a deadly army.

Overall, they might be a simple, easy to fight enemy, but they’re an essential enemy type that is replicated at higher difficulties throughout the game.

2. Crucible Knights

Crucible Knights
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Speaking of more difficult knights, Crucible Knights are the shining example of a difficult yet rewarding knight enemy.

These enemies can be found in several late-game areas as standard enemies, and in several other places as bosses. Any time one of these guys is in the open world as a standard enemy, they prove a distinct challenge for anyone that chooses to fight them instead of running away. They always have a very large health pool, deal high damage, and have combos that can easily one-shot or stun lock.

Crucible Knights can be incredibly frustrating, but always rewarding. Dying to these guys is almost always a result of a misjudged roll, going for a hit when you shouldn’t, or some combination of the other misplays. They’re fair fights, which makes them all the more enjoyable. They also have a really interesting visual design and lore to accompany them.

3. Abductor Virgins

Abductor Virgins
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Elden Ring isn’t just about combat, but about experiencing the diverse world the game is set in. The Abductor Virgins are a perfect example of the unique kinds of strange enemies that can be found in the Lands Between.

The reason I’m including the Abductor Virgins on this list, however, is not just because they’re unique. I also actually find fighting them to be one of the most interesting experiences in the game. They are an often annoying fight and can sometimes feel random, but in a good way.

Their visual design is obviously one of the most unique in the game, resembling an iron maiden on wheels, and their variety of weapons and attacks makes sure they never become boring. These guys are absolutely ridiculous in a way only expected from FromSoft games, and they even have a funny name.

4. Trolls

Trolls
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Large enemies in FromSoft games are often hit or miss. In Elden Ring, however, I think most of the giant enemies are pretty solid. I even liked the Fire Giant, which many players considered a bad fight. But of all the large standard enemies, I think the Trolls are the best representation of this type of enemy.

Troll attacks largely consist of stomps, rolls, and the occasional sword swipe, but this is a part of the appeal. They aren’t complicated enemies, but they don’t need to be when they’re that large. Elden Ring is a massive game with a huge world, and these kinds of enemies put into perspective just how small the Tarnished is.

5. Farum Beastmen

Farum Beastmen
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

You can first find one of the Beastmen early in the game in Limgrave. At that point in the game, the Beastman is a full boss (and one of the best to get used to the game’s mechanics).

There’s a reason one of these guys is placed so early in the game — they’re almost perfectly designed. The way their attacks work, they’re possible to manage even when still new to the game, but provide a balanced challenge that lasts until the late game in Farum Azula.

The late-game version of this enemy is tough, fast, and often relentless, but (almost) always fair. They’re a perfect example of balanced aggression, variety, and enemy design. They’re also my favorite standard enemies in Elden Ring, with the boss version in Limgrave being of my favorite minor bosses.

The 5 Worst Enemies in Elden Ring

These are the enemies I avoid like the plague. These are the most hated enemies in Elden Ring, and for good reason. Each of these is poorly designed in some way, and all feel unfair to fight.

6. The Black Knife Assassin in Ordina Liturgical Town

The Black Knife Assassin in Ordina Liturgical Town
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Completing the Ordina puzzle on the way to Malenia is one of the most frustrating experiences in the game. The puzzle itself isn’t too bad, but the enemy in the area makes the puzzle feel like one of the hardest challenges available.

The Black Knife Assassin in Ordina is a problem for two major reasons: it’s invisible and it can almost one-shot you. Either one of those would be tolerable if they weren’t both a problem at once. The assassin’s grab attack is almost impossible to avoid, and if you don’t have high Vigor, it will kill you instantly and there’s nothing you can do about it.

This is a horrible experience and not one I ever look forward to, made all the more frustrating knowing the unbelievable challenge that awaits you with Melenia (even though she is incredible).

7. Bears

Bears
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Nothing in Elden Ring prepared me for these bears. We’re specifically talking about the really large ones that scratch trees before deciding to obliterate you, not the smaller ones. These bears are perhaps the most aggressive enemies in the game, do absurd damage, and are a nightmare to actually target since they jump all over the place.

One positive about the bears that I will mention is that their design is really well done, but that’s it. There’s really no reason to fight these bears, so I recommend avoiding them no matter the cost. That’s their only redeeming grace — you don’t really ever have to fight them.

8. Dogs

Dogs
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

In every Souls game, there is a common shared enemy ‚ dogs. Dogs are unpredictable, fast, and they’re everywhere. Seriously, why are there so many dogs in these games? And they’re always in the worst places.

These dogs are one of my least anticipated parts of each new Souls game, as there isn’t a single redeemable quality about them other than their small health pool. Fighting dogs is almost always an RNG fight. Sometimes they come at you one at a time and you can easily dispatch them, while others an entire pack of them backs you into a corner and stun locks you.

The worst part is FromSoft knows how much the players hate them. At this point, the dogs are a trope of the genre, and I despise it.

9. Hands (Fingercreepers)

Hands (Fingercreepers)
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Of all the enemies in Elden Ring, I can pretty confidently say that this is the strangest one.

The hands found throughout the Lands Between are usually surrounded by sorcerers, most notably in Raya Lucaria Academy and the Carian Study Hall, but sometimes they’re in completely random places (like the one by the Dung Eater in the Sewers). The hands always provide an annoying fight because, just like dogs, there’s usually a bunch of them in a group.

Plus there’s the extra large ones and the ones that come up from the ground as traps. And some of them have spells. Getting killed by hands is always rage-inducing because there’s hardly ever any skill involved in fighting them. They just run (or crawl) at you full speed and keep going until you die by…colliding with their hitbox?

I’m sure there’s some really interesting lore about why they exist, but honestly? I still wish they didn’t.

10. The Birds

The Birds
Image: FromSoftware & Bandai Namco Entertainment via HGG / Brett Moss

Elden Ring has proven that Alfred Hitchcock was truly onto something when he made The Birds in 1963. In Elden Ring, just like in Hitchcock’s film, birds are terrifying, monstrous creatures.

Every time I encounter a bird, I run. I don’t even try to fight it. They’re incredibly powerful, but what makes them so horrible is how few chances you actually get to hit them. With a melee build, especially a strength one, your window of opportunity is maybe a second long.

Most of the time these birds fly around in the air, dipping down for just long enough to take out half your health, then fly away before you can retaliate. With spells or bows, they aren’t so bad, but for the average melee build, they’re the worst enemies in Elden Ring.

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