Kai Cenat’s Elden Ring Stream Is The Gaming Event Of The Season

Popular Twitch streamer Kai Cenat has embarked on a journey few of us could ever do: he’s been marathoning 2022’s hit RPG Elden Ring for the bulk of the last week. Cenat, who accidentally incited a riot in New York last year, announced that he would be playing the game “till I beat it” beginning May 10. It’s now been a week, and though he was stalled at Malenia for the longest time, Cenat is now within a stone’s throw of beating the game.

Update 5/17/2024 5:10 p.m. ET: He’s done it. More than a hundred hours and 1700 deaths later, Cenat let out a howl that would shake the heavens after slaying god and emerging victorious from his arduous journey. The Twitch star had only one thing to say: “I FINALLY BEAT ELDEN RING.”

The original story continues below.

Let’s back up a bit though, because Cenat’s stream has been a rollercoaster to watch from afar. As far as I know, Cenat has never played a soulslike game before, let alone a FromSoftware title. The last game that he cleared on stream in a similar manner was Sucker Punch’s samurai action title Ghost of Tsushima, which is a markedly different experience than FromSoft’s immensely difficult epic.

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Since he began Elden Ring, social media has been awash with reactions to Cenat’s thoroughly enjoyable playthrough. Given his inexperience with these particularly difficult games, as well as his penchant for dramatic overreactions, viewers have especially enjoyed poking fun at his hardship. For example, Cenat got incessantly trolled for getting stuck on the Tree Sentinel, an optional mini boss that players often encounter at the beginning of the game, for six hours.

Other highlights include the typical hallmarks of a soulslike playthrough, including nonstop shouting, occasionally violent outbursts towards inanimate objects, and a flying controller. Every now and then, friends of Cenat’s have even appeared on stream in full armor to advise him on what to do, or to fight each other with fake swords. At one point, Cenat was even delivered an NBA Finals trophy, because why the fuck not? It’s been a great time and it shows: At its peak, the stream has drawn about 230,000 concurrent viewers.

Cenat’s Elden Ring streams have become such an event that countless Twitter accounts, including one that goes by @TheClipBot, have been steadily updating users on Cenat’s progress, including which bosses he’s defeated, his death count, and how long the streamer has been at it, as well as general events that happen onstream.

When he hasn’t been playing Elden Ring, Cenat has been taking small social media breaks, discovering that he might have a testicular torsion with the help of his chat, and sleeping on stream. Despite the lack of activity during the latter parts of the stream, Cenat’s viewership has remained in the tens of thousands as his chat tries to goad him into waking up and reflects on the most recent events of the stream. It’s like the world’s most wholesome incarnation of The Truman Show. Y’know, minus all the viscera and otherwise disgusting imagery to be found in Elden Ring.

I’d been catching stray highlights from social media all week, but I had to tune in to see Cenat take on Malenia. She’s widely considered the hardest boss in the whole game, one of the hardest fights in any FromSoft game, and she stalled the guy for more than 24 hours before he beat her late last night. I’m so glad I started watching when I did because seeing Cenat take on Malenia was nothing short of incredible. After 120 hours of playing Elden Ring and an unknown amount of attempts against Malenia specifically, he beat her first phase only to be stunned to discover she had a second one. When I tuned into the stream yesterday afternoon, Cenat was hyping himself up as he fought her, likening the fight to a heist he’d already committed before, and continually deployed phrases like “get ya money” or “refill the tank” as he attacked her and refilled his health. I think my favorite callout might’ve been when he just shouted “Cops!” as Malenia jumped into the air and released ghostly images of herself in her second phase.

The chat meanwhile was, and remains, completely engaged. While there were naysayers throughout chastising Cenat, an overwhelming number of his hundreds of thousands of viewers have been cheering him on. Repeated chants of “Lock in” were scattered throughout and without fail, someone commented something along the lines of “I WAS HERE” whenever Cenat reached Malenia’s second phase, as if trying to preempt the eventual victory they saw coming. Others were less helpful, like the hilarious stray commenter who simply typed “FART IN HER EYES.” Throughout the stream, and the Malenia fight in particular, folks have obviously been trying to advise Cenat, and whenever he’s been able to read the chat (which is moving a mile a minute at any given moment) he’s engaged with them and adapted his strategies and builds accordingly.

It feels worth mentioning that Cenat also took on this insanely difficult fight with no armor or help. His loadout consisted of the Rivers of Blood katana—which he’s been taking advantage of to make her bleed—when I first tuned in, though he eventually adopted a second sword and a dual-blade approach before finishing her off. Cenat refused to summon any players who would’ve gladly assisted him, nor did he use any of the popular spirit ashes in Elden Ring, like the mimic tear or Black Knife Tiche. With Cenat beating this fight in nothing but underwear, I think I’m going to have to concede that he is, in fact, the greatest Elden Ring player ever. Either him or the goldfish that also beat her a while ago.

The thing that finally did the trick? Cenat used a rune arc to activate the Great Runes you collect from fighting the major bosses. With the aid of these greatly amplifying passive abilities, he defeated her on his literal next try after 1610 total deaths in the game. Upon beating her, all of Cenat’s nearby friends flocked to his side as he triumphantly jumped up and down, sat on the Iron Throne replica that’s been sitting in the room behind him since the beginning of the stream, and blared a Malenia remix that he’d queued up at some point in the last day. It was, without a doubt, the feel-good gaming moment of the year.

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