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Haters Be Damned: Elden Ring Summoning Leads To Shadow Of The Erdtree's Best Moment

Drake Hunter Igon is the best character in Shadow of the Erdtree, and he's the perfect argument for chilling out about using summons and game difficulty.

Igon is the best character in Shadow of the Erdtree. He's the best character in all of Elden Ring, in fact. He might be the best character in any From Software game. And if you're the kind of person who makes "git gud" a cornerstone of your personality, you probably missed out on him.

You find Igon at the base of the Jagged Peak, and at first, he's kind of a pathetic figure. He's already injured when you discover him, and from his wailing laments, you learn that he's trying to kill a huge and horrific dragon called Bayle the Dread. Apparently, Bayle already kicked Igon's ass and he can no longer walk, so being the very nice person that you are, you leave him crying on the side of the road.

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Now Playing: Bayle the Dread Dragon Guide | Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

You might have thought Igon was a sad, broken man, but you haven't yet seen the depths of his resolve. Later, as you climb the mountain, you slay a few dragons who stand in your way--first one, alone, and then two together. After winning the battle against two dragons at once, you hear laughter. It's Igon, and seeing your performance convinces him that you're the partner he's been waiting for. He cuts off his own finger--that's how summoning NPCs works in Elden Ring--and gives it to you, begging you to summon his soul in your fight against Bayle.

And reader, you should absolutely summon Igon in the fight against Bayle.

There are those players who are resistant to using summons, whether they're NPCs, spirit ashes, or other players. The release of Shadow of the Erdtree has rekindled a lot of discussion around the practice, thanks to the perception among many that the DLC expansion can be annoyingly difficult. It does, at times, feel a little uneven, especially because of its half-baked Scadutree Fragment leveling system that's both wholly separate from traditional leveling and highly dependent on exploration and, to some degree, luck, in order to advance.

When you first find Igon, he has already been wrecked trying to fight dragons, but he is in no way done.
When you first find Igon, he has already been wrecked trying to fight dragons, but he is in no way done.

Summons are a release valve on Elden Ring's difficulty, offering ways to even the odds for players who are maybe less skilled, less dextrous, or generally just less able to deal with some of the game's tougher bosses. And then there are those people who never summon, who make it a point to talk about how they never summon, and who ruin any potential to constructively discuss difficulty in game design and how it might be adjusted so that more people can physically play and enjoy a game while still allowing that game to convey the emotions and experiences the difficulty exists to create.

The sad vanity and arrogance of some of those people caused them to miss out on Igon. It's almost like From Software specifically used Shadow of the Erdtree to call out those people, because like with Igon, there are a number of points in the DLC where summoning a character is essential for advancing their particular story and includes interesting dialogue and fascinating moments you can't get any other way.

None is so fascinating as the story of Igon, though.

The thing about Bayle is that he is, like, the worst and most-evil dragon. He once fought the dragon Elden Lord, the multi-headed Lord Placidusax, to a standstill. If you played through Elden Ring already, there's a good chance you found and killed Placidusax yourself in Farum Azula, so you know how rough that battle would have been. You can see what it did to Bayle--he's missing half a leg and uses his tail to keep himself standing, and he has a couple of Placidusax's actual heads still buried in his back.

Igon made it his vow to kill Bayle, and even with his ruined legs, he intends to finish the job. And when you summon him in the fight, he comes in screaming--"CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURSE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYLE"--with a monologue that's almost equivalent to the roars the huge Bayle himself is issuing as you challenge him. Actor Richard Lintern (The Crown) makes his video game debut in voicing Igon and absolutely slaughters it.

Source: Elden Ring Alerts on Twitter.
Source: Elden Ring Alerts on Twitter.

The monologue is totally unexpected, and it's what makes Igon incredible. He comes into this fight ready to do murder, literally too angry to die. It was especially fun for me, because as Igon was yelling his vow to destroy Bayle and how we were about to kick this dragon's ass, I'd already been in the fight for a good minute or so, and I was halfway across the arena with a massive dragon swinging me around like a dog with a chew toy.

I can't stress enough how much of a phenomenal madman Igon is. This dude just met me. I ran into him at the bottom of the mountain with his legs thrashed, which immediately raises the question of, how did Igon, who wanted to go fight Bayle, end up there, already injured? Did he go up against the dragon alone? Did he get tossed there? Is that what happened to his legs?

He takes a minute to lament his fate and deal with the overwhelming pain, and you leave him. And then you find him again, where he watches you kill a couple of dragons. Despite not having the use of his legs, he got there ahead of you, and he decides that your martial prowess means you're the one he wants to take him back into the fight against Bayle, once and for all. Shadow of the Erdtree's Captain Ahab will stop at nothing to kill that damnable dragon.

Bayle is an awesome and frightening enemy, and having Igon there to talk shit makes this battle even more metal.
Bayle is an awesome and frightening enemy, and having Igon there to talk shit makes this battle even more metal.

Beating Bayle was one of the best moments of Shadow of the Erdtree for me, and at least half of it was because, as Igon screamed in the background, he and I did it "with a hail of harpoons!" This is the stuff I love about Elden Ring--the stuff that expands the world, that makes it feel like more than just you wandering a dead civilization, killing whoever's left. Fighting Bayle with Igon was phenomenal, with him screaming his head off, contributing almost nothing but hype the entire time, and heightened the danger and intensity of the battle all the more. The fight wasn't diminished because I had help; it was enriched and expanded because fighting Bayle meant something to Igon, and thus, it meant something to me. He has more personality than most From Software characters, and I hope they take a page from his ludicrous bellowing and overbearing obsession to make more memorable folks like him in future games.

It's pretty clear that fighting Bayle with Igon is the way From Software meant it to be experienced, and I'm glad some weird gatekeeping and purity testing didn't keep that from me. Beating a challenging boss is cool, but I'll remember Bayle a lot longer because of Igon.

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