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Elden Ring Ashes of War explained

Ashes of War by Elden Ring can add abilities to your weapons, giving you new powers, damage modifiers, combat abilities and scaling to improve and change the way you use them. It’s not immediately obvious how to use Ashes of War, but mastering them in Elden Ring is a huge advantage. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to modify an existing weapon for a specific build type. For example, if you are inclined towards witchcraft or faith, you can use Ashes to bind specific properties to weapons and make them scale accordingly. We explain how it works below, and what you need to know about Elden Ring Ashes of War. Importantly, we also explain the different Whetblade positions and how to use this additional tool to adjust weapon affinity.

What are Ashes of War in Elden Ring?

Ashes of the Elden Ring War

Credit: Bandai Namco

The best explanation for Elden Ring Ashes of War is probably to simply say they are enchantments, but you can remove these enchantments from your weapon and reapply them to other similar weapons if you want. While Ashes of War can be exchanged freely, each Elden Ring weapon can only be held at a time.

Each Ash of War adds a weapon art, a special ability we’ll use later, and an affinity that affects damage rating stats. When you apply them to the associated rig, they do the following:

  • Change weapon affinity to increase some stats and scale and decrease others.
  • Replaces existing weapon skills (if any) with preset skills.

It’s also worth remembering that Elden Ring Ashes of War is limited to certain types of weapons and gear. For example, Ash of War: Thunderbolt can only be applied to melee weapons, not other gear. Likewise, Ashes of War: The Parry ability only works with shields and certain small arms.

Let’s say you get Ashes of War: Holy Land, either because you’re a Prophet or because you defeated the Tree Sentinel and took it from him. You can take it off the shield in any elegant place and put it in another. Doing so increases Holy damage, increasing certain stats but penalizing others, including removing physical damage. It also removes the shield-specific ability (maybe parry if it’s a standard shield) and replaces it with a unique ability called sanctuary, which allows you to create a circle that restores health to you and all of your allies.

To be clear, it’s important not to confuse Ashes of War with Ashes of Spirit, items summoned by the Elden Ring can create NPC allies and can be purchased or found from various merchants. Despite the very similar names, there’s no real overlap between these two item types, it’s just that they’re a little bit magical.

Use Elden Ring Ash of War on a weapon

Elden Ring Ashes of War Menu

Credit: Bandai Namco

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Ashes of the Elden Ring War

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For example, if you use a sword and have only one sword, pressing LT/L2 will always use the sword ability. Although, if you use a defensive sword and shield, the deflection will always break the sword. To avoid this, you can remove Parry Ash of War from the shield, quickly retract the shield, or use a two-handed weapon to retract the shield as well.

Elden Ring Ash of War Affinities explained

Elden Ring Ashes of War Affinity Menu

Credit: Bandai Namco

As mentioned above, Ashes of War grants Elden Ring weapon weapon abilities and affinity. Non-standard Affinity will often boost one specific damage rating stat and decrease another, making your weapon highly specialized for that specific stat. Keep in mind that not every weapon can have an affinity, it depends on the weapon itself. Here are all weapon affinities and their effects:

  • standard: Default damage levels are usually spread across multiple stat stats.
  • Heavy: Increased energy damage range. Good for cannons.
  • pretentious: Increases agility damage rating. Suitable for light weapons.
  • quality: Slightly increases strength and agility. A nice improvement over the standard scale – if you’re not sure what else to choose, go for this one.
  • magic: Lowers default scaling, but increases Intellect damage scaling and splits weapon damage into physical and magic damage types.
  • St: Tweaked default scaling, but increased trust damage scaling and split weapon damage into physical and divine damage types.
  • fire: Reduced the standard scale, but split weapon damage into physical and fire damage types.
  • Fire Art: Decreases default scaling, but increases Faith damage scaling and splits weapon damage into fire types and physical damage.
  • Lightning flash: Nerfed the standard rating, but increased the agility rating and divided weapon damage into physical and lightning damage types.
  • poison: Increases the damage rating of Arcane, Strength, and Dexterity weapons, and adds layers of poison to attacks.
  • cold: Lowers the default scale, but increases the intelligence scale and adds freeze stacking to attacks.
  • blood: Reduced default zoom, but added Mystic Zoom and Bleed overlays to attacks.
  • hidden: Reduces default scale, but increases arcane damage scale and prevents undead enemies from resurrecting.

Elden Ring Whetblade Location

Elden Ring Battle Ash Amphibole Method Table

Credit: Bandai Namco

Affinities are associated with Ashes of War, but you can expand your selection by finding special items called Whetblades, each of which basically adds two or three new affinity to your list. Find them and you can add any affinity to any compatible weapon. We’ve listed their locations below for you to check out.

location of sharp blades
sharp knifeaffinityplace
Whetstone KnifeNone (for applying Ashes of War in Grace Ruins)Gatefront Ruins, Limgrave: Soldiers camp next to Stormgate. Find the stairs on the southeast side and find a treasure chest with whetstones and storm trampling ashes.
sharp iron knifesharp/heavy/qualityStormveil Castle, Lyngrave: Behind the Stone Sword Key Gate on the west side of the castle, go past the multi-armed horror.
Shiny Stone Whetstone Blademagic/coldAcademia Raya Lucaria, Liurnia de los Lagos – After killing the red wolf, head west and up the slope at the fountain in the courtyard to find a corpse on the balcony next to a kneeling undead.
blazing knifefire/flame artRedmane Castle, Caelid – From the room outside the Grace Square ruins, past the flamethrower tower, then follow the northwest path to the tower ahead. Dodge the Iron Maiden, once you enter you should find the Whetblade.
holy sharp knifeLightning/SaintFortified Manor, Leyndell, Royal Capital – Climb up the Dragon Wing from the Grace Balcony Site of Grace, then turn left onto the wooden balcony when you reach the gate. Go through the small side door and find the sharpening blade on the anvil.
black sharp knifePoison/Blood Medicine/ArcanaThe Holy Land of the Night, Nokron: Found on a corpse in front of a church altar.

How to get more Ashes of War in Elden Ring

Elden Ring as of War gravitas Bounty

Credit: Bandai Namco

Elden Ring Ashes can be found in many ways, just like weapons and armor can be found everywhere. Here’s how to travel through or buy Ashes of War in Elden Ring:

  • As a reward for defeating unique bosses or enemies.
  • Found in hard-to-reach areas blocked by enemies.
  • Pre-equipped on some weapons.
  • It can be purchased from certain merchants, such as Bernahl in Warmaster’s Shack in Limgrave.
  • You can double the Ashes of War you already have by giving them to Master Smith Hewg.

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Elden Ring Ashes of War explained

Elden Ring Ashes of War can add abilities to your weapons, giving you new powers, damage modifiers, combat skills and changes scaling to tune and change how you use them. It’s not immediately obvious how to use Ashes of War but it is is a huge advantage to master them in Elden Ring. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to adapt an existing weapon for a specific kind of build. If you’re leaning towards Sorcery or Faith, say, you can use Ashes to link a certain stat to a weapon and make it scale accordingly. We’ll explain how all this works and everything you need to know about the Elden Ring Ashes of War below. Importantly, we’ll also explain the various Whetblade locations and how to use this additional tool to alter weapon Affinities.
What are Ashes of War in Elden Ring?

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
Elden Ring Ashes of War are probably better explained by just saying that they’re enchantments, but enchantments that can be peeled off your weapons at Sites of Grace and reapplied to other, similar weapons if you’re so inclined. While Ashes of War can be changed freely, any given Elden Ring weapon can hold only at a time. 
Each Ash of War adds a Weapon Art – some sort of special ability that we’ll explain how to use further down – and an Affinity that affects it’s damage scaling stats. When you apply them to a relevant piece of gear, they do the following:
Change the weapon’s Affinity to raise certain stats and scaling and lower others.
Replace the existing Weapon Skill, if it has one, with a preset skill.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that Elden Ring Ashes of War are limited to certain weapon and gear types. For example, the Ash of War: Thunderbolt can only be applied to melee weapons, not any other equipment. Similarly, the Ash of War: Parry skill only works on shields and certain small armaments.
Let’s say you acquire the Ash of War: Holy Ground, either because you’re the Prophet Class or you beat the Tree Sentinel and take it off them. You can remove it from any shield at a Site of Grace and put it on any other one. When you do, it’ll boost Holy Damage, increase certain stats, but penalise others, including physical damage negation. It also takes away the shield’s specific skill – likely the Parry, if it’s a standard shield – and replaces it with a unique skill called Holy Ground, which allows you to create a circle in which you and all allies regenerate health.
Just to clarify, it’s important not to confuse Ashes of War with Spirit Ashes, the Elden Ring summons items that create NPC allies and can be bought from various merchants or found. Despite very similar names, there’s no real overlap between the two item types beyond being magical in some way.
How to use Elden Ring Ashes of War on weapons

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
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(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
For example, if you’re using a sword and only a sword, pressing LT/L2 will always use the sword’s skill. Although, if you’re using a sword and a shield with the parry skill, the parry will always override the sword. To avoid this, you can either remove the Parry Ash of War from your shield, quickly put away your shield, or two-hand your weapon to also put away the shield. 
Elden Ring Ashes of War Affinities explained

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
As previously mentioned, Ashes of War give Elden Ring weapons a Weapon Art skill and an Affinity. The Affinities other than Standard will generally improve one particular damage scaling stat and will reduce the others, making your weapon very specialised to a particular stat. Bear in mind that not any weapon can take any affinity – it’ll depend on the weapon itself. Here are all the weapon Affinities as well as what they do:
Standard: Default damage scaling that is generally balanced across several attribute stats.
Heavy: Boosts Strength damage scaling. Good for large weapons.
Keen: Enhances Dexterity damage scaling. Good for lighter weapons.
Quality: Slightly boosts Strength and Dexterity. A nice improvement over Standard scaling – if you don’t know what else to pick, pick this one. 
Magic: Lowers default scaling but adds Intelligence damage scaling and splits weapon  damage to Physical and Magic damage types.
Sacred: Weakens default scaling but adds Faith damage scaling and splits weapon damage to Physical and Holy damage types.
Fire: Reduces default scaling but splits weapon damage to Physical and Fire damage types.
Flame Art: Weakens default scaling but adds Faith damage scaling and splits weapon damage to Physical and Fire damage types.
Lightning: Weakens default scaling but boosts Dexterity scaling and splits weapon damage to Physical and Lightning damage types.
Poison: Enhances Strength, Dexterity, and Arcane weapon damage scaling, and adds Poison build-up to attacks.
Cold: Lowers default scaling but boosts Intelligence scaling and add Frostbite build-up to attacks.
Blood: Reduces default scaling but adds Arcane scaling and Bleed build-up with attacks.
Occult: Weakens default scaling but adds Arcane damage scaling and prevents undead enemies from being revived.
Elden Ring Whetblade locations

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
Affinities are tied to Ashes of War, but by finding special items called Whetblades you can expand your options, each one essentially adding two or three new Affinities to your roster. Find them all and you’ll effectively be able to add any Affinity to any compatible weapon. We’ve listed their locations below for you to check out.

Whetblade locations
Whetblade
Affinities
Location
Whetstone Knife
None (used to apply Ashes of War at Sites of Grace)
Gatefront Ruins, Limgrave: The soldiers camp by the Stormgate. Find the stairs in the Southeast side to find a treasure chest with the Whetstone and the Storm Stomp Ash of War.
Iron Whetblade
Keen/Heavy/Quality
Stormveil Castle, Limgrave: Behind a Stonesword Key door on the West side of the Castle past the Grafted horror with many arms.
Glintstone Whetblade
Magic/Cold
Raya Lucaria Academy, Liurnia of the Lakes: After killing the Red Wolf, head West at the courtyard fountain and head up the slope to find a corpse on a balcony by some kneeling undead.
Red-Hot Whetblade
Fire/Flame Art
Redmane Castle, Caelid: From the Chamber Outside the Plaza Site of Grace run back past the flamethrower turrets and take the Northwest path towards the tower straight ahead. Evade the Iron Maiden and once you’re inside, you should find the Whetblade.
Sanctified Whetblade
Lightning/Sacred
Fortified Manor, Leyndell, Royal Capital: Climb the dragon’s wing from the Avenue Balcony Site of Grace, then head left and up the wooden balcony when you reach the main doors. Head inside the little side-door to find the Whetblade on an anvil.
Black Whetblade
Poison/Blood/Occult
Night’s Sacred Ground, Nokron: Found on a corpse in front of an altar in the church.
How to get more Ashes of War in Elden Ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
Elden Ring Ashes can be found in all manner of ways, much in the same way that weapons and armor can be found all over the place. Here’s how you can happen across or buy Ashes of War in Elden Ring:
As rewards for defeating bosses or unique enemies.
Found in hard-to-reach areas blocked by enemies.
Pre-equipped on certain weapons.
Can be bought from certain merchants, such as Bernahl at the Warmaster’s Shack in Limgrave
You can duplicate Ashes of War you already own by providing Smithing Master Hewg with Lost Ashes of War.
Elden Ring weapons | Elden Ring armor locations | Elden Ring Smithing Stones | Elden Ring best builds | Elden Ring best spells | Elden Ring weapon scaling explained | How to strengthen weapons in Elden Ring | How to get the Elden Ring Golden Scarab | Elden Ring Stonesword Keys | Elden Ring Meteorite Staff | Best Elden Ring early game weapons | Elden Ring Sacred Relic Sword | Elden Ring Mimic Tear

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