Elden Ring: How to Use Ashes of War Explained

This guide explains everything about how to use Ashes of War in Elden Ring, including how to change, multiply, and equip skills, and what each affinity means. Some equipment can cause the active skill on your weapon to be replaced, so this guide will also cover how to stop this from happening.

Elden Ring How to Use Ashes of War Explained coverElden Ring is finally here, and the fantasy RPG features a signature stat-heavy combat system from developer FromSoftware. Even veteran Soulsborne fans might be finding all the different terminology hard to comprehend. This guide will comprehensively explain how to use Ashes of War in Elden Ring, including how to change, duplicate, and find Ashes of War. Weapon affinities are also explained, along with how to get a Whetstone Knife to start using Ashes of War.

Looking for more Elden Ring content? 

  1. Elden Ring: How to Summon Spirits.
  2. Elden Ring: 7 tips and facts.

What are Ashes of War in Elden Ring?

Ashes of War in Elden Ring are unique skills that can be found as items and then applied to most armaments (weapons). Some are passive abilities that can raise stats like physical defense, or strength, while others perform an action like striking with Holy damage, or creating a whirlwind around your character. Each skill uses a different number of FP (Focus Points), so can’t be used if players drain their blue-colored meter and have no FP flasks to replenish it. Ashes of War are interchangeable between armaments at no cost.

Using the Bloody Slash Ash of War skill.

Using the Bloody Slash Ash of War skill.

Affinities can also be swapped without consequence, which encourages experimentation, as it does not punish you for not sticking with a particular skill or affinity. However, there are certain unique weapons that have their own custom skill attached that cannot be changed, or applied to other weapons. You must equip that weapon in order to use that particular skill.

Unlike Spirit Ashes, Ashes of War are not upgradable. The only way to raise their damage, or effectiveness, is to raise your own stats by leveling up. Although they can’t be upgraded, they can be duplicated, allowing for multiple weapons to have the same skill attached to them. To start using Ashes of War on your weapons, you must first locate a Whetstone Knife.

Whetstone Knife Location

You may have picked up many Ashes of War while exploring the vast fantasy landscapes of The Lands Between. In order to use Ashes of War in Elden Ring, however, you must have a Whetstone Knife. This unlocks the ability to apply skills to your weapons, and change their affinities.

The Whetstone Knife map location.

The Whetstone Knife map location.

The Whetstone Knife is located at the Gatefront Ruins in Limgrave, just north of the Church of Elleh Site of Grace discovered after entering the open world for the first time. Go to the middle of the southern ruins to find a stone pathway leading underground. Follow it to the end and open the door to locate a chest that contains the Whetstone Knife and Storm Stomp Ash of War.

How to Use Ashes of War in Elden Ring

To equip Ashes of War, you must visit any Site of Grace after the Whetstone Knife is obtained. The Ashes of War option will now be available. Pick it and choose which skill and affinity you would like to apply to your weapon.

Your equipped Ash of War is named if applied correctly.

Your equipped Ash of War is named if applied correctly.

To use Ashes of War in Elden Ring, you must press L2/LT on consoles (Shift+Right Mouse Button on PC) while holding your weapon two-handed, or with no left armament equipped. It’s very important to do this, as holding a shield, or another piece of equipment, in your left hand will perform a parry instead of using your Ash of War skill.

To use a weapon two-handed, press Y+RB on Xbox, Triangle+R1 on PlayStation, and E+Left Mouse Button on PC. You will know you can use your equipped Ash of War if its name appears above your equipment on the lower left-hand corner of the HUD.

 

 

Some Ashes of War can only be applied to certain weapon types. For example, thrust skills can only be used with spears and certain sword types. If a description says that you can use a more effective follow-up attack, use a heavy attack right after using the skill to cause more damage. This is particularly useful in boss fights. So, make sure you’re reading every Ash of War’s description to get the most out of their skills.

Using Ashes of War costs FP, so keep an eye on the blue bar on the top left-hand corner of the HUD. If it’s low, or empty, use a blue FP flask to replenish it and continue using the skills in battle. Ashes of War skills can be used as many times as you want, as long as you have enough FP.

There are also certain Ashes of War in Elden Ring that actually drain health instead of FP. It’s recommended to practice using skills at or near a Site of Grace, so you can see its effects, then get health and FP back after resting.

How to Change Ashes of War in Elden Ring

As mentioned before, it doesn’t cost anything to swap Ashes of War between weapons. If you’ve acquired an exciting new skill, simply travel to any Site of Grace, and pick Ashes of War from the options. To change between Ashes of War in Elden Ring, pick the weapon you wish to use, and then choose the desired Ash of War.

Simply select an Ash of War to apply it to a weapon.

Simply select an Ash of War to apply it to a weapon.

You can equip and unequip these skills and affinities as many times as you like, but only at a Site of Grace. Remember, you must have the Whetstone Knife to gain the ability to use and change Ashes of War.

Elden Ring Ashes of War Affinities Explained

There are lots of systems and stats in FromSoftware’s newest title, and very few of them are explained well to players. Affinities may seem complicated to begin with, but they can be very useful once you know how each type affects your damage output.

Basically, applying different types of affinities will alter what type of damage you do, and how you defend yourself against that damage type. The higher certain attributes are, the more damage you will do with that affinity type applied to your weapon. This will negatively affect the weapon’s other attributes. For example, applying the Sacred affinity will strengthen your Holy damage and defence, but lower your physical damage and defence.

This scaling is easily represented by a grade. C is better than D, B is better than C, and so on. The higher your grade, the more damage you will do. Attack Power and Damage Negation numbers can also be checked to see exactly how changing affinities affects your character stats.

Every weapon will have a select few affinities it can be changed to. You can’t change a unique weapon’s affinity, or apply its skill to other weapons through the Ashes of War system. You can, however, add more affinities to standard weapons if you have Iron, Glintstone, or Black Whetblades.

The following table explains every Ash of War affinity type in Elden Ring, and what attribute strengthens it:

Affinity Type Corresponding Attribute
Standard N/A (Check individual weapon description)
Heavy Strength
Keen Dexterity
Quality Strength and Dexterity
Magic Intelligence
Sacred Faith
Fire Strength (Adds fire damage)
Lightning Dexterity (Adds lightning damage)
Cold Intelligence (Builds frost on hit)
Blood Arcane (Builds bleed on hit)
Occult Arcane (Stops undead enemies reviving)
Poison Strength, Dexterity, and Arcane (Builds poison on hit)

Lost Ashes of War Locations For Duplicating

If you really like a particular skill, and want to equip it to multiple weapons, you can actually duplicate it. To do this, you must take Lost Ashes of War to a blacksmith. Each duplication costs one Lost Ash of War.

Unfortunately, the upgrade item is very rare. There are only a few discovered locations in the game so far. Here are all the places you can find Lost Ashes of War in Elden Ring:

  • By the locked northeastern gate in Leyndell, a region northeast of the Lurnia of the Lakes region. You can get it by traveling through the outer wall of the Leyndell Royal Capital Outskirts
  • The Isolated Merchant sells some for 3,000 Runes each. He is located in a shack at the very west of the Weeping Peninsula, a region to the south of Limgrave
  • The Nomadic Merchant sells some for 3,000 Runes each. He is located in the underground area of the Ainsel River in the Lurnia of the Lakes region northwest of Limgrave
  • The Isolated Merchant sells two for 5,000 Runes each. He is located at a shack in the Dragonbarrow region to the east of Limgrave

Where to Find Ashes of War in Elden Ring

You can find Ashes of War in Elden Ring by:

  • Opening chests
  • Killing white Teardrop Scarabs
  • Killing enemies and looting corpses
  • Buying them from vendors

Ashes of War are not random drops, which means you will receive the exact same one from each location on any playthrough. This is very useful if you have an exact build in mind during a fresh playthrough, or New Game Plus.

Elden Ring: How To Get ASHES OF WAR - FULL GUIDE - Weapon Abilities - How To Get Whetstone Knife

Feel free to watch the video above for a quick, basic explanation on how to use Ashes of War in Elden Ring. Good luck with finding your perfect build!

(Video Credit: DPJ)

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