Skip to main content

Elden Ring Ashes of War explained

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Elden Ring Ashes of War are a new kind of weapon and gear enhancements in which players can affix Ash to their equipment to unlock new skills, powers and abilities, along with various stat changes and perks to scaling. Of course, there's downsides to this system too, with all kinds of nuances that players should understand for the best effect. We'll lay out how to use Ashes of War in Elden Ring, with full explanations and everything you need to know.

Elden Ring tips | Is Elden Ring on PS4? | Elden Ring classes | Elden Ring bosses | Elden Ring weapons

Elden Ring Ashes of War explained

Elden Ring ashes of war

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Ashes of War are probably better explained by just saying that they're enchantments, but enchantments that can be peeled off your gear at Sites of Grace and reapplied to other, similar equipment if you're so inclined. 

Ashes of War have various functions, which we've laid out below. When you apply them to a relevant piece of gear, they do the following:

  • Raise certain stats and scaling.
  • Lower other stats and scaling.
  • Replace the existing skill with a preset skill.

It's also worth keeping in mind that 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. 

So 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 summoning ashes, the Spirit summoning items that can be bought from characters like Merchant Kale and which create NPC allies. Despite very similar names, there's no real overlap between the two item types beyond being magical in some way.

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

It's simple enough to apply Ashes of War to your equipment in Elden Ring - when you're at a Site of Grace, rest next to it and select the menu option of the same name to manage all your Ashes. Here you have the option to remove them from gear and apply them to any compatible gear you have. This process is free and can be done whenever you want. It's also useful to know that any gear you remove the Ashes from will return to its default state, so to carry on the above example, the shield you take Holy Ground off will get the Parry skill and standard stats back.

How to get Ashes of War

Elden Ring ashes of war

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Ashes of War can be found in all manner of ways in Elden Ring, much in the same way that weapons and armor can be found in different ways. Here's some ways we've found them so far:

  • As rewards for defeating bosses
  • Found in hard-to-reach areas blocked by enemies
  • As part of the starting equipment for certain classes

It's very possible that certain merchant NPCs will sell Ashes of War in the final game, though we can't confirm that at this time, as none of the merchants in revealed demos or tests have had them in stock.

Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.