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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 abilities and scaling changes to adjust and change the way you use them. It’s not immediately clear how Ashes of War will be used, but mastering Elden Ring is a huge advantage. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to adapt an existing weapon to a particular build type. If you’re inclined to Sorcery or Faith, say, you can use Ashes to bind a certain stat to a weapon and make it scale accordingly. We’ll explain below how it all works and everything you need to know about Elden Ring Ashes of War. More importantly, we’ll also explain the various positions of the Whetblade and how this additional tool can be used to change weapon affinities.

What is Ashes of War in Elden Ring?

Elden Ring's War Ashes

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Elden Ring Ashes of War is probably best explained by saying they’re just magic, but they’re magic that can be extracted from your weapons in Sites of Grace and reapplied to other similar weapons if you’re very willing. While Ashes of War is freely modifiable, any Elden Ring can only hold a weapon at a time.

Each Ash of War adds a weapon art – a type of special ability we’ll explain how to use later – and affinity that affects your damage scaling stats. When you apply them to related equipment, they do the following:

  • Change weapon proximity to increase certain stats and scale and decrease others.
  • If available, replace the current weapon skill with a predefined skill.

It’s also important to note 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 and not to any other equipment. Likewise, Ash of War: Parry only works on shields and certain small arms.

Let’s say you took Ash of War: Holy Ground because you were a Prophet class, or you defeated the Tree Sentinel and got it from them. You can remove it from any shield in a Sacred Ground and place it anywhere else. Doing so will increase Divine Damage, increase certain stats, but punish others, including denying physical damage. It also takes a shield-specific skill—possibly Parry if it’s a standard shield—and replaces it with a unique skill called Holy Land, allowing you to create a circle where you and all your allies regenerate health.

To clarify, it’s important not to confuse Ashes of War with Spirit Ashes, Elden Ring summons items that create NPC allies and can be purchased or found from various merchants. Despite the very similar names, there is no real overlap between the two types of items other than being somehow magical.

How to use Elden Ring on Ashes of War weapons

Elden Ring's War Ash Menu

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Elden Ring's War Ashes

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For example, if you’re wielding a sword and you’re using only one sword, pressing LT/L2 will always use the sword skill. However, if you use a sword and shield with the parry ability, parry will always replace the sword. To avoid this, you can remove the Trench Ash from your shield, quickly place it, or use both hands to deploy the shield.

Elden Ring Ashes of War similarities revealed

Elden Ring Ashes of War Affinity Menu

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As mentioned earlier, Ashes of War grants Elden Ring weapons a Weapon Art ability and an Affinity. Non-standard affinities will usually improve a certain damage scale stat and reduce others, making your weapon too special for a certain stat. Note that no weapon can have proximity – it will depend on the weapon itself. Here are all the weapon similarities and what they do:

  • Standard: Default damage scaling, which is usually balanced between various stat stats.
  • Heavy: Increases power damage scale. Good for big guns.
  • Anxious: Dexterity increases damage scale. Good for lighter weapons.
  • Quality: Slightly increases Strength and Dexterity. A nice improvement over standard scaling – choose this if you don’t know what else to choose.
  • Spell: It reduces the default scaling, but adds Intelligence damage scaling and splits weapon damage into Physical and Magical damage types.
  • Sacred: Weakens the default scaling, but adds Faith damage scaling and splits weapon damage into Physical and Divine damage types.
  • Fire: It reduces the default scaling, but splits weapon damage into Physical and Fire damage types.
  • Flame Art: It weakens the default scaling, but adds Faith damage scaling and splits weapon damage into Physical and Fire damage types.
  • Ray: Weakens Standard scaling, but increases Skill scaling and splits weapon damage into Physical and Lightning damage types.
  • Potion: Increases power, dexterity, and stealth weapon damage scaling and adds a stack of poison to attacks.
  • Cold: It reduces the default scaling but increases Intelligence scaling and adds a Frostbite stack to attacks.
  • Blood: It reduces the default scaling, but adds an overflow stack with Arcane scaling and attacks.
  • Hidden: Weakens standard scaling, but adds Arcane damage scaling and prevents undead enemies from respawning.

Elden Ring Whetblade location

Elden Ring war ash whetstone whetstone

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Affinities are tied to Ashes of War, but you can expand your options by finding special items called Whetblades, each adding two or three new affinities to your roster. Find them all and you can effectively add any Affinity to any compatible weapon. We’ve listed their locations below for you to check out.

Sharpening blade positions
sharpening knifeaffinitiesLocation
sharpening knifeNone (used to apply Ashes of War on Grace Sites)Gatefront Ruins, Limgrave: Soldiers’ camp near Stormgate. Find the stairs on the southeast side to find a treasure chest with Whetstone and Storm Stomp Ash of War.
iron sharpening knifeSharp/Heavy/QualityStormveil Castle, Limgrave: Behind a Stone Sword Keyed door on the west side of the Castle, Grafted past the horror with many arms.
Glinstone sharpening knifeMagic/ColdRaya Lucaria Academy, Liurnia of the Lakes: After killing the Red Wolf, head west to the fountain in the courtyard and go uphill to find a corpse next to a kneeling corpse on the balcony.
incandescent knifefire/flame artRedmane Castle, Caelid: From the Room Outside Place Square of Grace, follow the Northwest path to the tower ahead, past the flamethrower towers. Escape the Iron Maiden and once inside you must find the Whetblade.
Holy Sharpening KnifeLightning / HolyFortified Mansion, Leyndell, Royal Capital: Climb the dragon’s wing from the Avenue Balcony Site of Grace, then turn left and exit onto the wooden balcony when you reach the main gates. Enter through the small side door to find the Whetblade on the Anvil.
black sharpening knifePoison/Blood/SecretHoly Place of the Night, Nokron: Found on a corpse in front of an altar in the church.

How to get more Ashes of War in Elden Ring

Elden Ring War Ash Gravity Award

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Elden Ring Ashes can be found in a variety of ways, just as weapons and armor can be found everywhere. Here’s how to find or purchase Ashes of War on Elden Ring:

  • As a reward for defeating unique bosses or enemies.
  • Located in hard-to-reach areas blocked by enemies.
  • Pre-equipped on certain weapons.
  • Can be purchased from certain merchants such as Bernahl in Warmaster’s Shack in Limgrave
  • You can multiply the Ashes of War you already have by supplying Lost Ashes of War to Smithing Master 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

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Get more Runes with the Elden Ring Golden Scarab Talisman

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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

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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

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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.
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