The best Ashes of War in Elden Ring

Elden Ring Ashes of War
(Image credit: From Software)

The best Elden Ring Ashes of War can complement your build or give your weapon added range or utility. You can apply them to weapons—and in some cases, shields—at Sites of Grace to grant a skill that uses FP and can change up the scaling in some instances. Ashes of War basically act as a more flexible version of the weapon arts from Dark Souls 3.

Many of the Ashes of War you find in the starting areas scale with stats like strength and dexterity, but you can find others with more exotic properties: fire, lightning, magic, and even blood. The best thing about the Ashes of War system is that they can easily be swapped out and reused without changing your weapon's upgrade level, meaning you can switch out damage types to take advantage of boss weaknesses

Every weapon also has a default skill that the Ashes of War will replace, and some can only be equipped with certain weapons. This guide shows you the ones that are worth seeking out, which weapon types they work with, and where to find them. A couple drop from the Teardrop Scarabs pushing around glowing white balls in the Lands Between, while others you'll have to win by defeating bosses. Here's where to find the best Elden Ring Ashes of War, and how to get the Whetstone Knife item you need to apply them. 

Best Ashes of War

(Image credit: From Software)

The best Elden Ring Ashes of War 

Bloodhound's Step

Survive the Lands Between with these Elden Ring guides

Elden Ring storyteller

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Elden Ring guide: Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses: How to beat them
Elden Ring map fragmentsReveal the world
Elden Ring armor: The best sets
Elden Ring Smithing Stone: Upgrade your gear
Elden Ring classes: Which to choose

Weapon type: All melee weapons
🗺 Where to find: Dropped by a Night's Calvary boss at night in Lenne's Rise, in northeast Caelid.

Like a more maneuverable version of Quickstep that travels a greater distance, Bloodhound's Step performs a fast-paced dash move that grants brief invincibility as you disappear during the dash.

This Ash of War pairs well with dexterity builds, giving your weapon a Keen affinity. Fast-swinging, short-ranged weapons work well with it, and you can use this Ash of War to move quickly around the battlefield, to close distance, or to avoid particularly nasty attacks.

Phantom Slash

Weapon type: Polearms and twinblades (except great spears)
🗺 Where to find: Dropped by a Night's Cavalry just past the Forbidden Lands Site of Grace to the east of Leyndell, Royal Capital.

The skill of this Ash of War creates an apparition of a knight who joins you in a joint lunging upward swing. Additional input allows for a follow-up attack. 

The apparition generated by the skill has more range and obviously can't be hit, even if you are. It may seem like a bit of a niche choice but it can be surprisingly useful once you get used to the charge up time and the range of the apparition.


Weapon type: Swords and thrusting polearms (except small and colossal swords)
🗺 Where to find: Dropped by an invisible Teardrop Scarab near the Freezing Lake site of grace.

This grisly Ash of War makes you stab yourself to coat your blade with blood, increasing its attack power and blood loss efficacy. 

Seppuku stacks with existing blood loss build-up stats so will make an existing bleed build stronger, allowing you to take off chunks of health from enemies. And, of course, the additional attack power is always welcome. The effects of the skill lasts for 60 seconds.

(Image credit: From Software)

Flame of the Redmanes

Weapon type: All melee weapons (including shields)
🗺 Where to find: Dropped by an invisible Teardrop Scarab close to the Fort Gael Site of Grace in Caelid.

The skill from this Ash of War causes you to produce a powerful burst of flames in a wide front-on arc. As well as providing fire affinity, it's surprisingly effective at staggering enemies. The stagger effect also appears to work on bosses, though you'll need to cast the skill several times to do so. 

Lion's Claw

Weapon type: Swords, axes, and hammers (but not small armaments and thrusting swords)
🗺 Where to find: Dropped by the Lion Guardian in Fort Gael in Caelid

If you fought Traggoth you might have seen him used this skill, smacking his hammer into the ground and doing a somersault before bringing it down on your unsuspecting head. It's both an extremely cool-looking skill and one that is pretty great in PvP, often surprising and one-shotting opponents if you use it with a colossal weapon.

The only downside is that you have to fight the Lion Guardian in Fort Gael to get it, and those guys suck. Still, you can always stand on the scaffolding above and peck away at it with arrows.

Hoarfrost Stomp

Weapon type: All melee weapons
🗺 Where to find: Dropped by an invisible Teardrop Scarab southeast of Caria Manor in Liurnia.

The skill offered by this Ash of War allows you to stomp the ground to create a wave of freezing mist that applies the frost status to enemies. 

Hoarfrost Stomp is particularly useful as it applies the status effect to multiple enemies, dealing damage and dropping their damage absorption by 20 percent and their stamina recovery, too. It was nerfed in a patch, but it still remains one of the stronger Ashes of War.

Bloody Slash

Weapon type: Usable on swords (except colossal weapons)
🗺 Where to find: In East Limgrave. Defeat the commander of Fort Haight on the battlements. The fort is at the southernmost point of East Limgrave overlooking the sea.

Triggering this Ash of War skill causes you to coat your blade in your own blood and fire a blood-bladed projectile. It adds range to regular bleed builds, though you'll deal damage to yourself as a consequence so should be used with this in mind. 

A recent patch has made this less powerful, but it's still a viable option and can be picked up very early on.

Spinning Strikes

Weapon type: Usable on spears, halberds, and reapers (but not colossal weapons)
🗺 Where to find: This skill can be extracted from Edgar's +8 Banished Knight Halberd if you kill him at Castle Morne or when he invades at Revenger's Shack.

Those of you that played the Ringed City expansion for Dark Soul's 3 will know this skill as the weapon art attached to Lapp's Splitleaf Glaive, letting you spin the weapon around your head before initiating a variety of attacks. First off, it looks incredibly cool, but it's also pretty viable in PvP.

While spinning your polearm, the heavy attack launches you into the air to land with a powerful slash, and this can often surprise opponents if you do it straight away. You can also perform a stationary spinning slash. It's just a very versatile skill for polearms, letting you hit quickly to stack status effects, but also giving you multiple attacks you can use rather than just one.

Affinity list

(Image credit: From Software)

Elden Ring Ashes of War affinity types

Every Ash of War has an affinity that's independent of the skill it provides. For example, you can choose the "standard" affinity to leave your weapon's scaling unchanged. Each Ash of War also has a second base affinity you can choose to change its scaling.

Here are the affinity types, and how they affect weapon scaling:

  • Keen: Strength scaling -1, dex scaling +1
  • Quality: Strength scaling +1, dex scaling +1
  • Heavy: Strength scaling +2, dex scaling disappears
  • Magic: Strength scaling -1, dex scaling -1, adds D tier intelligence scaling, and magic damage
  • Sacred: Strength scaling -1, dex scaling -1, adds D tier faith scaling, and holy damage
  • Blood: D tier strength, D tier dex, adds D tier arcane scaling, and blood loss buildup
  • Occult: Strength scaling -1, dex scaling -1, adds C tier arcane scaling
  • Poison: Strength scaling +1, dex scaling +1, Arcane scaling +1, adds poison buildup
  • Cold: Strength scaling -1, dex scaling -1, adds D tier intelligence scaling, and frost buildup
  • Fire: D tier strength, E tier dexterity, and adds fire damage
  • Lightning: E tier strength, D tier dexterity, and adds lightning damage. 

Whetstone Knife

Whetstone Knife location. (Image credit: From Software)

Where to find the Elden Ring Whetstone Knife

You'll need the Whetstone Knife to apply Ashes of War to weapons, and luckily it's not too hard to find. It's located in the Gatefront Ruins in West Limgrave—head down the stairs to find a chest in the basement containing the knife and Ash of War: Storm Stomp. 

You need to head to a Site of Grace to use it, and you'll then be able to replace your weapon's default Ash of War with a different one. You can also choose one of two affinities options, which affect scaling. Don't stress about this decision: this won't permanently replace your weapon skill. You can flick back and forth between the two options to see which will deal more damage based on your current stats.

You can unlock other affinity choices to go along with your skill by finding other crafting knives as you get further into Elden Ring. The Glintstone Whetblade, for example, unlocks the magic and cold affinities. Check further down in this guide for where to find the other whetblades.

Smith Master Hewg in the Roundtable Hold can also duplicate Ashes of War if you have Lost Ashes of War, a rare upgrade material. You can get some of these from in front of the locked main gate in Leyndell, Royal Capital, later in the game.

Speciality Whetblade locations

(Image credit: From Software)

Elden Ring Iron Whetblade location 

The Iron Whetblade lets you add the Heavy, Keen, or Quality affinities to weapons that don't already have them. You can find it in Stormveil Castle behind a fog door locked with a Stonesword Key: 

  • Head to the Liftside Chamber Site of Grace and head through the courtyard with flamethrowers to the doorway, directly opposite of where the stairs come down.
  • Now head through this small, lit chamber into the big room with the tables, the Grafted Scion, and body parts hanging from the ceiling. 
  • Bear right along the wall, then turn right again to enter a small courtyard where the door is.                
  • The Iron Whetblade is inside on a body by the fire, though beware of the enemies.    

Glintstone Whetblade location. (Image credit: From Software)

Elden Ring Glintstone Whetblade location 

This crafting knife is found in the Raya Lucaria Academy and lets you add the magic and cold affinities to any of your weapons, no matter the skill you're using. From the Debate Parlor Site of Grace, head out into the courtyard and look up to the left to see a body in a window with an item. This is the Glintstone Whetblade, but it's a little more complex to get to it: 

  • Skirt the courtyard ledge until you can drop down onto the gantries below. 
  • Run across one and jump onto steps leading up to the double doors. 
  • As you run up, stick to the sides to avoid the giant rolling balls. 
  • You'll arrive in a courtyard where you'll be invaded. Defeat the invader and head left until you get to the door you can open. 
  • Kill the two sorcerers just past it, then head down the stairs to where all the enemies are.
  • Circle back on yourself and head into the room with a further sorcerer to find the Glintstone Whetblade. 
Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.

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