In every FromSoftware Souls game, summons have existed in multiple forms. There are helpful human summons that can fight alongside you, but also human invaders that aim to kill you. Alternatively, there are NPC summons that can serve those same two purposes. The situations and requirements for how and when you can access these summons change from game to game, but in Elden Ring there is a third option thrown into the mix. Instead of costing items, humanity, or only being available in specific locations, Spirit Ashes are a new type of NPC summon that calls a ghostly figure — usually based on an enemy — to your side. There are dozens of them to be collected in The Lands Between, and all can be upgraded with rare materials. But the power gap between some of them is quite large.
Spirit Ashes can’t be called anywhere or if you’ve already summoned help via another means, but if you’ve got the right ones, they’re arguably better than summoning human help. Most will cost you some FP, just like magic, but don’t come with the downside of increasing the boss’s health to compensate like a regular summon would. Since the bosses of Elden Ring are so aggressive, and there are more than a few where you’re facing two at once, having a reliable buddy to back you up is almost necessary for evening the odds. Rather than fumble around trying to sort out which out of the dozens of Spirit Ashes you’ve collected is best, here’s a list of the best ones to invest your upgrades into in Elden Ring.
Our first pick comes with one asterisk — technically two. The technical one is that, yes, this Spirit Ash was nerfed in a patch, but that really hasn’t diminished its potential as the best one in Elden Ring. The more major asterisk is that key word we used — “potential.” You see, for anyone who somehow hasn’t been exposed to just how crazy the Mimic Tear is, this Spirit Ash summons a copy of your own character to fight alongside you. Whatever armor and weapons you’re packing, that’s what they’ll use too. So, in that sense, the Mimic Tear is only as good as you are. Another huge potential advantage to this specific Spirit Ash is that, unlike the others, it doesn’t cost any FP to summon, meaning you won’t have to invest to get a high enough Mind stat to summon it. Instead, it will drain 660 HP, so as long as you’ve got enough HP in reserve, it really will just cost you a sip of your flask.
The other downside to the Mimic Tear is that even if you’ve got a great build, having two of certain builds just isn’t as advantageous as it is for others. If you are basically any kind of melee build, having another close range attacker to draw aggro when you need to back off and heal is always great, but if you’re a spellcaster then you’d probably want a Spirit Ash that summons someone who will go in and keep the enemy’s or boss’s attention and keep them as far away from you as possible.
Being so powerful, the Mimic Tear is not one you’re going to find early on, or easily, in Elden Ring. You need to beat Radahn, travel through Nokron, Eternal City, and use a Stonesword Key on a secret gate to get your hands on it.
How useful could a headless knight be? Oh, you have no idea until you call upon Lhutel the Headless. Unlike basically every other Spirit Ash in the game, including the Mimic Tear, this summon can attack from both close and long range. You’ll notice right off the bat that Lhutel comes with a hefty shield and spear, which she will not only use in the normal fashion poking and prodding enemies but also launch it at ranged enemies. On top of all that, she can inflict the Death Blight status effect, teleport short distances, and is very rich in defense and HP. Lhutel, in nearly every way, is just plain hard to kill. It will cost you 104 FP to summon, so you will need to spend a few levels getting to that amount.
If you want to get this headless Spirit Ash on your side, you will need to beat the Cemetery Shade boss inside the Tombsward Catacombs, which can be found in the Weeping Peninsula, straight south from the Church of Pilgrimage.
There’s plenty of group Summon Ashes in Elden Ring, and we’ll include more, but this pair is worth more than a group in our eyes. The Nightmaiden and Swordstress are not tanks — more like glass cannons that can hit hard, but are a little slow and fragile. Each one can use a combination of magical melee and ranged spells, which helps keep them alive, plus pass aggro from one to the other. They’re perfect for adding a bunch of extra damage if you’re playing the tank and taking the boss’s attention for most of the battle and just want more DPS coming in to speed up the process.
This pair comes at a pretty cheap 97 FP to summon. Each one has their own life bar, but are also somewhat of a pain to actually get. They’re in Nokstella, Eternal City, not to be confused with Nokron, and rewarded to you for beating the real version of this pair in a boss fight.
In some ways, the only downside to Black Knife Tiche is that she’s potentially too strong. In fact, leveled up, you can easily find that you feel like you’re the support to the summon instead of the other way around. Why is she so powerful? Well, it’s her Black Knife weapon that is imbued with the Rune of Death, granting all of her attacks Black Flame damage that deals very strong damage over time on anything hit by it. She really shines against bosses for this reason, not really able to handle crowds all that well. She will take on the aggro right away, which is great for all player types, but is nimble enough to dodge and stay alive for most, if not entire, boss fights. Sometimes she can even solo bosses without your help at all.
For all that power, it will cost you. Calling on Black Knife Tiche will cost 132 FP, so you will need to pump a quite a few levels into Mind to reach that number. Still, there’s almost no boss this summon isn’t worth the cost.
A strange pick here, this time we look at one of the group summons. The Greatshield Soldier Spirit Ash is a little misleading since it actually calls out five soldiers equipped with giant greatshields. This is the most build-specific Spirit Ash so far, since these guys are basically just a big wall. They’ll charge whatever your target is, tanking almost any damage they can dish out with their massive shields, but not really fight back at all. That leaves you, preferably from far back with spells or miracles, to unleash you most powerful ranged attacks from safety. Even if the boss does realize what’s going on and try and get at you, the number of them, and the size of their shields, can act like a row of football players blocking for you until they take aggro back.
This mob is criminally cheap, only costing 74 FP, and is also picked up while exploring Nokron, Eternal City. They’re looted from a body, so no difficult fight or boss is required to get them.
So far most Spirit Ashes have been pretty standard humans or human-type ghosts, but why not get creative? There are the wolves you get early on, plus a jellyfish, but our pick for the best animal type has to be Stormhawk Deenh. This giant eagle-looking summon is even more aggressive than the birds that pester you in the early game, and also gives you a small damage buff. Just based on the fact that it’s a flying summon makes it hard, if not impossible, for some enemies to hit. Once you factor in that it’s always swooping and diving, this thing is almost like a permanent damaging status effect on enemies.
The cheapest one yet, you can call your very own Stormhawk Deenh for the low price of just 47 FP. What’s the catch? You have to reach the Chapel of Anticipation, which you can only get to by teleporting from the Four Belfries. Without spoiling anything, that’s a good chunk into Elden Ring.
The dual-wielding giant of a man known as Banished Knight Oleg probably earned that title for being an absolute monster on the battlefield. Once you see how high his damage output is, you might expect Oleg to have low HP, or be very slow, or something like that to balance him out. And yes, being an all-out attacker does mean his defense isn’t as good as some other picks, but he’s by no means squishy. He will pull off some awesome spinning attacks and keep the pressure on until his last breath, which won’t come quickly. Even if you’re right in the mix yourself, hacking away, bosses will still tend to prioritize him for how fast he strikes.
Banished Knight Oleg might be one of the closest Spirit Ashes to get from where you start in Elden Ring, but you certainly shouldn’t try and go there first. He’s your final reward for completing the Fringefolk Hero’s Grave, which is located just off to the side of the Stranded Graveyard Site of Grace. Not only do you need to make it through this tricky, trap-filled dungeon and beat the Ulcerated Tree Spirit but also pay two Stonesword Keys in the process. Get all that done, and you will have a nasty partner in crime for 100 FP per summon.
Another pair, these Spirit Ashes call upon two creatures that are more beast than man. They have massive, hulking weapons that you could only vaguely call swords, and are as ferocious as you would think wild beastmen would be. Because of that, they’re somewhat like giant bursts of damage. You shouldn’t count on them sticking around for a long boss, but rather they jump in, dealing tons of damage with no regard for their own safety, and fighting until the bitter end. Use them to finish a fight quickly, or push past a difficult phase, but in the grand scheme of things they won’t buy you a ton of time.
The biggest downside to the Azula Beastman Spirit Ashes is that, besides not having a ton of health, they only show up in the last area of the game. You will have to get all the way to the Crumbling Farum Azula, to the Dragon Temple Site of Grace, where you need to go all the way down to the bottom level by carefully dropping down a series of ledges and looking through the crypt.
A favorite for all those spellcasters out there, we have the regal looking Ancient Dragon Knight Kristoff at your service. This is one of Legendary Spirit Ashes in Elden Ring, which doesn’t always mean they’re top tier, but in this case it’s true. This knight, fit for facing off against dragons, is make to be the perfect tank to your mage or ranger. But, as Souls fans will no doubt know, those who take on fighting dragons, at least successfully, will have to utilize their elemental weakness — lightning. Kristoff can, just like the enemy variant you no doubt died a time or two against, coat their weapon in lightning, as well as hurl ranged lightning attacks. Lightning will be more or less effective depending on the foe, but is never a detriment.
The Ancient Dragon Knight Kristoff is another harder-to-reach Spirit Ash. You will need to first complete the entirety of Leyndell the Royal Capital and then enter the Sainted Hero’s Grave. This is a tough dungeon on its own, plus you have to beat the boss, Ancient Hero of Zamor, at the end. If you do, though, casters will easily be able to call upon this knight for just 108 FP.
This Spirit Ash is one we can understand why most players would overlook, or simply ignore. On the surface, what’s so great about summoning two skeletons to fight for you, especially compared to everything else on this list? To be fair, the Skeletal Militiaman are not impressive from a damage output perspective, and don’t even have a ton of health. But, just like the skeletons you fight yourself, they have one special trick up their sleeves: They can come back to life. Once either of these skeleton warrior’s health bars drops to zero, they will collapse in a pile of bones. If the boss, or whatever you’re fighting, fails to attack them while on the ground, they will pick themselves back up over and over again to keep chipping away and drawing their attention. Because enemies don’t focus on killed enemies, unless they have an area-of-effect attack they use at just the right time, these boney buddies will essentially keep coming back until you’ve won the fight. As long as you can keep yourself alive as well as the Skeletal Militiaman, there’s no fight you won’t eventually win.
They are dirt cheap to summon, too, at just 44 FP, and can be claimed very early in the game. Just go to Summonwater Village and beat the Tibia Mariner boss to unlock them as your undying soldiers.