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Warframe: A Guide to Fully Utilizing Ash’s Kit

This guide provides an in-depth description of uses for Ash’s less frequented abilities and alternative modes of play that better fit the recent changes to him.

Preface Regarding Changes

This guide was made for the U18 updates to Ash, when he was first changed to manually mark enemies instead of selecting targets based on an AOE. Ash has changed since then and we have new gear, mods, and focus abilities to consider. If parts of the guide are outdated (for instance, Naramon’s broken invisibility was removed from the game) or there’s something you’d do differently, please leave a comment. With the recent spike in views, I’ll try to update the guide to be more accurate to the game as it is now. Thanks for reading!

The U18 changes affect the efficacy of Bladestorm, most notably the energy cost in my case. If your build was previously built to maximize damage, ignoring all other stats you may have more problems. But after reading this guide, you’ll know how Ash’s abilities can be used.

I’ve been playing Ash since U9 and he is still my most used frame. Trust me, nothing can be worse than U9 bladestorm.

Some Basic Concepts and Other Accessories

Some basic stats you will want to improve:

  • Health – Ash has more health than shields so I recommend putting on Vitality for your defensive mod.
  • Speed – Getting in and out of combat range is an important skill and increasing things like sprint speed can help a lot. You should have an advanced grasp of parkour if you’re playing a melee focused playstyle with smokescreen. I reccomend Armored Agility for both speed and armor buffs in exchange for one slot, though this may be less important to you.
  • Armor – As I wrote above, Armored Agility boosts your armor from 150 to 217. It’s not an incredible increase, but it’ll allow you to take more damage, giving you a bit more staying power in an open firefight.
  • Energy – You may want to put on Energy Siphon for your aura to get some energy back between casts, depending on whether your willing to forma Ash there and whether you can live with less than +18 capacity from your aura slot. Additionally, Prime Flow(or just Flow) can help offset the rather expensive energy costs when nuking a group of enemies with Bladestorm. Rage is another good mod to put on Ash, giving you more energy to stab people as you lose health. You should carry team energy restores on your gear wheel as well.

Accessories:

  • Misc. invisibility gadgets – These aren’t terribly helpful, but are useful enough that if you can part with that carrier for a few missions, may save your life. Arcane Trickery allows you to be both fashionable and functional and can potentially trigger at the end of a bladestorm or after a teleport assassination. Shade may help you preserve your stealth or give you a moment to breath in a tight squeeze. Shade isn’t the best because his invisibility relies on line of sight, but on more open maps can potentially give you an advantage.
  • The Naramon Focus School – Making Naramon your focus school will allow you to increase melee crit chance and cloak you after melee crits. This drastically improves survivability on a melee build and can be pulled of even with lower crit chances and slower weapons, provided you have berserker installed.
  • Vaykor – The Vaykor Marelok/ Hek make excellent accompaniments to health-based warframes such as Ash, rewarding gun kills with bursts of health and staggering AoEs. I’d reccomend carrying a V Marelok as it is a good sidearm and can be switched to in an effort to restore health.
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Shuriken and Its Applications

Shuriken has never been a great ability. It doesn’t do much damage and now costs more than bladestorming a single target. This is probably Ash’s worst ability, especially given how quick the new bladestorm targeting system is compared to throwing a shuriken from 60m away from an enemy.

That being said, there is a saving grace for Shuriken which can be put to great use at high levels. Shuriken’s augment (Seeking Shuriken) reduces enemy armor after hitting them. At max rank the mod reduces armor by 70% for 8 seconds. Using this and bladestorm’s ability to target single enemies you can assassinate highly armored enemies by throwing a shuriken and following it up with a bladestorm to the enemy. Bladestorm ignores enemy armor entirely, as does the slash damage from Shuriken, which stacks with the Bladestorm slash proc. It is crucial to throw the shuriken before using bladestorm so that teammates can take advantage of the reduced armor. Because Bladestorm no longer makes targets invincible, your teammates can wail upon your target while they are stunned by the bladestorm animation. Using additional marks on targets increases the damage the slash proc does and stuns the enemy longer.

It is best when using this combo to mod towards power strength, though the augment is helpful regardless so long as you have a free slot in your build.

Additionally, since Bladestorm is a lot faster than it was in U9 and you’re only stabbing one guy, you can take advantage of the reduced armor yourself, so bring a good gun and ensure your melee has primed fury installed to increase your stabbing speed leaving you a longer window to shoot. (base weapon speed and berserker stacks do not affect stabbing speed)

Smoke Screen

Smoke Screen cloaks Ash and staggers nearby enemies. Extra sprint speed comes in handy here because enemies will still attempt to attack where they last hear your weapon fired. While Smoke Screen lacks the stealth ability of Loki’s invisibility, its duration can still reach 22 seconds when duration is maxed. Smoke Screen’s primary use was intended to be a increase of melee damage. Each melee attack while stealthed will have its damage multiplied by 8 regardless of weapon type. Because touching an enemy disrupts your stealth damage bonus, I reccomend a longer weapon such as the Galatine prime or War if you plan to do a Smoke Screen build.

Smoke Screen benefits mostly from duration mods, but the stagger radius increases with range. Since Smoke Screen doesn’t last long enough to make a really reliable invisibility build, I prefer to keep duration between 75% and 125%. 75% will give you just enough time to revive a downed teammate (about 6 seconds) and 125% wil grant you about 10 seconds, with which you have plenty of time to target small groups for Bladestorm, revive and defend a teammate, or throw down a couple health plates.

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Smoke Screen’s augment is “Smoke Shadow” which will cloak allies within 5m (affected by range mods) for the duration of Smoke Screen. While this may serve some purpose in an organized party, most teams won’t be close enough together for this to make much of a difference, especially when Ivara can cloak fairly large areas and other players much longer.

Smoke Screen is most useful in getting away from large groups of enemies, given the stagger and short yet effective invisibility. Additionally, melee builds can use it for boosted damage and a safer engagement with the enemy. Smoke Screen can also allow you to safely pick up a downed teammate.

Combined with teleport Smoke Screen can do a great job of keeping a rather shaky team alive. My most revives in a mission with this combo is 32 during a Sortie 2. No revives used.

Teleport

I’ve called Teleport the best ability in the game on a few occasions. While this is a gross exaggeration, I do think that Teleport is severely undervalued as an ability without its augment or a dagger. While Teleport lacks the ability to teleport into open space and thus cannot be used to escape enemies, (Hint, Hint, DE) Teleport allows quick transportation between the player’s position and other things on the field. This transportation isn’t terribly useful except in those “oh quot; moments when you forgot to take your Cryopod out of the oven. What teleport can do, however, is quickly travel to downed players, allowing you to pick them up under the cover of Smoke Screen. On more open maps (such as Interceptions) this instantaneous 60m gap closer minimizes dead times when players go down. Teleport also staggers enemies that have been targeted by it, opening them up to melee finishers. This helps players who prefer hammers for their melee weapons, as they gain the most (6x normal damage) from their weapons finishers.

I reccomend between 100% and 145% range on all abilities. The simple addition of Stretch will do this on some builds. This increase ups Bladstorm’s range to 70m, Teleport and Shurikens’ to 87m, and Smoke Screen’s stagger radius to ~15m.

One of the recently popular builds for Ash is the Fatal Teleport build. Fatal Teleport is an augment which automatically finishes a target, granting 200% extra damage to the strike. Half of Teleport’s energy cost is refunded upon a successsful kill.

The best equipment to use with a teleport build is a dagger, equipped with the Covert Lethality mod as it is guaranteed to kill any enemy hit with a finisher. Shotguns may also benefit from teleporting close to enemies.

Bladestorm History

Bladestorm has always been the black sheep of Ash’s abilities. It’s never really fit with the freedom teleporting around and throwing slash procs seems to bring. Bladestorm started as a really long string of animations that played of Ash popping around, poking enemies and never really accomplishing much. He was notorious for letting defense objectives die while he struggled to kill stuff. Enemies were not invulnerable while targetted by this ability and often Bladestorm served little purpose given its low damage output compared to DPS giants like Saryn and Nova, stupidly long duration, and inefficiency as enemies would die before the ability got to them.

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That is why DE changed the animation speed to rely on weapon speed improvements (Bladestorm is still not affected by base melee speed or berserker) and clones of Ash were created to increase target stabbing speed. Enemies were also made invincible (but not immobile) during the ability. Bladestorm worked through its pool of 18 attacks, killing enemies in succession. This set up led to Ash poking high level enemies he was incapable for killing over and over while other enemies continued their onslaught, immune to damage.

Clones were added to speed up the rate of stabbing, though pre U18 it was still pretty slow.

U18 changes have undone this invincibility and given Ash a new system of targeting. These changes made Ash mechanically better, allowing him to separately choose as many targets as he wanted and preventing hangups. The lack of enemy invincibility decreased the efficacy of Ash’s before guaranteed onslaught, but allows the team to integrate better with him by continuing to wail on enemies as they are wont to do. Now a definite positive change over U9 was added in that killed target not hit by Bladestorm refund energy. The time bladestorm takes to work is also way faster than back in the day, though the animations still take a good chunk of time.

Bladestorm

Bladestorm allows user to enter a targetting mode in which players mark targets via mousing over them. Enemies can be marked up to three time each. The number of active marks is unlimited so long as Ash has energy. A second activation of the ability will cause Ash to teleport around, stabbing the ever-living out of everyone, ever (your marked targets) Marks cost 15 energy uncloaked and 10 energy cloaked (via any means) at 100% efficiency. These energy costs increased Ash’s immediate energy investment requiring 180 energy to target the same amount of enemies to the old ability’s 100.

Though invisibility will lower the costs of the marks, the cost of Smokescreen makes it less efficient to target less than 7 enemies. When targetting more than 7 enemies, you should definitely throw down Smokescreen whenever targetting a large group, and stay visible when targetting smaller groups. Additionally, since your energy cost will be reduced regardless of how you become invisible, you should always try to mark from within Ivara’s cloak arrow or while under the effects of the Naramon School’s invisibility. I strongly reccomend investing in the Naramon invisibility, especially if you’re doing a Bladestorm/melee build. This will allow you to sacrifice duration for more damage and efficiency.

Bladestorm will do 2000 damage per mark as well as apply a Slash proc of 7 ticks equal to 35% of the ability’s damage. It is affected by power strength.

I reccomend pumping as much into damage as possible while maintaining positive stats, though you’ll probably also want some efficiency. If you do not have a high efficiency, you’ll definitely want to put flow into your build.

Bladestorm’s augment increases the time before your melee combo resets after bladestorm. This may be useful if you’re running a Bladestorm + melee build.

Be sure to install fury on your melee, it speeds up your bladestorm animation speed, allowing you to get back into the action quicker and help your team more.

Written by GamingSanta

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