Elden Ring Spirit Ashes function as a way for solo players to summon a little help into battle. Whether that’s brought to bear against bosses, dungeons, or just regular foes. The game sports dozens of spirits you can call (usually at the cost of FP) which perform various attacks or provide other benefits. Some are incredibly useful! Others almost seem almost to exist as jokes or lore items. Picking them all apart is a fairly difficult process. That’s what this article is for, of course. We’re here to try and provide at least a baseline for what works and what doesn’t (or at least what works when). So let’s take a look at what that means in our Elden Ring Spirit Ashes tier list!
NOTE: Reading past this point will lead to MINOR SPOILERS for Elden Ring. This is a game all about exploration and discovery. Some players might not even want a hint of a whiff of what new powers await them. If that’s you, skip this for now and come back later! Though we suspect you already know what you’re in for if you’ve read this far. With that out of the way, the current Spirit Ashes tier list is available in its simplest form just below.
UPDATE 1.03: With the surprise launch of Patch 1.03 for Elden Ring, one particular summon underwent radical changes. You can read the official patch notes here, but it’s specifically worth noting that the Mimic Tear was nerfed. A lot. Its damage output was reduced by about 50 percent and, while it can still use certain items, it seems much less prone to using things like weapon skills.
What is Being Ranked?
As mentioned above, Elden Ring spirits are AI companions that aid the player in certain areas. These zones are always indicated by a blue, glowing gravestone icon on the lefthand side of the screen. You can only summon spirits from Spirit Ashes if you see one of those. Luckily, this covers quite a lot of ground. Dungeons and most organized enemy camps in the overworld are free game to summon friends (be they spirits or human players in co-op). Unlike jolly cooperators, though, you’re limited to one spirit at a time until you die, rest, or exit an area.
The other limiting factor on spirits is your FP (short for Focus Points). This is the Elden Ring term for mana, or energy, and it’s used for everything from weapon skills to Sorceries. Including Spirit Ashes. Most spirits require varying amounts of FP to summon. If something costs more than your total FP — that blue bar sandwiched between your health and stamina at the top of the screen — you simply cannot summon it. Though there are massive exceptions to this rule.
Not every Spirit Ash in Elden Ring requires FP to summon at all. The aforementioned Mimic Tear, for instance, drains health instead. As do a few other spirits. In one particularly special case summoning is even entirely free of charge. You can also temporarily raise your maximum FP with Godrick’s Great Rune: appropriately acquired by killing Godrick in Stormveil Castle and “charging” the item at the Divine Tower across the keep’s bridge. Great Runes then still need to be activated by using a consumable item, called a Rune Arc. This effect typically lasts until you die.
Even then there’s a way around the FP limit. You just need the Cerulean Hidden Tear. This is an ingredient for your Flask of Wondrous Physick, which can be mixed at any Site of Grace to produce different effects. In this case that effect is infinite FP. At least for a few seconds. This is perfect for summoning, however, since you usually only activate the ashes once per rest. It’s a great way to circumvent pumping levels into Mind: the stat that raises total FP and not much else.
As a final note on Spirt Ashes, it’s worth knowing that nearly all summons available in the game are based on existing enemies. These ones just happen to work for you. That means most — if not all — of the same rules apply to them as would apply to enemies of that type in the world. Undead spirits, like the Skeletal Militiaman, are a perfect example. Elden Ring skeletons typically respawn infinitely when defeated. That is unless you attack the glowing, white fog coming out of their bones when they fall. Destroying this core with a simple swing of damage will permanently destroy them, but only if you do it before they resurrect after a few seconds. The same goes for friendly skeletons. Keep this rule of thumb in mind when considering all spirits in the game.
What Do the Rankings Mean?
Spirits are different from other Elden Ring abilities in that they’re entirely PVE oriented. You simply cannot use Spirit Ashes in multiplayer — not even co-op. Not even if you simply use the Furlcalling Finger Remedy, which is necessary to invite other players into your game. Doing so simply turns off spirts altogether.
This obviously means we don’t factor PVP into our rankings whatsoever. Instead, we focus on their general effectiveness against bosses and standard enemies. It sounds simple and it… largely is, in a vacuum. The problem is that whatever is “most effective” is different people with different builds. So we try to consider a broad spectrum of useful traits: tankiness (i.e. defensive ability), damage, and support (i.e. healing and buffing). Plus some quirkier traits here and there. Generally, if something could be useful, we try to reflect that with a higher ranking. Though things like damage and the ability to tank are weighted more heavily since they’re more broadly applicable across all kinds of players.
Here’s what those categories mean at a glance:
S – Great in nearly all situations.
A – Good to great in most situations.
B – Good in a wide variety of situations. Great with a particular weapon or build.
C – Not generally recommended, but either situationally useful or broadly effective with setup.
D – Not generally recommended: either because the spirit fills too niche a role to be used over something more broadly useful, or because another spirit does the same thing but better.
We elected not to include an F tier because nearly all Spirit Ashes (as well as Sorceries, Ashes of War, and Incantations for that matter) seem at least functional. Even if a particular function isn’t very appealing to us. Getting any more granular with higher and lower tiers (or pluses and minuses) felt pedantic and opaque, not informative.
How Are the Rankings Selected?
In our Sorcery tier list, Ashes of War tier list, and Incantation tier list we went out of our way to explain that every ranking is different. We pointed out that “mathematical details obviously have some impact, but different players weigh different elements — such as animation time, super armor, damage, range, status effects, etc. — differently.” As such there is no such thing as an “objective opinion,” and so on. Anyone who tries to tell you different is simply trying to convince you their opinion is the one you should pay attention to most.
This is even more so the case with Spirit Ashes. And there are a couple of good reasons for this. The biggest is that Spirit Ashes are almost entirely driven by the game’s AI. Pitted against enemy AI, those are two overlapping random factors totally out of the player’s control, butting heads against each other at once. It’s quite literally impossible to predict how any one encounter between spirits and enemies will go. That’s why more observable factors (like heatlh, damage, and so on) are weighted heavier in our rankings. These more predictably increase the odds of a favorable outcome for the player. Though there is always the element of pure, stupid luck.
Spirit Ashes in particular also seem to scale very well across the board. Every level of upgrade doesn’t just raise the summon’s damage, as with weapons. Instead you get greater survivability, sometimes more status effect buildup, and/or entire extra units added to each use. Plus extra damage. This alone makes even the weakest of spirits at least more able to draw enemy aggression and take a hit for you in the late game.
Because most spirits are based on existing enemies, or enemy archetypes, they tend to have very basic attack patterns. Combined with their moderate-to-high health pools after several upgrades, these summons are totally serviceable for almost anyone. Some might even turn out to be great if a particular player learns exactly how to work around them with practice. This makes up most of what you see around the middle — in the B and C tiers.
Conversely, a few spirits in the center don’t offer much of the basics but have some singular quirk that might make them useful in the right circumstance. The Warhawk is a good example. It’s not the healthiest or most powerful spirit in the game. On the other hand, it’s one of only a few flying types. And anyone who’s fought flying enemies in Elden Ring knows how difficult they can be to hit. This makes them a useful distraction against certain enemies and immune to low or ground-based attacks altogether.
At the highest tiers of the list, you should find Spirit Ashes that provide both stability and versatility. Even if that versatility is “function well in melee and at range.” Not every summon is good at both, but the ones that are stand out more.
Important Notes on Specific Spirit Ashes
Even after the nerf, Mimic Tear is still incredibly good for its customizability. It’s as tanky as you are (or more so if you equip a shield before summoning and then switch to something more offensive). It can also cast support spells that effect you and the Mimic Tear both at the same time.
Stormhawk Deenh provides an undocumented damage buff to the player at the start. It’s also a flying enemy, which anyone who’s fought flying enemies throughout the game should know is annoying as shit to actually hit. This weirdly provides a sort of “dodge tank” summon to the roster.
Lhutel the Headless is an exceptional tank and a good fighter, but her teleportation ability introduces some risks. She can disappear and reappear at odd times — dropping damage and, more importantly, aggro. This occasionally interrupts her primary role as a tank.
Aurelia (a.k.a. the Jellyfish) falls off hard, but we’re placing her in B for now due to her exceptional early game usability for new players. She’s easy to acquire, fights at range, and has more HP than any other summon new players are likely to get at the start of the game. Just consider replacing her when you get more options.
Lone Wolf occupies a similar space as the Jellyfish. It’s quite literally the first spirit most players get in the game and it scales surprisingly well. It fulfills its “role” as an early game spirit quite nicely.
It also illustrates the difference between the two basic categories of Spirit Ashes in Elden Ring: single, tanky units and larger group of easier-to-kill fodder. Groups are weaker to AoE attacks, since individual members of said group have less health. The advantage is that groups can confuse enemy AI — even tricking them into confused loops where they don’t know who to target. Group summons can also continue attacking (and potentially staggering) enemies when one of their number is under threat.
Ancestral Follower doesn’t do incredible up close, but they’re noteworthy as an extremely solid ranged attack that staggers foes at a distance. For melee players, you can do a helluva lot worse.
Rotten Stray: This summon won’t tank for you or do a million damage on its own. However, it’s a very early and easily accessible source of Scarlet Rot, which chews through some bosses due to its percentage-based HP damage.
Giant Rat: The total number of rats summoned each time you use them increases as they level up. At max level, the total number of rats can stagger enemies well as they just keep attacking. They also don’t consume FP or HP.
Cleanrot Knight Finlay is an edge case between A and S. They provide quite a lot of utility — including an immediate buff — but are staggered fairly easily and don’t tank as well as others. Even at +10. It may depend on what you’re looking for in a summon.
Similar to Finlay, Redmane Knight Ogha could easily shift up to S tier under the right circumstances. They’re good at melee and extremely effective at range. Though straightforward bow attacks are a little finicky on spirits, since the AI doesn’t always know when their line of sight is blocked. In such cases you can find them shooting a rock or a wall instead.
Land Squirts: These are surprisingly useful… in theory. They’re largely immobile, but very tanky, and deal damage over time in their poison clouds in addition to the Poison they induce. The problem is that their summoning locations are preset within each area. This often places them in totally useless spots that the player has no control over.
Latenna the Albinauric basically functions like a turret, with all the pros and cons that entails. She won’t move (much) from her spot and can snipe enemies at a distance. This is great for melee builds. If you keep aggro, she just functions as free damage from almost anywhere as long as she has line of sight. It’s also great for casters. If you position an enemy between you and Latenna, the enemy AI tends to get confused and try to run between the both of you. Unfortunately, she’s basically a goner if she comes under sustained fire — especially up close.
Perfumer Tricia is an a mostly support summon that periodically gives you a damage shield that blocks most of the damage on the next hit you would take (similar to the Opaline Bubbletear). Like Carmaan, her offensive fire dust is extremely unreliable and doesn’t deal tremendous damage.
Dolores the Sleeping Arrow is a difficult-to-find and extremely interesting summon. She’s one of just a handful of sources of Sleep in the game, which is quite useful when you can apply it, as it “stuns” enemies in groups (such as the Godskin Duo). Meanwhile, attacking a sleeping target seems to give bonus damage on Critical Hits. Though the status effect only seems useful against certain enemies.
The Putrid Corpse Ashes function a bit like a living Shabriri’s Woe. They just stand around and draw aggro. This isn’t 100 percent reliable, however, as attacking bosses does still draw them back to the player. Eventually. The issue here is that you’re trading damage for a slightly better distraction. That likely makes this summon best for Sorcery users looking for build windows to blast away during.
Crystalian is fantastic in most cases… Just not against enemies that do consistent Strike (i.e. blunt) damage. In which case it’s practically useless. This is actually a very instructive example of why Spirit Ashes are generally situational.
Nepheli Loux Puppet: I could arguably put this one higher, but I don’t want to encourage people to mess with Nepheli to get this summon…
Dung Eater Puppet: I could arguably put this one lower, but I want to encourage to mess with the Loathsome Dung Eater to get this summon.
Radahn Soldiers have unique AI that seems to make them wantonly attack anything they want, rather than directly follow the player. This obviously doesn’t matter much in boss fights. Going through dungeons, however, players may need something else.
Each Haligtree Soldier seems to trigger its self-destruct when it drops to about 50 percent health. This does impressive damage, in addition to whatever minor attacks they inflict first, but the explosion animation takes time and the soldiers can unfortunately be killed before detonating.
Oracle Envoy: These weird little guys have the unique ability to hit enemies without line of sight. Their golden bubble attacks simply spawn above enemies’ heads instead.
Many people have said this, but absolutely do not sleep on the Greatshield Soldier Ashes. It’s true that groups are usually less survivable than solo summons. However, these spirits attack almost exclusively from behind their shields, using the unique trait that spears possess in Elden Ring to continue blocking at the same time. That means their ability to tank is much, much greater than it initially seems — all while they continue to spread out and do damage.
General Notes & Jargon
Here are a few other concepts that go into our decision-making:
Stagger and Posture Damage: Most attacks and offensive skills can stagger opponents. This causes the target to flinch and stop moving very briefly, often interrupting attacks that would otherwise hit the player. Lighter attacks are less likely to stagger while heavier armor reduces the chances of being staggered altogether. At the same time, several skills damage an invisible “posture” bar, to borrow a term from Sekiro, which leaves foes open to a Critical Hit when it depletes. Some skills do incredible posture damage and are especially desirable on builds that exploit Critical Hits.
Status Effects: This refers to indirect damage types. Across Elden Ring this includes Poison, Blood Loss, Frostbite, Scarlet Rot, Madness, Instant Death, and Sleep. Blood Loss, Frostbite, and Scarlet Rot tend to be the most effective and sought-after status types — due to their fast damage, usefulness in PVP as well as PVE, and easy application.
Aggro: Short for “aggression.” If a player or a spirit has aggro, that means a particular enemy is focusing its attacks on them.
AoE (a.k.a. Area-of-Effect): A broadly used term that basically means any type of attack that hits in a wide area — be it a circle, a cone, etc.