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Apex Legends Ash abilities, tips, and backstory explained

Is Ash going to dominate Season 11 of Apex Legends?

Want to know about Ash's abilities in Apex Legends? The upcoming addition to the Apex Legends roster will arrive next week, along with a brand new map, the new CAR SMG, and a host of weapon and Legend balance changes. Ash is turning a lot of heads thanks both to her complex and fascinating backstory and to her powerful and versatile array of abilities.

Below we'll walk you through how each of Ash's abilities work in detail, so you can get off to a great start with her once Season 11 drops. We'll also detail Ash's backstory for those who need to know every last detail about this dangerous new Legend.

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Apex Legends Ash abilities

Like all the previous Legends in Apex Legends, Ash will have access to three abilities: Marked For Death (Passive), Arc Snare (Tactical), and Phase Breach (Ultimate). Taken together, these abilities make for a very diverse skillset, giving her the ability to track enemy locations, disrupt their movements, and reposition her entire team to push an advantage or to escape danger.

At first glance there's quite a lot of overlap between Ash's skillset and certain other Legend abilities, such as Bloodhound's tracking capabilities, or Wraith's own Interdimensional Portal Ultimate. But as you'll see below, Respawn have taken a lot of time to inject some interesting depth and balance into each of Ash's abilities so that overall she should feel like an entirely unique Legend. She'll be powerful, for sure - possibly even one of the very best Apex Legends characters - but hopefully we won't see a repeat of Season 10's release, where the new Legend (Seer) immediately began to utterly dominate the meta.

Ash tips and tricks

Before we delve into how to use Ash's individual abilities to great effect, let's go over some general tips and tricks to bear in mind when playing as this powerful and versatile Legend:

  • Use your abilities liberally as they're on low cooldowns. Both Ash's Tactical ability and her Ultimate ability are on relatively short cooldowns, so you shouldn't feel as cautious about using them at just the right moment as you might with, say, Gibraltar's abilities. Fire off your Arc Snare whenever it's off cooldown during a fight for some extra damage, and look for opportunities to reposition and flank with your Ultimate - or even just to speed up your rotations.
  • Your job is to hunt down third party opportunities. Ash's most important ability is her Passive, which marks the locations of recent deathboxes on her map. This makes it Ash's job to communicate your findings with your team and point them towards nearby third party opportunities where you can snag some easy kills and bucketfuls of loot early on.
  • Communicate your intentions with your Ultimate. Ash's Ultimate ability has its limitations, but it's still a very powerful and fast-acting team repositioning ability. It's a panic button, essentially. But it's a panic button that your entire team can use, which means you should get used to quickly communicating your intentions with your team when using it in the heat of battle so that they can follow you through the portal in a timely manner.
From an Apex Legends cinematic: Ash crouches over a dead Legend and uses her passive ability to find out where their killers are.

Ash Passive: Marked For Death

Description: Recent deathboxes appear as pings on Ash's map. Interact with a deathbox to mark surviving attackers (once per box).

Don't let anyone convince you otherwise: Ash's Passive is by far the strongest tool in her kit.

Marked For Death is Ash's suitably morbid take on receiving information on enemy whereabouts, as it revolves around player deaths. Whenever an enemy dies anywhere on the map, Ash will receive a ping on her map notifying her of its exact location. The icon fades away over time, but it should be enough to give her a decent idea of where fights are occurring throughout the entire match - a deceptively strong tool in Apex Legends.

The other half of her passive allows her to interact with any deathbox she finds. Doing this will mark on her map the precise location of that deceased player's killer and their teammates, if they are still alive. She can only interact with each deathbox once in this manner, but it gives Ash some solid tracking capabilities that should minimise downtime between fights - or allow her team to avoid fights until they're in a better position.

Ash Passive tips:

  • Only Ash sees the deathbox locations appear, so you'll need to communicate your findings with your team by pinging the deathboxes.
  • When you interact with a deathbox to mark surviving attackers, everyone on your team sees the automatic pings on their maps.
  • Enemies that are marked by Ash interacting with a deathbox will be notified of the fact that they have been marked.
  • Deathboxes stay highlighted on Ash's map for 200 seconds, fading away slowly over that time. The clearer the icon, the more recent the death.
From an Apex Legends cinematic: Wattson is caught and tethered by Ash's Arc Snare Tactical ability.

Ash Tactical: Arc Snare

Description: Throw a spinning snare that damages and tethers the first enemy who gets too close. Cooldown: 25 seconds.

Arc Snare offers a decent bit of damage on a low cooldown and heavily punishes players who are out of position. When used, Ash will throw an arcless projectile through the air in the direction you're pointing, at a fairly slow pace (meaning enemies can dodge it if they see it coming). This projectile will latch onto the first enemy in its range, dealing damage and tethering them to the ground immediately below them.

While tethered, an enemy still has full movement and firing capabilities as long as they stay within the effect radius of the Arc Snare (which is shown by a circle of electricity on the ground around the projectile). But if the enemy tries to move out of range, their movement speed will be slowed to a crawl. Struggling against the pull will make it break sooner than simply staying in the area of effect, but you'll be punished for doing so.

Ash Tactical tips:

  • An Arc Snare that latches onto an enemy will deal that enemy 20 damage, but if it lands and turns into a static trap before it tethers, then it will only deal 10 damage to the first enemy that passes through its area of effect.
  • A good use for Arc Snare is to fire it towards a low-health enemy hiding behind cover to finish them without having to face them.
  • Arc Snare will latch onto airborne enemies such as Valkyrie and bring them down to the ground.
  • Ash's Tactical is a great initiation tool for punishing an enemy for being split from their teammates or out in the open away from cover.
From an Apex Legends cinematic: Ash rushes out of her Ultimate ability portal to attack Horizon from behind.

Ash Ultimate: Phase Breach

Description: Ash uses her sword to tear open a one-way portal to a location within line of sight. Charge Time: 120 seconds.

Ash's Ultimate at first glance sounds a lot like Wraith's own portalling Ultimate ability, but there are a few very significant differences. First is the method of portalling. When activated, Ash's Phase Breach will create a portal between her current location and the point she is currently looking at (within a certain range). It operates by line of sight, much like the Apex Legends ping system. Once she opens the portal, Ash will automatically dive through, and appear at the other side after a brief travel time, much like Wraith's portal.

Unlike Wraith's Portal, however, Ash's Phase Breach is one-way only. No return trips. The initial portal stays open for a short while after Ash goes through, allowing her teammates (or enemies) to follow her if they wish; but none can return the way they came.

Ash Ultimate tips:

  • Ash's Phase Breach will close 15 seconds after the ability was activated, giving both friends and enemies plenty of time to follow Ash through.
  • The maximum horizontal range for Ash's Phase Breach is 62.5 metres. The Breach will open at the first ground surface below where the player is targeting.
  • Significant visual and audio effects around the Phase Breach makes it tough to use without nearby enemies noticing, so don't try to be stealthy with it.
  • Don't be afraid to use Ash's Ultimate during downtime moments to help outrun the Ring or get past difficult terrain obstacles such as bodies of water. It's on a fairly low cooldown so you'll get it back quickly.
  • Ash's Phase Breach is one-way only - the start point portal looks wider than the end portal, to help differentiate them. Moreover, the end portal appears even before Ash appears at the other end, so enemies who see what's happening can already have their guns trained on your location as you exit the portal, unless you're careful about how and when you use the ability.
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Apex Legends Ash backstory

Ash's backstory is perhaps the strongest link we've seen so far between Apex Legends and Respawn's other FPS venture, Titanfall 2. It's also one of the most complex origins yet, and intertwines with many other Legends' backstories in quick succession.

Ash began life as Dr Ashleigh Reid, a scientist and apprentice of fellow Legend, Horizon. They worked for a time as part of "The Group" working on Project Iris - the project which gave birth to Pathfinder. But Ash was secretly working for the Apex Predators, a mercenary group of pilots led by Kuben Blisk - a key figure in Valkyrie's backstory. They sent Ash to steal Branthium, a mysterious and important resource which The Group was looking into. Ash eventually betrayed the group and left Horizon for dead.

However, the theft attempt went awry and Ash was fatally wounded by another member of The Group during the escape. In order to save her life, and at her demand, she was turned into a Simulacrum - a robot with a human mind. This makes her the second Simulacrum to enter the Apex Games, after the assassin Revenant.

A screenshot from an Apex Legends cinematic: Dr Ashleigh Reid lies on a hospital bed, mortally wounded.

In Simulacrum form, Ash was introduced to Titanfall 2 players as an antagonist working for Blisk. A vicious Titan battle ensued between the player character, Jack Cooper, and Ash - which Ash eventually lost. Her body was crushed by Cooper's Titan, but her mind survived, allowing her to be found and rebuilt by Vinson Dynamics, a weapons manufacturer. By this point, however, Ash appeared to have lost many of her memories, so while working for Vinson as a military contractor, she began to explore and look for answers about her past.

After this point, there are some gaps in Ash's story that Respawn have not yet filled in. At some point after her reawakening, perhaps years later, Ash was destroyed again, but her body was again recovered and came to be hidden under Slum Lakes in Kings Canyon. Blisk recovered Ash's all-important head and, no doubt as part of some hare-brained plan, threw it into a spherical energy field which looks rather like the Rift on Olympus. This caused Ash's head to be split into 9 pieces and scattered across Kings Canyon. Seeking the simulacrum for themselves, Hammond Robotics commissioned Loba to recover the 9 pieces, which she did as part of a limited-time in-game quest in Season 5 of Apex Legends.

A screenshot from an Apex Legends cinematic: Ash is found in a dumpster by Pathfinder.

Ash was successfully rebuilt as a result, but after some unknown sequence of events she is thrown into a dumpster behind a Hammond building - where she's found by none other than Pathfinder! Pathfinder takes a barely functioning Ash back to his home and shows her to Mirage and Rampart, whose conversation sparks something in Ash and returns her memories to her.

Back to full strength, Ash is contacted by Blisk, and after some time he enlists her to run the Apex Legends Arenas. Since then she's been the host of the Arenas game mode in Apex - but now she's tired of simply watching, and wants to show the other Legends how it's done in the Apex Games herself. But it seems as though somewhere deep inside her mind, Dr Ashleigh Reid still lives on, separate from but inextricably tied to the ruthless simulacrum that everyone now knows as Ash.

That's everything we currently know about Ash in Apex Legends, her history, and the abilities at her disposal. If you're looking to match her strength with the right array of weapons, be sure to check out our list of the best guns in Apex Legends. For everything else, your best bet is to start with our Apex Legends tips and tricks guide hub.

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