Ash, the Ninjaframe, who for some reason has a smoking arm (perhaps a smoke bomb accident?). He was one of the original 8 frames released when Warframe released to Open Beta in October 2012, and as such (like the other 7), has a very straightforward and clear utility. Essentially, Ash is a solo frame, a Ninja that can have some impact on team composition, but is mostly about self-preservation and damage. This is not a bad thing, and with some of his Augment mods, Ash is a favourite of many veterans looking to solo endless missions…
Note: Ash’s component blueprints drop from Grineer Manics,each of which has a 33% chance to drop a component. Note these enemieswill only spawn when a mission’s alarm is active, and I’d recommend doing a higher level endless mission type to be more likely to have an encounter (Uranus and beyond).
Ash’s first Ability isn’t overly impressive at first glance. He basically throws a single Shuriken, dealing damage and pinning killed enemies to walls. It also causes a Slash proc on contact, so enemies that aren’t finished off, will slowly lose more health over time due to a bleeding effect. It does require a certain amount of accuracy, but as you can see, this is a very simple and straightforward Ability, which is affected by Ability Strength mods.
On casting, Ash throws down the famous Ninja smoke bomb, staggering enemies within range, and rendering him invisible and untargetable for a short duration. This can be impacted by Duration and Range mods, but note that this Ability does not make Ash silent – firing a non-silent weapon will reveal his location to enemies.
This Ability is cast on a single target – on casting, Ash will teleport to the enemy, staggering them and leaving them open to melee finishers. Teleport can also be cast on teammates and rescue targets, allowing Ash to quickly move about the battlefield. This is only impacted by Range mods, but with a base of 60m at max, it can already cover a healthy distance (unless you find yourself in an open-world area).
Note that this works alongside his fourth ability – Ash can cast Teleport on any enemy marked by Blade Storm free of charge… so to speak.
A recently reworked Ability, Blade Storm enables Ninja Ash to take out a number of enemies within sight. On casting, Ash can mark a number of enemies (at the cost of 12 energy per mark, max at base), and on recasting, a smoky spectre of Ash will then teleport about the battlefield taking out marked enemies – this inflicts a large amount of damage, but may not take out tanky enemies. For those not killed by the Ability, there is a guaranteed Bleed proc.
If invisible when casting, the cost of a mark is halved, making Ash’s Abilities somewhat synergistic. At the very least, it’s more efficient to use certain abilities while using one of the others. Blade Storm is impacted by Strength and Range mods, but note that the cost of a death mark does decrease by using Efficiency mods.
Ash’s passive, Hemorrhage, means that all Slash procs caused by Ash (i.e., the player themselves, from weapons or Abilities, and not from teammates) deal 25% more damage and the Bleed over time lasts 50% longer.
Although he is one of the original 8, Ash Prime does have some solid stat differences! He has 375 shields as opposed to the standard Ash’s 300, 150 Armor as opposed to the standard 75, a slightly higher sprint speed (by 0.05), and an additional polarity – nice!
While Ash doesn’t have any specific use case beyond simply being a fun frame, he is definitely worthwhile. Certain builds can make him both a damage-dealing powerhouse and an untargetable ninja – while these don’t necessarily suggest sustainability on paper, the reality of being able to take out difficult enemies faster, combined with invisibility, makes this a reality.