Apex Legends: Everything you need to know about Ash
October 29 2021
“Vinson Dynamics is grateful for your work.”
Titanfall fans rejoice! Everybody’s favorite Simulacrum Pilot is here to prove she is the Apex Predator. Everyone, meet Ash. Sword-wielding, phase-shifting, rat-petting ex-Pilot who used to roll with the legendary Kuben Blisk as part of his group, the Apex Predators. Ash is also the first established Titanfall character to join Apex Legends as a playable Legend. I’m using the word established a bit loosely here, because while a lot of info is being revealed about her, Ash is still one of the most mysterious figures in the Titanfall universe.
Who is Ash?
“Focus. Fight. Win.”
Until recently, not much was known about her. Back in her Frontier War days, she was known to be one of the most ruthless Pilots out there, a force to be reckoned with. Along with Valkyrie’s father, Viper, Ash was the most dangerous member of the Apex Predators. That’s usually attributed to her personality because beyond following orders, she enjoyed what she was doing. Having fun while getting things done was Ash’s way of doing things. Honestly, not a bad way on paper. However, the things Ash enjoyed doing were toying with her victims. She liked the challenge, so she usually played with her enemies before executing them. This caused her death at the hands of Pilot Jack Cooper and BT-7472, only to be recovered and revived by Vinson Dynamics later.
Ash is the cold and calculating type. She speaks in a monotone voice, rarely showing any empathy or any emotion at all for that matter. Despite this, she likes playing games and considers “having fun” a part of the process. Even when overseeing the Arenas, her voice has this underlying disdain towards the Legends. She is a Pilot, the strongest warrior you can find on any battlefield, and from her perspective, these lowly Legends can only be the entertainment for a Pilot.
That sword is probably going to be an Heirloom for Ash in the future. (Image: Respawn Entertainment)
There's a flip side to this story, though. Like Revenant, she is seemingly unaware of her existence as a Simulacrum. She has a built-in word filter that causes her to hear “Pilot” when addressed as a Simulacrum. She thinks she’s superior because she’s a Pilot and everything she’s capable of doing with her body is thanks to her Pilot training. This illusion is shattered after Dr. Mary Somers—callsign Horizon—initiates her memory recovery by using the code she acquired from Crypto.
Horizon’s attempt at “waking up” Ash ends up waking memories from a past long gone. While each Legend has their own backstory and lore related to the Titanfall Universe, Ash comes straight from the main series. So while she brings her top of the line Pilot experience to the hunting grounds, she also brings an unprecedented amount of lore with her. Let’s dive in and find out who Ash really is and how her arrival would affect Apex Legends overall.
I Wanna Be The Very Best
“Am I not allowed to enjoy myself while I work?”
When the Outlands was facing an energy crisis, Project Iris was initiated by a group of scientists with the help of billionaire humanitarian, Lillian Peck. This group involved Mary Somers, Aleki Gibraltar, Amélie Paquette, and Ashleigh Reid among other brilliant scientists of the era. When the group came up with the idea of using Branthium to solve the crisis, Mary Somers and her assistant Ashleigh Reid went on an important mission to synthesize Branthium at the edge of a black hole. When Dr. Somers left the ship, tethered, Ashleigh Reid was preparing to put her own agenda in play. After Dr. Somers managed to synthesize the Branthium and sent it to her, Ashleigh cuts off her tether, leaving Dr. Somers to die. This was considered an accident and Dr. Mary Somers was presumed dead.
Following Dr. Mary Somers’ apparent death, her son Newton Somers decided to join Project Iris to help complete his mother’s work. During his time there, Newton and Ashleigh became close to each other, seemingly bonding over Mary’s death. What Ashleigh aimed to achieve by getting close to Newton is currently unknown, but strangely enough, Ashleigh insisted that Newton should leave before the Project Iris lab was raided on her command. Maybe she really did have feelings for Newton at some point and wanted to spare him.
Before I was able to come up with any Pokémon jokes, Respawn gave Ash a rat companion. I’m speechless… Actually, I wrote a speech. You know what, let’s just continue with the article.
Before the raid happened, members of Project Iris known as “the Group” were having a problem with refining the Branthium Dr. Somers gave her life to acquire. The solution to this problem came from the newest member of the Group, Newton. Newton figured out that the way they were approaching the refining process was wrong and the refining should be calibrated from inside the refinery. This, of course, created another problem due to the inside of the refinery being not really a survivable place for humans. Dr. Ashleigh Reid suggested using an MRVN unit, but even an MRVN would just melt once inside the refinery. Thankfully, the Group was full of geniuses who came up with an idea to modify an MRVN to be able to both resist the heat and calibrate the refinery from the inside.
After each member of the Group contacted their sources in their network, a prototype MRVN was built by Dr. Anastasia "Stay" Oliveira. She decided that this new MRVN should have “his” own name and personality because he was more than just an MRVN unit, he was about to become the newest member of the Group. Worried by the constant in-fighting between the members of the Group, Dr. Stay suggested that each member of the Group add some of their own geniuses and personalities to the programming of the MRVN—now called Pathfinder after Dr. Aleki Gibraltar’s nickname for it—so that he will be proof that working together is the way to overcome any obstacle.
While everyone, including Newton (who addressed everyone as “friend!” and had a super-friendly personality), added something from themselves into the MRVN, Dr. Ashleigh Reid was reluctant to take part in the process. After being nagged by the other members, she walked up to the console and just put a smiley face in, before walking away. So, ironically, Pathfinder’s signature smiley face was given to him by none other than Ash.
Like No One Ever Was
“Others succumb, but I survive.”
During the raid at the lab, Pathfinder was given the self-destruct codes by Dr. Amélie Paquette to prevent Dr. Reid and the Apex Predators from stealing the Branthium. Pathfinder, after having a brief fight with Dr. Reid, initiates the self-destruct sequence of the facility, but not before activating the Phase Runner to deliver the Branthium to all planets affected by the energy crisis in the Outlands. During the fight, Dr. Amélie Paquette manages to stab Dr. Reid through the chest with a sword, killing her. Pathfinder also escapes using the Phase Runner, reluctantly leaving his “family” to die during the self-destruction of the facility.
After the Phase Runner Incident, Dr. Reid’s body is recovered by Vinson Dynamics and it turns out she’s barely clinging to life. She personally approves to be turned into a Simulacrum, unaware of the consequences the process might bring. After her consciousness is extracted and put into a Simulacrum, she is named Ash and officially joins Kuben Blisk’s mercenary group, Apex Predators.
Ash’s arrival will probably shape the future theories about who the next Legends are going to be. (Image: Respawn Entertainment)
While not the first Simulacrum to be created (that honor belonged to none other than Revenant), Ash displayed a strong personality and great affinity to become a Pilot. What happened in the time between Dr. Ashleigh Reid becoming a Simulacrum and Ash facing Pilot Jack Cooper in the Frontier War is currently unknown. But what we know is that Ash somehow acquired the access codes of Olympus. The codes were only supposed to be known by Lilian Peck, the creator of Olympus, so that’s why Horizon thought Ash was Lilian Peck, her old friend. After her “awakening”, Ash immediately reveals her true identity to Dr. Somers but coupled with a surprise. While Dr. Ashleigh Reid was a ruthless, vile person who thought the ends justify the means, her Ash persona became an even worse version of herself. Apparently, Dr. Reid was in a semi-awake state inside Ash, watching her slaughter and torture people just for fun, but unable to interfere. Spending countless years in this state seems to have struck Dr. Reid in the form of regret and desperation, causing her to slowly become more human than when she was actually one.
When Horizon awakens Ash, we see a struggle for control. According to Respawn’s official statement, there are two clashing personalities inside Ash now. Ash and Leigh. Sounds a bit cheesy, I know, but Ash thinks she’s transcended all humanity and Leigh is determined to prove her wrong. Dr. Ashleigh Reid, who suggested using an MRVN to solve the energy crisis, only to become a Simulacrum herself, coming back to prove the importance of being human creates a great full-circle narrative. This also makes Ash quite unique, having two clashing personalities inside, but neither of them is really the good side.
“I will crush everything that stands in my way. Everything.”
Ash is very familiar with death. She has seen its face many times and always managed to come back stronger. Her passive ability is Marked for Death. It modifies Ash’s map to show the location of recent deathboxes. When you approach a deathbox, a special prompt will appear and if you hit the corresponding button, Ash will use her Pilot’s Data Knife to scan the deathbox. This scan will mark the surviving attackers of that deathbox regardless of their distance. This ability might help Ash teams take third-partying on a new level. You can scan each deathbox once, so use it wisely.
Ash’s tactical ability is called Arc Snare. While it’s introduced to be “inspired by Ash’s Ronin-type Titan”, the Arc Snare is a signature ability of the Northstar-type Titan, best known for being used by Valkyrie’s dad, Viper. The Arc Snare ability throws a spinning, shuriken-like snaring device to a location that damages and tethers the first enemy that gets too close. The enemy caught with it is snared and can only move a certain distance away from it. This is confirmed to include vertical movement, such as Valkyrie trying to fly away. While Valkyrie already makes herself an open target by flying, a tethered Valkyrie will become a s̶i̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶d̶u̶c̶k̶ miraculously flying duckling for you to shoot down. Make sure to bring the laughing dog with you.
This will be your reaction, right after taking down that Valkyrie using your Arc Snare. (Image: Nintendo)
Ash’s ultimate ability is called Phase Breach. Now, this is the ability that’s inspired by Ash’s Ronin-type Titan. As you know, regular humans normally cannot create, manipulate, or physically tolerate the Void. This is why the phase tech was utilized exclusively by Simulacrum Pilots and Titans, until Dr. Renee Blasey became Wraith. Ash’s Titan, a heavily modified Ronin-type, also utilized the phase tech to make quick dashes on the battlefield to get to a better position to take out enemies. Ash, being a Simulacrum, also utilizes the phase tech to move herself and her teammates on the battlefield.
Using Phase Breach, Ash draws her sword and tears open the fabric of reality, creating an entry-only portal that moves anyone who uses it to the location Ash aimed at. Ash can aim her ultimate vertically which creates incredible opportunities for her team to, you guessed it, third party… or at this point 4, 5 or 6th party, even. Using Phase Breach transports Ash immediately to the target location, leaving a portal behind. As I mentioned in the Apex Legends 101 Chapter 6 article, this ability might seem like an alternative to Wraith’s ultimate ability, but it’s really not. When used for offense, Ash creates an all or nothing scenario with her ultimate ability. Unlike Wraith’s ultimate, you can’t back off from a fight after going in with Phase Breach. Keep in mind that the portal Phase Breach leaves behind stays open for a short while and anyone can use it as long as it’s up. So you can use it to escape as well, but make sure you’re not followed.
How to Play Ash
“Do you fear me, Legends?”
So, how to utilize Ash to show everyone you’re the Apex Predator? First of all, good on you for roleplaying, because that’s exactly what Ash wants to do, too. Let’s work together to defeat the e̶l̶i̶t̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶u̶r̶ opponents and climb the G-Loot ranks for great rewards.
While playing Ash, you should keep in mind that Ash is a full-on offense Legend. Her abilities focus on tracking and executing opponents swiftly and efficiently. Once you locate an opponent, Ash is there to move you closer and make short work of them. Ash is a great choice if you’re using the aggressive playstyle, wasting no time to crack down on oblivious opponents.
Ash prepares to draw her sword the way a Samurai, or in this case a Ronin, would. (Image: Respawn Entertainment)
Her passive helps you track down opponents that were recently in a battle and creates great opportunities to swoop in and finish off the survivors. Being able to see deathboxes on your map will also help you with locating loot in the endgame, as you’ll be forced to use deathboxes for loot.
Ash also brings incredible mobility in her kit. Her ultimate ability, Phase Breach, has an unprecedented ratio of time to cast and mobility. While there are a lot of Legends that can help their teammates move great distances, a lot of them either include a lot of time to set up (Wraith, Pathfinder, etc.) or take huge risks to make the travel (Horizon, Octane, Pathfinder again). Ash can immediately and safely travel long distances, along with her teammates. This creates a unique situation where you can’t stop Ash and her team from ambushing you until it’s too late.
Due to her tracking abilities and team-wide mobility options, Ash will probably shake up the current meta and Legend pick rates. It’s quite fitting for Ash, considering this is the first time a real Pilot is joining the Apex Games. Valkyrie doesn’t count, because she never learned to actually become a Pilot, she just had a Pilot dad and got to “drive” a Titan. Wraith also doesn’t count, because she was a science Pilot. How do you even pilot science?
As if Ash’s ability to suddenly teleport behind you and unironically say “nothin' personnel, kid” wasn’t enough, she also gives a solid, neck-stretching “nope” to your attempts at escaping. Fitting for a Pilot; she moves in, gets the job done, and moves out. Her Arc Snare ability creates a lot of scenarios to lure opponents into. Just like Wraith’s portals, you can portal to a location and wait for your opponents to follow. Only, this time, this is a one-way portal and they can’t escape the ambush they just phased into. As I mentioned above, you can even tether Valkyrie from flying away. This time, Ash has got you in the pipe, five by five.
Ash sporting the newest addition to our loadout, the CAR SMG. (Image: Respawn Entertainment)
As I mentioned, Ash brings a great mobility kit to move players around the map quickly. While Ash should work great in a full-on offensive team, she can also make a great scout and a bait when utilized right. Her tracking ability alone makes her a good scout, but her ability to cover huge distances instantly makes her a great one. Considering her ability to lure opponents into tailing her, Ash can also make great teams with defensive Legends such as Wattson and Caustic. Like you would do with Wraith, you can pretend to “panic ult” towards a location where you’ll instantly be followed by your opponents, only to come out at a spot where your team is ready and waiting.
“A Pilot stands before you, respect is due.”
Until other meta-breaking Legends arrive in the future, Ash is going to take the Apex Games by the Storm (Point) and force everyone to adapt their playstyle to deal with this force of nature on the battlefield. Ash might seem a bit more focused on going all-in, but she will definitely prove to be much more versatile in time.
See you on the hunting grounds, Legends.
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