Anthem Combos Guide – Primers, Detonators, and Elements

There are no elemental weapons in Anthem. That being said, you can still do elemental damage against enemies. You can set foes on fire, freeze, electrocute, or splash them with acid. Each of these Anthem damage elements has a different effect. In addition to that, they can be combined to set off combos for lots of damage.

With so many elements and combos to choose from, however, it can be hard to keep them all straight. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide to the damage elements and combos in Anthem! Take a look below for our handy dandy list of all the flashiest ways to defeat your enemies.

Anthem Damage Elements

There are four main element types in Anthem: Fire, Ice, Electrical, and Acid. In addition to combo attacks, each element is used to apply different status effects on enemies. Here are the very basics.

  • Fire: Sets enemies on fire. Causes them to burn and take additional damage over time.
  • Ice: Freezes enemies. Restricts their movement for the duration of the effect. Great for crowd control and buying yourself time to get away.
  • Electrical: Electrifies enemies and turns them into conduits that disperse arcs of electricity. This shocks even more nearby enemies.
  • Acid: Lowers enemy resistances and increases their damage vulnerability. Consider using acid against Anthem bosses with high health pools.

The weapons and gear you have will specify how quickly these effects are applied. Try to maximize your ability to apply the right status effect to the right enemy! In general, Fire and Acid are strong against armor. Electrical and Ice are strong against shields. Impact and blast are neutral — more like special attacks used in combos than actual elemental damage types.

It’s also worth noting that some enemies have built-in resistances, which can either slow down or completely nullify the effects of elemental damage. Keep an eye out for these defensive characteristics.

Anthem Combos

Anthem combos aren’t well explained by the game itself. Anyone familiar with BioWare games probably knows there are almost always way to detonate combos, though. In Anthem, you set up and knock down combos with abilities tagged as Primers and Detonators.

Most seals, systems, launchers, or gear, depending on your Javelin, are either Primers or Detonators. Each has its own icon. Primers are indicated by a circle within a circle. Detonators are a rotated star, indicating an explosion. An icon will appear over an enemy’s health bar if it’s affected by a Primer debuff. That’s your cue to follow up with a Detonator. Casting a Detonator skill on a Primed enemy will trigger the combo. This, in turn, applies your Javelin’s unique ability. We’ll get to that in a second.

The top-right graphic in the image below, by reddit user FireDragon04, should help you figure out what to look for.

A quick explanation of the combo system in Anthem by FireDragon04.

There are also many Primers and Detonators. The graphic below, again by FireDragon04, helps identify what’s what.

A breakdown of Anthem damage types including primer and detonators by FireDragon04

You may find yourself asking why you wouldn’t always equip one primer and one detonator. There are abilities that are neither. These typically do much more raw damage than those with combo modifiers. That’s the trade-off.

Combo Effects

Each Javelin has a unique combo effect. While combos do more damage in general, your Javelin provides the primary benefit. You can check them out below:

  • Ranger: Critical Target Damage – Does more damage to the single-target that was combo’d.
  • Colossus: Area-of-Effect Explosion – Does damage to enemies around your combo’d target.
  • Storm: Elemental Spread – Spreads the elemental effect from your combo’d enemy to even more enemies around it.
  • Interceptor: Aura – This one is hard to understand, even outside of the game. The short version of it is that after setting off a combo the Interceptor generates an aura that further damages enemies around it.

More Anthem Coverage

And that’s all we have to say about elemental damage and combos in Anthem for now! For more of our Anthem coverage, you can head on over to our Anthem hub. Or you can specifically go check out our Anthem Colossus Guide, Anthem Ranger Guide, Anthem Interceptor Guide, or Anthem Storm Guide!

Combos are absolutely one of the most fun aspects of Anthem combat. Try to experiment and find the right build for you. In the meantime, get out there and start experimenting with different abilities. And don’t forget to have fun, freelancers!