Anthem combat guide: Combos, Primers and Detonators explained

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At the heart of Anthem’s combat is a simple-to-use, but very powerful Combo system that’s important to master. Here are the basics.

Anthem has some incredibly fun combat. On the surface, it appears pretty straightforward; equip a weapon, step into a Javelin and wreak havoc on the enemies you encounter.

What you may not realize is that Anthem actually has a combo system that can increase the damage you dish out, and it’s important when facing stronger enemies in the game. The game doesn’t do a great job explaining the combo system, but it’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.

What are combos?

While in combat, you may notice the word “Combo” pop up in big yellow text when using your abilities. A combo is an incredibly powerful attack that deals a ton of (typically AoE) damage. They are great for clearing out waves of weaker enemies and can inflict some serious damage on the more powerful foes you’ll come across.

In addition to the increase in damage, landing a combo also results in an added Combo Bonus Effect that is unique to the Javelin you’re wearing. More on this later.

Primers and Detonators

At first, having that “Combo” word appear may seem random, but it’s actually dependent on the abilities you are using.

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Anthem features three types of attacks: Primer attacks, Detonator attacks and standard attacks. The Combo system only relies on Primer and Detonator attacks with standard attacks only serving to disrupt the combo.

To begin a combo, you must first land a Primer attack. Following that with a successful Detonator attack will activate the Combo. It’s that easy.

Anthem has a quick and easy way for you to see which attacks are Primers and which are Detonators. Near each ability you have equipped, you’ll notice a small icon.

A circle-within-a-circle delineates the ability is a Primer. The four-pronged star represents a Detonator. If you have an ability with neither of these icons, it means it’s a standard attack.

Ranger Primers

  • Explosive Blaze (Fire)
  • Frost Grenade (Ice)
  • Venom Darts (Poison)
  • Shock Mace (Lightning)

Ranger Detonators

  • Frag Grenade (Grenade)
  • Seeking Missile (Assault Launcher Gear)
  • Multi-Target Missile Battery (Ultimate)

Colossus Primers

  • Firewall Mortar (Fire)
  • Flamethrower (Fire)
  • Acid Spitter (Poison)

Colossus Detonators

  • Explosive Mortar (Ordnance Launcher)
  • Lightning Coil (Ordnance Launcher)
  • Heavy Cannon (Heavy Assault Launcher)
  • Railgun (Heavy Assault Launcher)
  • Heavy Smash (Melee)
  • Siege Cannon (Ultimate)

Storm Primers

  • Rime Blast (Ice)
  • Living Fire (Fire)
  • Hoarfrost Shards (Ice)
  • Ball Lightning (Lightning)
  • Elemental Storm (Fire, Ice and Lightning)

Storm Detonators

  • Lightning Strike (Blast Seal)
  • Flaming Orb (Focus Seal)
  • Glacial Beam (Focus Seal)
  • Fiery Strike (Melee)
  • Elemental Storm (Ultimate)

Interceptor Primers

  • Acid Bomb (Poison)
  • Cyro Claive (Ice)
  • Corrosive Spray (Poison)

Interceptor Detonators

  • Seeker Glaive (Assault System)
  • Spark Dash (Assault System)
  • Tempest Strike (Strike System)
  • Bladed Daggers (Melee)
  • Assassin’s Blade (Ultimate)

One more time, a primer attack followed by a detonator attack will result in a successful combo.

It’s important to note that only the Javelin that hits the primed enemy with their Detonator will cause the Combo, only activating that Javelin’s bonus effect. Once a combo is successfully activated, the enemy hit with it is no longer primed and you are free to repeat the process again.

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Combo Bonus Effects

As I previously mentioned, each Javelin has a unique Combo Bonus that is activated when the combo is successful.

The Colossus combo bonus is an area of effect explosion that deals damage to nearby enemies around the affected target.

The Storm combo bonus is also an area of effect, sending any elemental effects from the enemy hit by the combo to nearby enemies.

The Interceptor combo bonus is somewhat similar to the Storm’s but actually places an Aura on your character. This Aura can pass the elemental effect from the combo-affected enemy to other enemies close to you.

Finally, the Ranger combo bonus simply deals increased damage to the affected target. Kind of boring and straightforward, like the Ranger Javelin itself.

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Mastering Combos in Anthem is key to your success and survival, especially when taking on the game’s more difficult enemies.