Anthem combos: primers, detonators, and how to combine them for massive damage

Initiating devastating combo moves as a team will help you take down Anthem's toughest foes. Here's how

Anthem combos

What are the best Anthem combos, primers, and detonators? From the outside, combat in Bioware’s third-person looter-shooter might look like a simple case of shooting at the bad guys until they drop down and erupt with loot of various colours, but there’s more to it than that. Anthem combos are one of the many ways Bioware aim to keep fights interesting and ensure players have a lot to consider when making their ideal Javelin build.

Combos are made out of two types of attack: primers and detonators. The Primer sets the combo up by applying an elemental buff or stunning an enemy, while the detonator capitalises on that status effect by dealing massive damage. Learning not only how to use Anthem combos, but also what Anthem primers and detonators work together, is crucial to maximising the combat effectiveness of your Javelin and will help you take on some of the game’s toughest foes.

To help you figure out exactly what the difference between standard combat and combos is, we’ve assembled a handy guide to Anthem combos, primers, and detonators, so you can enter the fray confident in your ability to wreak maximum damage on whatever monstrosities stand in your way.

What are Anthem combos, primers, and detonators?

Combos are the result of you chaining two types of attack together, a primer that always comes first, and the detonator which triggers huge stacks of damage or a devastating elemental effect. If you’ve played a lot of Mass Effect then these two-part attacks will likely be very familiar to you.

Bombard enemies with your usual array of conventional arms, melee, and abilities and you’ll spot hundreds of points of damage pouring out of your foe, but if you trigger a combo, a yellow portion of damage will appear alongside an audio trigger – more importantly, you’ll notice a whopping chunk of your target’s health bar vanish. It sounds a bit like the reload ding on an M1 Garand, it’s great.

Combo these Anthem guides:
Anthem Storm build
Anthem Ranger build
Anthem Colossus build

In addition to this, combos also deal an additional damage effect on your target that varies depending on which Javelin you’re using, so not only does it matter what class you’re running, it also matters which Javelins your team is using, too. This is especially important as this Javelin-based bonus effect is only applied by the Javelin that detonates the combo, not the one which primes it.

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In addition to primers and detonators, you also have standard attacks, which deal either damage or apply a status effect on an enemy, but do not prime or detonate combos. Finally, while there are plenty of Anthem elemental effects like ice, fire, acid, and lightning, primers and detonators are not the same as these.

You can also prime a target with multiple primers before detonating the combo, but bear in mind that only the last primer will actually count.

You can identify a primer and detonator by a small symbol next to it in-game – the primer has a circular symbol, while the detonator has a star.

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Javelin combos and bonuses

Here are the bonus effects for all four Anthem Javelins:

  • Ranger – deals critical hits to single targets
  • Storm – applies the elemental effect of the comboed enemy to nearby enemies
  • Interceptor – applies the elemental effect of the comboed enemy to enemies close to you
  • Colossus – creates additional area of effect explosion

As you can imagine, these Javelin combo bonuses are incredibly powerful, and you can expect these to form the basis of the builds you’ll be able to create in the Anthem Forge when the game launches. You’ll need to kit your Javelin out with the primers and detonators that best complement its bonus. For example, The Colossus is superb at clearing out swarms of small enemies thanks to its area of effect explosion bonus effect, but it will struggle against bosses.