Anthem: How to Use Combos, Primers, Detonators

Combos are imperative in Anthem. You and your squadmates have to know to properly land these in combat, especially when you get to the later part of the game and you’re playing on Grandmaster difficulty.

Here’s a straightforward guide to what combos, primers, detonators are, and how to correctly trigger them.

What Are Primers and Detonators?

Anthem Primer

Before you can even have a combo happen, you need to set your enemy up. To do this, you need to hit them with a Primer, which is an attack that sets an enemy up. Generally, this means you’re causing a status effect to them.

You can do this using one of your Javelin’s abilities, and you can see this indicated by the symbol of a small, filled circle surrounded by a larger ring, pictured above. If you do this on an enemy, they’ve been “primed,” and are ready for the next part of the combo, a detonator.

Much like the primer, a detonator ability stands out by a four-pronged symbol, representing an “explosion” almost. Here’s an image of a detonator ability.

Anthem Detonator

It’s important to understand these two abilities are not interchangeable. You cannot hit an enemy with a detonator and then hit a primer. You must run the primer, and then follow-up with the detonator. Changing this order does not trigger a combo.

Also, whichever Javelin triggers the combo also comes with a bonus effect. These bonus effects are Javelin specific, and we’ll cover those in the next section, strictly about these combos.

Crafting Your Combos

When an enemy is primed, and then hit by a detonator, you’re going to hear the distinct audio sound that sounds like a small bell. There’s also a distinctive “COMBO” text that flies up when a combo occurs. It’s important to know what to look for, as to ensure you’re doing everything correctly.

There’s a quick way to notice if an enemy is primed or not, and it’s by the small little red symbol above their head. When you see a small cluster of enemies with a red symbol above their health bar, you know you can fire your detonator and hit with them a significant amount of damage.

Anthem Primer Symbol

Based on what Javelin you’re using, you’re going to score a bonus for triggering that combo, too. Each Javelins has a unique combo trigger ability. Depending on what fight you’re in, you may want to change up who’s going to trigger the combo. A Javelin’s combo ability only happens if they trigger the combo, which only happens when they land the detonator.

  • Storm: When they trigger the combo, they spread the elemental effect that the enemy that gets hit by the combo to other foes around them.
  • Interceptor: When they trigger the combo, they gain an aura that spreads the elemental effect of the enemy hit by the combo to foes around them.
  • Colossus: When they trigger the combo, the enemy that gets hit by this combo releases an explosion around it, damaging other foes.
  • Ranger: When they trigger the combo, the enemy that gets hit by the combo receives additional damage.

You need to keep all of this information in mind when you’re out on a mission or doing a stronghold. A colossus and storm are great combo detonators if there’s a wave of small, squishy enemies hitting your squad. And if the interceptor is built for it, having them remaining up-close, fighting the enemy means they can trigger a detonator at any time and spread the elemental effect to several foes at once. The ranger Javelin, unfortunately, is only ideal at hitting a single enemy, making them great to trigger combos on tougher enemies.