Box art - Anthem

Best Anthem Combos | What are Primers and Detonators?

Dealing damage to the various creatures and enemies in Anthem can be simple enough in the earlier stages, but once you get further in, it’s time to practice those best Anthem combos. After the Xbox VP Mike Ybarra recently complained about the “whining” of one reviewer, who didn’t know how to execute these combos during fights, many other players have begun to ask how do I use Anthem combos? Read on to understand all of the various damage types and weapons in the game, and find out what are primers and detonators.,

Best Anthem Combos | What are Primers and Detonators?

Best Anthem Combos

The game never really explains what Primers and Detonators are, or how the various damage types interact with one another to deal more damage to your enemies. In combat, you don’t need to be concerned about combos for every hit, but it becomes a central part of fights further into the game, and can really awaken your team’s synergy. Simply put, some of your abilities allow you to Prime an enemy, and others can Detonate on a Primed enemy, if used in conjunction quickly and correctly. Your abilities are split into three categories, indicated by a symbol next to the ability name. Primers have a circle symbol, while Detonators have a with a star symbol. (Attacks without a symbol do standard damage and don’t influence combos.)

To set up a combo, one of your team needs to use a Primer ability from their arsenal, and the next attack on the target needs to be a Detonator ability. These attacks don’t need to be from the same Javelin, so work with your team to set up these combos. If the target is hit with a standard attack before the Detonator attack hits, this cancels the combo, so make sure your team is in the loop. If you successfully use one of the Anthem combos, this attack will then create an extra damage-dealing effect, based on the class of Javelin that landed the Detonator ability. You’ll also hear a really satisfying “ding” when the attack lands.

Best Anthem Combos | Anthem Combos Detonator Effects

Best Anthem Combos

Each Javelin has a variety of Detonator abilities in their arsenal, but the effect of their Detonator also changes depending on your class. As a Ranger, your Detonator ability will deal increased damage to a single target, useful for landing a critical hit in a boss fight. On the other hand, using a Detonator ability as a Colossus will inflict extra area-of-effect damage to the target and the surrounding area, which can help to clear out contained groups of enemies.

Based on the elemental damage of your detonating attack, the Storm’s Detonator will transfer the elemental effects from your combo to any enemies surrounding the target. Conversely, as an Interceptor, you can use a Detonator to transfer the attack’s elemental effects to any enemies surrounding yourself, giving you a brief respite when you’re being overrun. Using this knowledge, consider how situational each ability is; you might reconsider using an Interceptor or Storm’s detonator against a single boss, or conversely to avoid using the Javelin’s Detonator when you’re fighting a large group of enemies.

Best Anthem Combos | How to use Anthem combos effectively

Best Anthem Combos

When it comes to deciding your Javelin’s loadout, it’s best practice to make sure you have both a Primer ability and a Detonator ability equipped, giving your team versatility across multiple scenarios. Most Primers are acid- or ice-based abilities, whereas most Detonators are fire- or lightning-based, and the majority of melee abilities also work as Detonators. Talk to your teammates, work out what you’re fighting and who’s best equipped to fight them, and then score massive damage using this knowledge. Likewise, the additional effects of your combo attack can be highly situational as addressed above, so don’t try and use your Detonator every single time.

On the other hand, there are plenty of opportunities to execute combos, so experiment with different approaches and see what works best for your squad. Try not to worry as much about setting up the “perfect” combo, and instead react to what you’re seeing. Likewise, don’t forget that the initial Primer ability can help your teammates to execute the Detonator, such as freezing your enemies with an ice-based Primer to slow them down. Ultimately, you won’t get every combo right, but with enough trial and error you’ll soon work out what abilities synergize best together.

Best Anthem Combos | Anthem Primer & Detonator Abilities List

Best Anthem Combos

Each Javelin has access to an array of different abilities, which also means that each has different Primer and Detonator abilities. Read on to find out details of each Javelin’s abilities, and which abilities are Primers, Detonators, and standard damage-dealing attacks.


Grenade Gear:

  • Frag Grenade (Blast Detonator)
  • Inferno Grenade (Fire Primer)
  • Frost Grenade (Ice Primer)
  • Seeker Grenades (Blast Damage)
  • Sticky Grenade (Blast Detonator)

Assault Launcher Gear:

  • Seeking Missile (Impact Detonator)
  • Pulse Blast (Impact Detonator)
  • Spark Beam (Fire Damage)
  • Venom Darts (Acid Primer)
  • Blast Missile (Blast Damage)


  • Shock Mace (Electric Primer)


  • Multi-Target Missile Battery (Blast Detonator)


Ordnance Launcher:

  • High Explosive Mortar (Blast Detonator)
  • Burst Mortar (Blast Damage)
  • Firewall Mortar (Fire Primer)
  • Lightning Coil (Electric Detonator)
  • Shock Coil (Electric Primer)

Heavy Assault Launcher:

  • Siege Artillery (Blast Detonator)
  • Flamethrower (Fire Primer)
  • Flak Cannon (Impact Damage)
  • Railgun (Impact Detonator)
  • Venom Spitter (Acid Primer)


  • Heavy Smash (Impact Detonator)


  • Siege Cannon (Blast Detonator)


Blast Seals:

  • Lightning Strike (Electric Detonator)
  • Ice Storm (Ice Primer)
  • Flame Burst (Fire Damage)
  • Ice Blast (Ice Primer)
  • Living Flame (Fire Primer)

Focus Seals:

  • Frost Shards (Ice Primer)
  • Burning Orb (Fire Detonator)
  • Shock Burst (Electric Primer)
  • Glacial Spear (Ice Detonator)
  • Arc Burst (Electric Damage)


  • Fiery Strike (Fire Detonator)


  • Elemental Storm (Multi-Element Primer and Detonator)


Assault Systems:

  • Searching Glaive (Impact Damage)
  • Venom Bomb (Acid Primer)
  • Cryo Glaive (Ice Primer)
  • Cluster Mine (Blast Damage)
  • Spark Dash (Electric Detonator)

Strike Systems:

  • Detonating Strike (Electric Primer)
  • Plasma Star (Impact Damage)
  • Wraith Strike (Impact Damage)
  • Tempest Strike (Impact Detonator)
  • Venom Spray (Acid Primer)


  • Bladed Daggers (Impact Detonator)


  • Assassin’s Blades (Impact Detonator)

Best Anthem Combos | Which combos are best?

Best Anthem Combos

At the time of writing, which is at launch after the Day 1 Patch has gone live, ice elemental combos seem to work best. They freeze enemies and allow for massive follow-up attacks. Whether you’re playing solo or with a squad, outfitting your Javelin with ice moves is a great way to take out enemies, big and small.

Failing that, fire and its burning effect is another great option, working quickly to take down larger opponents. Acid and electricity will be your next choices.