Anthem: Understanding how Elemental Effects work and affect your combos


Now that you’ve got a handle on the combo system, how to play a Storm Javelin, and even got a basic understanding of the game, it’s time to discuss how each of the elements works and what each of them actually does when they are active.

By now you’ve had a basic understanding of how the Combo system actually works. You’ve been able to rapidly fill up your Ultimate gauge and even take down a few dozen enemies up to this very point in time. You’ve probably even figured out that there are multiple layers to the combo system itself, making it even more in-depth than you might have imagined.

But, what we haven’t discussed just yet is how your gear causes Elemental Effects to work. There’s tons of gear that have primers, detonators, and basic damage – some of the gear not even triggering a primer or detonator, but only adding a status effect on your target. However, you aren’t quite sure what they do. Sure, you’ll ignite your enemies with your fiery wrath, freeze a couple a dozen or two with your icy wrath, or you may electrocute them all to the point they’d wished they poked their fingers into the wall socket when they were young.

Jokes aside, we need to talk about how of them actually works and what they actually do. Note, that this isn’t going to go into depth about combos, primers, and detonators as we did last week, but instead, we’re focusing solely on the elements themselves for a better understanding of how each of them works before releasing our Ranger and Colossus guides.


Credits: FireDragon04

Welcome to Elements 101

No matter what Javelin you choose, you have the ability to place a status effect debuff on your target or targets depending on your situation at hand. These elements can do things such as light an enemy on fire, freeze an entire group of enemies putting a stop to their assault, putting a little spark in their life with lightning, or even rain on their parade with a bit of acid.

When these effects are triggered, you may notice a red symbol popping up under or above their bar. This symbol is an indicator of an active debuff and a combo primer waiting to be detonated (if already hasn’t been triggered). This debuff is your timer and your marker, indicating what element is on your target, what it’s doing, and if it can or can’t be detonated as part of a combo.

But don’t always expect your elements to do so. Abilities such as Acid Dart won’t trigger an elemental combo, but rather, only place a status effect on your target. There’s even explosive and impact attacks, which we’ll talk about a little later. First, let’s start breaking down the elements, starting with Acid.

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Acid Grenade, Bottom Left | Credits: EA

Acid Elemental Effect

If there’s anything enemies in any game fears, it’s acid. Not because the sound of how bad it hurts is actually mortifying, but because of what it can do in RPGs such as Anthem. The reason behind this is due to the fact Acid reduces the physical resistance of your targets, allowing you to eat right through their armor with your weapons and non-elemental abilities.

But, unlike Electricity, Acid isn’t as effective against shields and is best reserved for when a targets shields come down. At the higher tiers of play and end-game content, Acid is extremely useful and has a rightful place as an effective element to consider using.

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Fire Grenade equipped | Credits: EA

Fire Elemental Effect

If there’s one element that leaves its marks, it absolutely has to be fire due to its astonishing amount of damage it can do in larger areas or to a single target. The fire element itself isn’t just a massive blast to a single target, but rather entire groups of targets when they are gathered together.

Due to how the Storm and Colossus Javelin’s work, this element is one of the strongest in the game, allowing the Storm to ignite entire groups of enemies with a single flame thanks to a combo detonation, or even a single target based on the abilities they have equipped.

Unfortunately, fire is weak against shields, making it a back seat driver until the blue portion of an enemies health has been taken down and opening up their physical health and or armor to fire. Once they are exposed, fire does damage over time, allowing you to keep sustained damage on a single target and or a group of targets.

If detonated by a Storm Javelin, this effect will do damage over time to all enemies in the immediate area while the Interceptor will carry a fire aura with them, dealing damage to enemies they are attacking or are attacking them in the immediate area.


Ice Elemental Effect

As described above, Ice is a great element to use and it’s one that will allow you to freeze or slow your enemies based on their attributes and if they are elite or not. Unlike Acid, Ice is amazingly strong against large crowds of enemies and it’s even stronger when hitting large crowds of foes.

Due to its ability to freeze enemies in their place, this ability is great for setting up Combo Chains for your team, but also giving your team room to breath in the end-game portion of Anthem. Just like lightning, Ice is strong against shields, and it will eat through shields rather quickly while doing less damage against both physical health and armor.

If detonated by a Storm Javelin, unshielded enemies in the immediate are frozen or slowed and left completely vulnerable. Interceptors will carry an ice aura with them, allowing them to slow those around them.

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Lightning Elemental Effect

Lightning attacks are some of the best the game has to offer due to its ability to cause area-of-effect damage to your enemies. This element isn’t just great for chaining a heavy shock to their systems, but rather because it’s the only element that does significant damage to an enemies shields, allowing you to tear through them as if they never existed.

Along with the ability to tear through shields, lightning can also do lingering damage over time if enemies decide to stand to close to one another, allowing it to do a minor amount of damage over time while also restricting an enemies ability to regenerate their shields while the status effect is active.

At higher tiers of play, this element is highly recommended and is one that will serve as a might blow to end-game enemies who pride themselves on their shields and their increased health pools. When discharged by both a Storm and Interceptor, you can expect enemy shields to become susceptible to lightning damage.

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Impact and Explosive Damage – Why they aren’t elements

One of the hardest parts of Anthem is understanding just how your gear actually works due to the fact there are abilities, a plethora of them to be exact, that come off as standard damage. Unfortunately, these abilities while they do add an effect or some sort, may or may not do an elemental effect, making it so that elements such as Acid or Fire can’t be triggered and won’t consume your enemies health as they others due.

Now, there are explosive and impact attacks that CAN trigger a combo detonation, but again, they aren’t elements and unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of use outside of doing massive damage to non-shielded health and adding in very little variety to an important part of the gameplay system.

If you are wanting to know more about combos and or Anthem itself, you can check out our ever-growing list of guides down below.

Check out more of our guides for Anthem today:

Anthem is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Anthem: Understanding how Elemental Effects work and affect your combos

  1. Pingback: Anthem: Understanding Combos, Primers, and their Detonators | Blast Away the Game Review

  2. Pingback: Anthem: Things you need to know before starting Anthem | Blast Away the Game Review

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