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Anthem Elements and Elemental Effects expained - how Fire, Ice, Electric and Acid damage and debuffs work

How Anthem's four elemental effects work, and why they're so useful.

Elemental Effects come in four varieties in Anthem: Fire, Ice, Electric, and Acid.

There are some other damage types to take note of too however - Impact and Explosive - and to newcomers the benefits of all of these damage types, and the various Elemental Debuffs they apply, aren't exactly clear, so here's our explainer on just why exactly they're so important and how you can get the most out of them.

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Anthem Elemental Effects explained - what are the Fire, Ice, Electric and Acid debuffs?

Elemental Effects are essentially additional effects granted by your abilities on-hit, as well as just the base damage of that attack.

They can synergise pretty well with the Combos, Primers and Detonators system - but don't confuse them with it. Elementals are simply debuffs that apply when you land Elemental abilities, but you can read more on how the two systems interplay in our big page on Anthem Combos, Primers and Detonators explained.

Otherwise, here's a breakdown of each of the Elemental Effects and the debuffs that they apply:

Fire Effects

Attacks that have the Fire effect will cause damage over time, whittling away enemies' health by a small amount for a short period after the attack has landed.

It's also strong against physical shields and armour, like the Scar Enforcers you'll find, which carry large shields and wear physical armour.

It's much weaker against energy shields, so enemies like the Scar Scouts which have a blue shield bar above their red health bar - you'll want to clear away that shield first with other types of attacks.

Ice Effects

Hitting enemies with the Ice Effect will slow them and, after you've hit them a certain amount, freeze them still entirely.

Ice Effects also deal greater damage to Energy Shields - represented by the blue bar above some enemies' red health bar, like with the Scar Scouts - than regular attacks, making them a great choice for tackling those tougher energy-shielded foes.

It's less effective against enemies with physical shields, like the Scar Enforcers, however.

Electric Effects

Electric Effects will cause area-of-effect (AoE) damage to enemies, chaining damage from the enemy hit to those around it.

These abilities, like Ice Effects, deal greater damage to Energy Shields than physical ones, so are a good option for taking down those blue-bar-shielded enemies.

They're less effective, like Ice Effects again, against physical shields though.

Acid Effects

The Acid status effect acts as a defensive debuff to enemies afflicted with it. In other words, anything affected by Acid takes more damage while the status is active.

They're strong against physically shielded enemies, in the same way that Fire effects are, and in the same vein they're less effective against blue-bar energy shields.

Impact and Explosive attacks

One other type of attack to consider - or arguably two other types - is the Impact and Explosive category of attacks. These, as far as we can tell, are the same thing, although they're named as two different things in the game at the moment. There are lots of little UI and naming errors in the game in its pre-launch state however, so that may well change.

Regardless, this type of damage is just pure damage, with no other effects involved - regular weapons, and some Gear or abilities, just do Impact or Explosive damage, and nothing else, and they make up the bread and butter of your damage output when you're not comboing and using your gear like mad.

Looking for more Anthem explainers like this? Our Anthem tips page is a great place to start, or our Anthem guide and walkthrough mission list hub, which has all our Anthem pages in one place, including in-depth looks at Anthem Javelin classes, how to unlock Javelins and some Colossus, Storm, Interceptor and Ranger builds, another in-depth look at Combos, Primers and Detonators and Elemental Effects and debuffs explained, or specific advice on how to Deactivate the Barrier for the Triple Threat puzzle solution. Here's where to find Anthem Collectibles, Anthem Ember Pieces and Anthem Treasure Chests, and how to get your Anthem Legion of Dawn armour and other pre-order bonuses, how the Anthem Alliance system works too. Finally, for levelling and grinding, here's an explainer of Anthem Pilot Level, XP and how to level fast, Anthem loot, gear, and the loot system explained and finally a deep-dive on Anthem Masterwork and Legendary gear explained, a Masterwork list and how to farm them.

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How to use Elemental Effects, debuffs, and other things to know

Once you know what does what, using Elements is fairly self-explanatory: use Fire and Acid against heavy, physically-shielded enemies like the Scar Eforcers, and Ice and Electric effects against energy shielded ones like the Scar Scouts.

Getting the most out of Elemental Effects and things to know about debuffs:

  • You might want to think about the actual characteristics of the enemies you're facing though, too. A high-powered single target like a boss might be a good fit for some Acid attacks when you're in a DPS phase (when you have a chance to all focus it at once), as its weakened defenses would be perfect for a coordinated attack.
  • Large waves of low-powered mobs, meanwhile, might be better for Electric effects as the damage chains between them. If they're fast-moving, try Ice to slow them down or freeze them altgother - Ice is great for dealing with pesky turrets and enemies with weak spots in hard-to reach areas, too, as you can freeze them in place then maneouvre to reach them.
Anthem | All Elements & Elemental Debuffs Explained - Fire, Ice, Lightning & AcidWatch on YouTube
  • The other thing to bear in mind is that, at least as things stand, all Primers are attacks with Elemental effects. Given the four classes' unique bonuses for Combos, you might want to think about how you can get the most out of elemental effects within the Combo system too.
    • Take the Colossus' bonus effect, for example, which causes area-of-effect explosive damage to enemies affected by the Combo. Combine that with its Flamethrower primer and Lighning Coil detonator, which already spreads damage between multiple enemies with its Electric Elemental effect, and you have fantastic waveclear that can self-detonate with just one player using that Javelin.
  • Last but not least, one more important thing to bear in mind: elemental effects apply to you too! They're the standard debuffs in the game, and you and your squadmates can suffer from them when inflicted on you by enemies, just as you can inflict them on them - they can be pretty nasty, too, with things like Fire causing your Javelin to overheat and shut down your ability to fly, so pay attention to the little status symbols on the left of your HUD!

The Elemental Effects system is pretty simple on the surface then, but the potential is actually pretty vast for combining these status effects in interesting ways - we're likely to see more and more builds and strategies evolve into using them even more efficiently over time, so it's worth keeping an eye on the prevailing 'meta' after launch!

For more explainers like this, meanwhile, cycle back to our main Anthem guide and walkthrough hub.

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