Power Combos are a new combat mechanic introduced in Mass Effect 3. Attacking an Enemy with two Powers consecutively, may trigger an explosion that causes major damage in the area.

Power Combo Types & Functioning

There are four types of Power Combos available. Biotic, Cryo, Fire and Tech. No matter the type, all power combos require different Powers. The first Power, let's call it the source, and a second different power, a detonator.

The Source Power determines the type of Power Combo that will be set up, and the detonator triggers the combo, causing a massive explosion. 

You will know an enemy is ready for a combo when they display a colored effect. There are four colors, each associated to one of the power combo types available. Blue sparks for tech, red flames for fire, violet for biotic and white for cryo.

Keep in mind that some Powers can be both Sources and detonators. For example, Warp cannot detonate another Warp, but Reave and Warp will detonate each other regardless of the order in which they are used.

Multiple Combos

You can apply multiple Primers or sources to a single enemy. Note that the addition of a different primer or Source, does not erase the previous one. For example, if you use two Sources on the same enemy, the most recent applied source will detonate first when you use a detonator, but you can use a second detonator to explode the first-used Source.

If, for some reason, the detonator used cannot trigger the last used Source, it will continue its way chronologically backward until it finds a primer it can detonate successfully. Note that the sources skipped will not be erased and will remain ready to be triggered with the correct detonator.

Combo Damage

All Power Combos have a base damage that is based on the combo level. That damage is simply the total power level of the source and detonator. This base damage can range fromm, for a minimum combo level of 2, to 250, for a maximum possible combo level of 12. This base damage is then multiplied by a factor dependent on the game's difficulty, scaling with enemy health.

  • Narrative: x.5833333
  • Casual: x.83333
  • Normal/Bronze: x1.5
  • Hardcore/Silver: x2.25
  • Insanity/Gold: x3.375
  • Platinum: x4.3875

This information shows that, as difficulty levels increase, the relative importance of combos for a power-based Class damage output increases dramatically.

Also note that the combo damage is further modified based on its type and on whether it is damaging armor, shield, barrier, or health.(e.g. tech bursts do 2x damage to shields). Any debuffs on the target receiving the combo (such as Sabotage's Tech Vulnerability) will also affect the combo damage, if applicable.

Besides that, the combo damage is otherwise completely independent of the actual damage or damage bonuses of the Powers being used unluss it is a damage bonus that specifically mentions combo damage, such as Warp's Detonate Evolution

 

Types and Explanations
Synergies Table

 

Biotic Explosions

Biotic Explosions cause a wave of biotic energy that causes damage and knocks back Enemies. These combos can be triggered without killing an enemy. Most biotic Powers that lift or suspend targets in the air ONLY prime for Biotic Explosions when a target is successfully lifted. The radius of a Biotic explosion is between 2 and 4 meters, and they do two times normal damage against biotic barriers and armor.

Source Powers

Detonators

Cryo Explosion

Cryo explosions create a blast of ice that deals damage to the primary target and may freeze nearby Enemies. In order to be eligible to be frozen, those Enemies need to be unprotected, this means no armor, shields or barriers. Enemies killed by Cryo Explosions shatter into pieces, without leaving a corpse. Cryo explosions have a 3-to-5 meters radius and even if the Enemies within that radius may not be damager or frozen, they are still chilled, causing their movement to be reduced by 30%.

Source Powers

Detonators

Tech Burst

Tech bursts create a blast of electricity that inflicts damage to nearby Enemies and has a chance of stunning them. Tech Bursts can be triggered without being a killing blow and they have a radius of 4.5 to 7.5 meters. Tech Bursts do two times normal damage Shields.

Source Powers

Detonators

Fire Explosion

Fire explosions create a blast of flames that inflicts severe damage to nearby Enemies and has a chance to set them on fire. Although visually shocking, this does not apply extra damage. Some lesser Enemies killed by fire explosions are vaporized, causing them to not leave a corpse. Fire Explosions have a radius of 3 - 6 meters and do two times normal damage against Armor.

Source Powers

Detonator

Synergies Table

In the following table you can see all the Powers in the game and their interaction for Power Combos. 

Name
Primes
Detonates Biotic Explosion?
Detonates Cryo Explosion?
Detonates Tech Burst?
Detonates Fire explosion?
barrier-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Barrier
Biotic No No No No
biotic-charge-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Biotic Charge
- Yes Yes Yes Yes
carnage-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Carnage
Fire No Yes Yes Yes
cluter-grenade-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Cluster Grenade
- Yes Yes Yes Yes
combat-drone-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Combat Drone
No No Yes Yes Yes
concussive-shot-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px
Concussive Shot
Cryo
Fire
Tech
No Yes Yes Yes
cryo-ammo-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Cryo Ammo
Cryo No No No No
cryo-blast-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Cryo Blast
Cryo No No No No
dark-channel-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Dark Channel
Biotic No No No No
decoy-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Decoy
No No Yes Yes Yes
disruptor-ammo-rank-1-min
Disruptor Ammo
Tech No No No No
energy-drain-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Energy Drain
Tech No Yes Yes Yes
flare-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Flare
No Yes No No No
frag-grenade-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px
Frag Grenade
No No Yes Yes Yes
incendiary-ammo-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Incendiary Ammo
Fire No No No No
incinerate-rank-1-min
Incinerate
Fire No Yes Yes Yes
inferno-grenade-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Inferno Grenade
Fire No No No No
lash-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Lash
Biotic Yes Yes Yes Yes
lift-grenade-min
Lift Grenade
Biotic Yes Yes Yes Yes
nova-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Nova
No Yes Yes Yes Yes
overload-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Overload
Tech No Yes Yes Yes
proximity-mine-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Proximity Mine
No No Yes Yes Yes
pull-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Pull
Biotic No No No No
reave-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Reave
Biotic Yes No No No
sabotage-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Sabotage
Tech No No No No
sentry-turret-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Sentry Turret
Cryo No No No No
shockwave-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Shockwave
Biotic Yes Yes Yes Yes
singualrity-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Singularity
Biotic Yes No No No
slam-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Slam
Biotic Yes Yes Yes Yes
stasis-1-bonus-powers-classes-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide
Stasis
Biotic No No No No
sticky-grenade-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Sticky Grenade
Cryo
Tech
Fire
No Yes Yes Yes
throw-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Throw
No Yes Yes Yes Yes
warp-rank-1-powers-mass-effect-3-wiki-guide-100px-min
Warp
Biotic Yes Yes Yes Yes



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