Advanced Warfare Exo Launcher and Grenades Overview

While the newest and most interesting game mechanics in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare revolve around the various Exo movements and Exo abilities players have access to, there’s another new feature to learn how to use as well – the Exo launcher. This is the wrist-mounted, grenade-shooting gadget that serves many purposes.

The Exo launcher is capable of tossing out 10 different pieces of equipment. These include:

  • Frag Grenade
  • Stun Grenade
  • Variable Grenade
  • Semtex
  • Tracking Drone
  • Threat Grenade
  • EMP Grenade
  • Smoke Grenade
  • Explosive Drone
  • Spike Drone

Each of these gadgets does something a little different. Below we’ve provided a summary of each one to help you better understand their abilities and how you should use them.


Frags are the standard grenade type found in pretty much every Call of Duty game to date, not to mention just about every other first-person shooter on the planet. It’s available at level 1 and fires an explosive, cookable grenade that explodes roughly 3 seconds after being shot from the launcher.

Advanced Warfare Frag Grenade

Frag grenades are mostly useful for causing area damage around objective points in game modes such as Domination. If a point is being taken the player can fire a frag onto the objective and, at the very least, do enough damage to take out the majority of health of nearby enemies and finish them off with a gun.

Stun Grenade

Stun grenades are designed to temporarily incapacitate opponents, giving you a slight advantage to swoop in and take them out with a flurry of bullets. These gadgets detonate roughly 2 seconds after being fired. They can, however, also be detonated manually for a quicker play.

Advanced Warfare Stun Grenade

Once the stun grenade detonates it will temporarily blind, disorient, and slow down any enemy within its blast radius. This grenade type is also available to use starting at level 1.

Variable Grenade

The variable grenade is perhaps one of the most interesting gadgets that you can fire from your Exo launcher.

Advanced Warfare Variable Grenade

With it equipped the player can swap between 4 different grenade types:

  • Stun
  • EMP
  • Threat
  • Smoke

This gives you more versatility with your grenades. In campaign modes the variable grenade can also be switched to lethal variants including a smart grenade, contact grenade, or frag. In multiplayer, however, only the tactical effects are available to use.


Semtex has been featured in a few different Call of Duty titles (Black Ops 2, for example) and makes a return in Advanced Warfare. This is a sticky explosive that will stick to surfaces and players. Once fired from the launcher the semtex will explode about 2 seconds later.

Advanced Warfare Semtex

Players can start using semtex with the Exo launcher once they reach level 11. A well-timed shot can result in easy spawn kills, protection of objectives, and damaging opponents to pick them off with other weapons with ease.

Tracking Drone

The Tracking Drone is a piece of flying equipment that, went sent out, will find a nearby enemy, follow them, and track their movements on your mini-map. It’s basically a miniature UAV but it only shows one enemy. The drone can be destroyed or, if it doesn’t find a target within 5-10 seconds, will explode on its own.

Advanced Warfare Tracking Drone

This isn’t really the most useful piece of equipment unless maybe you’re camping? The range of the drone is quite low and the tracking doesn’t last long. Plus it’s very easy to destroy. A simple melee or a single bullet will take it out in a snap.

Threat Grenade

Threat grenades are another new addition to Advanced Warfare. These fire out of the Exo launcher, explode, then temporarily stun and highlight any enemy the red lasers touch for a few seconds. The range is very low on these grenades and the red highlight effect doesn’t last long at all.

Advanced Warfare Threat Grenade

The most useful application of threat grenades is against campers. If 2 or more enemies are camping a room or any other specific spot you can easily find their exact location but shooting a threat grenade into the room and watching the highlights.

EMP Grenade

EMP grenades have been featured in several Call of Duty titles. They return in Advanced Warfare as part of the Exo launcher’s equipment. These grenades explode a couple second after being fired (or can be manually detonated) and temporarily disable all enemy equipment and Exo movements within close proximity.

Advanced Warfare EMP Grenade

These grenades are especially useful for taking out lower-tier scorestreaks such as turrets and assault drones. They aren’t particularly effective against actual opponents, though.

Smoke Grenade

As the name implies, these grenades emit a cloud of smoke once they explode, providing players cover for escaping tight situations or sneaking into objective points unseen. Smoke grenades have been employed in countless CoD titles over the years.

Advanced Warfare Smoke Grenade

These are mostly useful for providing cover for your team to move into a good setup position or onto an objective point. The grenade explodes on its own a couple seconds after being fired or can be exploded nearly instantly via a manual detonation. The smoke screen doesn’t last too long.

Explosive Drone

Explosive drones function as advanced proximity mines. They can be stuck into surfaces such as walls or other flat areas. Once an enemy walks by one the drone detaches, flys toward the opponent, and explodes causing moderate to high damage.

Advanced Warfare Explosive Drone

These drones are capable of one-hit kills against enemies but are not 100% reliable. Players using the Flak Jacket perk will only be partially injured from the explosion. Even enemies without this perk will not always die from the detonation as objects such as walls, tables, and other things can get in the way and decrease the total damage output.

Spike Drone

Spike Drones are one of the most interesting pieces of equipment that can be fired from the Exo launcher. Unlike other tactical and lethal equipment these do not explode. Instead they are metallic balls, lined with spikes that can be fired at opponents. You can also retract them for multiple uses.

Advanced Warfare Spike Drone

Spike drones kill instantly upon striking an enemy. This works both when being fired and when being drawn back to the launcher. Contact anywhere on an opponent’s body (head, torso, or even the foot) will result in an instant kill.

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