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rotation Arms Warrior: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes

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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Arms Warrior guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Arms Warrior rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Arms Warrior Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

New Abilities:

  • warrior_skullbanner.jpgSkull Banner (raid cooldown that increases critical damage by 20% for 10 seconds).
  • warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar (20% damage increase and 30% rage generation for 20 seconds). This ability is provided by a talent, the alternative to which are ability_warrior_bloodbath.jpgBloodbath or warrior_talent_icon_stormbolt.jpgStorm Bolt, both of which seem to be inferior to Avatar at the moment.
  • ability_warrior_dragonroar.jpgDragon Roar. This ability is provided by a talent, the alternative to which is ability_warrior_bladestorm.jpgBladestorm. Currently, Dragon Roar seems to be a bigger DPS gain.
Changes to existing mechanics:
  • Stances no longer offer damage bonuses. ability_warrior_offensivestance.jpgBattle Stance offers increased rage generation from attacks, while ability_racial_avatar.jpgBerserker Stance offers increased rage generation from damage taken. Abilities are no longer restricted by stances. Stance dancing is dead (unless you have the chance to make the most of fight mechanics, when you can switch to Berserker Stance when you are about to take raid damage for a longer period of time).
  • spell_nature_ancestralguardian.jpgBerserker Rage now increases the physical damage that you deal by 10% for 6 seconds, instead of increasing the amount of rage you gain from taking damage.
  • ability_warrior_decisivestrike.jpgSlam is now instant cast.
  • The way in which ability_meleedamage.jpgOverpower is triggered has changed. Overpower becomes usable for 10 seconds after the enemy dodges an attack, after you use ability_warrior_savageblow.jpgMortal Strike and when ability_rogue_hungerforblood.jpgTaste for Blood procs (it has a 30% chance to proc each time you use Overpower). When Taste for Blood procs, you also get a 30% damage increase to your next Slam, if used within 5 seconds. This effect stacks up to 10 times (300% damage increase!), assuming you get several back to back Taste for Blood procs.
  • ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds is now automatically applied each time you use Mortal Strike or Thunder Clap. It lasts 15 seconds.
  • spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap now applies ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds to all affected enemies.
  • ability_rogue_slicedice.jpgSweeping Strikes now has a 10 second cooldown (and still has a 10 second duration), allowing you to maintain 100% uptime.
  • ability_warrior_savageblow.jpgMortal Strike now generates rage instead of costing rage.
  • ability_warrior_colossussmash.jpgColossus Smash and ability_meleedamage.jpgOverpower no longer cost rage.
  • achievement_boss_kingymiron.jpgDeadly Calm now reduces the rage cost of the next 3 Heroic Strikes or Cleaves by 10.
  • ability_criticalstrike.jpgRecklessness no longer increases damage taken.
Removed Abilities:With this mind, we would note that the rotation for Arms Warriors has not changed very much. The only new abilities are on long cooldowns and, as such, do not directly influence your playstyle. The Mists of Pandaria Arms Warrior rotation will most likely be something along these lines (not necessarily in this order):

Single Target Rotation:

  • Use ability_warrior_savageblow.jpgMortal Strike on cooldown, unless you are full on rage. Mortal Strike generates 10 rage, enables the use of ability_meleedamage.jpgOverpower and applies (and refreshes) ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds.
  • Use ability_warrior_colossussmash.jpgColossus Smash just as you used to in Cataclysm. Make sure that you have enough rage to cast many abilities during the 6 second duration of the debuff Colossus Smash applies. Colossus Smash's cooldown has a 6% chance to be reset by your melee attacks. When this happens, re-cast it, to maximise the uptime of the debuff, but do not recast it if the previous (6 second) debuff is still active.
  • Use ability_meleedamage.jpgOverpower, unless you are at maximum rage. If a second (or other subsequent) Overpower procs, use that as well.
  • When you are full on rage, or Mortal Strike, Colossus Smash and Overpower are unavailable, use ability_warrior_decisivestrike.jpgSlam. If you have too much rage, you can also dump it with ability_rogue_ambush.jpgHeroic Strike.
  • Use inv_sword_48.jpgExecute when the target is below 20% health.
  • Use ability_warrior_dragonroar.jpgDragon Roar on cooldown. Ideally, you should position yourself such that Dragon Roar hits as many enemies as possible.
As an important note, maximising your usage of ability_warrior_decisivestrike.jpgSlam while you have stacks of ability_rogue_hungerforblood.jpgTaste for Blood will have a huge impact on your DPS. Since the buff applied by Taste for Blood only lasts 5 seconds, if your Overpower does not proc Taste for Blood, you will need to use Slam right away so that you do not lose the buff. With excellent latency and reaction time, you may be able to use a Mortal Strike right after the Overpower that doesn't proc Taste for Blood, use another Overpower and if that does not proc Taste for Blood either, then still use Slam in the 5 second window of the buff. On the Beta, this seems almost impossible to do.

Becoming enraged now increases your physical damage done by 10% for 6 seconds. It is imperative to maximise this self-buff by casting spell_nature_ancestralguardian.jpgBerserker Rage whenever you are not otherwise enraged.

You also have the following cooldowns:

  • achievement_boss_kingymiron.jpgDeadly Calm, which should be used on cooldown, provided you are not at maximum rage.
  • warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar, which should be used as many times as possible in the fight. Make sure to use it when you can maximise its effect (boss is taking increased damage, you have a potion active, Heroism/Bloodlust is active etc.).
  • warrior_skullbanner.jpgSkull Banner, which is more a raid cooldown than a personal cooldown. You should use this as many times as possible during the fight, ideally at the same time that you are using Avatar. Keep in mind when it benefits the raid most, though (for example, don't use it when an encounter mechanic incapacitates all of your ranged DPS, even if you are able to use Avatar during that time).
  • ability_criticalstrike.jpgRecklessness, which should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. Make sure to always use it while Avatar is active.
  • ability_warrior_shatteringthrow.jpgShattering Throw, which should be used as many times as possible during the fight, at moments when your raid members can attack uninterrupted.
Multiple Target Rotation:

Whenever there is a second target next to your primary target, you should keep up ability_rogue_slicedice.jpgSweeping Strikes and perform your usual rotation.

Against 3 enemies:

  • Use spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap every 15 seconds to maintain ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds on all targets.
  • Keep Sweeping Strikes up.
  • Perform your usual rotation.
Against 4 or more enemies:


Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that affect your ability_warrior_charge.jpgCharge:All of these talents are situational. They will mostly be useful against adds, and choosing one over the other will depend on the manner in which the adds move and enter the encounter.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 self-healing talents:

ability_hunter_harass.jpgSecond Wind is mostly a PvP talent, so it is unlikely that you will choose it often, if ever.

We believe that spell_impending_victory.jpgImpending Victory will be the default choice in the vast majority of situations, due to its low cooldown, which allows you to use it precisely when needed.

ability_warrior_focusedrage.jpgEnraged Regeneration may be better in situations where you need a bigger heal at a certain moment of the fight.

Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd-control talents:

None of these talents will be particularly useful in PvE. Choosing one over the others will be based on the kiting method which you will have to employ in the encounter.

Tier 4 talents offer a choice between 3 important, gameplay-altering abilities:

In terms of pure DPS (and therefore threat) output, ability_warrior_dragonroar.jpgDragon Roar is a clear winner.

ability_warrior_shockwave.jpgShockwave is very useful, especially in heroic dungeons and against adds, because it allows you to better control mobs, thanks to its stun component (and low cooldown).

Occassionally, you may choose ability_warrior_bladestorm.jpgBladestorm if you wish to benefit from its properties that ensure you do not lose control of your character.

Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 abilities that help you protect raid members:

ability_warrior_shieldbreak.jpgMass Spell Reflection is unlikely to be very useful in PvE raiding, since very few boss abilities can be reflected.

ability_warrior_safeguard.jpgSafeguard is excellent if your raid is lacking in external damage reduction cooldowns, as it reduces damage taken by the target by 20% for 6 seconds (on a very low, 30 second cooldown).

ability_warrior_vigilance.jpgVigilance is also a sort of external damage reduction cooldown, although the damage is not reduced - instead, 30% of the damage the target takes over 12 seconds is redirected to you. This ability also has a higher cooldown than Safeguard, namely 2 minutes.

The choice between these 3 talents will depend on what you need most in the encounter.

Tier 6 talents offer a choice between 3 powerful damage-increasing cooldowns:

warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar gives you a 20% damage increase and 30% increased rage generation for 20 seconds. It also makes you immune to movement-impairing effects for its duration. Currently, we feel that, in terms of DPS, this talent is best.

ability_warrior_bloodbath.jpgBloodbath is a rather lackluster talent that causes your attacks to place a bleed on the target, for 12 seconds. It has a 1 minute cooldown.

warrior_talent_icon_stormbolt.jpgStorm Bolt is a single target stun that also deals some damage, with a 30 second cooldown. In case the target is immune to stuns (most bosses are), it deals a much higher amount of damage.

We believe that the choice of talents will depend on what the encounter requires. If you are simply looking to do more DPS, then Avatar is the right choice. If, however, you wish to control various adds better, then you should choose Storm Bolt.


There are several Major Glyphs that are worth considering.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Unending Rage increases your maximum rage pool by 20. We believe this glyph will be an important element in helping you better manage your rage.
  • ability_criticalstrike.jpgGlyph of Recklessness increases the duration of ability_criticalstrike.jpgRecklessness by 50%, but reduces its benefit by 20%. This could be a DPS gain when you need to benefit from Recklessness over a longer period of time. When fight mechanics are not peculiar, however, the glyph will make no difference.
  • ability_warrior_commandingshout.jpgGlyph of Rude Interruption increases your damage done by 6% for for 20 seconds after succesfully interrupting a spell cast with inv_gauntlets_04.jpgPummel. This glyph will prove useful on encounters where you are able to interrupt spell casts.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Death From Above reduces the cooldown of ability_heroicleap.jpgHeroic Leap by 15 seconds, and increases its damage by 100%. This glyph could be useful on fights where mobility is a very important factor, or any fights where you can use Heroic Leap for its damage component.
There are also two Minor Glyphs of interest:
  • inv_glyph_minorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Bloody Healing increases the healing you receive from bandages by 20%, while ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds is active. The effect of this glyph is going to be minor at best, but since it is a theoretical benefit, we chose to list it.
  • inv_glyph_minorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Intimidating Shout causes the targets of your ability_golemthunderclap.jpgIntimidating Shout to cower in fear (standing in place) rather than to run around. This is useful especially in dungeons, when you wish to use crowd-control on the mobs without having them run into other trash packs.
This concludes our Arms Warrior preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!
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spell_nature_ancestralguardian.jpgBerserker Rage, as well as being enraged in general, now increases the amount of physical damage you deal by 10% for 6 seconds. It is likely that maximising your enraged uptime will become an important factor in your playstyle.

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