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Arms Warrior DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Jul 21, 2016 at 06:16 by Wordup 6 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Arms Warrior core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.0.3. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing an Arms Warrior.

The other pages of our Arms Warrior guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author and Reviewer

This guide has been written by Wordup, a frequent theorycrafter involved in a number of class communities. He is also an experienced player who has been in the world top 100 since the days of Sunwell, currently raiding in Echoes. You can also follow him on Twitter.

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Archimitros, one of the best DPS Warriors in the world, who raids in Infinity. You can follow him on Twitter.

1. Single-Target Rotation

The core of Arms revolves around maximising your use of Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash and your use of powerful abilities within the debuff window, so whilst the rotation is quite skinny, there is room to push more damage with heads up play.

  1. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash on cooldown, even if the debuff is already applied.
  2. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower if talented and available.
  3. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike on cooldown, unless Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash is about to come back off cooldown.
  4. Cast Slam Icon Slam during free Global Cooldowns.

If Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle is talented, replace Slam Icon Slam with Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind. If Rend Icon Rend is talented, apply outside of the Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash window and refresh the debuff whenever it has less than 5 seconds remaining.

1.1. Execute Usage

Use Execute Icon Execute whenever able during the Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash debuff window, otherwise continue with the standard Single Target rotation.

1.2. Opening Rotation

  1. Use Strength Potion just before the pull.
  2. Cast Charge Icon Charge.
  3. Apply Rend Icon Rend if talented
  4. Cast Avatar Icon Avatar and Battle Cry Icon Battle Cry with Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash
  5. Continue with single-target rotation.

2. Multiple-Target Rotation

Against multiple targets, Arms favours using Cleave Icon Cleave to empower Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind in place of Single Target filler skills.

  1. Cast Cleave Icon Cleave to increase the damage of Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind per target hit.
  2. Against two targets, cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  3. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind.
  4. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash on priority targets.

If against 2 targets, talent Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes to allow Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike and Execute Icon Execute to hit both targets. When against larger groups, stack all available cooldowns with Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm as frequently as possible for high bursts of damage.

2.1. Execute Usage

If Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes is taken, Execute Icon Execute stays relevant until 3 targets are involved, at which point it is simply replaced by Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind as damage generally will fall off compared to the Rage investment.

3. Important Notes

3.1. Tier 4 Talents

Tier 4 provides two different options when it comes to different encounter types and how you want to approach them, and picking the appropriate talent for the situation can augment your ability to react to them.

Bounding Stride Icon Bounding Stride provides a powerful increase to the distance you can cover with Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap uses, whilst also increasing its availability by reducing its cooldown by 15 seconds, allowing for more flexibility. Given that Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap has no restrictions, unlike Charge Icon Charge that requires a target, this is a great choice on high mobility encounters.

Whilst Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance does hit damage output due to it requiring Global Cooldowns to activate alongside a flat reduction to damage dealt, having a very short 10-second cooldown allows for extremely high flexibility when dealing with frequent dangerous mechanics.

3.2. Cooldowns

Arms comes with two baseline cooldowns with variable uses in Battle Cry Icon Battle Cry, for general use, and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, for AoE situations. It also has a number of talents that either provide additional tools such as Avatar Icon Avatar or augments to existing abilities like Deadly Calm Icon Deadly Calm, and stacking as many effects that scale with each other is key to pushing as much out of Arms as you can.

3.2.1. Battle Cry

Battle Cry Icon Battle Cry is a short 5-second duration ability that grants a 100% increase to critical strike chance on a 1-minute cooldown. Due to its short duration coupled with its frequent availability, using it as often as possible with high damage periods is crucial to pushing high damage in short windows. This also synergises very well with Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash in single-target situations, or with Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm due to them both being short duration, high impact effects. Your last uses of your cooldowns stacked up with Battle Cry Icon Battle Cry should be saved for the Execute Icon Execute phase, as it contributes a great deal to the overall Arms output.

3.2.2. Bladestorm/Ravager

Making the most out of Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm in AoE situations is a huge benefit to the versatility of the Arms toolkit. Stacking other cooldowns such as Battle Cry Icon Battle Cry can create a huge surge of damage very quickly, just be aware that you cannot cast anything else during the channel. If burst AoE is required more frequently than Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm would allow, consider taking Ravager Icon Ravager instead to maximise your use, and place it just before enemies spawn, use all cooldowns currently available, and cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind during its duration.

4. Mastering your Arms Warrior

The notes above provide an outline for general Fury play, below are some more in depth mechanical breakdowns of concepts vital to Master if you want to squeeze out the best performance possible.

4.1. Rage Management

Arms generates Rage purely from auto-attack swings and Charge Icon Charge casts, and all abilities cost Rage to use, other than Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash which is free. Having enough Rage to keep Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike on cooldown is important, and over-committing Rage to Slam Icon Slam can sometimes be punishing due to Tactician Icon Tactician resets. Holding too much Rage however can punish you by limiting the amount of Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash resets generated, so a balance must be maintained where you are not empty but still making use of your Global Cooldowns.

4.2. Colossus Smash

The crux of the Arms specialization is Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, with both the Tactician Icon Tactician effect and Mastery: Colossal Might Icon Mastery: Colossal Might. Whilst maximising the debuffs impact is important, the damage that the initial strike deals on top of being free means that playing around it is not important, instead keeping it on cooldown for free, high damage hit as frequently as available to allow room for extra resets will give the most benefit to your output.

4.3. Movement and Mobility

Warriors have a great deal of active tools through Charge Icon Charge and Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap that allow for instant movement across large distances. Finding ways to maximise your uptime on a target through intelligent use of these is crucial, as downtime is extremely detrimental to the Arms rotation, as losing auto-attack swings has a severe impact on Rage available, and limits opportunities to reset Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash. Consider talents such as Double Time Icon Double Time and Bounding Stride Icon Bounding Stride if an encounter requires higher than usual movement.

4.4. Defense

Arm's primary tool for survivability comes in the form of Die by the Sword Icon Die by the Sword, reducing all damage taken by 30% and increasing Parry chance by 100% for 8 seconds, on a 3-minute cooldown. Whilst this has a very high cooldown, it can be very impactful if used correctly. If you feel your survivability does not cover your needs however in encounters, consider taking Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance if the damage dealt penalty is not a concern.

Warriors also have access to Commanding Shout Icon Commanding Shout, granting all party and raid members 15% increased maximum health for 10 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown. This is a great additional tool for not only your defense but your group as well, and should be used appropriately to co-ordinate additional survivability against key mechanics.

4.5. Tier 18 Set Bonuses

The Tier 18 2-piece bonus now gives Slam a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike which works in addition to the Tactician Icon Tactician effect. The 4-piece bonus reduces the Rage cost of Slam Icon Slam by 5, down to 15 Rage, but does not negatively impact Tactician Icon Tactician.

Both pieces are powerful in single-target situations, increasing the frequency of your Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike casts, smoothing out your rotation and granting more Rage to work with. Unfortunately however, they have no interaction with the Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle talent which is currently the ideal choice.

5. ChangeLog

  • 21 Jul. 2016: Updated mentions of Fervor of Battle to reflect the fact that it is now the recommended Level 45 talent.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Fixed Tier 18 Set Bonuses section.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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