Arms Warrior DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.2)

70 comments
Arms Warrior Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Arms Warrior core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.2. 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 Reviewer

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

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The Arms Warrior rotation is made up of multiple phases, mostly having to do with whether or not the debuff applied by your Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash is up on the target or not.

When the target is below 20% health, you have to employ a different Execute rotation, but we cover this in a subsequent section.

Note that it is important to understand several key concepts of the rotation in order to be able to execute it comfortably. We advise you to read our section on key concepts.

1.1. Outside Colossus Smash

When Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash is not active on the target, your rotation is based on the following priority. You should always save up about 60 Rage before using Colossus Smash.

  1. Maintain Rend Icon Rend on the target. You can refresh Rend when it has less than 5 seconds remaining.
  2. Use Ravager Icon Ravager, if you have chosen this talent.
  3. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  4. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  5. Use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt or Dragon Roar Icon Dragon Roar (depending on your choice) if you have less than 90 Rage.
    • Due to its 30-second cooldown, Storm Bolt will alternate between being used during and outside of Colossus Smash with every cast. If Colossus Smash is delayed for any reason, simply use Storm Bolt with Colossus Smash.
  6. Use Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap (with Glyph of Resonating Power Icon Glyph of Resonating Power).
  7. Use Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind when you have more than 40 Rage.

If you have taken the Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death talent, then Execute Icon Execute procs are your highest priority at all times.

1.1.1. When Using Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus

If you have the Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus, the priority changes.

  1. Maintain Rend Icon Rend on the target. You can refresh Rend when it has less than 5 seconds remaining.
  2. Use Ravager Icon Ravager, if you have chosen this talent.
  3. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  4. Use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt, if you have taken this talent.
  5. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.

1.2. During Colossus Smash

When Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash is active on the target, your rotation is based on the following priority:

  1. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  2. Use Siegebreaker Icon Siegebreaker, if you have chosen this talent.
    • Using Siegebreaker effectively will require you to delay Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash by 5 seconds every other time the latter is used.
  3. Use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt.
  4. Use Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap (with Glyph of Resonating Power Icon Glyph of Resonating Power).
  5. Use Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind.

If you have taken the Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death talent, then Execute Icon Execute procs are your highest priority at all times.

Finally, never refresh Rend Icon Rend during Colossus Smash, unless none of the abilities listed above is available.

1.2.1. When Using Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus

If you have the Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus, then you should only use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike during Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.

1.3. Execute Rotation

When the boss is below 20% health, your rotation is based on the following priority. You should always save up between 60 and 100 Rage before using Colossus Smash. Not using any abilities for one or more global cooldowns in order to save up Rage is acceptable, provided that you do not reach maximum Rage.

  1. Maintain Rend Icon Rend on the target. You can refresh Rend when it has less than 5 seconds remaining.
  2. Use Ravager Icon Ravager.
  3. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  4. Use Execute Icon Execute when you have 80 or more Rage.
  5. Use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt or Dragon Roar Icon Dragon Roar, depending on your choice.

If you have taken the Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death talent, then Execute Icon Execute procs are your highest priority at all times.

1.3.1. During Colossus Smash

While Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash is active, use the following priority for your rotation:

  1. Use Execute Icon Execute.
  2. Use Siegebreaker Icon Siegebreaker if you have less than 40 Rage, and if you have chosen this talent.
  3. Use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt if you less than 40 Rage.

If you have taken the Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death talent, then Execute Icon Execute procs are your highest priority at all times.

1.4. Opening Rotation

At the start of the fight, the ideal opening rotation is as follows:

  1. Prepot.
  2. Charge Icon Charge in and place your Ravager Icon Ravager (you can click the ability to obtain the placement circle even before combat begins).
  3. Apply Rend Icon Rend.
  4. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, Recklessness Icon Recklessness, and Bloodbath Icon Bloodbath or Avatar Icon Avatar (depending on your talent choice).
  5. Continue with your single target Colossus Smash rotation.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

When facing multiple targets, you should make use of the following rotation:

  1. Keep up Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.
  2. Use Ravager Icon Ravager, if you have taken this talent.
  3. Use Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, when facing 3+ targets.
    • If at all possible, make sure at least 6 seconds of Sweeping Strikes remain when using Bladestorm.
  4. Keep up Rend Icon Rend on multiple targets (up to a maximum of 4-5).
    • Ideally, you should refresh Rend when there are less than 5 seconds of its duration remaining on the target.
  5. Use Dragon Roar Icon Dragon Roar.
  6. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
    • Only use Colossus Smash when facing 3 or fewer enemies.
  7. Use Execute Icon Execute.
    • Only use Execute when facing 4 or fewer enemies.
  8. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
    • Only use Mortal Strike when facing 3 or fewer enemies.
  9. Use Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap (with Glyph of Resonating Power Icon Glyph of Resonating Power).
  10. Use Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind.

If you are facing fewer than 4 targets, and one of them can be Execute Icon Executed, you should dump Rage with Execute. It is recommended to use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash beforehand, if possible.

When we mention that certain abilities should be used when facing X or fewer enemies, this is somewhat general, and in reality it depends on the amount of Mastery that you have.

2.1. When Using Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus

If you have the Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus, the priority changes.

  1. Keep up Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.
  2. Use Ravager Icon Ravager, if you have taken this talent.
  3. Use Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, when facing 5+ targets.
    • If at all possible, make sure at least 6 seconds of Sweeping Strikes remain when using Bladestorm.
  4. Keep up Rend Icon Rend on as many targets as possible.
    • Ideally, you should refresh Rend when there are less than 5 seconds of its duration remaining on the target.
  5. Use Dragon Roar Icon Dragon Roar.
  6. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  7. Use Execute Icon Execute.
  8. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.

3. Cooldown Usage↑top

As an Arms Warrior, you have one DPS cooldown, as well as a few cooldowns from talents, most of which are already incorporated in the rotations above.

Recklessness Icon Recklessness should be used as many times as possible throughout the encounter. It is ideal to stack it with any periods of increased damage such as Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, trinkets, or other important mechanics (especially with Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp), and it is important to make sure it is available in Execute range.

Bloodbath Icon Bloodbath should be used as often as possible, but you should make sure to align with Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash (unless it is used for AoE damage), and you should save up around 70 Rage before using it.

Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, if chosen instead of Bloodbath, should also be used as often as possible, but only against 3 or more targets. You should stack it with any cooldowns or buffs that you can.

Ravager Icon Ravager should be saved for moments of burst AoE damage, and ideally paired with Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash. If such moments do not exist in the fight, or are far off into the future, you should simply use it as part of your single target rotation as indicated above. It is always ideal to stack Ravager with Bloodbath.

4. Stance↑top

Battle Stance Icon Battle Stance grants you a lot of Rage with each autoattack you make, but grants you no Rage from damage taken. This is the stance you should be in whenever you are concerned about maximising your DPS.

Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance grants less Rage from autoattacks, but reduces the damage you take from all sources by 20%. While Defensive Stance is active, you passively gain 1 Rage every 3 seconds while you are in combat. You should use this stance during moments of high raid damage, to increase your survivability, but be aware of the Rage loss that you will have to suffer.

5. Mastering Your Arms Warrior↑top

The guidelines given above will enable you to play your Arms Warrior with good results. If you want to push things further and master your character, then we advise you to continue reading.

5.1. Rage Generation

By default, your Rage is generated from two sources:

  • Dealing damage with autoattacks (with critical strikes generating twice as much Rage).
  • Using Charge Icon Charge. Note that Charge does not generate Rage the second time when it is used twice against the same target.

Your Rage is mostly used by abilities in your rotation, although some utility spells also cost Rage.

5.2. Key Concepts

5.2.1. Colossus Smash

Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash should be used, primarily, for the debuff which it applies, and not for its damage. In the 6 seconds after using Colossus Smash, all of your abilities deal significantly more damage.

In general, as an Arms Warrior, you will always do your best to save up Rage so that you can using it during Colossus Smash (or during the Execute Icon Execute phases).

5.2.2. Execute Usage

For Arms, Execute Icon Execute consumes a minimum of 10 Rage, up to 40, with each point of Rage converting into more damage. In order to maximise the efficiency of this ability (since its Damage Per Rage decreases with more Rage spent), you will want to start saving as much Rage as possible before using Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, starting about 8-10 seconds before it comes off cooldown. Immediately after Colossus Smash, you can spam low Rage Executes while Colossus Smash is up.

Since Execute damage makes up the majority of Arms DPS, it is important to try to stack as many cooldowns and damage-increase abilities as possible with Execute.

6. Changelog↑top

  • 23 Jun. 2015: Added Tier 18 4-Piece Set Bonus rotations for both single and multiple target.
  • 22 Jun. 2015: Made several updates to the single target, multiple target, and opening rotations.
  • 22 Jan. 2015: Made several updates to the single target, multiple target, and opening rotations. Also added a small sub-section on Execute Icon Execute usage.
  • 12 Dec. 2014: Updated the single target and multiple target rotations.
  • 09 Dec. 2014: Added Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike to the multiple target rotation.
  • 01 Nov. 2014: Made various tweaks to the rotations.
  • 24 Oct. 2014: Improved the Rage section, and also fixed a rather consequential typo.