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The Definitive Guide to Warrior Icons

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Current as of patch 5.4.7.





As a professional iconoclast, I frequently field questions from warriors young and old, such as: What the hell is the Whirlwind icon supposed to be?


Icon confusion is an important issue; one which many of us have had to deal with since the days when we weren't allowed to take Deep Wounds because it ate up one of a boss's 8 debuff slots. In spite of this long history, few efforts have been made to evaluate and explicate each warrior ability icon, and compile this information in one place. This super serious guide will attempt to do just that.




Deciding on an organizational structure for such a monumental task is no light matter. Alphabetical? By level? Grouped by specialization? Grouped by "resemblance to a shield"?


However, if you are reading this guide, it is because you have questions. (Or it is because you are really bored.) Thus I have decided on grouping the extant castable (non-passive) warrior abilities by their adequacy in conveying useful information.



Category I: The Good

  • ability_warrior_battleshout.jpgBattle Shout - There are a number of shout abilities, and while it could be better, Battle Shout is more passable than most of them. It clearly depicts a dude with his mouth open, and something resembling sound waves coming out. And you rarely see guys with purple skin outside of battle.
  • ability_warrior_bladestorm.jpgBladestorm - I realize calling this "good" is a stretch, but it does show blades with some motion blur (close inspection suggests it is actually one blade moving faster than the artist could capture). Like many warrior icons, it's basically swords, but at least this skill actually has "blade" in its title.
  • ability_warrior_colossussmash.jpgColossus Smash - A shield being cracked in half. The "colossusness" isn't really addressed, but it gives a decent enough portrayal of what the ability does.
  • ability_warrior_rallyingcry.jpgCommanding Shout - Clearly a dude shouting, and his lambchops are commanding as hell.
  • ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds - You could consider this a passive, though you do actually see this icon on unit frames. Plus it's actually one of the better icons: there is clearly a deepass wound going on there.
  • warrior_disruptingshout.jpgDisrupting Shout - The creepiness of this icon is so disruptive that Blizzard actually had to nerf the skill.
  • ability_warrior_dragonroar.jpgDragon Roar - Dragon, check.
  • ability_warrior_victoryrush.jpgIntervene - This is a great icon! A brave silhouette rushes forth with his shield. It's too bad he can't rush more than 25 yards.
  • inv_gauntlets_04.jpgPummel - Don't get me wrong, I'd fully endorse a new version of this icon. But even from afar you can tell it's some sort of fist, which is a good thing to pummel someone with. Closer inspection reveals that this pummeling would be painful.
  • ability_toughness.jpgRallying Cry - Yeah, this is mostly here because it's in my forum avatar (in fact, it would be a better icon for warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar than its current one). It doesn't really show rallying or crying, but the beefiness granted by the ability is clear enough. The guy has a huge forehead.
  • ability_defend.jpgShield Block - Ah yes, one of the many shield-based icons. One of them had to be definitive, right? This shows a shield blocking some arrows, so it got my vote.
  • ability_warrior_shieldwall.jpgShield Wall - Could also use a redo, and could be confused for paladin-esque shield tossing. But if you kinda squint it looks like a shield forming into a wall.
  • ability_warrior_shockwave.jpgShockwave - The warrior icon art supervisor paid his underlings by the amount of swords they could churn out, so ignore that part. But you can see shocky waves, so yeah!
  • warrior_skullbanner.jpgSkull Banner - Banner? Check. Skull? Check.
  • warrior_talent_icon_stormbolt.jpgStorm Bolt - I debated whether to include this one here. It does have a stormish ambience, and it's pretty well-drawn, so I went with it.
  • ability_rogue_slicedice.jpgSweeping Strikes - Here, we see a strike that is clearly sweeping. Physicists have yet to accurately model the "Zig Zag Sweep" though.
  • spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap - As with ability_warrior_shockwave.jpgShockwave, we must forgive the gratuitous weapon, and focus on the background.
Addendum: "Almost Good"
  • ability_warrior_charge.jpgCharge - To the casual observer, this icon appears to suck. However, it is much like the arrow in the FedEx logo. A bit subtle and somewhat cute. Almost good.
  • ability_warrior_shatteringthrow.jpgShattering Throw - I see where they were going with this. Only problem is the depiction didn't scale well to icon size. When you see it enlarged, there's clearly some shattering taking place.
  • ability_warrior_shieldreflection.jpgSpell Reflection - Here we have a shield reflecting (well, deflecting) something. Unfortunately, the bolt depicted appears to be from the ill-fated Loogie damage school.

Category II: The Bad

  • warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar - This icon would be fine if your idea of colossal power is "a dwarf." It's a pretty good picture of a dwarf.
  • ability_warrior_offensivestance.jpgBattle Stance - There is nothing particularly battley or stancey about this icon, beyond its inclusion of melee weapons (essentially a requirement of warrior icon design, so doesn't count).
  • spell_nature_ancestralguardian.jpgBerserker Rage - This is an orange Tauren. We all rage sometimes, but the Tauren are just as likely to wield a "peace pipe" as they are a sword. Orange is a good color for rage, though, so it's not the worst.
  • ability_warrior_bloodbath.jpgBloodbath - There's definitely some blood here, but a panel of consultants has determined that said blood does not constitute an entire bloodbath.
  • ability_warrior_cleave.jpgCleave - Is that really the best you could do?
  • ability_warrior_defensivestance.jpgDefensive Stance - Yet another shield. May as well be the icon for inv_shield_07.jpgShield Barrier or anything else. However, if you're of the opinion that the stance as a whole is best encapsulated by a plain shield, then I'd say put it in the "Good" category.
  • demoralizing_banner.jpgDemoralizing Banner - I've shown this banner to lots of people, but morale never varied more than placebo.
  • ability_warrior_warcry.jpgDemoralizing Shout - This could just as easily be an icon for an ability called "Morale-Boosting Shout" if you are a Horde warrior. Thus... it kinda falls flat.
  • ability_warrior_challange.jpgDie by the Sword - Well, they got the last part right, at least.
  • ability_warrior_focusedrage.jpgEnraged Regeneration - As noted previously, they were on the right track with using a reddish-orange color. I examined this icon closely for subtlety, but no, it really is just an eye and some generic particles.
  • inv_sword_48.jpgExecute - So much wasted potential here! I guess the ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds guy was busy.
  • ability_rogue_ambush.jpgHeroic Strike - Looks like just a plain Strike to me.
  • spell_impending_victory.jpgImpending Victory - I have a sword! That means my victory is assured! ...
  • spell_holy_ashestoashes.jpgLast Stand - I checked, this was actually the guy's penultimate stand. Fail.
  • ability_warrior_shieldbreak.jpgMass Spell Reflection - The bad news: this icon is horrible at depicting mass spells (or spells at all), as well as reflection. The good news: It'd be a better icon for ability_warrior_sunder.jpgSunder Armor than the one they went with.
  • mocking_banner.jpgMocking Banner - The only mockery here is the icon itself.
  • ability_warrior_savageblow.jpgMortal Strike - See ability_rogue_ambush.jpgHeroic Strike.
  • ability_meleedamage.jpgOverpower - Overpower? Underwhelm.
  • spell_shadow_deathscream.jpgPiercing Howl - Not sure why they decided the trophy on the mantle of the local Dwarven pub was a good choice for this.
  • warrior_wild_strike.jpgRaging Blow - Well, they were right about "blow."
  • ability_warrior_revenge.jpgRevenge - I guess this is showing a guy out for revenge against whomever did his nose job?
  • ability_warrior_safeguard.jpgSafeguard - I find your lack of creativity disturbing.
  • inv_shield_07.jpgShield Barrier - Sure would be nice if there were any sort of conceptual difference represented in the icons for SBlk and SBar.
  • inv_shield_05.jpgShield Slam - Come on, there's not even a slam happening! You had ONE job...
  • ability_warrior_decisivestrike.jpgSlam - I suppose the name of this skill is generic enough that you could argue that this most-generic-of-icons is Good. Some impact would've been nice though.
  • ability_bullrush.jpgStaggering Shout - Again with the random Taurens!
  • ability_warrior_vigilance.jpgVigilance - See ability_warrior_safeguard.jpgSafeguard et al.
  • spell_warrior_wildstrike.jpgWild Strike - See ability_rogue_ambush.jpgHeroic Strike.


Category III: The Ugly

  • ability_racial_avatar.jpgBerserker Stance - From a distance, this appears to be either the Eiffel Tower, or tentacle hentai. If you look close, you'll see it's actually a white dwarf glowing blue. I'd almost prefer the tentacles.
  • spell_nature_bloodlust.jpgBloodthirst - It was this artist's fault that almost every other warrior icon has a weapon or a shield in it. He drew some crazyass shaman totem or something, and nobody dared overrule him because he was the boss's nephew. So instead, sword rule.
  • inv_sword_11.jpgDevastate - Not just no devastation. Not just "yet another generic sword icon." This is a sword icon that doesn't even look much like a sword from a distance. Kinda looks like flying bacon. Mmm.
  • ability_warrior_disarm.jpgDisarm - This actually wouldn't be that bad if you could somehow use the full-size version all the time. When it's small, it looks like a sword with an elaborate guard on its hilt... or something. Turns out it's actually a hand dropping a sword.
  • ability_shockwave.jpgHamstring - I never knew what the hell this was until I started writing this guide. At icon size, you may as well abandon all hope. At full size, after much study you can make out it's an oddly-proportioned halberd. A halberd that isn't hamstringing anything.
  • ability_heroicleap.jpgHeroic Leap - Also wasn't sure what this was supposed to be. I thought maybe it was an odd winged creature flying. Nope, just a pair of legs with an odd motion blur.
  • inv_axe_66.jpgHeroic Throw - Debate still rages on in the scientific community as to what the hell this is supposed to be, or what it has to do with heroics or throwing.
  • ability_golemthunderclap.jpgIntimidating Shout From a distance, this looks like a stone fist pounding. "But that doesn't make sense," you say, so you take a close look. It's... a stone fist pounding.
  • ability_criticalstrike.jpgRecklessness I always thought this was a selfie Deathwing took, but it is the business-end of a really weird-looking sword slicing through... something. Who knows.
  • ability_warrior_sunder.jpgSunder Armor - Something is being sundered here. I'm dubious that it's armor. In any case, this is pretty low quality for Blizzard art.
  • spell_nature_reincarnation.jpgTaunt - I think this is another random Tauren. This artist was really anti-horde, I guess; he seems to find their very likeness enraging. It could also be Diablo.
  • ability_warrior_devastate.jpgVictory Rush - This is a common head-scratcher. It is a fist punching through a shield. Why this is the case is left as an exercise to the reader.
  • ability_whirlwind.jpgWhirlwind - It's fitting that this comes last. In order to make out what this is, it helps to first disregard the golden ring entirely. Once you do that, you can see there is a thin sword in counterclockwise motion coupled with a ridiculous blue motion blur. Now if you consider the golden ring again, you can speculate that it is the ridiculous gold motion blur of the path traced by the sword's pommel.


Thank you for wasting the time to read this. Please try not to bring down the server with a flood of sticky requests to the mods wink.png

Edited by nefigah
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  • ability_warrior_rallyingcry.jpgCommanding Shout - Clearly a dude shouting, and his lambchops are commanding as hell.





I would sticky this if I could. I expect you to keep this update for the patches/xpacs to come.


If you did the other classes, starting with warlock, I would approve. Assuming you know enough about the other classes to be considered an Iconoclast.

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Thanks for the good read. This answered all the questions about my warrior I had been asking myself since forever ^.~

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Lol, very glad you enjoyed it ^_^ It was fun to write, but formatting it took a while!

I may give another class a shot sometime! There are indeed other great mysteries to unravel. Conjure Refreshment Table? Evasion? Life Tap??

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This was fantastic. But what is seen cannot be unseen! Every time I look at RC now, I'm just going to think of that huge forehead. Looking closely though, I'm pretty sure it's Piccolo.



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Actually - I can't.  I lack the cleverness that you have.  I'm not going to try to imitate you because I'll embarrass myself.

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LOL, so it's because of this post that I no longer think that Cleave is meant to be an icon of a green parrot, which it looks like to my middle-aged eyes. It does sort of explain why I find Protection so tough to contemplate - all those identical shields are too much for me.


Excellent post. A+++++

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