Arms Warrior DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 23, 2020 at 16:01 by Archimtiros 2 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Arms Warrior in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Warrior rotation.

1.

Arms Warrior Rotation

Welcome to our Rotation page for Arms Warriors. On this page you will find everything you need to know about actually playing the spec in Raiding and Mythic+ scenarios.

1.1.

Easy Mode

If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.

1.2.

PvP

The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation Tips, please visit our PvP page below.

2.

Arms Warrior Single-Target Rotation

The Arms rotation is a conditional priority list, which can change depending on talent choice. Use the checkboxes below to make the appropriate customizations.

  • Skullsplitter
  • Fervor of Battle
  • Rend
  • Sudden Death
  • Warbreaker
  • Avatar
  • Deadly Calm
  • Ravager

Note that this rotation focuses on the period above 20% health, or 35% health with Massacre Icon Massacre talented; when your target reaches this threshold, Execute Icon Execute becomes available and the priority changes, as noted in the following section.

  1. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  2. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower to buff Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  3. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike to maintain Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds.
  4. Cast Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm during Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  5. Cast Slam Icon Slam.

Keeping Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike on cooldown for both damage and to maintain Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds is the most important part of the rotation outside of the Execute Icon Execute phase. There will always be three global cooldowns between each cast, making it nearly impossible to ever overcap Overpower Icon Overpower buff stacks.

2.1.

Execute Usage

Execute Icon Execute deals very high damage and refunds 30% of the rage spent if the target does not die, helping to maintain the high rage cost. It will become the main Rage spender once available.

  1. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  2. Cast Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm when under 30 Rage.
  3. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike as needed to maintain Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds.
  4. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower as a free filler.
  5. Cast Execute Icon Execute as often as possible to fill GCDs.

Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike is only used to maintain Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds, although since Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm also apply it, you will not have to use it on cooldown. Overpower continues to be used regardless, to take advantage of the zero Rage cost.

2.2.

Opening Rotation for Arms Warrior

Arms opener is functionally identical to the standard rotation, using Charge Icon Charge to initiate combat in order to start with more Rage, and proceeding with the standard priority detailed above.

When talenting Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter, delay its use in the opener due Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm generating plenty of Rage.

3.

Multiple-Target Rotation for Arms Warrior

The Arms rotation is a conditional priority list, which can change depending on talent choice. Use the checkboxes below to make the appropriate customizations.
  • Skullsplitter
  • Rend
  • Fervor of Battle
  • Warbreaker
  • Cleave
  • Avatar
  • Deadly Calm
  • Ravager

Whenever there are more than 2 targets, keep Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes on cooldown, using it to spread Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash and Rend Icon Rend debuffs onto a second target whenever possible. Prioritize Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm over Sweeping Strikes, and do not use Sweeping Strikes if you are about to use Bladestorm.

3.1.

2-3 Targets

  1. Cast Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes if you are not about to use Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm.
  2. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  3. Cast Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm during the Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash debuff.
  4. Cast Execute Icon Execute.
  5. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower.
  6. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  7. Cast Slam Icon Slam during Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.
  8. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind.

Unless solely focused on burst AoE with Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, Cleave Icon Cleave is the priority attack in order to maintain Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds on multiple targets.

3.2.

4+ Targets

  1. Cast Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes if you are not about to use Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm.
  2. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  3. Cast Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm during the Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash debuff.
  4. Cast Execute Icon Execute during Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.
  5. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind during Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  6. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower.
  7. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind.

For maximum burst AoE, stack Avatar Icon Avatar with Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker, and cast Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm on as many targets as possible. Do not use Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes if you are about to use Bladestorm.

4.

Mastering your Arms Warrior

4.1.

Aligning Cooldowns

Arms only has two baseline and one talented cooldowns, which take little effort to align, but the more imprortant part is ensuring that Avatar Icon Avatar ad Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm are used effectively when also making use of Signet of Tormented Kings Icon Signet of Tormented Kings, as the random proc can come out at inopportune times, such as proccing Bladestorm before getting in range of the enemy.

4.1.1.

Managing Deep Wounds

Maintained by Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike, Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, Ravager Icon Ravager, and Cleave Icon Cleave, keeping Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds on the target or targets is paramount to maximizing damage, as it can significantly increase the damage taken from your abilities. Because the debuff lasts 12 seconds, this should happen naturally over the course of the rotation, but when facing multiple targets, take care to keep the debuff on as many targets as possible for maximum benefit.

4.1.2.

When to use Skullsplitter

Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter is an on demand Rage generator, which should be used as close to on cooldown as possible, whenever Rage is below 60 to keep from capping. However, it should not be used without spending Rage before Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, or else autoattacks run a very high risk of wasted Rage.

5.

Legendary Items

Most legendary items are passive bonuses that do not need to be managed. However, a few can be optimized to improve performance slightly:

  • When using Signet of Tormented Kings Icon Signet of Tormented Kings, ensure your cooldowns Avatar Icon Avatar and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm are desynced enough to not waste potential procs.
  • When using Judgment of the Arbiter Icon Judgment of the Arbiter with a partner also wearing the effect, the AoE projectile will bounce between Judgment wearing players. This means proper positioning is key to ensure that the wave of damage actually hits the targets you are in combat with.
5.1.

Tier 1 Talents Rage Generation

On average, one target needs to die every 8 seconds for War Machine Icon War Machine to keep up with Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter in sustained combat. For this reason, it tends not to be practical in most raid encounters, and is better reserved for fast-paced dungeons and open world content.

5.2.

Rage Management

Arms generates Rage purely from auto-attack swings and Charge Icon Charge casts and nearly all abilities cost Rage to use. Ensuring you always have enough Rage to use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike on cooldown is paramount, both for damage and to keep Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds on the target. Choosing not to spend Rage on a filler ability, and letting a global cooldown go unfilled is better than letting the debuff drop off.

5.3.

Heroic Charge

A small optimisation can be made by moving out of range of the target and using Charge Icon Charge to generate extra Rage during your rotation. Care should be taken to do this between autoattack swings, when Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash is not active. Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap can also be used to create enough room to Charge.

5.4.

Movement and Mobility

Warriors have a number 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 the intelligent use of these is crucial, as downtime is extremely detrimental to the flow of the rotation. The talents Double Time Icon Double Time and Bounding Stride Icon Bounding Stride are particularly useful in any encounter which demands heavy movement.

5.5.

Defensive Abilities

Arms' primary survivability tool is Die by the Sword Icon Die by the Sword, which is exceptionally useful for immuning direct physical damage and can even be used to tank raid bosses for a short time. The talent Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance can be used for more mitigation when expecting more frequent spike damage.

Warriors also have access to Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry, one of the few defensive group cooldowns in the game. It is typically used to help the group survive key encounter mechanics rather than as a personal cooldown. Keep in mind that it is on the global cooldown, so be ready to use it when needed.

5.6.

Group Buffs

Arms also brings Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout, increasing all party and raid members Attack Power by 5%, which should be applied before combat begins.

6.

Mythic+ Rotation

For information about Mythic+ as an Arms Warrior and the rotation you need to use in this game mode, please refer to our Mythic+ page.

7.

WeakAuras for Arms Warriors

WeakAuras can have a tremendous effect on your performance, helping you track important buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns. Since this is a broad topic, we made a page dedicated to it.

8.

Changelog

  • 23 Nov. 2020: Removed Essence & Azerite information, updated the rest for Shadowlands launch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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