Arms Warrior DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Sep 04, 2018 at 10:30 by Archimtiros 56 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 Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. 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

This guide has been written by Archimtiros, the Warrior class theorycrafter, and one of the best DPS Warriors in the world, who raids in Infinity. You can follow him on Twitter and you can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Single-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
  • Crushing Assault
  • Three Ranks of Seismic Wave
  • Dreadnaught or Executioner's Precision

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 Execute Icon Execute with Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death proc.
  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 or Test of Might Icon Test of Might (see below).
  5. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower to buff Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  6. Cast Slam Icon Slam.

When using Test of Might Icon Test of Might, delay using Slam Icon Slam or Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind unless over 60 Rage in order to pool Rage for Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash. During Colossus Smash and the following Test of Might buff, use those abilities normally. Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm can also be used during the Test of Might buff instead of Colossus Smash in order to spend more rage.

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

1.1. Execute Usage

Execute Icon Execute deals very high damage, maintains Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds, and refunds 30% of the rage spent if the target does not die, allowing it to be cast more frequently than other abilites. 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 Overpower Icon Overpower.
  4. Cast Execute Icon Execute

Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike is not used unless two of the three listed conditions are met, otherwise it is less Rage efficient than Execute Icon Execute. Overpower continues to be used regardless, to take advantage of the zero Rage cost.

1.2. 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 until after Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, unless also delaying Bladestorm for any reason, such as an upcoming wave of multiple targets, or using Test of Might Icon Test of Might.

2. Multiple-Target Rotation for Arms Warrior

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.

2.1. 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 Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  6. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower.
  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.

2.2. 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 Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike during Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.
  6. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind during Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  7. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower.
  8. 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.

3. Mastering your Arms Warrior

3.1. Aligning Cooldowns

Because Avatar Icon Avatar lasts twice as long as Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, it can safely be used up to 10 seconds ahead of time and the cooldowns will still overlap.

3.1.1. Managing Deep Wounds

Primarily maintained by Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike, Execute Icon Execute, and Cleave Icon Cleave, keeping Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds on the target or targets is paramount to maximizing damage, making up roughly 15-20% of the specs damage on single-target, and up to 50% on multi-target. Because the debuff lasts 6 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.

3.1.2. 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.

4. Azerite Traits

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

  • When using Test of Might Icon Test of Might, delay using Slam Icon Slam or Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind unless over 60 Rage in order to pool Rage for Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash. During Colossus Smash and the following Test of Might buff, use those abilities normally. Overpower Icon Overpower should still be used normally, in order to not waste Tactician Icon Tactician procs, and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm can also be used during the Test of Might buff instead of Colossus Smash in single target encounters, or when multiple targets will survive the full duration (more than 15 seconds).
  • When using Seismic Wave Icon Seismic Wave the projectile will hit all enemies in a line, making it very effective on multi-target. If Overpower Icon Overpower hits a second target during Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes, a second wave will also be formed.

4.1. 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.

4.2. 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 or Execute Icon Execute every 6 seconds is paramount, in order 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.

4.3. 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.

4.4. 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 Fury's rotation. The talents Double Time Icon Double Time and Bounding Stride Icon Bounding Stride are particularly useful in any encounter which demands heavy movement.

4.5. 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.

4.6. Group Buffs

Arms also brings Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout, increasing all party and raid members Attack Power by 10%, which should be applied before combat begins.

5. Changelog

  • 04 Sep. 2018: Improved stipulations for Deadly Calm, Skullsplitter, and Test of Might.
  • 18 Aug. 2018: Clarified Sweeping Strikes use alongside Bladestorm.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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