Arms Warrior DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — The War Within Pre-Patch

Last updated Today at 00:30 by Archimtiros 59 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 — The War Within Pre-Patch.

If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Arms 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 and make sure that Battle Stance Icon Battle Stance is always toggled on!

Recommended Other Options
Avatar Icon Avatar Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker
Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar Champion's Spear Icon Champion's Spear
Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap
Ravager Icon Ravager Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm
Season 4 Tier Set

This rotation focuses on the period above 35% health before Execute takes over the rotation, as noted in the following section.

  1. Cast Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap to apply Rend or if less than 3 seconds remain on the debuff.
  2. Cast Rend Icon Rend to apply Rend or if less than 3 seconds remain on the debuff.
  3. Cast Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar on cooldown.
  4. Cast Avatar Icon Avatar simultaneously with Colossus Smash or Warbreaker.
  5. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  6. Cast Champion's Spear Icon Champion's Spear during Test of Might or Colossus Smash.
  7. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike on cooldown.
  8. Cast Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter while the Thunderous Roar DoT is active.
  9. Cast Execute Icon Execute to consume Sudden Death procs.
  10. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower on cooldown.
  11. Cast Slam Icon Slam to fill the rotation.

In simple terms, the Arms Warrior rotation revolves around keeping Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike on cooldown, while using various talented cooldowns, Overpower Icon Overpower, and Slam Icon Slam regularly to fill the rotation. While simple, the difficulty lies in keeping track of various cooldowns, not all of which always naturally align.

When using the legendary axe, note that Fyr'alath the Dream Render Icon Fyr'alath the Dream Render does not benefit from class buffs such as Avatar Icon Avatar or Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, so it is best not to use it during major cooldowns. Using it either immediately on the pull after Charge, or delayed until after the opening Avatar buff has worn off. In either case, the most important consideration is simply using the legendary whenever the three-second channel will not put you in danger of enemy mechanics.

2.1.

Execute Phase

Execute Icon Execute deals very high damage and refunds a portion of the Rage spent if the target does not die, helping maintain its higher Rage cost. Outside of sporadic procs, it will become the primary Rage spender once the target drops below 20% health, or 35% with Massacre Icon Massacre talented.

  1. Cast Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar during Test of Might or In for the Kill buff windows.
  2. Champion's Spear Icon Champion's Spear during Colossus Smash.
  3. Cast Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter while the Thunderous Roar DoT is active.
  4. Cast Avatar Icon Avatar simultaneously with Colossus Smash or Warbreaker.
  5. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  6. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike at 2 stacks of Executioner's Precision.
  7. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower when two charges are available, or with less than 60 Rage.
  8. Cast Execute Icon Execute.

While Execute appears to have a low priority, it becomes the main rotational spender, replacing Slam entirely. Due to our talents, Mortal Strike is still used regularly, automatically maintaining Deep Wounds and Rend while dealing strong damage through Executioner's Precision. In practice, this results in frequently alternating between Execute and Overpower, followed by powerfully buffed Mortal Strikes.

2.2.

Opening Rotation for Arms Warrior

The Arms opener is functionally identical to the standard rotation, using Charge Icon Charge to initiate combat to start with more Rage, applying Rend, and then opening with cooldowns and Colossus Smash, as outlined in the single target rotation above.

3.

Multiple-Target Rotation for Arms Warrior

There are two multi-target Arms rotations, a two-target setup similar to the single target rotation, and another using Cleave to focus on sustained damage against a high number of targets. Use the checkboxes below to make the appropriate customizations.
Talents Talents
Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm Ravager Icon Ravager
Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar Champion's Spear Icon Champion's Spear
Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter
Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle
Cleave Icon Cleave
3.1.

Two Targets

The two-target rotation is functionally identical to single target, with the addition of using Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes on cooldown to cleave attacks onto a secondary target. Because it also applies Colossus Smash to a second target, Warbreaker is not needed unless there are more targets.

3.2.

3+ Targets

The most common multi-target talent build is a hybridized setup, which trades some of the single target build execute abilities for additional multi-target attacks, such as Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker, Cleave Icon Cleave, and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm. Although these are the most powerful talents in multitarget situations, there is still a strong argument to be made for using more single target-oriented talents to maintain priority damage instead.

  1. Cast Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar on cooldown.
  2. Cast Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes
  3. Cast Avatar Icon Avatar aligned with Colossus Smash/Warbreaker.
  4. Cast Ravager Icon Ravager.
  5. Cast Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker.
  6. Cast Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, preferably during Sweeping Strikes.
  7. Cast Champion's Spear Icon Champion's Spear.
  8. Cast Cleave Icon Cleave.
  9. Cast Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter while the Thunderous Roar DoT is active.
  10. Cast Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm.
  11. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind during Merciless Bonegrinder.
  12. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower during Sweeping Strikes.
  13. Cast Execute Icon Execute to consume Sudden Death procs.
  14. Cast Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  15. Cast Overpower Icon Overpower.
  16. Cast Execute Icon Execute for priority damage.
  17. Cast Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind for more AoE damage.
  18. Cast Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap if nothing else is available.

Arms multi-target rotation is extremely dynamic, changing frequently based on the number of targets, what specific buffs are available, and whether Sweeping Strikes is active. In Season 4, Cleave also helps maintain the powerful tier set bonus in addition to Deep Wounds, almost completely passively thanks to hitting multiple targets.

4.

Mastering your Arms Warrior

4.1.

Aligning Cooldowns

Arms cooldowns align fairly naturally, thanks to Anger Management Icon Anger Management. Still, it is important to ensure that Colossus Smash and Deep Wounds are active on as many targets as possible before going into the cooldown cycle.

4.1.1.

Avatar

Avatar Icon Avatar is a potent cooldown in its own right but becomes extraordinarily more powerful in combination with the follow-on Tormented talents. These function similarly to Signet of Tormented Kings Icon Signet of Tormented Kings, but with a guaranteed effect rather than a random one, allowing you to choose what cooldown is triggered. Warlord's Torment Icon Warlord's Torment is extremely powerful in single and some multi-target situations, as it allows fairly high uptime on Recklessness, despite not normally having access to the ability. Blademaster's Torment Icon Blademaster's Torment is more tailored for extended multi-target, allowing an extra use of Bladestorm, alongside all of its talented benefits, though the talent is currently not in favor.

4.1.2.

Bladestorm and Ravager

Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm is Arms main multi-target cooldown, which should always be buffed by Colossus Smash and Avatar whenever possible. Dealing very high direct multitarget damage, it also triggers Unhinged Icon Unhinged, generating significant single target value over its duration, as well as the follow-on Merciless Bonegrinder Icon Merciless Bonegrinder buff.

Ravager Icon Ravager is a new alternative to Bladestorm, dealing damage passively and generating Rage in exchange for reduced direct damage. In practice, this is very valuable against single target enemies, serving as a vehicle for extra Mortal Strikes via Unhinged Icon Unhinged without impeding the normal rotation.

4.1.3.

Skullsplitter

Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter is an interesting ability that causes Rend and Deep Wounds to instantly tick out on the target, dealing several instances of damage in rapid succession. This high burst of damage can be extraordinarily powerful when combined with Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, Thunderous Words Icon Thunderous Words, and other bleed-enhancing talents, though it does result in refreshing Rend more often.

4.1.4.

Managing Deep Wounds

Maintained by Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike, Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, 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 a minimum of 12 seconds, this should happen naturally throughout the rotation, but when facing multiple targets, take care to keep the debuff on as many targets as possible for maximum benefit.

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 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.

The overall Rage economy has been significantly reduced in The War Within, but so too has the amount of Rage spent by most abilities, resulting in generating and spending in much smaller amounts. This makes it harder to rage starve, but also harder to dump Rage quickly, though that is not necessarily a bad thing, as it creates more room to use Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain without infringing on the normal rotation.

4.3.

Cycle Charging

A small optimization 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 be also be used to create enough room to Charge for bosses with large hitboxes, which is sometimes specifically referred to as Heroic Charge.

4.4.

Movement and Mobility

Warriors have several active tools through Charge Icon Charge and Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap that allow for instant movement across large distances. Finding ways to maximize 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.

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. Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance and Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain can be used for more mitigation when expecting more frequent spike damage, though be mindful that both come at a small cost of damage output. Finally, Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection is an extremely useful tool for mitigating or outright immuning many sources of magical 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 5%, which should be applied before combat begins. 5% Attack Power translates to roughly 5% damage for melee classes and Hunters. However, the actual impact is slightly reduced due to the prevalence of non-scaling sources of damage, such as trinkets and potions.

5.

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.

6.

WeakAuras for Arms Warriors

WeakAuras can tremendously affect your performance, helping you track important buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns. Since this is a broad topic, we dedicated a page to it.

7.

Changelog

  • 23 Jul. 2024: Updated for The War Within Pre-Patch
  • 07 May 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.7.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Updated for Season 4.
  • 19 Mar. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.6.
  • 15 Feb. 2024: Fixed broken spell link with the Champion's Spear formerly of Bastion.
  • 15 Jan. 2024: Updated for Patch 10.2.5.
  • 14 Jan. 2023: Added section emphasizing proper use of Fyr'alath.
  • 08 Nov. 2023: Correct error hiding low priority filler in Execute rotation.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for T31 builds and rotations in preparation for Season 3.
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7.
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1.5.
  • 01 May 2023: Updated for Patch 10.0.7 with better default checkboxes.
  • 27 Feb. 2023: Fixed misnaming of Bladestorm.
  • 02 Feb. 2023: Updated rotation tool.
  • 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Fix talent selector formatting.
  • 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
  • 18 Nov. 2022: Update Fervor of Battle use and description.
  • 09 Nov. 2022: Corrected Overpower's position in the rotation.
  • 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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