Arms Warrior DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.0.2
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Arms Warrior in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Warrior talents.
Talent Choices for Arms Warrior
|15||? War Machine||✓ Sudden Death||✓ Skullsplitter|
|25||✓ Double Time||✗ Impending Victory||✓ Storm Bolt|
|30||✓ Massacre||✓ Fervor of Battle||✓ Rend|
|35||✗ Second Wind||✓ Bounding Stride||✓ Defensive Stance|
|40||✗ Collateral Damage||? Warbreaker||✓ Cleave|
|45||✗ In For The Kill||✓ Avatar||✓ Deadly Calm|
|50||✗ Anger Management||✓ Dreadnaught||✗ Ravager|
Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Still Mind and Codex of the Still Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
Talent Cheat Sheet for Arms Warrior
While changing talents to match the situation is highly recommended, the following builds are set up to handle the most common encounter types, with secondary/optional choices detailed.
There are multiple talents that require a change to your rotation in order to use them optimally. You can find more information on how your rotation will look after selecting your talents on our rotation page below.
Open World, Levelling and Questing
This build smooths out and speeds up the intermittent combat common with open world content. There is a lot of room for customization for extra healing, mobility, burst, or simplification. Due to the nature of infrequent combat, it is one of the few places that Sudden Death, Deadly Calm, and Dreadnaught shine.
- Level 15: War Machine
- Level 25: Double Time
- Level 30: Fervor of Battle
- Level 35: Second Wind/ Bounding Stride
- Level 40: Cleave
- Level 45: Deadly Calm
- Level 50: Dreadnaught
Dungeons and Mythic Plus
Dungeons and Mythic Plus largely revolve around burst multitarget damage, and continually killing enemies as you move from pack to pack. Storm Bolt and Bounding Stride are optional, depending on your need for stuns, extra mobility, or survivability. Cleave is well suited to constant multitarget combat with the highest sustained damage potential.
- Level 15: Skullsplitter
- Level 25: Double Time/ Storm Bolt
- Level 30: Fervor of Battle/ Massacre
- Level 35: Defensive Stance
- Level 40: Cleave
- Level 45: Avatar
- Level 50: Dreadnaught
Mythic+ can potentially require a mix of certain AoE and Single-Target talents, depending on affixes and other variables. If you want advice that is specific to Mythic+, you should check out our page below.
Single Target Raid Encounters
This build is ideal for sustained single target, most commonly found in raid encounters. As boss fights often have varied mechanics, there are often situations in which alternative talents such as Cleave, Massacre, or even Second Wind may be worthwhile. Signet of Tormented Kings is the best legendary and heavily encourages using Avatar and Ravager for more frequent procs, though other options can be taken when not using that power.
- Level 15: Sudden Death
- Level 25: Double Time
- Level 30: Massacre
- Level 35: Defensive Stance/ Bounding Stride
- Level 40: Warbreaker
- Level 45: Avatar/ Deadly Calm
- Level 50: Ravager/ Dreadnaught
The builds suggested above do not reflect every individual encounter in the current raid tier. If you wish to have a boss-by-boss breakdown of talent choices, you should check out our dedicated page below.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Arms Warrior
|? War Machine||✔ Sudden Death||✔ Skullsplitter|
Tier 1 talents improve Rage generation.
- War Machine causes autoattacks to generate 10% more Rage with each swing. Additionally, movement speed is increased by 30% for 8 seconds and 10 Rage is generated every time an enemy target is killed.
- Sudden Death causes your attacks to have a chance to allow Execute to be used on targets above 20% health and cost no Rage, but still deal damage as if it spent 40.
- Skullsplitter grants an additional activated abiility which deals moderate damage and generates 20 Rage on a 21 second hasted cooldown.
War Machine value depends on the frequency of add deaths; in general, you need roughly one kill every 8 seconds to keep up with the Rage from Skullsplitter in sustained combat, making it more suitable for open world and dungeon content where you can quickly chain kills. Unlike Victory Rush, it does not require getting the killing blow yourself, only damaging the target within two seconds of its death.
Skullsplitter is the best talent for sustaining the rotation and filling global cooldowns, as it gives you Rage when you actually need it. Although it can hit your second target with Sweeping Strikes, it will not generate extra Rage.
Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✔ Double Time||✘ Impending Victory||✔ Storm Bolt|
Tier 2 talents provide additional control and mobility options.
- Double Time adds a second use of Charge, and reduces its cooldown from 20 to 17 seconds.
- Impending Victory replaces Victory Rush with a new active ability which spends 10 rage to heal 30% of your maximum health, on a 30 second cooldown. Getting a killing blow will reset its cooldown.
- Storm Bolt grants an active ability with a 20-yard range which deals trivial damage and stuns the target.
Double Time is the go-to choice for both the extra mobility and Rage generation.
Impending Victory is very useful in situations which require in-combat healing, given that Arms lacks self-healing outside of talents and killing blows. The damage is surprisingly efficient, though not enough to outweigh using Charge more frequently.
Storm Bolt is situationally useful in dungeons and PvP content.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✔ Massacre||✔ Fervor of Battle||✔ Rend|
Tier 3 talents customize the rotation.
- Massacre allows Execute to be used on targets below 35%, instead of 20%.
- Fervor of Battle causes Whirlwind to cast a free Slam against the primary target.
- Rend grants an additional active ability which costs 30 Rage to apply a 15 second bleed DoT on the target.
Fervor of Battle effectively replaces Slam with Whirlwind, filling less global cooldowns due to the higher Rage cost, but dealing more damage with each. The automatic Slam does not cost Rage or trigger Tactician, but will hit your second target during Sweeping Strikes.
Rend is a maintenance debuff which deals consistent damage over time. It can be applied to two targets simultaneously with Sweeping Strikes, and can be refreshed early to increase the duration of the new debuff by up to 30% of the original duration, allowing a 20 second long follow up Rend debuff. It is currently very strong in single target, if a bit cumbersome to maintain.
Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✘ Second Wind||✔ Bounding Stride||✔ Defensive Stance|
Tier 4 talents provide additional defensive and mobility.
- Second Wind causes you to restore 6% of your maximum health every second when you have not taken damage for 5 seconds.
- Bounding Stride grants 70% movement speed for 3 seconds when you use Heroic Leap, and reduce its cooldown by 15 seconds.
- Defensive Stance grants an additional active ability that reduces all damage taken by 20%, but also reducing all damage you deal by 10%. This has a 10-second cooldown to switch the stance on and off.
Second Wind is typically not used in group content due to the activation time, but a surprising number of environmental damage effects during boss encounters will not interrupt the heal. Great in open world content, allowing you to quickly heal between combats.
Bounding Stride is useful in general gameplay, but only practical in raid encounters which actually require you to leap more often than normal.
Defensive Stance provides on-demand damage mitigation, perfect for frequent or predictable damage spikes, although it does lock you into the stance for a few seconds, lowering damage output during that time.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✘ Collateral Damage||? Warbreaker||✔ Cleave|
Tier 5 talents are situational multitarget enhancements.
- Collateral Damage causes Whirlwind to deal 25% increased damage for each ability cleaved onto a second target during Sweeping Strikes.
- Warbreaker replaces Colossus Smash with an AoE version of the same ability and effect.
- Cleave grants an additional activated ability which strikes all targets in a frontal cone damage and inflicts Deep Wounds, while also benefitting from Overpower.
Collateral Damage is a quirky ability which is somewhat difficult to find a strong use case for, but mainly resides within the two-target niche. The follow up Whirlwind can be buffed considerably, and even strike multiple targets for additional damage, although you are more likely to use one of the other talents in situations with more than two targets.
Cleave has the highest sustained multitarget damage potential, while also maintaining Deep Wounds, making it the talent of choice when frequently facing multiple targets. Very strong in Mythic+, and great in open world content.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✘ In For The Kill||✔ Avatar||✔ Deadly Calm|
Tier 6 talents improve and add additional cooldowns.
- In For The Kill causes Colossus Smash to grant 10% Haste for 8 seconds when cast.
- Avatar is an active ability with a 90 second cooldown. It causes you to generate 20 Rage, deal 20% increased damage for 20 seconds, and activating Avatar removes all roots and snares.
- Deadly Calm is an active ability with a 60 second cooldown which passively increases maximum Rage by 30 and when activated makes the next four abilities with a Rage cost free.
Avatar offers increased burst potential, particularly in combination with Warbreaker and Bladestorm, but it really shines when using the legendary power Signet of Tormented Kings in order to trigger more frequent buffs.
Deadly Calm creates burst windows, and is particularly powerful when paired with Condemn from the Venthyr covenant. The increased Rage cap is interesting, but not incredibly impactful, as Arms rarely approaches maximum Rage anyway, but it adds an extra buffer nonetheless.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✘ Anger Management||✔ Dreadnaught||✘ Ravager|
Tier 7 talents improve cooldowns.
- Anger Management reduces the cooldown of Colossus Smash and Bladestorm by 1 second for every 20 Rage spent.
- Dreadnaught adds a second charge to Overpower and causes it to unleash a damaging wave in front of the Warrior.
- Ravager replaces Bladestorm with a targetable, stationary AoE effect which deals damage and inflicts Deep Wounds over 12 seconds and inflicts Deep Wounds on a 45 second cooldown. It also generates 7 Rage per hit up to 49 Rage.
Anger Management reduces the cooldown of Colossus Smash to 25-30 seconds and Bladestorm to 60-70 seconds, depending on Rage generation and Haste, making it great for lining up burst AoE, but no longer the best option for sustained damage.
Dreadnaught allows for the smoother use of Overpower, with the second charge reducing the likelihood of wasting Tactician procs, while the projected shockwave adds additional multitarget damage. It is currently very strong in all types of content, particularly when used with Sweeping Strikes to create two shockwaves.
Ravager is fairly weak for its intended purpose, but shines alongside the legendary power Signet of Tormented Kings, due to allowing more frequent uptime on the triggered buffs. Alongside the extra Rage generated from Ravager, the spec becomes much faster and has less periods of downtime.
PvP Talents (War Mode)
Enabling "War Mode" enables the following effects in open world content:
- Flagged for PvP, regardless of your server.
- PvP talents enabled in the open world.
- 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level.
- 10% more experience gained while leveling.
- Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.
These benefits are always active when doing open world activities, meaning it can be quite lucrative to keep the feature enabled while leveling and doing max level content for greater rewards. However, you will be flagged for PvP and sharded with other players who also have War Mode enabled, which adds a risk of being attacked or killed by the opposing faction, which can potentially slow you down and outweigh the benefits. Therefore, you should only use War Mode if you are comfortable engaging in World PvP.
PvP Talents (War Mode)
Since Battle for Azeroth, you have the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:
- PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world;
- 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level;
- 10% more experience gained while leveling;
- earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.
With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.
Arms Warrior PvP Talents
- Shadow of the Colossus jumpstarts the rotation by ensuring Overpower is always available and you have enough Rage to follow it up with other attacks.
- Storm of Destruction allows Bladestorm to be used more frequently, boosting single and multitarget damage considerably.
- Sharpen Blade adds a separate off global cooldown buff which synergizes well with Overpower to increase the damage of Mortal Strike considerably.
- 07 Dec. 2020: Updated talent descriptions to reflect the value of Signet of Tormented Kings.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated talent recommendations and descriptions for Shadowlands launch.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Adjusted recommended talent graphics.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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