Arms Warrior DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Sep 04, 2018 at 10:30 by Archimtiros 58 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Arms Warriors in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

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. Talent Choices for Arms Warrior

Level Choices
15 War Machine War Machine Sudden Death Sudden Death Skullsplitter Skullsplitter
30 Double Time Double Time Impending Victory Impending Victory Storm Bolt Storm Bolt
45 Massacre Massacre Fervor of Battle Fervor of Battle Rend Rend
60 Second Wind ? Second Wind Bounding Stride Bounding Stride Defensive Stance Defensive Stance
75 Collateral Damage Collateral Damage Warbreaker Warbreaker Cleave ? Cleave
90 In For The Kill In For The Kill Avatar Avatar Deadly Calm Deadly Calm
100 Anger Management Anger Management Dreadnaught ? Dreadnaught Ravager 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 Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. 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.

2.1. 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.

2.2. 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 more suited for constant multitarget combat, although it does not have as much burst potential as stacking Avatar, Warbreaker, and Anger Managment with Bladestorm, thereby making it a situational decision.

2.3. Single Target Raid Encounters

This build is ideal for sustained single target, most commonly found in raid encounters.

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Arms Warrior

War Machine War Machine Sudden Death Sudden Death Skullsplitter Skullsplitter

Tier 1 talents improve Rage generation.

  • War Machine Icon 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 Icon Sudden Death causes your attacks to have a chance to allow Execute Icon Execute to be used on targets above 20% health, cost no Rage, but deal damage as if it spent 40.
  • Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter grants an additional activated abiility which deals moderate damage and generates 20 Rage on a 21 second hasted cooldown.

War Machine Icon 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 Icon Skullsplitter in sustained combat, making it more suitable for open world and dungeon content where you can quickly chain kills. Unlike Victory Rush Icon Victory Rush, it does not require getting the killing blow yourself, only damaging the target within two seconds of its death.

Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death adds proc-based gameplay and is a close second for the best single target talent. The procs do not trigger Tactician Icon Tactician, but they will generate Rage if the target survives.

Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter is the best talent for sustaining the rotation and filling global cooldowns. Although it can hit your second target with Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes, it will not generate extra Rage.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Arms Warrior

Double Time Double Time Impending Victory Impending Victory Storm Bolt Storm Bolt

Tier 2 talents provide additional control and mobility options.

  • Double Time Icon Double Time adds a second use of Charge Icon Charge, and reduces its cooldown from 20 to 17 seconds.
  • Impending Victory Icon Impending Victory replaces Victory Rush Icon Victory Rush with a new active ability which spends 10 rage to heal 20% of your maximum health, on a 30 second cooldown. Getting a killing blow will reset its cooldown.
  • Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt grants an active ability with a 20-yard range which deals trivial damage and stuns the target.

Double Time Icon Double Time is the go-to choice for both the extra mobility and Rage generation.

Impending Victory Icon Impending Victory is 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 worth taking the talent for alone.

Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt is situationally useful in dungeons and PvP content.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Arms Warrior

Massacre Massacre Fervor of Battle Fervor of Battle Rend Rend

Tier 3 talents customize the rotation.

  • Massacre Icon Massacre allows Execute Icon Execute to be used on targets below 35%, instead of 20%.
  • Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle causes Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind to deal 10% more damage and cast a free Slam Icon Slam on the target.
  • Rend Icon Rend grants an additional active ability which costs 30 Rage to apply a 12 second bleed DoT on the target.

Massacre Icon Massacre is currently the strongest single target talent.

Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle effectively replaces Slam Icon Slam with Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind, filling less global cooldowns but dealing more damage with each. The automatic Slam does not cost Rage or trigger Tactician Icon Tactician, but will hit your second target during Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.

Rend Icon Rend is a maintenance debuff which deals consistent damage over time. It can be applied to two targets simultaneously with Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes, and can be refreshed early to increase the duration of the new debuff by up to 30% of the original.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Arms Warrior

Second Wind ? Second Wind Bounding Stride Bounding Stride Defensive Stance Defensive Stance

Tier 4 talents provide additional defensive and mobility.

  • Second Wind Icon Second Wind causes you to restore 6% of your maximum health every second when you have not taken damage for 5 seconds.
  • Bounding Stride Icon Bounding Stride grants 70% movement speed for 3 seconds when you use Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap, and reduce its cooldown by 15 seconds.
  • Defensive Stance Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Arms Warrior

Collateral Damage Collateral Damage Warbreaker Warbreaker Cleave ? Cleave

Tier 5 talents are situational multitarget enhancements.

  • Collateral Damage Icon Collateral Damage causes any single target ability which hits a second target during Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes to refund 20% of its Rage cost.
  • Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker replaces Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash with an AoE version of the same ability and effect.
  • Cleave Icon Cleave grants an additional activated ability which strikes all targets in a frontal cone for low damage and inflicts Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds if it hits three or more targets.

Collateral Damage Icon Collateral Damage is the obvious two target option, granting extra Rage to keep the rotation going. Note that it does not work with Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind, since it is not a single target ability, or the free Slam Icon Slam cast by Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle, because it does not cost Rage.

Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker synergizes very well with Avatar Icon Avatar and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm for burst AoE, though it has no use on single target.

Cleave Icon Cleave shines on 3+ targets by maintaining Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds, which deals much more damage than the attack itself. Useful when dealing with constant multitarget and in open world content due to the low cooldown.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Arms Warrior

In For The Kill In For The Kill Avatar Avatar Deadly Calm Deadly Calm

Tier 6 talents improve and add additional cooldowns.

  • In For The Kill Icon In For The Kill causes Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash to grant 10% Haste for 8 seconds when cast.
  • Avatar Icon 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 Icon Deadly Calm is an active ability with a 60 second cooldown which makes all abilities cost 0 Rage for 10 seconds.

In For The Kill Icon In For The Kill increases the number of global cooldowns, autoattack swings, and Rage generated during Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash. Very strong in combination with Anger Management Icon Anger Management for higher uptime.

Avatar Icon Avatar offers increased burst potential, particularly in combination with Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm.

Deadly Calm Icon Deadly Calm creates burst windows, particularly powerful during the Execute Icon Execute phase, which not only spend no Rage, but allows you to save up Rage to spend after the effect ends.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Arms Warrior

Anger Management Anger Management Dreadnaught ? Dreadnaught Ravager Ravager

Tier 7 talents improve cooldowns.

Anger Management Icon Anger Management is the best choice for sustained combat, reducing the cooldown of Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash to 25-30 seconds and Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm to 60-70 seconds, depending on Rage generation and Haste.

Dreadnaught Icon Dreadnaught allows for the smoother use of Overpower Icon Overpower, with the second charge reducing the likelihood of wasting Tactician Icon Tactician procs, and the increased damage further improving Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.

Ravager Icon Ravager is meant to allow stacking its AoE with your other global cooldowns, creating greater periods of burst damage. Unfortunately, because of the way Deep Wounds Icon Deep Wounds works, using any other ability which inflicts at the same time is wasteful, which severely limits the damage potential. Because Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm can also be reduced to a 1 minute cooldown through Anger Management Icon Anger Management, this talent does not currently have a very strong use case and is better skipped.

10. 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.

10.1. Arms Warrior War Mode Talents

In this section, we will rank the PvP talents that are best for leveling and other open world content.

10.1.1. General PvP Talents

  1. Adaptation Icon Adaptation is the generally recommended option, because it removes the longer and more dangerous crowd control effects outright, while ignoring shorter ones. It is particularly useful against Rogues and other classes which frequently disable players with stuns.
  2. Relentless Icon Relentless is another passive choice which reduces the duration of crowd controlling effects rather than removing them. It is useful if you are being constantly slowed or harassed, although you will still suffer the effects to some degree.
  3. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion functions similar to Adaptation Icon Adaptation, but with more personal control as an on-use ability. Experienced PvP players will most likely prioritize this option instead.

10.1.2. Arms Warrior PvP Talents

  1. Shadow of the Colossus Icon Shadow of the Colossus jumpstarts the rotation by ensuring Overpower Icon Overpower is always available and you have enough Rage to follow it up with other attacks.
  2. Storm of Destruction Icon Storm of Destruction allows Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm to be used more frequently, boosting single and multitarget damage considerably.
  3. Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade adds a separate off global cooldown buff which synergizes well with Overpower Icon Overpower to increase the damage of Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike considerably.

Death Sentence Icon Death Sentence and War Banner Icon War Banner offer increased mobility, which can be useful, but too situational to be practical in a PvE setting.

Master and Commander Icon Master and Commander, Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection, Disarm Icon Disarm, and Duel Icon Duel can be situationally strong defensive options, but are not typically necessary or useful in PvE content.

11. Changelog

  • 04 Sep. 2018: Updated for Uldir and Mythic+ release; removed legendary reference.
  • 18 Aug. 2018: Changed dungeon talent recommendation.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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