Arms Warrior DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Arms Warrior in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. 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.
1. Talent Choices for Arms Warrior
|15||✓ War Machine||✗ Sudden Death||✓ Skullsplitter|
|30||✓ Double Time||✗ Impending Victory||✓ Storm Bolt|
|45||✓ Massacre||✓ Fervor of Battle||✗ Rend|
|60||? Second Wind||✓ Bounding Stride||✓ Defensive Stance|
|75||✓ Collateral Damage||✓ Warbreaker||? Cleave|
|90||✓ In For The Kill||✓ Avatar||✗ Deadly Calm|
|100||✓ 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 Tranquil Mind and 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.
- Level 15: Sudden Death/ War Machine
- Level 30: Double Time
- Level 45: Fervor of Battle
- Level 60: Second Wind/ Bounding Stride
- Level 75: Cleave
- Level 90: In For The Kill
- Level 100: Dreadnaught
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.
- Level 15: Skullsplitter
- Level 30: Double Time/ Storm Bolt
- Level 45: Fervor of Battle/ Massacre
- Level 60: Defensive Stance
- Level 75: Warbreaker
- Level 90: Avatar
- Level 100: Anger Management
2.3. Single Target Raid Encounters
This build is ideal for sustained single target, most commonly found in raid encounters.
- Level 15: Skullsplitter
- Level 30: Double Time
- Level 45: Massacre
- Level 60: Bounding Stride/ Defensive Stance
- Level 75: Warbreaker/ Collateral Damage
- Level 90: In For The Kill
- Level 100: Anger Management
3. 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, cost no Rage, but 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.
4. Tier 2 (Level 30) 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 20% 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 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 is situationally useful in dungeons and PvP content.
5. Tier 3 (Level 45) 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 deal 10% more damage and cast a free Slam on the target.
- Rend grants an additional active ability which costs 30 Rage to apply a 12 second bleed DoT on the target.
Massacre is currently the strongest single target talent.
Fervor of Battle effectively replaces Slam with Whirlwind, filling less global cooldowns 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.
6. Tier 4 (Level 60) 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.
7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Arms Warrior
|✔ Collateral Damage||✔ Warbreaker||? Cleave|
Tier 5 talents are situational multitarget enhancements.
- Collateral Damage causes any single target ability which hits a second target during Sweeping Strikes to refund 20% of its Rage cost.
- 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 for low damage and inflicts Deep Wounds if it hits three or more targets.
Collateral Damage is the obvious two target option, granting extra Rage to keep the rotation going. Note that it does not work with Whirlwind, since it is not a single target ability, or the free Slam cast by Fervor of Battle, because it does not cost Rage.
Cleave shines on 3+ targets by maintaining 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||✔ 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 makes all abilities cost 0 Rage for 10 seconds.
9. Tier 7 (Level 100) 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 increase the damage of Mortal Strike by 30% instead of 20%.
- Ravager replaces Bladestorm with a targetable, stationary AoE effect which deals high damage over 7 seconds and inflicts Deep Wounds on a 1 minute cooldown. It also generates 7 Rage per hit up to 49 Rage.
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 works, using any other ability which inflicts at the same time is wasteful, which severely limits the damage potential. Because Bladestorm can also be reduced to a 1 minute cooldown through 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Gladiator's Medallion functions similar to 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
- 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.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Reviewed and up to date for Patch 8.1.
- 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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