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Arms Warrior PvP Guide Battle for Azeroth (BfA)

Last updated on Aug 04, 2018 at 10:32 by Mysticall 3 comments

Table of Contents


This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play an Arms Warrior in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Arms Warriors

Arms Warriors are one of the most feared classes in the game. What Warriors lack in crowd control, they make up for with damage. With short burst cooldowns and strong single target damage, Arms Warriors are best known for random bursts of heavy damage and being able to deal massive amounts of damage in a short time. A Warrior can easily swap from target to target and have the ability to start crushing them.

1.1. Strengths of Arms Warriors

  • Strong single target damage
  • Decent mobility
  • Strong consistent damage

1.2. Weaknesses of Arms Warriors

  • Easily crowd controlled
  • Predictable burst damage
  • Very few defensive cooldowns

2. Regular Talents for Arms Warriors

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, PvP talents (which we talk about later on in the guide) are inactive outside of a PvP environment, unless you have enabled War Mode.

2.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death is the best choice in this tier. Being able to use Execute Icon Execute for no Rage is a large increase to your sustained and burst damage.

2.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt is the best choice in this tier. This is a great way for you or your teammates to catch up to a ranged DPS that is running away. You can also use it on a healer to setup additional crowd control on them.

2.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Rend Icon Rend is the best choice in this tier. This DoT deals a significant amount of damage and is a large increase to your single-target pressure. It is important to maintain Rend Icon Rend on your kill target.

2.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance is the best choice in this tier. This is a great defensive talent and will increase survivability greatly.

2.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

If you are playing against a team with two melee on it, Collateral Damage Icon Collateral Damage is the best choice in this tier. This talent will give you additional Rage and will help increase your sustained damage against two targets.

If you are playing against a team that will be spread out, Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker is the best choice in this tier. Although this does replace Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, this is a large increase to your burst damage.

2.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

In For The Kill Icon In For The Kill is the best choice in this tier. Because Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash/Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker will be used often during a match, this talent is a large increase to your overall damage.

2.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Dreadnaught Icon Dreadnaught is the best choice in this tier. This gives Overpower Icon Overpower is very important role in your damage rotation. This talent increases your sustained and burst damage.

2.8. PvP Talents for Arms Warriors

PvP talents are typically only available in PvP content, but War Mode (explained below) allows you to also benefit from them in the open world.

As you will see below, the PvP talents are very flexible. Depending on what classes you are playing with and against, you can adjust your talents to better suit your team's goal. You must choose:

  • 1 trinket talent out of 3 possible choices;
  • 3 PvP talents out of a pool of about a dozen possible choices.

2.9. War Mode

War Mode is a new PvP system added in Battle for Azeroth. War Mode can be toggled on and off in any major city. When it is enabled, you are able to use your PvP talents in the open world, and because you will be fighting enemies of the other faction, you also get an experience bonus while leveling. Do note that this makes you vulnerable to being killed by players of the other faction.

2.9.1. Bonuses of War Mode

Enabling War Mode provides the following perks.

  • The ability to use all PvP talents in the outdoor world. You do not need to be in PvP combat to use them.
  • You can earn Conquest Points.
  • You gain +10% experience while leveling.
  • There are PvP achievements you can earn.
  • At maximum level, you get a +10% World Quest reward bonus.

2.9.2. War Mode Bounties

If you kill too many players in a single zone, there will be a bounty put on you. Everyone in that zone will know your exact location. You can see the location of players with a bounty by checking your map. Killing players with a bounty on them rewards Conquest Points and is part of an achievement called Bounty Hunting Icon Bounty Hunting. Bounty Hunting is part of a meta achievement called Conqueror of Azeroth Icon Conqueror of Azeroth / Conqueror of Azeorth Icon Conqueror of Azeroth that rewards the title Conqueror of Azeroth.

2.9.3. Air Drops

It is not yet totally clear how Air Drops will work, but we know the following about it from Blizzard.

From time to time, a flying machine will make its way across the sky. The rumble of its engine is a clear indicator that something is afoot. You'll want to keep an eagle eye on the sky and watch for a War Supply Crate to drop somewhere in the zone. Similar to the chest in Gurubashi Arena, players can fight over the crate and claim it for their faction. Once a faction has gained control of the crate, anyone of that faction who is within the area will have a short period to open it and collect a piece of personal loot.

2.10. Trinket Talent

The first PvP talent tier is will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless Icon Relentless, and Adaptation Icon Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is great for removing crowd control on you that your healer cannot dispel.

If you are an Orc and playing against a team/class with multiple stuns, Subtlety Rogue, for example, you should play Relentless Icon Relentless. This will allow you to leave stuns much quicker.

2.11. PvP Talents

You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents depending on your team's goal.

Death Sentence Icon Death Sentence gives Execute Icon Execute a 15-yard range, causing you to charge to targets when used. This is a great talent that will make it much easier to kill an enemy who is kiting you. Arms Warriors lack mobility, so this talent is crucial to take.

Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade makes your next Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike deal 30% increased damage and reduce healing taken by 50% for 4 seconds. This is a strong talent to use when you see the enemy healer casting a large cooldown. The healing reduction from this talent is important to securing kills.

Disarm Icon Disarm disarms the enemy's weapons and shield for 4 seconds. This is great versus a team that has a melee on it that will focus you. You can use Disarm Icon Disarm during their burst and negate all of the damage.

Duel Icon Duel allows you to challenge a target to a duel. During the challenge, all damage you and the target deal to all targets other than each other is reduced by 50%. This is a talent you should pick if you think the enemy team will not be focusing you. You can use this when an enemy uses their burst damage on your teammates. You can replace Disarm Icon Disarm with this talent.

War Banner Icon War Banner increases movement speed by 30% and reduces the duration of all crowd control effects by 50% to all allies within 30 yards of the banner. This is perfect versus teams with a lot of crowd control, like RMP (Rogue/Mage/ Priest) or Jungle (Feral Druid/Hunter/Priest). In this case, replace Disarm Icon Disarm with this talent.

2.12. PvP Gear

Gear is what determines how strong a player is in PvP. The better gear you have, the stronger your abilities are. There are several ways to receive gear from PvP. One important way to get gear is by completing the weekly conquest point cap. You will receive gear at the end of the week based on your rating. For example, if you played and won at Rival in 3v3, you will receive a reward with an item level based on your ranking at the end of the week. It is important to note that if you are rated at a Rival level in 3v3, but only do 2v2 that week, you will not receive a piece of gear unless you won a game in the 3v3 bracket. The following are the names and ratings of all of the brackets:

  • Combatant: 1400-1599;
  • Challenger: 1600-1799;
  • Rival: 1800-2099;
  • Duelist: 2100-2399;
  • Gladiator: 2400+.

2.12.1. Conquest Points

Every week there will be an empty bar in your PvP queue tab. If you earn enough Conquest Points to fill it, you will receive a piece of gear. When you complete a set, you can receive higher tiers of gear. Conquest points can be earned by doing the following:

  • Rated Arenas;
  • Rated Battlegrounds;
  • Normal Battlegrounds;
  • Epic Battlegrounds;
  • World PvP.

2.12.2. Obtaining Gear

You will obtain gear by earning Conquest Points. The following are the three ways to receive loot in PvP.

  • At the end of an Arena match there is a chance to receive a piece of gear. This gear is based on your Arena Rating.
  • After you win a Rated Battleground or win your first Battleground of the day you will get a piece of gear and earn Conquest Points.
  • Once you earned enough Conquest Points for the week, you will unlock a new weekly reward. This gear is based on your rating.

It is important to note that the gear you get from capping your conquest points is predetermined in a specific order. There are mechanics for players to get gear quicker if they have no played a character for awhile.

3. Racial Bonuses for Arms Warriors

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

3.1. Horde

Orc is the best race for Arms Warriors, thanks to the passive Orcs have(Hardiness Icon Hardiness), reducing all stuns greatly improves survivability.

3.2. Alliance

The Human bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to escape stuns.

4. Playstyle for Arms Warriors

The Arms Warrior has one role when in an arena: do damage. Arms Warriors lack crowd control and the ability to peel for teammates. Players should focus on maximizing their damage as much as they can. Warriors lack mobility, that is why when you get to the enemy you should deal as much damage as you can to them. Warriors have the ability to singlehandedly force cooldowns (trinkets and defensive spells) from enemy players. They have great sustained damage and very short burst cooldowns.

4.1. Before Gates Open

Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Although Arms Warriors do lack crowd control, they still have Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout and Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt.

4.2. Offensive Rotation

4.2.1. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns.

If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. In the opener, Arms Warriors should focus on sticking to an enemy and dealing large amounts of damage to the target.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.

  1. Use Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death and Tactician Icon Tactician as soon as you can. The faster you use them, the faster you can get another.
  2. Use Charge Icon Charge to close the gap between you and the target.
  3. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash or Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker.
  4. Use Rend Icon Rend.
  5. Use Overpower Icon Overpower to increase the damage of your next Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike
  6. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  7. Get crowd control on the enemy healer (you can use Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout or Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt or have a teammate do this).
  8. Use your burst rotation.

4.2.2. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

  1. Use Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death and Tactician Icon Tactician as soon as you can. The faster you use them, the faster you can get another.
  2. Use Charge Icon Charge to close the gap between you and the enemy.
  3. If the enemy team is stacked, use Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes.
  4. Use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash or Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker.
  5. Use Overpower Icon Overpower. Use it even if you do not have a Tactician Icon Tactician proc.
  6. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  7. Use Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm.
  8. Use Overpower Icon Overpower.
  9. Use Slam Icon Slam as a filler.
  10. Use Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade as soon as the enemy healer leaves crowd control or uses healing cooldowns .
  11. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  12. Use Execute Icon Execute if your target is low on health.

4.2.3. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Use Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death and Tactician Icon Tactician as soon as you can. The faster you use them, the faster you can get another.
  2. Maintain Rend Icon Rend on your primary target.
    • If multiple enemies are in range and you have the Rage for it you can apply Rend Icon Rend to as many enemies as you can.
  3. Use Overpower Icon Overpower to increase the damage of your Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strikes.
  4. Use Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike.
  5. If you have multiple procs and want to do damage, use Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker to apply Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash.
  6. Use Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes if the enemy team is stacked.
  7. Use Slam Icon Slam as a filler in your rotation.
  8. Use Execute Icon Execute on targets that are low on health.

4.3. Defensive Techniques

Die by the Sword Icon Die by the Sword is your main defensive cooldown. This is a very powerful defensive against melee teams. Use this when you are being focused and your healer is having trouble healing you or is stuck in crowd control.

Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance is another great defensive that Warriors have. This gives Warriors a flat 20% damage reduction and is a great ability when being focused by an enemy team.

Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap will mostly be used to run down enemies. However, there will be times where having to survive is more important than getting a kill. If have not already used it, use Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap when you are being targeted and need to get to a pillar to avoid incoming damage.

Duel Icon Duel, if talented, is a great defensive ability. When you see an enemy use strong single-target burst cooldowns, you can use this and it will greatly reduce any damage they deal to players other than you.

Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout is one of the strongest Warrior cooldowns that is not damage. This ability should be usually used on a healer to try to get a kill on an enemy. The other use for this is to peel for yourself or your teammates. This is a strong AoE fear that can easily help your team stabilize when under pressure.

Victory Rush Icon Victory Rush is not used often in 3 vs 3 arena, but it can still be valuable. You can gain this ability after killing an enemy or an enemy pet. So if you need a heal, you can quickly try to kill a pet and hit an enemy for a heal.

5. Best Team Compositions for Arms Warriors

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the Arena with your team. Arms Warriors want to stay aggressive with their relentless damage. Although you lack mobility, you will easily chunk enemies down with your strong damaging abilities when you connect to them.

5.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena you will be focusing on single target damage. Arms Warriors excel in 2v2 Arena due to the damage reduction applied from Mortal Strike Icon Mortal Strike. This debuff reduces the amount of healing done to that target for 10 seconds. If the enemy healer is one that you can connect to (Restoration Shaman, Discipline Priest, Holy Paladin, or Holy Priest) you will want to focus them. If they are a mobile healer, but you still want to swap to them, you should be playing Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Arms Warrior + Discipline Priest
  • Arms Warrior + Restoration Druid
  • Arms Warrior + Mistweaver Monk
  • Arms Warrior + Holy Paladin

5.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. You will likely be focusing on maximizing your single target damage. When your team has damage, you will want to use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt on the enemy healer and use your burst rotation. Be careful when you are not in Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance. Teams can easily kill you in one stun if you are playing too aggressively.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • TSG (Arms Warrior + Frost Death Knight + Holy Paladin/Restoration Druid)
  • Arms Warrior + Havoc Demon Hunter + Holy Paladin/Restoration Druid
  • Turbo(Arms Warrior + Enhancement Shaman + Mistweaver Monk/Restoration Druid)
  • Arms Warrior + Destruction Warlock + Holy Paladin

6. Useful Macros for Arms Warriors

Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Arms Warriors can benefit from.

6.1. StormBolt 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip StormBolt
  • /cast [target=arena1] StormBolt

Using this macro will use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.

6.2. Disarm Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Disarm
  • /cast [target=focus] Disarm

Put an enemy on focus and this macro will use Disarm Icon Disarm on that player while you are still focused on your target.

6.3. Execute Macro

  • #showtooltip Execute
  • /cancelaura Bladestorm
  • /cast Execute

If you are ever using Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm and an enemy drops into Execute Icon Execute range this macro cancels the Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm and uses Execute Icon Execute.

7. Artifact Traits for Arms Warriors

With the arrival of Patch 8.0, Artifact weapons have had their power drained in order to combat the spreading corruption from the sword of Sargeras and are now nothing more than a stat stick. This means that all traits are gone, so artifact paths and trait priority list are no longer required.

8. Relics for Arms Warriors

Relics are now simply a boost to your Artifact weapon's item level.

9. ChangeLog

  • 04 Aug. 2018: Updated guide for patch 8.0.1.
    • Updated Introduction and spec overview.
    • Updated all talent sections.
    • Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
    • Updated Racial Bonuses section.
    • Updated Burst Healing and Sustained Healing sections.
    • Updated Macros section.
    • Removed Gear section.
    • Updated Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
  • 09 May 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 28 Mar. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
    • Updated recommended Tier 1 regular talent.
  • 24 Jan. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 16 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.2.
  • 09 Sep. 2017: Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
  • 21 Jun. 2017: Updated the guide for Patch 7.2.5.
    • Changed recommended talent for Tier 3 Regular Talents.
    • Changed recommended talent for Tier 5 Regular Talents.
    • Changed recommended talent for Tier 6 Regular Talents.
    • Added a talent option for Tier 5 Honor Talents.
    • Updated Offensive Rotation.
    • Updated Burst Rotation.
    • Updated Sustained Damage Rotation.
  • 24 Apr. 2017: Edited description for Tier 1 talent recommended choices.
  • 18 Mar. 2017: Arms Warrior PvP Guide was created.
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