Arms Warrior PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.1)

Last updated Today at 12:04 by Mysticall 4 comments

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play 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.

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. Stat Priority for Arms Warriors in PvP

The stat priority for Arms Warriors in PvP is as follows:

  1. Strength;
  2. Haste;
  3. Versatility;
  4. Critical Strike;
  5. Mastery.

Strength is the best stat in all situations. Haste is the strongest secondary stat at all times due to it reducing the Global Cooldown on abilities and increasing your attack speed. Versatility increases your damage and reduces the damage you take.

3. Azerite Traits for Arms Warriors

Azerite traits are unlocked in you helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.

3.1. Outer Ring

Below are the best Outer Ring traits.

  1. Crushing Assault Icon Crushing Assault
  2. Lord of War Icon Lord of War
  3. Test of Might Icon Test of Might
  4. Archive of the Titans Icon Archive of the Titans

Arms Warriors do not depend on one single trait to increase their damage. Instead, they want a mix of the above traits. Test of Might Icon Test of Might and Archive of the Titans Icon Archive of the Titans both increase your primary stat, Strength. This is an increase to your overall damage. Crushing Assault Icon Crushing Assault and Lord of War Icon Lord of War increase the damage to some of your damaging abilities. Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash and Slam Icon Slam are crucial spells in your damage rotation.

3.2. Middle Ring

Below are the best Middle Ring traits.

  1. Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power
  2. Earthlink Icon Earthlink
  3. Gutripper Icon Gutripper
  4. Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl

The Middle and Inner rings are important for additional damage. Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl, Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power, and Earthlink Icon Earthlink give an increase to your stats. These are minor stat boosts, but still increase your damage. Gutripper Icon Gutripper will help increase both your single target and spread pressure.

3.3. Inner Ring

Below are the best Inner Ring traits.

  1. Resounding Protection Icon Resounding Protection
  2. Azerite Fortification Icon Azerite Fortification
  3. Longstrider Icon Longstrider
  4. Impassive Visage Icon Impassive Visage

All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.

4. Gear Recommendations

4.1. General Guidelines

In general, Arms Warriors want to get trinkets that line up well with Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm or Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade. These trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stats you want to be increasing are either Strength or Versatility. The reason you want to increase Versatility is because it increases both your damage and healing. Strength is great for increasing your consistent damage output.

To be successful in 3v3 arena, you need to have at least 2 pieces of gear with the Lord of War Icon Lord of War or Crushing Assault Icon Crushing Assault traits. You will also want either Earthlink Icon Earthlink or Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power in the second tier.

Below, we list the items that have these traits.

4.1.1. Helms

4.1.2. Shoulders

4.1.3. Chest

4.2. Recommended Items

Dread Gladiator's Insignia Icon Dread Gladiator's Insignia has a good amount of Versatility on it and has a passive effect. This effect increases your Strength. This increases your sustained and consistent damage.

Darkmoon Deck: Fathoms Icon Darkmoon Deck: Fathoms is not an item you get from PvP. Instead, you will have to look at the auction house or find an someone with the Inscription profession. This trinket also gives a passive effect. You cannot control the proc, but the damage this trinket can do is substantial. You will quickly notice a large increase to your overall damage.

Dread Gladiator's Badge Icon Dread Gladiator's Badge is strong for the versatility and the on-use Strength effect. This will drastically increase the damage you deal while it is active and should be used while Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade is active.

4.3. Weapon Enchant

Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation Icon Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation is the best weapon enchants. The Haste you gain from this enchant proc benefits you in multiple ways. Having a high amount of Haste drastically reduces your global cooldown. This will allow you to use more abilities while Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade or Avatar Icon Avatar is active.

5. Regular Talents for Arms Warriors

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

While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.

5.1. 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.

5.2. 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.

5.3. 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.

5.4. 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.

5.5. 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.

5.6. 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.

5.7. 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.

6. PvP Talents for Arms Warriors

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.

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 8 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. 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.

7. Racial Bonuses for Arms Warriors

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

7.1. Horde

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

7.2. Alliance

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

8. 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.

8.1. 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.

8.2. Offensive Rotation

8.2.1. 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.

8.2.2. 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.

8.2.3. 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.

8.3. 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.

9. 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.

9.1. 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

9.2. 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

10. 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.

10.1. 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.

10.2. 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.

10.3. 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.

11. 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.

12. Relics for Arms Warriors

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

13. Changelog

  • 12 Dec. 2018: Minor changes made for patch 8.1.
    • Updated PvP talents section.
  • 13 Nov. 2018: Added Gear Recommendations section.
  • 18 Oct. 2018: Updated PvP talents.
  • 08 Oct. 2018: Added stat priority section, Azerite traits section, and talent table.
  • 02 Oct. 2018: Removed PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
  • 27 Aug. 2018: Updated Air Drops section.
  • 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.
Show more
Show less
Force desktop version
Force mobile version