Arms Warrior PvP Talents and Builds (Shadowlands / 9.1)

Last updated Yesterday at 23:43 by Karanze 20 comments

Choosing the right PvP and PvE talents is a prerequisite to proper performance in PvP. This guide goes through the various talent choices available to you as an Arms Warrior and gives you the best combinations you can take.

This page is part of our Arms Warrior PvP Guide.


Changes to the build in Patch 9.1

Overall, the talent choices are the same as they were in Patch 9.0 and you need not make any changes.


Regular Talents for Arms Warriors

Level Choices
15 War Machine War Machine Sudden Death Sudden Death Skullsplitter Skullsplitter
25 Double Time Double Time Impending Victory Impending Victory Storm Bolt Storm Bolt
30 Massacre Massacre Fervor of Battle Fervor of Battle Rend ? Rend
35 Second Wind Second Wind Bounding Stride Bounding Stride Defensive Stance Defensive Stance
40 Collateral Damage Collateral Damage Warbreaker Warbreaker Cleave Cleave
45 In For The Kill In For The Kill Avatar Avatar Deadly Calm Deadly Calm
50 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.


Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death is the best choice in this tier, because of the raw power Execute Icon Execute and Condemn Icon Condemn have at the moment.

Skullsplitter Icon Skullsplitter and War Machine Icon War Machine both offer additional Rage, but do not compete with the burst potential of Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death.


Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents

Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt gives warrior a much-needed on-demand ranged stun, which is incredibly powerful both offensively and defensively. Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt is a big win condition for the Warrior's team offensively, and is ideal for stopping enemy attempts to kill you or your teammates. This talent is mandatory for competitive PvP.

Double Time Icon Double Time is a very niche talent, which should only be used vs casters that are very difficult to catch up to in 2v2. A good example is Marksmanship Hunter where it can be more beneficial to play with extra mobility, should you lack spells like Blessing of Freedom Icon Blessing of Freedom on your team.

Impending Victory Icon Impending Victory help to cover up Arms' lack of self healing, but cannot compare to the power of having an on-demand stun. When used well, Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt can prevent more damage than Impending Victory Icon Impending Victory can heal back, and also has its offensive value.


Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents

Massacre Icon Massacre amplifies your already-incredible finishing power by letting you Execute Icon Execute on a higher threshold. This is a very strong talent, especially since Execute Icon Execute can sometimes do more damage than 35% of a player's health.

Rend Icon Rend is another good choice in this tier. This DoT deals a decent amount of damage and amplifies your critical damage against affected targets. This bonus critical damage is additive and not multiplicative, meaning if you have 200% critical damage, it will add up to 210% critical damage. It is recommended to only consider playing Rend Icon Rend vs high-Armor targets in a pressure composition such as TSG.

Fervor of Battle Icon Fervor of Battle is not viable, as you generally do not want to spend too much Rage on fillers in PvP, and this talent encourages that.


Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents

Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance is what defines the Arms Warrior durability. An on-demand 20% permanent wall is incredibly powerful, and more than what any other spec can offer. Despite the 20% reduction to damage dealt it applies to you in PvP, this talent is still the best for its defensive applications. This talent is mandatory for competitive PvP.

Second Wind Icon Second Wind and Bounding Stride Icon Bounding Stride do not have enough benefit to compete with Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance


Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents

Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker is the best choice in this tier, replacing Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash to apply the same effect in an AoE around you. This is incredibly strong in conjunction with Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm, Spear of Bastion Icon Spear of Bastion and Ancient Aftershock Icon Ancient Aftershock for strong burst AoE.

Collateral Damage Icon Collateral Damage offers less burst AoE than Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker

Cleave Icon Cleave is not viable because of the heavily reduced damage of your Mastery: Deep Wounds Icon Mastery: Deep Wounds bleed this season, and your other AoE cooldowns apply the effects of your Mastery on their own.


Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents

Avatar Icon Avatar is the strongest because of the root and snare break, as well as the increased burst damage it provides. As the current meta favors burst and strong one shots, this talent has more value than the sustained DPS of In For The Kill Icon In For The Kill

Deadly Calm Icon Deadly Calm favors Condemn Icon Condemn the most, but is not a very consistent or powerful option.


Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents

Dreadnaught Icon Dreadnaught is a major increase to your damage output and filler rotation. This is in general your main talent on this row, and should be used nearly always.

Anger Management Icon Anger Management provides less consistent damage than Dreadnaught Icon Dreadnaught, and its only application is to be able to reduce Warbreaker Icon Warbreaker's cooldown below that of enemy Disarm Icon Disarm effects. Alternatively, you can combine this talent with Storm of Destruction Icon Storm of Destruction and Unhinged Icon Unhinged for high pressure Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm builds, but this does not beat out Dreadnaught Icon Dreadnaught competitively.

There is no reason to play Ravager Icon Ravager, it is easy to avoid and you give up the CC immunity of Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm.


PvP Talents for Arms Warriors

You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain matchups than others.


Mandatory PvP Talents

Sharpen Blade Icon Sharpen Blade is the only mandatory talent. This ability is essential for landing killing blows and is a great way to quickly drain Mana from the enemy healer.

Be sure to not use this ability when the enemy is at full health, but rather as a followup to a CC chain, or when you suspect the enemy healer is going to spend expensive heals such as Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend or Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light in a clutch

Death Sentence Icon Death Sentence is incredibly powerful for Venthyr Arms Warriors, but remains really strong for non-Venthyr. The ability received a massive buff coming into Shadowlands by allowing it to once again work with Massacre Icon Massacre and Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death. This ability allows you a great deal of mobility, and allows you to hold on to Charge Icon Charge and Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap in many cases.


Situational PvP Talents

Storm of Destruction Icon Storm of Destruction reduces the cooldown of your Bladestorm Icon Bladestorm to 1 minute, which is great to make it line up with Spear of Bastion Icon Spear of Bastion and makes the Legendary effect Unhinged Icon Unhinged even deadlier. Use this talent vs compositions where you do not need to play overly defensive or want the shorter cooldown for root breaks. Alternatively, you can switch out Death Sentence Icon Death Sentence for this talent against melee cleaves that have no means of running away from you, such as Warrior + Enhancement Shaman or Warrior + Retribution Paladin.

War Banner Icon War Banner is incredibly powerful vs teams with a lot of crowd control, like RMP (Rogue/Mage/Priest) or Jungle Cleave (Feral Druid/Hunter/Priest). Timed correctly, this ability alone can completely ruin the enemy team's setup and cooldowns.

Master and Commander Icon Master and Commander received nerfs in the last season, and is at present not worth considering in an arena environment as it offers less defensive power than the other PvP talents. This PvP talent really shines in the Rated Battleground bracket, and you should consider bringing it with you there. Master and Commander Icon Master and Commander also benefits from Inspiring Presence Icon Inspiring Presence.

Disarm Icon Disarm has a short cooldown and can completely ruin the damage of weapon-based classes like Frost Death Knight or Subtlety Rogue. This ability can even be used offensively vs specializations that require weapons for their defensives, such as stopping another Arms Warrior from using Die by the Sword Icon Die by the Sword or a Death Knight from using Death Strike Icon Death Strike

Duel Icon Duel is a powerful alternative vs enemies that cannot be CC'd with Disarm Icon Disarm. Good times to pick this talent are vs Retribution Paladins, Destruction Warlocks, and Feral Druids.

Demolition Icon Demolition was buffed in Patch 9.1 to do even further damage to shields. Big shields have made a return this season through Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft. This talent is recommended to pick up against Warlocks for their Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact and Mistweaver Monks for their Life Cocoon Icon Life Cocoon.



  • 13 Oct. 2021: Adjusted recommended talents.
  • 02 Jul. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 16 May 2021: Updated Mandatory PvP Talents.
  • 27 Dec. 2020: Rewritten by Karanze for Shadowlands Season 1
  • 29 Nov. 2020: Removed outdated Traits and Essences.
  • 26 Oct. 2020: Updated Talent Table.
  • 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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