Arms Warrior in Shadowlands
Arms Warrior specializes in wielding a single two-handed weapon with maximum efficiency. Its gameplay is smooth and unhurried. In this guide you’ll learn how to utilize 100% of your Arms Warrior’s potential: which skills to use, what talent build you should get for different types of content, which covenant to go for, what equipment to get, and other stuff.
Arms Warrior, just like any other warrior spec, uses one main resource – rage. Rage is generated with successful auto attacks and using certain rage-generating abilities. Accordingly, there are abilities that spend it.
- Easy to switch targets
- Powerful cleave against 2 targets
- Defensive abilities for party and raid groups
- Weak single-target damage
- Weak cleave against 3+ targets
- Slow gameplay
Laevate1nn – raider from the Exorsus guild since 2018. Twitch – https://www.twitch.tv/laevate1nn
AoE (Area of Effect) is the area where the effect is actuated regardless of whether it’s damage or healing. This command is usually used to act in a team/raid on several targets. It is also used to describe any ability of a Boss with the aforementioned effect.
Buff stands for any positive effect. Always reflected on the left of the mini-map, by its upper edge.
Burst is an ability allowing multiple ways to deal massive damage within a short period of time.
GCD (Global Cooldown) is the overall shared ability recovery time.
Debuff stands for negative effects. By default, it’s reflected on the left of the mini-map by its lower edge.
DoT stands for Damage over Time.
DPS (Damage per Second) is a measure that reflects the damage done within one second.
Cleave is an ability to damage secondary targets by damaging the main one with no (or minor) loss in the damage done to the main target.
Cooldown (often CD) primarily refers to the ability recovery time. Can be often applied to bursts and various protective abilities.
Melee and Range. Melee is the close-range combat zone, also used in the titles of all the classes and specs that do effective damage in this zone. Range usually refers to a zone that is not a close-range one and is used, respectfully, in the titles of all classes and specs that do effective damage remotely.
Trait is a name for the ‘talents’ on your gear.
Mortal Strike – consuming 30 rage, deals heavy Physical damage, and reduces the effectiveness of healing on the target by 25% for 10 sec. Cooldown – 6 seconds.
Colossus Smash – deals a good amount of Physical damage, and increases the damage you deal to the target by 30% for 10 sec. Cooldown – 45 seconds
Bladestorm – you spin for 6 seconds and deal heavy Physical damage to all enemies within 8 meters range. For the duration of the ability, you are immune to movement impairing and loss of control effects, and you can use defensive abilities and avoid attacks. Cooldown – 1,5 min.
Execute – costs 20 rage, allows you to deal massive Physical damage to enemies with less than 20% HP. Ability can spend an extra 20 to 40 rage, dealing substantially more damage in this case. If the enemy target did not die from this ability, you will recover 20% of the spent rage.
Whirlwind – AoE ability which deals a moderate amount of damage to all targets within 8 meters and consumes 30 rage.
Heroic Throw – yeets the weapon at the target within 8 to 30 meters from you, causing a small amount of Physical damage but significantly increasing the threat level. Cooldown – 6 seconds.
Shattering Throw – allows you to throw your weapon at the enemy within 30 meters, causing a moderate amount of damage, ignoring armor, and removing any magical immunities. Deals up to 500% increased damage to absorb shields.
Slam – costs 20 rage, deals a good amount of Physical damage.
Sweeping Strikes – for 15 sec your single-target damaging abilities hit 1 additional target within 8 yds for 75% of the base damage.
Overpower – strike that deals Physical damage, this ability cannot be dodged, blocked, or parried. Increases the damage of your next Mortal Strike or Cleave by 20%. Effect stacks up to 2.
Victory Rush – deals a moderate amount of Physical damage and restores 20% of your maximum HP. Can be used only within 20 sec after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor.
Die by the Sword – increases your parry rating by 100% for 8 seconds and reduces all damage you take by 30%. Cooldown – 3 minutes.
Rallying Cry – grants all party or raid members within 40 yards 15% temporary and maximum health for 10 sec. Cooldown – 3 minutes.
Berserker Rage – removes and grants immunity to Fear, Sap, and Incapacitate effects for 6 sec. Cooldown – 1 minute.
Spell Reflection – reduces magical damage you take by 20% and allows you to reflect the spell cast on you – effect lasts 5 sec or until a spell is reflected.
Ignore Pain – consumes 40 rage and absorbs 50% of the incoming damage. The amount of absorbed damage depends on the amount of spent rage. Cooldown – 12 seconds.
Heroic Leap – choose a point from 8 to 40 meters away, where you want to jump. Upon landing, deals a small amount of Physical damage to enemies in 8 meters radius. Cooldown – 45 seconds.
Charge – allows you to quickly reach the enemy within an 8-25 meters radius, inflicting a little amount of Physical damage and immobilizing the target for 1 second. Using this ability generates 20 rage. Cooldown – 20 seconds.
Intervene – charge towards the ally, intercepting all melee and ranged attacks against them for 6 sec while they remain within 10 yds.
Pummel – interrupts the target’s spellcasting and prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4 sec. Cooldown – 15 seconds.
Taunt – taunts the target and makes it attack you for 3 seconds. Cooldown – 8 seconds.
Piercing Howl – snares all enemies within 15 yards, reducing their movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds.
Intimidating Shout – using this on the targeted enemy makes it cower in fear, and up to 5 additional enemies within 8 yards of the target will be forced to flee in fear for 8 seconds. Cooldown – 1,5 minutes.
Hamstring – deals small Physical damage and reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
Challenging Shout – taunts all enemies in the 10 meters radius to attack you. Cooldown – 4 minutes.
Battle Shout – Increases the attack power of all raid and party members within 100 yards by 5% for 1 hour.
General information. Upon achieving certain levels you’ll get access to the new talent tiers. You can select one talent in each tear. Talents may have different effects on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify different passive effects, and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any resting zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby, you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch talents within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve currently picked in the Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until its recovery first.
Tier 1. Lvl 15.
- War Machine – Your auto attacks generate 10% more Rage. Killing an enemy instantly generates 10 Rage, and increases your movement speed by 30% for 8 sec. (You don’t have to land the final blow, it works if you deal any damage on the last second of the target’s life). Currently, it’s a weak talent choice, as 10 Rage is simply not enough, even if there are a lot of enemies around.
- Sudden Death – gives you a chance to use an Execute without rage costs and regardless of target’s health, dealing damage as if you spent 40 Rage. Pairs very well with the Condemn.
- Skullsplitter – Bash an enemy’s skull, dealing Physical damage and generating 20 Rage. Cooldown is 21 seconds (reduced with the haste). Best choice in the tier, both for single target and for M+ due to the fact that it deals a moderate amount of damage and generates rage while reducing the amount of downtime in rotation. That is given the absence of the Venthyr Covenant.
Tier 2. Lvl 25.
- Double Time – your Charge now has 2 charges, and its cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds.
- Impending Victory – replaces Victory Rush. Costs 10 Rage, inflicts a small amount of Physical damage, and heals you for 30% of your maximum HP. Ability resets immediately upon killing an enemy that yields experience or honor.
- Storm Bolt – throw your weapon at the enemy in 20 meters radius, dealing small damage and stunning them for 4 seconds. Cooldown – 30 seconds.
By default, you should pick Double Time for raids, as it increases your mobility, while the Storm Bolt is the way to go for M+, as it provides additional control.
Tier 3. Lvl 30.
- Massacre – Execute is now usable on targets below 35% health, and its cooldown is reduced by 1.5 sec. Best choice for M+ and for a single target DPS, if you are using the Venthyr Covenant ability Condemn. Being able to use the Execute much earlier than without the talent gives a great DPS boost.
- Fervor of Battle – Whirlwind deals 10% more damage and Slams your primary target. Potentially – an okay AoE talent, but gives too little of a damage boost to be useful.
- Rend – an additional ability that costs 30 rage and deals a moderate amount of Physical damage, additionally applying a strong physical DoT for 12 seconds. Increases critical damage you deal to the enemy by 10%.
Tier 4. Lvl 35.
- Second Wind – passively heals you for 6% health every 1 sec when you have not taken damage for 5 sec.
- Bounding Stride – reduces the cooldown on Heroic Leap by 15 sec, and Heroic Leap now also increases your run speed by 70% for 3 sec.
- Defensive Stance – allows you to enter a defensive combat stance that reduces all damage you take by 20%, and all damage you deal by 10%. Lasts until canceled. Cooldown – 6 seconds.
Bounding Stride is going to be your default choice in the tier, as it increases your mobility. Even though Defensive Stance gives a minus 10% to your DPS and wastes a global cooldown, there is still a general rule to remember – dead people don’t DPS, so it’s a good, but optional survival choice, depending on the encounter. Second Wind is practically not used, because there are not many encounters with sufficient windows without incoming damage, needed to activate this talent.
Tier 5. Lvl 40.
- Collateral Damage – the first Whirlwind used after Sweeping Strikes deals 25% increased damage for each ability used during Sweeping Strikes that damaged a second target.
- Warbreaker – replaces the Colossus Smash. You smash the ground and shatter the armor of all enemies within 8 yds, dealing Physical damage and increasing damage you deal to them by 30% for 10 seconds, essentially making our Colossus Smash an AoE ability.
- Cleave – replaces Sweeping Strikes. With the cost of 20 rage, this ability strikes up to 5 enemies in front of you, inflicting Deep Wounds on them. Cleave will consume your Overpower effect to deal increased damage. Cooldown – 6 seconds.
Run with the Cleave for constant 4+ targets. Warbreaker is the standard choice with the Venthyr Covenant.
Tier 6. Lvl 45.
- In For The Kill – Colossus Smash increases your Haste by 10% (or by 20% if the target is below 20% health). Lasts 8 seconds.
- Avatar – Transform into a colossus for 20 sec, causing you to deal 20% increased damage and removing all roots and snares, and giving you 20 rage. Cooldown – 1,5 minutes.
- Deadly Calm – reduces the Rage cost of your next 4 abilities by 100%. Passive effect: your maximum Rage is increased by 30.
Deadly Calm has good synergy with Anger Management and can be used in fights where the 30 seconds cooldown of the Colossus Smash is required. Avatar is a strong cooldown that can be used in fights where the burst is required every 1,5 minutes. In For The Kill is useful for the constant DPS.
Tier 7. Lvl 50.
- Anger Management – for every 20 rage spent, reduces the remaining cooldown on Colossus Smash and Bladestorm by 1 second.
- Dreadnaught – Overpower has 2 charges and causes a seismic wave, dealing damage to up to 5 enemies in a 10 meters line.
- Ravager – replaces Bladestorm. Allows to pick a location in a 40 meters radius and throw there a whirling weapon that will inflict heavy Physical damage and apply Deep Wounds to up to 8 enemies over 12 sec. Generates 7 Rage each time it deals damage. Cooldown: 45 seconds.
Anger Management is useful to make the Colossus Smash a 30 seconds cooldown. Dreadnaught improves the Cleave on 5+ targets. And Ravager is a good talent for rage generation and plays well with the Venthyr Covenant, combining it with In For The Kill or Avatar.
So, we can boil it all down to the following builds:
Single Target / 2 Targets Cleave with the Venthyr Covenant:
Sudden Death, Double Time, Massacre, Defensive Stance, Warbreaker, In For The Kill (or Avatar), Ravager of you picked In For The Kill, or Anger Management if you picked Avatar. The choice between In For The Kill and Avatar depends on the needs of the encounter. Avatar gives a huge bonus on the burst AoE, usually making it the best choice in PvE content.
Without Venthyr Covenant:
Skullsplitter, Double Time, Rend, Defensive Stance, Warbreaker, In For The Kill (or Avatar), Ravager of you picked In For The Kill, or Anger Management if you picked Avatar. Same, Avatar gives a better advantage to burst AoE.
- Condemn – replaces Execute for its improved version, allowing to use it on targets at 100%-80% HP, and making it shadow damage (ignores armor).
Combines well with the Massacre and it’s a good option both for M+ and raids with cleave boss encounters.
- Door of Shadows – blink with a cast time and with great potential for PvE scenarios (skip enemies in M+ dungeons and surpass boss mechanics).
- Spear of Bastion: Throw a Kyrian spear at the target, dealing Arcane damage instantly and additional damage over 4 sec. Deals reduced damage beyond 5 targets. Enemies hit are tethered to Spear of Bastion’s location for the duration.
A decent ability for AoE and for the raid single-target bosses, where the damage on the first 20% of HP is not that important. It also generates more rage over a global cooldown than any other ability.
- Summon Steward: Call your steward to bring you a Phial of Serenity that can be consumed to restore 20% health and remove all Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects. It may seem useless, but do not underestimate the additional healing potential. And the removal of various debuffs, especially bleeding, can be very useful in all of the game aspects.
- Ancient Aftershock: Unleash a wave of anima, dealing Nature damage to up to 5 enemies and knocking them down for 1.5 sec. The ground will continue to expel anima, dealing Nature damage to up to 5 enemies and generating 16 Rage per enemy over 12 sec. Every 3 sec, targets are briefly knocked down.
Quite similar to the Spear of Bastion, dealing a little more damage with a big cooldown. In terms of damage, if it’s constantly used when ready, the spear looks to have a better DPS, but in terms of rage generation, Spear always gives 25, while Ancient Aftershock gives 36 to 180 rage over 12 seconds, depending on the number of enemies.
- Soulshape: Turn into a Vulpin, teleporting 15 meters forward and increasing your movement speed by 50%. You may reactivate Soulshape every few seconds to teleport again. Lasts 12 sec, or indefinitely while in a rest area.
Additional sprint and blink for a class that is quite mobile as it is.
- Conqueror’s Banner: Plant the Conqueror’s Banner in the ground, granting 20% maximum health and 10% critical strike chance to you and 2 allies within 15 yds of the banner for 20 sec. While active, spending 30 Rage and killing enemies grants you Glory. It increases your critical strike damage by 1% per stack, up to 30%, for 30 sec.
Quite a good buff on a 3-minute cooldown, for you and for 2 other people nearby the Banner.
- Fleshcraft: Concentrating for 4 seconds, you form a shield of flesh and bone that absorbs damage equal to 20% of your maximum health for 2 min. Channeling near a corpse claims their essence to grow the shield, up to 50% of your maximum health. This is most effective against powerful enemies.
Incredibly strong absorb. Slightly better than the Kyrian Phial. Can be extremely useful for raid encounters with periodical phases of heavy incoming damage.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Among the conduits, we can highlight the following:
Especially strong with the Venthyr’s Condemn and Massacre.
In order of their utility, without taking Covenants into consideration: Ashen Juggernaut, Mortal Combo.
Empowers the raid defensive ability.
Additional healing works with the Impending Victory talent. Can be useful for additional survivability in any aspect of the game.
If there are no alternative options.
Nadjia the Mistblade soulbind has good paths for 3 or 2 potency conduits. There are 2 notable abilities:
Dauntless Duelist – You mark the first enemy you damage as your Adversary. You deal 4% more damage to them, and they deal 2% less damage to you. You may only have one Adversary at a time. (Path with 1 less Potency conduit).
Thrill Seeker – While in combat, you gain a stack of Thrill Seeker every 2 sec, or 4 stacks on killing an enemy. At 40 stacks Thrill Seeker is consumed to grant you Euphoria, increasing your Haste by 20% for 10 sec. Thrill Seeker decays rapidly while you are not in combat.
Theotar the Mad Duke soulbind has paths for 3 or 2 potency conduits. There are 2 notable abilities:
Soothing Shade – Your spells and abilities have a chance to call Tubbins and Gubbins to your side for 12 sec, parasol in hand. Standing in the shaded area grants you 350 Mastery. (Path with 1 less Potency conduit).
Wasteland Propriety – Activating your Condemn signals the start of tea time, granting 10% Versatility to you, and 4% Versatility to up to 4 nearby allies. Lasts 10 sec. Tea time can be activated no more often than once every minute.
General Draven – soulbind for survivability and, perhaps, for PvP, as there are no notable abilities for a damage dealer.
Pelagos – souldbind with good paths for 3 or 2 potency conduits. There are 2 notable abilities:
Let fo of the Past – Using a spell or ability increases your Versatility by 1% for 10 sec. Using another spell or ability increases this amount by 1% when it is not a repeat of the previous spell or ability, stacking to 5%.
Combat Meditation – Activating your Kyrian class ability increases your Mastery by 5% for 20 sec and occasionally expels Sorrowful Memories. Walking through Sorrowful Memories extends this effect by 3 sec.
Kleia does not have any significant abilities for DPS.
Forgelite Prime Mikanikos soulbind has paths for 3 and 2 potency conduits. There are 2 notable abilities:
Hammer of Genesis – Damaging a new enemy grants you 2% Haste for 10 sec, up to 5 stacks. (Path with 1 less Potency conduit).
Bron’s Call to Action – After using 90 damaging or healing spells and abilities, your next spell or ability summons Bron, who will knock back enemies and continue to attacking and heal your targets for 30 sec.
Plague Deviser Marileth does not have any significant abilities for the DPS role.
Emeni soulbind has paths for 3 and 2 potency conduits. There are 2 notable abilities:
Gnashing Chompers – Gain 1% Haste for 20 sec after defeating an enemy, up to 5%. (Path with 1 less Potency conduit).
Lead by Example – Conqueror’s Banner increases your primary stat by 5% and nearby allies’ primary stat by 2% for 10 sec. You gain 5% additional stats for each ally affected, up to 15%.
Bonesmith Heirmi soulbind has paths for 3 and 2 potency conduits. There is 1 notable ability:
Heirmir’s Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone – After landing 10 critical strikes, you gain a 12% increased chance to critical strike for 10 sec. May only occur once per 50 sec.
Niya soulbind has paths for 3 and 2 potency conduits. There are 3 notable abilities:
Niya’s Tools: Burrs – Your damaging attacks and spells have a chance to toss Niya’s Spiked Burrs under your target. The burrs latch onto the first enemy to cross them, reducing movement speed by 20% and inflicting Nature damage over 6 sec. (Path with 1 less Potency conduit).
Niya’s Tools: Poison – Your interrupts apply Niya’s Paralytic Poison to your target, dealing Nature damage over 30 sec. Targets with Niya’s Paralytic Poison take additional Nature damage if interrupted once more.
Grove Invigoration – Healing or dealing damage has a chance to grant you a stack of Redirected Anima, up to 10. Ancient Aftershock grants you 1% maximum health and 35 Mastery per stack for 30 sec.
Dreamweaver does not have any significant abilities for the DPS role.
Korayn soulbind has paths for 3 and 2 potency conduits. There are 2 notable abilities:
First Strike – Damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your chance to critical strike by 20% for 10 sec.
Wild Hunt Tactics – Your damage to targets above 75% health and healing to targets below 35% health is increased by 10%. When your spells and abilities are enhanced this way, you gain a 10% increased movement speed for 5 sec.
In total, there are 16 Legendary items available for Arms Warrior.
Here’s a selection of the best and overall good legendary effects:
- Exploiter – Execute causes the target to take 16% more damage from your next Mortal Strike, stacking up to 2 times. Best with the Venthyr covenant.
There are a few interesting legendary effects that are not class-specific:
- Echo of Eonar – Summon a spiritual familiar to your side. Your spells and abilities have a chance to send your familiar to a nearby ally, increasing their damage and healing by 10% for 15 sec. If no allies are present, your familiar will flock towards your nearest enemy, increasing your damage against them by 8% for 15 sec.
Interesting ability, especially if used by all raid members, or certain classes in the group.
- Sephuz’s Proclamation – Reduce the effectiveness of control effects by 10%. Successfully applying a loss of control effect to an enemy, interrupting an enemy, or dispelling any target will increase all your secondary stats for 15 sec. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 second
This holds a good potential for M+ dungeons and other encounters where it is possible to maintain good uptime of the buff.
If you have legendaries that are not included in this list, and you wish to find out which one is best for you, we recommend you to use Simcraft.
Skullsplitter when ready (if talented)
Avatar when ready (if talented)
Rend keep 100% uptime (if talented)
Ravager when ready (if talented)
Colossus Smash when ready
Execute when Sudden Death proc
Bladestorm when ready
Overpower when ready
Try to combine Colossus Smash with Bladestorm (Ravager) while on a low amount of Rage. Keep Mastery: Deep Wounds uptime on the target at 100%.
Use of DPS Cooldowns
Try to use cooldowns as often as possible. Colossus Smash should be used on cooldown. Potion of Spectral Strength should be used when all your cooldowns are aligned (Colossus Smash and Bloodlust/Heroism). Usable trinkets should be synchronized with your cooldowns.
Execute Phase (<20%)
Colossus Smash when ready
Instead of Mortal Strike use Execute, even if you have 2 stacks from Overpower, keep using Execute. (If using Exploiter, then use Mortal Strike on 2 stacks).
Standard priority, but use Sweeping Strikes on cooldown before using Colossus Smash or Cleave on 3+ targets.
For single target and AoE:
The basic priority rating for the characteristics is as follows:
Haste > Critical Strike > Mastery =~ Versatility > Strength
Haste reduces the cooldown of your main abilities, reduces global cooldown, and increases the speed of auto-attacks, which leads to better rage generation.
Mastery increases the amount of damage your opponent takes by % of the Mastery rating and deals Physical damage. When enemies receive damage from Mortal Strike, Cleave, Colossus Smash, or Bladestorm, they also receive the Deep Wounds effect. The damage from the effect itself is very weak, but it is the damage increase that is most important.
Versatility simply increases the damage you deal and reduces incoming damage.
Critical Strike increases the chance that abilities will deal double damage.
Stats are generally connected together quite tight, and their weights relative to each other may change a little bit.
That’s why it is recommended, once you receive new equipment, you use Simcraft or Raidbots.com. There is no way to get a more precise answer to which stat to focus on first but through a simulation.
Based on the aforementioned characteristics and results of your character’s simulation results, you can conclude Gems, Chants, and Raid Chemicals.
Sharpening Stones, Oils, and Armor Kits
Flasks and Potions
BiS Gear & Trinkets
- Charge on target and on mouseover
/cast [@mouseover, harm, nodead][harm,nodead] Charge
- Pummel with the modificators, if there is a target in focus, interrupts focus, if not, interrupts the main target:
/cast [@focus, exists, harm][@target, harm, nodead] Pummel
#showtooltip Heroic Leap
/cast [@cursor] Heroic Leap
Bartender4 – panel addon with great customization
Chatter – chat customization addon
Deja Character stats – even more info on your character
Sexy map – makes your minimap sexy!
Shadowed unit frames – ElvUI alternative, unit frames only
WeakAuras – possibly the most important in modern WoW. You can tune almost anything with it, and at wago.io you can find hundreds of useful auras and import them within a few clicks. You also can find a special aura pack for your spec, here’s a link on Arms auras.
BigWigs/Deadly Boss Mods – timing and warning addons for the raid and m+ bosses, pick one of them. It’s also very useful for PvE in general. If you want instance warnings for your BigWigs addon – get a LittleWigs addon.
ElvUI – a global “all-in-one” addon, makes your interface very neat. Replaces dozens of addons at once. You can also find a lot of profiles for it on wago.io.
Details! Damage Meter – the most modern and popular DPS meter atm.
Plater Nameplates – addon comes from Details author, it changes enemies nameplates. It is fully customizable with a lot of features and profile import from wago.io – what else do you want?
Pawn – helps you on improving your gear. Requires Simcraft string for usage.
SimulationCraft – Makes your character simulation easier by creating an in-game Simcraft string for import to Raidbots or SimCraft.
Exorsus Raid Tools – raiding addon with tons of useful features.
Move Anything – this addon resizes and moves any part of the user interface.
World Quest List – Organizes your world quests to the left of your map and sorts them by zones.
Here’s the list of abilities that you can reflect in Castle Nathria:
This guide ends here. We hope that we have answered all of your questions and the only thing left for you is to try all of this by yourself. Thank you for reading this! Wish you the best of luck in Azeroth, Champion!