PvE Arms Warrior DPS Rotations, Cooldowns & Abilities

wotlk pve arms warrior dps rotations, cooldowns & abilities

When it comes to the abilities and possible rotations of an Arms Warrior we have to take into consideration several different factors. First of all, your rotation will generally be the same throughout the expansion, with the only exception being the order and frequency of some of your abilities (depending on which glyphs you choose).

Secondly, just like the rest of the Warrior specializations, Arms Warriors will be subjected to a mechanic called “Stance Dance” in which you will have to change your “Stance” to fit a specific action. Your most used stance and the one in which you will find yourself the majority of the time is called Battle Stance, however, you will find yourself swapping to Defensive stance if you are required to aid an ally or Berserker Stance if you are required to fight several mobs at the same time.

Single Target Rotation

Overview of Abilities

Click a section to expand it

  • Charge is an ability that can be used as an initiation tool, providing 15 Rage and briefly stunning the target. This ability will not stun raid bosses, and it is often advised to not use this as your initiation tool, especially before the tank generates enough threat (as doing so can prove lethal. Due to the Juggernaut talent, we are able to use this ability not only as an offensive tool but also as a very accessible on-demand mobility tool!
  • Heroic Throw is an ability that allows you to throw your weapon at the enemy. This ability should be used on cooldown, however, when used at the beginning of the rotation you should take into consideration that it generates high threat.
  • Heroic Strike is our bread and butter ability from early levels on. This ability deals direct damage to the target and deals additional damage to a dazed target. The most important aspect of this ability is the fact that it is not affected by Global Cooldown. This means you can effectively macro it to any other instant cast physical damaging ability.
  • Overpower is an ability that comes with a gimmick — it deals massive amounts of damage but it requires your target to dodge one of your previous attacks. However, Arms Warriors can perform this attack without the special requirement thanks to the Taste for Blood talent!
  • Rend is a damage-over-time ability that acts as a bleeding effect. Keep in mind that it stacks with Deep Wounds. This ability should be kept up on your target at all times, especially because it allows you to trigger Taste for Blood.
  • Mortal Strike is another core ability in your arsenal that does massive damage to a target while also placing a 50% healing reduction debuff on your target. While the healing reduction may not have high applicability in PvE, the instant damage and low cooldown of this ability still make it one of the strongest physical damage dealing abilities in your kit.
  • Whirlwind is an area of effect ability damaging up to 4 enemies in an 8-yard radius. This ability allows you to hit 4 enemies with both of your weapons, making it a very strong offensive ability for AoE situations.
  • Cleave is an area of effect ability that can damage up to 2 enemies, with an additional enemy if you choose the Glyph of Cleaving. Just like Heroic Strike, this ability is not affected by Global Cooldown.
  • Execute is, as the name implies, an ability that can only be used once your target reaches 20% health. This ability will become one of your main rage spenders towards the end of the fight, as it can deal massive amounts of damage. Arms Warriors benefit from Sudden Death, allowing you to cast Execute based on a proc without being limited by the health threshold.
  • Slam is an ability that deals direct damage and has a cast time that requires you to sit still while channeling it. Slam is a generally weak ability for Arms Warriors, as it locks you in its casting animation without being able to use Heroic Strike at the same time. Slam is an ability that is closely tied in with your tier set item bonuses, being effective in the first phase of the expansion and losing effectiveness in the ending phases of the expansion.
  • Shattering Throw is an ability that can remove any invulnerability effect from a target while also reducing the target’s armor by 20% for 10 seconds. With a 1.5-second cast time, this ability can be used at the beginning of a fight to maximize your trinkets and offensive cooldowns or during mid-fight before your trinkets proc again.
  • Recklessness is an ability that allows you to deal 3 guaranteed critical strikes with your next abilities but also increases all the damage you receive by 20%. As an Arms Warrior, you will spend most of your time in Battle Stance, with the only exception being AoE situations in which you will swap to Berserker Stance. Recklessness is an ability that you can only use in Berserker Stance, thus you can think of it as an AoE physical enhancing ability.
  • Bladestorm
  • Sweeping Strikes
  • Shield Block is an ability that increases your chance to block and your block value by 100%. You should always use this ability in combination with a weapon swap macro.
  • Shield Wall is an ability that reduces all damage taken by 60% for 12 seconds. It is often a good idea to use Shield Wall in conjunction with Shield Block within a macro to maximize damage mitigation.
  • Enraged Regeneration is an ability that regenerates 30% of your maximum health but consumes an enrage effect to do so. You can use this in conjunction with Berserker Rage.
  • Berserker Rage is an ability that removes Fear, Sap, and Incapacitating effects and makes you entirely immune to them for 10 seconds. 
  • Intervene is an ability that offers two different effects: It soaks any incoming effect/damage from the target that is cast upon, or can be used as a last resort threat reduction for one of your allies that is in peril.
  • Bloodrage is an ability that generates 20 rage at the cost of health, after which it generates 10 additional rage over 10 seconds. This effect can be used in conjunction with Enraged Regeneration.
  • Disarm is an ability that can be used on adds to remove their weapons for 10 seconds.
  • Sunder Armor is a utility ability that can vastly reduce the armor of your opponents. This ability can stack up to 5 times, however, this ability is mainly used by tanks. In the lack of the presence of a protection warrior in the group, it falls to the Arms Warriors to stack Sunder Armor on the target. However, keep in mind that Sunder Armor can not stack with Expose Armor.
  • Demoralizing Shout is an ability that reduces the target’s attack power by a set amount. You should use this ability if there is no Druid Tank in your group for Demoralizing Roar, Warlock for Curse of Weakness, or Retribution Paladin with Vindication specced. If any of those effects are present, there is no reason for you to use Demoralizing Shout.
  • Battle Shout is an ability that increases attack power for all your nearby allies for 2 minutes. Use it as often as you can if there’s no paladin in your group.
  • Commanding Shout is an ability that briefly increases your maximum health. This effect only stacks with Blood Pact, so you should maintain it at all times as long as there is no Destruction Warlock in your group.
  • Intercept is an ability akin to Charge that allows you to stun a target for up to 3 seconds. This ability can be used to reposition yourself or to quickly stun a target that threatens one of your allies.
  • Intimidating Shout is an ability that causes up to 5 enemies to cower in fear for 8 seconds, effectively crowd controlling them.
  • Piercing Howl is one of your most important abilities due to its daze effect. It causes all enemies in 10 yards to be affected by daze for up to 6 seconds. This effect is extremely important for our rotation due to the increased damage on Heroic Strike.
  • Pummel is an ability that allows you to interrupt casters, it is extremely useful and should always be used to stop your enemies from channeling potentially malicious magic.


When it comes to the Single-Target rotation, Arms Warriors have multiple possible rotations. The first one is what we call “Standard Rotation”, and the rest are variations upon it.


Standard Rotation

Slam Rotation Variant

In-Depth Explanation

In this section of the guide, we will explain how each individual ability weaves into your rotation and why you will want to maintain a specific type of abilities sequence!

The first and foremost important thing that we will discuss is DoT upkeep. As an Arms Warrior, you have an affinity for afflicting deep wounds, further reinforced by our powerful DoT, Rend.

Rend must be maintained at all times! Not only does it inflicts high damage to your target, but it also allows you to proc Taste for Blood. With this proc, you are capable of bypassing the requirement of Overpower. If you have to choose between reapplying Rend and using any other of your abilities, Rend will have utmost priority at all times.

Secondly, there are two main “filler” abilities that you can use in your rotations. Heroic Strike is the first of those filler abilities, as it is not affected by GCD. You can effectively combine it with a macro in such a way that you will be able to use it along with your other instant cast abilities such as Mortal Strike. Similarly, always keep in mind that you can use Heroic Throw together with one of your other abilities such as Charge in a macro.

Slam is the second filler ability you can opt for, however, it is sub-optimal unless you spend talent points on it and have specific tier set bonuses. Thus, the slam rotation is a situational rotation that is heavily reliant on certain conditions.

Mortal Strike is one of your three hardest-hitting abilities in your kit, alongside Overpower and Execute. It can be dramatically improved by Glyph of Mortal Strike and Improved Mortal Strike, turning it into a core ability! You should always use this ability on cooldown, with the only exception being a proc of Overpower or Execute. In these situations you will want to use the proc first, followed by Mortal Strike.

By default, Overpower can only be used after your target dodges one of your attacks, however, Taste for Blood allows you to use Overpower without meeting this requirement! In a similar fashion, Execute usually requires the target be under 20% health, but the Sudden Death talent can remove this requirement! It is very important to be aware of the fact that you should always prioritize your procs in the following order Execute (Proc) >Overpower (Proc)

Shattering Throw is a special ability that allows you, once every 5 minutes, to inflict a 20% armor reduction debuff for 10 seconds on a raid boss. This ability should always be used before your trinket procs to maximize its potential! However, it will be hard to make the most out of this ability if you cast it the first time your trinkets will proc. Therefore, we generally recommend you use it the second time your trinkets proc, or at the beginning of fights that do not require you to reposition quickly.

Bladestorm is an ability that is supposed to signify your complete mastery over any type of weapon! This powerful cooldown, while it might seem better suited for AoE, can inflict massive damage and should always be used in conjunction with your powerful trinket procs! Make sure however that you manage to use your procs in combination with your trinket procs before unleashing Bladestorm.

Lastly, Execute is an extremely powerful ability that will be enhanced by both your talents and some of the tier set bonuses available in the expansion. You will always want to prioritize Sudden Death whenever it is available before any other effect that might become available! Besides the amazing proc at our disposal, Execute will become our true core ability once our target reaches 20%! However, even if we are spamming this ability in the last phases of a fight, we will not want to ignore the rest of our rotation and blindly press one button!


As far as Area-of-Effect goes, you have two main options: You can either remain in Battle Stance and use Sweeping Strikes and Bladestorm in short fights, or you can swap to Berserker Stance and use Whirlwind and Cleave alongside Sweeping Strikes.


Rotation 1:

Rotation 2:

Battle Stance -> Sweeping Strikes -> Bladestorm -> Rend -> Cleave (Spam) -> Sweeping Strikes -> Mortal Strike -> Cleave -> Repeat

Rotation 3:

In-Depth Explanation

Now that we have given you some variations of possible AoE rotations, we will go into detail about why we chose those specific orders for abilities.

First of all, we must emphasize the fact that your preferred stance for AoE fights depends extremely much on how much health the mobs that you are fighting have. The duration of the fight itself is based on how much health your foes have, therefore it dictates which stance will be more efficient. In short, always use Battle Stance for short fights and Berserker Stance for longer fights!

Sweeping Strikes is an amazing offensive cooldown that allows you to target an additional enemy with any offensive ability — this even applies to Bladestorm.

Keep in mind that even if you are in an AoE situation, it is worth placing Rend on either your main target or multiple enemies in order to proc Overpower as much as possible. You will generally want to keep such procs for Sweeping Strikes!

Berserker Stance is better suited for longer fights due to abilities such as Recklessness and Whirlwind, offering you access to more AoE abilities and a way to severely boost your performance.


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top