4.3 Arms PvE Guide

1 2 3 28 Next
Disclaimer: We shall keep Edge is our memory as he was the first creator of the arms pve guide for cataclysm.

This guide is being updated for 4.3, as more information comes out there shall be constant changes made to it.

Level 85 Arms Warrior Raiding Guide

The last patch in the expansion has finally arrived, and so we can look back at the different stages arms had. In patch 4.0 and 4.1 we were shinning due to our aoe and the possibility to use charge frequently in many encounters. 4.2 fixed the charge bug, yet we still did considerable dps and remained a viable option.

4.3 is no upon us, fury has been nerfed with a 5% dual wield and around a 6% due to deepwounds. We are now a completely competitive if not superior spec. So if you had any doubt or hesitation about trying arms out, it is time to cast it aside.

Some interesting posts that arise:


When to Stance Dance and when to not do it:


Slam vs Heroic Strike total damage and damage per rage calculations:


Arms SEP Values and Weapon DPS 4.2
















VI. 4.3 Arms BiS Gear Set


Talent Specialization

Level 85 Raid Specialization with the required talents:

Drums of War is a very mediocre talent, and throwdown is situational. Your basic arms raid talent set up will include Field Dressing and One point in Blitz (which can be used on throwdown). The reason is simple, charge bug if fixed so 2 points in Blitz are no longer useful.


Once we have settled on the basic arms build, the two different talent options will depend on the points spent on Fury and Protection.

Incite Spec:

Blood and Thunder:

Talent Breakdown

Mandatory Talents:

Arms Tree:

War Academy: 15% Damage Increase to Mortal Strike and Slam, no need to explain this one. The buff to Victory Rush is also a nice little life saver.

Deep Wounds: Although it is not a noticeable amount of damage per tick this bleed adds up to a lot of damage over the course of a raid. Up-time is greatly benefited by Overpower having an extremely high crit chance from talents.

Taste for Blood: One of the main mechanics of Arms Warriors, this talent allows us to use Overpower when our Rend ability deals damage. It also increases the Crit Chance of Overpower by 60%, making it one of our best talents.

Impale: Increases the Critical Damage of our top 3 damaging abilities, Mortal Strike - Overpower - Slam, by 20%. Must have for obvious reasons.

Sweeping Strikes: Some players don't consider this to be a mandatory talent because it doesn't actually increase our single target dps. However, the main advantage of an Arms Warrior, is the ability to do insanely high AoE burst. Sweeping Strikes is a very important tool for us, and is therefore a must have.

Improved Slam: Reduces the Cast-time of our hardest hitting ability, allowing us to use it when Mortal Strike and Overpower aren't available. Must Have.

Deadly Calm: Our only exclusive cool-down, excellent ability to add burst via Heroic Strike spam. Must have due to the fact that many current fights are very demanding in terms of dps and burn phases.

Blood Frenzy: An excellent raid wide buff to Physical and Bleed damage on the target, and an increase in rage generation per swing. Must have talent, regardless of the fact that other classes carry the buff. The extra rage results in Arms Warriors never being rage-starved.

Lambs to the Slaughter: The main mechanic of the Arms tree, we owe a great deal to this talent for its part in making Arms PvE viable once again. Mortal Strike refreshes Rend, making it easier to focus on mechanics instead of having to track Rend. And it also provides a buff that stacked to 3 gives us 30% increased damage to our top damaging abilities. Amazing talent.

Juggernaut: Not only this talent allows us to charge in combat, making it an incredible tool for mobility during fights, it also gives us extra burst via increase Mortal Strike Crit Chance after Charge. It also unlocks Throwdown and Bladestorm.

Sudden Death: Colossus Smash adds a great deal of damage to our total, this talent procs of any melee hit including our Mastery. It is very RNG dependent, but when the stars align and you manage near 100% up-time on CS your dps will scare even the baddest boss. It also allows us to keep some rage after using Execute, which makes us even deadlier during the sub 20% phase of any boss.

Wrecking Crew: Mortal Strike Critical's now enrage you increasing your damage dealt. Not much to explain, great talent overall, fairly high up-time and allows you to time Deadly Calm with this and Trinket/Weapon Enchant procs to put some extra damage in the boss.

Bladestorm: The ultimate AoE ability, the thing that makes other classes jealous (besides our beards). Bladestorm is no longer an ability we use for single target dps as a cooldown, but It makes us the hardest hitting Burst AoE DPS in the game, even if its for a few seconds. Great for add fights.

Fury Tree:

Battle Trance: Gives us a 15% chance of getting a free ability after a Mortal Strike hit, typically you wanna time a Heroic Strike with it, since you shouldnt have Rage problems for your other abilities anyways.

Cruelty: Come on, this one even sounds Warriory. Added Critical Chance to our Mortal Strike, not much to be said about it.

Executioner: Provides an attack speed buff during Execute phases, adding not only melee swings but also Mastery procs and enough rage for an extra heroic strike every now and then.
Optional/Filler Talents


Arms Tree:

Field Dressing vs. Blitz: The choice is a little bit of rage a few times per encounter, or making your healers life easier. Option B is what a hardcore raider would chose, but if you don't care then grab blitz.

Drums of War vs. Second-Wind vs. Tactical Mastery: If you want to maximize your dps as arms you will be stance dancing, which requires Tactical Mastery to do. So the debate here is limited, there is very little to interrupt, Second-Wind is a pvp talent, so you will have to pick up Tactical Mastery for progression raiding.

Prot Tree:

Incite vs Blood and Thunder: This is another debate which has changed from tier to tier. T11 made blood and thunder shine, T12 was the time for incite. Now t13 has some encounters in which B&T is worth your money, yet the Tier 2 piece bonus will make us use heroic strike much more.

Before t13 2 piece you can grab B&T, after the 2 piece go back to incite.

Fury Tree

Rude Interruption: Those of you who read Edge's guide will note i moved this talent from mandatory to optional. There isn't much to interrupt in the Firelands or Dragon Soul, which makes this talent only half useful at Alysrazor. So its left as optional, usually the B&T talent build will pick it up




Glyph of Slam Glyph of Mortal Strike Glyph of Overpower

You can swap Glyph of Slam for Glyph of Bladestorm for the Yor'sahj if you need the AOE badly, otherwise stick to those..


Glyph of Cleaving is common but cleave is hardly used . Glyph of Sweeping Strikes is highly recommended but not game-changing. The third slot can be Glyph of Long Charge for extra mobility, or Glyph of Colossus Smash and Glyph of Heroic Throw if you're stuck with Sunder Armor duty. All other options are viable, but the aforementioned are by far the most beneficial.


Glyph of Berserker Rage Glyph of Battle are the better choices. The third slot can be filled with Glyph of Enduring Victory which is nice for intense healing phases with adds, or Glyph of Intimidating Shoutt in case you have to fear trash in a panic moment and dont want to risk pulling trash around.

Stat Priority:


Hit(8%) > Strength > Expertise(26) > Crit > Mastery > Haste

Strength: Our best stat point per point, nothing increases our damage like more Str.

Hit: 8% is our hit cap, this is equivalent to 961 Hit Rating. Any Hit rating over 8% should be reforged into something else, as it is wasted, cap for white hits without dual wielding is 8%.

Expertise: Regardless of what simulators tell you, Arms Warriors MUST be expertise capped at 26 which is equivalent to 781 Expertise rating. Anything over that number should be reforged to a more useful stat.

Critical Strike Rating: Our best secondary stat after caps. You want as much as possibly without going under your Hit/Expertise caps. No such thing as too much Crit.

Mastery: A fairly good stat that increases our chance to hit with Strikes of Opportunity. Mastery is increasingly good and should be our main focus in any item that already has Crit Rating.

Haste: Nothing worse than haste, its everywhere and we dont really benefit much from it. Reforge out of it.


1) On items that have Crit Rating and Haste, use the Haste to cap Hit and Expertise.
2) Any item that doesn't have Crit Rating should have one of the stats reforged into it.
3) Any item that already has Crit Rating should have its other secondary stat reforged into Mastery.




Red Sockets: Bold Inferno Ruby
Yellow Sockets with Strength Bonus: Inscribed Ember Topaz
Blue Sockets with Strength Bonus: Etched Demonseye
Meta: Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond

If the socket bonus is not Strength, then use Bold Inferno Ruby. You can also use Etched Demonseye in blue sockets if you feel you need the extra 20 hit, otherwise go bold.


Head: Arcanum of the Wildhammer
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone
Back: Enchant Cloak - Greater Critical Strike
Chest: Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats
Wrists: Enchant Bracer - Major Strength
Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Mighty Strength
Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle with Bold Inferno Ruby
Pants: Dragonscale Leg Armor
Boots: Enchant Boots - Lavawalker
Weapon: Enchant Weapon - Landslide


Flask: Flask of Titanic Strength
Potion: Golemblood Potion
Food: Seafood Magnifique Feast or Beer-Basted Crocolisk


The current competitive choices for Arms Warriors are:

Blacksmithing: Provides one extra socket for your Gloves and Bracers. +80 Strength bonus.

Jewelcrafting: Provides three Bold Chimera's Eye. +81 Strength bonus.

Leatherworking: Provides a 130 Strength enchant to bracers. +80 Strength bonus.

Engineering: Provides a 480 Strength "On Use" effect to your gloves, which when used on CD adds up to roughly +80 Strength over the course of a fight. It also provides a massive movement boost for 5 seconds.

Enchanting: Provides a +40 Strength enchant for your rings. Total of +80 Strength.

Alchemy: Provides and extra 80 Strength from your Flask of Titanic Strength

The ideal combination is Jewelcrafting + Blacksmithing. This allows you to use the 2 extra sockets for Bold Dragon's Eye therefore increasing the stat bonus even further.


Arms follows a Priority System

Single Target:


Charge -> Rend is your basic opener. Mortal Strike will take care of keeping Rend up through the Lambs to the Slaughter talent.

After which:

Colossus Smash > Mortal Strike > Overpower > Slam

Colossus Smash procs through Sudden Death should be used to maximize up-time, you do not want to clip the duration of CS. If you have CS up and Sudden Death procs, wait till your current CS drops and then refresh it.

Slam should be used when the other options on your priority are on CD, however if you have less than 1 second more Mortal Strike to become available, you wait and use Mortal Strike rather than Slam.

Heroic Strike should only be used when you have 70+ rage, during Deadly Calm or on Battle Trance procs.



If you have your T12 2 piece bonus, you can feel free to Battle Shout before starting with any of the options stated bellow.

If theres 3 or more mobs and you have Blood and Thunder:

Charge > Rend > Mortal Strike > Thunder Clap > Bladestorm

Once Bladestorm is over, use Sweeping Strike then follow your Single Target priority but replace Slam for Thunder Clap.

If theres only 2 mobs:

Charge > Rend > Thunder Clap > Sweeping Strikes

Follow your Single Target priority. You can use Thunder Clap to refresh the rend dot, however with only one additional target you're best off just going single target.

AoE Burst:

Charge > Mortal Strike > Sweeping Strikes > Bladestorm

This burst rotation is acceptable but sweeping strikes will proc once per whirlwind. Only use this if you know the adds will not outlive Blade Storm and if there are no other add phases in less than 1 minute.

AoE with BladeStorm on Cooldown:

Here is a nifty little trick not too many people know. Heroic Leap and Thunder Clap are both considered ranged attacks, and as such they will behave differently with Sweeping Strikes. Thunderclap does not have an AOE Restriction with Sweeping Strikes unlike Cleave, Bladestorm and Whirlwind

Charge > Mortal Strike > Sweeping Strikes and Thunder Clap > Heroic Leap > Mortal Strike > Thunder Clap

Keep in mind you will have to move out 8 yards or so to abuse heroic leap.

Execute Phase:


Your priority becomes
5x Execute (without letting the Slaughter buff fall) ->Colossus Smash > Mortal Strike > Execute

You can use OP if you fall under 10 rage, but other than that OP has low priority.



Deadly Calm: Removes all rage costs from our abilities. Useful to spam heroic strike, best used with CS.

Inner Rage: Has been redesigned with 4.3. How much the tier 13 two piece bonus will change this cooldown remains to be tested. Updates will be posted here.

Recklessness: 50% increase to Critical Strike rating on special abilities, what's not to like? Keep in mind this ability has a 5 minute cooldown for arms, which means that on some fight like Baleroc normal you might only get to use it once.

Advanced Rotation

Lets face it, stance dancing is very very easy, yet I would wait to use until you are familiar with the spec itself. So lets get to it.

Max DPS Arms:

Once Rend is up, you switch stances to Berserker and follow your regular rotation, switching back to Battle Stance in order to use Overpower and then again to Berserker. This results on a 5% damage buff for Mortal Strike and Slam.

For this to work properly you must take the Tactical Mastery talent in the second tier of the Arms Tree.

Stance Dancing can be done through very simple macros, one with Battle Stance switch and Overpower, and one with Berserker Stance switch. HOWEVER, this method of playing is affected by your latency and fps, so be careful when using it.
Additional Information:

Stance Dancing Macros


Here i would like to add the slam and rend macro, which are indeed needed, but the heroic strike macro is not, so it will not be added. You can feel free to macro execute and colossus smash, I actually do use the execute macro, but CS is not really needed.

#showtooltip mortal strike
/cast berserker stance
/cast mortal strike

#showtooltip Slam
/cast berserker stance
/cast Slam

#showtooltip Overpower
/cast battle stance
/cast Overpower

#showtooltip Rend
/cast battle stance
/cast Rend

#showtooltip Thunder Clap
/cast battle stance
/cast Thunder Clap

#showtooltip Bladestorm
/cast Berserker Stance
/cast Bladestorm

T12 2 Piece


The warrior tier 12 2 piece bonus adds a 10% physical damage buff for 12 seconds. As arms this ability will be available every minute. Theorycrafting on this topic in particular has been scarce, nonetheless i have been doing some empirical research.

So far my results show that this ability is best served used right before a major cooldown, for example deadly calm, or recklessness. However it will be available more often than the cooldowns are.

If you manage to time your Battle Shout with a Heroic Strike, right before a Colosus Smash you will gain a marginal dps boost. Marginal as in around 100-150 dps. On some fights like Baleroc, the dps increase is more considerable as you are gaining more rage due to incoming damage.

I have yet to see shred of evidence that proves that it is best to save Battle Shout only for Deadly Calm and recklessness, and my personal experience has also proved otherwise.

T12 4 Piece


The tier 12 4 piece set bonus has turned out to be a solid dps boost. With a 378 weapon equipped its overall damage ranges from 2-2.8% total damage done. This means the dps bonus is sitting around 850 dps.

This makes the 4 piece a must have, as there really are not viable alternatives other than picking up the crafted gloves, nonetheless the minor gain in critical strike rating is nowhere near sufficient to pass on the 4 piece set bonus.

In this tier in particular there are very little options, so chances are most warrior, arms or fury, will find themselves striving to get a 4 piece set. The one offset piece will normally be the Helm.

Now its time for a Best In Slot list of gear for 4.2, but ill also throw a list for normal mode aswell.

Gear Lists, Normal and BiS



Helm: Greathelm of the Voracious Maw
Neck: Necklace of Fetishes
Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Molten Giant
Chest: Battleplate of the Molten Giant
Back: Bladed Flamewrath Cover
Legs: Legplates of the Molten Giant
Boots: Warboots of Mighty Lords
Wrist: Earthcrack Bracers
Hands: Gauntlets of the Molten Giant
Ring: Serrated Brimstone Signet
Ring2: Alysrazor's Band
Trinket: Vessel of Acceleration
Trinket 2: Heart of Rage


Helm: Greathelm of the Voracious Maw
Neck: Necklace of Fetishes
Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Molten Giant
Chest: Battleplate of the Molten Giant
Back: Bladed Flamewrath Cover
Legs: Legplates of the Molten Giant
Boots: Arachnaflame Treads
Wrist: Earthcrack Bracers
Hands: Gauntlets of the Molten Giant
Ring: Obsidian Signet of the Avengers
Ring2: Alysrazor's Band
Trinket: Heart of Rage
Trinket 2: Vessel of Acceleration

The Heroic cloak from alakir is better, but being a random drop i did not include it. Furthermore you can switch the shannox neck with the valor points one, that will only change the way in which you reforge.
update for 4.3, our rotation remains the same because just like for 4.2 our 4 piece is tied to Mortal Strike. Ill add the BiS list in a short while.

This BIS list is for single target only, for aoe trinket priority might change.

Head: Colossal Dragonplate Helmet
Neck: Necklace of Black Dragon's Teeth
Chest: Colossal Dragonplate Battleplate
Shoulders: Backbreaker Spaulders
Back: Dreamcrusher D#%#@
Bracers: Rockhide Bracers
Gloves: Colossal Dragonplate Gauntlets
Waist:Runescriven Demon Collar
Legs: Colossal Dragonplate Legplates
Feet: Treads of Crushed Flesh
Ring1: Curled Twilight Claw
Ring2: Breathstealer Band
Trinket1: Bone-Link Fetish
Trinket2: Eye of Unmaking
Weapon: Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps
Thrown: Darting Chakram
Impressive guide helped me understand arms a lot better :)
Recklessness can be cast in any stance
08/29/2011 03:41 PMPosted by Buttbandit
Recklessness can be cast in any stance

im getting there, editing this whole thing takes time
very well done my good man. nothing new to me but this is great for those that want to understand arms better or are thinking of giving it a shot in pve.

Cheers mate!
Good idea to repost it, since it seems edge's guide seems to have some sort of DO NOT STICKY sign stuck to it.

The thing that really grinds my gears about arms in 4.2 is the full GCD on overpower now. I used to be able to squeeze in OP slam slam between MS cooldowns (provided enough rage), now it feels like MS, OP, slam, wait half a gcd, MS.

If I try to double slam, I clip my MS fairly badly. Getting just one slam in is also leaving me with a lot of rage and I'm heroic striking a lot more than before. Not quite as much as using the charge bug, but not far short of it.

Anyone else finding arms to really feel sluggish this patch?
Good idea to repost it, since it seems edge's guide seems to have some sort of DO NOT STICKY sign stuck to it.

The thing that really grinds my gears about arms in 4.2 is the full GCD on overpower now. I used to be able to squeeze in OP slam slam between MS cooldowns (provided enough rage), now it feels like MS, OP, slam, wait half a gcd, MS.

If I try to double slam, I clip my MS fairly badly. Getting just one slam in is also leaving me with a lot of rage and I'm heroic striking a lot more than before. Not quite as much as using the charge bug, but not far short of it.

Anyone else finding arms to really feel sluggish this patch?

you shouldn't have to double slam,if we ignore CS for the sake of testing and use only MS, OP and Slam, you can go through 14 GCD's before you're forced to double Slam if you want to remain GCD capped, that's irrelevant since 14 GCD's is 21 seconds and CS is on a 20 second CD.

This means that even without a Sudden Death proc you would not have to double Slam, as there will always be something with a higher priority available.
good input, i've edited it to reflect the change mentioned in your post.
Colossus Smash > Mortal Strike > Overpower

Colossus Smash procs through Sudden Death should be used to maximize up-time, you do not want to clip the duration of CS. If you have CS up and Sudden Death procs, wait till your current CS drops and then refresh it.

Slam should be used as much as Rage/GCD allows without clipping Mortal Strike.

I don't really feel this section is clear enough to new players that may read it. Your priority list reads "CS > MS > OP", but it doesn't mention Slam, then goes on to say to use Slam "as much as Rage/GCD allows".

It'd look better as "CS > MS > OP > Slam", and something like "Slam should be used when CS, MS and OP are on cooldown. If MS is off CD in under a second, wait to use MS". Get what I mean?

To you and I it makes plenty of sense, but a new player might be confused.

Making a priority list should include all abilities that would be used, then go on in detail.

If you are in charge of Sunders - and aren't too worried about Cleave, you can run with Glyph for Heroic Throw and, of course, Colossus Smash. So on the pull you can HT to get 1 stack, Charge, sunder, CS and you are at 3 stacks and your trinkets should be up and you can go to town.

Otherwise good post, hope for sticky.
Sunders are a rare sight, in 10 man it is not worth the effort to use Sunders, and in 25 man youre bound to find a feral druid, or a rogue. Either way to a begginer Sunder armor duty will not be very relevant nor will it be very frequent.

But ill add more detail to the glyph section to include your suggestion.
For 2 piece t12 read the last part of the post, it has a section dedicated to it.

As for Sunder armor, its only really a dps gain for your raid if you're in 25 man, and its going to mean a dps loss for you. In 10 man with you and another melee chances are it will be a very modest dps gain.

I wouldn't worry about it unless you're in a 25 man raid group with no one else to bring the buff. Remember feral druids have a talent to add 3 stacks with one move.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum