Arms Warrior DPS Guide


Arms WarriorArms Warrior DPS Guide:

Charging Forth in the Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 notes for Warriors are here and, with more detail, here.


  1. Arms Warrior Talents
  2. Arms Glyphs
  3. Arms Stats
  4. Arms Rotations
  5. Gemming Arms
  6. Enchants for Arms
  7. Consumables
  8. Professions
  9. Races
  10. “How to Arms” Video
  11. Fastest Arms Leveling
This Arms Warrior guide is primarily intended for use at level 90, for generating the best possible DPS in a raiding/PvE environment. Many of these principals will still apply in PvP or during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Warrior, you should check out our Warrior Leveling Guide.

Other Warrior Guides: 

If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.

The Fastest Way to Level 90, Click Here to Start


Arms Warrior Talents

The best talents are checked: Best talent. Certain talents might fit better in certain situations, fortunately they are easy to change. Keep a stack of Tomes handy and switch as necessary.

Arms talents level 15 Double Time

Charging in:

  1. Juggernaut is best used for when you need more charges per minute.
  2. Best talent Double Time is more useful when you might need a double charge for emergencies, such as a rapid target switch. Over time it can result in more charges than either of the other two.
  3. Warbringer is for stunning adds/trash and otherwise unlikely to be a better option than the other two, since they offer more charges per minute.

Arms talents level 30 Impending

Healing and Survival

  1. Enraged Regeneration is a great on demand survivability mechanic.
  2. Second Wind is best used when you anticipated being low on health quite often during an encounter. Hopefully you’re spending very little time at or below 35% health.
  3. Best talent Impending Victory is perhaps the most useful of the three as it can be used on demand and more frequently than Enraged Regeneration for lower rage cost. It’s a decent, low cost heal as well as a cheap strike.

Arms talents level 45 Disrupting Shout


  1. Staggering Shout roots already snared enemies, rarely useful.
  2. Piercing Howl does what it always has, AoE Snare. Useful if enemies are bouncing all over the place.
  3. Best talent Disrupting Shout is an AoE interrupt/Silence, which is always nice when fighting casters.

Arms talents level 60 Dragons Roar

Area Effect Attacks

  1. Best talent Dragon Roar does damage and knocks enemies back a short distance. This instant damage is a solid hit and a pretty useful talent. For single target it’s better than bladestorm, which is why it’s the pick here.
  2. Shockwave has decent damage and a more limited target area than Roar. Very nice if you need the stun.
  3. Bladestorm is beneficial during situations where you wish to avoid losing control of your character and was buffed in patch 5.4 (more damage, shorter cooldown.) It’s more fun, too, which makes it a decent pick. This is the easily the best pick for fighting 3 mobs or more.

Arms talents level 75 Mass Spell Reflection

Helping Out the Group

  1. Best talent Mass Spell Reflection is somewhat useful at times, but lacking due to the fact that the majority of Raid Boss abilities cannot be reflected. Useful for the the trash mobs are lobbing spells at the group.
  2. Safeguard is useful as damage reduction, but you have to be wary of the damage you might take when using this ability. Probably more useful in PvP.
  3. Vigilance was changed in 5.4. It still protects the target from a good amount of damage, but that damage is no longer taken by you. This is a solid pick if you have someone you want/need to keep an eye on.

Arms talents level 90 Avatar

The Final Level

  1. Best talent Avatar provides a very nice damage buff every three min. It’s the best for single target fights (eg: Bosses.)
  2. Bloodbath helps to spread the blood around. Solid damage, boost, and it’s #1 when fighting groups.
  3. Stormbolt adds a ranged shot to your arsenal, along with a stun. Perhaps more useful in PvP, since Bosses can’t be stunned.


Arms Warrior  Glyphs

The Major Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Colossus Smash – Weakens the opponent’s armor (sunder) for 30 seconds when you Smash.
  2. Glyph of Unending Rage – Increases your max rage.
  3. Glyph of Death From Above – Reduces your Heroic Leap cooldown, for more leaps over time.
  4. Glyph of Bull Rush – More Rage when charging.
  5. Glyph of Recklessness – 18% Crit increase ( down from 30%) and 18 second duration (up from 12 seconds.)
  6. Glyph of Rude Interruption – More damage after successful using Pummel to interrupt spells. If you wanted an excuse to interrupt more, here it is.
  7. Glyph of Mortal Strike – Recommended if you’re taking damage, as the heals coming your way will be buffed.
  8. Glyph of Enraged Speed – Move faster while enrages

Minor Glyphs

Most of the minor glyphs are just cosmetic. This one should have some nice utility when fighting trash (or leveling.)


Arms Stat Priorities

The ‘>’ symbol means “better than” or “Greater than” (If you’re math oriented.)

Your stats: Expertise and Hit, to 7.5% each  > Strength > Critical > Mastery  > Haste

  1. Primary Stats: Strength
  2. Secondary: Expertise and Hit to 7.5% each > Crit
  3. Weaker: Haste > Mastery
  4. Useless: Hit or Expertise over 7.5%

HIt & Expertise: You can damage what you don’t hit. 7.5% Hit makes sure you actually hit and 7.5% Expertise makes sure that your Hit is not Dodged. So yes, you want both. Points beyond 7.5% are wasted.

Crit is the best of the rest of your Stats.

Mastery gives you a chance for extra attacks, each doing partial damage.

Haste speeds up your attack speed, but it’s a poor third in value compared to the others.


  • Your #1 priority is your 7.5% Hit and then your expertise. If you have excess Hit you can reforge it down to Expertise.
  • Once you have both of those stats at 7.5% then reforge any Haste and Mastery into Crit.
  • ReforgeLite will help with the reforging, especially if you switch between PvP and PvE.


Arms Warrior In-Depth Rotation

Your Stance

  • Battle Stance is optimal at all times, with the only exception being when you’re taking enough damage to be interesting.
  • Berserker Stance which grants you less rage when dealing damage, but additional rage from taking damage, can be used when you’re taking enough damage to keep your rage up.
  • Defensive Stance, if glyphed with this, can be used when there is a lot of damage coming your way. The glyph makes sure that you won’t make your tank’s job harder and your life shorter.

Your Shouts

  • Battle Shout will be your “go to” shout at all times, except under special circumstances. It buff the entire group’s attack power.
  • Disrupting Shout, if you took the talent, interrupts spell casting (from trash mobs,) which can be very useful.
  • Commanding Shout might be useful in times of heavy raid-wide damage, as it increases everyone’s Stamina.

Your Rotation

  1. Maintain Battle Shout at all times and use it as a filler rage generating tool if you have nothing else to cast.
  2. Your Primary attack and rage generator is Mortal Strike which you should use on cooldown.
  3. Use colossus Smash and take advantage of the 6 second time on the debuff which allows 100% of your damage to bypass the targets armor.
  4. Overpower should be used as often as you can fit it into your rotation. Overpower triggers each time you use Mortal Strike and when a target dodges an attack. Taste for Blood will give you more Overpower strikes.
  5. Slam is your primary rage dump and a priority over Heroic Strike.
  6. Heroic Strike should be used if you’re about to become rage capped despite using Slam.
  7. Execute replaces Slam and Heroic Strike when the target is below 20% health.

Fighting Groups

Multiple target fights should be handled through the use of Sweeping Strikes and target switching with Mortal Strike to apply Deep Wounds to all targets.

  1. If facing three or more enemies use Thunder Clap to apply Deep Wounds to all targets due to Blood and Thunder while spamming Whirlwind as often as possible in addition to continuing your regular single target rotation. Keep Sweeping Strikes up as well.
  2. ShockwaveDragon Roar and Bladestorm are all effective AoE tools although Bladestorm is a DPS loss when used against a single target as it locks out your other abilities for the duration, unlike Shockwave and Dragon Roar.


  1. Berserker Rage should be used on cooldown although it’s best to use it in combination with other damage increasing cooldowns and when you have a decent amount of rage pooled to benefit best from the 10% damage buff. To make things easier, the ability has a 30 second cooldown meaning it can be used many times throughout an encounter.
  2. Recklessness should be used as often as possible.
  3. Skull Banner should be used as often as possible, but is also a boost to raid DPS as a whole and therefore should be activated when best to benefit the entire raid.
  4. Demoralizing Banner can be used if you feel the decreasing enemy damage is more important than buffing the group. This will be pretty uncommon.


Gems for the Arms Warrior

Gems with the secondary stats (Hit, Crit, etc.) have twice the value of gems with Str: 320 Vs 160. This will make it worth matching socket bonuses for Str or Crit. Orange and Purple gems can be used in the Yellow and Blue sockets, respectively.

Also keep in mind that your Plate Specialization adds 5% to Str from all sources, including gems and enchants. This makes Str just that much more valuable. You probably won’t need to gem for Hit at all, and maybe not expertise. (Try not to be over the 7.5% Hit/Expertise caps.)

Prices: Note that the “perfect” gems have the same stats as the other gems, but the two might have very different prices. Go with the cheaper of the two and save some gold. Or earn more.

Gemming Arms:

Since Crit gems have twice the value of Str gems we’ll focus on Crit and match socket colors for the bonuses.

Meta Reverberating Primal Diamond: +216 Str & Increased Crit Effect
Capacitive Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Red Bold Primordial Ruby: +160 Str
Perfect Bold Pandarian Garnet: +160 Str
Yellow Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +320 Mastery
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: +320 Crit
Orange Inscribed Vermilion Onyx: +80 Str and +160 Crit
Perfect Inscribed Tiger Opal: +80 Str and +160 Crit
Blue Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit
Green Piercing Wild Jade: +160 Crit and +160 Hit
Purple Etched Imperial Amethyst: +80 Str and +160 Hit
Perfect Etched Roguestone: +80 Str and +160 Hit
Prismatic Bold Primordial Ruby: +160 Str
Cogwheel Requires an engineer helm, such as this.
Smooth Tinker’s Gear: +600 Crit
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: +600 Mastery


Enchantments for Arms

Basically you should get your enchants based on the priorities above, Str and Crit above all else. If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your cash flow.

As with gems, your Plate Specialization adds 5% to Str from all sources.

Note that head enchants are gone and you will get shoulder enchants from the Inscription profession (you can also find them on the Auction House.)

Arms Enchantments
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Sometimes increases Str by 1,650.
Shoulders Secret Tiger Fang Inscription: +520 Str and +100 Crit, requires Inscription
Greater Tiger Fang Inscription: +200 Str and +100 Crit
Cloak Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: +180 Crit rating
Enchant Cloak – Accuracy: +180 Hit rating (If you need a few more points here.)
Chest Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all Stats
Bracers Enchant Bracer – Exceptional Strength: +180 Str
Socket Bracer: Requires Blacksmithing, self-only, pop in a nice gem.
Gloves Enchant Gloves – Super Strength: +170 Str
Enchant Gloves – Superior Expertise: +170 Expertise (If you need those last few points to cap it off.)
Socket Gloves: requires Blacksmithing, self-only, drop in a nice gem
Belt Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Sockets your belt, pop in the best gem.
Leggings Angerhide Leg Armor: +285 Str & 185 Crit rating
Boots Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery and Slight run speed increase.
Rings Enchant Ring – Greater Strength: +160 Str, Requires Enchanting 550



You Pandarens get twice the value of the food buff. All food buffs last one hour and provide only one stat.

If you have the Alchemy skill the effect and duration of flasks and elixirs will be increased, including the value of secondary stats, by about 30% and an hour. Foods are available that provide secondary stats, but they’re only worth about 200 points each, so are not included here.




Elixirs – you can have one battle and one guardian elixir up at a time. Since you won’t have use for the defensive elixirs, since you’re not that tank, it will be much more efficient to just use the flask, above. If you need the defense then using the Crit and Armor elixirs could be worthwhile.


Professions for the Arms Warrior

All of the professions provide some benefit for Warriors of any spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.

If you’re looking for the buffs then Blacksmithing might be the best choice since you can slot two gems and gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, 320 Crit or Hit Vs 160 Int, per gem, for example. it gives you a bit more gemming versatility. You can load up on 640 Crit instead of 320 Str.

Arms Professions
Tailoring Cloak enchant sometimes adds 4k Attack Power for 15 seconds.
Leatherworking Bracer enchant adds 500 Str.
Jewelcrafting Make nicer gems for your own use.
Enchanting Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Str gain.
Inscription Shoulder enchant adds 520 Str and 100 crit. This is the only way to get shoulder enchants.
Alchemy More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Str and an extra hour to your main flask. Figure about 30% more effect and and extra hour from all Elixers and Flasks, including any for Crit.
Engineering has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Str by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.
Blacksmithing gives two extra gems slots for whichever stats you’re needing.
Skinning provides 480 crit rating
Herbalism Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds
Mining 480 Stamina


Arms Warrior Races

With Cataclysm it came to be that any race could become a Warrior. Even Goblins. With Mists of Pandaria the Pandarens have also joined the club of face-smashing goodness. All weapons being equal, the Orc might be the best choice for DPS with Axe expertise and Blood Fury. Draenai have a +to hit, making stat dancing a bit easier, and Worgen have a Sprint and a + to Crit.

For most of the races only the abilities that would have any use in a raid are shown.

Pandaren – They get to choose whether they will join the Horde or the Alliance, once they leave the starting area.

  • Increased duration of Rest XP should make for faster leveling.
  • Being bouncy they take less falling damage, which is more useful in PvP than PvE.
  • With a quick strike of the hand they can stun an opponent for 4 seconds, which is a pretty nice ability.
  • Pandarens get better buffs from food, 600 points of Str from the raid meal instead of 300.
  • Naturally they’re good with cooking.


In order of DPS:

Draenei – Winners of the interstellar bodybuilding contest. All of the contests.

  • The Draenei heal is a worthwhile ability, even though it doesn’t add to your DPS. Some disagree. I think the any Warrior heal is a good thing. Save it for those moments when you are the target.
  • Draenei also gain a 1% +hitNice to have, especially for raiding, where it’s just that much less that you have to reforge/gem for. It means that you only need 6.5% hit to cap (instead of  7.5%.)

Worgen – Grandma, what big teeth you have…

  • Worgen can periodically move more quickly, much like the Rogue’s Sprint, which is a generally useful ability.
  • They have an increased crit chance which is an overall DPS gain, regardless of weapon equipped.

Humans – Minor DPS increase with their Expertise

  • Increased Expertise with swords and maces. Nice for the end-game, if a sword or mace is the best weapon (and it probably is.)
  • Escape – Very nice in PvP as it allows using two DPS trinkets. Occasionally useful otherwise. Can break free of certain raid mechanics.

Dwarves – Shortness is a virtue? Is a digging tool your favorite weapon?

  • Mace expertise is useful, if a mace is the best weapon available.
  • Stoneform removes bleeds, poisons, and diseases will sometimes be useful. It also reduces damage by 10% which might also be occasionally useful.
  • Ranged Weapon Expertise would be nice if you could use ranged weapons,

Night Elves – Next, Night Elves gain both Shadowmeld and Quickness as far as effective abilities go.

  • Quickness is a 2% increase to dodge and will only rarely be useful, unless your tank has issues with holding threat.
  • Shadowmeld can be used in some PvE situations to drop aggro (either to save your skin or so the tank can reacquire aggro) or possibly hide from patrols. It’s an occasionally useful ability.

Gnomes –  Short, the butt of too many jokes, and punted by everyone except Goblins.

  • A nice escape ability is great for PvP and is useful every now and then otherwise
  • Their Expertise is of no use to you, since you use 2-handers.

The Horde

Orcs – Orcs are the race most consider to be the deadliest warrior race.

  • Orcs possess an interesting racial ability called Bloodfury, which increases their attack power by a significant amount and is a cooldown. Add this to a macro, along with certain trinkets, and use it to really smash face when you need to.
  • The Orc hardiness (stun resistance) will only rarely be useful in PvE.
  • The Orc Expertise with Axes is nice, if an axe is the best weapon available.

Trolls  For PvE their Berserking puts them ahead of the Undead as DPS.

  • Berserking increases attack speed by a decent amount.
  • Increased damage Vs beasts is useful for leveling and some PvE content.
  • Do Voodoo Shuffle reduces movement altering effects, such as from Slow spells.
  • Ranged Weapon Expertise is useless to you.


  • Touch of the Grave is a life draining ability (which also heals you,) and it’s passive. It will actually add a bit to your DPS without you doing anything special.
  • Will of the Forsaken is a solid racial, PvP wise, granting a free break from fear, sleep, and charm effects every 2 minutes, yet in PvE wise it’s much less useful, aside from specific boss fights.
  • Cannibalize grants undead great post-fight regeneration ability. It frees up a bag slot for normal foods, but probably will find little use in raiding situations.


  • Rocket Jump is usable once per 2 minutes and can be a nice gap closer or escape.
  • Haste is increased for the Goblins, but it’s not a great Warrior stat.


  • A 5% increase to base health seems useful at high levels for any prospective tank, especially in raiding. It’s worth about three Stam gems at level 90.
  • Also useful is war stomp, usually a PvP ability, but also useful for leveling, that gives Tauren Warriors a crucial short range AoE stun. This can also interrupt trash mobs when dungeoning/raiding.

Blood Elves

  • Arcane Torrent restores some rage and silences nearby opponents for 2 seconds. Also interrupts non-player opponents for 3 seconds. This makes it a pretty useful ability every 2 min.


Arms Video

This video covers talents and glyphs and rotations for Arms. (Note that he argues for Crit > Str.) You can skip to 5:50 if you just want the rotations.


The Fast Arms Warrior Leveling Guide

Get the the level cap, ASAPOk, you’re not yet at the level cap. Maybe you’re only level 1. Do you have a plan to hit that cap ASAP and get into that end-game content ans smash some of the opposition? Or will you just aimlessly wander about the world, looking for the next quest?

To make your job a lot easier you should snag an in-game leveling guide for your leveling blast. With a guide you will never again wonder about where to go or what to do or what to skip and your leveling will be faster, much faster.

Zygor’s Guide practically automates the whole leveling path, from start to finish, for your Warrior. Carve your way through the world and both old and new content at a surprisingly crisp pace. Pick your starting point and the guide automatically updates and advances as you complete quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically, and includes the important quest info eliminating all doubt as to what to do next.

Take a break to do some PvP leveling or instances and when you come back to the guide it will figure out what level you are and pick up from there. Automatically. Heck, Zygor’s will even clean up your obsolete quests for you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to WoW or you’re decked out in Heirlooms and using Recruit a Friend, Zygor’s will get you to 90 fast. Grab your copy of Zygor’s Guide here or read our review.


Want to add something? Have a comment or critique? Add it below.

 Posted by at 2:51 am

  6 Responses to “Arms Warrior DPS Guide”

  1. Rather than use Sunder Armor as a DPS, you might want to instead glyph colossus smash to apply it. It’s fairly fast to stack it up with your Sudden Death procs too (I more than once happened to get a couple of Colossus smashes in a row through that proc) and you’ll avoid getting an access of threat off your tank, since mobs and bosses HATE sunder armor and will more than happily attempt to wack anyone who dares using it against them, unless it’s the tank.

    [Thanks, I’ll make a note of that. -Rog]

  2. I need help with my attacks i’m a lvl 85 Arms Warrior and dont know what 2 use for attacks? i kill very slow and die so fast could you please give me a list of attacks to use, i’m ready to delete this character!

    • You should take a look at the Rotation section of the guide for advice on how to get the best DPS with your warrior. You might want to test it out on a practice dummy.

  3. Please send, if possible, the best tree for Warrior DPS,PVP

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