Arms warrior DPS rotation – getting the most out of the warrior priority system

The Arms Warrior DPS rotation used to be so simple, but now, like many classes in Cataclysm, it’s become more of a priority system. Deciding what to use when can be quite tricky. Worry not – our easy-to-follow guide will walk you through it.

Just the one

Your priority system for single-target fights should be:

  • Rend – you should try to keep the DoT from Rend up on your target at all times. If you’ve taken the talent Lambs To The Slaughter, your Mortal Strike will refresh Rend. In that case, Rend should be used to open a fight, but you shouldn’t need to touch it again unless the debuff falls off.
  • Colossus Smash – use this to give your target a debuff which allow you to ignore their armor. You’ll be refreshing this ability every time it comes off cooldown, which will be every 20 seconds.
  • Mortal Strike – The healing debuff this applies can be useful in some fights, but it’s most useful as a means of refreshing Rend (via the talent Lambs To The Slaughter). It does a good chunk of damage (especially if you’re using the Glyph of Mortal Strike), so use it whenever it’s off cooldown.
  • Heroic Strike – only if your Rage bar is almost full (70 Rage or higher).
  • Overpower – if you’ve taken the talent Taste For Blood, Overpower will proc quite frequently, but note that this still takes a comparitively low place in your priority system.
  • Execute – if the boss is below 20% health.
  • Slam – your go-to ability when you’ve exhausted the higher-priority abilities.


Multi-target priority system

Your priority system for a multi-target fight is quite different. Assuming you’ve taken the Blood and Thunder talent from the Protection tree (and you really should), you’ll open with Rend, and then follow these priorities:

  • Rend – if the debuff has fallen off all of your targets.
  • Sweeping Strikes – a no-brainer for multiple-target fights. Use as soon as it comes off cooldown.
  • Thunder Clap – you’ll also affect all nearby targets with Rend when you do this, using the Blood and Thunder talent. Use this again whenever you need to refresh the Rend debuff.
  • Bladestorm – this is a good AoE ability, with quite a long cooldown, so you’ll probably only get it out once every few trash packs. Substitute a Cleave at this point if Bladestorm is on cooldown.
  • Inner rage – only if your Rage bar is nearly full.
  • Deadly calm – only if your Rage bar is low or empty.
  • Cleave – spam this like a neurotic woodpecker. Inner Rage will reduce the cooldown to 1.5 seconds, so take advantage.

Arms warrior DPS tips

  • Use a macro to chain together Inner Rage and Cleave, and another macro for Deadly Calm and Cleave. Now you can hit the Inner Rage / Cleave macro if you’re high on rage, and the Deadly Calm / Cleave macro when you’re low on rage. If Deadly Calm or Inner Rage are available, it will cast them. If not, it’ll just cast Cleave.

    <br /> /cast Inner Rage<br /> /cast [harm] Cleave<br /> /script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();<br />

    <br /> /cast Deadly Calm<br /> /cast [harm] Cleave<br /> /script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();

  • The Glyph of Thunder Clap increases the range of Thunder Clap. Combined with the Blood and Thunder talent, it’ll also increase the range at which you can drop Rend on all mobs!

  • Using Bladestorm can often cause you to gain the aggro-based attention of every mob in the room. A good preemptive counter to this is to cast Retaliation just before you start Bladestorm. That way, any mob who decides to attack you will at least get a free extra spanking for their trouble. With the recent hotfix to the threat mechanics, this may not even be necessary, of course.

  • If you use the Glyph of Intimidating Shout, targets of your Intimidating Shout will simple tremble in place rather than running around like headless murlocs. That means that Intimidating Shout can be used as an emergency crowd-control mechanism. It’s hardly elegant, or robust, but it can make the difference between loot and wipe if used in the right situation.

You might want to take a look at our main guide to Arms Warrior PvE stats, rotation and glyphs in 4.2 for more information on getting the most out of your Arms warrior.

How do you play your Arms Warrior? Have we got our priority system totally wrong? Any tips or tricks you can share? Let us know in the comments.

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