Welcome back dear readers to another skills session with the mighty Uthric!
In this post, I will be taking a look at what’s available to Arms warriors in a PvP environment. As an eager PvPer, I love diving into combat and taking the fight to the Horde in battlegrounds, arenas and the open world. Arms warriors have a lot to offer in PvP, ranging from raw damage to punishing debuffs. They can be a valued asset to an allied team and a dangerous opponent in single combat.
Naturally, to achieve any measure of success, a sound knowledge of your own abilities and talents is recommended. As I’m sure any seasoned veteran will tell you, you can’t button-mash your way to victory as an Arms warrior. It takes a measure of experience, instinct and sometimes luck to best your enemies.
I hope that what follows will give newcomers an insight into the Arms warrior arsenal in PvP and makes for interesting reading for everyone. If it encourages you to dip your toes into the frigid, thrilling waters of PvP, then all the better!
Gladiator’s Medallion – The Gladiator’s Medallion will be a familiar sight to veteran PvPers. Upon use, it removes all impairing effects from the player, allowing them to rejoin the fight. With a two minute cooldown, Gladiator’s Medallion will see frequent use in battlegrounds and is of great importance in arenas as players will often live or die based on when they decide to use it.
As a talent choice, Gladiator’s Medallion is a great all-rounder, providing on-demand freedom at the player’s discretion. Allowing players to ignore certain forms of crowd control and use the medallion for others is where this talent really shines, as such decisions can greatly affect the outcome of arena matches.
Adaptation – As an alternative to Gladiator’s Medallion, Adaptation has notable advantages that make it a strong contender for this tier. The effects of Adaptation are entirely passive; breaking loss of control effects of five seconds or more automatically on a one minute cooldown. In the roiling storm of PvP combat, this effect combined with its short cooldown, can be an excellent defence against classes that threaten to take you out of the fight for long periods.
The downside is the lack of player control and a lack of efficacy compared to Gladiator’s Medallion. Adaptation is useless against slows and roots, and won’t affect any stun or incapacitate fewer than five seconds in duration. Wily opponents will also try to force Adaptation to trigger before they begin their main assault, leaving you helpless against incoming subsequent stuns.
Relentless – This talent offers a 20% reduction to all incoming crowd control effects. At first look, Relentless seems underwhelming compared to Gladiator’s Medallion or Adaptation. The lack of a true escape mechanism may not seem a particularly attractive choice, but there are scenarios where Relentless can outperform both Gladiator’s Medallion and Adaptation.
If for example, you are facing off against a team that is heavy with crowd control abilities, Relentless will have you back on your feet faster and more frequently than either of the other choices in this tier. Not only does Relentless reduce the annoyance of being debilitated for long periods, its effects can actually help increase your damage uptime on a target.
Master and Commander – A direct augmentation of Commanding Shout, Master and Commander reduces the cooldown of the ability by 2 minutes and increases the temporary health gained by 15%.
The first thing to stand out with this talent is the time reduction. Compressing Commanding Shout into a one minute cooldown, Master and Commander turns a last resort ability into an integral part of a warrior’s defensive arsenal, the added health bonus ading an extra layer of survivability. With a working knowledge of your opponent’s abilities, Master and Commander can be used to great effect to mitigate against big bursts of damage on a regular basis.
Shadow of the Colossus – The effects of this talent are to increase rage generated by Charge by 15 and also cause Charge to reset the cooldown on Overpower.
The primary benefits of this talent are to frontload damage when charging; Shadow of the Colossus grants a warrior a total pool of 35 rage from Charge, allowing instant use of abilities like Mortal Strike of Rend upon entering combat.
Arms warriors will typically throw out an auto-attack after they have charged so the actual rage available will usually be more than 35. This means that warriors can usually dish out a chain of abilities in quick succession thanks to this talent. Combining Shadow of the Colossus with War Machine and Dreadnaught can have dramatic results to a warrior’s damage after charging, something highly effective when trying to take down a target.
Death Sentence – The bane of slippery opponents, Death Sentence gives Execute a deadly reach of 15 yards with a warrior charging in to take out foes who have moved outside its normal range. Those trying to kite a warrior will quickly regret their decision as Death Sentence makes a mockery of snares, allowing the warrior to break through even the most potent of slowing abilities. It won’t remove these effects of course, and won’t affect roots in any way, nor does it trigger with the Sudden Death talent.
However, the ability to rush an enemy with lethal force can be a phenomenal boon to a warrior’s mobility. The Arms version of Execute combined with Death Sentence also allows you to unleash several strikes in quick succession. This can put your foes under intense pressure as the charge element of the talent can consistently cut off their efforts to escape.
War Banner – An effective defence against crowd control, War Banner is a literal throwing down of a banner that for the following 15 seconds, increases the movement speed of allies by 30% within it’s 30 yard radius and reduces the duration of incoming crowd control effects by 50%.
War Banner is ideally suited for defending capture points in battlegrounds and can help ally flag carriers elude enemies in pursuit. In combat, War Banner can take the sting out of stunlocks and works well as a way of covering a retreat.
Be warned though that the War Banner itself is not invulnerable; like a Shaman’s totems, direct targeting by your enemies will quickly destroy it, with ranged classes being notably adept at sniping banners from afar to deny you your advantage. In addition, the crowd control reduction doesn’t stack with similar effects such as Relentless, so keep these things in mind if choosing War Banner.
Sharpen Blade – A oft-picked talent for Arms warriors and with good reason. Increasing Mortal Strike’s damage by 15% and reducing healing received by the target by 50% for 6 seconds, Sharpen Blade is a generous boost to one of Arms’ core offensive abilities.
On a 25 second cooldown, regular use of Sharpen Blade can increase overall damage output and targeted application can impose significant pressure on enemy healers. An excellent all-round talent with no discernible drawbacks, used at the right moment, Sharpen Blade can be utterly devastating.
Duel – Unique to Arms warriors, Duel reduces the damage the warrior and their target deal to targets other than each by 50% for 8 seconds and is on a one minute cooldown.
As a talent, Duel is tailor-made for helping allies. With a respectable 20 yard range and an immense damage reduction, a warrior can shutdown the assault of an enemy who is focusing on your teammates. It doesn’t matter if the troublesome pest is swinging weapons or casting spells, Duel will enfeeble their attacks as long as they are targeting someone other than you. Duel is definitely a more specialized talent pick, but it’s effects can be dramatic if deployed correctly.
Disarm – A direct counter to melee opponents, the Disarm talent locks out an opponent’s weapon-based abilities for 6 seconds. In melee encounters, prudent use of Disarm can ruin an enemy’s plans if used during a big burst cooldown, especially if used in conjunction with Stormbolt. Remember though that Disarm is not limited to physical weaponry, as it also reduces the overall damage the target deals. Whether weapon-based or not, Disarm will diminish the killing potential of your opposition as even magic will lose some of its potency.
Overall, Disarm will most heavily affect melee classes who require a weapon to use their abilities. Robbed of their ability to fight, it can open up your foe to a crushing assault with no means to retaliate. Disarm can definitively swing a fight in your favour, but keep in mind that with a 45 second cooldown, it will require calculated use to be at its most effective.
Spell Reflection – A source of pure joy and schadenfreude when used correctly, Spell Reflection allows the warrior to reflect all spells cast at them for 3 seconds.
As a brief but brilliant shield against spells, this talent will be a natural pick for those facing off against caster-heavy teams. Using Spell Reflection to make a Warlock Chaos Bolt themselves in the face is not only hilarious, but also a vital defence against spells of this calibre. With a cooldown of 25 seconds, a warrior will need to choose wisely when deciding what to reflect. In general, the sensible option is to save it for bigger spells like Chaos Bolt, Greater Pyroblast or Full Moon.
It is worth noting though that it’s not just magic missiles that can be reflected. With the right timing, a warrior can use Spell Reflection to make enemies curse themselves with their own damage-over-time spells, Paladins stun themselves with Hammer of Justice (although this takes timing and a lot of luck) and even reflect the damage of a Druid’s Thorns back onto themselves!
On the whole, the talent has enormous potential and it’s one that I highly recommend. It take patience and practice to get the reflection timing right (spells already in flight cannot be reflected so keep an eye on those cast bars) but when you develop a proficiency, Spell Reflection becomes a defensive necessity.
Storm of Destruction – Bladestorm is the beneficiary of the Storm of Destruction talent, reducing its cooldown by 33% (down to one minute) and causing it to inflict the Mortal Wounds effect (25% reduction to target’s healing) that normally resides with Mortal Strike.
In addition to the profound impact this talent can have in chaotic group melees, Storm of Destruction has tremendous synergy with the Anger Management talent on the main talent tree for Arms. In sustained combat, the pairing of these talents can shorten Bladestorm’s to under 45 seconds, increasing the damage potential of Arms and the ability to shrug off or ignore crowd control effects. Beneficial in arenas and battlegrounds, Storm of Destruction is a talent not to be overlooked.
PvP Talent Builds
Following from the overview of the PvP talents available to Arms warriors, I’ve put together a small selection of talent builds that you may find useful. These combine choices from the main talent list (which I examine in detail here) with those available in PvP for maximum effect, although I should point out that these are just suggestions. You could find other talents that work just as well or perhaps better than those listed here. If you have any tips, tricks or picks that work for you, let me know in the comments section.
Main Talents: Anger Management, In For The Kill
PvP Talents: Storm of Destruction
One of my favourite builds, the Bladestorm build emphasizes regular use of its namesake through the effects of the Anger Management talent. Great for pressuring groups and for consistent crowd control immunity, I frequently opt for this build in battlegrounds. The cooldown reduction from both Anger Management and Storm of Destruction allows frequent use of Bladestorm and In for the Kill accelerates the damage output of the trusty Warbreaker-Bladstorm combo.
Main Talents: Stormbolt, Bounding Stride
PvP Talents: Duel, Disarm, Master and Commander
For those wanting to take a more supportive role, the Protector Build focuses on abilities that will frustrate enemies’ efforts to attack your allies whilst increasing mobility to stay close to your targets. Bounding Stride will allow you to keep up with your target whilst the selection of hindering talents of this build can completely enfeeble an attacker’s damage. If breathing space is required, then Stormbolt and Master and Commander can provide a lifeline for an ally trying to escape or endure a sustained assault.
Main Talents: Defensive Stance
PvP Talents: Relentless, Spell Reflection, War Banner, Master and Commander
If you’re looking to survive an enemy attack, defend a key position or carry a flag in a battleground, the Defender Build can make it more difficult for your adversaries to take you down or stop your advance. You’ll be no substitute for a proper tank of course, but this build can at least help you stay alive longer which can sometimes make all the difference.
Generous use of Master and Commander will give a hard-pressed warrior a cushion against spikes of damage whilst Relentless will mitigate against waves of crowd control. Although it doesn’t stack with Relentless, the superior crowd control reduction of War Banner will also be of great value when a warrior is being focused, enabling an ally healer to intervene or give those precious extra seconds of freedom to cap a flag or use Heroic Leap to escape.
Main Talents: Sudden Death, Stormbolt, Rend, Avatar, Dreadnaught
PvP Talents: Shadow of the Colossus, Death Sentence, Sharpen Blade
Although one-versus-one combat is rare outside of duels, there will be occasions when an Arms warrior will want to put all their energy into annihilating a target. The Nemesis Build centres on talents that push a warrior’s single-target damage to its fullest, allowing them to crush opponents with overhwhelming force. When encountering lone enemies out in the open world or clashing with a roaming Rogue in battlegrounds, an Arms warrior will benefit from bringing superior force to the fight.