Last Updated on October 18, 2020 by Aether
Welcome to our Arms Warrior PvP guide for Shadowlands patch 9.0. Warriors have had it a bit rough the last couple of years in the high-level arena scene, but the Shadowlands changes are making them look very strong. This guide will go over everything you need to know in order to setup your character to give it the best possible chance of gaining rating, including race choice, talents, legendaries, covenants, soul binds, and conduits.
We aim to keep this guide updated throughout Shadowlands, as additional testing and patches may change what is or isn’t good, over the next few months.
Table of Contents
Warrior Changes In Shadowlands
Firstly let’s look at what has changed for Warriors going into Shadowlands. The main concept of the class hasn’t changed too much but the addition of a few new abilities to Arms has brought Warriors more in line with the some of the stronger melee classes. The return of Shield Block and the new addition of Ignore Pain have been a much needed improvement to a Warrior’s defensive capabilities, assisting their personal survival which was certainly lacking throughout BFA. This is especially true given that Arms Warriors were the only melee without a consistent self-heal.
Another great change that Warriors have seen is to how Deep Wounds works. In BFA Warriors mostly relied on the consistent damage provided from Deep Wounds, which resulted in the majority of their damage being dealt from bleeds. However, in Shadowlands a Warrior’s damage is much more front loaded, like it used to be in earlier expansions. Deep Wounds has been reworked to increase the damage enemies take from you, returning warriors to their former glory. Now, teams will really not want to allow a Warrior to freely attack, as their damage output may not be healable.
Other notable changes are the return of Intervene and the addition of the legendary Misshapen Mirror, which now gives warriors incredible team utility. While a handful of other legendaries can make their damage even more threatening, but we will go over that a little bit further down.
Now let’s look at what the best races for Arms Warriors are. Unfortunately, when it comes to PvP, there aren’t many variations to the race meta.
If you’re playing Alliance, Human is your best option without a doubt. The change to PvP trinkets no longer being an honor talent and instead being an item that you have to equip (like it used to be), means that humans are the only race that can equip two offensive trinkets, while still being able to break out of stuns. That, coupled with the Human Spirit, which gives them additional secondary stats makes Humans the best Alliance race.
However, Gnomes are also a viable pick if you want a better match-up for Mage teams, or any other comps that have a ton of slows and roots.
Horde players have even less options, with only one competitive pick; Orcs. The stun reduction from Hardiness, coupled with the extra damage from Blood Fury, makes Orcs hands down the only viable, race for warriors playing on Horde.
However, that isn’t to say you can’t get 2k+ rating on any race, but the above options are just the best for pushing the Arena leaderboards.
Below we have outlined what we feel are the best talents for Arena PvP, but as always, some talents might occasionally be situational.
Level 15: Sudden Death remains the go-to talent, given that execute is currently your hardest hitting ability. It’s worth noting that Sudden Death’s execute procs don’t interact with Anger Management, which is why Dreadnought’s value was increased.
Level 25: Storm Bolt is a must as it’s the only stun Warriors have access to. However, Double Time remains a niche pick in match-ups where you need as much mobility as possible to stick to a target. This will not happen often and you’ll likely take Stormbolt in all of your games.
Level 30: This row is different from BFA, with Massacre now being the best talent. This change is a result of rage generation remaining the same in Shadowlands as it was in BFA. However, due to the lower levels of haste, and the introduction of both Ignore Pain and Shield Block, which gives you more ways to spend rage, Warriors end up not having enough rage to keep up with Rend. Not only that, but execute damage is extremely high, which makes enemy teams struggle to recover if they drop below 35% percent.
Level 35: Defensive Stance still remain your best choice, despite it being nerfed. In PvP the ability to reduce the damage that you take by 20% whenever your healer is cc’d or when you’re under pressure is too valuable to pass up.
Level 40: Warbreaker plays a huge part in your ability to consistently apply spread pressure to enemy teams whenever they stack. Without this talent you’d have to rely on Sweeping Strikes to spread Colossus Smash, so speccing into War Breaker takes away the RNG, and makes this a reliable cooldown.
Level 45: Here we see the return to Avatar as the talent of choice. Recently we saw a number of abilities removed from the GCD, and luckily that included Avatar. That change, along with the 20 rage and 20% damage increase you get when using it once again makes this the best choice in this tier.
Level 50: A recent rework to Dreadnought now grant two stacks of Overpower, instead of one. This gives it great synergy with Avatar, as you’re able to quickly stack your Overpower buff twice, to create big burst windows with Avatar, while also getting the added benefit of some minor cleave damage from the built-in seismic wave. You can still consider picking up Anger Management if you anticipate 100% uptime against low armor targets with, poor mobility, like Shadow Priests and Destruction Warlocks.
Best PvP Talents
Now it’s time to look over the PvP talents. The standard build should consist of Sharpened Blade, Master and Commander, and Storm of Destruction.
Sharpen Blade is a very strong cooldown that can be used to simply increase the damage of your Mortal Strike during your burst, or, as a way to extend a CC chain by reducing the healing on your target
Master and Commander continues to hold its place as one of the strongest PvP talents as it reduces the cooldown of Rallying Cry to 1 minute while also increasing the health it provides, making it a very reliable cooldown for keeping your team alive during enemy kill attempts
Storm of Destruction is a great default pick that works in the most comps. By reducing the CD of Bladestorm you’re able to improve your mobility, while also gaining access to a decently hard-hitting ability more often. You’ll be frequently swapping out of Storm of Destruction for Disarm, War Banner and Overwatch. Disarm is a clear pick when facing any team with a melee. If you want added defense, Overwatch provides you with some additional outplay potential to keep your team out of CC with Intervene. War banner is a great counter for setup-based comps.
Choosing the best covenant for your class will give you access to two abilities, among a whole host of other perks. The Kyrian Covenant looks to be the best covenant for Warriors, as it has strong burst potential and utility from Spear of Bastion, that allows you to essentially lock people in place for 4 seconds. In addition the self-healing that you gain from Vial of Serenity ,along with the pseudo-dwarf racial effect that removes all curse, disease, poison and bleed effects makes the Kyrian Covenant fill in the gap that’s missing from a Warrior’s toolkit,
Best Soul Binds & Conduits
After choosing the Kyrian as your covenant you’ll then get to have one of the three soul binds active. Each one comes with a selection of Soul Bind abilities, I recommend going with Pelagos as your Soul Bind.
Each soul bind also gives you access to a combination of 4 Conduits, categorized as Endurance, Potency and Finesse. My recommended path through Pelagos sees you pick up two Potency conduits, one Endurance and one Finesse.
This final section is about the best legendaries you should craft for PvP.
Misshapen Mirrow is looking to be the best legendary for Arms Warrior arena players. It allows them to enable their team against casters with a well-timed team-wide spell reflect, capable of assisting their team in avoiding damage, CC, or even landing crowd control of their own. However, there are a handful of other legendaries that you may want to consider crafting for an alternative playstyle.
Enduring Blow is the best single target damage legendary and complements the Crash the Ramparts potency conduit quite well. This gives warriors a third way to apply Colossus Smash, to create more windows where they deal significantly more damage.
Unhinged is another good option but only when facing melee cleaves that don’t have much CC for you to reflect. It makes your Blade Storm more potent by automatically triggering Mortal Strike twice while channeling it, making it a stronger offensive cooldown.
The last legendary to consider is Sephuz’s Proclamation which provides you with a weaker version of the Relentless trinket, and gives you a stat boost whenever you land an interrupt or use CC every 30 seconds. While it may not give you as much damage as the other legendaries, it still has its place against melee cleaves that have a lot of short duration stuns that you can benefit from reducing.
Hopefully this Arms Warrior guide for Shadowlands has been useful. As patches are released, this article be revisited, to ensure that it is kept up to date and current. Good luck in the arena, Warrior!