Shadowlands Arms Warrior has changed a lot going into Shadowlands. The biggest changes being Deep Wounds(Mastery), the reintroduction of Intervene and Ignore Pain.
Intervene being the biggest of the three in my opinion, bringing back that crisp playmaking ability that Warrior was previously known for. Whether it be Intervening your teammates offensively to eat interrupts while going for crowd control effects, or defensively to disrupt your opponents; Intervene feels great. This also paired with the new Overwatch(PvP Talent) gives warriors the tools they’ve been endlessly asking for since MoP.
Deep Wounds changing was quite important as well. Previously Warrior was more of a consistent damage rot playstyle with your passive bleed being your #1 damaging ability pretty much every game leaving me and many others feeling quite dissatisfied. The change comes at quite a good time. While Mastery still applies a bleed, the bleed damage is significantly lessened and applies another effect which increases your damage dealt to any target suffering from Deep Wounds. This alone has greatly increased warriors' impact in every game and it’s damage is now something that demands respect.
Ignore Pain swapping from a Protection only ability to a class wide ability was quite nice as well. Warrior’s now have a button to press besides Defensive Stance when in trouble. And with it’s quite high rage cost, it reinforces an idea of playing well and using your rage bar effectively; not just pressing buttons as they light up or relying on passive effects to give you that added durability. It’s a trade-off whether to use your rage on durability, or to do damage.
Spell Reflect was also changed. For starters, it’s baseline. No more wasting a PvP talent choice. It now lasts for 5 seconds and reduces all magical damage taken while the buff holds by 20%. The kicker is that instead of reflecting all magical abilities, it only reflects one. While this change is less than ideal, I feel it is fair. Before, you could just press reflect almost lazily and at times not be punished for it. I think you should have to use your abilities well in order for them to perform well..
Your role in Arena is very different than it was before. With the class changes I mentioned above, Warriors can really take over a game by themselves at times. Instead of just being a glorified damage bot, you now offer insane team-wide utility with a plethora of different PvP talents that I’ll mention below. In most games though, you’re in. And when I say in, I mean you’re in the enemy team's face, pretty much the whole game. Warrior is at its strongest when it's offensive. You don’t struggle nearly as much when you’re on the backfoot now, but obviously it’s not ideal. Be careful to not drag your teammates out of position too hard though. Sometimes just press the W key, don’t hold it. Use that utility to keep your team offensive as well. Ignore Pain added durability makes you extremely hard to punish for being in as well when used correctly. Warrior is still a heavy disruption class, but now it’s even easier to break up those long crowd control chains. At times now, you’re even the class meatshield, intervening huge damage on your teammates and soaking it up with Ignore Pain and defensive stance. Your consistent damage took somewhat of a hit, but that’s fine. Your new mastery increases your burst potential, allowing you to affect the change you want to see in enemy players health bars. Look for opportunities to really abuse teams with sweeping strikes cleave, as that portion of warrior did not change at all. When teams stack against you, be on the lookout for that and punish them. Don’t spend too much time in defensive stance either. I get asked this a lot. Be in defensive stance when you need to be. When your healer is CC’d, interrupted. During other teams offensive pushes. You can use defensive stance to really just close off any opportunity for a lot of teams. If you get caught out though and you’re trying to play aggressively without being aware of the other team or what’s going on around you, you’ll get punished extremely hard.
Human = Orc > Gnome
* Human - Human offers a wide variety of options. The biggest one being Will to Survive, more commonly known as ‘human trinket.’ This paired with Relentless makes Warrior quite annoying to deal with. The tools you have to avoid CC along with the fact that once you finally are CC’d it’s reduced is quite potent. Warrior’s only really die in stuns, so be careful with your racial as it’s a minute longer than the traditional trinket. The other nice thing about human is The Human Spirit. This just provides a nice little passive damage increase. All in all, human is very well-rounded.
* Orc - Orc is likely interchangeable as Warrior. To be completely frank it probably doesn’t matter versus the majority of compositions you will play against. Orc’s racial, Hardiness works with Sephuz, as I’ll mention later in the Legendary section of the guide. This makes Orc Warrior extremely hard to kill if it is a team’s selected kill target; especially rogues. Warrior only really dies in stuns. The only downside to this in my opinion is that if you are NOT the kill target, it’s easier to CC you out, even if you are opting to play Sephuz. Blood Fury is also quite nice. Just a mini on use trinket with a longer CD.
* Gnome - Gnome would be the last option I would play OVERALL but the first option I would play if the meta suddenly shifted to be more of a frost mage kite meta. Gnome is the best race against this because of Escape Artist. The 1 minute snare/slow removal compliments your other root/snare removals quite well. Potentially could see Gnome having value with Sephuz to make hard cc’s less impactful, as that’s really the only downside to Gnome at the moment. 10% not quite enough to put it to the level of Human.
The only talents I ever swap between are on the level 30 row, and the level 50 row. I’ll go in depth for each and the scenarios in which I change these talents. This talent tree is fairly safe and mandatory in my opinion at the moment. Everything else in the talent tree I feel is quite self explanatory. The other options are, excuse my french, dogshit.
Massacre vs Rend
Rend is a very, very good talent. Let me just start off by saying that. But with the introduction of Ignore pain, a quite high costing ability, it’s hard to justify using rend. Warrior has sort of moved away from that rot-like, bleed sort of playstyle and more into a single target damage role. While Rend is quite good, the new rage dumping abilities without any new ways to generate rage has kind of phased it out at the moment. That, along with the stat squish and lower levels of haste, leading to lower levels of rage generation, make it hard to pick. There are scenarios though where in these cleave type situations where using Sweeping Strikes to apply Rend easily to two targets are ideal, and quite good. Your rage bar is normally quite high in these and using it on Slam is kind of bad. In matchups where you have low uptime, Rend used to be good. Now I actually have a preference to not use it, and just opt for using more rage on Ignore Pain, as most of these teams are focusing you, and not just CC’ing you out of a game.
The game in itself is extremely fast paced giving Massacre increased value. People regularly hit 35% hp in mere seconds, and with the change to mastery, your single target damage is massive. Most teams can’t recover at the moment after hitting 35%. In more setup based comps, this talent choice only gains value as the consistent damage being dealt in between your set-ups isn’t quite as important
Anger Management vs Dreadnaught
These two talents are very situational in my opinion and they depend not only on what YOU are playing, but what you are playing AGAINST. If you’re playing a melee cleave composition and you aren’t worried about breaking CC, or you’re trying to cleave more effectively, Dreadnaught takes the cake here. It has a new component that adds a seismic wave behind the target when pressed. It also interacts with Sweeping Strikes. If you Overpower and it hits another target, the wave is copied as well. This makes it extremely potent in these multi-target situations. This wave is also quite annoying at times and breaks CC. That is one of the situations in which maybe you want to look at Anger Management. If you’re playing more of a CC style composition such as Warrior/Mage or Warrior/Hunter where your win conditions rely more on landing kills during Polymorph or during Freezing Trap, you don’t want to break those. Also, some of these more setup based comps make the game last long as often you're running away or biding time waiting on your next DR. In these longer games, Anger Management gains more value. With the current pacing of the game, it’s hard to argue for Anger Management. Dreadnaught will just net you more up front damage and you likely won’t see more than a few Warbreaker burst windows a game. In more rot style compositions such as Warrior/Shadow Priest or Warrior/Lock, you don’t really need to worry about breaking anything with Dreadnaught. If you can cleave, it’s probably better. If it’s more of a single target game and you may need more Bladestorms to avoid CC, probably select Anger Management. Both of these talents are viable and good in their own way. It just depends on how you use them and you and your teams’ strategy.
I only use 6 of the available PvP talents. None of the others are worth considering in almost any situation in my opinion. Also, I play Kyrian. If you’re playing Venthyr and want to use Death Sentence, more power to you.
Sharpen Blade - I