Warrior PVP – Basic theory, talents and essential macros

I’ve not posted anything here over the last several weeks and the reasons for that are mainly that any half coherent thoughts I have I spew on twitter and anything else that I am doing, I feel other bloggers are covering much better. The reason I am not posting is that I’m not really seeing a reason to post. That changed today.

One of my friends is leveling a warrior for PvP and was looking for tips. Naturally, I launched more advice at him than even an exceptionally good-natured person can tolerate with a smile. I do this with the full awareness that the way I do things is likely not optimal and probably not thought out as well as it can be. Yet my enjoyment of the class leads me to babble about it.

I shall attempt to put some of my thoughts down here in the hope that they benefit some fledgling brethren in plate. I remember when I first started PvP on my warrior – it seemed like it was all I could do to keep my head above water.

People new to PvP can feel overwhelmed

If I see this post get interest I’ll try and expand upon it in future.

As a disclaimer, I am not a highly ranked arena gladiator, nor am I a rated battleground god. I’m just a guy who loves to PvP and is always trying to improve. It is my hope that constructive feedback (bitching?) in the comments will help me as much as this post helps warriors completely new to PvP.

What manner of beastie are ye?

As a PvP warrior doing arenas, you’re going to want a DPS spec. I’ve never played Fury though I hear it can be a lot of fun. With the recent nerf to Fury in PvP whereby the second weapon’s PvP power is no longer going to apply, one huge benefits of Fury gearing gets neutered. So where arena is concerned, I’d recommend Arms and that is what I will go over.

If you’re doing rated battlegrounds or even random battlegrounds, you’d be doing  yourself a huge disservice by not having your Prot spec (and gear) in order. This is because Protection spec warriors are fantastic flag carriers or even solo base defenders. You won’t put out much damage but you will be a royal pain in the ass to kill. Played well you can solo defend a base long enough to call out “INCs” and prevent it from capping until reinforcements arrive. Played poorly or for the wrong purpose (prot warrior trying to mount an assault) you’ll be miserable.

What I do is pick my spec after zoning in. If there is someone else who wants to flag carry, I’ll go arms. If there is no flag carrier, I’ll switch to prot.

How talented are you?

Talents are for the most part fairly subjective though I do have some recommendations.

Here is what I use.

I like shorter cooldowns.


In the first tier, our options are Juggernaut, Double Time and Warbringer. I personally am a big fan of Double Time though I can see where the other two can be useful. One of the things that I love about my warrior is the wicked mobility and for me that moves Double Time to the head of the pack. That said, I’ve been up against warriors with Warbringer in arenas and it can be very powerful.

In the second tier, our options are Enraged Regeneration, Second Wind and Impending Victory. Second Wind is very powerful and automatically kicks in when you need it most. I love it. The time when my health is low is typically when I’ll hit my SnB macro and Shield Wall or use Die by the Sword so having powerful healing going off then is super useful.

In the third tier we have Staggering Shout, Piercing Howl and Disrupting Shout. Since enemy healers, warlocks, shadow priests, boomkin and mages are all annoying pests, I prefer the latter to shut them up and buy some time to get them into execute (gib) range.

The fourth tier brings some delicious options. Bladestorm, Shockwave and Dragon Roar. All delightful and thoroughly entertaining to use. Having tried them all, I’ve decided on Shockwave. A 3 second AoE cone stun on a 20 second cooldown is extremely potent. Especially where there is several targets in combat with you. The key to using it well is to learn how to position yourself to hit the maximum number of targets. Seasoned prot warriors shuffle backwards in their sleep.

The fifth tier brings us Mass Spell Reflection, Safeguard and Vigilance. Vigilance is fairly useless for most PvP situations as taunt doesn’t do much except annoy hunters and warlocks. I’ve not really tried Mass Spell Reflection though against a caster heavy team it could be pretty useful. I’m using safeguard because I like to use it to break snares on myself and take some pressure off healers. Bonus points if you manage to Safeguard + Spell Reflect a Chaos Bolt aimed at a healer or team mate who was about to go splat.

Finally in the sixth tier, you have Avatar, Bloodbath and Storm Bolt. Avatar is an extremely powerful ability and you’d be well advised to use it for that initial burst in arena. When tanking it can serve as a useful CD as well, that extra rage can be used for more active mitigation. I happen to do 2s with an extremely competent DK who blows up things merely by looking at them. For that reason, I am currently using Storm Bolt. A ranged stun+interrupt can be very handy. I am also a sucker for short CDs and abhor 3 minute cooldowns as then I just sit on those abilities and never use them.

For glyphs, I consider the Glyph of Gag Order (soon to be nerfed to not silence on Heroic Throw)  and Death From Above essential, everything else is up to you.

Watch your posture

The adage “A dead player does no dps” applies to PvP as well. As a warrior, we have an amazing option in Defensive Stance to reduce the amount of damage we take at all times. I like to switch to it as soon as someone starts beating on me and I switch back to Battle Stance if I’m trying to peel or blow someone up who is not targeting me.

If I am really getting banged up on by melee, and if Die by the Sword is on cooldown, I’ll hit my Sword n Board macro to bring up my 1H weapon + shield. It greatly reduces the damage I do but also reduces the damage I do take and opens up the use of instant spell reflect and Shield Wall.


Tips and Useful Macros

Now that we have equipment sets built into the game, you can do some cool things with them. You can use macros to switch weapons while in combat. For warriors this is great, we can use macros to switch between 1H+shield and 2H weapons. There is a little bit of setup required though. You need to make equipment sets for your weapons. Unlike your typical equipment set, these sets should be configured to ignore all slots other than your main/off-hand slots.

My Sword’n’Board or SnB set – equipping this only changes my weapons

I have a similar set called 2H that contains my 2H weapon.

Spell Reflect macro

#showtooltip spell reflection
/equipset SnB
/cast Spell Reflection

This macro will immediately equip my SnB set and then cast Spell Reflection. Since a gearswitch incurs a GCD, you need to spam this macro when you need a spell reflect. :)

Sword’n’Board + Stance change macro

/equipset [stance:1] SnB; 2H
/cast [stance:1] Defensive Stance; Battle Stance

This macro equips my SnB if I am in Battle Stance and then puts me in Defensive Stance. If I am in Defensive Stance, it equips my 2H weapon and puts me in Battle Stance.

I play with my raid frames up so a lot of other stuff is handled via keybinds and mousebinds in Vuhdo.

In my next post on Warrior PvP I intend to go over situational use of abilities, cooldowns, tactics and follow up on any discussion generated in the comments here.


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