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The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for warriors in Cataclysm

Zach Yonzon

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

I tried to get this whole guide done before the Cataclysm broke out. I failed. Now that the expansion's out, we're running a bit behind, so we'll hop right to it. Today we'll look at warriors, those bruisers in plate, who get a wonderful boost in PvP with some basic abilities being usable in multiple stances. In Cataclysm, each warrior spec plays differently from one another -- even fury from arms -- which is a great change for flavor and playstyle. Arms warriors play like disciplined martialists who conserve rage and use it at strategic times while fury warriors are like berserkers who thrive on generating loads of fury and getting enraged; protection has always had a different feel.

Arms warrior PvP
- It shouldn't be any surprise that there are a bunch of really good PvP talents in the tree that has Mortal Strike as its specialization. It's a different game, though, and Mortal Strike effects have been nerfed considerably. With the projected long combat at level 85, reduction to healing at 10 percent will have moderate impact. Let's have a look at what arms has got ...

  • Field Dressing - Every class now has some form of self-healing, and warriors have more than a few, this talent comes in handy. It even works with bandages, although for some reason it isn't considered a self-heal and only gets a 6 percent bonus. Consider using Glyph of Victory Rush (major), which is great for leveling, but should also get you ready for your next opponent on the battlefield.
  • Blitz - Because you'll always use Charge in PvP, why not get bonus rage and stun more enemies? Sort of a no-brainer.
  • Second Wind - One of the niftiest PvP talents in the tree, Second Wind has always allowed warriors to weather stuns better than other classes. Although the stun lock no longer exists as we know it, this talent should come in pretty handy when stuns do happen. This also benefits from Field Dressing.
  • Drums of War - Such an awesome talent to have, despite the low, 10 rage cost of Pummel and Shield Bash, both of which can now be used in Battle Stance. That's so stupidly good, it made warriors cry happy tears. Never mind that you'll have to swap out into a shield for Shield Bash, I'm sure there are macros for that. But this talent guarantees that you'll never miss out on an interrupt because of lack of rage. There's also the bonus of free shouts, so you can cast Intimidating Shout for that emergency peel even when you're low on rage (and isn't that when it's an emergency?).
  • Deep Wounds - I like bleed effects. I consider them to be great for PvP because they're just so darned hard to get rid of, and you'll need as much as you can to pour damage on in the high stamina environment. This also works well for PvP because critical strike chance is no longer reduced by resilience, so you'll actually have this proc a fair amount. Pick up Blood Frenzy while you're at it.
  • Improved Hamstring - This turns Hamstring into a guaranteed root every 30 seconds, which is better than a chance to proc a root. Just remember that it only roots after the second application of Hamstring, which means you'll need to have Hamstring already applied on the target.
  • Deadly Calm - It's frightening to imagine a warrior in Deadly Calm. You can basically picture it as a warrior entering some zen state about to open a can of whoop-ass. That's 10 seconds of rage-free carnage. I'm a big fan of one point activated abilities, mostly because it brings encourages strategic play, but in this case there's so much flavor because you become a killing machine who's not striking things out of anger. It's just business. Deadly Calm doesn't trigger the GCD. Enjoy.
  • Juggernaut and Throwdown - Charge usable in combat? Yes, please. The critical strike chance bonus is just gravy. Then there's Throwdown, which you can think of as the warrior version of Hammer of Justice. It's only usable in melee range, but it has a shorter 45 second cooldown and has a knockdown animation. The latter is important because players can't actually do anything while knocked down, which means a few seconds of not being able to trinket.
  • Sudden Death - It's not a big percentage, but a chance to reset the cooldown of the new, sexy Colossus Smash is pretty good. It's weak compared to the old version that allowed Execute to be used willy-nilly, but still not a bad talent to have.
Fury warrior PvP - Fury warriors play a lot more recklessly than their arms counterparts. While arms warriors necessarily play with a little more control and strategy, fury plays more like a beatdown spec that keeps on coming. Several talents in the tree contribute to a playstyle that encourages bearing down on opponents relentlessly, sometimes at the expense of your health. Fortunately, fury's specialization ability is Bloodthirst, which grants a small healing bonus, so the spec demands a balance between dishing damage and taking it.
  • Blood Craze - You will take damage, and you will want to heal. It's a bit expensive at three points, but it's a passive health gain that will proc quite a lot in the battlegrounds.
  • Battle Trance - Something nice for everybody. It's a decent proc to get a special attack free of rage. Rage depletes a lot faster than, say, mana, which makes practically all talents that cut down on rage cost pretty good.
  • Rude Interruption - You'll be interrupting spells, anyway, so put two points into a talent that makes the most out of it.
  • Piercing Howl - AoE snare without a cooldown (only limited by your rage generation) screams PvP. It's one point. Pick it up.
  • Die by the Sword - Arguably a worthless talent for PvP considering it only really helps against other melee classes and won't even help when you're crowd controlled, but there's something to be said for another layer of survivability. Perhaps not a must-have talent, but fury warriors can sometimes go down in health fairly quickly with talents like Death Wish (although glyphing with Glyph of Death Wish is a good option for PvP).
  • Heroic Fury - Excellent PvP ability on a relatively short cooldown for a mere one point. The only catch with this talent is that it only clears roots, and not snares, making it less useful than it seems at first glance. You'll want it for the ability to use Intercept twice as often. You can also activate Glyph of Intercept (major) to add 1 second to Intercept's stun duration.
  • Furious Attacks - There are several drawbacks to this talent -- first of all, it isn't a guaranteed proc. Second, it only procs off autoattacks, which you'll use less frequently in PvP. Third, the healing debuff, as mentioned for Mortal Strike, is a mere 10 percent, which won't be a game-changer in the long combat of Cataclysm. But it's cheap at one point, and that debuff, however nerfed, will still come in handy.
  • Intensify Rage - Probably my favorite PvP talent in the tree because it shaves the cooldown off three important PvP abilities. In particular, this talent means you can pop Berserker Rage every 24 seconds, making you virtually immune to most crowd control half the time.
  • Skirmisher - Did I say Intercept half the time? I'm sorry. I meant Intercept at will. This talent brings down Intercept's cooldown even further by a whopping 10 seconds. This talent exemplifies fury's beatdown characteristic the best and makes fury warriors just a little bit harder to kite.

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