Guide to Riftblade Warrior PVP Mechanics

1.4.1 update (2011/09/07): I haven’t had time to update this Guide as we re-rolled to another server and faction, so I leveled a new class (Cleric), but here is the 32 Riftblade / 18 Champion / 16 Paladin spec I recommend if you want an all-around good DPS, good mobility, good survivability spec. For the macros for this spec, see Section 8C. If you have strong pocket healing, replace Pally with another tree and go 2H.

This guide discusses the Riftblade-spec’d Warrior class for PVP in the new MMORPG Rift, Patch 1.2. This guide provides comprehensive written material and narrated PVP videos.

Please post your feedback, tips, and questions!

Revision History

The first version of this Guide was posted on March 20, 2011. Here is the change log for recent revisions:

  • 2011 September 7: added update note at top of Guide
  • 2011 June 8: minor updates to Section 8
  • 2011 May 18: minor updates to 8C macros, runes
  • 2011 May 15: Added new RB/Champ/Pally section 8C
  • 2011 May 13: updated for 1.2. Added new RB/VK/Pally section 8B

Table of Contents

  1. Mechanics Overview
  2. Resource Mechanics
  3. Damage Mechanics
  4. Crowd Control Mechanics
  5. Mitigation, Avoidance, CC-Counter Mechanics
  6. Blade and Avatar Mechanics
  7. Riftblade Tree Recommendations
  8. Spec Combinations
  9. Stats / Runes Recommendations
  10. Myths / Misconceptions
  11. Tips and Tactics
  12. Macro Mechanics
  13. Strafing / Movement / Keybindings
  14. Narrated PVP Videos
  15. Recent / Upcoming Patch Changes
  16. About the Author

1. Mechanics Overview

Riftblade is 1 of the 9 talent trees (“Souls”) for the Warrior class (“Calling”). For this Guide, I am assuming that Riftblade is your primary tree for investing your talent points. Telarapedia has a great writeup on the lore of Riftblade.

Strengths of Riftblade talent tree:

  • Deals non-Physical damage for many abilities, so the Armor of your target isn’t a factor. This helps all targets regardless of Armor class to feel equally squishy – only their Resistances come into play (in particular Fire and Air damage Resistance)
  • Delivers good ranged DPS capability, thanks primarily to the 3 Spear abilities, Fiery Burst, and Rift Surge
  • Provides solid damage mitigation from Avatar of Water (10% reduction, talented)
  • Has excellent mobility and counters to some CC – Riftwalk provides a gap closer and removes mobility-impairing effects and some CC effects (stun, mez, incapacitates)
  • Possesses multiple CC abilities (chain ranged snare, melee AOE snare, ranged root, ranged silence) – it is important to note that this particular strength is less important in 1.2 given the CC immunities

Weaknesses of the Riftblade talent tree:

  • Lacks debuff for healing received or healing output
  • Lacks purge (offensive dispel) capability
  • Doesn’t provide oh-crap emergency buttons for meaningfully boosting survivability
  • For damage abilities that do not have a weapon contribution component, does not scale effectively with weapon or gear

Many Riftblades play their Warrior primarily as a RDPS (Ranged DPS). While there are situations (e.g. mass PVP, outnumbered heavily, etc) that encourage fighting from ranged, if you only engage from range you will

  • Miss out on key Riftblade abilities (e.g. Rift Strike, Frost Strike, Thunder Strike, etc) that are only usable from melee range and whatever melee-oriented abilities/procs/buffs/debuffs you get from your 2nd and 3rd talent trees
  • Be unable to circle-strafe your target to take advantage of LoS

More on that in the Myths / Misconceptions section.

2. Resource Mechanics

We have two resources to manage:

  1. Power
  2. Attack Points (AtPts)

All Warriors use a “Power” mechanic, which is functionally equivalent to a WoW Rogue’s/Feral’s energy bar or WAR’s Action Points. Power starts at full @ 100, depletes as you use abilities, and regenerates at a (mostly) constant rate.

You can instantly regenerate 10 Power via crits with the Planar Blade ability.

All Warriors also share an AtPts mechanic. Some abilities generate 1 AtPt per use, up to 3 AtPts max. You can spend AtPts on various special abilities which consume all AtPts and scale based on the number of AtPts consumed.

Typically you want to build up to 3 AtPts, consume then with a special, then build back up to 3 AtPts again. In some cases, if you know you are close to finishing an opponent or need an effect proc’d (e.g. Earth Burst for the AOE snare) it’s fine to cast a special with 1-2 AtPts.

3. Damage Mechanics

As noted in the Mechanics Overview, a plus for Riftblade is the elemental-based damage for the Riftblade abilities.

Elemental Burst Abilities

All Riftblade AtPts-consuming Burst abilities can be used from range – after being cast they trigger on the next ability use. Here are the key AtPts-consuming Burst abilities

  • Fiery Burst: our bread-and-butter DoT, applyable from range
  • Earth Burst: AOE snare and interrupt for 3 targets. Sometimes worth using at 1 AtPts for the CC effects. Note that the AOE is centered around your target, so the implication is you can snare multiple targets from range
  • Storm Burst: AOE damage for up to 7 targets. The AOE is centered around your target

I find that I use Fiery Burst much more than the other two Burst abilities, primarily because it does good damage and is effective for burning single targets down. Also, when talented Freeze Armor applies a debuff that increases Fire damage taken by 20%, so Fiery Burst ticks for 20% more when the target has Freeze Armor on them.

The Enhanced Burst talent increases Elemental damage by up to 30% for 6 seconds after using a Burst ability, which is very helpful when applying pressure on a target.


Riftblade delivers a significant portion of its sustained damage from the Elemental Touch proc, which adds a flat amount of damage per ability use. For Fiery Burst, Elemental Touch applies on the 1st tick.

Single-Target Damage

Rift Surge is currently one of the spec-defining burst-damage abilities. It applies a debuff on the target that procs for damage whenever the target uses an ability. The duration of the debuff is fairly long, 15 seconds, so what you can do versus Healers and Mages is apply a 3-AtPts Rift Surge, silence the target with Windspear (or vice versa), continue to DPS to create a heal deficit, then when the target tries to cast spells after the silence wears off they self-inflict damage. Rift Surge has been nerfed in 1.1 – notably the cooldown has been increased to 30 seconds, it’s Cleansable, and it doesn’t scale as well – but it’s still worth a single talent point investment.

In many situations, you will want to apply Rift Surge first, then apply Fiery Burst while Rift Surge is on cooldown. Rift Surge has a “faster” tick rate if you cast it on classes that use instant-cast abilities.

Here’s the priority for Riftblade AtPts generating abilities:

  1. Rift Strike: hits hard, buffs Crit % by 5%, and scales with weapon damage
  2. Frost Strike: hits fairly hard, scales with weapon damage, and applies a debuff that increases the next Thunder Strike or Searing Strike to hit the target
  3. Flamespear or Searing Strike: Flamespear tends to outdamage Searing Strike during the leveling process, except right after a Frost Strike. With the introduction of a 4-sec cooldown to Flamespear in 1.1, you will likely want to put Searing Strike as part of your rotation or in macros ahead of Flamespear. Searing Strike benefits from the Frost Strike debuff as well, so those melee abilities synergize with each other

AOE Capabilities

As discussed above, both Storm Burst and Earth Burst provide AOE capability. Riftblade also has a spammable 3-hitter in Thunder Strike, but it has a high Power cost (25).

The 31-point Riftblade talent Rift Storm is a PBAOE (Point Blank AOE) that damages on up to 10 targets every second for 10 seconds. The ability has a 3-min cooldown and is useful for preventing opposing players who lack a bubble from capping a node or picking up a flag.

4. Crowd Control Mechanics

Riftblade has a lot of excellent CC tools to work with, including:

  • Freeze Armor: ranged snare
  • Stonespear: ranged 3-sec root
  • Windspear: ranged 5-sec silence
  • Earth Burst: AOE snare and interrupt
  • Riftwalk: 2-sec root

Both Spear abilities have a base 30-sec cooldown that can be reduced to 15 seconds with talents. Spears have a travel time, so they will not CC the target until they land.

Fork can be used to increase the number of targets affected by your Spears. The main issue with using Fork is simply the Power cost, as Riftblade is a Power-intensive spec.

I find that I use Earth Burst mainly for the snare effect at 1 AtPts and not for the silence, especially as you can’t see the cast bar for opponents other than your target.

Note for 1.2: with the introduction of the two categories (movement and control) for CC immunity, if you need to limit the movement of your target you should try to apply Freeze Armor first before Riftwalk’ing or Stonespear’ing.

5. Mitigation, Avoidance, CC-Counter Mechanics

With talents, Avatar of Water provides a flat 10% damage mitigation, and I use it 99% of the time in PVP over Avatar of Wind, which mainly provides a 10% speed benefit.

In terms of avoidance (i.e. not getting hit), there are only 2 Riftblade abilities:

  • Stoneshield: causes next opponent attack to miss, 30-sec cooldown. Useful for capping flags
  • Elemental Deflection: increases Parry up to 6%

The most important CC counter and gap closer that Riftblade has is Riftwalk. This awesome ability has multiple functions:

  • Closes gaps to opponents
  • Breaks the following CC effects: roots, stuns, snares, mez’s, and incapacitates. If you get CC’d and the only button which is still lit up for use is Riftwalk, hit it :). Note that you will only be able to Riftwalk to targets that you have LoS on
  • Breaks LoS temporarily (similar to WoW Rogue Shadowstep) by moving us to our target’s back

6. Blade and Avatar Mechanics

TLDR: use Storm Blade until you get Planar Blade, and use Avatar of Wind until you get Avatar of Water. From that point on, stick with Planar Blade and Avatar of Water.

All Riftblades get Storm Blade, which is a very underwhelming blade buff that adds weapon damage as a DoT on Crit.

With 26 points in Riftblade tree, you can obtain the talent ability Planar Blade, which provides 10 Power on Crit and refreshes the cooldown of Riftwalk (and VK Rift Summon). As we are often Power-starved, Planar Blade provides much-needed Power when we are bursting.

With 44 points in Riftblade tree, you get the base ability Blade of Elemental Affinity, which generates 35% of Crit damage as healing. The extent to which it is valuable has to do with how much Crit you have. My main concern with taking this ability is the addition 6-point tree investment needed over the 38 points required to get Rift Strike – those 38 are well-spent but the next 6 seem very lackluster. I’d probably take Improved Fork and Elemental Flux, which would provide a 15% chance for normal non-Crit attacks to proc the 35% heal, but remember that 35% of a non-Crit won’t be a large number. Based on my experience in warfronts, Blade of Elemental Affinity is not worth taking.

With 10 points in Riftblade tree, you get Avatar of Wind, which provides a 10% speed increase and 3% Dodge increase.

With 20 points in Riftblade tree, you get Avatar of Water, which provides 5% damage mitigation (10% talented). This is an excellent all-around mitigation ability in PVP.

With 51 points in Riftblade tree, you get Avatar of the Rift, which provides a 65% increase to the Burst abilities, swaps the overall mitigation of Avatar of Water for Physical-only mitigation, provides a static damage reflect when hit by melee, and provides limited AP scaling. To get Avatar of the Rift, you have to max every talent in the tree, forcing you to take a 2-point PVE thread reduction talent (Elemental Caress) and the underwhelming 5-pointer Static Shock.

7. Riftblade Tree Recommendations

For PVP, if Riftblade is your main tree your minimum points investment is 32, to get the ranged silence Windspear. Here is what a sample 32-point Riftblade looks like:

Notice that the 32-point tree:

  • Does not include Surging Energy, because if you do not have Rift Strike, your Crit rate against Clerics/Mages/Warriors with the PVP tree talent Resilient will likely be low single digit % so the proc rate for Surging Energy would be negligible. For the same reason, it’s the a good idea to put some points in Elemental Flux to proc Planar Blade
  • Skips the talent ability Elemental Burst, as it may not be wise to trigger an AOE snare due to the CC immunity mechanic introduced in 1.2

Depending on your other trees, it may be worthwhile to spend 6 more points to get the 38-point ability Rift Strike. For 1.2, is the base 38-point investment I recommend:

What’s excellent about the 38-point spec is that there are no craptastic talents that you are forced to take to get there – every talent provides value. There are several optional talents in this spec:

  • Burning Blood: do not take this if you have spec’d 5/5 into Resilient in Vindicator
  • Elemental Burst: provides some nice burst AOE damage and an AOE snare, although in 1.2 this will also trigger CC DR
  • Improved Fork: I personally do not take this talent, because Fork has a high Power cost. But some folks swear by it
  • Improved Riftwalk: while Crits with Planar Blade will refresh the cooldown of Riftwalk, I’ve found having the cooldown reduction to be useful, in case you end combat with Riftwalk on cooldown
  • Rift Storm: I used to spec for this but I find its usage limited by the overly-long 3-min cooldown. Useful for preventing flag pickups by the opposing team

Whatever you do, do not take Elemental Caress (PVE threat reduction) or Static Shock for a PVP spec, they’re a waste of talent points.

There is some debate about going to a 44-point investment in Riftblade to get Blade of Elemental Affinity, which provides self-healing for 35% of the damage when you Crit. The main tradeoffs for getting Blade of Elemental Affinity:

  • You give up Planar Blade, which restores 10 Power on Crit and also refreshes the cooldown on Riftwalk
  • The 6 additional points over the 38-point spec limit your options in going deeper in secondary and tertiary trees

Here’s is the 44-point investment spec I would recommend:

There is a lot of debate regarding whether Avatar of the Rift, the 51-point talent, is worth spending 51 points to get for PVP. To get to it, you have to waste 2 talent points in the threat reduction talent Elemental Caress and on the underwhelming 5-point talent Static Shock. In addition, you lose the Spell mitigation from Avatar of Water. Avatar of the Rift does certainly provide excellent burst for Burst abilities (see what I did there?).


  1. Do not put any points in Elemental Flux until you have Planar Blade or Blade of Elemental Affinity. Elemental Flux is a horrid talent at lower levels, because the damage from Storm Blade is very low, and buffing the proc rate for a low-damage ability doesn’t make sense

8. Spec Combinations

I will build out this section of the Guide over time, as I am able to try different specs.

As of Patch 1.2 and later, please see Section 8C for my current spec.

A. 1H Riftblade / Paladin

As noted in the Mechanics Overview section, Riftblade damage does not really scale much with weapon or gear. Given that, there isn’t much DPS lost when running a 1H, but there is a lot of upside when using a shield as a Pally.

In a nutshell, the Pally tree offsets some of the deficiencies with the Riftblade tree, in particular by boosting survivability and by providing an emergency oh-crap button in Touch of Life. The Riftblade/Pally combo possesses excellent CC capabilities, good damage, and good survivability.

Please note that this is also a very solid spec for PVE questing and rifting (but not instance runs). This is a very solid spec to run from levels 10-49 in warfronts. At level 50, I recommend the Riftblade / Champ / Pally spec documented below in Section 8C.

Consider what you get for your first 17 points in Pally:

  • +10% passive Block (not dispellable)
  • +5% Hit and +5% Block buff
  • +10% passive damage increase (not dispellable)
  • Ranged 3-sec stun (1-min CD)
  • 9% passive spell damage mitigation (not dispellable)
  • 25% passive chance on block to generate an AtPt (not dispellable)
  • A CC breaker, Paladin’s Devotion
  • Aggressive Block, which boosts Block by 10% for 15-sec, so you can chain the buff to keep it up
  • Block reactive ability Retaliation, which is a low-Power cost melee ability that is off the GCD and therefore provides burst
  • Castable HP buff on any friendly player
  • Passive HP self-buff
  • Melee interrupt Face Slam (6-sec CD) which is off the GCD
  • Full self-heal Touch of Life (10-min CD)
  • Ranged ability Shield Throw
  • Melee AOE ability Sweeping Strike which packs very good single-target damage

That is an excellent return on investment, and unlike some trees, many of the Pally abilities (e.g. Retaliation, Face Slam) complement not compete with the Riftblade base abilities for your GCD.

Up through level 40, here is the build I recommend: 38 Riftblade / 15 Pally / 0 VK:

You can move 3 points from Elemental Flux to Boiling Blood, depending on whether you want Power regen or the on-Melee-Crit reflect. VK is an excellent 0-pt 3rd tree, because it offers a 5% spell mitigation self-buff.

At level 41, once you are able to get the Paladin talent Paladin’s Devotion, you can re-invest the points in Steely Resolve in Small Arms Specialization.

There are many 1H different specs that are viable at 50, including the following specs. Please note that there are some minor differences in how the 38 points are allocated – either I recommend 3/5 Elemental Flux or 3/3 Boiling Blood:

  1. 38 Riftblade / 17 Pally / 11 VK: the VK tree provides an 11-pt talent called Spell Sunder, which removes 3 buffs from an opponent. This purge ability has a range of 35m and its cooldown is 15 seconds. In extended fighting against groups, Spell Sunder and Devouring Blow provide tools for debuffing and draining mana-based classes
  2. 38 Riftblade / 21 Pally / 7 Vind: the Vindicator tree provides reduction in chance to be Crit by players by 15%, 2% raid Crit increase when you block a player, a CC breaker, and the Guard ability to redirect damage from friendlies to you. The 21-pt Pally talent ability Reverent Protection is an excellent tool for capping flags and nodes under fire
  3. 38 Riftblade / 20 Pally / 8 Para: the Paragon tree offers Strike Like Iron for the controlled burst, an inexpensive but effective “follow up” attack in Rising Waterfall, 3% Crit self buff, 40 Str self buff, a block/parry reactive, and Predictable Movements to reflect melee attacks
Spammable Single-Target Attack Macro (builds AtPts)
#show Flamespear
cast Retaliation
cast Disarming Counterblow (remove this line for < 20 points in Pally cast Rift Strike)
cast Aggressive Block
cast Sweeping Strike
cast Frost Strike
cast Searing Strike
cast Discharge (remove this line for < 4 points in VK)
cast Flamespear
cast Shield Throw

I have Sweeping Strike (a Pally melee AOE ability) and Frost Strike ahead of Flamespear, as both abilities deal higher damage. Flamespear is listed after the melee abilities, for situations where I am either at range or none of the previous reactive or cooldown abilities are usable. Note that at range this macro would cast Flamespear, then Shield Throw, then Flamespear. I put Shield Throw at the end as a filler for when Flamespear is on cooldown.

The macro shows Flamespear, so that I can tell when my target is at <= 20m range (contributed by: haimeiw).

Melee AOE Macro (builds AtPts)
#show Sweeping Strike
cast Sweeping Strike
cast Thunder Strike

Note that I do not include Rift Storm or Earth Burst in this macro, as this is the macro I spam for AOE to build AtPts.

Gap Closer
#show Riftwalk
cast Riftwalk
cast Shield Charge

Note that I have Riftwalk ahead of Shield Charge, because I have found that Riftwalk is more reliable for closing gaps to opponents on a different vertical level (e.g. up on a rock). Sometimes Shield Charge won’t bring you all the way to your target because you will hit an intervening terrain.

CC Breaker
#show Break Free
cast Paladin's Devotion
cast Break Free

Note that Paladin’s Devotion is intentionally placed above Break Free. Break Free removes any CC, but it’s also on a 2-min cooldown, so if you have a CC effect that Paladin’s Devotion can remove, you’re better off using Paladint’s Devotion to remove it and save Break Free for when you really need it.

B. 1H Riftblade / Void Knight / Paladin

This is a variation of the 1H Riftblade / Paladin spec, with Void Knight replacing the Paladin tree as the secondary tree. VK has become a much more attractive tree in 1.2 with the changes to VK.

Consider what you get for your first 18 points in Void Knight:

  • A stacking buff that can provide up to +50% Strength
  • Spell Sunder, a powerful purge (offensive dispel) that removes 3 buffs from your target and has a 15-second cooldown
  • A stacking buff that can provide up to +50% Armor
  • +5% spell damage mitigation buff
  • An AtPts-consuming ability (Devouring Blow) that deals damage and drains mana
  • Hard-hitting Air-damage ranged ability Discharge
  • Passive HP buff
  • Air-damage ranged ability Spark
  • PBAOE ability Ragestorm that can hit very hard
  • A ranged mana drain Soul Pillage

Please note that all Warrior interrupts have a shared cooldown, so you can not use Face Slam and then Furious Rage. Same goes with taunts such as Shield Throw and Spark.

In 1.2 here are the specs I recommend:

  1. 32 Riftblade / 18 VK / 16 Pally: you get most of the key Pally abilities and talents including the key CC breaker Paladin’s Devotion and the passive (non-dispellable) 9% Spell damage mitigation. The physical damage mitigation provided by this build is stellar with Ravenous Defense; at 10 Pacts you will easily crack 10k armor. Melee abilities scale well with the stacking Str buff. Ragestorm hits like a truck at 10 Pacts. The main issue with this spec is Power starvation; without Rift Strike’s Crit buff, you will find that Planar Blade does not proc as often

I have experimented with going up to 25-28 points (or more) in VK, here are my comments:

  • Catalyze is an excellent 20-point root ability which provides ranged mana drain capability, and its Power cost is one-third of Soul Pillage (granted Catalyze is an AtPts-consuming ability so there is that resource cost)
  • You can increase Void’s Spell mitigation by an additional 15%. However, if Pally is your 3rd tree you may have to give up the passive 9% Spell mitigation talent Hardened Will, so you are netting a gain of +6% Spell mitigation, and keep in mind Void buff is dispellable
  • Replenish is not worth the investment in PVP – even fully talented, at 6k HP each Pact heals for a meager 18 HP
  • I was excited to try Rift Summon, but given the CC immunity sometimes this ability provides no effect
Spammable Single-Target Attack Macro (builds AtPts)
#show Flamespear
cast Retaliation
cast Aggressive Block
cast Sweeping Strike
cast Frost Strike
cast Searing Strike
cast Discharge
cast Flamespear
cast Spark

Note that Discharge is listed above Flamespear, as Discharge has a longer cooldown and more importantly hits harder. Spark is used instead of Shield Throw because Spark’s elemental damage type synergizes better with Riftblade.

The macro shows Flamespear, so that I can tell when my target is at <= 20m range (contributed by: haimeiw).

Melee AOE Macro (builds AtPts)
#show Ragestorm
cast Ragestorm
cast Airburst
cast Judgment
cast Sweeping Strike
cast Thunder Strike
Purge / Drain
#show Spell Sunder
cast Spell Sunder
cast Devouring Blow

C. 1H Riftblade / Champion / Paladin

Thanks to Vexxen on the Rift Warrior forum for proposing the 38 Riftblade / 17 Champion spec.

As of Patch 1.2, 38 Riftblade / 17 Champion / 11 Paladin spec has proven to be the most effective Riftblade-based spec (1H or 2H) for me in warfronts and in 1v1s against specs with self-healing, based on testing with various specs. Why? Lingering Wounds is the #1 asset that a Warriors brings to PVP at level 50.

While I was skeptical of pairing Champ with any spec that uses 1H or deals non-Physical damage, in actual gameplay 17-point Champion is a solid complement to Riftblade, because it addresses one of the key weaknesses: the lack of a healable debuff.

Given that this is a 1H spec, the point allocation in Champion looks different compared to typical 2H Physical damage builds, but you get a solid return on investment for your first 17 points:

  • +10% damage for AtPt-consuming abilities (“finishers”)
  • +10% Strength – a modest benefit that increases damage from melee attacks (and as a side benefit block % and block amount)
  • Increased Power regen on Crit
  • PBAOE fear bomb ability Battlefield Intimidation
  • In-combat charge ability
  • -50% healing received debuff (Lingering Wounds)
  • A reactive to counter your target’s Dodge/Parry
  • +15% increase to Crit damage (i.e. Crits deal 165% instead of 150% damage)
Spammable Single-Target Attack Macro (builds AtPts)
#show Flamespear
cast Inescapable Fury
cast Retaliation
cast Rift Strike
cast Aggressive Block
cast Frost Strike
cast Searing Strike
cast Flamespear
cast Shield Throw

I have Frost Strike ahead of Flamespear as it deals higher damage and buffs the next Searing Strike. Flamespear is listed after the melee abilities, for situations where I am either at range or none of the previous reactive or cooldown abilities are usable. Note that at range this macro would cast Flamespear, then Shield Throw, then Flamespear. I put Shield Throw at the end as a filler for when Flamespear is on cooldown.

The macro shows Flamespear, so that I can tell when my target is at <= 20m range (contributed by: haimeiw).

Gap Closer
#show Riftwalk
cast [ctrl] Riftwalk
cast Bull Rush
cast Riftwalk

Note that I have Bull Rush ahead of Riftwalk, because Riftwalk is the only CC breaker that this spec has. For situations where Bull Rush may not work (e.g. enemy is on a cliff at Codex and I am on the ground, I press Ctrl when hitting this macro to trigger Riftwalk).

9. Stats / Runes Recommendations

Dexterity = Physical Crit = Endurance > Strength > Attack Power

As stated in the Mechanics Overview, relative to other trees, many Riftblade abilities do not scale much with stats (e.g. Str, Attack Power). That is, even if you stack stats, you will see only a very modest increase to the damage of abilities such as Flamespear, Fiery Burst, and Rift Surge. Therefore you should consider stats aside from the pure damage-scaling stats Strength and Attack Power.

Keep in mind that Riftblade has nice mechanics synergy with Dexterity / Physical Crit, because Planar Blade generates 10 Power per Crit and refreshes the cooldown of Riftwalk.

If you are pairing Riftblade with a tank tree, keep in mind that your Endurance will be buffed by the tank tree’s HP passive.

You may have heard that some Riftblades are using Leather armor instead of Plate for the higher Dexterity, which provides Crit. I do not think that makes sense, given that many specs of the 3 non-Mage classes deal Physical damage. YMMV.

Recommended Runes

  • Helm: Strength +10 (Radiant Potent)
  • Shoulders: Dexterity +7/Crit +5 (Radiant Vengeful), Dexterity +10 (Radiant Deft)
  • Chest: Valor +50 (Blazing Valorous), Valor +25 (Radiant Valorous), Dexterity +10 (Radiant Deft), or Endurance +8 (Radiant Resolute)
  • Gloves: Physical Crit +11 (Radiant Steadfast)
  • Legs: Strength +10 (Radiant Potent)
  • Boots: Endurance +8 (Radiant Resolute)
  • 1H Weapon: Physical Crit +16 (Radiant Destructive) or Dexterity +10 (Blazing Dexterity)
  • 2H Weapon: Physical Crit +30 (Radiant Devastating) or Dexterity +19 (Blazing Dexterity)
  • Shield: Endurance +11 (Brilliant Enduring)
  • Ranged: Physical Crit +16 (Radiant Destructive) or Dexterity +10 (Blazing Dexterity)

Recommended Greater Planar Essences

10. Myths / Misconceptions

Riftblade is an RDPS Spec so you should avoid engaging in melee combat

This oft-used argument is very short-sighted. While Riftblade has very good ranged capability, there are many good reasons for engaging in melee combat:

  • You can LoS your target (e.g. circle strafe or run through them), which prevents your target from being able to use abilities on you / finish casting spells
  • You can use melee abilities that offer: high damage, CC, buffs, debuffs, procs, or some combination of the above
  • It prevents your target from using terrain to LoS you
  • You can interrupt multiple people trying to pick up a flag with our spammable melee AOE
  • You can pressure people in their face, which often makes them panic or unable to focus
  • You deal additional damage from auto-attacks (yes I know this is a minor benefit for Riftblade, but every little bit counts)

I don’t play my Riftblade as a RDPS with melee capability; I play my Riftblade as a MDPS with ranged capability. I have found that as I have leveled up and gained potent melee abilities (e.g. Rift Strike), I am further encouraged to engage in melee combat.

11. Tips and Tactics

  1. Make sure when traveling through Contested zones to have 2-3 AtPts at all times. This will give you options in case you engage in World PVP
  2. Because Spear abilities have a travel time, you can cast a Spear and while it is in-flight you can cast Fiery Blast, and when the Spear lands it will proc the Fiery Burst DoT
  3. You want to use Windspear (WS) against Casters/Healers aggressively, because the cooldown with talents is relatively short
  4. Stonespear (SS) is an excellent tool for rooting kiters, gapping melees, stopping flag carriers, etc. Use it to your positional advantage
  5. Even if you can’t close to melee range on a target, stay busy and use Flamespear to build up AtPts – remember AtPts is your fuel for your key DPS abilities
  6. To break a Rogue out of stealth, you can use the 1 Riftblade AOE that does not require a target: Rift Storm
  7. Not specific to Riftblade: buffs are dispelled in the order that you put them up, so apply your weaker buffs first, save the best ones for last (e.g. Planar Blade)

12. Macro Mechanics

Macros in Rift work very differently from what you may be used to from WoW. Here are the key differences:

  • There is no WoW castsequence equivalent in Rift
  • In Rift, you can put as many cast statements in a macro as you want, and Rift will cast the 1st ability that is usable (i.e. not on cooldown, conditions met, etc)

That second point has huge implications and allows you to write a “spam” macro like this:

Reactive Ability A
Reactive Ability B
Cooldown Ability C
Cooldown Ability D
Spammable Ability E

Some people have criticized Rift as being “too easy to macro” but in my opinion that is a simplistic and inaccurate point-of-view. Why? Each spec combination has a plethora of abilities to work with, combining special abilities that consume AtPts would limit control, and you generally want to carefully macro your CC and CC-counter abilities. I personally do not macro CC abilities as I believe they should be on separate keybinds for control. So while you can macro multiple abilities into one macro, you will still need to set up many macros to support all the abilities and still retain control of key cooldown and situational abilities.

Please note that if there are abilities in a macro that you do not yet have, you will see an error message when using the macro. Some folks have simply cut-and-pasted my macros without looking at what they actually do, but in my opinion you should try to understand how they work, then tweak according to your needs.

13. Strafing / Movement / Keybindings

Please see the article that provides a video Guide, screenshots, and descriptive text on how my character control is setup. That is a very complex topic unto itself.

14. Narrated PVP Videos

Below are my narrated PVP videos, in reverse chronological order (most recent first). There are points I make in each video which are timeless.

Taugrim’s Rift Warrior PVP: Volume 11: Riftblade / Paladin / Vindicator @ 50, Rank 3

Taugrim’s Rift Warrior PVP: Volume 10: Riftblade / Paladin / Vindicator @ 50, Rank 1

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 8: Riftblade / Paladin @ 42, Patch 1.1. Update

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 7: Riftblade / Paladin @ 38, Nice Try Gankers

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 6: Riftblade / Paladin @ 35

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 5: World PVP @ 29

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 4: Riftblade / Paladin @ 27

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 3: Riftblade / Paladin @ 24

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 2: Riftblade / Paladin @ 21

Taugrim’s Rift PVP: Warrior Volume 1: Riftblade / Paladin @ 15

15. Recent / Upcoming Patch Changes

Trion continues to adjust classes / trees for game balance reasons. Below is a summary of changes (documented and undocumented) for recent patches and their impacts.

Current Live Version: 1.2

My comments for changes are in italics.

Patch 1.1/1.11 Changes (1.11 Notes 4/1Official 1.1 Notes 3/29, Update 3/25 , Alpha Notes 3/23 ):

  • Earth Burst: Now properly interrupts elites and other high level mobs. Bug fix for PVE, no impact to PVP.
  • Avatar of Wind: Fixed a bug causing the tooltip of this ability to report improper values. No impact to PVP.
  • Rift Surge: Can now be removed with abilities that remove Curses. Now has a 30 second cooldown instead of 10 seconds and is adjusted by Attack Power at a slightly lower rate. This is a significant nerf for PVP. I can understand nerfing Rift Surge by either making it a 30-sec cooldown *or* making it Cleanse-able, but making it both have a 30-sec cooldown and Cleanse-able will make Rift Surge largely irrelevant if there is a skilled enemy Healer. Update #1: OK, that being said, I have found that my DPS in PVP has not dropped off as much as I was expecting. After thinking about it, I think the loss in DPS from the pre-1.1 Rift Surge is partially offset by the fact that I am using Fiery Burst instead, and as a Burst ability this procs the Enhanced Burst 30% Elemental damage increase for 6 seconds on our target.
  • Flamespear: Now has a cooldown of 6 seconds and has its damage slightly increased to reflect the longer cooldown. There was an update: Flamespear, Path of the Wind and Path of the Raptor are having their cooldown times reduced from the 6 seconds that they are on Test right now to 4 seconds. We’re satisfied for now that these changes still give Warriors ranged attack options across a few different specs. While this is a nerf, I think the introduction of a 4-sec cooldown to Flamespear seems like a reasonable change. What it means for Riftblades when fighting from range is that we’ll have to work in other ranged abilities (e.g. Spears, etc) while waiting for FS to come off cooldown. Update #1: the Trion employee Sweet acknowledged my thread that Flamespear went live with 6-sec cooldown. Update #2: per 1.11, the cooldown has been fixed to be 4 seconds, and I confirmed it’s working
  • Burning Blood: Now deals damage based on 10-30% of the character’s Strength. Moderate nerf. Having it based on the amount of damage inflicted probably created scaling issues.
  • Improved Freeze Armor: Now only affects Riftblade attacks. Bug fix, it sounds like Improved Freeze Armor was buffing non-Riftblade Fire attacks?

16. About the Author

I’ve written Guides across multiple MMORPGs, including:

  • The stickied Protection Paladin Cataclysm PVP Guide on the WoW Pally forum. During my time in Cataclysm, I was the only Prot Pally rated 2k+ in the 2v2 and 3v3 Arena brackets in my battlegroup
  • Warhammer Swordmaster and Bright Wizard Guides and videos
  • LOTRO Captain and Orc Reaver Guides and videos

I enjoying dialoguing with and helping other players – my hope is that this Guide provides value to you and enables you to improve your gameplay :)

Posted in Guide, PVP, RIFT, Video, Warrior
334 comments on “Guide to Riftblade Warrior PVP Mechanics
  1. WarGod says:

    taugrim :

    See my previous comment.
    I haven’t updated this Guide yet because I’ve been too busy bodyboarding/snorkeling/chilling in Maui.

    Ok well hurry up and get back already :) Seriously though looking forward to an update. You kinda have a following ya know.

  2. Bigboned says:

    Does Combat Precision synergize with Riftblade? I was under the impression that if Riftblade ignores armor, then this is pointless or does elemental damage only ignore so much armor?

  3. shieldslash says:

    Hey expert, I watched all your riftblade videos and they really helps in warfront, but my spec is really hard without healer. anyways thx for making the videos. My question is, when I duel clerics with the rift blade/ paladin/champion, I always lose, maybe I didn’t use the right abilities efficiently. Clerics seem to be able to grind down my life almost without getting hurt. My spec only have 2 passive heal(block/reactive) and one full heal… did you make any videos reguarding duels?? Thanks in advance… btw i’m trying out a 35 riftblade/ 31 reaver and it’s a little better coz of all the dots seem to be able to keep me alive till clerics run out of mana… but it’s such a long fight

    • taugrim says:


      shieldslash :

      My question is, when I duel clerics with the rift blade/ paladin/champion, I always lose, maybe I didn’t use the right abilities efficiently. Clerics seem to be able to grind down my life almost without getting hurt.

      If you have Lingering Wounds (requires 17 points in Champ tree) you can take down a lot of healers solo.

  4. Swarez says:

    WE need a new warrior video and new spec…..

  5. Swarez says:

    Over a week now and not a single world? Taugrim do you still even play anymore?

    • taugrim says:

      As you may know, we had a long trip to Maui and just got back recently, and between real life and some startup work I haven’t had time to update this guide yet.

      I just got back to playing RIFT the past 2 nights, and I’m trying to knock the rust off :)

  6. Swarez says:

    Are you back playing warrior or sticking to cleric?

  7. Swarez says:

    having any success with any sword and board builds?

  8. nic says:


  9. Jiiin says:

    I feel less powerful on my rift spec now that im back to playing. I hate coming late on updates but is 2h good to use instead of 1h n’ shield? I don’t want to give up my meatiness with the shield but at the same time I see my damage is crap :(

  10. Napoleon says:

    Hello Taugrim, could u plz contact me on my email address given? i rly need to ask u a couple of stuff concerning warrior rb spec! i am a big fan urs; watching ur blog since i first joined the game(a friend of mine said u are prolly the best warrior in rift and encouraged me to check on ur blog), like 3 months now and i must say i am amazed by what u doing. I have 4 rb specs in mind influenced by urs but i would like ur personal opinion mate on which one u believe is my ‘best shot’ I;d so much appreciate ur help and i am looking forward hearing from u :D Cheers!

  11. Jeff says:

    Did I mess it or is there a place on this blog where there are updated macros and soul builds for levels 30-35 (ish)?
    Thanks in advance

  12. Napoleon says:

    oh how clumsy of my taugrim i didnt notice u were gone for vacation:d Anyways i hope u had a great time there and enjoyed ur selves with ur wife:D Btw 1.4 just came out mate so could u suggest us a dynamic warrior spec or some of them if u can think of more than one:D something like rb/vk/pala it rocked in 1.3 at least for me. Also mate since u are busy could u plz tell me from these specs: 32rb/16vk/18pala, rb32/vk16/champ18, pala10-15/rb32/champ-rest is the best than these 3 i just told u?:D i would appreciate ur answer mate and a warrior update by ur hands concerning 1.4:D Love ya Taugrim! Keep up doing what u doing mate u rock:D

  13. Napoleon says:

    Hmm healers are impossible to take down for a warrior..

  14. ItsMe says:

    Can you update your 38 rb links for me, when I click em it only shows 34 in rb.


  15. Unagi says:

    Thx you for your comments about Rift patch 1.5 update. I have read your guide and found it useful in answering some of my questions. Yet I am still confused by your macro section.The macros seem to be tailored to those who have reached lvl 50. Is there a place I could go for macros which correspond to your video posts, i.e, lvls 15, 21, 24 etc. I found you as the only resource for anything Riftblade.

    • taugrim says:

      Unagi :

      The macros seem to be tailored to those who have reached lvl 50. Is there a place I could go for macros which correspond to your video posts, i.e, lvls 15, 21, 24 etc. I found you as the only resource for anything Riftblade.

      Just remove any abilities you haven’t trained yet is what I recommend you do.

  16. Jiiin says:

    Hey taugrim, i dont know if you did already, but do you have any advice for this warrior mix for 1.5? a vid would be nice, but I feel like rb isn’t even special anymore now that everyone has it mixed in their specs.

  17. bloodniron says:

    Nic :what is your strength at?

    Never end a sentence with a preposition

  18. bloodniron says:

    Okay Taugrim, I’m just about sold on RIFT. I signed up for a Trion account, and deciding how I want to subscribe. They are offering some different perks depending on which subscription plan ya choose. Some of the perks is armor. I’m wondering if it is kinda like the WoW heirlooms in that it scales with level? I don’t know…

    I’m in the dark concerning the factions and races. Are there ‘racial’ abilities similar to WoW? If so, which race(s) seem the best for PvP? Like anything else, it probably mostly depends on personal preference…

    As a musician, I noticed the Rogue calling has a Bard class. Would be cool to somehow roll a character that has some musical aspects. :-) Have you done any experimenting within this calling? I’ve never played a Rogue in WoW.

    I intend to subscribe/download this evening. All pointers are appreciated. Thinking of going to your realm/server since I have no particular place to go, and no friends in the game that I know of.

    • bloodniron says:

      I noticed in something I’m reading that you ‘unlock’ souls as you go along. So do you start with 1 calling, say, Bard, and then at a certain level you unlock another?

      • taugrim says:

        bloodniron :

        I noticed in something I’m reading that you ‘unlock’ souls as you go along. So do you start with 1 calling, say, Bard, and then at a certain level you unlock another?

        Each class has 9 souls. 3 you get for free in the starting zone. 5 you can buy from your class trainer, and 1 you buy using PVP currency.

    • taugrim says:

      bloodniron :

      Okay Taugrim, I’m just about sold on RIFT. I signed up for a Trion account, and deciding how I want to subscribe. They are offering some different perks depending on which subscription plan ya choose. Some of the perks is armor. I’m wondering if it is kinda like the WoW heirlooms in that it scales with level? I don’t know…

      The armor is cosmetic AFAIK. You want to buy the perk of free mount.

      bloodniron :

      I’m in the dark concerning the factions and races. Are there ‘racial’ abilities similar to WoW? If so, which race(s) seem the best for PvP? Like anything else, it probably mostly depends on personal preference…

      Racials in this game don’t really matter in PVP (a good thing IMO). The only race that has a situationally useful racial is Dwarf – they get a reduction to falling damage, which is hilarious in fights on mountains/cliffs.

      bloodniron :

      As a musician, I noticed the Rogue calling has a Bard class. Would be cool to somehow roll a character that has some musical aspects. :-) Have you done any experimenting within this calling? I’ve never played a Rogue in WoW.

      Rogue was the weakest calling in Patches 1.3 and 1.4, but in 1.5 Rogues are very strong.

      Bards are fun, I’ve tried it before. It’s a good fit if you are looking for a buffing/healing class.

      What I recommend if you have time is trying multiple classes, just to see how their mechanics work.

      Although even a single class like Rogue can be spec’d to be a PVE tank, PVP flag-runner, MDPS (multiple specs), RDPS (multiple specs), or support/healer.

      bloodniron :

      I intend to subscribe/download this evening. All pointers are appreciated. Thinking of going to your realm/server since I have no particular place to go, and no friends in the game that I know of.

      PST me in-game, we’d be happy to extend you an ginvite.

      Here’s what we expect of guildees, it’s pretty straightforward:
      1. own your leveling and gear – i.e. don’t expect to get “carried”
      2. no cheating/exploiting
      3. don’t be a jerk
      4. be willing to receive/give feedback in team PVP

  19. bloodniron says:

    Cool man, I’m in agreement with the rules. Just fair play/common sense (you would think).

    Printed some info about the Rogue calling, and plan to make a Bard build of some sort. Examining the other classes within the Rogue calling… Bard is a utility class with cool buffs, some healing… I want good utility, DPS and FC-type survivability for the Warfronts… But maybe I’m on the wrong track… I won’t know until I get into the game really…

    • taugrim says:

      bloodniron :

      I want good utility, DPS and FC-type survivability for the Warfronts… But maybe I’m on the wrong track… I won’t know until I get into the game really…

      Rogues are the best FCs bar none. It’s hard to be very strong at multiple things in a spec, but that’s fair for balance :)

      • bloodniron says:

        I rolled a Rogue last night, got him to level 6 I think. Bard/Riftstalker/Nightblade, but I think that I want to change that…sadly it would cost gold to change it, so I’ll likely just roll a new toon and do it the way I want this time. Don’t know what I was thinking. I think what I really want is Bard/Ranger/Marksman.

        I definitely want the Bard. Enjoy playing that already. But I think that my other two Souls need to be things that synergize well with Bard, and with my particular plans in the game. I think I want Ranger for doing ranged dps and having the pet to ‘tank’ for me at times, but for the third, I may take one of the specs that has Stealth early in the ‘roots’, like Nightblade. I think on this toon I don’t want to be melee, unless it is absolutely necessary.

        I have not found a mailbox in the game yet. I’m sure I will. I’ll see if you are on and pst ya when I can.

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  21. Dolgaris says:

    I’m currently lvl 42, my current spec is Rift/Pally/Reaver at the moment. I was wondering if Reaver would be a wise choice to bring to the table since it has added damage mitigation, passive dot buffs, and a small amount of self healing, e.g. Soul Feast. I was wondering if you have ever tried out Reaver in your builds?

    • Derek says:

      Reaver may be useful for very minimal points for the damage mitigation when below 30% health but not much beyond that. The diseases are high cost and are still draining even when reduced fully with talents. If you are going to put enough points in Reaver to use the diseases, you should just be a Reaver main.

  22. Derek says:

    I was curious, with all the changes made to warriors, I feel this guide is very outdated. The links don’t link to proper builds anymore since so many changes have been made. Is it still a bad idea to use a 2H as a Riftblade? I was playing with a build and thought a shield would be my best option. The added survivability was minimal so I tried a 2H. I noticed my attacks do massive damage if I’m wielding a 2H and I’m not sure what was changed that led to this. Any more current thoughts on the matter?

  23. Attractive part of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I get actually loved account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing in your augment or even I fulfillment you access constantly quickly.

  24. Ashun says:

    Hello Taugrim

    In the riftblade 38, paladin21, vindicator 7 you have only 34 points used in it and I dont see all 38 points in riftblade please help me. I dont know where to put the last 4 points. Thank you verry much for this build and all you do for us gamers. Ashun on Silkweb

  25. Lars J says:

    Hoi there. Just recently returned to Rift, playing my warrior. I don’t know whether you still play or not, but is it possible to post an updated spec for Rift’s current build (1.8)?

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