Home World of Warcraft Classes Arcane Mage 9.0.5 Guide

Arcane Mage in Shadowlands

Welcome to the Overgear guide on the Mage’s “Arcane” spec! This guide will show you all the intricacies of the spec in various aspects of the game and teach you how to survive even the toughest Shadowlands challenges. You’ll learn which talents to use, how to equip your character, and which covenant to choose. In each section you will find answers to these and many other questions.

“Arcane” Mage — one of three specializations of a mage that uses powerful constant spells in combat. Its distinctive features are: strong burst and reliance on mana.

This guide will teach you how to use your abilities in any situation, correctly utilize bursts, control your mana, and which talents, covenants, soulbinds, and conduits to choose in order to achieve the best possible result. In each section you will find answers to these and many other questions.

“Arcane” Mage is the only spec that uses mana as a primary resource. Aside from mana it has a second important resource — Arcane Charges. The more charges you have, the more damage your spells deal, but they also cost more mana. Gameplay boils down to balancing between increasing damage and conserving mana.

Pros:

  • Strong burst damage
  • High mobility
  • High survivability

Cons:

  • Low cleave damage
  • Relies on cooldowns on single target
  • During AoE cannot prioritize the right target

About the author

Askhay. Completed the current raid content since patch 7.3. Starting with 8.2 holds a spot on top-100. During the second half of BfA got interested in M+ content — earned 5684 RIO.

Main Abilities

Talents

General information. On reaching several levels, you will open new Talent tiers. In each tier, you can choose one Talent at a time. Talents can affect your abilities in different ways: add new ones, replace old ones, passively modify various effects and spells. You can change Talents while you’re in Sanctums or in rest areas, but if there are no such places nearby, you can use Tome of the Tranquil Mind, which allows you to change Talents within a minute. Note that Talents can’t be changed in combat. Also, if a Talent selected in a certain tier is on CD, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it.  

Tier 1 — 15 lvl. Talents that affect DPS

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* By default — Amplification.
Arcane Familiar — choice for constant AoE.
Rule of Threes is not used

Tier 2 — 25 lvl. Mobility talents

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* Master of Time for additional survivability.
Shimmer for encounters where movement is not frequent, but over long distances.
Slipstream for encounters that require a lot of movement.

Tier 3 — 30 lvl. Talents that affect DPS

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  • Incanter’s Flow — while in combat, grants you 4% damage increase that scales up to 20% and then diminishes back to 4%, cycling every 10 sec.
  • Focus Magic — increases your ally’s crit chance by 5% for 30 min. When they score a critical, your Intellect and crit chance increase by 5%.
  • Rune of Power — places a Rune of Power on the ground for 12 sec which increases your spell damage by 40% while you stand within 8 yds. 1.5 sec cast time, CD 45 sec.
    Arcane Power” will also create a Rune of Power at your location.

* By default — Rune of Power.
Incanter’s Flow if you can’t stay in the Rune of Power at all times. Choice for free roam.
Focus Magic is not used.

Tier 4 — 35 lvl. Talents that affect DPS

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  • Resonance — “Arcane Barrage” deals 15% increased damage per target it hits.
  • Arcane Echo — direct damage you deal to enemies affected by “Touch of the Magi” causes an explosion that deals Arcane damage to 8 nearby enemies.
  • Nether Tempest — places a Nether Tempest on the target that deals DoT to that target and all nearby enemies within a 10 yds radius. Limit 1 target. Deals reduced damage to secondary targets. Damage increased by 60% per Arcane Charge. 

*Resonance best choice for dungeons and encounters with constant AoE.
Arcane Echo best choice for ST encounters and/or passive cleave.
Nether Tempest is not used.

Tier 5 — 40 lvl. Control

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  • Chrono Shift Arcane Barrage slows enemies by 50% and increases your movement speed by 50% for 5 sec.
  • Ice WardFrost Nova now has 2 charges.
  • Ring of Frost — summons a Ring of Frost in the area for 10 sec. Enemies entering the ring are incapacitated for 10 sec. Limit 10 targets. When the incapacitate expires, enemies are slowed by 65% for 4 sec. CD 45 sec.

* Chrono Shift is the default choice since it greatly improves mobility.
Ring of Frost and Ice Ward are situational. Don’t forget them as they sometimes might come in handy.

Tier 6 — 45 lvl. Talents that affect DPS

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  • Reverberate — if “Arcane Explosion” hits 3 or more targets, it has a 50% chance to generate an extra Arcane Charge..
  • Arcane Orb — launch an orb that travels in a straight line up to 40 yds and deals Arcane damage to all enemies it passes through. Grants 1 Arcane Charge when cast and additional charges per enemy hit. CD 20 sec.
  • Supernova — deals damage to enemies within 8 yds of a chosen enemy or ally and tosses them into the air. A primary enemy target will take 100% increased damage.

* By default — Arcane Orb for most encounters.
Reverberate for encounters with constant AoE.
Supernova is not used.

Tier 7 — 50 lvl. Talents that affect DPS

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* By default — Overpowered.
At the moment, Time Anomaly and Enlightened are not powerful enough.

Here are your common builds:

ST:

  1. Amplification
  2. Shimmer or Slipstream
  3. Rune of Power
  4. Arcane Echo
  5. Chrono Shift
  6. Arcane Orb
  7. Overpowered

M+:

  1. Amplification
  2. Shimmer or Slipstream
  3. Rune of Power
  4. Resonance
  5. Chrono Shift
  6. Arcane Orb
  7. Overpowered

Constant AoE:

  1. Arcane Familiar
  2. Shimmer or Slipstream
  3. Rune of Power
  4. Resonance
  5. Chrono Shift
  6. Reverberate
  7. Overpowered

     

    Covenants

ST: Night Fae = Venthyr = Necrolord = Kyrian


AoE / Mythic+: Night Fae > Necrolord > Venthyr > Kyrian (ability is not used in AoE)

Night Fae

Shifting Power — deals damage to enemies in a 18 yds area around you for 4 sec. While channeling, reduces your cooldowns by 10 sec. CD 1 min.

Soulshape — teleports you 15 yds forward, turning you into a Vulpin for 12 sec. While in this form, your movement speed is increased by 50% and reapplying Soulshape teleports you again. Transformation cooldown is 1.5 min, teleportation cooldown — 3 sec. 

Venthyr

Mirrors of Torment — conjures 3 mirrors on the enemy. Each mirror deals damage, reduces movement and cast speed by 15%, and grants Clearcasting each time the enemy attacks or casts a spell. This effect cannot be triggered more often than once per 6 sec. CD 1.5 min
Door of Shadows — after a 1.5 sec cast, teleports you to a chosen position. CD 1 min.

Necrolord

Deathborne — increases spell damage by 15% and your “Arcane Blast” can now hit up to 2 enemies near the target for 25 sec. CD 3 min.

Fleshcraft — while channeling for 4 sec, creates a shield equal to 20% of your max HP. Casting near a corpse strengthens the shield by 50%.

Kyrian

Radiant Spark — deals DoT for 10 sec. Each subsequent cast deals 10% more damage than the previous one (up to 40%). CD 30 sec.
Summon Steward — gives 3 Phial of Serenity that restore 20% HP and remove all Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects. CD 5 min.

Soulbinds

Best Soulbinds: For single-target always choose Niya. For AoE/Mythic+ up to Renown lvl 22 — Dreamweaver. After 22 — Korayn.

Kyrian

Pelagos

Combat MeditationRadiant Spark increases Mastery for 10 sec and occasionally expels Sorrowful Memories. Walking through Sorrowful Memories extends this effect by 3 sec. CD 1 min.

Kleia

Pointed Courage — increases crit chance by 1% for every ally or enemy within 10 yds, up to 5%.


Mikanikos

Bron’s Call to Action — summons Bron after casting 90 spells.

Hammer of Genesis — damaging a new enemy grants you 3% Haste, up to 15%.

 

Venthyr

Nadjia the Mistblade

Thrill Seeker — while in combat, increases Haste by 2% every 2 seconds, up to 20%. Killing an enemy grants you 4 stacks. These stacks decay rapidly out of combat.
Dauntless Duelist — marks the first enemy damaged by you in combat. You deal 4% more damage to them and they deal 2% less damage to you.
Exacting Preparation — the benefits from food and enchants are increased by 20%.

 

Theotar the Mad Duke

Soothing Shade — abilities have a chance to create a zone that increases your Mastery by 525.
Wasteland ProprietyMirrors of Torment now grants 6% Versatility to you and 3% Versatility to your allies.
Refined Palate — combat potions last for 100-200% longer.

 

General Draven

Built for War — while you are above 80% health, your Intellect increases by 1% every 3 sec, up to 4% total. If you fall below 50% health, this effect is lost.

Night Fae

Niya

Grove Invigoration — healing or dealing damage has a chance to grant you a stack of “Redirected Anima” that increases your maximum health by 1% and your Mastery by 31 for each stack. “Shifting Power” grants you 8 stacks.

Niya’s Tools: Burrs — your attacks and spells have a chance to toss burrs that hit the first target in front of you, inflicting damage and slowing it by 20%.

 

Dreamweaver

Field of Blossoms — activating “Shifting Power” creates a field of flowers at your feet for 15 sec that increase your Haste by 12% while standing in it. CD 1 min.

Social Butterfly — when at least 2 allies are nearby, your Versatility increases by 3% for 5 sec. When this expires, 2 nearby allies gain 33% of this effect for 5 sec before passing it back to you.

Korayn

Wild Hunt Tactics — your damage to targets above 75% health is increased by 10%. Triggering this effect grants you 10% increased movement speed for 5 sec.

First Strike — damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your crit chance by 25% for 5 sec.

Necrolord

Plague Deviser Marileth:

Plaguey’s Preemptive Strike — your first attack on the enemy increases your damage done to them by 10% for 10 sec. Limit 1 target.

Emeni

Embody the Construct — activating “Deathborne” boosts your Intellect by 5% and up to 4 nearby allies’ primary stat for 30 sec. You gain 2% additional Intellect for each affected ally.


Gnashing Chompers — killing an enemy increases your Haste by 1% up to 5% for 20 sec.

Bonesmith Heirmir
Heirmir’s Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone — after landing 10 critical strikes, you gain 18% increased crit chance for 20 sec. CD 1 min

Best soulbinds for single target:

Night Fae:

Niya or Korayn

Venthyr:

Always Nadjia

Kyrian:

Always Pelagos

Necrolord:

Always Emeni

Best soulbinds for AoE / M+:

Night Fae:

Niya until Korayn is unlocked, Korayn afterwards

Venthyr:

Nadjia until General Draven is unlocked, General Draven afterwards

Kyrian:

Pelagos or Kleia with Pointed Courage talent, if it’s possible to maintain it constantly. 

Necrolord:

Always Emeni

Where there are several options, your choice should be dependent on your character and it’s best to simulate them yourself.

Conduits

There are three types of conduits:

  • Potency Conduit — improves your character’s efficiency in their main role.
  • Endurance Conduit —  improves survivability.
  • Finesse Conduit — enhances utility abilities.

Potency

ST:

  1. Magi’s Brand
  2. Ire of the Ascended
  3. Arcane Prodigy
  4. Siphoned Malice / Discipline of the Grove 
  5. Nether Precision
  6. Gift of the Lich
  7. Artifice of the Archmage

AoE/M+:

  1. Artifice of the Archmage
  2. Siphoned Malice / Discipline of the Grove
  3. Magi’s Brand
  4. Gift of the Lich / Ire of the Ascended
  5. Arcane Prodigy
  6. Nether Precision


Arcane Prodigy — every activation of Arcane Missiles with “Clearcasting” effect reduces “Arcane Power” cooldown.

Magi’s Brand — “Touch of the Magi” accumulates more damage.

Nether Precision — consuming “Clearcasting” increases the damage of your next 2 “Arcane Blasts”.

Artifice of the ArchmageArcane Barrage has a chance to grant 2 Arcane Charges.

Ire of the AscendedRadiant Spark increases your spell damage by an additional 2%.

Siphoned Malice — Each time a “Mirrors of Torment” is consumed your spell damage is increased by 10%, up to 30%.

Discipline of the Grove — decreases activation time of “Shifting Power”.

Gift of the Lich — duration of “Deathborne” is increased by 6 sec.

Endurance:

Cryo-Freeze — you heal while “Ice Block” is active.

Diverted Energy — when “Prismatic Barrier” fades, you heal for a percentage of the absorbed damage.

 

Tempest Barrier — grants a shield after casting “Blink” for 15 sec.

Finesse:

Flow of Time — reduces “Blink” cooldown.

Incantation of Swiftness — “Greater Invisibility” increases your movement speed for 6 sec.

Winter’s Protection — reduces “Ice Block” cooldown.

Grounding Surge — reduces “Counterspell” cooldown.

Legendaries

A total of 16 legendaries are available to the “Arcane” mage

Best Legendary effects:

ST (Raid):

  1. Arcane Harmony
  2. Temporal Warp

AoE/M+:

  1. Arcane Bombardment
  2. Siphon Storm
  3. Temporal Warp


Arcane BombardmentArcane Barrage deals an additional 130% damage against targets below 35% health. Best effect for M+, average for raids.


Arcane Harmony — Each time Arcane Missiles hits an enemy, the damage of your next  Arcane Barrage is increased by 7%. This effect stacks up to 15 times.
One of the best effects for raids.


Temporal Warp — allows you to use Time Warp while you have “Temporal Displacement” or other similar effects.

The most versatile effect, ideal for raids.

Siphon StormEvocation grants 1 Arcane Charge, and while channeling Evocation, your Intellect is increased by 2% every 1 sec. Lasts 30 sec.

Best effect for ST, average for AoE

Rotation

“Arcane” mage rotation consists of realizing a burst of “Arcane Power”, mini bursts of “Touch of the Magi”, and “Rune of Power”, Presence of Mind, your covenant ability and full mana burn during “Evocation” cooldown. The rest of the gameplay is mana conservation.

Bursts and Mini bursts:

Used only when mana is at 50% or higher (90% or higher if you have the Enlightened talent). Arcane Power, with Overpowered talent, at 30% mana or higher.

Touch of the Magi should be under the influence of Rune of Power talent, if it’s chosen.

The following should be used during the entire duration of Arcane Power, Touch of the Magi, and Rune of Power talent (if selected):

ST

  1. Arcane Missiles with Clearcasting effect
  2. Arcane Blast with 4 Arcane Charges.
  3. Radiant Spark, if your covenant is Kyrian. Only 4 charge Arcane Blast is used under this effect.
    – If Arcane Echo talent is selected, only Arcane Missiles are used while under the effect of Touch of the Magi.
    Presence of Mind is used approximately 3 seconds before the end of duration of Touch of the Magi. If Arcane Echo talent is selected, approximately 3 seconds before the end of duration of Arcane Power, if Rune of Power talent is also selected, approximately 3 seconds before the end of its duration, activated by Arcane Power.

Conserve between bursts:

  1. Nether Tempest with 4 Arcane Charges and if its duration is less than 4 sec, if this talent is selected
  2. Arcane Missiles with Clearcasting effect
  3. Arcane Barrage with 4 Arcane Charges
  4. Arcane Orb with <3 Arcane Charges, if the talent is selected
  5. Supernova, if the talent is selected

In AoE 3+ targets there’s no difference between burst and conserve phases:

  1. Arcane Barrage with 4 Arcane Charges
  2. Arcane Orb, with <3 Arcane Charges, if the talent is selected
  3. Arcane Explosion

If you’re using the Arcane Harmony legendary effect, then Arcane Missiles with Clearcasting effect are used  on <7 targets.

If you are Necrolord with Deathborne effect, then with <5 targets use only Arcane Blast with 4 Arcane Charges.

If your covenant is Venthyr, then Mirrors of Torment is used only before Arcane Power.

If your covenant is Night Fae, then Shifting Power usage is as follows:

ST Openers, depending on the Covenant and whether you have Rune of Power

ST with Rune of Power:

  1. Arcane Blast, 2 sec before a pull
  2. Arcane Orb, if the talent is selected
  3. Arcane Blast up to 4 Arcane Charges
  4. Nether Tempest, if the talent is selected
  5. Radiant Spark, if you are Kyrian or Deathborne, if you are Necrolord
  6. Mana Gem
  7. Rune of Power
  8. Arcane Missiles, if Clearcasting stacks are >2.
  9. Arcane Blast until the end of duration of Rune of Power or Deathborne.
  10. Nether Tempest, if the talent is selected
  11. Mirrors of Torment, if you are Venthyr
  12. Touch of the Magi
  13. Arcane Power
  14. ST Burst rotation
  15. Evocation, when you’re out of mana
  16. Shifting Power, if you are Night Fae

ST without Rune of Power:

Kyrian covenant:

  1. Arcane Blast, 2 sec before a pull
  2. Radiant Spark
  3. Touch of the Magi
  4. Arcane Power
  5. ST Burst rotation
  6. Rune of Power after Arcane Power ends
  7. Mana Gem
  8. Arcane Blast

Any other Covenant:

  1. Arcane Blast, 2 sec before a pull
  2. Touch of the Magi
  3. Arcane Power
  4. ST Burst rotation
  5. Rune of Power after Arcane Power ends
  6. Mana Gem
  7. Arcane Blast
  8. Evocation, when you’re out of mana

Mana Gem are used anytime during a battle, using all 3 during a battle is preferable. Don’t use gems if you have 90% mana or more.

Choosing a race

race

Horde — ST:

  1. Orc
  2. Troll
  3. Nightborne / Pandaren
  4. Any other
  5. Vulpera

Horde — AoE / M+:

  1. Goblin / Orc / Troll
  2. Nightborne / Pandaren
  3. Blood elf
  4. Highmountain Tauren/ Mag’Har
  5. Zandalari (Pa’Ku)
  6. Any other
  7. Vulpera

Alliance — ST:

  1. Dark Iron Dwarf
  2. Mechagnome
  3. Draenei / Gnome / Void Elf / Pandaren
  4. Any other

Alliance — AoE / M+:

  1. Gnome / Mechagnome
  2. Dark Iron Dwarf / Lightforged Draenei / Human
  3. Void Elf
  4. Draenei
  5. Pandaren
  6. Any other

Stats

Basic stat priority looks like this:

Intellect > Mastery >= Crit > Versatility >= Haste

Mastery of this speciality increases total mana and its regeneration. Arcane Charges additionally increase the damage of Arcane Blast and Arcane Barrage. Increases arcane magic damage.

After upgrading your gear, it’s highly recommended to use Simcraft or Raidbots.com. There is nothing more accurate than simulations to tell you which of the stats you should look at first.

Based on the priorities above and simulations of your character you can choose gems, enchants, and consumables.

Gems

Enchants

Food

Flasks and Pots

Oils

Shadowcore Oil

BiS Gear and Trinkets

BiS list contains the best equipment for every slot, providing a combination that will result in the best stats for maximum DPS.

Will be available later

Trinket Rating

trink

Macros

Casts Ice Block at any time and allows its cancellation without GCD.

#showtooltip Ice Block

/stopcasting

/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast Ice Block

For those who don’t want to accidentally cancel it, use two macros instead:

#showtooltip Ice Block
/stopcasting
/cast Ice Block

and

#showtooltip Ice Block
/cancelaura Ice Block

Remove Curse on cursor>target>self

/use [@mouseover,help,nodead][@target,help,nodead][@player] Remove Curse;


Counterspell on cursor>focus>target.
#showtooltip Counterspell

/use [@mouseover,,harm,exists, nodead][@focus,exists, harm, nodead][@target, harm, nodead] Counterspell

Spellsteal with the same priority:
/use [@mouseover,,harm,exists, nodead][@focus,exists, harm, nodead][@target, harm, nodead] Spellsteal

Conjuring and deleting Mana Gems (initially, you can’t create new ones until you use or delete the old ones):

/run for bag = 0,4,1 do for slot = 1, 34, 1 do local name = GetContainerItemLink(bag,slot); if name and string.find(name,”Mana Gem”) then PickupContainerItem(bag,slot); DeleteCursorItem(); end; end; end /cast Conjure Mana Gem

Addons:

Comfortable play in any PvE content requires the use of the following addons:
BigWigs (+Little Wigs for dungeons) or DBM — ability timers for mobs and bosses.
WeakAuras — the most important and flexible addon for any PvE player, that includes additional timers for enemies and the ability to track class mechanics (https://wago.io/shadowlands-weakauras/classes/mage/fire).
Addons that change/improve the UI, since most players are tired of the clunky default UI. Examples: ElvUI / Bartender / Shadow Unit Frame
Details — DPS/HPS meter, detailed logs for deaths/buffs/debuffs.

SimulationCraft — addon for simulating your character on raidbots, so you always know exactly what’s best for your build. 

PRO Tips

Never cast “Mirror Image” for additional DPS, since it’s a powerful defensive ability.

BUG! If you are using Arcane Missiles in succession, try using the following arrows between the last two ticks of the current cast, then the next first arrow will deal 2x damage.


In M+ try coordinating with your tank to maximize your strongest CDs and bursts.

In M+ you can use “Polymorph” to draw aggro on yourself and allow allies to pass through certain areas, then drop it with “Greater Invisibility”.

In M+ you can aggro a pack of enemies, lure them away and, depending on the situation, either cast “Frost Nova” or “Ring of Frost” for control, or just move to a safer distance allowing allies to pass, then use “Invisibility” to drop aggro. You can also survive in “Ice Block”, then use “Greater Invisibility” or get killed and respawn.

Ice Block” drops aggro only while active, so if you’re using it for this purpose, don’t cancel right away, allowing your tank to draw aggro on themselves.

If possible, coordinate with your teammates regarding interrupts of buffs or purge, since there are some useful effects that you can get via “Spellsteal”.

By using  “Arcane Barrage” from a great distance and then immediately using “Greater Invisibility, you can evade raid bosses who can’t be evaded due to their mechanics (for example, static bosses), if it’s necessary before a normal pull.

For a more accurate information on simulations at the moment, use one of the following:
https://www.herodamage.com/mage/
https://bfa.bloodmallet.com/index.html#mage_arcane
https://cteer458.github.io/mage-sims/
https://www.raidbots.com/simbot

That’s the end of this guide on “Arcane” Mage. Good luck in Shadowlands!

 

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