Arcane Mage DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (WoD 6.0.3)

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Arcane Mage Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Arcane Mages in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.3. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Arcane Mage guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by an Arcane Mage theorycrafter and SimulationCraft developer, who wishes to remain anonymous.

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Mage Transition Guide!

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Evanesce Blazing Speed Ice Floes
30 Alter Time Flameglow Ice Barrier
45 Ring of Frost Ice Ward Frostjaw
60 Greater Invisibility Cauterize Cold Snap
75 Nether Tempest Unstable Magic Supernova
90 Mirror Image Rune of Power Incanter's Flow
100 Overpowered Prismatic Crystal Arcane Orb
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  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

Talents can easily be changed, thanks to Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind. You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 Talents↑top

Tier 1 talents have been designed with mobility and survival in mind. You have the choice between:

  • Evanesce Icon Evanesce, which replaces Ice Block Icon Ice Block and causes you to avoid all attacks against you (on a 45-second cooldown);
  • Blazing Speed Icon Blazing Speed, which suppresses slowing effects and increases your movement speed by 150% for 1.5 seconds (on a 25-second cooldown);
  • Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes, which allows you to cast a spell while moving (the spell has 3 charges, with a recharge time of 20 seconds).

Evanesce Icon Evanesce works in a similar way to Deterrence Icon Deterrence. You should use it for boss fights where there are attacks that need to be avoided by players (such as AoE attacks from the boss). You can also use it to help your healers, if they have problems dealing with particularly damaging boss abilities. This talent should also protect you from most environment damage (void zones, fire walls, etc.). It only has a 45-second cooldown, which means that you can use it very often, and you can even reset its cooldown with Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap (one of the possible Tier 4 talents). The main downside is that choosing Evanesce replaces Ice Block Icon Ice Block, because Ice Block works on everything that Evanesce works on, but the opposite is not true.

If you decide to go for a movement-enhancing talent, Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes is the better choice, as Arcane Mages need to channel Evocation Icon Evocation and usually spend a lot more time than Fire and Frost Mages on cast-time spells.

3. Tier 2 Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents have been designed with survivability in mind.

  • Alter Time Icon Alter Time returns you to your current location with your current health after 10 seconds or when you cast Alter Time for a second time.
  • Flameglow Icon Flameglow grants you a passive shield that always absorbs a bit of the damage you receive.
  • Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier absorbs a quantity of damage (the absorption effect scales with Spell Power) and prevents spellcasting from being delayed, while active.

Alter Time Icon Alter Time is the default choice here. You can use it to heal yourself back to full health after a particularly damaging attack, saving your healers' Mana. It is off the global cooldown, which means that casting Alter Time does not result in a DPS loss. Also, you can use Alter Time for mobility (which directly translates into more DPS), for example when you need to go a certain location to hit something or dodge an ability, before coming back to your original location. Finally, unlike in Mists of Pandaria, Alter Time does not affect Mana, which means that Arcane Mages can no longer take advantage of it to restore Mana.

Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier is useful when you need the extra life it provides to survive an attack that would otherwise kill you.

Flameglow Icon Flameglow is not as powerful as Alter Time or Ice Barrier, but it provides its shield passively and you only need 16 damage events in 25 seconds for it to beat Ice Barrier in terms of overall damage reduction.

4. Tier 3 Talents↑top

Tier 3 talents have been designed with crowd control in mind. Whichever talent you choose depends on the encounter, but we think that these talents are mostly for PvP and are most often irrelevant in PvE. You have the choice between:

  • Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost, which summons a 10-yard ring that lasts for 10 seconds and that freezes, for 10 seconds, enemies entering it (up to a maximum of 10 enemies);
  • Ice Ward Icon Ice Ward, which causes all enemies within 10 yards of a friendly target to become frozen for 5 seconds when the target is struck;
  • Frostjaw Icon Frostjaw, which silences and freezes the target in place for 8 seconds.

5. Tier 4 Talents↑top

Tier 4 talents have been designed with survival in mind. You have the choice between:

  • Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility, which improves and replaces Invisibility Icon Invisibility, giving it an instant effect and making you take 90% less damage while Invisibility is active (and for 3 seconds after coming out of Invisibility);
  • Cauterize Icon Cauterize, which causes an attack that would otherwise kill you to instead bring you to 35% of your maximum health, after which you will burn for 28% of your maximum health over 6 seconds (effect cannot occur more than once every 2 minutes);
  • Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap, which finishes the cooldown of your Ice Block Icon Ice Block (or Evanesce Icon Evanesce, if you chose it as your Tier 1 talent), Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind, and Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova while also restoring 22% of your maximum health.

Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility and Cauterize Icon Cauterize are your two options, here. Whichever you will choose mostly comes down to personal preferences, but Cauterize is easier to use, as it triggers its effect passively, unlike Greater Invisibility, which requires a bit of planning to use effectively.

Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility is a great damage mitigation tool, which you can also use to remove DoTs and effects.

Cauterize Icon Cauterize can be used to maximise your DPS by standing still instead of moving away to avoid a damaging boss ability. You can also simply consider it as an extra life for whenever you mess up. Remember to follow it up with Ice Block Icon Ice Block or Evanesce Icon Evanesce (which does not remove the DoT, but helps avoiding a few ticks), if you feel that your healers will not manage to heal the DoT that Cauterize leaves on you (it hits pretty hard).

Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap can be a small DPS gain, because it can reset the cooldown of Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind, allowing you to use it twice in a row for a short burst of damage. You can also consider for its ability to reset Ice Block Icon Ice Block's cooldown, allowing you to use it twice in a row or a lot more often than its 6-minute cooldown would otherwise let you. This is very situational (especially if you use Evanesce Icon Evanesce as your Tier 1 talent) and rarely useful.

6. Tier 5 Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents provide you with abilities that focus on multiple-target damage.

  • Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest deals damage over 12 seconds to the targeted enemy and enemies within 10 yards. The damage is increased by 50% for each Arcane Charge Icon Arcane Charge you had at cast time. Also, you can only apply Nether Tempest to a one target. It is worth noting that the target on which Nether Tempest is applied to takes damage twice with every tick, once from the single-target component of the spell and once from the AoE effect.
  • Unstable Magic Icon Unstable Magic gives your Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast a 15% chance to explode on impact, dealing an additional 50% damage to the target and to all other enemies within 8 yards.
  • Supernova Icon Supernova can be cast on an ally or an enemy target. In both cases, it deals damage to all enemies within 8 yards, also knocking them upwards. If cast on an enemy, this enemy will take 100% increased damage from Supernova (compared to the nearby enemies). Supernova replaces Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova and has 2 charges, with a recharge time of 25 seconds.

For single-target situations, all 3 talents are very close in value. Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest and Supernova Icon Supernova are both instant casts, so they provide more mobility than Unstable Magic Icon Unstable Magic, which requires you to cast a lot of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blasts, but has the advantage of being passive.

For multiple-target situations, Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest is the talent of choice when you need to deal sustained damage, while Supernova Icon Supernova is better when you need burst damage. Supernova can also be used to interrupt spellcasting from adds.

7. Tier 6 Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents are damage-increasing talents.

  • Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image creates 3 copies of your Mage that cast Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast at your target. The copies disappear after 40 seconds.
  • Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power summons a rune that causes you, when standing within 8 yards of it, to deal 15% increased spell damage. The rune lasts for 3 minutes and you can have 2 runes up at one time.
  • Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow passively increases your damage done. It follows a 10-second cycle, during which the damage increase changes every second: 4%, 8%, 12%, 16%, 20%, 20%, 16%, 12%, 8%, 4%.

Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is the default talent in this tier.

Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow is a viable alternative for encounters with movement, when it gets hard to stay in the proximity of your Rune of Power.

Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image is not very good, because the images are not affected by Mastery: Mana Adept Icon Mastery: Mana Adept and Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power.

8. Tier 7 Talents↑top

Tier 7 talents give you performance enhancing abilities or effects.

  • Overpowered Icon Overpowered causes Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles to extend Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power by 2 seconds.
  • Prismatic Crystal Icon Prismatic Crystal conjures a crystal at your location that only you can attack. The crystal lasts for 12 seconds. Every time it takes damage from you, it amplifies that damage by 30% before spreading it evenly between all enemies within 8 yards.
  • Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb launches a damaging arcane orb that travels forward from your position for 40 yards. When cast and every time it deals damage, it grants you an Arcane Charge Icon Arcane Charge.

All three talents are very well balanced in single-target situations, so the choice here will mostly be based on what you prefer to play. Overpowered Icon Overpowered increases the duration of Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power, while Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb acts as a simple Arcane Charge Icon Arcane Charge builder that does low damage. Prismatic Crystal Icon Prismatic Crystal has a much higher skill requirement than the other two talents, but it has the benefit of synchronising perfectly with Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power, making it the talent of choice when burst damage is required. See the cooldowns section on the rotation page for more information.

At Mythic gear levels, Overpowered Icon Overpowered is ahead for single-target situations.

For AoE situations, Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb is the preferred talent.

9. Major Glyphs↑top

None of your major glyphs will be mandatory. Some will increase your DPS in very specific situations, others will improve your survivability or make some spells more useful.

DPS-increasing glyphs are listed below.

  • Glyph of Arcane Power Icon Glyph of Arcane Power doubles the cooldown and duration of Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power and is very useful when a fight requires increased damage for 30-second periods or when a fight has phases where you deal increased damage that sync with the extended cooldown/duration of Arcane Power.
  • Glyph of Arcane Explosion Icon Glyph of Arcane Explosion increases the radius of Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion by 5 yards. It can be useful in AoE situations with a large number of enemies that are not stacking.
  • Glyph of Cone of Cold Icon Glyph of Cone of Cold increases the damage of Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold by 200%. This can be extremely useful for dealing with adds that will live for a very short time.

The other potentially useful major glyphs are listed below.

  • Glyph of Blink Icon Glyph of Blink increases the distance you travel with Blink Icon Blink by 8 yards. It is mutually exclusive with Glyph of Rapid Displacement Icon Glyph of Rapid Displacement.
  • Glyph of Rapid Displacement Icon Glyph of Rapid Displacement causes Blink Icon Blink to now have two charges, on a 15-second recharge time. This is an extremely beneficial glyph, because it basically allows you to use Blink Icon Blink twice in a row. The downside is that Blink Icon Blink no longer frees you from stuns and bonds. This glyph is mutually exclusive with Glyph of Blink Icon Glyph of Blink.
  • Glyph of Counterspell Icon Glyph of Counterspell grants the ability to cast Counterspell Icon Counterspell while channeling or casting another spell, at the expense of increasing its cooldown by 4 seconds. This glyph will be beneficial every time you will be on interrupt duty.
  • Glyph of Ice Block Icon Glyph of Ice Block causes Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova to be automatically cast, at no Mana cost, when Ice Block Icon Ice Block terminates, after which time you are granted a 3-second immunity against all spells. This is the best defensive ability you can get as a mage, because the 3-second immunity works on practically everything in the game. Note that Glyph of Ice Block does not trigger Supernova Icon Supernova.
  • Glyph of Regenerative Ice Icon Glyph of Regenerative Ice provides a nice heal during Ice Block Icon Ice Block, up to 40% of your maximum health if you remain encased for the whole duration.
  • Glyph of Remove Curse Icon Glyph of Remove Curse is a nice glyph to have in a fight where you must use Remove Curse Icon Remove Curse. That said, the temporary damage boost it provides does not compensate for the global cooldown it costs to cast Remove Curse.
  • Glyph of Slow Icon Glyph of Slow causes Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast to apply Slow Icon Slow on your target.

10. Minor Glyphs↑top

Glyph of Momentum Icon Glyph of Momentum is the only useful minor glyph. It allows you to blink in the direction where you are going. It can be very useful if you are moving sideways and want to keep facing the boss.

11. Changelog↑top

  • 16 Nov. 2014: Added Level 100 talents.
  • 22 Oct. 2014: Nuanced explanations for choosing your Tier 5 talent in multiple-target situations.