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What Mage Spec is Top DPS and Why?

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Hello everyone,

This is my first time posting on this site, however I have used it for any information I needed about my class.

Currently I am playing as a 861 fire mage.


I am curious as what everyone else has to say about the Mage class right now. Since 7.1 is fire still the best? Has Arcane or Frost been buffed past Fire? What is everyone else's thoughts.


I raid Heroic EN right now - I am the only mage in our guild and want to make sure I am the top of my game.

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You can for the most part be either arcane or fire depending on which playstyle you are better accustomed to, however if your gear is very heavily weighted towards crit fire will always outperform arcane as crit is weighted much higher currently though they have announced potential nerfs in regard to that with fire.

Arcane has been buffed repeatedly, and looks to be possibly getting buffed again in the near future as well, Frost being almost entirely a PVP mage spec in spite of recent buffs to its output. 

In general if youre stacking mastery then crit, arcanes performance goes up, however if you have high crit but low mastery fire is youre way to go. 

there are a number of ways to go, personally i just love arcane because of the burst factor and also the fact that I got the BiS legendary for it. 

it should also be noted the BiS legend for Fire mages will be nerfed in upcoming patches and assuming you have not yet gotten a legendary that is spec dependant now is better than any time to choose your focus.

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As Rosario already posted, is that all the performance of the specs is really depending on your gear. All 3 are viable in PvE atm, if you're an excellent player. But most players started Legion with Fire and it's relatively easy to "master" especially compared to Arcane.

You can have a look at the rankings on warcraftlogs to see which specs are played and even have a look at the replay to "see" how they're playing :)

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To quantify my input, I've only played Mage as main since Legion, so as an inexperienced Mage I bow to others in that regard. However for what it is worth here is my take on my three months of being a clothy caster.

I switched to Arcane from Fire as I was having issues with movement. Pyro takes 45 minutes to charge (or so it feels) and even with Shimmer and Icy Floes I was big finding DPS gaps. Arcane allows you to almost entirely ignore the fact that you have to move as most casts are fast, especially with Quickening in T7.

It was a tough switch and at first I was really struggling as it's not as simple to play as Fire. I found I dropped about 40k for the first week or two but now I've mastered the changes, in particular mana-management, I'm carding the same or better DPS than our resident Fire Mage. Last night on HC Spider-bird-pig boss I was 20-30k above the rest of the group because I can move and DPS almost continually. I also heard that we are getting a 10% buff in the latest patch, if so 'yay'!.

If you have high level AP% buff maybe get the Arcane staff, unlock the first gold and try it out. It will either suprise you how good it is, or disappoint you enough that you'll go back to Fire. It does take time to get the burn/conserve phase balances at the sweet spot. Mythic+ timers are a pain as it's run, run, run, where you need to be drinking mana as much as you can in between, so save Shimmer to catch up with the group.

Biggest thing to bear in mind with your DPS is that it takes a good 30s to catch up to everyone else as your spend that intial time building your Arcane Charges. I've seen Mages talent in Charged Up for the 4 Arcane Charge insta-buff, but you're way better off with either of the two other talents over this.

Finally, if you invest in Resonance and the buffs on the staff your AoE can live with the best Warriors, Locks and Hunters in terms of DPS output. I think 1m-1.4m AoE DPS is acceptable in taking out mobs in Mythics.

This is only my view due to being incapable of moving a lot without some mitigation for it...I used to main a Blood DK (WotLK to WoD) and I can't remember moving...ever!! :)

Edited by Yeastcluster
Tweaked a sentence to be clearer and corrected a couple of spelling mistakes.

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