TBC Classic Arcane Mage Spec, Builds, and Talents
On this page, you will find out the best PvE talent choices and builds for your Arcane Mage in TBC Classic.
Talent Builds for Arcane Mages
Arcane Mage talents aim to maximize single target and AoE damage, as well burst damage.
If you were looking for a leveling oriented build please refer to our Mage leveling guide.
For raiding, we recommended Arcane Mages to use the standard Arcane/Frost spec, also known as "40/0/21" or "Arcane IV" (IV = Icy Veins). This spec focuses on dealing burst damage with Arcane Blast during Arcane Power and Icy Veins or Bloodlust/ Heroism. As so-called filler spell, this spec is using Frostbolt. The spec can be modified to have the Permafrost and Improved Blizzard talents for more security, but is a slight DPS loss. Another benefit of Arcane IV is that you can use Icy Veins twice, as you spec into the Cold Snap talent. Another benefit of this spec and the two possible Icy Veins is, that it can do more AoE damage, as AoE spells can also be cast faster. Overall, this leads to better AoE DPS with this spec.
Lately, attention was raised for an Arcane Fire spec by Warlocks. Arcane Fire Mages would Fireball and Scorch for their filler rotation. Their main duty would be to keep the Improved Scorch up on the target to buff the damage Fire Warlocks do. This comes at the cost of Icy Veins and Cold Snap, which is a big personal DPS loss for Arcane Mages and generally an overall raid DPS loss. Most 5- and 10-man dungeons will not have enough Warlocks in them to make the Arcane-Fire support spec worthwhile, so we do not recommend Arcane-Fire.
Important Arcane Mage Talents
Arcane Subtlety decreases the threat you do with your Arcane spells by 40% and decrease the target's resistance to all spells by 10. This talent is key, as it will make it very hard for you to pull aggro, be it with Arcane Blast, Arcane Missiles or Arcane Explosion.
Arcane Focus increases your chance to hit with Arcane spells by 10%. This allows Arcane Mages to gear for much more offensive stats than any other Mage spec in the game, as you will need only 6% more Spell Hit from buffs, enchants, and gear.
Improved Arcane Missiles makes Arcane Missiles immune to spell pushback.
Arcane Concentration gives you a 10% chance of entering a Clearcasting state after any attack goes off. This gives you an average 10% reduced Mana cost on your damaging spells. In conjunction with Arcane Potency, this also increases your chance to crit while clearcasting by 30%.
Arcane Impact gives your Arcane Blast and Arcane Explosion a 6% increased Critical Strike chance.
Arcane Meditation allows 30% of your out of combat Mana regeneration to continue while casting.
Arcane Mind increases your total Intellect by 15%, making Intellect a much stronger stat together with the Mind Mastery talent, which turns 25% of your Intellect into Spell Damage.
Presence of Mind makes your next Mage spell with a cast time of less than 10 seconds an instant spell. This can be used to instantly Polymorph enemies, or to make a damage spell instant.
Arcane Instability will make all your spells hit 3% harder and gives you a 3% higher Critical Strike chance with all spells.
Empowered Arcane Missiles makes Arcane Missiles gain 45% more damage from Spell Damage effects, but also increases its Mana cost by 6%.
Arcane Power is a damage cooldown that makes all your spells deal 30% more damage, but also increases their Mana cost by 30%. This ability lasts for 15 seconds and has a 3 minutes cooldown.
Spell Power increases the Critical Strike damage bonus of all spells by 50%, making your Arcane spells crit for 175% damage, 182% with Chaotic Skyfire Diamond, instead of 150%.
Elemental Precision increases your chance to hit with Frost spells by 3%. Frostbolt gains 6% hit from this talent, even though it is not stated in the tooltip.
Improved Frostbolt makes your filler Frostbolt cast 0.5 seconds faster. While this does not sound like much, this cast time increase equals about 20% more damage for Frostbolt.
Ice Shards combined with Spell Power makes your Frost spell Critical Strikes deal 225% damage, 236% with Chaotic Skyfire Diamond, instead of 150%.
Permafrost and Improved Blizzard are responsible for a 75% slow on Blizzard that lasts for 4.5 seconds. In addition, all your slow effects last 3 seconds longer and give a 10% increased slow effect.
Icy Veins increases your casting speed by 20% and gives you a 100% spell pushback protection for 20 seconds. Does not protect from interrupt effects or stuns.
Piercing Ice increases all Frost damage done by 6%.
Frost Channeling reduces your Frost spells' Mana cost by 15% and their threat caused by 10%, so your Frost spells do only 90% (90% = 100%-10%) threat.
Cold Snap resets the cooldown of all Frost abilities, allowing for using cooldowns Icy Veins and Summon Water Elemental or absorbing damage with Ice Barrier twice in a row. This ability comes with a 8 minutes (6.4 minutes talented) cooldown.
- 14 Jan. 2022: Removed the subpar Deep Arcane spec.
- 30 May 2021: Guide added.
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