TBC Classic Arcane Mage Spec, Builds, and Talents

Last updated on Jan 14, 2022 at 22:31 by Wrdlbrmpft 10 comments

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.


Leveling Builds

If you were looking for a leveling oriented build please refer to our Mage leveling guide.


Talent Build

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 IconArcane Blast during Arcane Power IconArcane Power and Icy Veins IconIcy Veins or Bloodlust IconBloodlust/ Heroism IconHeroism. As so-called filler spell, this spec is using Frostbolt IconFrostbolt. The spec can be modified to have the Permafrost IconPermafrost and Improved Blizzard IconImproved 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 IconCold 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 IconFireball and Scorch IconScorch for their filler rotation. Their main duty would be to keep the Improved Scorch IconImproved Scorch up on the target to buff the damage Fire Warlocks do. This comes at the cost of Icy Veins IconIcy Veins and Cold Snap IconCold 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 Tree

Arcane Subtlety IconArcane 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 IconArcane Blast, Arcane Missiles IconArcane Missiles or Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion.

Arcane Focus IconArcane 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 IconImproved Arcane Missiles makes Arcane Missiles IconArcane Missiles immune to spell pushback.

Arcane Concentration IconArcane 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 IconArcane Potency, this also increases your chance to crit while clearcasting by 30%.

Arcane Impact IconArcane Impact gives your Arcane Blast IconArcane Blast and Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion a 6% increased Critical Strike chance.

Arcane Meditation IconArcane Meditation allows 30% of your out of combat Mana regeneration to continue while casting.

Arcane Mind IconArcane Mind increases your total Intellect by 15%, making Intellect a much stronger stat together with the Mind Mastery IconMind Mastery talent, which turns 25% of your Intellect into Spell Damage.

Presence of Mind IconPresence 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 IconPolymorph enemies, or to make a damage spell instant.

Arcane Instability IconArcane Instability will make all your spells hit 3% harder and gives you a 3% higher Critical Strike chance with all spells.

Empowered Arcane Missiles IconEmpowered Arcane Missiles makes Arcane Missiles IconArcane Missiles gain 45% more damage from Spell Damage effects, but also increases its Mana cost by 6%.

Arcane Power IconArcane 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 IconSpell 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 Icon Chaotic Skyfire Diamond, instead of 150%.


Frost Tree

Elemental Precision IconElemental Precision increases your chance to hit with Frost spells by 3%. Frostbolt IconFrostbolt gains 6% hit from this talent, even though it is not stated in the tooltip.

Improved Frostbolt IconImproved Frostbolt makes your filler Frostbolt IconFrostbolt 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 IconIce Shards combined with Spell Power IconSpell Power makes your Frost spell Critical Strikes deal 225% damage, 236% with Chaotic Skyfire Diamond Icon Chaotic Skyfire Diamond, instead of 150%.

Permafrost IconPermafrost and Improved Blizzard IconImproved Blizzard are responsible for a 75% slow on Blizzard IconBlizzard 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 IconIcy 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 IconPiercing Ice increases all Frost damage done by 6%.

Frost Channeling IconFrost 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 IconCold Snap resets the cooldown of all Frost abilities, allowing for using cooldowns Icy Veins IconIcy Veins and Summon Water Elemental IconSummon Water Elemental or absorbing damage with Ice Barrier IconIce 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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