TBC Classic Arcane Mage Stat Priority
On this page, you will find out the optimal PvE stat priority for your Arcane Mage in TBC Classic. We first present the stat priority, before delving into more complex explanations.
Stat Priority for Arcane Mage
Stat values for Arcane Mages depend on your playstyle, boss kill times, raid setup, and support, so it is not easy to give a definite answer on this topic. The best way to find out your stat weights for a specific fight is to use Osthyvel's Mage Sim. If you do not want to go through the trouble of simming, the stat priority below has been proven to be correct for most scenarios.
- Spell Hit rating to cap. That is 76 without Inspiring Presence and Totem of Wrath, 64 with Inspiring Presence only, 39 with Totem of Wrath only and 26 with both;
- Spell Haste >= Intellect >= Spell Damage;
- Spell Crit;
Stats explained for Arcane Mage
Arcane Mages have the most complex interaction with their stats and raiding environment of all Mage specs. The benefit of each stat hugely varies with fight length, Mana support and cooldown usage. Learn more about that below.
Spell Hit rating
Arcane Blast, your main spell, gains 10% hit chance from Arcane Focus. The general aim is to be hit capped for bosses and level 73 targets (16%), so Arcane Mages need 6% hit chance from gear and buffs. On trash mobs, you are naturally hit capped versus level 70-72 targets by the Arcane Focus talent. Spell Hit rating until the cap is the best stat any Mage can get, 12.62 Spell Hit rating is required for 1% Spell Hit chance. As an Arcane Mage, it is hard to not reach the hit cap, as the Glyph of Power head enchant gives you 14 Hit rating, lowering your true cap from 76 to 62. If you use Frostbolt as a filler spell, you need 4% more hit against bosses, but as you should not cast many Frostbolts anyways, going beyond 76 Hit rating is nothing Arcane Mages generally aim for. For the deep Arcane spec, that uses Arcane Missiles as filler spell, the same requirements as for Arcane Blast apply.
Intellect >= Spell Damage
Any increase in Spell Damage increases the damage all your spells do. For the deep Arcane spec, which relies on Arcane Missiles, Spell Damage might be slightly better due to the very high Spell Damage scaling of Empowered Arcane Missiles, however that spec is inferior to the standard Arcane spec.
Intellect increases your Mana pool even further with the Arcane Mind talent, which is important as Arcane spells burn Mana very fast, and gives you Spell Damage with the Mind Mastery talent. It enhances your Mana regeneration much more than for the Frost or Fire specs, due to the Arcane Meditation talent and because you are using Mage Armor and the fact that Mana regeneration for Mages in TBC depends on Intellect and Spirit. Further, Evocation restores 60% of your maximum Mana, having a bigger Mana pool also means that you restore more Mana. The same rule applies to Mana Tide Totem of Shamans, which you may get if your healers are good on Mana.
The Arcane Mind talent also makes increased Critical Strike chance with spells from Intellect stronger. Paired with Blessing of Kings (BoK) for any Mage race, and Expansive Mind for Gnomes, the amount of Intellect needed for a 1% increased Critical Strike chance with spells, goes down from 80 to:
|No BoK||Gnome no BoK||BoK||Gnome BoK|
Of course, Intellect is not stacked on Arcane Mages only for it's Crit scaling, it is just one more useful side effect of Intellect. In short fights, having more Mana helps you to not go out of Mana and maybe, if you get Innervate, not even having to use Evocation, which means you can cast more damage spells and do not have to stand still while Evocation is channeling. A bigger Mana pool also means you can cast more Arcane Blasts before going out of Mana.
Casting 1% faster means doing 1% more damage but spending 1% more Mana. 15.77 Spell Haste rating will increase Spell Haste by 1%. At first glance, it seems only logical that casting faster, thus spending your Mana faster on a class that relies very much on Mana, is bad. However, if you take another look at it, this is not true at all. Arcane Blast has a terrible damage per Mana (DPM) conversion and the Mana pool available to Arcane Mages is limited in every fight. As a consequence, the true goal of Arcane Mages is not to spam as much Arcane Blast as possible, but to do the best damage per Mana you can. This means that you aim for ending a boss fight with 0 Mana left right as the boss dies, but having done the highest damage per Mana possible. In practice, this is hard to pull off, but Haste makes achieving this goal easier. You will finish spending all your Mana on casting your higher DPS but worse DPM spell — Arcane Blast — earlier, and then can resort into the lower DPS but higher DPM Frostbolt rotation faster. As a consequence, you will have done better DPM.
With a Shadow Priest in your group, it is very hard to reach amounts of Haste to make Frostbolt Mana negative, outside of cooldowns like Bloodlust/Bloodlust and Icy Veins.
On shorter fights, where you can not go out of Mana, Haste will make you deploy more of your massive Arcane Blast damage. Further, Haste decreases the time you need stand still, channeling Evocation, and can reduce the Global Cooldown to a minimum of 1 second, which is useful for Arcane Explosion spam. Finally, with enough Haste you can do more Arcane Blasts during Arcane Power and Bloodlust/Heroism or Icy Veins. When using Spell Haste gear and cooldowns, make sure your Arcane Blast cast time does not go below 1 second, or you will do less DPS.
Please do not confuse Spell Haste rating with Haste Rating. Haste Rating does nothing for spells, therefore items like Haste Potion do not work for spells. Spells explicitly need Spell Haste Rating.
In the Arcane spec, Arcane spell Critical Strikes will 182% damage with the Spell Power talent and Chaotic Skyfire Diamond, and 175% without the Meta gem. For Arcane spells, Crit rating therefore has a worse scaling than for for all other Mage spells in Frost and Fire specs. Frost spell crits do 236% damage with the Chaotic Skyfire Diamond and the Ice Shards / Spell Power talents. They deal 225% damage with both talents and without the Skyfire Diamond so Frost spells benefit a lot from Critical Strike chance, however these are only your filler spells.
Another factor that speaks against Critical Strike rating is that you need 22.08 rating to increase your Critical Strike chance by 1%. This makes Critical Strike chance the most "expensive" stat in terms of item budget. As a consequence, Arcane Mages only gear for Crit, if there is no alternative to it.
Spirit increases your Mana regeneration more than any other stat, and with Arcane Meditation and Mage Armor, 60% of your total Mana regeneration continue while casting, which is very good for a spec that consumes Mana faster than any other spec. The value of this stat is not fixed and depends mostly on what raid support you will have. If you are lucky and your healers use Super Mana Potions and Dark Rune or Demonic Rune (which they should), they might spare you an Innervate. The regeneration Innervate provides can be massive and if healers are fine with Mana, this cooldown should always be turned into damage by Arcane Mages. Another spell that increases the value of Spirit is Improved Divine Spirit, as it turns 10% of your Spirit into the Spell Damage, so 1 Spirit = 0.1 Spell Damage.
Both, Innervate ("vate") and Improved Divine Spirit (IDS) can make Spirit more powerful than Critical Strike rating and they have a stronger effect on Human Mages, because of the The Human Spirit racial.
Outside of these raid buffs, Spirit also increases your Mana regeneration while drinking or running.
Stamina increases your Health, which makes you more likely to survive, if you get damaged. The rule is simple: Stamina is no stat you should actively gear for, but it never hurts to have some. Arcane Mages typically have enough Stamina on their gear anyways. For High King Maulgar in Gruul's Lair, one Mage needs enough Stamina to reach 10.000 health, in order to tank one boss.
MP5 — Mana per 5 Seconds
This stat regenerates a fixed amount of Mana every 5 seconds. As Arcane Mages can always use for more Mana, this stat is not bad, but since it is rare to get without dropping more important stats, it only has a niche use.
- 14 Jan. 2022: Updated Spell Haste, Intellect, and Spell Damage info.
- 15 Oct. 2021: Updated Global Cooldown info to fit the current 1s GCD.
- 13 Aug. 2021: Updated Haste info.
- 30 May 2021: Guide added.
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