WotLK Classic Arcane Mage Guide

Last updated on Jan 10, 2024 at 00:27 by Wrdlbrmpft 3 comments

Welcome to our Arcane Mage guide for WotLK Classic, tailored for PvE content. Here, you will learn how all you need to know to play Arcane Mage proficiently. Click the links below to navigate the guide or read this page for a short introduction.



Arcane Mage is the best Mage specialization when it comes to doing as much single target DPS as possible, in as little time as possible. With their strong buffs like Icy Veins IconIcy Veins and Arcane Power IconArcane Power, they can deal immense damage in a short amount of time. Arcane Mage focuses on a playstyle revolving around ABC (Always Be Casting), movement, raid support, crowd control, and Mana management. Arcane Mage empowers their raid with the raid-wide Arcane Empowerment IconArcane Empowerment buff, making them an easy pick for group play.

Furthermore, Arcane Mage can do respectable damage with very little gear, as they only need 8% (or 7% as an Alliance player with the Draenei buff Heroic Presence IconHeroic Presence) Hit Rating from their equipment. For PVP players, however, Frost is the preferred talent specialization, as it offers more survivability and crowd control while dealing respectable burst damage. Once you've reached Tier 8 content (Ulduar and beyond), the gear from raids has better stats, with most fights becoming more complex than just patchwork-style single-target fights. Due to this, Fire Mage catches up in raid performance from this point on and outshines Arcane.

Nevertheless, you should play the Mage specialization that you enjoy the most, and that is most compatible with your raid. See our PVE and PVP ranking pages for more detailed information on which Mage specialization is strongest in which phase of WotLK:


Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Best and most controllable burst damage of all Mage specs.
  • +Low threat.
  • +Less gear dependent than other specs due to lower Hit requirement.
  • +Fun to play.
X Weaknesses
  • -Gets weaker the longer a fight goes on.
  • -No fixed rotation.
  • -Worse AoE damage than Fire.

Best Races for Arcane Mage

For the Alliance, Human is the best choice for PvP with Perception IconPerception and Will to Survive IconWill to Survive. For PvE, the decision making is not as easy. Draenei comes with an extra 1% Hit for the whole group from Heroic Presence IconHeroic Presence (even in a raid, only the group in which the Draenei is in will affected, not the whole raid) and the self-heal Gift of the Naaru IconGift of the Naaru. However, the value of the Hit buff disappears as soon as there is another Draenei in your group. The buff applies for both physical and magic attacks, and it's the reason why Draenei is the strongest PvE race for Mage, closely followed by Gnomes with their Expansive Mind IconExpansive Mind.

Horde players want to choose Troll as their preferred PvE Mage race, because Berserking IconBerserking and Da Voodoo Shuffle IconDa Voodoo Shuffle are very strong racial traits. Undead rule the arenas and battlegrounds with Will of the Forsaken IconWill of the Forsaken and Cannibalize IconCannibalize.





Just as Undead, Draenei have a slightly higher resistance to Shadow damage. Their Gemcutting IconGemcutting ability increases their Jewelcrafting skill. The two most important racial traits are Heroic Presence IconHeroic Presence and Gift of the Naaru IconGift of the Naaru. Heroic Presence increases the Hit chance of players grouped with you, and Gift of the Naaru is a heal-over-time that scales with your level, usually used in niche situations such as healing while running away from enemies.

  • Shadow Resistance IconShadow Resistance — Chance to be hit by Shadow spells decreased by 2%.
  • Gemcutting IconGemcutting — Jewelcrafting skill increased by 5.
  • Heroic Presence IconHeroic Presence — Increases chance to hit by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards.
  • Gift of the Naaru IconGift of the Naaru — Gift of the Naaru is a heal that scales with your level and will heal your target over the course of 15 seconds.


Perception IconPerception is a very strong passive ability, detecting any stealth class around you, giving you a massive advantage in PvP. While The Human Spirit IconThe Human Spirit isn't great for Mage, it's better than nothing. Diplomacy IconDiplomacy is useful any time you do a reputation grind and Will to Survive IconWill to Survive can be very strong in PvE and PvP. The combination of Perception and Will to Survive make Human a very good race for PvPers.

  • Perception IconPerception — Increases stealth detection. Passive ability.
  • The Human Spirit IconThe Human Spirit — Spirit increased by 3%.
  • Diplomacy IconDiplomacy — Reputation gains increased by 10%.
  • Will to Survive IconWill to Survive — Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character.


Gnome is very strong for PvE due to their Intellect boost from Expansive Mind IconExpansive Mind, providing a useful buff to all three Mage specs, especially for Arcane. Escape Artist IconEscape Artist is a very strong racial trait for both PvP and PvE, as it is instant in WotLK and on a low 1.75-minute cooldown. The extra Arcane Resistance IconArcane Resistance helps in a few PvE situations. The bonus to Engineering is just as handy as any other races' profession bonuses.




Blood Elf

Mana Tap IconMana Tap and Arcane Torrent IconArcane Torrent restore Mana and also grant Mage a 2 second AoE silence, which can be used as an emergency Counterspell IconCounterspell. The additional Magic Resistance IconMagic Resistance decrease magic damage taken slightly and as Arcane beings, Blood Elves have increased Enchanting skill.

  • Magic Resistance IconMagic Resistance — Chance to be hit with spells decreased by 2%.
  • Arcane Affinity IconArcane Affinity — Enchanting skill increased by 10.
  • Arcane Torrent IconArcane Torrent — Silences all mobs within 8 yards of you for 2 seconds and grants 6% of your base Mana.


Trolls are the best PvE Horde race for Mage. The passive damage increase to beasts is nice to have while leveling and farming beasts, but the real deal is the increased cast speed from Berserking IconBerserking. This ability lets you cast 20% faster for 10 seconds. Further, Trolls are able to generate small amounts of Health during combat, an ability no other race has. Da Voodoo Shuffle IconDa Voodoo Shuffle reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%.

  • Berserking IconBerserking — Increases your casting and attack speed by 20%. Lasts 10 seconds.
  • Beast Slaying IconBeast Slaying — Damage dealt versus Beasts increased by 5%.
  • Regeneration IconRegeneration — Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle IconDa Voodoo Shuffle — Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%.


The racial traits of Undead are most the powerful in PvP combat, but also have niche uses in PvE. Undead can cancel Charm, Fear and Sleep effects. When combined with Ice Block IconIce Block, this is a very strong ability. The Undead hunger for fresh bodies lets them feast on their enemies' corpses, restoring Health very quickly. Being able to breathe three times longer underwater than any other race, Undead do not need to fear from drowning while doing underwater farming or questing, and Undead are more resistant to Shadow damage.

  • Will of the Forsaken IconWill of the Forsaken — Removes any Charm, Fear, or Sleep effect.
  • Cannibalize IconCannibalize — When activated, regenerates 7% of total Health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
  • Underwater Breathing IconUnderwater Breathing — Underwater breath lasts 233% longer than normal.
  • Shadow Resistance IconShadow Resistance — Chance to be hit with shadow spells decreased by 2%.

Best Professions for Arcane Mage

Engineering is simply the best profession. Explosives, such as Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bomb and Global Thermal Sapper Charge Icon Global Thermal Sapper Charge, deal a huge amount of extra damage and can be woven into your normal rotation. Engineering also offers access to several best in slot enchants, pre-raid best in slot items, such as Visage Liquification Goggles Icon Visage Liquification Goggles, and the Zapthrottle Mote Extractor Icon Zapthrottle Mote Extractor, used for farming Eternals such as Eternal Water Icon Eternal Water.

Tailoring gives access to several strong Tailoring items, such as Ebonweave Robe Icon Ebonweave Robe. Most noteworthy, however, are the best in slot enchants Tailoring offers, which make Tailoring the second best profession for Mage. The Lightweave Embroidery IconLightweave Embroidery is the best cloak enchant available, and Sanctified Spellthread IconSanctified Spellthread is extremely valuable, as it is exclusively for tailors and costs only one Eternium Thread Icon Eternium Thread to make. Further, Tailoring offers Epic flying carpets, such as Magnificent Flying Carpet Icon Magnificent Flying Carpet and allows you to craft several good Bind on Equip items throughout the expansion, like Merlin's Robe Icon Merlin's Robe.

All of the other Professions are not considered best in slot, but the power gap between Tailoring and these is not as extreme as it would be between Engineering and any other profession. Most other professions provide almost equal bonuses. All the same, we recommend learning Engineering and Tailoring.

While Jewelcrafting offers more flexibility with Hit Rating, from 3x Rigid Dragon's Eye Icon Rigid Dragon's Eyes providing 42 more Hit rating than 3x Rigid King's Amber Icon Rigid King's Amber, this is more impactful for Fire Mage than for Arcane, as the hit requirements for Arcane is low anyways. Nevertheless, using those gems might enable you to use stronger non-hit raid items. For only one Arctic Fur Icon Arctic Fur per application, Leatherworking provides different Fur Linings, such as Fur Lining - Frost Resist IconFur Lining - Frost Resist or Fur Lining - Spell Power IconFur Lining - Spell Power, which can be applied and changed dynamically between encounters. However, this is considered a niche use of this profession. The list below shows you the bonuses each profession can give:


Best Mage Macros and Addons

Using macros and addons makes your life significantly easier when playing Wrath Classic, and they can improve your experience a lot, depending on how skilled you are at customizing them.

If you are interested in learning more about addons and macros suited to Mage, check out our guides below:


  • 10 Jan. 2024 (gear page): Updated for The Ruby Sanctum
  • 09 Oct. 2023 (pre-raid gear page): Added more Scourgestone Loot after Blizzard's recent changes.
  • 13 Sep. 2023 (pre-raid gear page): Updated for Phase 4.
  • 13 Sep. 2023 (gear page): Updated for Phase 4.
  • 04 Jul. 2023 (this page): Made a few changes for the page to be more in line with other class guides.
  • 27 Jun. 2023 (enchants page): Rephrased and added more detailed information.
  • 16 Jun. 2023 (pre-raid gear page): Updated Sidereal Essence Cost.
  • 05 May 2023 (pre-raid gear page): Added P3 pre raid BIS lists.
  • 05 May 2023 (gear page): Added preliminary P3 BIS lists.
  • 03 May 2023 (pre-raid gear page): Changed the layout of the page.
  • 03 May 2023 (gear page): Changed the layout of the page.
  • 18 Jan. 2023 (talents page): Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
  • 18 Jan. 2023 (this page): Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
  • 06 Jan. 2023 (pre-raid gear page): Added Phase 2 specific information.
  • 06 Jan. 2023 (gear page): Added Phase 2 specific information.
  • 06 Jan. 2023 (enchants page): Added Phase 2 specific information.
  • 06 Jan. 2023 (stats page): Added link to the Mage Sim guide.
  • 06 Jan. 2023 (rotation page): Added Phase 2 specific information.
  • 06 Jan. 2023 (spells page): Added more detailed info about Mirror Images.
  • 16 Oct. 2022 (gear page): Fixed some wrong drop locations.
  • 16 Oct. 2022 (this page): Updated Racials.
  • 06 Oct. 2022 (stats page): Fixed hit tables not displaying information depending on spec.
  • 06 Oct. 2022 (rotation page): Added more info to Flamestrike stacking.
  • 03 Oct. 2022 (pre-raid gear page): Added information about 2pc T5.
  • 03 Oct. 2022 (enchants page): Fixed some macro errors.
  • 03 Oct. 2022 (rotation page): Fixed some macro errors.
  • 01 Oct. 2022 (pre-raid gear page): Fixed a wand.
  • 20 Sep. 2022 (this page): Updated Racials.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (pre-raid gear page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (gear page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (enchants page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (stats page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (rotation page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (talents page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (spells page): Page added.
  • 14 Sep. 2022 (this page): Page added.
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