WotLK Classic Arcane Mage Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs
On this page, you will find out the best PvE talent choices and builds for your Arcane Mage in WotLK Classic, as well as advised glyphs.
Best Talent Build for Arcane Mages
Arcane Mage talents aim to maximize single-target and AoE damage, as well as 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 56/3/12 "Arcane IV" spec. This spec focuses on dealing burst damage with Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles during Arcane Power, Icy Veins, and Bloodlust/ Heroism. The spec can be modified to have the Permafrost and Improved Blizzard talents for more security, but is a slight DPS loss. Further, points can be shifted from the Arcane talents Magic Attunement and Arcane Barrage into Student of the Mind or Arcane Stability. The points of Incineration in the Fire tree can also be used for Arcane Stability, which gives your Arcane Missiles pushback protection. However, since Arcane Missiles are not your main nuke and this talent is only really useful if you take a lot of damage in short intervals, this is a niche thing. Student of the Mind versus Magic Attunement is also a point where different opinions can arise. On the one hand, the benefit from Spirit (buffed by Student of the Mind) is rather low in most situations; on the other hand it is better than no passive DPS increase. However, Magic Attunement increases the range of your Polymorph, Counterspell, Spellsteal and Remove Curse and all Arcane damage spells (except for Arcane Explosion) by 6 yards. This allows you to DPS earlier after movement phases, makes your positioning easier, and gives your utility spells a higher range (e.g. it decreases time spent running to decurse someone or to sheep a target). Taking Arcane Barrage over a very small spirit increase from the Student of the Mind talent is a completely reasonable move if you ever want to deal damage while moving (which you want).
Another benefit of Arcane IV is the decreased cooldown on Icy Veins and Ice Block and that your Blizzard does very high DPS through the Critical Strike damage modifiers of Spell Power and Ice Shards.
Important Arcane Mage Talents
Arcane Subtlety decreases the threat you do with your Arcane spells by 40% and decreases the chance your helpful spells will be dispelled by 30%. 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 3%. This allows Arcane Mages to gear for much more offensive stats than any other Mage spec in the game, as you will need only 8% more Spell Hit from buffs, enchants, and gear.
Arcane Stability 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%.
Magic Attunement increases the range of your Polymorph, Counterspell, Spellsteal, Remove Curse, and all Arcane damage spells (except for Arcane Explosion) by 6 yards. Further, it increases the effect of Amplify Magic and Dampen Magic by 50%. Amplify Magic can be very powerful in fights without much Magic damage.
Spell Impact gives your main DPS spells a 6% damage bonus.
Student of the Mind increases your total Spirit by 4%, which gives you slightly more Critical Strike rating from Molten Armor.
Focus Magic is a powerful buff to be cast on a friendly target. It increases their Critical Strike chance with spells by 3%. If they score a Critical Strike, your Critical Strike chance is also increased by 3% for 10 seconds.
Arcane Meditation allows 50% of your out of combat Mana regeneration to continue while casting.
Torment the Weak gives your main DPS spells a 12% damage bonus if your target is slowed in any way (physical/spell/movement slow), which they usually are from a Death Knight's Icy Touch or a Warrior's Thunder Clap.
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. Further, PoM also triggers Arcane Potency (see below!). Channeled spells do not consume the instant-cast effect of this spell, so you can use the Critical Strike chance on, say, Blizzard and follow it up with an instant-cast Flamestrike.
Arcane Mind increases your total Intellect by 15%, making Intellect a more useful stat together with the Mind Mastery talent, which turns 15% of your Intellect into Spell Power.
Arcane Instability will make all your spells hit 3% harder and gives you a 3% higher Critical Strike chance with all spells.
Arcane Potency increases the Critical Strike chance of your next damaging spell by 30% after gaining Clearcasting or Presence of Mind. However, this talent is a little bit tricky, as only the first missile of Arcane Missiles benefits from the crit bonus, while a whole Blizzard benefits from it.
Arcane Empowerment makes Arcane Missiles gain 45% more damage from Spell Power effects and the damage of your Arcane Blast by 9% of your Spell Power. It also increases the damage of everyone in your raid and party by 3%.
Arcane Power is a damage cooldown that makes all your spells deal 20% more damage, but also increases their Mana cost by 20%. This ability lasts for 15 seconds and has a 84-second cooldown with the Arcane Flows talent.
Arcane Flows reduces the cooldown of Arcane Power (84s), Presence of Mind (84s), and Invisibility (126s) by 30% and the 4-minute cooldown of Evocation by another 2 minutes. Another small tip is that the Tier 3 2-set bonus (Frostfire Regalia) reduces the cooldown of Evocation by a minute. With this in mind, you can swap to the 2 pieces, wait for a second (the bonus needs a bit to activate), Evocate, and swap back to your normal gear. Be sure to only use this strategy out of combat, as you can only switch back to your normal gear out of combat and Tier 3 is terrible to wear during an encounter.
Mind Mastery turns 15% of your Intellect into Spell Power.
Missile Barrage gives your Arcane Blast a 40% and Arcane Barrage a 20% chance to halve the cast time (the tooltip is misleading) of your next Arcane Missiles and make them cost no Mana.
Netherwind Presence Increases your Spell Haste by 6%.
Spell Power increases the Critical Strike damage bonus of all spells by 50%, making your Arcane spells crit for 175% damage, or 182% with Chaotic Skyflare Diamond, instead of 150%.
Arcane Barrage hits the enemy with an instant-cast missile. This spell is very useful while moving and to reset your Arcane Blast stacks.
Incineration increases your chance to critically hit with Arcane Blast by 6%.
Ice Floes reduces the cooldown of Ice Block (240s) and Icy Veins (144s) by 20%.
Improved Frostbolt makes your filler Frostbolt cast 0.2 seconds faster. This is a rather unimportant filler talent.
Precision increases your chance to hit with all spells by 3%. This allows Arcane Mages to gear for much more offensive stats than any other Mage spec in the game, as you will need only 8% more Spell Hit from buffs, enchants, and gear.
Ice Shards combined with Spell Power makes your Frost spell Critical Strikes deal 225% damage, or 236% with Chaotic Skyflare Diamond, instead of 150%. This talent makes Blizzard your strongest AoE spell.
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.
Best Glyphs for Arcane Mages
The best Arcane Mage Glyphs are Glyph of Arcane Blast, Glyph of Arcane Missiles, and Glyph of Molten Armor (Major), and Glyph of Arcane Intellect and Glyph of Slow Fall (Minor). The third glyph is your personal choice. Further, one could argue that Glyph of Fire Ward and Glyph of Frost Ward are better minor glyphs than any other, but the use of these is very, very niche, so this guide will stick to the quality of life glyphs. Below you will find a complete list of glyphs, in case you would like to experiment with them, e.g. for farming purposes.
- Glyph of Arcane Intellect
- Glyph of Blast Wave
- Glyph of Fire Ward
- Glyph of Frost Armor
- Glyph of Frost Ward
- Glyph of Slow Fall
- Glyph of the Penguin
- 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
- 14 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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