Arcane Mage Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jun 28, 2021 at 15:28 by Dutchmagoz 44 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Arcane Mage. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.

1.

Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Mage Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Mages gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Mage Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Mages.
2.

Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Below we have listed a general guideline to the best Covenants. However, we strongly recommend reading further to help you pick the optimal Covenant and Soulbind, as, depending on the type of content and your desired complexity, the best Covenant changes.

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Raiding Kyrian Pelagos Arcane Mage Pelagos Raiding tree
Mythic+ Kyrian Pelagos Arcane Mage Pelagos Mythic+ tree
Mythic+ Kyrian Pelagos Arcane Mage Pelagos Torghast tree
2.1.

Arcane Mage Covenant Choice

Kyrian is, overall, one of the best Covenants to pick as an Arcane Mage as it is the best single-target option while also doing some of the best AoE damage. Venthyr is only a little bit behind on single-target damage, but significantly behind on AoE.

However, all Covenants have their niches for Arcane Mages. So, we advise you read the other Covenants section below for more information on each Covenants' strengths and weaknesses.

For people planning to play multiple specs, Venthyr is a great spec for Frost, making it a great choice if you plan to use Arcane on single-target and Frost on cleave and AoE fights. Venthyr is unfortunately not that good for Fire, but there is no good Covenant for people planning to play both Fire and Arcane, as you will always be giving up a relatively significant amount of damage for either spec.

2.2.

Best Conduits for Arcane Mage

In the list below, you will find the best Conduits, organized by type. For more information, please refer to the Conduits section of this page.

  • Best Potency Conduits: Ire of the Ascended Icon Ire of the Ascended (Kyrian-only) and Magi's Brand Icon Magi's Brand make for the best Potency Conduits while Kyrian. Otherwise, Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy (while Night Fae) is the best pure single-target Conduit, closely followed by Magi's Brand, which is closely followed by Discipline of the Grove Icon Discipline of the Grove (Night Fae-only). For AoE situations, Discipline of the Grove, Artifice of the Archmage Icon Artifice of the Archmage and Magi's Brand are very close, making Discipline of the Grove and Magi's Brand great hybrid options.
  • Best Finesse Conduits: Most of the options here are good choices and largely come down to personal preference. However, Flow of Time Icon Flow of Time is useful in all situations and arguably the only one that increases your DPS by increasing mobility.
  • Best Endurance Conduits: This is largely personal choice. All of them are very good defensive options. Diverted Energy Icon Diverted Energy is generally considered very valuable for all situations.
3.

Why Kyrian is the Best Covenant for Arcane Mage

Kyrian is the best Covenant for most PvE situations for Arcane Mages. Below we have listed the major reasons as to why it is considered the best Covenant:

  • It does the most single-target damage;
  • It does the most burst-AoE damage;
  • It has extremely high burst damage (both single-target and AoE), which is very desirable in most content;
  • It uses the same single-target and AoE Legendary and talents, meaning it can do both good AoE and single-target damage in the same fight.

However, it does come with some tradeoffs that, depending on your playstyle and desired complexity, you might want to consider being going Kyrian:

  • The entire reason Kyrian is Arcane's best Covenant is a single Legendary (Arcane Harmony Icon Arcane Harmony), meaning a nerf to it is likely to dethrone Kyrian;
  • The optimal playstyle for a Kyrian Arcane Mage is harshly punished by making mistakes or being selected by boss mechanics at the wrong time, and might be considered more complex than other available rotations;
  • The optimal playstyle for a Kyrian Mage requires precise planning around your group's timers and strategy, which can make it hard to play well in pick-up-group settings, or when learning new fights.

We cover our thoughts on the other Covenants and their Soulbinds in this section further below.

3.1.

Kyrian Soulbinds

Pelagos is the best Soulbind in all situations for Arcane Mages. We suggest using this Soulbind tree for all situations.

Kleia is even with Pelagos on cleave and AoE, so if you want to use Pelagos for a different spec or different type of content, you can use this tree for Kleia.

4.

Best Conduits for Arcane Mage

This section only covers which Conduits you should pick. For detailed explanations on what all of the Mage Conduits do, check out our Mage Soulbinds and Conduits Page below.

4.1.

Best Single-Target Potency Conduits for Arcane Mage

  1. Ire of the Ascended Icon Ire of the Ascended (Kyrian-only)
  2. Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy (when Night Fae)
  3. Magi's Brand Icon Magi's Brand
  4. Discipline of the Grove Icon Discipline of the Grove (Night Fae-only)
  5. Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy (when not Night Fae)
  6. Siphoned Malice Icon Siphoned Malice (Venthyr-only)
  7. Nether Precision Icon Nether Precision
4.2.

Best Cleave / AoE Potency Conduits for Arcane Mage

  1. Artifice of the Archmage Icon Artifice of the Archmage
  2. Magi's Brand Icon Magi's Brand
  3. Discipline of the Grove Icon Discipline of the Grove (Night Fae-only) / Siphoned Malice Icon Siphoned Malice (Venthyr-only) / Ire of the Ascended Icon Ire of the Ascended (Kyrian-only) / Gift of the Lich Icon Gift of the Lich (Necrolord-only)
4.2.1.

Picking the best Potency Conduits for Arcane Mage

Since almost all content is some combination of AoE and single-target content, we strongly suggest always picking Magi's Brand Icon Magi's Brand, as it is both second-best for AoE and second-best for single-target (depending on fight length, it can even be best). The second slot is usually decided based on what type of damage is more important on the content you are doing. If you are Kyrian with Arcane Harmony Icon Arcane Harmony, Ire of the Ascended Icon Ire of the Ascended is the best option, otherwise Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy is the best second option for single-target content, while staying very close to other options on AoE up to 3 targets. After 3 targets, Artifice of the Archmage Icon Artifice of the Archmage takes over as the definitive best option. The third option largely depends on your Covenant. As Kyrian, your third option should be Arcane Prodigy, and as other Covenants, it should usually be your Covenant-specific conduit.

4.3.

Best Finesse Conduits for Arcane Mage

Finesse Conduits are mostly mobility and utility focused and are therefore largely personal preference. Having said that, Flow of Time Icon Flow of Time is indirectly a damage boost as it allows you to use Blink Icon Blink (or Shimmer Icon Shimmer, if talented) more and thus spend less time moving and not doing optimal DPS.

4.4.

Best Endurance Conduits for Arcane Mage

Endurance Conduits are all Conduits that improve your survivability. All of the Mage ones are strong so you can mostly pick this based on personal preference and circumstance.

5.

Other Covenants for Arcane Mage

5.1.

Necolord: Deathborne

Necrolord is the second-best Covenant for most PvE situations for Arcane Mages. It is a little bit behind on single-target, being around 3% behind Kyrian, but it has the best 20-second cleave out of all Covenants.

The Covenant ability Deathborne Icon Deathborne is a strong cooldown for Arcane Mages, especially on multiple targets. This, combined with Emeni's Lead by Example Icon Lead by Example makes Necrolord a strong Covenant.

5.2.

Night Fae: Shifting Power

Night Fae is very flexible, as it is relatively good in all situations, but not best in any. It also has 3 Soulbinds that are all relatively close in power. Shifting Power Icon Shifting Power is good in both single-target and AoE situations, since it reduces all your cooldowns, which Arcane is very reliant on. It is a decent middle-of-the-pack Covenant, with great multi-speccing potential together with Fire.

5.3.

Venthyr: Mirrors of Torment

Venthyr has a strong single-target Class Ability, Mirrors of Torment Icon Mirrors of Torment, and decent Soulbinds. It is the second-highest theoretical single-target Covenant out of all Covenants, being around 2-3% behind Kyrian. However, it is significantly worse than Kyrian in AoE and cleave scenarios. It is, however, great for multi-speccing with Frost.

6.

Other Soulbinds for Arcane Mage

Below we go over the Soulbinds of each other Covenant and in what situations you might consider them. The advice below applies to all Renown levels unless otherwise specified.

6.1.

Necolord Soulbinds

6.2.

Venthyr Soulbinds

6.3.

Night Fae Soulbinds

  • Niya is the best single-target Soulbind.
  • Korayn is the best AoE Soulbind and only slightly behind Niya. (0.5%)
  • Dreamweaver is slightly behind Korayn and Niya in all situations.
7.

Changelog

  • 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 13 Jun. 2021: Updated best Covenant suggestion based on new information.
  • 12 Mar. 2021: Removed disclaimer for Venthyr bug because it was fixed in a hotfix.
  • 10 Mar. 2021: Added a disclaimer for Venthyr bug.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Updated Covenant suggestions to Necrlord as best due to Covenant buffs from 9.0.5.
  • 22 Nov. 2020: Updated page with more information regarding multi-speccing.
  • 20 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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