Arcane Mage Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 22, 2020 at 20:00 by Dutchmagoz 34 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 how much Renown you have, both the priority changes and the optimal tree changes.

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Raiding Night Fae Niya / Korayn / Dreamweaver (depending on Renown, see below) Arcane Mage Korayn Raiding tree
Mythic+ Night Fae Korayn / Dreamweaver (depending on Renown, see below) Arcane Mage Korayn Mythic+ tree
Torghast Night Fae Niya Arcane Mage Niya Torghast tree
2.1.

Arcane Mage Covenant Choice

Generally speaking, the best choice for nearly all PvE scenarios for an Arcane Mage is Night Fae. However, for people planning to play multiple specs, this might not be the optimal choice. Night Fae is also best for Fire in nearly all situations, so this is not an issue. However, if you plan to play Arcane Mage in single-target content, but Frost in 2-3 target content, picking Venthyr is also a possibility, as Venthyr is roughly the same behind for Arcane on single target (2-5% depending on Renown) as Frost with Night Fae is behind on 2-3 targets. (2-5%) Night Fae is a solid pick for Frost as well on larger AoE pulls (like most Mythic+ pulls), but on low target counts is very much behind Venthyr. Whether you pick Night Fae or Venthyr will largely come down to what type of content you plan to do with what spec.

Although Night Fae is best for most situations, the best Soulbind fluctuates a lot, depending on the type of content and your Renown level. Read our the best Covenant section for more information on how to pick the best Soulbind, and why Night Fae is the best Covenant.

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: Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy (while Night Fae) is the best pure single-target Conduit, closely followed by Magi's Brand Icon 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.
3.

Why Night Fae is the Best Covenant for Arcane Mage

Night Fae is the best Covenant for most PvE situations for Arcane Mages. It is both the best on single-target and AoE situations, while having multiple strong Soulbind options which increases the flexibility for both multi-speccing and building Soulbinds for specific situations.

A primary reason which makes Night Fae a great Covenant is the class ability Shifting Power Icon Shifting Power. This ability is good in both single-target and AoE situations. It reduces the cooldown of all your cooldowns, which Arcane is very reliant on. The cooldown reduction is extremely valuable for Arcane as not only does Arcane gain a lot of damage from cooldowns like Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power, it also allows you to basically never run out of Mana while aggressively burning mana due to Evocation Icon Evocation being up more often. Combine this with 3 solid Soulbinds that all have 2 Potency Conduit slots and good damage boosting abilities, and it is clear why Night Fae is such a strong choice.

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

3.1.

Night Fae Soulbinds

As described above, Night Fae has three very capable Soulbinds, since all of them contain two Finesse Conduit slots and have damage boosting abilities in it. However, due to the way Renown unlocks these slots at different times, there are different best Soulbinds depending on your Renown level. Below we list the best Soulbind for each Renown level, including when you can roughly expect to have these Renown levels with optimal play.

Keep in mind, the lists below focus primarily on the Soulbind tree, and the Conduits inside them are mostly example Conduits. For deciding which Conduits to pick for which situation, see the conduits section of the guide.

3.1.1.

Best Single-Target Soulbinds for Arcane Mage

  1. Renown 0-12 (before Raid/Mythic+ release): Niya is the best Soulbind. (tree)
  2. Renown 13-24 (Heroic week upto Mythic week 3): Both Niya and Dreamweaver are extremely close here (within 1%), with Dreamweaver being slightly ahead on single target. (tree)
  3. Renown 25-27 (Mythic week 5): Niya is the best single-target Soulbind here. (tree)
  4. Renown 28+ (Mythic week 6+): Korayn is the best single-target Soulbind here. (maxed out tree
3.1.2.

Best AoE Soulbinds for Arcane Mage

  1. Renown 0-12 (before Raid/Mythic+ release): Niya is the best Soulbind. (tree)
  2. Renown 13-21 (Heroic week upto Mythic week 3): Both Niya and Dreamweaver are extremely close here (within 1%), with Niya being slightly ahead in AoE. (tree).
  3. Renown 22-30 (Mythic week 4-7): Korayn becomes the best AoE Soulbind here. (tree)
  4. Renown 31+ (Mythic week 7+): Korayn remains best for AoE, but the tree changes slightly to be able to reach First Strike Icon First Strike. (final tree)
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. Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy (when Night Fae)
  2. Magi's Brand Icon Magi's Brand
  3. Discipline of the Grove Icon Discipline of the Grove (Night Fae only)
  4. Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy (when not Night Fae)
  5. Ire of the Ascended Icon Ire of the Ascended (Kyrian only) / Siphoned Malice Icon Siphoned Malice (Venthyr only)
  6. 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)
  4. 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, can even be best). The second slot (if available) is usually decided based on what type of damage is more important on the content you are doing. Discipline of the Grove Icon Discipline of the Grove is usually a solid second option, especially combined with Magi's Brand, as the cooldown reduction on Touch of the Magi Icon Touch of the Magi works very well with Magi's Brand. For pure single target fights without any additional targets at all, Arcane Prodigy Icon Arcane Prodigy is best.

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.

Necrolord: Deathborne

Necrolord has the worst single-target Covenant ability in the form of Deathborne Icon Deathborne. However, the Necrolord Covenant ability is very strong for 2-3 target cleave. Due to this, in 2-3 target scenarios, the best Necrolord build wins out against the best Night Fae build by about 3%. This is however only true for this very specific scenario, and any other scenario Night Fae wins out. In all other situations, the best Necrolord build is around 2-5% behind Night Fae. On top of that, Necrolord also only has 1 good Soulbind, compared to Night Fae having 3.

5.2.

Venthyr: Mirrors of Torment

Venthyr has a strong single-target class ability, Mirrors of Torment Icon Mirrors of Torment, and decent Soulbinds. However, it does not compare to Night Fae in any scenario, with its best build falling behind around 5-7% on both single target and AoE.

5.3.

Kyrian: Radiant Spark

Kyrian has a decent class ability for Arcane(Radiant Spark Icon Radiant Spark), and the Soulbind Pelagos is also pretty decent. However, none of the Soulbinds are as good as the best Night Fae Soulbinds, and the class ability, while pretty good, is also worse on both single-target and (much worse) on AoE, with the best performing Kyrian builds around 5% behind on single target 5-8% on AoE depending on Renown level.

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.

Kyrian Soulbinds

6.2.

Venthyr Soulbinds

6.3.

Necrolord Soulbinds

7.

Changelog

  • 22 Nov. 2020: Updated page with more information regarding multi-speccing.
  • 20 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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