Arcane Mage Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.5

Last updated on Mar 12, 2021 at 10:30 by Dutchmagoz 41 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 Necrolord Emeni Arcane Mage Emeni Raiding tree
Mythic+ Necrolord Emeni Arcane Mage Emeni Mythic+ tree
Mythic+ Necrolord Emeni Arcane Mage Emeni Torghast tree
2.1.

Arcane Mage Covenant Choice

Necrolord is overall one of the best Covenants to pick as an Arcane Mage as it is only about 0.5% behind the best single-target option, while being the best on cleave damage (by more than 10%) and AoE damage. However, for maximum single-target damage, Venthyr is the best option, but it is only about 0.5% above Necrolord.

For people planning to play multiple specs, Venthyr is also 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 about 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: 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 Necrolord is the Best Covenant for Arcane Mage

Necrolord is the best Covenant for most PvE situations for Arcane Mages. It is almost the best on single-target (being around 0.3-0.5% behind the others) while being the best in AoE situations by a large margin.

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 the best choice in almost all content.

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

3.1.

Necrolord Soulbinds

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

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, 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. 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.

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.

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.

5.2.

Venthyr: Mirrors of Torment

Venthyr has a strong single-target Class Ability, Mirrors of Torment Icon Mirrors of Torment, and decent Soulbinds. Is the highest theoretical single-target Covenant out of all Covenants. However, it is only about 0.5% above Necrolord, while falling behind significantly even on just 2 targets — more than 10% behind Necrolord — making it generally a worse option.

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 overall Soulbind, Emeni, and the Class Ability, while pretty good, is also worse on both single-target and AoE.

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.

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

  • 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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