Arcane Mage Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.2.5
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.
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.
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.
|Raiding||Kyrian||Pelagos||Arcane Mage Pelagos Raiding tree|
|Mythic+||Kyrian||Pelagos||Arcane Mage Pelagos Mythic+ tree|
|Torghast||Kyrian||Pelagos||Arcane Mage Pelagos Torghast tree|
Arcane Mage Covenant Choice
Kyrian is the best Covenants to pick as an Arcane Mage as it is the best single-target option while also doing the best AoE damage. Additionally, it also has "funnel" dps which the other Covenants do not provide. Funnel dps is when you gain bonus single target damage from additional targets.
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.
Since Covenants can be changed freely, you can pick the best covenant for each encounter. However, since that is Kyrian for all encounters, there is no real reason to switch Covenants aside from personal preference.
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 (Kyrian-only), Magi's Brand and Arcane Prodigy make for the best Potency Conduits while Kyrian. Otherwise, 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 (Night Fae-only). For AoE situations, Discipline of the Grove, 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 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 is generally considered very valuable for all situations.
Why Kyrian is the Best Covenant for Arcane Mage
Kyrian is the best Covenant for all 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 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.
- It has "funnel" damage, meaning it gains single-target damage when additional targets are active.
However, it does come with some tradeoffs that, depending on your playstyle and desired complexity, you might want to consider before playing Kyrian:
- The entire reason Kyrian is Arcane's best Covenant is a single Legendary ( 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.
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.
Best Single-Target Potency Conduits for Arcane Mage
- Ire of the Ascended (Kyrian-only)
- Arcane Prodigy (when Night Fae)
- Magi's Brand
- Discipline of the Grove (Night Fae-only)
- Arcane Prodigy (when not Night Fae)
- Siphoned Malice (Venthyr-only)
- Nether Precision
Best Cleave / AoE Potency Conduits for Arcane Mage
- Artifice of the Archmage
- Magi's Brand
- Discipline of the Grove (Night Fae-only) / Siphoned Malice (Venthyr-only) / Ire of the Ascended (Kyrian-only) / Gift of the Lich (Necrolord-only)
Picking the best Potency Conduits for Arcane Mage
For Kyrian we suggest going Ire of the Ascended, Magi's Brand and Arcane Prodigy for practically all situations. For other Covenants, you replace Ire of the Ascended by the other Covenant-specific Conduits.
It is possible to change your Conduits freely in your Covenant Sanctum due to the removal of Conduit Energy in Patch 9.1.5. However, Arcane does not really use more than 3 Conduits for all combinations, outside of very niche scenarios, making this ability to swap not as useful as for some other specs and classes. The only real option is to swap out a single-target Conduit like Arcane Prodigy for Artifice of the Archmage.
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 is indirectly a damage boost as it allows you to use Blink (or Shimmer, if talented) more and thus spend less time moving and not doing optimal DPS.
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.
Other Covenants for Arcane Mage
Venthyr: Mirrors of Torment
Venthyr is the second-best Covenant for most situations. It has a strong single-target Class Ability, Mirrors of Torment, and decent Soulbinds. It is behind around 5% on single-target dps, while having significant mobility. Just like Kyrian, it contains high burst and can do relatively decent cleave, although less burst cleave than Kyrian. Venthyr is generally a bit easier to play than Kyrian while learning new fights or in pick up groups.
Necrolord is the third-best Covenant for most PvE situations for Arcane Mages. It is significantly behind on single-target, but it has the best 20-second cleave out of all Covenants.
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 is good in both single-target and AoE situations, since it reduces all your cooldowns, which Arcane is very reliant on. It is however the worst Covenant overall.
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.
- Emeni the best Soulbind for all situations.
- Plague Deviser Marileth is never worth picking.
- Bonesmith Heirmir is never worth picking.
- Nadjia the Mistblade and Theotar the Mad Duke are tied for all situations at pretty much all Renown levels.
- General Draven is slightly behind in all situations, however after Renown 31 it is pretty much equal to Nadjia and Theotar on cleave/AoE situations as long as you can keep good uptime on Built for War.
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.
- 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 22 Jan. 2022: Updated for Patch 9.2.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Updated for patch 9.1.5.
- 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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