Arcane Mage DPS Guide — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1

Last updated Yesterday at 16:05 by Dutchmagoz 5 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Arcane Mage guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1. Here, you will learn how to play as an Arcane Mage in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Mage guide.

1.

Arcane Mage Overview

The Arcane specialization is very singular in the current state of World of Warcraft. The core gameplay revolves around Mana expenditure, presenting the player with two distinct "phases" of the rotation; "Burn" and "Conserve". During the "Conserve" phase, the player aims to remain Mana neutral until the Evocation Icon Evocation cooldown is available. During the "Burn" phase, the player expends all their available Mana while their cooldowns are active, restoring their Mana to full with Evocation when they run dry and re-entering the "Conserve" phase. This dichotomy offers the player a unique experience that is both challenging and rewarding.

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Very high burst damage
  • +Able to move around quickly
  • +Good at avoiding or reducing damage taken
X Weaknesses
  • -Low cleave damage
  • -Reliant on cooldowns for single-target damage
  • -Has to specifically opt into AoE damage at the cost of single-target damage
3.

Shadowlands Changes for Mages

We are maintaining a list of changes for Mages for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, which you can access using the link below. We also have pages for the new Covenant abilities and Anima Powers.

Arcane Mages get the most changes out of the three Mage specs in the Shadowlands pre-patch. Although there is not a single very large individual change, all of the smaller changes make Arcane quite different from 8.3. Below we have listed some of the key ones that impact your core rotation.

  • Touch of the Magi Icon Touch of the Magi is now an active ability, and gets the effect from Charged Up built into it. This reduces setup time for Arcane's burst.
  • Although not an Arcane specific change, Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power now automatically activates when you use Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power. This is especially big for Arcane, as Arcane struggled with setup time, and this further reduces the large setup time that Arcane had.
  • Mastery: Savant Icon Mastery: Savant now not only boosts the damage of spells benefitted by Arcane Charges, but also all other spells. This is especially big for Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles, as this will now be an actual hard hitting ability that is a big damage boost to cast when Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting procs.
  • Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting has been changed to stack an additional time, allowing Arcane Mages to hold onto procs for specific situations, like a high priority target, or damage buffs.
4.

Leveling an Arcane Mage

If you want to play an Arcane Mage, but currently do not have one at max level, you can check out our leveling guide for tips on your journey.

Once you reach max level, it can be somewhat overwhelming to completely change the way you play by suddenly implementing a large number of addons in a short space of time, especially if they have a heavy visual impact on your UI. We recommend using some of the more basic addons recommended on our Addons page below while leveling, so that you have more time to get used to them during the easier phases of playing your class.

5.

Basics of Arcane Mage Gameplay

Arcane Mage is all about maximizing the damage you can do per point of Mana. Most of your damage will be done in a phase we will refer to as the "Burn" phase, during which you will quickly burn through all your Mana doing very high damage. Outside of this burn phase, you will be in your "Conserve" phase during which you are doing a bit lower damage waiting for your cooldowns to become available again.

Most of your time will be spent casting Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast as this is your main Mana expenditure spell. Additionally, Arcane uses various cooldowns, like Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power to boost the damage you do while burning through your Mana. The main way for Arcane to regenerate Mana will be via Evocation Icon Evocation. Conserve phases are made possible via Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage as this allows you to drop your Arcane Charges to reduce the Mana cost of your spells.

If you are an absolute beginner to the spec, but would like to learn the basic fundamentals of the class, recommend looking through the Spell Summary first, as well as the Easy Mode page linked below.

If you are already somewhat familiar with Arcane Mages, you can head straight to the Talents and Rotation pages to jump right into the more complex, detailed information.

6.

How to Gear Up as an Arcane Mage

We have a dedicated page that go over all the intricacies of gearing an Arcane Mage in the current patch, including the Best in Slot gear from the current tier.

After you have obtained some gear via the gearing guide above, you will want to make sure you are using the correct consumables, gems, enchants, and more. To help you with this process, we have a page on exactly this. Additionally, we have a stats page that goes over the stat priority and necessary changes that might occur from changing stat priorities.

7.

End-Game as an Arcane Mage

A fresh max level Arcane Mage plays and gears very different from end-game raiding and progression. In our Mythic+, Raiding and PvP guides we go over all the details to perform as well as possible in these aspects, regardless of your focus in end-game content.

8.

Improving as an Arcane Mage

If you feel like you are making mistakes, or are not really sure what to improve on, you can check out the pages below for tips and answers to questions you might have.

9.

Arcane Mage Viability in the Current Patch

Since Arcane did not benefit that greatly from the corrupted gear from 8.3, the removal of these effects do not have as big of an impact on Arcane as Fire and Frost. Relative to the other specs, this is a buff to Arcane Mages.

Due to some of the changes in 9.0, specifically the addition of Touch of the Magi Icon Touch of the Magi as an active instead of a passive spell, combined with Arcane Echo Icon Arcane Echo, Arcane now has decent cleave damage.

Arcane excels at pure single-target fights, where it can keep up with almost every class. Sadly, this tier does not consist of fights that have low movement and no additional targets. It performs decent on cleave fights, but still not as well as a lot of other classes.

In Ny'alotha, Arcane Mages can do very strong single-target DPS, but suffer from some of the movement required on a lot of the fights. It performs very well on single target fights in Ny'alotha, while staying competitive on multi-target fights since it can line up its burst quite well with additional targets, since Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power now has a 2-minute (instead of 3-minute) cooldown.

In Mythic+, Arcane can opt into very competitive AoE DPS or very strong single-target DPS. However, it can not do both well at the same time. It is very good at bursting down high priority targets, which can make Arcane Mages a very valuable asset to have for specific dungeons, where quickly killing a specific target is key. Overall however, it generally does not beat other Mage specs in Mythic+.

10.

Changelog

  • 26 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Removed 1 button Conjure Mana Gem since Blizzard now allows recrafting Mana Gem when not at max stacks.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (this page): Updated viability section after more data is available and updated a tooltip reference.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Updated Best in Slot for newly found strong items.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Fixed linking to Charged Up instead of Touch of the Magi.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (Essences page): Updated for new better essences.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Added a section for the Arcane Missiles Spam rotation.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated the balance question now that prepatch has been out for a week.
  • 21 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Added a 1 button Conjure Mana Gem
  • 14 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Updated a mistake in the talent selection.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Essences page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (azerite traits and gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (The Eternal Palace page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 20 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added Azshara tips.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Removed disclaimer.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added boss tips.
  • 10 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added initial talent suggestions.
  • 07 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Page added.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 12 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Added more tips.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 03 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added tips for Opulence.
  • 30 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated for Jaina stun hotfixes.
  • 28 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added more Jaina info and suggestions.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added Battle of Dazar'alor guide for Arcane Mages.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Added guides and talent recommedations for Heroic and Normal modes.
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Added Arcane Mage Boss by Boss page (empty for now).
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