Arcane Mage DPS Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Feb 03, 2019 at 11:11 by Dutchmagoz 64 comments

Welcome to our Arcane Mage guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. 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.

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.

Arcane provides impressive AoE, and decent Cleave, making it a strong candidate in dungeons and raid encounters with multiple targets. It also provides some of the strongest instant pressure and burst damage out of all classes, making Arcane perfectly suited to nuking down high priority targets. As with other Mage specializations, Arcane is exceptional at doing encounter specific jobs like soaking mechanics. Between Shimmer Icon Shimmer (or Slipstream Icon Slipstream) and Displacement Icon Displacement high movement encounters have less impact on Arcane's overall output than many other casters. Arcane is also the only Mage specialization with access to Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility, making it a very strong Mage specialization to deal with heavy incoming damage.

2. Balance Changes for Arcane Mage in Battle for Azeroth

3. Patch 8.1 Changes for Arcane Mage

4. Patch 8.0.1 Changes for Arcane Mage

Since this is the pre-patch of a new Expansion, there are many changes. Almost every single ability had its numbers changed to be balanced for level 120 and the stat squish. Because of this, we have not listed all the number changes below, but only the mechanical changes.

  • All Artifact traits, including the Artifact ability Mark of Aluneth have been removed.
  • Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power is now on the Global Cooldown.
  • Charged Up Icon Charged Up is now on the Global Cooldown.
  • Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles can now be cast without having any procs. Arcane Missiles has also been changed to no longer gain extra damage from Arcane Charges.
  • Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast becomes faster to cast based on the amount of Arcane Charges.
  • Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting has been added. This is the new proc for Arcane. It lets you cast Arcane Missiles or Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion for free, and makes Arcane Missiles channel 20% faster.
  • Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion has been changed to no longer gain extra damage from Arcane Charges, nor does it cost more Mana when cast repeatedly.
  • Arcane Intellect Icon Arcane Intellect has been added.
  • Remove Curse Icon Remove Curse has been added.
  • The talent Amplification Icon Amplification has been changed. Instead of doing more damage with Arcane Missiles the more Arcane Charges you have, it now makes Arcane Missiles do more damage when you get Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting, by shooting an extra missile.
  • Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes is a new talent, replacing Words of Power.
  • Slipstream Icon Slipstream has been changed slightly. Because Arcane Missiles can be cast at any time in BfA, Slipstream has been changed to only allow movement when using Arcane Missiles with a Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting proc.
  • Reverberate Icon Reverberate is a new talent, replacing Erosion Icon Erosion.
  • Touch of the Magi Icon Touch of the Magi is a new talent, replacing Unstable Magic.
  • Time Anomaly Icon Time Anomaly is a new talent, replacing Temporal Flux.

5. Arcane Mage Strengths

  • High burst damage
  • Strong AoE
  • Exceptional mobility
  • Excels at doing encounter-specific jobs, such as kiting or baiting mechanics

6. Arcane Mage Weaknesses

  • Reliant on cooldowns for single-target damage
  • Quite bad on 2-target fights
  • Gets punished hard by mechanics

7. Arcane Mage Viability in the Current Patch

After the most recent buffs to Arcane, it is one of the strongest single-target specs in the game. Although it is one of the best specs in theory, it still gets punished heavily by mechanics, so depending on the movement required on the content you are doing, Arcane can be very hard to play.

8. Changelog

  • 03 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added tips for Opulence.
  • 03 Feb. 2019 (mythic+ page): Slightly tweaked Reaping affix recommendation.
  • 01 Feb. 2019 (mythic+ page): Updated for Season 2.
  • 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 (azerite traits and gear page): Added information about Battle of Dazal'alor traits.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added Battle of Dazar'alor guide for Arcane Mages.
  • 26 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): Added questions about haste caps, viability and race choices.
  • 26 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): Added some default simulations.
  • 26 Dec. 2018 (this page): Minor changes to viability section.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (gear page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for 8.1.
  • 30 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Made the rotation slightly clearer based on what checkboxes are selected.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Added checkboxes to show rotation based on talents.
  • 27 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Changed page layout and added more information on how to pick your traits.
  • 26 Sep. 2018 (addons page): Added Decursive to the addon list.
  • 18 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Removed Brainstorm rotation due to nerfs.
  • 17 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Brainstorm rotation.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Optimized Rune of Power usage in rotation.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Added guides and talent recommedations for Heroic and Normal modes.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Changed rotation to make use of the free Arcane Blast from Rule of Threes in specific situations.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Uldir launch.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (how to improve page): Updated for Uldir launch.
  • 28 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Changed rotation for more optimal Presence of Mind usage.
  • 28 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added Overpowered as a viable talent choices for Tyrannical weeks.
  • 25 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Changed opening sequence to ignore Clearcasting during Arcane Power.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated traits for latest hotfixes, and added a section on suggested traits, over just linking them in order of DPS.
  • 21 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated rotation to also ignore Clearcasting procs during Arcane Power.
  • 20 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Changed talent suggestions based on more in-game experience and simulations.
  • 20 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated rotation to conserve at 60% mana because it is better at pre-raid gear levels.
  • 19 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated with latest expected stat weights for a pre-raid geared player.
  • 19 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for hotfixed traits.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Optimize the rotation for new findings.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Removed Arcane Pressure rotation changes following hotfix nerfs, and changed Trait priority.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Remove mention for a Legion tier bonus.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Changed Arcane Pressure rotation slightly for new findings.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Removed mention to a bug that was fixed.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (how to improve page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added Arcane Mage Mythic+ page.
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Added Arcane Mage Boss by Boss page (empty for now).
  • 06 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Page added.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated trait descriptions, relative strength, and rotation changes for latest hotfixes.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added a disclaimer.
  • 29 Jul. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added rotation section for Azerite Traits.
  • 28 Jul. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added initial Azerite Traits page.
  • 23 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Update rotation to not wait for Evocation to start burn for slightly better DPS.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (simulations page): Added a picture of legendary + talent combinations.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (talents page): Updated for legendary and talent hotfixes.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated trinket list for latest hotfixes and findings.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated legendaries and Best in Slot for nerfed Archmage.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (how to improve page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
  • 29 Jan. 2018 (this page): Added pre-Mythic Battle of Dazar'alor tuning notes.
  • 29 Jan. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added notes about Equipoise after the buffs of today.
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