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Arcane Mage DPS Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jul 09, 2020 at 12:07 by Dutchmagoz 70 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Arcane Mage guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3. 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.

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.

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.

3.

Patch 8.3 Changes for Arcane Mages

Despite no spec-specific changes for Arcane Mages in Patch 8.3, you can check out the changes for the other specs on our Mage Changes page.

In addition, we have:

4.

Arcane Mage Strengths

  • High burst damage
  • Strong AoE
  • Exceptional mobility
  • Excels at doing encounter-specific jobs, such as kiting or baiting mechanics
5.

Arcane Mage Weaknesses

  • Reliant on cooldowns for single-target damage
  • Quite bad on 2-target fights
  • Gets punished hard by mechanics
6.

Arcane Mage Viability in the Current Patch

The new Azerite trait launched in 8.3 (Heart of Darkness Icon Heart of Darkness) is very strong for Arcane Mage. Additionally, the Azerite items that drop in Ny'alotha are very good for Arcane, due to all of them containing both Heart of Darkness and Equipoise Icon Equipoise. However, for almost all specs, the Azerite items dropped in Ny'alotha are very strong, which means Arcane does not really get a big relative boost out of it.

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 still does not perform well on cleave fights or fights with a lot of movement.

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. Arcane also does not really have a way to deal with the adds on most fights, since most adds are cleaved down. Due to this, Arcane is unfortunately not a better choice over Fire on any raid boss.

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+.

7.

Changelog

  • 09 Jul. 2020 (this page): Updated viability section since Corruption vendor changed balance.
  • 20 May 2020 (Corruption page): Added info about new corruption vendor.
  • 18 Apr. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Added Mythic specific tips for all bosses.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (gear page): Moved Corruption to a separate page.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (Corruption page): Moved Corruption to a separate page and added a section on how to deal with the effects.
  • 06 Feb. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Updated pages for more information from live servers.
  • 21 Jan. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page added.
  • 16 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Updated incorrect boss for a BiS item.
  • 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.
  • 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 (talents page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Essences page): Added new 8.3 essences into the ranks and changed ranks based on 8.3 buffs/nerfs.
  • 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 (mythic+ page): Updated for season 4.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (simulations page): Added simulations for corruption effects.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for 8.3 essences and azerite traits.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (this page): Added 8.3 changes, updated viability section for Nyalotha and 8.3.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Updated all sections of the page for gear added or changed in 8.3.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (azerite traits and gear page): Added new 8.3 traits and changed priority based on 8.3 buffs/nerfs.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 28 Sep. 2019 (this page): Added hotfixes from October 1st and updated viability section.
  • 20 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added Azshara tips.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (stats page): Rephrased wording of Intellect description.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Removed disclaimer.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Updated and clarified Azerite gear section.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (Essences page): Changed format of essences to guide in picking essences better.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (this page): Added hotfixes from July 16th and updated viability section.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added boss tips.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Added Mechagon items.
  • 13 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Changed benthic belt to a belt which works on every boss.
  • 13 Jul. 2019 (simulations page): Added essence simulations.
  • 12 Jul. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added caveat to eternal palace trait.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (talents page): Added note about PvP talent essence.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Updated Azerite suggestions and added gear from The Eternal Palace.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (stats page): Changed priority of Intellect.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (Essences page): Updated Essence priority list to be clearer.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Eternal Palace traits and updated rankings slightly.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (this page): Expanded on the Patch 8.2 changes and updated viability section.
  • 10 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added initial talent suggestions.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Added Benthic gear info.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (mythic+ page): Added season 3 affix descriptions.
  • 08 Jul. 2019 (rotation page): Updated opener to use the new potion.
  • 08 Jul. 2019 (Essences page): Added simulations for Essences.
  • 07 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Page added.
  • 26 Jun. 2019 (Essences page): Updated essences after hotfixes and confirming strengths on live servers.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Essences page): Page added.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (this page): Added Patch 8.2 changes.
  • 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 (enchants page): Updated for Patch 8.2.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (gear page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 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 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (mythic+ page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (talents page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (how to improve 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.
  • 26 Apr. 2019 (talents page): Added note to Shimmer talent description.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (gear page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (addons page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (stats page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (spells page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 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.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (mythic+ page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (talents page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (this page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 17 Mar. 2019 (gear page): Updated the Azerite BiS pieces.
  • 03 Mar. 2019 (rotation page): Updated the rotation to mention Equipoise trait for clarity.
  • 03 Feb. 2019 (mythic+ page): Slightly tweaked Reaping affix recommendation.
  • 03 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added tips for Opulence.
  • 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 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added Battle of Dazar'alor guide for Arcane Mages.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added information about Battle of Dazal'alor traits.
  • 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 (enchants page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents 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 (gear page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir 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 (how to improve 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 (addons 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.
  • 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 (mythic+ page): Added Overpowered as a viable talent choices for Tyrannical weeks.
  • 28 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Changed rotation for more optimal Presence of Mind usage.
  • 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 (rotation page): Updated rotation to conserve at 60% mana because it is better at pre-raid gear levels.
  • 20 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Changed talent suggestions based on more in-game experience and simulations.
  • 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 (azerite traits and gear page): Removed Arcane Pressure rotation changes following hotfix nerfs, and changed Trait priority.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Optimize the rotation for new findings.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Changed Arcane Pressure rotation slightly for new findings.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Remove mention for a Legion tier bonus.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Removed mention to a bug that was fixed.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (how to improve page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Added Arcane Mage Boss by Boss page (empty for now).
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added Arcane Mage Mythic+ page.
  • 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 (gear page): Updated trinket list for latest hotfixes and findings.
  • 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 legendaries and Best in Slot for nerfed Archmage.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (how to improve page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
  • 29 Jan. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added notes about Equipoise after the buffs of today.
  • 29 Jan. 2018 (this page): Added pre-Mythic Battle of Dazar'alor tuning notes.
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