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Arcane Mage in Battle for Azeroth (BfA)

Last updated on Jun 01, 2018 at 06:27 by Dutchmagoz 331 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, you will find information on how to play your Arcane Mage in Battle for Azeroth. Because the new expansion is still in beta, this guide is simply here to help you perform better in the beta or to give you a sneak peek into what the new expansion has in store for your class.

The other pages of our Arcane Mage guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Dutchmagoz. Dutchmagoz is a Mythic raider in UnknownError, owner of the Mage theorycrafting website Altered Time, and an admin of the Mage Discord server, Halls of the Guardian.

1. Foreword

This page will be an introduction to the Arcane spec in Battle for Azeroth (BfA). It will go over the changes from Legion to BfA, and give a rough overview of the rotation of the spec.

2. Arcane Mage Base Mechanics Changes in BfA

The fundamental aspects of the Arcane spec have not been changed compared to Legion. If you enjoyed Arcane in Legion, you should enjoy Arcane in BfA as well. The rotation still consists of 2 separate phases, the "Burn" and "Conserve" phases. The Burn Phase is a phase where you burn through all your Mana for very high DPS, whereas the Conserve Phase lets you conserve your Mana until your cooldowns are available again.

Aside from this, there are some small mechanical changes to the spec.

  • Many abilities that were not on the global cooldown before are now affected by it, including main cooldowns like Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power.
  • Due to the removal of  Icon Mark of Aluneth Arcane has only one active way to restore Mana, Evocation Icon Evocation.
  • Base Mana regeneration has increased, to make up for losing an active source of Mana regeneration.

3. Arcane Mage Baseline Abilities — Changes in BfA

  • Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles can now be cast without having any procs. This allows you to have on-demand damage even when out of Arcane Charges, which can be useful to quickly kill a low Health target.
  • Arcane Missiles has 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.
  • 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, giving the Mage a raid-wide buff.
  • Remove Curse Icon Remove Curse has been added, giving the Mage additional utility by being able to dispel Curses.

4. The BfA Arcane Mage Talent Tree

BFA Arcane Talent Tree

There have been very few changes in terms of talents for Arcane. A couple of talents have been changed slightly, but there are very few actual new talents.

4.1. Level 15

  • Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes is a new talent. After gaining your third stack of Arcane Charges, your next Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast or Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles will be free. This free spell should only be used on Arcane Blast, never on Arcane Missiles.
  • 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.
  • Arcane Familiar Icon Arcane Familiar is unchanged.

4.2. Level 30

  • Mana Shield Icon Mana Shield is unchanged.
  • Shimmer Icon Shimmer is unchanged.
  • 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.

4.3. Level 45

The level 45 talents are unchanged.

4.4. Level 60

The level 60 talents are unchanged mechanically, but it is worth noting that Supernova Icon Supernova now does very little damage, so it is mostly a tool used for the knock up effect.

4.5. Level 75

The level 75 talents are unchanged.

4.6. Level 90

The level 90 talents are unchanged.

4.7. Level 100

  • Overpowered Icon Overpowered is unchanged.
  • Temporal Flux Icon Temporal Flux has been reworked. Instead of decreasing the cast time on Arcane Blast, it now applies Evocation Icon Evocation's effect a second time after 5 seconds. This means that 5 seconds after your Evocation, you will be returned to full Mana a second time.
  • Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb is unchanged.

The below talent setup is a good baseline setup for the current Beta version. Keep in mind, any changes made on the Beta may make the below talent build not optimal.

5. Arcane Mage Azerite Traits

Azerite Traits are the new version of the Artifact traits of Legion. They are a mix of small defensive, utility and damage boosts. None of the Azerite traits so far have a strong influence on how you play, but this can change as more of them are released. As it stands right now, we will most likely be using sims in Battle for Azeroth to figure out the optimal traits, although in many cases there is only one choice of trait per spec, as well as a generic trait that benefits all specs. In this instance you will usually choose the Arcane-specific trait, but sometimes the generic one can be better.

6. Arcane Mage Base Rotation in BfA

The below rotation is a good baseline for what a rotation in BfA may look like. Any tuning done to Arcane could change the rotation below.

The Arcane rotation consists of 2 priority lists, the Burn Phase and the Conserve Phase. The concept is to maintain a high and stable Mana pool during your "Conserve" phase, biding time until your cooldowns are available. As soon as your cooldowns are ready, you enter the "Burn" phase where you siphon all your Mana into damage. Then when you run out of Mana, you use Evocation Icon Evocation to return back to full Mana.

6.1. The Burn Phase

You can enter the Burn Phase when the following is all true:

Below we have listed the order in which you should perform your spells during the Burn Phase.

  1. Cast Charged Up Icon Charged Up if talented and you have 2 or less Arcane Charges.
  2. Cast Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb if talented and if you do not have 4 Arcane Charges.
  3. Cast Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest if talented and you have 4 Arcane Charges, and it is not up, or has less than 3 seconds remaining
  4. Cast Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image, if talented.
  5. Cast Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power, if talented.
  6. Cast Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power.
  7. Cast Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind.
  8. Cast Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage if there are 3 or more targets and you have 4 stacks of Arcane Charges.
  9. Cast Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion if there are 3 or more targets.
  10. Cast Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles if you have Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting and have less than 95% Mana
  11. Cast Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast.
  12. Cast Evocation Icon Evocation when out of Mana. If you have Temporal Flux Icon Temporal Flux talented, keep burning until the 5 seconds are over.

6.2. The Conserve Phase

You should enter the Conserve Phase any time you are not in the Burn Phase. The goal of the Conserve Phase is to get as many high Arcane Charges casts of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast off, while keeping your Mana at a high level. Below we have listed the order in which you should perform your spells during the Conserve Phase.

  1. Cast Charged Up Icon Charged Up if talented and you have 0 Arcane Charges.
  2. Cast Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest if talented and you have 4 Arcane Charges, and it is not up, or has less than 3 seconds remaining
  3. Cast Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb if talented and if you do not have 4 Arcane Charges.
  4. Cast Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast if Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes is talented and you have the Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes buff.
  5. Cast Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion if there are 3 or more targets and you have Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting
  6. Cast Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles if you have Clearcasting Icon Clearcasting and have less than 95% Mana
  7. Cast Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage if you have 4 Arcane Charges and there are 3 or more enemies, or you have less than 60% Mana (50% if Overpowered Icon Overpowered is talented).
  8. Cast Arcane Explosion if there are 3 or more targets.
  9. Cast Supernova Icon Supernova, if talented.
  10. Cast Arcane Blast.

7. ChangeLog

  • 01 Jun. 2018: Updated rotation to only cast Nether Tempest on 4 Arcane Charges.
  • 30 May 2018: Removed Arcane Charges tooltip since it was misleading, reworded things for consistency, added some more mechanical changes.
  • 29 May 2018: Added BfA page
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