Arcane Mage DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Aug 13, 2018 at 17:07 by Dutchmagoz 62 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Arcane Mages in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

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. Talent Choices for Arcane Mage

Level Choices
15 Amplification Amplification Rule of Threes Rule of Threes Arcane Familiar Arcane Familiar
30 Mana Shield Mana Shield Shimmer Shimmer Slipstream Slipstream
45 Incanter's Flow Incanter's Flow Mirror Image Mirror Image Rune of Power Rune of Power
60 Resonance ? Resonance Charged Up Charged Up Supernova Supernova
75 Chrono Shift Chrono Shift Ice Ward Ice Ward Ring of Frost ? Ring of Frost
90 Reverberate ? Reverberate Touch of the Magi Touch of the Magi Nether Tempest ? Nether Tempest
100 Overpowered Overpowered Time Anomaly Time Anomaly Arcane Orb ? Arcane Orb

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Talent Cheat Sheets for Arcane Mage

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

2.1. Single Target

2.2. Heavy Cleave/AoE

2.3. For General Use

This build is an excellent starting point for questing and general purpose usage.

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Arcane Mage

Amplification Amplification Rule of Threes Rule of Threes Arcane Familiar Arcane Familiar

Tier 1 talents offer a minor boost to sustained damage.

Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes is the best single-target choice. It is also the best choice on most AoE situations. It being the best on AoE may seem counterintuitive at first, since there is no direct component to Rule of Threes that boosts its AoE damage, however, after reaching 3 Arcane Charges, you can cast 1 Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast for free, which allows you to get more Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrages out.

Arcane Familiar Icon Arcane Familiar is the best choice on very heavy AoE (10+ targets).

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Arcane Mage

Mana Shield Mana Shield Shimmer Shimmer Slipstream Slipstream

Tier 2 talents offer a boost in mobility and defensive utility.

  • Mana Shield Icon Mana Shield grants Prismatic Barrier Icon Prismatic Barrier no cooldown, but your Mana is drained by 20% of the damage it absorbs.
  • Shimmer Icon Shimmer replaces your Blink Icon Blink ability. It functions exactly the same as Blink Icon Blink, except it is off the Global Cooldown, is a 20-second cooldown instead of 15, does not interrupt spellcasting, and it does not break stuns.
  • Slipstream Icon Slipstream allows Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles and Evocation Icon Evocation to be channeled while moving.

This talent tier is largely a matter of preference between Shimmer Icon Shimmer and Slipstream Icon Slipstream. Slipstream guarantees that Evocation Icon Evocation cannot be cancelled by movement, and improves the caster's ability to reposition while channeling Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles. Shimmer greatly improves mobility, and by extension, survivability. This tier is largely a matter of preference between these 2 talents and the ideal choice almost certainly varies by encounter. Slipstream is recommended on fights where you can plan your movement ahead of time, whereas Shimmer is recommended on fights where you have to react to sudden mechanics.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Arcane Mage

Incanter's Flow Incanter's Flow Mirror Image Mirror Image Rune of Power Rune of Power

Tier 3 talents are focused on providing the player a consistent damage increase.

  • Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow increases your damage between 4% and 20%, cycling every 10 seconds.
  • Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image creates 3 copies of yourself which damage enemies and last 40 seconds.
  • Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power places a small zone which increases the damage you do by 40% for 10 seconds. This ability has a 40-second cooldown, with 2 charges.

Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is the best theoretical DPS choice for any amount of targets. However, Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow is very close, and Rune of Power is quite restrictive, so it may not be practical for all encounters. Below, we have listed some reasons which may cause you to not pick Rune of Power, but instead go with Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow:

  • There are raid mechanics which you can not plan for in advance that may cause you to have to move out of your Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power.
  • There is a lot of movement required on the fight in general.
  • It is also worth noting that Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is a lot harder to play with than Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow, so it should not be used when you are not very comfortable with the spec and fight.

Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image is not used.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Arcane Mage

Resonance ? Resonance Charged Up Charged Up Supernova Supernova

Tier 4 talents are focused on providing unique damage utility.

  • Resonance Icon Resonance empowers Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage to deal 10% extra damage for each additional target struck.
  • Charged Up Icon Charged Up instantly grants 4 Arcane Charges
  • Supernova Icon Supernova gives you a new spell that deals low damage that cleaves everything within 8 yards of the target, and knocks them in the air.

Charged Up Icon Charged Up is the best option for single target.

Resonance Icon Resonance is the best option cleave/AoE.

Supernova Icon Supernova is a mostly a crowd-control option, if you need to improve your control in dungeons via the knock up effect.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Arcane Mage

Chrono Shift Chrono Shift Ice Ward Ice Ward Ring of Frost ? Ring of Frost

Tier 5 talents focus primarily on providing utility.

  • Chrono Shift Icon Chrono Shift causes Arcane Barrage to slow enemies by 50% and increase your movement speed by 50% for 8 sec.
  • Ice Ward Icon Ice Ward gives Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova 2 charges.
  • Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost places a ring that can freeze up to 10 targets for 10 seconds at the targeted location, broken by damage.

Chrono Shift Icon Chrono Shift is the only talent with a benefit for raiding and Mythic+.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Arcane Mage

Reverberate ? Reverberate Touch of the Magi Touch of the Magi Nether Tempest ? Nether Tempest

Tier 6 talents add extra cleave and sustained damage options to your kit.

  • Reverberate Icon Reverberate gives Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion a chance to generate an additional Arcane Charge, as long as it hits at least 3 targets.
  • Touch of the Magi Icon Touch of the Magi gives Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast a 10% chance to apply a debuff, which stores 15% of the damage you do to that target for 8 seconds, and then after 8 seconds, deals the built up damage to the target and all nearby enemies.
  • Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest can be applied to one target, and deals damage over time to the target and all other targets within 10-yards.

Touch of the Magi Icon Touch of the Magi is the best single target option.

Reverberate Icon Reverberate is the best option for cleave/AoE as long as you can be in melee range to cast Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion. Otherwise Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest should be used in cleave/AoE situations. Nether Tempest is also quite close to Touch of the Magi on single-target, so it is a good choice on hybrid fights.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Arcane Mage

Overpowered Overpowered Time Anomaly Time Anomaly Arcane Orb ? Arcane Orb

Tier 7 talents boost your damage greatly.

  • Overpowered Icon Overpowered causes Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power to now increase damage by 60% and reduce Mana costs by 60%.
  • Time Anomaly Icon Time Anomaly has 3 random procs that can appear at any given time, even when you are not in combat.
    • Firstly, there is a chance to get Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power.
    • The second random proc is a chance to give you 1 second of Evocation Icon Evocation, which regenerates a decent portion of Mana. This can occur even when you already are at a 100% Mana.
    • The third effect is a chance to get 4 Arcane Charges. This can occur even if you already have Arcane Charges. If you have Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes talented, and you get the 4 Arcane Charges proc from Time Anomaly, you will also get Rule of Threes Icon Rule of Threes, as long as you have less than 3 Arcane Charges when the proc occurs.
  • Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb travels in a line and deals AoE damage to everything it hits. It generates 1 Arcane Charge on cast and 1 every time it deals damage.

Overpowered Icon Overpowered is the best single-target DPS option.

Time Anomaly Icon Time Anomaly is not very far behind on single-target, so if you enjoy the talent a lot, it will not be a huge DPS-loss to pick it.

Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb is the best option for AoE / cleave.

10. PvP Talents (War Mode)

In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to enable "War Mode". Enabling War Mode grants the following benefits:

  • PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
  • 10% increase in World Quest rewards at max level.
  • 10% more experience gained while leveling.
  • Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at max level. However, doing so will enable PvP combat, and the possibility of being attacked by members of the opposite faction while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

10.1. Arcane Mage War Mode Talents

In this section we will rank the War Mode talents for leveling and outdoor content.

  1. Temporal Shield Icon Temporal Shield is off the Global Cooldown, so it can be used without sacrificing any damage, and is very strong for when you know damage is incoming. You can simply tank the damage and heal back to full Health when the shield ends.
  2. Master of Escape Icon Master of Escape allows you to use Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility very often. This can be very useful for quests that require you to pick up certain items, as Greater Invisibility allows you to drop combat and quickly mount up after looting the required item, without having to kill off any enemies you have have aggrod while getting to the item.
  3. Mass Invisibility Icon Mass Invisibility is good for the same reasons as Master of Escape is.

11. Changelog

  • 13 Aug. 2018: Removed mention to a bug that was fixed.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 19 Jul. 2018: Updated for legendary and talent hotfixes.
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