Arcane Mage DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.0.2
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Arcane Mage in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Mage talents.
Talent Choices for Arcane Mage
|15||✓ Amplification||✗ Rule of Threes||? Arcane Familiar|
|25||✗ Master of Time||✓ Shimmer||✓ Slipstream|
|30||✓ Incanter's Flow||✗ Focus Magic||✓ Rune of Power|
|35||? Resonance||✓ Arcane Echo||? Nether Tempest|
|40||✓ Chrono Shift||✗ Ice Ward||✗ Ring of Frost|
|45||? Reverberate||✓ Arcane Orb||✗ Supernova|
|50||✓ Overpowered||✗ Time Anomaly||✗ Enlightened|
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 and Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
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.
- Level 15: Amplification
- Level 25: Shimmer
- Level 30: Rune of Power
- Level 35: Arcane Echo
- Level 40: Chrono Shift
- Level 45: Arcane Orb
- Level 50: Overpowered
- Level 15: Arcane Familiar
- Level 25: Shimmer
- Level 30: Rune of Power
- Level 35: Resonance
- Level 40: Chrono Shift
- Level 45: Reverberate or Arcane Orb if you cannot be in melee range
- Level 50: Overpowered
The builds suggested above do not account for specific fights in the current raid tier. If you wish to have a boss-by-boss breakdown of talent choices, you should check out our dedicated page below.
Mythic+ can potentially require a mix of certain AoE and single-target talents, depending on affixes and other variables. If you want advice that is specific to Mythic+, you should check out our page below.
How To Use Arcane Mage Talents
There are multiple talents that require a change to your rotation in order to use them optimally. You can find more information on how your rotation will look after selecting your talents on our rotation page below.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Arcane Mage
|✔ Amplification||✘ Rule of Threes||? Arcane Familiar|
Tier 1 talents offer a minor boost to sustained damage.
- Amplification makes Arcane Missiles do more damage by shooting two extra missiles when used with Clearcasting.
- Rule of Threes makes your next Arcane Blast or Arcane Missiles free after getting a third Arcane Charge. You will also get this effect if you instantly go to 4 Arcane Charges, via the use of, for example, Touch of the Magi or Arcane Orb.
- Arcane Familiar lets you summon a pet that does minor damage to enemies, and increases your maximum Mana by 10%.
Arcane Familiar is the best choice on very heavy sustained AoE (5+ targets).
Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Arcane Mage
|✘ Master of Time||✔ Shimmer||✔ Slipstream|
Tier 2 talents offer a boost in mobility and defensive utility.
- Master of Time reduces the cooldown of Alter Time by 30 seconds, and makes Alter Time reset the cooldown of Blink when it expires or when re-activated.
- Shimmer replaces your Blink ability. It functions exactly the same as Blink, except it is off the Global Cooldown, is a 25-second cooldown instead of 15, does not interrupt spellcasting, and it does not break stuns. This spell has 2 charges.
- Slipstream allows Arcane Missiles and Evocation to be channeled while moving.
This talent tier is largely a matter of preference between Shimmer and Slipstream. Slipstream guarantees that Evocation cannot be cancelled by movement, and improves the caster's ability to reposition while channeling 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. It is also worth noting that Shimmer has 2 charges, as opposed to Blink's single charge.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Arcane Mage
|✔ Incanter's Flow||✘ Focus Magic||✔ Rune of Power|
Tier 3 talents are focused on providing the player a consistent damage increase.
- Incanter's Flow increases your damage between 4% and 20%, cycling every 10 seconds.
- Focus Magic can be used to put a buff on a friendly player that will cause that player to have 5% increased critical strike chance. Whenever they critically strike, your own critical strike will also be increased by 5% for 10 seconds.
- 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. Additionally, it also drops automatically when you cast Arcane Power.
Rune of Power is the best theoretical DPS choice for any amount of targets. However, Incanter's Flow can be 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:
- 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.
- There is a lot of movement required on the fight in general.
- It is also worth noting that Rune of Power is a lot harder to play with than Incanter's Flow, so it should not be used when you are not very comfortable with the spec and fight.
Focus Magic is never the best option for your personal DPS, but can in certain situations cause slightly more raid DPS when playing with very geared other classes that benefit from critical strike a lot.
Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Arcane Mage
|? Resonance||✔ Arcane Echo||? Nether Tempest|
Tier 4 talents are focused on providing unique damage utility.
- Resonance empowers Arcane Barrage to deal 15% extra damage for each additional target struck.
- Arcane Echo causes targets afflicted with Touch of the Magi to cause an explosion around them whenever they take direct damage. Every hit of Arcane Missiles is considered a direct hit, so Arcane Missiles causes a lot of Arcane Echo explosions.
- Nether Tempest can be applied to one target, and deals damage over time to the target and all other targets within 10-yards.
Arcane Echo is the best option for single target and low cleave fights.
Nether Tempest is slightly better than Arcane Echo on constant cleave, while slightly behind on single target.
Resonance is the best option for heavy cleave/AoE.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Arcane Mage
|✔ Chrono Shift||✘ Ice Ward||✘ Ring of Frost|
Tier 5 talents focus primarily on providing utility.
- Chrono Shift causes Arcane Barrage to slow enemies by 50% and increase your movement speed by 50% for 8 sec.
- Ice Ward gives Frost Nova 2 charges.
- Ring of Frost places a ring that can freeze up to 10 targets for 10 seconds at the targeted location, broken by damage. When the freeze ends, the targets will be slowed by 65% for 4 seconds.
Chrono Shift is the only talent with a benefit for raiding and Mythic+.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Arcane Mage
|? Reverberate||✔ Arcane Orb||✘ Supernova|
Tier 6 talents add extra cleave and sustained damage options to your kit.
- Reverberate gives Arcane Explosion a chance to generate an additional Arcane Charge, as long as it hits at least 3 targets.
- 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.
- Supernova does a little bit of AoE damage, with double the primary target damage, while knocking up all enemies hit.
Arcane Orb is the best single target option.
Supernova does very low damage so is never picked for top damage. It can be picked if the extra crowd-control is needed.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Arcane Mage
|✔ Overpowered||✘ Time Anomaly||✘ Enlightened|
Tier 7 talents boost your damage greatly.
- Overpowered causes Arcane Power to now increase damage by 50% and reduce Mana costs by 50%.
- Time Anomaly has 3 random procs that can appear at any given time, even when you are not in combat.
- Enlightened increases your damage while above 70% mana by 8%, and increases your mana regeneration by 20% while under 70% mana.
Overpowered is the best option for both single-target and AoE.
Enlightened is slightly behind Overpowered in both single-target and AoE situations.
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, but it is never the optimal talent.
PvP Talents (War Mode)
Since Battle for Azeroth, there is 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.
Arcane Mage War Mode Talents
In this section we will rank the War Mode talents for leveling and outdoor content.
- 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.
- Master of Escape allows you to use 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.
- Mass Invisibility is good for the same reasons as Master of Escape is.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands launch. Changed Englightened to Overpowered as optimal talent due to more cooldowns at level 60.
- 21 Oct. 2020: Fixed linking to Charged Up instead of Touch of the Magi.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Updated a mistake in the talent selection.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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