Arcane Mage DPS Spell Summary — Shadowlands 9.0.2
On this page, we present you with all spells and procs that you need to understand as an Arcane Mage in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Mage spells.
Arcane Mage Spell Summary
If you are new to Arcane, it is recommended you read this before proceeding! In this section we will discuss what abilities you have, what they are used for within the specialization, and how they interact with important cooldowns. If you have played this spec before or have already achieved a level of comfort playing this spec in a practical environment, it is recommended you skip this section and move on to the rest of the guide.
Keep in mind, some spells might be much easier to use via macros, or are more easily used in combination with other spells. Visit the macro page below to get a good idea of such macros.
Note that this page simply lists all the different abilities, assuming you are at max level. If you are leveling, check out our dedicated Mage Leveling page, which has detailed information on when you unlock all of these abilities.
Main Resources of Arcane Mage
Mana and Arcane Charges are your primary resources, and interact with each other in a fashion unique to Arcane.
Arcane Charges are generated by Arcane Blast and Arcane Explosion, and by some talented spells. They go to a maximum of 4, and increase the Mana cost of Arcane Blast by 100% per stack. They also increase the damage of Arcane Blast and Arcane Barrage by a percentage dictated by your current Mastery value.
Mana is the main resource of Arcane Mages. With the above information in mind, managing your Mana can be a challenging task. On one hand, casting spells while at 4 Arcane Charges allows you to do maximum damage. The consequence of this is that you will quickly chew through your Mana bar, leaving you with no option but to stand there and wait for your Mana to slowly regenerate. This relationship between Mana and Arcane Charges forms the central theme of the Arcane specialization and will be discussed at length later in the guide.
Basic Abilities for Arcane Mage
These abilities are available no matter what talents you chose, and form the bread and butter of this specialization.
Arcane Blast is your main filler and nuke, and generates 1 Arcane Charge when cast. This spell has a low Mana cost when you have no Arcane Charges, but can make your Mana bar disappear in only a handful of casts at 4 Arcane Charges. It has no travel time, which makes it great for instantly applying damage, or finishing off an important add.
Arcane Missiles is a channeled spell that deals more damage then Arcane Blast. It can be cast at any time, but in practice is only used in combination with the Clearcasting proc, which makes it cost no Mana, channel 20% faster and cause an additional missile to fire. Any Mana you spend on damaging abilities (and Spellsteal) has a chance to proc Clearcasting. Arcane Missiles has a relatively slow travel which means you should avoid casting it on any target that is about to die, as it may not reach in time.
Arcane Barrage is an instant cast spell that clears your Arcane Charges, making your Arcane Blast cheaper to cast again. This ability is used as a reset button to help you maintain a stable Mana pool. You can generate charges with Arcane Blast and Arcane Explosion. Arcane Barrage itself hits relatively hard when used at 4 Arcane Charges, especially on multiple targets.
To learn how to use these abilities together in your rotation, read the rotation part of our guide below.
Important Procs for Arcane Mage
Clearcasting is the only rotational proc Arcane has. This proc allows you to cast Arcane Missiles and Arcane Explosion for free, and makes Arcane Missiles channel 20% faster as well as fire an additional missile. It can proc from anything that costs Mana. Clearcasting can stack up to two times, allowing you to save one proc for later to use it on priority targets or for mobility reasons when combined with Slipstream.
DPS Cooldowns for Arcane Mage
Arcane Power is your main damaging cooldown. It increases your spell damage by 30%, and reduces all Mana costs by 30%. While it only lasts 10 seconds, it allows for a potent burst window. It is best to combine this with 4 Arcane Charges and a healthy Mana bar so you can maximize damage while this spell is active.
Evocation is not a direct damage cooldown, strictly speaking, but does restore 100% of your Mana bar. As noted, Mana is damage for Arcane Mages, so this ability ends up having an extremely high DPS value. This is typically used sometime after Arcane Power is over, as you will be out of Mana from casting so many spells at 4 Arcane Charges.
Touch of the Magi is a relatively short cooldown spell, that when applied to your target will accumulate 25% of the damage done to the target for 8 seconds, after which it explodes for the total damage accumulated to the primary target, and reduced damage to nearby targets.
Time Warp increases Haste by 30% for 40 seconds for all party and raid members within 100 yards. This ability debuffs everyone with a debuff that prevents the possibility of benefiting from Time Warp, Heroism, and Bloodlust for the next 10 minutes.
Conjure Mana Gem generates a Mana Gem which restores 10% of your maximum Mana. Although not technically a direct DPS cooldown, by giving you free Mana it allows you to burn longer and thus increases your DPS.
Defensive and Utility Abilities for Arcane Mage
Below are listed some of the most impactful defensive and utility abilities an Arcane Mage has to offer to a raid or dungeon group.
Ice Block is one of the best defensive tools in the game. It causes you to be completely immune to any form of damage, debuffs, or otherwise negative effects. It can be used to save yourself from dying to incoming damage, but in many cases, it can also solo raid mechanics that otherwise need multiple people.
Greater Invisibility is another very strong defensive ability. This can help your healers out in a lot of situations when high damage is incoming. It also removes some debuffs, and often stops any type of targeted ability from hitting you.
Arcane Intellect buffs the entire raid, giving them more Intellect. Mages are the only class that give this buff, so most raids will want at least 1 Mage, to ensure the raid has this buff.
Remove Curse can be used to remove Curses from your raid or party.
Alter Time can be used as both a defensive and a mobility tool. Ten seconds after casting this ability, or after pressing it a second time, you will be returned to your location and health from when you cast it. One common usage is to activate it right before a big hit, and then re-activating it after the big hit to immediately heal back to full health.
Mirror Image spawns 3 copies nearby which will attack your enemies. While you have at least one copy alive, you will take 20% less damage. Any direct damage will you take will cause one of the copies to be removed. These copies can not be controlled, but they do have a health bar and can die. Although the copies do some damage, it is primarily a defensive ability, as the damage they do is very low.
Talented DPS Abilities of Arcane Mage
Aside from the basic toolkit, you will come across new abilities via your Talents, depending on the ones you choose. We will outline the active abilities here.
Arcane Familiar summons a Familiar which does a little bit of damage to the target you are hitting, and increases your maximum Mana by 10%. Although initially it could be considered a pet, it functions very differently from pets. The Familiar has no controls or health bar, and can thus not die nor be instructed to attack. The main point of this talent is to give you 10% more Mana, and the Familiar itself is mostly a visual effect.
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. The size of the damage buff is a bit larger than the circle under your character, and can be identified by the glow around the rune.
Nether Tempest is the only Damage of Time (DoT) spell an Arcane Mage has. It places a DoT effect of 12 seconds on the target, that does damage to both the primary target and lower damage to surrounding targets. Although it has no cooldown, it can only be applied to 1 target and the damage it does scales with the amount of Arcane Charges you have.
Ring of Frost allows you to spawn a relatively big Ring of Frost in a targeted location, that will incapacitate enemies for 10 seconds. Only enemies in the actual outer section of the circle get incapacitated.
Arcane Orb shoots an Arcane Orb forward (depending on how you are facing), giving you one Arcane Charge when cast, and another for each target struck.
Supernova is a 25-second crowd control ability that knocks your target (if it is an enemy target) and surrounding enemies into the air. This can be used both on enemy and friendly targets, but will only knock up enemy targets, and does double damage to the primary target. Although this ability does damage, the damage is very lackluster and is primarily used for its crowd control effect.
For more information on when to pick the above described talented abilities, and their relative strength compared to the passive options, see our talent page.
Covenant Abilities of Arcane Mage
Kyrian: Radiant Spark does some initial damage and applies a DoT that does damage over 10 seconds. Additionally, it causes your direct damage spells to do 10% increased damage, stacking every time you hit the target with a direct spell, up to 40%. After reaching 4 stacks, the effect ends.
Venthyr: Mirrors of Torment applies a 3 stack debuff to the target for 25 seconds. Whenever the target does a normal attack or casts a spell / ability, it removes 1 stack from the target and does a relatively small amount of damage, slowing their movement speed and cast speed by 15%. This can trigger at most once every 6 seconds. When the final stack is removed, the target takes a larger hit, rooting them and silencing them for 4 seconds. Additionally, every time a stack is consumed, you regain 4% of your Mana.
Necrolord: Deathborne is a 3-minute cooldown that transforms you into a skeletal mage for 20 seconds, causing Arcane Blast (and Frostbolt) to hit up to 2 additional targets. Additionally, it also increases your spell damage by 10% while active.
Night Fae: Shifting Power is a channelled spell that deals average damage to all enemies around you for 4 seconds. Additionally, it reduces all your cooldowns by 2.5 seconds every second, for a total of 10 seconds. This works for pretty much every single cooldown, including talented abilities like Arcane Orb and Rune of Power. It does not work for items however.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands launch. Added Covenant Abilities.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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