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Arcane Mage DPS Starter Guide - Shadowlands 9.0.5
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Welcome to our Arcane Mage starter guide, which covers everything you need to start playing a new character in Shadowlands. While our other guide pages go into more individual detail, this simple starter guide covers all the basics in one place, whether you're a new Arcane Mage, a returning player to Shadowlands, hardcore, or casual alike, it's the best place to get a beginners overview on the class. Included are basic talent builds, simplified rotations, stats, legendary recommendations, and more to get you started as quickly as possible.
Please keep in mind that this page is meant to get players started quickly as an introduction, and does not contain much in the way of detailed explanations, mechanics, competitive options, gearing, simulation comparisons, or nuance. For more in-depth information, including all those optimizations and more, check out the complete Arcane Mage Guide pages linked in the navigation on the left-hand side of the page, and if you're leveling up in Shadowlands, you can take a look at our
NEW Best Covenant
NEW Twisting Corridors
NEW Night Fae
Rotation, Priority, and Abilities
Macros & Addons
NEW Castle Nathria Tips
About the Author
Malon has been throwing spells at bad guys since 2005. He raids with <Emerald Omen> on Stormscale-EU, and dreams of having a Mage trainer named after him. He would also like to get the Warlock class renamed to 'Fuzzy Cuddlebears'. He's not sure which is more realistic.
Malon is a moderator on the Mage Discord server,
Best Arcane Mage Covenant
The Night Fae are the best Covenant for Arcane Mages. Arcane damage revolves around cooldowns like
, so the Night Fae class ability,
, is a big boost for all types of content.
The Night Fae Signature ability,
, also helps to counter Arcane's weakness of short-range mobility/repositioning.
For Mages who want to multi-spec, the Night Fae are also a great choice for Fire and Frost: the only spec/situation they don't do well in is single-target Frost. If you really don't like the idea of being Night Fae, the Venthyr are competitive for all specs on a single target, but are weaker for Arcane than either of the elemental specs. The Kyrian can also compete, but again mostly on a single target and in some cleave situations.
Best Raid Covenants
Best Mythic+ Covenants
* Only when you can unlock
. Otherwise, use Nadjia or Theotar - both are equal.
** Only when you can unlock
. Otherwise, use Pelagos.
In terms of gameplay, you should use the Night Fae's
) are on cooldown. As Venthyr or Necrolord, use
before activating any other cooldown, and always line it up with
As Kyrian, simply use
on cooldown and consume the stacks with
, as each projectile consumes a stack).
Best Arcane Mage Covenant
Kyrian Arcane Mage GuideNecrolord Arcane Mage GuideNight Fae Arcane Mage GuideVenthyr Arcane Mage Guide
Best Arcane Mage Legendaries
Arcane Mages have two legendary options, depending on the type of content you're doing.
is the best raiding choice, while
excels in cleave and AoE encounters like Mythic+ dungeons (even on Tyrannical weeks). Sadly, they don't cross over well between types of content: Temporal Warp relies heavily on group composition (i.e. having another caster of the haste buff) to be useful, and won't always line up with difficult pulls in Mythic+; and Arcane Bombardment has a use in raids, but is a much smaller gain than Temporal Warp.
If you plan to make both, remember that you don't have to upgrade them at the same rate. If you primarily raid and only casually do Mythic+, you can max out Temporal Warp while leaving Signet at rank 1. Take a look at our
to learn more about the legendaries available to Arcane Mages, or our
to find all the materials you need to craft them.
Arcane Mage Legendaries Guide
Best Arcane Mage Talents
Arcane very rarely changes its talents, only really switching
on single-target fights. The below build gives you excellent single-target and AoE burst as well as good mobility, though while levelling you may want to switch
This is a well rounded and commonly-used Arcane Mage talent build. The setup can handle almost anything, but you can find a more in-depth look at individual talent swaps and situational recommendations in the
Arcane Mage Talent Guide
Arcane Mage Talents Guide
Arcane Mage Stat Priority
Primary stats Intellect are much more important in Shadowlands compared to past expansions, and secondary stats are close enough together that item level is usually a more important factor when it comes to choosing gear. You can find out more about how stats work in the
, or get an overview of the best-in-slot gear to look out for in dungeons and raids in the
Arcane Mage Gear Guide
Intellect > Mastery >= Crit > Versatility >= Haste
: Increases all damage done by native class spells and abilities.
: Increases your mana and mana regen rate, as well as all Arcane damage you deal (scaling with Arcane Charges for
, and by a flat amount for everything else).
: Has a chance to make any spell deal double damage. A strong stat for Arcane due to the hard-hitting nature of our spells.
: Increases damage done and reduces damage taken by half the amount. Unlike Mastery, it affects
damage done - including trinkets, potions, and enchantments.
: Compresses the rotation by reducing cast times, the GCD and the cooldown of certain rotational abilities, like
. However, by casting more spells we're also spending a lot more mana.
Arcane Mage Stats Guide
Arcane Mage Enchants and Consumables
Many more slots can be enchanted in Shadowlands than the two that were available to all players in Battle for Azeroth. In addition to rings and weapons, Enchanters can improve cloaks, chests, bracers, gloves and boots.
Recommended Arcane Mage enchants:
is probably best, but none of these have an effect on DPS. The other choices are
Gloves: The only glove enchant not focused on Strength is
Boots: The only boot enchant not focused on Agility is
, which is useless for Mages thanks to
Arcane Mages should use the
Weapon Oil and
in group content. Use
as food and
gems as a general rule, but ideally you should sim your character - your best secondary stat might not be Mastery.
Arcane Mage Enchants Guide
Arcane Mage Rotation
The Arcane Mage rotation flows between two phases; the Burn Phase, used during
, and the Conserve Phase outside of cooldowns. More information about abilities, cooldowns, and other advanced tips can be found in the
Arcane Mage Rotation Guide
for an instant
s at the end of Touch of the Magi
Continue to cast Arcane Blast until out of mana
to return to full mana
Consume Clearcasting with
Continue to cast
) until you reach four stacks of
. Clear your stacks with
Repeat this, staying above 60% mana, until
are available again
Although it's a big DPS loss to do so, you can drop Arcane Charges at three or even two stacks if you're likely to run out of mana before the next burn phase.
Mini-burn - used with
is on cooldown
) until Touch of the Magi fades*
for three instant
s at the end of Touch of the Magi
Return to Conserve Phase
You should always combine cooldowns when possible, without delaying Arcane Power. Because you want to line it up with
, that means it's possible to use Touch of the Magi once or twice between Arcane Power casts. For more on this, see the
you can drop Arcane Blast from your rotation entirely during Touch of the Magi, to focus on casting Arcane Missiles.
Our Arcane Mage guides are always updated with the latest information from in-game experience, simulations, and logs; make sure to check our changelog to this page, by clicking on
at the top of the page. If you are interested in more in-depth Arcane Mage guides for , make sure to browse the
below, and our list of
just beneath the
Table of Contents
Would you like to quickly find this guide using Discord? You can do it easily using
here to add Jeeves
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