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The Best Arcane Mage PvE DPS build

The Best Arcane Mage PvE DPS build

One of the best DPS builds for the Mage class in WoW: Battle for Azeroth

Arcane Mage PvE DPS Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide
Updated for Patch 8.1.5

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other World of Warcraft classes right here: Best WoW Builds

Spec Overview

Arcane Mages are very strong ranged damage dealers. They excel at both single and multi-target encounters, depending on talent choices, but can get punished heavily by some of the Raid mechanics. Arcane is even better than other Mage specs at doing Encounter-specific tasks, because of its impressive mobility, kiting and survivability toolkits. Playing Arcane Mage in the current patch can get very skill-demanding, but this spec offers a lot of potential to both experienced and newer players.

 Pros  Cons
 Extremely Mobile  Loses DPS in Two-Target encounters
 Very high Burst Damage potential  Gets punished heavily by some Raid mechanics
 Solid AoE Damage dealer  Its single-target DPS depends highly on cooldowns
 Excells at Kiting, Baiting and overcomes Raid mechanics easily  
 Deals with incoming damage better than other Mage Specs  


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Statistics Priority

  1. Intellect - Increases your Spell Power, which in turn provides a damage boost to your spells. Intellect is Arcane Mage's primary statistic.
  1. Critical Strike - Gives your spells a chance to do increased (critical) damage.
  1. Haste - Increases Casting Speed and Reduces your Global Cooldowns.
  1. Mastery - Arcane Mage's Mastery: Salvant Increases damage bonus gained per Arcane Charge, boosts mana regeneration and increases mana pool, which allows you to cast more harmful spells at max Arcane Charges before using Evocation.
  1. Versatility - Increases your damage, healing, and absorption done, while also protecting you by decreasing all damage received.

 

The Best Talent Choices


Level 15: 
Recommended choice - Rule of Threes
Rule of Threes - Gaining third (or jumping straight to fourth via Charged Up or Arcane Orb) Arcane Charge reduces the cost of your next Arcane Missiles or Arcane Blast by 100%. This is the best single target and AoE(indirectly; Free
Arcane Blasts gained from Rule of Threes allow you to cast more Arcane Barrages which in turn gives you better AoE potential) DPS booster, and that makes it the default choice.
Amplification gives just too little in terms of extra damage (That one extra Arcane Missile gained from Clearcasting is not worth it). Arcane Familiar summons a pet that attacks your Enemies and boosts your max mana by 10%. It is worth a consideration for AoE heavy encounters.

Level 30: 
Recommended choice - Shimmer
Shimmer - It is a great upgrade over Blink ability, Shimmer has 1 more charge, can be cast off the global cooldown, and does not interrupt your spellcasting, but it does not break stuns and has 5s more cooldown (20s instead of 15s). We recommend Shimmer over Slipstream because it can save you from any sudden life-threatening Raid mechanics.
Slipstream allows you to move while channeling Evocation or Arcane Missiles giving you an ability to reposition without losing damage output; this, while useful, doesn't have the life-saving potential of Shimmer. Mana shield removes cooldown from your Prismatic Barrier but causes it to drain your drain mana proportionally to damage absorbed. Mana=damage, and therefore Mana shield should not be considered unless you REALLY need that extra damage absorption (here's a hint: don't stand in the fire... just Shimmer out of it).

Level 45: 
Recommended choice - Rune of Power
Rune of Power - an Active Ability that lets you place said Rune of Power on the ground which increases your spell damage done by 40% for 10s  if you stay within 8yd from it; has two charges and 40s recharge timer. This is the best choice for Burst Damage as well as sustained damage output, but using it in some encounters might get tricky. If fights require you to move a lot, and you lose a good portion of Rune of power's uptime, consider picking Incanter's Flow instead.
Incanter's Flow gives you a sustained damage bonus that starts at 4%, builds up to 20% over 10s, and then resets back to 4% just to start building up again. This talent doesn't restrict your mobility, and therefore could be considered over Rune of Power for very dynamic encounters. Mirror Image, while "classic" gives the worst overall damage boost, and should not be picked.

Level 60: 
Recommended choice - Charged Up
Charged Up - Grants you 4 Arcane Charges Immediately and has 40s cooldown. This gives you the best single target damage boost and works very well with Rule of Threes.
Resonance can be considered for AoE heavy fights, as it increases the damage of your Arcana Barrage for each damaged target. Supernova is a low damaging crowd control spell which has limited uses in Raids.

Level 75: 
Recommended choice - Chrono Shift
Chrono Shift - Your Arcane Barrage now slows enemies by 50% and boosts your movement speed by 50% for 5 seconds. This talent gives you some extra mobility needed in Raids and Mythic+ progression.
Ring of Frost and Ice Ward are pure crowd control options with very situational uses.

Level 90: 
Recommended choice - Touch of the Magi
Touch of the Magi -  Your Arcane Blast now has a 10% chance to apply a debuff which accumulates 15% of your damage dealt to the target over 8 seconds after which the stored damage is dealt to the target and all nearby enemies. This gives you the highest Single Target damage boost, while also improving your AoE potential slightly.
Reverberate and Nether Tempest are both good AoE choices, but Reverberate requires targets to be in the range of your Arcane Explosion, and Nether Tempest is slightly worse than the Touch of the Magi when it comes to single target damage.

Level 100: 
Recommended choice - Overpowered
Overpowered - Improves your Arcane Power's damage bonus to 60%, and Mana costs reduction to 60%. 
Overpowered is the best choice for a single target DPS boost, but Time Anomaly is not far behind, and it is the "fun" choice (who doesn't like random stuff happening from time to time?)
Time Anomaly gives you a random chance to get 4 Arcane Charges, 8s of Arcane Power or 1s of Evocation at ANY moment. You can consider picking it if randomness is not a downside for you. Arcane Orb is an AoE spell that generates 1 Arcane Charge when cast, and an additional one every time it deals damage, it should be considered for Multi-target heavy encounters.

 

The Basic Rotation

Arcane Mage's Rotation consists of two main phases, Burn Phase during which you convert all of your mana into damage and a Conserve Phase during which you try to maintain your Mana gained with Evocation used after the Burn Phase while waiting for your cooldowns to come back up. Following rotation assumes that you have chosen Talents recommended above.

The Burn Phase - use this priority list whenever your Arcane Power is ready to use and the following conditions are all met: Your Mana is over 30% of max capacity,
 you have 4 Arcane Charges Stored,
At least 1 charge of Rune of Power is ready,
  1. Charged Up at 0-1 Arcane Charges
  1. Arcane Blast with a Rule of Threes proc active
 ⇒ 
  1. Rune of Power
  1. Arcane Power
  1. Presence of Mind if Arcane Power has < 2s left, to fire additional Arcane Blast during its uptime
 ⇒ 
  1. Arcane Missiles with Clearcasting up when Mana<95%, and Arcane Power not active
 ⇒ 
  1. Arcane Blast
  1. Evocation with no Mana left
  1. Arcane Barrage to dump Arcane Charges ⇒ resume normal rotation (if Evocation is on cooldown)
 ⇒ Resume rotation
Conserve Phase - Use following priority list after burning your Evocation
(please remember, that maintaining Mana is your main goal during this phase)
  1. Charged Up at 0 Arcane Charges
  1. Rune of Power on 2 charges if:
    Arcane Power's CD left >Rune of Power recharge time
    and you have 4 Arcane Charges
  1. Arcane Blast with a Rule of Threes proc active
 ⇒ 
  1. Arcane Missiles with Clearcasting up
 ⇒ 
  1. Arcane Barrage at 4 Arcane Charges when Mana<70%
  1. Arcane Blast

 

Tips and Tricks for Improving your Gameplay

  1. Make sure that you are stacked up on cooldowns before entering Burn Phase.
  1. Always be casting! Youse your filler spells to avoid downtime.
  1. Make sure you burn all your mana near the end of an encounter; mana left at the end of a fight equals damage lost during that fight.
  1. Always try to improve your mana management.


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END NOTE

This is an early version of our guide, we plan to upgrade upon it, and add further sections. So please leave your suggestions in the comments section below. We would also like to state that this is meant as a pocket guide and therefore we will not go into too much detail (please visit more specialized sites for a much more in-depth build/stat/gear/rotation analyses).

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.