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The Best Mage DPS Build for WoW Classic

The Best Mage DPS Build for WoW Classic

Complete guide for the Mage Class for WoW Classic with two alternative Talent options included

Mage PvE DPS Builds
Odealo's Pocket Guide

Mage

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other WoW Classic Classes builds right here: Best WoW Builds

If you have just started leveling your Mage, you may want to check out our Mage leveling Guide first

 

Overview

Mage is one of the most well-rounded Classes in WoW Classic. He supports great utility and survivability toolkits and packs a solid punch. Spells, like Polymorph, Cone of Cold, Blizzard, and Frost Nova, make him great at controlling and kiting adds during encounters, which makes him a must-have asset in any group. Tools, like Blink and Ice Block, allow him to escape danger and avoid death in situations where most other Classes would simply perish. On top of that, Mage deals solid damage right from the start. Arcane Power Mages put out very solid DPS numbers during early phases, thanks to some amazing Talents that boost their Damage and Sustain, while Fire Mages scale very well into late phases, easily overtaking all other ranged damage dealers in Naxxramas.

If all this does not sound good enough, Mage also comes with some amazing tools of convenience. He is able to conjure food and drinks for himself and his group, which turns him into a vending machine in Raids, which allows him to save up a lot of Gold and make some friends. Moreover, he can teleport and create portals to major cities, which saves him a lot of time and effort while traveling and can be used to make some additional profit (lazy people just love to buy portals).

Time for some cons... as a magic-user, Mage wears light Cloth armor and has a very low Health pool. This means that mistakes made during encounters can easily end his life, especially if his survivability tools are already on Cooldown. Moreover, despite some good mana efficiency-related Talents, Mage is one of the most mana-hungry Classes in the game. Proper resource management is paramount for a Raiding Mage and frequent mana breaks are unavoidable during leveling.

 Pros  Cons
 Great utility  Very squishy, especially when taken by surprise or after making a mistake
 Regarded as the best Ranged DPS in Classic  Has mana efficiency problems
 One of the most well-rounded Classes; has answers for almost anything the game can throw at him  One of the most popular Classes; finding a solid Guild might be a problem because of the strong competition
 Free food and drink  People will constantly ask for free food and drink...
 Ability to teleport between major cities  End-Game rotations are rather dull (but this is rather common in Classic)
 High skill ceiling  


The Best Race Choice

Note: Here, we will point you only towards the best PvE DPS Mage Race. If you'd like to know more about other race picks, please check our WoW Classic Beginners Guide, where we dive deep into all available Mage's race choices for both factions.

Alliance
Alliance

Gnome is a clear winner on the Alliance side. His Intellect Racial is very strong as it provides additional Mana and Spell Critical Strike Chance. Escape Artist, while regarded as a PvP Racial, finds surprisingly many uses in the PvE environment as well. On top of that, Engineering Specialization is better than you might think because Engi is your go-to End-Game PvE profession. If you can't stand Gnomes for some reason, pick a Human, the difference is not that big; you will still be competitive (and much taller).

Horde
Horde
When it comes to Horde, Troll is the only Race that has magic DPS-boosting Racial. His Berserking gives him a Haste buff that directly increases DPS for a short time, making him the best at bursting down Targets (but the difference is rather negligible unless you are aiming for the very top). Beast Slaying comes in handy during some encounters, but it is very situational. Overall, Troll is the best for PvE, but If you fancy some PvP in addition to your regular Raid nights, you might want to pick Undead instead, as his racials are great for PvP.

The Best Professions Choice

There are two professions that make a real impact in Raids and they are Engineering and Tailoring (Alchemy is also a decent option, but you can buy Flasks, Elixirs, and Potions from other players, which makes it much less impactful). Engineering gives you access to powerful explosives that increase your AoE and Single-Target DPS. Moreover, Engi gadgets come in handy in many back-to-the-wall situations. The fact that Engineering is also considered the best PvP profession is an added benefit to its power in the PvE environment. Tailoring, a seemingly mediocre PvE profession, gives you access to a powerful Bind on Pickup Robe - Robe of the Archmage which is Best in Slot for the whole Phase 1 and stays competitive until AQ. Getting it will definitely raise the power level of your character during the first few Phases of Classic.

At the start, you should pick Mining to supplement your Engineering Skill, you should also stock up on Cloths instead of vendoring/selling them. After you max out Engi, you should switch Mining to Tailo, as it can be easily (and cheaply) leveled without a supporting profession.

Note: If you want to know more about all available professions and secondary skills, please check our detailed WoW Classic Professions Guide.

Statistics Priority

  1. Spell Hit Chance -  Increases your chance to hit with all your offensive Spells. You need a total of 16% Hit Rating and you already get some of it from Talents. Getting Hit-Capped should be your top priority.
  1. Spell Critical Chance - Gives you a chance to do additional (Critical) Damage with your offensive Spells. This statistic has more value for Fire Mages, but Arcane Power Mages benefit from it as well.
  1. Spell Damage - Increases your Damage done with Spells. The damage bonus from Spell Damage is calculated differently for different Spells and their Ranks, but in general, this stat is one of the best for Mages.
  1. Intellect - Increases your total Mana Pool and provides you with additional Spell Critical Chance (59,5 Int = 1% Spell Critical Strike Chance).
  1. Spirit - Increases your Health and Mana regeneration rate. Your Mana will regenerate in combat if you don't cast any spells for 5 seconds (the 5-second rule). Arcane Meditation Talent increases the value of Spirit by a tiny bit. Mage's Sustain is rather good and various consumables can be used to regenerate Mana, so Spirit should no be your priority.

Statistic Priority for different Mage Builds:

  • Arcane Power Mage: Spell Hit Cap  Spell Damage  Crit Chance  Intellect Spirit
  • Fire Mage: Spell Hit Cap  Crit Chance  Spell Damage  Intellect ⇒ Spirit

 

The Best Talent Builds

Proper Talent allocation is essential for maximizing Damage output. Here, we will describe the most optimal spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level to explain some choices.

There are two paths to choose - Arcane Power Build that is the best at the start, and Fire Build that becomes viable after Blackwing Lair as there are very many Fireproof Bosses in Molten Core, BWL and Onyxia's Lair. Moreover, Fire build strongly synergizes with Critical Strike Chance, which makes it scale with gear better than the Arcane Power variant.

Arcane Power Mage PvE DPS Build
Talent allocation for Arcane Power Build

Arcane Tree:

  • 2/2 Arcane Subtlety - Resistances are very powerful in Classic and Talents that reduce them even more so.
  • 3/5 Arcane Focus - 3/5 is enough to achieve Arcane Spell Hit cap against enemies two levels higher than you (level 63 Boss has a 17% chance to resist your spells, so putting more points here is counterproductive).
  • 4/5 Magic Absorption - Resistances are needed in many Classic Boss encounters, which makes this Talent much better than it looks. Also, there is no better place to put your points up to this point.
  • 5/5 Arcane Concentration - Clearcasting is one of the most powerful effects in Classic and this Talent gives you a 10% chance to get it after you damage an enemy with your spell.
  • 3/3 Improved Arcane Explosion - Fun fact: Arcane Explosion spam is the strongest AoE DPS rotation in Classic (but it drains Mage's mana very quickly).
  • 1/1 Arcane Resilience - This is underwhelming and will not save your life, but it is also necessary if you want Arcane Mind, and you do.
  • 3/3 Arcane Meditation - Helps with your Sustain by quite a bit.
  • 1/1 Presence of Mind - Part of the infamous 3-Minute-Mage Instant Pyroblast Combo, also solid in PvE.
  • 5/5 Arcane Mind.
  • 3/3 Arcane Instability
  • 1/1 Arcane Power - Very powerful Cooldown that gives you great Burst Damage potential when combined with Clear Casting procs and Presence of Mind.

Frost Tree:

  • 5/5 Improved Frostbolt
  • 3/3 Elemental Precision- This gives you 6% Frost Spell Hit Chance, which is enough aginst enemies 2 levels higher than you.
  • 5/5 Ice Shards - Very strong offensive Talent that also greatly increases the value of Critical Chance statistic.
  • 3/3 Piercing Ice - Flat Damage increase for all your Frost spells.
  • 1/2 Arctic Reach - Extra Range comes in handy during many encounters as it gives you some freedom of movement.
  • 3/3 Frost Channeling - Helps with both Sustain and Aggro management; it doesn't get better than that.

Fire Mage PvE DPS Build
Talent allocation for Fire Build

Arcane Tree:

  • 2/2 Arcane Subtlety 
  • 3/5 Arcane Focus 
  • 5/5 Magic Absorption
  • 5/5 Arcane Concentration

Fire Tree:

  • 5/5 Improved Fireball
  • 5/5 Ignite - The reason why Fire Mage overtakes other Mage Builds when better gear becomes available. This Talent greatly increases Mage's DPS and is definitely one of the best in the entire game. On top of that, its effect resets and grows after each Fire Spell Critical Strike made by a Mage that has this Talent, which makes it just insane (the more Fire Mages in a Raid, the crazier this Talent becomes).
  • 2/2 Flame Throwing - Additional 6 yards range on all your Fire Spells. This generally reduces your downtime by a bit when you are forced to move.
  • 2/2 Incinerate - 4% extra Critical Chance with your Fire Blast and Scorch. Speaking of Ignite synergy...
  • 2/2 Burning Soul - The Threat Reduction part makes this Talent a must-have for PvE.
  • 3/3 Improved Scorch - With this Talent, your Scorch also applies a stackable debuff that increases Fire Damage taken by your Target by 15% (if stacked 5 times).
  • 3/3 Master of Elements - This helps with your sustain and synergizes with your Spell Critical Chance, which is convenient.
  • 3/3 Critical Mass - More Crit = even better Ignite synergy.
  • 5/5 Fire Power
  • 1/1 Combustion - Very strong Burst Damage Cooldown, irreplaceable during enrage phases of Boss fights. And it also synergizes with Ignite.

Frost Tree:

  • 3/3 Elemental Precision

 

Where to get Pre-Raid/Raid BiS Gear

In order to maximize your DPS, you should aim to assemble the best possible Gear. This applies to both Pre-Raid and each of the Raid Tiers/Phases.

Note1: The list will be updated with new items concurrently with the introduction of new Raids/Phases, so remember to visit this page after a new Raid opens for an update on what current best Mage items in each lot are.

The Best Mage Items
Main Hand
  • Pre-Raid - Demon Blade (BoE World Drop; can be purchased on AH)
  • Phase 1 - Azuresong Mageblade (drop from Golemagg the Incinerator, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Off-Hand
  • Pre-Raid - Drakestone of Frozen Wrath (Drop from Weaver, Dreamscythe, and Hazzas, Sunken Temple; note: The item has a Random Enchantment)
  • Phase 1 - Drakestone of Frozen Wrath
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Ranged
  • Pre-Raid - Lunar Wand of Frozen Wrath (BoE World Drop; can be purchased on AH; note: The item has a Random Enchantment)
  • Phase 1 - Lunar Wand
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Trinket 1
  • Pre-Raid - Briarwood Reed (Drop from Jed Runewatcher, Upper Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Briarwood Reed
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Trinket 2
  • Pre-Raid - Eye of the Beast  (Quest Reward from "HordeFor the Horde!" / "AllianceGeneral Drakkisath's Demise", Upper Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Talisman of Ephemeral Power (drop from Baron Geddon, Gaar, Golemagg the Incinerator, and Magmadar, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Neck
  • Pre-Raid - Star of Mystaria (Drop from Balnazzar, Stratcholme)
  • Phase 1 - Choker of the Fire Lord (drop from Ragnaros, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Ring 1
  • Pre-Raid - Freezing Band (BoE World Drop; can be purchased on AH) / Songstone of Ironforge (Quest Reward from "AllianceThe Princess's Surprise", Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Ring of Spell Power (drop from Shazzrah, Lucifron, Gehennas, and Sulfuron Harbinger, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Ring 2
  • Pre-Raid - Freezing Band / Maiden's Circle (BoE World Drop; can be purchased on AH)
  • Phase 1 - Ring of Spell Power  (drop from Shazzrah, Lucifron, Gehennas, and Sulfuron Harbinger, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Head
  • Pre-Raid - Master's Hat of Frozen Wrath (BoE World Drop; can be purchased on AH; note: The item has a Random Enchantment) / Crimson Felt Hat (Drop from Magistrate Barthilas, Stratcholme)
  • Phase 1 - Arcanist Crown (drop from Garr, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Chest
  • Pre-Raid -  Robe of the Archmage (Tailoring Recipe that drops from Firebrand Pyromancer, Lower Blackrock Spire; note: the robe is Bind on Pickup, which means that you have to craft it yourself. It does not require Tailoring Skill to use, however) Freezing Lich Robes (drop from Ras Frostwhisper, Scholomance)
  • Phase 1 - Robe of the Archmage / Robe of Volatile Power (drop from Lucifron, Shazzrah, Sulfuron Harbinger, and Gehennas, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Legs
  • Pre-Raid - Skyshroud Leggings (drop from Highlord Omokk, Lower Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Netherwind Pants (drop from Ragnaros, Molten Core) / Arcanist Leggins ( drop from Magmadar, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Gloves
  • Pre-Raid - Hands of Power (drop from Quartermaster Zigris, Lower Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Hands of Power
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Boots
  • Pre-Raid - Master's Boots of Frozen Wrath (BoE World Drop; can be purchased on AH; note: The item has a Random Enchantment) / Omnicast Boots (drop from Golem Lord Ardelmach, Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Arcanist Boots (drop from Lucifron, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Shoulders
  • Pre-Raid - Boreal Mantle (drop from Warder Stilgis, Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Boreal Mantle
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Wrists
  • Pre-Raid - Flameweave Cuffs of Frozen Wrath (drop from Lord Incendius, Blackrock Depths; note: The item has a Random Enchantment)
  • Phase 1 - Arcanist Bindings (BoE Epic Drop, Trash Mobs in Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Belt
  • Pre-Raid - Ban'thok Sash (drop from Ok'thor the Breaker, Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Mana Igniting Cord (drop from Golemagg the Incinerator, Garr, Baron Geddon, and Magmadar, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Back
  • Pre-Raid - Archivist Cape of Frozen Wrath (drop from Archivist Galford, Stratcholme; note: The item has a Random Enchantment) / Spritecaster Cape (drop from High Interrogator Gerstahn, Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Archivist Cape of Frozen Wrath Sapphiron Drape (drop from Onyxia, Onyxia's Lair)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA

 

The Best Enchants and Consumables

Proper enchants and consumables will greatly increase your Damage output. While getting enchants is a one-time-deal, farming consumables might be a real chore, but it is still worth it as numbers clearly show.

The Best Enchants
Weapon (1H) Enchant Weapon - Spell Power (+ 30 Spell Damage)
Weapon (TH) Enchant Weapon - Spell Power (+ 30 Spell Damage)
Head Lesser Arcanum of Voracity (+8 Intellect, available from Libram of Voracity Quest in Burning Steppes)
Chest Enchant Chest - Greater Stats (+4 to all stats)
Legs Lesser Arcanum of Voracity (+8 Intellect, available from Libram of Voracity Quest in Burning Steppes)
Hands Enchant Gloves - Riding Skill (Minor Raiding Speed Increase)
Feet Enchant Boots - Minor Speed (+8% Run Speed)
Shoulders Chromatic Mantle of the Dawn (+5 to all Resistances)
Wrists Enchant Bracer - Greater Intellect (+7 Intellect)
Back Enchant Cloak - Greater Resistance  (+5 to all Resistances)

The Best Consumables
Major Mana Potion
Major Mana Potion
Restores 1350 to 2250 Mana. Created by Alchemy. Recipe drops from various high-level mobs, elites, and Bosses.
Greater Arcane Elixir
Greater Arcane Elixir
+35 Spell Damage for 1 hour. Created by Alchemy. The recipe can be dropped from Fireguard Destroyers in Blackrock Depths and Scareshield Raiders in Blackrock Spire.
Flask of Supreme Power
Flask of Supreme Power
+150 Spell Power for 2 hours; effect persists through death. Created by Alchemy. The recipe can be dropped from Ras Frostwhisper, Scholomance. 
Elixir of Frost Power
Elixir of Frost Power
+15 Frost Spell Damage for 30 minutes. Created by Alchemy.
Elixir of Greater Firepower
Elixir of Greater Firepower
+40 Fire Spell Damage for 30 minutes. Created by Alchemy.
Cerebral Cortex Compound
Cerebral Cortex Compound
+25 Intellect for 1 hour. Obtained from "Infallible Mind" repeatable Quest, Blasted Lands
Nightfin Soup
Nightfin Soup
It provides 8 mana per 5 seconds for 10 minutes. Created by Cooking.
Demonic Rune
Demonic Rune
Restores 1356 mana at the cost of 862 life. Drop from Demons in Azshara, Felwood, and Blasted Lands (Satyrs and Fel Guards).

 

Rotations

In Classic, Mage follows more of a priority list than a strict rotation. This means that if you have multiple spells available for casting, you should always choose the one that is higher on the list (if specified requirements are met).

Note: most of the time, you'll want to use your Cooldowns at the start of combat, so that you'll get a second (and a third in long encounters) charge before the fight ends.

Please use the following Priority List for sustained Single-Target Damage output:

  1. Fireblast during burn phases to maximize DPS at the cost of mana efficiency (use this to finish of enemies)
Fireblast
  1. Arcane Explosion during burn phases to maximize DPS at the cost of mana efficiency (use this to finish of enemies)
Arcane Explosion
  1. Maintain Winter's Chill (if Frost) / Improved Scorch (if Fire) stacks on primary Target (after  the effect runs out, stack it back to 5)
Winter's Chill / Scorch
  1. Frostbolt (if Frost) / Fireball (if Fire) as a main Damage source
Frostbolt / Fireball
Please use the following Sequence while in the Multi-Target Engagement:
Arcane Power Frost:
  1. Arcane Explosion to finish of enemies
Arcane Explosion
  1. Cone of Cold if Targets are in range
Cone of Cold
  1. Blizzard
Blizzard
Fire:
  1. Arcane Explosion to finish of enemies
Arcane Explosion
  1. Blast Wave on Cooldown
Blast Wave
  1. Maintain Flamestrike's ground effect
Flamestrike

 

Tips and Tricks for aspiring Mage Raiders

  1. If you want to deal more Damage and stand out from your Raid competition, Stack Consumables. Spending some additional Gold or a few extra hours grinding might secure you a spot in a Raid, as Raid leaders prefer dedicated and well-prepared players.
  1. Proper Mana management is paramount for your success in Raids. Learn to judge how long a fight will be and try to time the end of it with you running out of resources (if fight is about to end and you have spare mana, maximize your DPS with cost-ineffective but heavily-damaging spells, like Arcane Explosion). If you tend to run out of mana before combat ends, obey the 5-second rule and regenerate some of your resources by not casting for a while (use your Wand instead - you will lose out on DPS, but the net loss will be much lower than if you just tried to spam your spells as soon as you regen enough mana for a single cast). You can (and should) also use mana-regenerating consumables mentioned in the "the best consumables" section.
  1. Taking advantage of your defensive abilities is the key to your survival in Raids. As a mage, you don't have armor or health that will protect you. Use Blink, Ice Block and everything else in your toolkit to avoid being hit as getting hit often results in instant death.
  1. Always try to improve. Get an addon that tracks your performance and try to optimize your equipment and rotation.

 

END NOTE

This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla  Raiding Experience and allow you to progress through Raid Tiers efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

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